Skies of Fate
Orbis is a world of technological anachronisms, where soldiers use a mix of modern firearms and (very big) swords, mages and dragons coexist with mecha and combat robots, and all magic and technology is powered by ether, a mystical substance that takes both physical and noncorporeal forms.
Skyships are everywhere, and they are the main form of transportation over long distances. The world is littered with ruins and machines built by long-dead civilizations. These ruins, and stories of the Ancients, have inspired many religions, with the largest being a pseudo-Christian church that worships the Goddess of Ether herself.
The largest political power on the continent of Atlia is the ever-expanding Empire of the Arc. It hoards ancient technology and uses it to annex neighboring nations and cultures, constantly pushing its borders outwards as it swallows up ever more territory.
The story begins with our heroes, a band of friends and acquaintances, in a small village that has recently been swallowed up by the Empire of the Arc. Their lives have not changed too much, but events are conspiring, that will draw them into a resistance movement against imperial rule...
We are currently in a state of world-building, so this is a work in progress for notes and ideas.
The planet your adventures take place on is called Orbis and has two continents, known as Atlia (where your adventure begins) and Antar.
Most of the world is inhabited by humans, beastfolk and tekanoids, but there are other races who live among them.
Who are some of these other races?
- Perhaps seafolk (fish people) also exist?
- the lineage of the Ancients still exists, and not just in humans.
Although animals identical to earth like dogs, cats and horses exist, there also exist some stranger creatures, some of which could reasonably be called monsters.
What is a common creature used as a mount?
- giant Fennec Foxes would make awesome mounts. Big ears, big eyes, and they can make lots of great noises.
- giant insects as mounts? Riding on butterflies sounds pretty cool.
What are common creatures that pose a threat to explorers and travellers?
- insect derivative or amoebic lifeform could be common threats to sapient races.
- Giant parasitic wasps. These were originally created by the Empire as a weapon of war. This turned out to be bad idea, as they escaped and now attack people indiscriminately, seeking to paralyze them and implant their larva in the victim.
The world is littered with the ruins of a technologically advanced civilization.
They are colloquially known as the ancients, but what do scholars believe they called themselves?
- the Ancients may have called themselves the Seekers of Truth,
They are said to have had a philosophy that elevated one value over all others – what was it?
- their one philosophy above all is to compile all the knowledge there is, which is used to observe and generate more knowledge.
Their civilization was destroyed in an event known as the Cataclysm when the etheric winds became chaotic. The climate went out of control, the ancients went to war and things from the astral plane broke through into the material realm.
This event has had lasting effects on the landscape, even millennia later – what are some of them?
- Places where the boundary is weakest tend to be uninhabitable, as tears open up unexpectedly and either rip something out of this plane, or throws something unwelcome in.
- There are places where the influence of the astral continues to seep into or mingle with the material. These have given rise to legends of places holding great magical power, such as Avalon.
- What if Orbis and its blue moon both became tidally locked during the cataclysm? The moon does not rotate around Orbis anymore... it is fixed above the Great Sea. Even worse, the moon was actually drawn closer to Orbis during whatever events transpired, and their atmospheres actually touch. There is a constant, massive maelstrom in the center of the Great Sea. There are tales of sky-ships entering the maelstrom and actually traveling to the moon, but those are disregarded as old sky stories... made up to amuse friends and scare children went tucking them into bed. Though... there are also stories of ships leaving the maelstrom missing most of their crew... and the few surviving crew members don't remember anything about what happened. Or even who they are.
They left behind many ruins scattered across the world, which brave adventurers continue to scavenge for valuable loot even to this day.
What is one of the most valuable items you can find when looting the ruins?
- Though its scope its limited to a few minutes, a pair of prospectacles unerringly shows the projection of movement in the wearer's surroundings.
- The Philosopher's Stones were the crown jewels of the Ancients' civilization. Magical items of such power that many of their exact capabilities are unknown, simply because so much has been written about them. But they were originally created to keep the technological and arcane secrets the Ancients used to build their nations. The Stones, to some degree, have a will of their own. When they want to be found, they can take steps to ensure such a discovery. The bad is, even the discovery of a single crystal has been followed by great miracles and unimaginable disasters.
The Church of the Goddess
Although there are other religions, one is far more widespread than any other and wields significant political power.
They worship a goddess that they believe controls the ether. What is she called?
- Theria, after the substance that is believed to be her breath or blood.
What are some of the key tenants of their faith?
- Some of their core tenets include working and providing for your community, habitual praise for Her, and enlightening non-believers to Her grace.
- Heroism and strength of the heart can allow one to ascend to divinity themselves. With the goddess' blessing, of course. There's a reason knights of the church are known as Einherjar.
The church teaches that the goddess destroyed the ancient for their hubris.
What does the church say they did to draw her ire?
- Theria annihilated the Ancients when their thirst for knowledge crossed into the realm of the divine, which is not meant to be seen by mortal eyes. For their trespass, she summoned strong etheric winds to erase their knowledge, and discourage others from learning the inner workings of the world.
- The World Tree was connected to all living things on the planet and a vital part of Orbis's magical ecosystem. Killing it to make it into a city upset the balance of the world, and drew Theria's wrath. (some might argue that the Ether storms were a natural result of the massive shift in the magical ecosystem... but the church tries to stamp out such 'heresies)
Over the pasty fifty years the Empire of the Arc has steadily grown by annexing neighbouring countries and subjugating them to its rule. It’s legions and fleet of airships fight to conquer the world in the name of their emperor.
The emperor is very reclusive. What is a common rumour about him?
- that he is not human, but one of the beast folk that the Empire's ideology says are karmically inferior.
- That he does not ACTUALLY have a Philosopher's stone.
The empire derives its military might from the Arc, the last intact city of the Ancients that serves as its capital. This metropolis is self-contained and is a technological marvel.
What is said to be a notable feature of the city?
- How about... the Arc is built within the petrified remains of the World Tree. No leaves adorn the branches, but they serve as a massive series of docks and shipyards for Skyships from around the world. The interior of the tree is hollow, so shops and houses are built into the interior walls of this massive 'cavern', with walkways connected at odd angles. Wealthier areas are probably near the top... or maybe the outside of the trunk so they have a better view, and there are poor areas as well.
Above the fleet and the legions, the Empire has a force of elite soldiers that enforce its will.
What are they known as and do they have any notable skills or equipment?
- Imperial Marshals - A group of knights based on Wild West Marshals who serve the royal family. As far as the chain of command goes, they're pretty much Darth Vader
- The ArcKnights are one of the most elite orders of Knights in the Empire, and they pilot the Ancient's mecha (think Warstriders from Exalted) that were recovered from various ruins (or conquered kingdoms) over the years. The presence of a single ancient mecha on a battlefield can change the tide of battle. ArcKnights are said to be a special breed. Some believe they must have the blood of the ancients in order to pilot the mecha, others think that they must have massive internal reserves of Ether to be able to control the mecha. When out of their armor, they wield blades of pure, crystalline Ether.
- Maki Aki, the spear-wielding Horse Girl Adventurer, played by Muskrat.
- Matteus, the mace-wielding Priest of the Goddess, played by SirMoogle.
- Kieran Galvaynes, the greatsword wielding Tekanoid Captain, played by Llayne.
- Lionel Caffrey, the Imperial Cadet and martial artist, played by RdMarquis.
- Cyprian Belmont, the magic-wielding Summoner, played by Pandorym.
- Utah, the gunblade wielding Blademaster, played by Sabermane.
- Pads the gun-slinging Wolfman Survivalist, played by Aurebesh. (Wait List)
- The unknown polearm wielding Dragoon, played by mpascal02. (Wait List)
- A mystery character played by naturegirl1999. (Wait List)
Non Player Characters
Empire of the Arc
- The Emperor
The ??? Kingdom
- Riku, Tekanoid and Kieran's little brother.
- Gurdaan, Kieran's Quartermaster.
- Vetta, Kieran's Engineer.
A world inspired by JRPG's like Final Fantasy, Xenoblade, Wild Arms, LUnar, and a little bit of Legend of Zelda.
Anime is also an influence, including The Vision of Escaflowne, Howl's Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky, Princess Connect Re: Dive, and especially Nausicaa of the Valley of the Winds