“It began with the Cubs winning the World Series, and it went downhill from there. The world we knew collapsed under its own weight in the manner of years, vanishing into memory, and then not even that. A dark time befell this world, with warlords and tyrants ruling over the people, until a bright light appeared in the East, heralded by the Princesses driven them all away.
It is 300 years since the old world fell, and the world stands upon the beginning of a new renaissance. A coalition of bright kingdoms now explore the world around them, searching lost civilizations and rediscovering inventions to progress civilization. But evil and chaos are still present, and they lie in wait for an opportunity to reclaim their power. Heroes are called, and adventurers present themselves, as they begin the Age of Rediscovery.”
Now that I got what I hope is the most sensitive part about creating this world out of the way, I can move on to the better parts. I have some parts to work in now, but there’s going to be I need a sequential order in how to do it.
The next part of course is setting up a pantheon, but it’s currently incomplete. I’d like it to have an combination of several historical belief systems, classical fantasy settings with more traditional deities, some of my own unique spins on a couple belief systems, some deity-less religions, and any other cool stuff I can toss in. You’ve seen what I did with Jesus Christ—yes, he is Yeshu in the setting—and there may need to have Correlon, Moradin, and the many Dragon deities. (Note: There will be no demons or devils, but there will be beacoup dragons running amuck, some good, some bad.) Buddhism and Shintoism will be in play, with some Hindu, Norse, Aztec, Mayan, and North American beliefs tossed in for good measure. And then we deal with the Furry Race deities. That outta be fun.
Oh, and before you ask, there will be Cthulhu.
That presents the still-to-be-set thought in my head, and the best way for me to sort them out is to go through a global overview, where I break down each area on the planet and describe what happened to the region, some of the countries, and how they changed when the world turned from the modern world to Æthercoil.
But, before I can do that, I need to address something that definitely needs changing in my setting: Alignment.
Exit: Traditional D&D
Enter: Magic: The Gathering
I want to steer away from the traditional D&D alignment array for two reasons: One is because I wanted to focus more on the Lawful-Chaotic axis rather than Good-Evil. The other is that as a social construct goes, Good and Evil are suggestive. More often than not, in a severe pitched battle, both sides think they’re on the side of Good. It is when the leaders go into “Ends Justify the Means” is when one side is perceived to be Evil, even though they have the best of intentions.
Hence I needed a replacement of the two-axis alignment area for something that is more detailed and nuanced, and I found it in Wizards of the Coast’s other flagship product.
Magic the Gathering’s Color Wheel can easily be plugged in place of traditional alignment, and I’ll be using it in Æthercoil. It addresses a character’s personality and drives before assessing the Goodness or Evilness of a character, and it allows for more nuanced morality scenarios.
Mark Rosewater has made, and revisited a series of five articles that describe each of these colors, which can easily translate into using the Color Wheel as Alignment. I’ll include them in the below table, with descriptions I gathered elsewhere in Wikipedia and magic.wizards.com (References: ; ; ; . Don’t expect me to go create AMA-legal reference listings for every source I use just yet. I’ll wait until I make the initial manuscript for this setting for that, thank you very much)
As you would see, you are not focused on a particular color, you can have a combination of different colors which combine into a new alignment all its own. You can even take one alignment and ‘splash’ a bit of an outside color to further customize, or maybe even corrupt if need be, an alignment to suit your character.
But for right now, I’ll start with the basic five colors, the two-color guilds, and the three-color shards and wedges. That will result in 25 basic alignments, as opposed to the traditional 9, which I will work with as I continue worldbuilding.
Æthercoil Alignment Array
||The Great White Way Revisited by Mark Rosewater
||(U for Blue)
||True Blue Revisited by Mark Rosewater
||(B for Black)
||In the Black Revisited by Mark Rosewater
||Seeing Red Revisited by Mark Rosewater
||It’s Not Easy Being Green Revisited by Mark Rosewater
|Two Color Combinations, aka ‘Guilds’
||The concept of Might equals Right, and that order and peace must be kept with the use of strength. Such belief can be channeled into a strong defense, but it can also be used as an overbearing and oppressive force.
||Believing that Death is an important part of life, and that death should occur naturally in order for the life cycle to continue. Some GB-aligned beings might use plagues, poisons, and even necromancy to achieve this goal.
||Life should be in balance with the natural order of things. This is a traditional hippie and environmental mindset, but some take it to the point that individuality must be squelched in favor of the greater whole, sometimes to the point of hive minds.
||Stay in shadows, keep your secrets close, and control the world from the background. This might be needed for secure information networks, or the use of assassins and blackmail.
||The official alignment of Objectivism if there ever was one. WB people are true Randian heroes, focusing on their business and their own personal development for their own, and hopefully other’s betterment. Care must be taken to avoid the dreaded “Bioshock” scenario.
||Be one with their savage nature, shun civilization, and be one with the wilderness. Most Wild Elves will be RG as well as most native groups. RG groups can also strive to undo civilization’s efforts.
||Always by the book, no matter the circumstances. Most government-related people have this alignment, either to maintain order or to ensure that their idea of order is uphealed by making everything else a crime against the state. Most people in the SJW movement are WU
||This is what Chaotic Neutral becomes. Enough Said.
||The alignment of Science. To experiment, explore, figure out how things work and how they can make it work for a better world. How to do it, however, depends on your own moral center.
|Three Colors — Shards
||Life, passion, community, and the wild—life is celebrated and instinct triumphs over machination. Here titanic predators are shown respect, while the intelligent peoples seek to revere and respect nature.
||The alignment of benevolence and grace, where the dream of of an angelic utopia. Conflicts are resolved through ritualized combat, and duty and honor are the bedrock of their kingdoms of light. Most Paladins will be of this alignment
||The alignment of magic and logic, where the brightest minds forever shine. Everything here is observed and controlled. The forces of high magic rule supreme.
||Necromancy rules supreme in this Alignment. The Undead and Dread Lords run the show, and what gets dead doesn’t stay dead around them. It is every ghoul, demon, and necromancer for themselves.
||The law of the jungle, survival of the fittest.
|Three Colors — Wedges
||We must all stand together as one in order to survive. Duty and Family are mainstays, as well as a strong defense—including an overpowering offence—against all who would wish to destroy them. Ancestral traditions and maintaining a connection with those before them are hallmarks as well.
||The alignment of martial artists, mystics, and wandering warriors. The ultimate goal is discovery and enlightenment, constantly striving to ascend to every greater levels. Cunning and Strategy are hallmarks, and age is something to be revered.
||Ruthless and Exploitive, this alignment is the Lawful Evil alignment. No action is beneath those who want to get ahead at all costs. Even to the point of using people as mere tools and discarded when they’re outlived their usefulness. Most of the rulers of this world until the Ascent of the Princesses were of this Alignment.
||Strike Hard, Strike Fast, and overwhelm everybody in the way. Live for the moment, You Only Live Once, and all that jazz. These people just flit between one awesome thing to the next, without any care of the past or plan for the present. He who dies with an empty bucket list wins.
||Be strong, be fierce and be sufficient. Bow but not break, bloodied but not fallen. Pain is temporary but Glory is forever. When everyone tells you to move, your job is to plant yourself by your own convictions and morals and say “No, you move.”
With this list and the related sources stashed in my One Note, I think I have the needed tools to go on with the world-building. Entry #5 will have more big-picture information as I go around the planet and break things down region by region. Another mind-map will be in order.
Oh, and by the way, will I be picking any other inspirations from M:TG? I think I already have: Jeshu’s past is pretty much set in religious records, certia -2XXX WR. I just outed him as Jesus Christ at the top of this blog entry after all. Most of you have already know his story, especially if you’ve seen Passion Play movies. Now keep in mind that a Planeswalker Spark usually ignites in moments of extreme stress or a pivotal moment.
Getting Crucified seems stressful enough to ignite a Planeswalker’s Spark, wouldn’t you say?
And he did get up some time afterward. Later on he even walked up a mountain, continued walking to air, and then vanished. That’s looks like a Planeswalker to me.
What we have here is an example of spiritual exegesis that doesn’t suck.