The messari have been my ‘big bad’ for decades. They’ve been the master manipulators that pull all the strings in my games.
The messari exist beyond time and space. They’re not really demons, because demons are still restricted to the same rules of basic physics (at least in my imagination- I can’t say about the real ones), whereas the messari aren’t. They are sort of an entire race of Kang the Conquerors mixed with Mind Flayers and Cylons- their realm (the Ethereal? Limbo?) is the common glue that binds together all times and places equally… no, that’s not right. It’s not really a glue- it’s more a subtle force that pervades all things- it’s the evil version of the force (and not just the dark side- more the ‘anti-force’).
Their power comes from fear- they serve a creature I’m calling the Devourer (for lack of a better term) who feeds on psychic energy. The more powerful and painful the energy, the bigger the meal. Simultaneously, the messari felt their power waning as the worlds became more settled- people were comfortable across time and space. A general feeling of security had pervaded all realms, and the messari were starting to feel the pinch. In fact, their realm itself was going to cease to exist. They were all going to die. Once mankind became completely free of all worries for his future- once a form of utopia existed in a sufficient number of realities- the ether ends, and the messari die. Just gone.
So, they can’t let that happen. They devise a plan. Or rather, a series of plans. They sow discontent among mortals. Jealousy of their goddess; rivalries with their neighboring worlds; fear of an alien invasion, and set the wheels in motion. Let everything fall apart. Chaos reigns. After the dust settles, all hope for a perfect world has been lost, replaced by suffering and hopelessness.
MMMMM. Now that’s good eating.
The messari bounce back to their home realm, and chill there. Whenever they feel mankind starting to get his druthers on and feel good, they just send a team to wreck havoc and let slip the dogs of war, and all is sunshine and buttercups for them (metaphorically- the messari hate both sunshine and buttercups with equal passion).
The messari become the ultimate bottom feeders. Psychological cockroaches.
But it’s been twenty years. The Children of the Reckoning are coming to adulthood. They are different than their forebears. You see, the Reckonings had a consequence that the messari did not expect; each of these cataclysms (the death of Yahalla, the implosion of the sun, the destruction of Meridian) released a pulse of energy that actually changed people- magically, genetically, spiritually, psychologically. They can become super-heroes, or wield great magic, or master psionic disciplines- in new and different ways than ever before. The messari don’t know why this is happening, and it’s definitely a side-effect they’re not happy with, and the whole thing could muss up their plans.
Frack it all. They just created heroes.