WorldEmber2018

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Welcome to Araea

The light of the torch only kept the darkness at arms length, revealing more of the twisting tunnel as the party pushed forward. Water dripped from the ceiling and the damp carpet of fungi under their feet threatened to swallow their boots. When the path finally widened and the explorers stepped out on the arching cliff, they caught their first glance of the cave they had been seeking. Lights danced in the sweeping vista, luminescent mushroom and fire flies dotting the darkness like a thousand stars. Weary exhaustion gave way to elation: they were finally home.
   

What is Araea?

  Araea is a weird-fantasy world set in a world very different from our own. The surface of the planet is a barren wasteland plagued by radiation and vicious dust storms, forcing mankind since time immemorial to shelter deep underground. There, they build cities and civilizations, farm fungi and mushroom, raise insects and cave newts, all far from the sun. Strange beasts prowl the dark and threats face humanity from every quarter, but against all odds, mankind survives.    

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Bio-Caves by Josh Eiten

    It is a world of mystery and many unknowns. Most of the surface remain unexplored and even after millennia of habitation, humanity's presence in the depths are a flickering candle in a sea of darkness. The brave and daring plunge into the unknown to find the truth about the world, while others struggle to support life in a hostile world. City-states fight over resources and food, bandits harry and steal. Of all the dangers in the darkness, other people are the most common. It is a world plagued by scarcity- of food, of water and of space free from danger. A world where mankind has to fight to survive.   Life isn't always easy in Araea, but for the people there, it makes those moments of joy and beauty all the more precious.    

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Creepy Crawlies

  From sentient and mobile fungi to radioactivity-devouring sky-beasts, life in Araea is alien compared to our world. Extreme circumstance give birth to strange things and mammals are a minority in the world of Araea. Cats, dogs and birds are distinctly missing from Araea, replaced instead by things that thrive in the dark caverns or blighted surface. The deeper into the unknown humanity travels, the more bizarre life there becomes while fishers pull pale, blind creatures from black waters to feed their families.    

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    Above, titanic beasts feed on blight and poison, and visitors from the stars descend upon the surface with unfathomable goals. In a world like this, it is no wonder that people often go a little mad.      

Further Reading

  If you want to read more about Araea and get a better feel for the world, here are some good places to start:  

An introduction to the geography of Araea


 
From the Heavens, to the Far Deep
Geographic Location | Nov 8, 2018

Life hides from malignant stars and irradiated wastes, deep in the dark. While cosmic evils haunt the surface and the endless deeps, life clings to existence where-ever it can take hold.

 

A sample of how life looks for a range of people in Araea


 
Everyday Life In Araea
Generic article | Sep 23, 2018
 

Saen-Kaw, a popular sport in the caves


 
Saen-Kaw
Tradition / Ritual | Aug 1, 2018

A game of counting coup, played in teams. From a beginning in war as a test of courage and skill, it is now one of the most widely practiced sports in the deep.

 

Chnagahn, a particularly important and notable dish


 
Chnagahn - Bug Pot Party
Item | Oct 24, 2018

Quick Primer   Araea is roughly divided into four layers:   The Surface A blasted, radioactive wasteland of dangerous beast and desperate people.   The Outer Shell The caverns closest to the Surface.   The Inner Shell Deep under the earth, the Inner Shell is where much of humanity live, work and die.   The Far Deep Beyond even the Inner Shell lies the Far Deep, a strange and dangerous land of which only a fraction has been explored.     Read more about it  


Tone and Theme

 

Despair and Hope

  Life in Araea is hard. Famine is a fact of life, dangerous beasts prowl the darkness and people fight each other for every reason from petty to desperate. Strange cults worship alien things and acts both cruel and terrible happen around the world.   What Araea is not is hopeless or bleak; it is grimbright. Despite all the terrors and tribulations, despite violence and starvation, humanity still cling to life in the caverns. Beauty and wonder are found side by side to danger and death. It is a hard world, but it is the only one they have and so the people of Araea make the most of it.    

Mystery and Discovery

  Araea is a world shrouded in darkness, both figuratively and literally. Most of the world is simply unknown, a blank part on the map with "here be dragons, maybe?" scrawled on it. Entire continents on the Surface are shrouded in impenetrable radiation, leaving explorers with little more then legends and guesswork to determine what may lie beyond.   There is always something to see. Something unknown to discover. Fame and fortune await those who return alive.    

No Gods, No Masters

  While the faith gather in temples and cults make sacrifices to their dark gods, the truth is simple: in Araea, there are no gods. No masters, neither infernal nor divine, can command mankind or provide them salvation from danger. No miracles have ever been made to manifest and no celestial servants has ever answered to pleading cries of the desperate. Whatever humanity wants, they have to get for themselves.   This hasn't stopped faith and superstition, of course. A thousand different cults have sprung up around the caves and churches rule over entire city-states.    

World of Verticality

  Few paths in Araea are as simple as a straight line. Tunnels twist and arch, tip and climb. Caves that stretch for mile can see slopes and hills, places where the ceiling collapse to a few yards or expand beyond the light of an explorer's torch. To reach the Far Deep, explorers must brave a lightless descent of miles and to reach the Surface they must climb countless steps.    
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Comments

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4 Dec, 2018 00:57

A nice brief overview of the world, I can dig it. I'd like to see a little more overall info in maybe the sidebars or at the bottom as you had it.   Just general things like the cultures and maybe some important people. Just to help fill out the picture of the world in my mind!   Either way, great stuff as always. I was surprised at the lack of gore in this one, though with an intro page that's a bit hard for even you I assume. :D

4 Dec, 2018 10:07

Thanks Tikal! <3   I'll probably continue to fill it in as those cultures and people get their own articles. I don't want to link anyone to Mhajari right now since it's a *massive* article. XD   But I'll definitely keep that in mind! What kind of overall info would you say would be good to have? And where?   As for the gore: challenge accepted. :D

4 Dec, 2018 09:27

I feel like the article blocks kind of dominate the page, making it hard to get to the actual content. Especially near the end. I really enjoyed the side panel, however. All in all, a pretty decent summary. More links would be cool!

4 Dec, 2018 09:27

Maybe lowering the size of the aritcles blocks would help.

4 Dec, 2018 09:37

Well, I'm definitely aiming for better then decent :) I'll have to do a second pass! :D   Though, there are no block links besides the one at the end: did you mean the images?

4 Dec, 2018 11:51

Oh, yes. The images then block links. Both are massive and dominate over the text.

4 Dec, 2018 11:04

Everything about this is interesting at a glance, so thats good. I liked the sidebar with overview, but are you going to mention tecnological level of humanity there? I thought that would be nice to have. Just a general phrase.

4 Dec, 2018 11:13

I wanted to put it in there somewhere, but I couldn't figure out *where*. It is definitely something I want to talk about, though! It's going to be generally on a medieval level, plus/minus some stuff due to the way the world works. Astronomy and observatories, for example, is going to be pretty underdeveloped.. :D