The world of Whymsia is heir to a rich heritage of noble historical deeds, epic battles, and fantastical events. Unfortunately, most of it is so dry that only bards and scholars care about it (though the bards at least try to liven it up where they can). So here is the history of the world in a nutshell, at least as understood in Greater Mundania. (Accounts differ in the rest of the world, especially about the first parts.)
In The BeginningEdit
In the beginning were the five Lords of Creation, incarnations of the forces that shape all reality. From the interaction of their powers sprang spontaneously the planes of pure element (the Underplanes), and from these sprang the first of the Lesser Gods. (Some claim Dread Lord Yg'ygragax was the first, though this is disputed.) After a while they got bored of planes where everything was the same--there weren't that many Underplanes yet, either--so several of them got together and created The World.
Typical of the gods, about halfway through they got to arguing about what it should be like, and after a few eons this culminated in their first attempt being blown apart by divine petulance. That knocked some sense into them, and so on the next go they drew up some guidelines, divvied up the continents, and let everyone work more or less unimpeded. Those still unhappy with the results were given chunks of the previous world to play with, forming them into the Twelve Moons.
The Age of MythEdit
According to myth (which as any bard can tell you, is always completely accurate), after the gods had formed the world, they created people to inhabit it and to worship them. (Because, let's face it, gods are not known for their small egos.) Under the nurture of the gods great civilizations rose and flourished, building massive empires whose works still dot the face of Whymsia.
The greatest of these was Anteon, an enlightened society of dwarves and gnomes working in harmony to harness the magics of the universe. Most of the world's Greater Macguffins are thought to come from Anteon, and as anyone familiar with them should know, the Anteons really should have expected what came next.
The details vary depending on the myth, but someone (mis)activated a Greater Macguffin in the heart of Anteon, and the next thing everyone knew, the world's greatest civilization got vaporized into a a massive thaumactive crater. The explosion destroyed most of Anteon itself and split its one continent into three (Kratos, Emberglow, and Sparron; the last was so rocked by magical backlash it almost completely sank into the ocean, leaving only former--and several brand new--mountain ranges jutting above the water). The magic-laden shockwave wreaked havoc across Whysmia, destroying at least eight other major civilizations in its wake. It was about that time the gods realized that maybe they shouldn't have given the mortals quite so much free reign on the world.
The Age of LegendEdit
According to legend (which, like myth, is also always true, but more recent), the gods decided they needed to keep a catastrophe like Anteon from happening again, and so they created Monsters. Dragons, orcs, minotaurs, undead, dire badgers...all were created to constantly challenge the mortal races and sap their energy so they couldn't put it into world-destroying artifacts. It is during this time that the first Dungeons appeared, spawning randomly to bring monsters into the most unlikely places. Since several of the gods felt a little bad about creating things specifically to terrorize their previous creations, they tried to make up for it by giving monsters Loot.
And thus the profession of Adventurer was born.
And thus began the downfall of the gods, for the mortal races were none too pleased that their deities had unleashed abominations upon them. And though many died at the hands of monsters, a lucky few did not, and the more they rebuffed and fought and annihilated monsters, the more skilled and powerful they grew.
The first adventurer to take on the gods was Karl the Brash, who got turned into a topiary for his trouble. Next was Seline Luckwarder, who was simply never seen again. So when Garav the Not-Yet-Godslayer showed up on the gods' front porch, they simply laughed. At which point he beheaded three of them, ascended to godhood himself, and became Garav, God of Epic-Level Characters.
Under Garav's guidance, other adventurers also made the slow climb to epicness. Though the attrition rate was rough, enough managed it that within a few centuries fully two-thirds of the original pantheon had been replaced--or simply eliminated--by newcomers. At this point the original gods sued for peace. After some intense negotiations, the Godpact was formed: the new gods promised not to actively encourage the destruction of the old gods, but in exchange all of them would take a bigger hand in helping out their creations. (This is the origin of most of the divine classes: clerics, paladins, etc.) And thus the world settled down into the equilibrium it's in today.
The Modern Age (The Age of Adventure)Edit
There have been no systematic deicides since the signing of the Godpact, though every once in a while some upstart adventurer will try and occasionally succeed. (Theologists consider this a good thing; nothing promotes good behavior from the gods like uncertain job security. Note that "good" behavior, for some gods, means granting their followers the power to raise legions of undead and terrorize the populace. The Godpact doesn't specify what type of help to provide, merely that they do.)
Most mortals have forgotten the Age of Legends, anyway, and no one's sure anymore which of the gods were first and which came later. Modern people are more concerned with monsters and other mortals. Evil oppresses Good, Good vanquishes Evil, heroes rise and fall, kingdoms and empires clash, monsters invade, loot is won...these are the cycles that drive the world, while the bards take great effort to put it into verse.
It is the Age of Adventure. What will the bards sing of you when all is said and done?
Anteon is not the only cataclysm caused by (mis)activation of a Macguffin. For details on some of the other spectacular ones, see the entry here.