DEMI – LORE
No one knows when the gods of the Grand Pantheons first revealed themselves to man, but it must have happened in the time before history or the time even before that, when across the world the gods showed themselves to Man and taught him how to be something more than a mere animal. What is known from the arachnological record, however, is that it was the Egyptian Pantheon that first established a great stronghold on earth in the land of Kemet. For a thousand years the gods of Kemet and the sun-drenched men who served them grew in power to become the most sophisticated civilization in the arts of Science and of Building and of War. Perhaps it seemed then to both gods and pharaohs that they were destined to rule above and below for all eternity. But unbeknownst to them, the gods of the Greek Pantheon were full of cleverness and guile, they were beginning to teach their secret arts in the dark sanctuaries and sacred groves of Hellas. And so, in time the power of Hellas grew at length to rival the power of Kemet and again war erupted among the Grand Pantheons and among the nations of the earth. The priests and magi of the Egyptians called forth ghouls and monsters from the netherworld while the oracles and sages of Hellas summoned wondrous beasts and the sons of gods to wage battle on the land of Kemet, As they forged the age in terror and glory, both sides strove for supremacy, yet the fortune of gods and men was far more subtle than any could then see.
From the far cold fortresses of the frozen lands to which they had been exiled since the first celestial ages, the gods of the Norse Pantheon watched as the Greeks gained the upper hand over the Egyptians and drove their gods from the temples and high places of Kemet. The Norse saw too the wearying toll that the struggle had taken on Zeus, his family and the whole of Hellas. The power of Zeus, though formidably great, could not hold out forever, and the Norse gods were accustomed to the bitter torment of waiting through the endless winter; they were bitter but abiding in their patience for the proper moment to begin their machinations among men.
It seemed harmless at first, and so the gods of the Greek Pantheon had paid no heed. For what trouble could a few simple runes cause? They looked to be hardly more than wild chicken scratches in comparison to the penetrating light of Apollo or the unfathomable wisdom of Athena. And yet, through these runes, Odin began to impart the Great Wisdom, which he had acquired with enormous sacrifice, to the Men of the North, who grew stronger with each day. Just as the Greeks had been weakened by their victory, the Northmen had been strengthened by their hardship, and before long they had taken their swords and axes and spilled blood from the savage lands of the Far West and all the way to the eastern Kingdom of Rus so that they might do honor to their gods.
But even the blood-rich power of the Norse gods was doomed to fade at the close of of that age, for this is the nature of the world. Little is known what happened when the gods withdraw from the earth in the twilight between the ages. Perhaps they rest and dream. Perhaps they seethe and plot. Whatever their wont, not one god among Grand Pantheons could have foreseen what awaited them at the outset of the strange age that was to come. They returned to find themselves in a world in which children were taught to view the gods as myths, as historical curiosities, as mere trivia. There were only a scattered handful of men who still held them in honor, yet even these few had lost the old ways and proper worship. Not one of the sacred rites had survived intact and without the rites, neither gods nor men could properly wield their power. Every passing day left the Pantheons further from the energy that sustained their being on this plane. It seemed that this age was to be the last for all the elder gods who had once lifted man from the utter darkness in which he had dwelt in the most ancient days.
When they realized this, each Pantheon imbued a set of cards with the divine power that remained from the memory of their sacred rites. These artifacts had the power to summon all manner of beasts and monsters, even the gods themselves depending on their inscriptions. Then each Pantheon selected from its number an emissary to bestow these cards upon its faithful worshipers and to teach the hallowed secrets of their use. As these arcane cards spread across the earth, so would the power of the gods grow in proportion.
What you have before you is just such a set of cards. Devotion and skill are needed to deploy them to the greatest advantage for your gods. The Greek, the Norse, the Egyptian gods, all have known the honeyed taste of victory and all have tasted the bitter nettle of defeat. Now you must do all that you can for your gods. You must use every kind of cunning and ruse. You must give everything of yourself so that once more your gods may have divine rule over the age!