Today I’ll be heading to the outermost planet of the Aethera system, the icy water-aligned world of Orbis Aurea. Home to okanta and giant, as well as immigrant humans, infused, and Paragons, this chill world is as strange as any other in the system, and unique in a few ways. So let’s get started, shall we?
Understandably, most of the planet is uninhabited, having only become accessible during the Century War via the actions of the Paragons. The planet itself has an atmospheric energy shield, referred to as the Nethersphere, visible in the web of shimmering auroras wrapped around the world; this barrier wreaks havoc on aetheric technology, and is responsible for the crash-landings that brought humanity to the icy planet.
The only real point of passage is the Catena space elevator, created by the Paragons after their fleet crashed on the planet during the Century War; without it, Orbis Aurea would still by a mysterious and inaccessible world unknown to the wider system. As the Paragons are the chief force on the world, and their interest in advancing the goals of the Hierarchy that created them is minimal, this world is a reasonable choice to flee to for those who don’t want to risk death among the rocks of Amrita.
Interestingly, the planet’s moon causes strong enough tidal effects that the world experiences lunar seasons in addition to solar ones; when lunar and solar winter coincide, the effects are intense and unforgiving, while the summers are perhaps the most pleasant the chill world can ever be.
Two continents are accessible, one home to the world’s only desert and the other blessed with deep valleys that sustain farming during the lunar summers. A third continent is a no-fly zone, home to the insectile azaka, who happily assault any craft trying to access the continent’s interior. Other continents exist, mostly difficult to tell apart beneath the ice; only one bears mentioning, the southernmost, where ghost-haunted cities from before the Collapse are preserved in eternal ice and haunted by time-maddened undead.
So why come to this icy world? Perhaps the entire party is made up of the native okanta, roving the surface of their homeworld and trying to keep the interloping humans from causing too much trouble with the spirits. Perhaps they’re explorers looking for lost Progenitor ruins preserved in the ice, or for deposits of mineral wealth or aetherite that they can exploit for their own gains. Perhaps they’re scouts for the Paragons, mapping out the terrain and looking for good sites to set up new research and development facilities. Perhaps they’re Hierarchy agents (or saboteurs) looking for places to exploit for the benefit (or detriment) of the Hierarchy. Perhaps they’re just adventurers looking for a challenge and fighting through giants and azaka appeals to them.
Next time, we’ll talk about the history of the world, as far as it matters to those who presently live there.