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Archether Index

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The Archæther is a world of ocean and endless islands. The small size and proximity of most of these islands makes it is possible to see the neighboring islands with the naked eye. The majority of islands have a tropical climate, some with forests and others with volcanic activity, but those to the north and the south are covered in ice and difficult to reach. One myth that persists throughout the world is that the Archæther used to be a whole continent with one community and one language before that continent fragmented and drifted apart into its current state. Some claim that the islands are still moving further and further away from each other; others say that the islands will eventually become one continent again at the end of time.

Each minor island of the Archæther, with the diversity of climates and locations, is home to semi-isolated community, usually but not always of a single race. As a result, there are many unique cultures with their own languages and religions. Some kinds of goods are unique or more plentiful on some islands, making trade and war profitable between islands. The common language is mostly used for the purposes of trading with other islands. Most cultures are highly polytheistic, paying respect to various entities over their respective domains. More developed cultures on the larger islands are often under the authority of Clerics and Paladins; less developed cultures on the smaller islands are usually headed by Druids and Shaman. Some of these cultures view it as their sacred duty to openly or covertly subjugate other groups of people with the hopes of conversion and control. Both types of communities tend to look down on arcane magic but those who walk with nature or the gods are esteemed. Consequently, schools of arcane magic are secretive and difficult to find. If your character is a Wizard, then you will need to explain who taught them (more likely to be an individual than a group). Those that claim they receive their powers from bargains with otherworldly entities are regarded with suspicion and fear. Natural disasters and misfortune, especially illness and disappearances, are sometimes blamed on arcane spellcasters.

The largest and most central landmass of the Archæther is a verdant, lush continent known as the Æther’s Emerald with many ports and cities on its shores. Of these, Etumidus is the most populous and is renowned for its trade, shrewd merchants, and busy ports. Tradesmen and scholars alike consider Etumidus the hub of the civilized world and many companies have their base of operations in Etumidus but it also has a reputation for its thieves and conspiracies. Apart from the ports and settlements on the outskirts of the Emerald, though, much of the continent is forested, uninhabited and uncharted. People who have tried to establish villages too far inland have disappeared overnight without any indication of their fate and explorers only return without their minds intact. The secrets of the Archæther lie not only scattered throughout its seas, but therefore also in the heart of the Emerald.

You are a native of one of the many islands of the Archæther and you are abroad a ship sailing towards the Emerald, specifically the ports of Etumidus. What was your home island like, and how did growing up there make you different from others? (Feel free to describe your home island and culture in as much detail as you want because you might return there). Why did you choose to leave and take up the life of an adventurer? Is there something that you seek in Etumidus – a trade contract, information, or an organization – or are you intrigued by the mysteries or treasures that might lie in the forests of the Emerald?