Aethera Campaign Setting: Atheer-Ohn

Today, we’ll be visiting a fleshed-out location for Seraos – Atheer-Ohn, an erahthi research station which has some dark secrets woven into it. It was founded when the erahthi saw the humans of Akasaat fielding the Infused, and some among them decided that they only way to see victory was fighting fire with fire – or aetheric infusion with aetheric infusion, in this case.

Thyr-Al, an erahthi who lived through the early fighting of the Century War and developed a burning hatred of humanity, saw the founding of Atheer-Ohn after they worked their way up the chain of command following the waking of the Tritarch of War. Even the Tritarch hesitated at Thyr-Al’s proposal, decreeing ultimately that the research must not be conducted where it could bring harm to their world or become general knowledge to the erahthi people.

Atheer-Ohn is a shepherd moon for the innermost ring of Seraos, a clandestine location which was supposedly never built, everyone on the expedition supposedly lost to a radiation storm welling up from Seraos. The members of the expedition were hailed as lost scientific heroes and forgotten by the erahthi as the war went on. When the war ended, the base was ordered shut down – but Thyr-Al felt this to be a mistake, and so now the base is functionally independent.

Only Thyr-Al and their innermost circle of advisors know that the Century War is over; the rest of the moon’s inhabitants believe it continues, and continue their research with the purpose of exterminating humanity. As the ascalar’s word is law on the base, and the punishments for disobedience and disloyalty during a wartime footing are rather severe, the situation persists.

Research in the base is in the familiar vein of biological research that the erahthi do so well, twisted to a ghoulish end. They’ve developed a weaponized plague in the form of sporites – aetherite-infused spores that rapidly grow vine-like masses from a victim, studded with spore cases. It spreads by contact while the victim remains alive, and causes them to explode in a spore burst on death. It’s virulent enough to need to be delivered by specially-designed drone aethercraft.

The surface of the moon is effectively weaponized, many craters turned into pressurized cannons connected to the same system that keeps the base supplied with air, and the moon is protected by a psychic network that scans steadily for minds in the vicinity of the moon, with scrying capabilities to let them seek out minds that are detected. If need be, the network can launch sporite delivery drones, remotely controlled by the same minds that run the scrying network, to take down intruding craft in a horrific fashion.

Aetherwarped creatures are common in the base due to the experiments, and many of the base personnel are fitted with symbiotes that replicate the effects of a clone spell – although being cloned too many times can result in mental instability, something the ascalar sees as useful in the short term. They know it may eventually become a liability, but don’t calculate the odds as being a problem before they achieve their goals.

The best use of the moon, of course, is either having PCs be sent to infiltrate it to find out what the erahthi are doing and scuttle it if need be, possibly with the help of the rebellious prisoners being used as experimental fodder, or by having the PCs start off as prisoners and need to break out without being corrupted by the experiments or killed by the staff. Alternately, a revolt inside could send PCs into the aftermath, a crawling chaos of corrupt erahthi biomass, aetheric energy, and unstable, hostile survivors worthy of a game of Eclipse Phase.

All in all, the moon is a simple but effective location, a dungeon of mad science waiting to be explored.

Next time, we’ll be moving on to the outermost planet in the system, Orbis Aurea. See you then!

Aethera Campaign Setting: Atheer-Ohn

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