The Æther Sea

So, I haven’t been RPGing in a while. Last game I played for any length of time was a Steamfitters playtest, and while I want to get back into that game again, I want to do something else for a while. I want to play around in a world which has been in my head for, oh, ages now, inspired in part by the old classic Spelljammer D&D setting, but made for Fate Core (as I played around with earlier). It’d be great to get a live game going, and I know a few local players who might be interested, but hell, even an online Google+ Hangout-equipped game would be keen, if there’s a smattering of interest.

The Æther Sea. It’s Firefly by way of Tolkien, built in Fate Core, which allows for no end of exciting big damn heroes moments. Or maybe it’s Star Trek, where interstellar politics is just another sort of firefight, and the Vulcans really are elves instead of just acting like it. Either way, it’s something I want to play with. Anyone else interested?

Oh, I wrote a bit of an introduction for it here, because I’m the sort of dude who likes introducing worlds in sweeping narratives.

Three hundred years ago, at the tail end of the Red Century, the general consensus was that the planet was too small for all the peoples on it. The great elven woods which once spanned from ocean to ocean had been penned in and chopped down to build and fuel thousands of huge human cities. The cities themselves were home to refugee elves, and soon dwarves who were forced to abandon their old tunnels, dying mines, and mad kings. And of course, the gnomes were ever underfoot.

With the forests dying, orcish hunting tribes grew ever more desperate, and raiding–always a problem–became an epidemic. Weak, cowardly goblins found unlikely allies in bulky, slow trolls, both weary of being subservient to the other species, and together forged an empire that rivaled the largest human kingdoms and dwarven clans, neither of whom appreciated the competition for dwindling resources. And of course, the gnomes were ever underfoot here, too.

The Red Century was so-called because it was a time of anger and bloodshed; humans stole land from each other and the elves, the dwarves would undermine and collapse constructions which they thought threatened their dominance, and elves would use their mastery of magic to lay siege to entire cities. No emperor was safe from goblin spies, no wall was immune to trollish attacks, and no traveler could breathe easy when orcish raiders were around every corner. Great empires were created and collapsed in less than a decade, and some cities changed hands more than a dozen times in a century. Ancient alliances were ground to dust in favor of pragmatic understandings… elf would turn on elf to side with orc and gnome and dwarf, all in exchange for a little space and a little safety, even though that safety would never last. The thrust of expansion pushed civilization into the coldest, darkest corners of the world, home to creatures, constructs, and dark enchantments best forgotten. And still, it wasn’t enough!

The æther hadn’t been a secret… it was common knowledge that the planet was surrounded by a great sea of luminiferous æther, the stuff of starlight. There were other suns and other planets, impossibly far and utterly unreachable. But desperation has a way of rendering the impossible inevitable, and in the search for resources, safety and elbow room it was the elves of the Silverleaf Preserve who developed the first æthership to take them free of the planet’s bounds. Once they had secured a new life in an untouched wilderness, they began leasing out ships at prices high enough to beggar all but the largest planetary governments. Almost overnight, a century of bloodshed gave way to a largely mutual decision to pick a direction and fly far, far away from one another into the far reaches of infinity, and the Red Century gave way to the Æther Age.

That was three hundred years ago. Now, humans are trying to put settlements on planets that elves have declared sacred, and dwarves are illicitly mining in restricted space, and orcish pirates lurk around every asteroid, and the goblins have allied with the trolls in a secret empire, expansion has pushed civilization into the darkest corners of the universe, home to creatures and creations best left undiscovered, and everywhere, everywhere, everywhere there are gnomes underfoot.

The general consensus is that the universe is too small for the peoples in it.


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