Concept: Heroic. Steampunk. Fantasy. A heavily Bioware-influenced, action-packed story of all-out war, political intrigue, and tough moral choices that will ripple through the world, in an Eberron-like setting with some of the wilder elements toned down to make it slightly more gritty. Though it is an open world and players are certainly free to fly way off the railroad tracks, you'll not be wandering around without at least one really urgent hook that needs tending to.
The Setting: Imagine an entire world floating on the winds of change, a world in perpetual transition, barely recognizable today from what it may have been just a century ago. A world locked in a cycle of destruction and re-creation, its lands blessed with eternal rejuvenation, its inhabitants cursed with a never-ending struggle for survival. This is Eversky.
Eversky is your traditional floating sky island world, filled with high-flying swashbuckling adventure, a healthy dose of magic, and a touch of steampunk. Though it borrows many conventions from a number of published WotC settings, it is also a more down-to-earth setting in that players will likely be limited to fewer "weird" races. Geographically and celestially, however, Eversky comes with a couple of key twists that set it apart from the traditional DnD 4e world. The map below gives a rough sketch of how the world is organized. Note that many areas are not named. While half of this is due to laziness/time constraints, I like to think that part of the appeal of Eversky is that, due to the modular nature of sky islands, it allows me to insert new areas either when I come up with them, so that there are still parts of the world that feel like they are uncharted. Just as well, there are some sky islands that heroes have not had the time or opportunity to explore.
The first thing you’ll likely notice about the world map is that there’s only one side of it. This is because one hemisphere of the world, the entire back side of the world not shown in the map, is covered in a thick mist which makes for extremely dangerous travel. The Great Mist represents a daunting frontier beyond which few dare to travel, and from which even fewer return. It is said that beyond the Great Mist lies the Elemental Chaos, a churning tempest of clashing elements – fire and lightning, earth and water, whirlwinds and living thunder. In this crucible are formed the proto-islands which will drift into the world we know. Enormous masses of rock, imbued with the ethereal essence that lift them upwards, and later populated by plants and wildlife before passing through the Mist into the fore of the world.
Opposite of this volcanic continental forge, the fiery wellspring of all creation, exists its equally powerful antithetical force. The Maelstrom (represented by the gigantic whirlpool in the center of our side of the map) is the ever-swirling storm of shadow, chaos, and ruined island fragments, whose attractive force is the focal point of the world. Like a black hole on the surface of Eversky, the Maelstrom draws all physical matter, including the sky islands upon which living beings make their home, towards its deadly center, and down into the crater known as the Abyss. It is the bane of civilizations, creating a constant struggle for continuity among the cultures of Eversky, forcing all to seek new territories nearly every three generations, and challenging notions of immortality and empirical supremacy. With every passing day, every piece of inhabitable land draws closer to its own destruction, and cursed are those left behind without a mode of migration.
Different religions have widely varying interpretations of the Abyss, and its meaning for living creatures. The disciples of The Adamant Tribunal believe that the Abyss was a celestial judgment imposed upon mankind for original sin, and that only by cleansing ourselves through just behavior can we hope to atone for it. Other cultures, such as the elven followers of Sylvanus the Oakfather, embrace the idea that the world is in constant renewal, looking at the upside – admiring that the world in constant reformation is always abundant with resources and that no amount of civilization can ever overshadow nature, or taking comfort in the fact that even the harshest tyranny cannot last forever.
Some say that the Abyss was not always a dark and horrific place, but rather, it has been tainted by all of the suffering that has resulted from mankind’s failure to deal with it appropriately. Every family that was stranded on an island that sunk into the Abyss because they were too poor to pay for passage to the next island, was a failure of society to take care of its own. The sorrow of every victim of murder-by-neglect, purposely abandoned as human refuse on sinking islands during times of “ethnic cleansing”, and the cruelty of those responsible for their suffering, are further reflected in the dark fury of the Maelstrom. Every slave ship that emerges from the rim of the Abyss with a hold laden with desperate passengers (willing or reluctant) to sacrifice anything for mere survival, causes the further darkening of this area of the world. That very darkness feeds the Maelstrom and makes it stronger, such that those who spend too much time under its shadow, particularly the weak-willed or the greedy who come to plunder abandoned ruins for profit, are themselves affected. And so, darkness begets darkness.
The Plot: We join Eversky at one of the most decisive moments in history. The clouds are red from the spill of blood, as war spreads wider. The ever-expanding
|The islands outlined in Red are currently under their control, with its capital city located on Anchord. Tymordia has an aesthetic resembling the High Elves of Warhammer or Blood Elves of WoW. Think bright reds and golds and marble towers, not woodsy enclaves|
Today, however, grim news has reached the Royal Council of Illan. Though severely weakened, the Tymordian advance has endured the brunt of the Alliance's full-scale attack. Though the humans are accomplished shipbuilders, not even a Breckan Galleon can stand up to the arcane-fueled destroyers of the Eladrin aermada. Even worse, King Belorem has gone missing, perhaps captured, perhaps killed. The last line of defense has been broken, and the colossal stone doors of Vanir have been shut as the Dwarves retreat underground. In approximately one month's travel time, Tymordian ships will dominate the skies of Illan and Breckenan. And no one is left to stop them.
Only one man on the
|made up of 4 advisers appointed by the King, and 4 "Tribunes" elected to act as a "voice of the common people" by the plebians of the Tribune's respective district.|
So it is that one team of desperate heroes, a handful of people with nothing (or everything) to lose, united by their thirst for vengeance against the Tymordian Empire, will receive the full backing of the Boreal Consortium in a suicide mission that could decide the fate the Free Skies. But finding, infiltrating, and reactivating the abandoned Warforge of Arcturia will require going deeper into the Maelstrom than any ship has ever survived to tell about. Even if your party can survive the the pirates and slavers that will cross your path, the roaming bands of crazed, bloodthirsty Shadar-Kai that call the Maelstrom their home, and the unspeakable necrotic horrors that haunt the rim of the Abyss, it is worth remembering that the Warforge must have been abandoned for a reason. There are only an estimated hundred or so living Warforged in existence, after all.
Can you reach the Warforge in time before its island has sunk too far into the Abyss to make it out? Even if you do make it out alive with the Mind Crystal that once powered the ill-fated construct, will it be enough to stop the Tymordian aermada? And can you trust the Boreal Consortium to hold up their end of the bargain? Do you have a choice?
A few more details:
- Given that I've still got quite a bit of work to do to get the lore of this setting online, it may be a few weeks before I'm ready to really start looking at applications. I'll have to figure out just how much time I can devote to the project, based on my school and work schedule. Hence, this is more an interest check than a full game ad.
- I'm picturing a starting level of 5, with free Versatile Expertise. Although I encourage you to wait until the full game ad has been posted before starting to make characters, so that you can actually incorporate the world lore into your applications.
- You may reflavor any Bow or Crossbow as a Firearm by adding the High Crit and Misfire properties. Misfire deals 1[W] to the user on a natural 1.
- Rather than deal with a specific "Piloting" skill, airship combats will be run more like holistic skill challenges, with prompts for characters to contribute bonuses to each other's actions (a high Int character can draft a firing solution for a high Dex character to use to aim a cannon, for example.) Traits useful for helmsmen will be Reflex defense, Bluff, and Nature. First mates and lookouts will want Insight, Perception, and History, to reflect a knowledge of aerial tactics and maneuvers. Gunners will want Athletics or Thievery depending on whether they want to fire larger guns, or smaller, more precise ones. They will also want Nature to judge how wind and weather factor into their shots.
- The following races will not likely be eligible for players: Deva, Gith-Zerai, Shardmind, Wilden, Genasi, Changelings, and Shifters. You also don't want to play a Shadar-Kai. They're not the morbid emo guys you see in the books. They're way too far gone to be players, and you should say their name with the same trepidation as "Reavers" from Firefly.
- If I've played with you before, and you're seeing shades of familiar characters, it's because my creativity has some limits, and I'm quite fond of a "stock" cast of characters that I enjoy seeing in different variations. Hopefully there's no site rules about self-plagiarism. I'm going less for originality and more sheer entertainment.
The setting information in the Game Forums are now officially more accurate than they are inaccurate. I'm about 80% ready to publish the forreals ad, but until then, the information threads should be helpful to those of you who can't help but brainstorm characters prematurely.