Today, I’ll be continuing to wander through the Aethera campaign setting book, this time on the section about the cosmology of the setting. If you appreciate the reviews, please consider dropping by my Patreon to help me afford to pick books up for review. If you appreciate my blog in general, please also consider dropping by. Even a buck a month is appreciated.
Interestingly enough, unlike most campaign settings, the Aethera system seems to mean both the literal physical cosmology of the system itself as well as the planar structure of the system. Even more interestingly, only a few transitive planes, the Inner Planes, ad the Energy Planes are accessible; the familiar setup of the Astral and Outer Planes simply doesn’t existed, described as a ‘severance from the Astral Plane’ in the system. This certainly explains a lack of warpriests, and I suppose that it might explain clerics being missing as well, given that the Outer Planes are often the Planes of Thought; in a model like that the block of divine power seems reasonable.
The different worlds of the Aethera system are all elementally attuned; in practice they slowly shift their alignment over exceedingly long periods of time, although during the Collapse the elemental shifts happened incredibly quickly. Aether, fire, water, air, wood, and earth have attuned bodies; the asteroid belt of Amrita has no associated elemental force, and the the Gulf of interplanetary space isn’t someplace you’re likely to want to draw power from.
Interestingly, the Progenitors seem to be likely to be responsible for the Collapse; they created a technology that pinned the elemental alignment of the planets in place and used the resulting tension to power their civilization. When this (inevitably) failed, the backlash is what caused the violent planar shift. The former sun collapsed into an aether-aligned white dwarf, the previously air-aligned gas giant ignited into a new sun as it became attuned to fire, the oceanic world of humans became a scorched earth-aligned desert world, and so on. History before the Collapse is lost, and even entities on the planes who should have knowledge of the time before are clueless; the backlash was powerful enough to leave temporal storms in the Evermorn, and the plane of Shadow is just as deastated by the effects of the Collapse as the Prime.
So, for reference, from the heart of the system out we have:
- Aethera, the former sun of the system that is now an aether-aligned white dwarf.
- Ashra, once an air-aligned gas giant that has become a fire-aligned Main Sequence yellow star.
- Akasaat, once water-aligned, now a harsh desert world.
- Kir-Sharaat, formerly a fire-aligned desert world, now wood-aligned and home to vast forests and the heartwood trees of the erahthi.
- The Amrita Asteroid Belt, which is pretty much all that’s left of the probablt home of the Progenitors; no elemental attunement these days, but it was once earth-aligned.
- Seraos, the air-aligned gas giant that also coalesced when Amrita was torn apart in the Collapse.
- Orbis Aurea, which has remnants suggesting it was previously wood-aligned, now frozen over and aligned with water.
All of those elemental shifts happened about 4000 years ago; of the playable races, only humans existed at the time. They’re the only ones who have any vague hints of the time before the Collapse, and even that’s largely lost to the catastrophe of their aquatic homeworld turning into an earthen desert planet. It’s worth noting that the book expressly says that when the Collapse happened, the elemental shifts happened in the course of a single night; presumably this is from the reference of humanity, which has written most of the history/propaganda.
This is all before we even get into the historical record the book’s authors give us; I’ll get into that once I actually get a chance to delve into it and glean the best tidbits to tantalize all of you with.
Until next time!