Monday, April 28, 2014

Father/Daughter Worldbuilding - Aether's Light - Session 2


I was worried that I wouldn't be able to hold on to Carrie's attention, that this project would be a fleeting excursion, but it looks like we're both fully committed to developing the worlds of Aether's Light.  When I write a setting on my own I try to immerse myself in works of inspiration, so Carrie and I have spent the last few days watching videos, playing games, listening to music, and looking at pictures.  When I was in my early 20's I loved downloading tribute videos for Final Fantasy games, especially Final Fantasy VII and VIII.  It's a bit of a dirty secret that I still enjoy watching these on YouTube (here's one of my favorites), and I made sure to show Carrie a few that could take place in our campaign setting.  We spent Saturday evening playing Final Fantasy X in my son's room, with Carrie writing down ideas for the character races/species while my son and I swapped the controller back and forth during the game.  I downloaded dozens of pictures off of Google Images, to capture the proper mood of the setting and give us sample landscapes and backdrops (again, another of my favorites.)  After this is posted I plan on setting up a proper playlist on iTunes, which I intend on sharing.

The Story so Far...

Our initial theme was "Magic Space Marauders", and while we didn't want to stray too far from this, it's awesome how much has poured out of our nerdy minds while brainstorming options and ideas.  In the Aether's Light Campaign Setting there is a single ringed planet called "Aether" that has five habitable moons:  Agreon, Roto, Saroosh, Bolera, and Lune.  Thousands of years ago a massive human starship came into the Aether System via an anomalous portal that appeared high above the ringed world and subsequently crashed landed on Agreon.  The humans had been prepared to set up a colony, although they may not have expected to have to do so on this particular world, but they made the best of the situation.  Over several hundred years two distinct civilizations formed on Agreon:  Goetha and Zaenaan.  Eventually the humans made contact with the other intelligent life throughout the Aether system and even set out to colonize the moon nearest Aether, a small luminous world that was named "Lune".  Eventually the Lunarians (as they would call themselves) would create their own distinct culture from the Agreoni, and given their close position to Aether (the world radiates magic somehow), Lune became the jewel of all the moons.  

About one-hundred years ago another anomalous gate, similar to the one that allowed the humans to enter the system in the first place, opened very close to the world of Lune.  A gargantuan form entered the system, an unexplained astral body of intense energy and insanely powerful gravitational properties for it's size.  The "Husk" as it came to be known, was not a dead rock but it also was not necessarily alive.  As it occupied the same orbit as Lune, it won it's tug of war with the small moon and flung it into a high elliptical orbit far away from Aether… along with all of it's inhabitants.  

Now the nations of Goetha and Zaenaan compete with each other to continue their colonization of the remaining three moons while mining the Husk for a substance called the "Marrow", and raiding the Shardborn of the rings for "Aetherite."  The Lunarians were thought to be long dead, flung to the farthest reaches of space.  But the Lunarians have returned… 

The Species' of the Aether System

Carrie and I have spent much of our time since Saturday working on ideas for the species of the Aether System.  Originally we had seven but have since placed the "Construct" and "Magic" races on hold as we develop what we have.  I did some rough sketches for all of these and because I'm really not a very good artist please don't expect these images to be anything more than "rough" in the future!  Although we haven't played with the game mechanics yet, we'd like to have each species feel very "distinct" and so we are toying with the idea of using a racial ability base of +3 or +4 rather than the standard +2 in Savage Worlds.  

We started with the Humans, and decided that there should be further specialization between humans that were born on Agreon (the Agreoni, from either Goetha or Zaenaan) or those born on Lune (Lunarians).  Carrie wanted an "elf-type" race of humans, and I asked her if she though that was an easy way out, to which she said "no."  This was discussed at a very high level meeting in the Sheetz parking lot.  So the plan right now is to have the Lunarians have more of an elvish look to them, perhaps pointed ears and green, blue, or pink hair.  

Our other developed race right now is what we started off calling the "Cutey" species for my middle daughter Evie.  The Inkami (Carrie's choice of names, to which I was very excited to hear), are small furry creatures that look like a mix between an Ewok, Gizmo, and Yoda.  Personally when she described them I was thinking about Emps from Ultima 7.  These creatures live on the jungle/island moon of Roto, where there are giant monsters all about, and just about everything is big enough to make a poor Inkami a dinner.  

Some images from Carrie's game development diary, on the left is a "Sky Serpent" that hunts in the skies above Roto as it hangs from a huge tree.  Some pictures of the possible Husk to the right.

Less developed at this point we have the Grelth, or as the humans call them "Growlers", a canine species that lives on the wild moon of Bolera.  The Ajordo are a species of hulking brutes that live in the haunted ruins of Saroosh.  Naming the Ajordo was kind of fun.  We wanted them to be a servitor race of a long dead extraterrestrial civilization, left stranded amongst the rubble to make due on their own.  One of the synonyms to servant was "Majordomo" and we just took some of the letters out of the middle.  Both of my daughters thought the word "Majordomo" was hysterical!  We still have one alien race left to describe: the four armed amphibian merchants that have come from either another planet in the star system or perhaps another star system altogether.  

At least we have a good sketch now of the Aether System and some of our points on the "tourist's guide!"  

I also pulled out some of my older game maps that I drew for D&D campaign settings (but didn't get a chance to use) and Carrie picked one for our map of Agreon.

Next Steps

We have a basic idea of how we want magic to work in this game.  We'd like magic to be generated by substances, either Aetherite from the planet's rings or the Marrow from the Husk.  Obviously the Aetherite will be more of a "White Magic" while the Marrow will energize a much more harsh magic but at great cost (for now we are calling it "Corruption.")  We haven't figured all of that out yet, but hope to do so soon.  We also plan on stat'ing the arcane backgrounds as well as the species'.  

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Carrie's Corner

My favorite thing so far about doing this is that no matter how sick I am, I always have fun. (BTW, I have strep…) I am definitely looking forward to working on this more. If I were a player, I would probably want to be the Inkami, just because they look like fluffy Yodas. I can't wait to do this again!!!

Here is a picture of the Inkami house (Dad drew some extra things like the Inkami and some other details.)    :D


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading, I'm glad you enjoyed it! I'm always open to feedback too, or additional campaign ideas!

  2. Being a single old bloke, it's great to see people creating and playing these games with their children.

  3. My daughter was older when we started playing, and I ran her through an old world I had used in a long-running campaign--but I too started having her co-create with me. Reading this made we sorry I had not started earlier with her.

  4. This is really cool Jim! Glad you two are having fun!

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