From absolute darkness, the sun appears over the edge of the world and energizes the wisps of Ether into a display. Hues of pink, cerulean, green, violet, and yellow dance across the horizon. Slowly as Amar makes his ascent, the Ether settles into a light hue of blue over the dark sky and the full light of day spreads over the land.
Such a sunrise is not unusual in the world of Phenom. There are nights in this world that may never see morning.
The Ring of Telan is a fragmented group of planetoids that circles a fiery core that itself orbits a sun that is beyond lightyears from our own planet. Though it is completely alien from our own world, it very deliberately has markings of Earth. Some of these are in the themes and ideas behind the stories that inspired the game setting you are now looking at. Others are part of the setting itself.
Sometimes a metaphor is just a metaphor. Sometimes, it is very real. Sometimes it is both. That blending is also deliberate. Everything about this setting, from its themes, mood, and ideas, to the world itself is a blending of ideas.
Telan had its origins in stories that I began creating when I was about sixteen or seventeen years old. I put into these stories both my love of fantasy, most specifically Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar books, and my fascination with mathematics. Even before I began blending seemingly different stories, I was already blending ideas.
Goshen had its origins in ideas that Nick Perretta and I were working on as a proposal for another game we were playing at the time. We never made that proposal, but we held onto the ideas and I began playing with them over the past decade or so. Greatly influenced by Firefly, this world was a fragmented world, eternally fighting both for warring ideals and to preserve what it could of its past … a past that those eternal wars were destroying.
Telan evolved greatly over the years. What started just as a fantasy world eventually became a fantasy world with its own origins in a science fiction story that I had started working on. That science fiction story was itself tied to stories about super-powered beings that I had worked on for a while. As I worked these different ideas together, the themes around Telan began to change.
One day, I realized that the themes inherent to Goshen and the themes inherent to Telan overlapped. The overlap was not small and was significant enough that I realized in working on each set of stories, I was essentially telling the same story twice. I faced a question no writer ever wants to face: do I dissolve one of my worlds?
Instead, I decided to blend the two together. I thought that would be difficult, but, perhaps because of how deeply the themes meshed, it was easier than I thought. I had, before deciding on that endeavor, been working on a game based on Goshen. It had, after all, had its origins in gaming.
With that backdrop, I give you … Phenom.