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Today, we’ll be exploring the locations of the Amrita Asteroid Belt from the Aethera Campaign Setting; while this is a more limited space than usual, due to the need of aetherships to remain within reach of the Seratos Gate Hub, there’s still plenty to explore. So strap into an environmental suit and let’s go take a look at what the dark holds, shall we?
First up, the ramshackle quasi-station known as Ballast Center; it’s the kind of place that exists solely because some inventive people worked together to make it. It’s a station built around a core of derelict aetherships, their drives repaired enough to help maintain atmosphere and held together by salvage. It costs a bit to dock at, but it’s also the heart of the salvage operations in the Belt and run by a no-nonsense ranger who has no tolerance for wanton violence and piracy. It’s about as true-to-life of an Old West town as you can get, and certainly a good spot for the more chaotic adventuring parties to get by at.
The Bastion of Unity is a good one for those looking for a Dead Space style of game location – originally a colony of infused who deserted the Hierarchy’s war machine, it was built around their scuttled aethership and the ruined hulk of the last erahthi ship they’d fought. The colony went dark after their leader self-immolated, and resettlement attempts have resulted in the would-be settlers going missing as well. Visitors – keeping their time on the colony rock brief – have reported pits of corpses and erahthi symbionts slithering in them.
Want to throw a surprise wrench at people? The Ethereal Temple is a site with a functional holographic orrey, depicting the Aethera system as it was before the Collapse; the people who dwell in it venerate the Progenitors themselves as divine, rather than the Score. Unknown to the faithful, an ancient war machine is slowly restoring itself now that power has been restored to the ancient ruin, and it’s only a matter of time before it goes off.
For those going for organic horror, there’s the Heart of Many – an asteroid home to a mass of amoeboid lifeforms that can horrifically mutate those they come into contact with, which is slowly growing over time as it collects mass from the ruined planet. It seems rather like a good spot to toss chaos beasts and their ilk at players,skinning them as amoeboid sci-fi monstrosities. The Heart, of course, has a secret of its own for GMs who want to use it.
Sol’s Landfill is best described as a spacefaring version of the Island of Misfit Toys. A curious property of the discarded materials and aetheric currents cause items left here for long enough to awaken to sapience. Most still play inert around living creatures, although some will try to murder trespassers to claim their items as future inhabitants.
There’s a rare asteroid the generates a livable enironment, thanks in large part to a Progenitor artifact that continually generates an atmosphere. Blanketed by strange plants that can be processed into a drug that increases strength at the cost of one’s mind, it’s home to bloodthirsty marauders who may well be that way due to the plants. It’s also home to a trio of psychopomps who collect the souls of those who die fighting on the asteroid, who dwell on a part of the asteroid that overlaps with the Ethereal plane; their motives are unknown, although they may well just be trying to stave off the decay that afflicts the rest of their kind in the Aethera system – or they may be trying to forge a new Astral link, to re-establish the passage of souls to the outer planes.
Galaxy IX is a Vox Rider pirate broadcast station – much to the alarm of the Hierarchy and their subservient colonies, the retrofitted battlecruiser is perhaps the most impressive base of operations for any Vox Rider. While presently somewhat damaged, it remains a formidable force against the fascist rule of the Hierarchy, and adventurers looking to fight for freedom from their grasp would do well to make allies of the ship/station’s crew.
That’s it for today – next time we’ll pick up with the closest thing Amrita has to a metropolis, the hive of scum and villainy known as Complex Four!