Bræd Primer

Welcome to The After

Death is the Beginning


Set in the land of the departed, the world of Bræd explores the implications of post-death. Divorced from the stereotype of hellish fires and heavenly clouded vistas, Bræd opts to find new answers for old questions.

Existential Conflict

Just because your old life is over, doesn't mean your struggle for survival has concluded. Beset by a diverse host of souls, Bræd's afterlife serves as a stage of colliding desires and opposing philosophies.
   


What do you mean I'm dead? I thought heaven was supposed to be full of clouds and stuff...   Wait, what do you mean I didn't make it into heaven!?
— a very confused,
very damp soul
 
  • Creatures and organizations compete for access to æther, often resulting in violent conflict during periods of shortage.
  • Unhappy with the world they were given, groups of souls have collected together to recreate the afterlife they were promised; by use of force when necessary.
  • Carrying their tendencies into the afterlife, souls still struggle with darker aspects of 'humanity' manifesting in forms of racism, greed, malice, and more.
 

Core Laws of The After

  Even the land of the dead cannot escape the laws of the universe. The world of the Bræd is built upon the foundational interactions of substances known as æther and sinn. Æther, a raw form of energy and its inverse sinn, the liquid embodiment of memory and life experiences. These basic elements act as a concrete bedrock for the natural laws of this netherworld.  

æther


The lifeblood of existence, æther acts as a form of raw energy which commonly manifests as a glowing blue liquid. Necessary for survival, everything from the land itself to the souls who occupy it are in danger of decay without access to its warmth.

AetherSinn JarSmall.png

sinn


The gurgling flow of memory and life experiences; Sinn is a slimy murky substance with the consistency of a black tar. Sinn flows through The After like a river, a common entry point for newly arrived souls.
   



Manifestation

Every living being, from the wisest man to a blade of grass, contains a footprint of both sinn and æther. Following death, these elements of existence manifest within the realm of The After. While the natural tendency of both æther and sinn is to separate, creatures with a sufficiently strong will can keep themselves bound together. Known as manifestation, strong-willed spirits emerge within the realm of The After as a whole instead of being ripped asunder following the first-death.
Manifest Edit.png
Rise and Fall by Lucas Zoltowski
 
Utter Decay.PNG
by *unknown artist*



Decay

Nothing is forever. Beholden to the laws of entropy, creatures slowly exhaust their internal stores of æther. Cited as the law of decay any soul lacking in æther will vanish; becoming one with non-existence. Just as susceptible, the world itself bows to the decree of decay. Unmaintained by a source of æther, the terrain slowly loses color and breaks down. The world falls away and becomes a cold desert, before being swallowed altogether by the void patiently lingering at its borders.
 

The Bræd

Inspired by Eastern mythology surrounding the red thread of fate; the Bræd is an expansive network of invisbile strings. Tying the world together, these unseen strands reach through the entirity of The After. Every soul is linked to the Bræd in some capacity, tethering members of a community into a web of connections.   Serving as a basis for the magic system, clever souls have learned to influence the woven Bræd, brdiging the gap between æther, sinn, and the world they serve as a foundation for. At its most primitive, spirits have learned to transfer æther through it, securing it as a lifeline for their communities.   Creatures who showcase an extreme control over the Bræd often receive the title of locus. Revered as members of their respective communities, locii are capable of molding æther and sinn. Bending the fundamental elements, these strong-willed spirits achieve dramatic and often explosive results.   While the Bræd is not understood in depth, many accomplished locii have achieved a deep level of mastery over it. Refining its tenets into two working philosophies, Creation & Destruction; and further subdividing them into alternate specializations, Internal & External.
   

Destruction


Creation


 

Internal




Internal-Destruction:

Hearthers

Generating a Hearth as an external vessel of energy; hearthers have learned how to separate their stores of æther from their physical manifestation. This dissonance can then be utilized as a power source for mobile-forges and other magical constructs.
heartburn.png

Internal-Creation:

Shifters

Consuming sinn and æther as a catalyst, shifters can temporarily alter their own physical form. Practiced shifters are capable of manifesting bestial limbs or mimicking the forms of other spirits to indistinguishable degree.
monster-grasp.png
 

External

External-Destruction:

Kindlers

Concentrating æther from their communal network of Bræds. Kindlers ignite a focused sum of this raw energy to calamitous effect. This expression of power often takes the form of explosive flame or erratic electrical currents.
fire-punch.png

External-Creation:

Shapers

Tugging on the strands of the Bræd, shapers use liquid sinn as a resource to mold simple items and ornate structures. Powerful shapers can infuse their creations with æther, in effect creating primitive lifeforms of varying utility.
amber-mosquito.png
 

Setting of The After



 

Cosmological Plane

While the spirits who inhabit The After understand how to manipulate its obvious characteristics, the knowledge of how it came to exist eludes even the oldest of soul. Surrounded by the void, the white nothingness hanging upon the very edges of existence. No creature dare journey beyond the borders of their undying world, for doing so would doom themselves to wandering the quiet empty stillness of the void. Left with nothing but your thoughts, until the last moments prior to your second-death.
Ash Dunes (The Ash Sea) cover
 
 
two-shadows.png

Manifested Sophonts

Spirits usually manifest as either animalistic beasts or simple-minded flora. Any soul retaining their 'humanity' following the first-death are distinguished as sophonts. Capable of the mental capacity to work in groups, sophonts often manifest sharing traits aligned with definitive archetypes:
 
  • Leshy - Long haired spirits with a native inclination for the Bræd. Leshy utilize the fibers of their extensive mane as an additional limb to manipulate their environment.
    Prideful | Vigorous | Adaptive
  •  
  • Boundkin - Desert occupying nomads with a knack for invention. These clever silk wrapped souls are attributed as the designers for the original mobile-forges.
    Communal | Intuitive | Ascetic
  •  
  • Rogbo - Bird like creatures capable of gliding with their natural wings. Rogbo will opt to remain near regions with chalice trees, taking advantage of the natural lift they produce.
    Tribal | Free-Spirited | Wanderer
world.png

Unnature

While many unique biomes of unnature exist, a few environments stand out as places of importance and have served as refuge for early sophont tribes as they rebuilt a semblance of civilization.
     
  • Grovemires - regions where collections of sinn have setteled. A fungal canopy entraps the area and shelters the terrain in darkness.
    Grimy | Dark | Bioluminous
  •  
  • The Ashen Sea - A cold desert of white sands, the encompassing area stretches from the coast of the mainland to the edges of the void. Traveling the dunes by foot or without the aide of a mobile-forge is as dangerous as it is foolish.
    Cold | White | Vast
  •  
  • Zloylands - Barren regions of rock and crag, the zloylands are covered with large towering pillars. A proverbial forest of stone.
    Tall | Obelisk-ed | Labyrinthine
flying-flag.png

Factions

Notable factions of spirits have wrestled control of their local environments. Establishing an organized foothold in the world, while simultaneously exerting an influence on their surroundings.
     
  • The 2nd Church - Unhappy with the state of this afterlife, a collection of the faithful have gathered to recreate the heaven they were promised; by use of force if necessary.
    Faithful | Devout | Obedient
  •  
  • Forge Floatillas - Communal by nature, many boundkin have gathered into groups to scour the Ashen Dunes for scraps of æther and other useful materials. Their activities will range from running trade caravans to full-blown raiding and piracy.
    Nomadic | Communal | Democratic
  •  
  • Flume - A loose collection of Rogbo tribes. While most act independently, they occasionally band together should a common threat arise.
    Chaotic | Combative | Insular

Map of The After

READ-ME: I've included an early rough draft of a world map to provide a very basic mental framework for Bræd. This map should not be taken as absolute law, but as a helpful guideline for the concept at large. I'll update this map within the coming weeks to be more reflective of the project as it currently stands.

Article Navigation
World Theme
NOTE: this is currently a place holder while the world theme is being worked on
Pronunciation

Æ / æ

Commonly known as the ash symbol, both the Æ and the lowercase æ have a variety of pronunciations. Within the context of Bræd these symbols mirror when their base counterparts 'a' and 'e' are used in tandem. Resulting in an 'ay' sound, Bræd is voiced in the same manner as 'braid'.  

Ð / ð

A symbol for the voiced dental fricative, both Ð and ð creates the same sound as the common 'th'. When used within tandem with Æ the newly shaped word ÐÆ reads as 'they' or 'thay'.  

Common Glossary

Written As: Spoken As:
Bræd Braid, Brayd
ÐÆ they, thay
æther ayther, eether



Meta Info
  1. Original Concept:

    Initially conceptualized as a pair of lovers, one an atheist the other a believer. Both tragically die and to their surprise the afterlife is real, if not what they expected. It has been through several layers of iteration since the original concept as it has grown and become more clearly grasped.
  2. Project Objective:

    With about five+ years of time spent under the hood, the eventual goal is to write a short series of books set in the world of Bræd.
  3. Genre:

    High-Fantasy, featuring a hard-magic system and elements from both MagiPunk and BioPunk.
  4. Scale:

    Centered on the realm of The After, the world-building project for Bræd spans the plane of existence housed within the edges of the void surrounding it.
  5. Mood Alignment:

    Knightcore: spirits have a lot of agency in the world itself. Even if their choices are just as likely to lead to great achievement as to result in insufferable hardships.
  6. Themes:

    Community, relationships, and the existential nature of existence.

About the Author

it me face.jpeg
Name:
Boldt J.
Alias:
icastbolt
Location:
Texas, USA
Skills:
  • CSS
  • Python
  • Photoshop
  • Video Editing & Production
  • Flutter & Dart Dev
Likes:
Reading about the new and exciting things happening around the tech industry; Being inspired by amazing artistic projects.
Dislikes:
The thought of never being able to jack my brain into a completely virtual world.
Other Stuff I do:
 
about me

Map of The After

READ-ME: I've included an early rough draft of a world map to provide a very basic mental framework for Bræd. This map should not be taken as absolute law, but as a helpful guideline for the concept at large. I'll update this map within the coming weeks to be more reflective of the project as it currently stands.
 

Inspirational Sources


Folklore
& Myth

Eastern Mythology

Pulling from sources originating in both the land of the rising sun and the middle kingdoms, the largest of these inspirations correlates with the red string of fate, an invisible thread binding lovers and soulmates together.
Eastern Mythology
The Invisbile Man by Yuko Shimizu

Slavic Folklore

Heavily underrepresented in media, Slavic folklore emanates from the populations primarily centered on Russia and the surrounding regions.

Norse Legend

Less concerned with the gods themsleves, than the lands which they inhabited, the visual inspirations conceived from the nature of Yggdrasil the world tree and Jörmungandr the world serpent captures the imagination. You'll often see tropes of giant trees across many a medium, I hope to do the same. If more so looking at the root of things.  




 

Games

Journey

The desert, the clothing, the colors, the loneliness. It's a short but sweet journey. Without experiencing Journey yourself it escapes meager explanation. The video essay I made on it a while back will hopefully suffice the gap.

Hollow Knight.jpg

Hollow Knight

If I told you I simped for Team Cherry's Hollow Knight, it would be a complete understatement. The artistic style of the world, the design of the creatures, the unique lore and incredible writing. It deserves every lick of praise it receives and has definitely played a part in own personal inspirations.

Legend of Zelda
Twilight Princess

Perhaps one of the darker games of the LoZ franchise, twilight princess explores the world through the lens of a cursed hero and an unlikely partnership. Both the various shadow beasts and the very nature of Midna have wormed their way into my psyche and planted the seeds of inspiration.  
Zelda Inspirations





Movies

Princess Mononoke

One of the crown jewels from Studio Ghibli, Princess Mononoke is one of my favorite films of all time. Depicting this balance of the will of nature with the driving force of man has always stuck with me.  
Mononoke.jpg
Nausica.jpg
 

Nausica

Yet another Ghibli, Nasuica's post-apocalyptic environment, hearkens to a wild place undisturbed by the influences of man.

Celles Et Ceux

Originally released in 2015 by then animation student Gween Germain. His short film titled 'Celles Et Ceux Des Cimes Et Cieux' is a love letter to Ghibli and all their associated works. It's heard in the music, seen in the visuals, implied through the animation. It gives me chills every time I watch it. I hope to arouse the same awe in others with my own projects. Watch it; it may just change your life.






Television

Avatar the last Airbender

Anyone working in the creative field who told you they haven't been inspired to some degree by the utter perfection of Avatar is either bold-faced lying or simply hasn't lived. I look to this series a lot when it comes to story-telling and character development.
 
Avatar Insp.jpg
Evangelion Insp.jpg
 

Neon Genesis Evangellion

Another series that escapes simple explanation. On the surface, it's just another anime with tiny children piloting large robots to kill the monster of the week. When you dig a little deeper, it's a tale about humanity and what it means to keep it. It haunts me to this day, for better or worse.

Soul Eater

What I love about soul eater, other than mind blowing animation and the really imaginative character design is the nature of the 'magic' if you can call it that. the protagonists are reliant on each other to achieve their full potential. The wielder is useless without their weapon and vice-versa.
 
Soul Eater Insp.jpg





Books

Leviathan

A re-framing of world war one, the Leviathan series is set in a universe of Darwanists, civilizations that have pushed the limits of biological engineering and Clankers, steam-punk societies whom have built large and mighty machines of labor and war.  
Leviathan.jpg
Dune Book
 

Dune

The spice must always flow in Frank Herbert's Dune series. The original big-daddy of massive sand worms, Dune is a tale where the envrionment is just as important as the characters whom inhabit it. This is a trait I'd like to carry with me as I further develop the world of Bræd.

Mistborn Triology

I really can't thank Sanderson enough for both the books he has written and the incredible lectures he has posted online. When building a new magic system, Sanderson's Three Laws are incredibly invaluable as a framework.  
Mistborn.jpg





Artists

Alexis Rives
{Deadslug}

I've been following Deadslug and her art for a while now, but the height of my recent fascination is attached to her Spirited series. Set aside the fact that's obviously set in some sort of crazy spirit-world, the unique character design and incredibly skilled artistic renderings almost always leave you wanting for more.
 

Nicholas Kole

After encountering Nicholas Kole's Jellybots I almost punched my wallet through my monitor. While I don't believe it's currently an active project, the insanely divergent concept and the use of color conveys a vision of a truly unique world filled with wonder. If I was a wealthier man, I would be hunting down Mr. Kole and showering him in money to make the project a reality, alas it is not so.

Mengying Wang
{OSSS}

Up until recently I didn't even know OSSS by their proper name. They were just the amazing person I followed on twitter who blew me away with the incredible use of flat colors and layered shapes. If I'm being honest, I'd one day like to solicit her in effort to complete a set of book covers for the series I'm working on. It would make me so incredibly happy.  






Aesthetics
I've always been in the habit of collecting inspirational artwork or design on Pinterest more recently I have been doing the same on Unsplash for the purpose of photographic manipulation and video editing. The images below most closely correlate with the general aesthetic and tone of the Bræd project.
aesthetic soul
aesthetic swamp
aesthetic stag
aesthetic brutal
aesthetic void
aesthetic ash
aesthetic braed
aesthetic flame


















 

Supporting Bræd

If you're interested in supporting the world building project Bræd you can easily do so with some solidly free options:
 
  • Slap that follow button - you can do so on the world homepage
  • Follow me directly on WorldAnvil - stay up to date with all the things I'm working on behind the scenes!
  • Leave me just a crumb of a like - if you enjoyed the article or found it inspirational dropping a quick like would be wonderfully appreciated.
  • Leave feedback with a comment - In an effort to always sharpen the craft of world building and writing, your feedback will be utterly vital in pursuit of this goal.
  • Share with grandma - or with your friends if they would be into this sort of thing.
  • Slide into those DMs - You'll be able to find me on either twitter (icastbolt) or Discord (BOLdT#7923), just please don't be asking for pictures of my feet.
  • Connect to the Bræd - if find the need to link to this article on your own project, copy and paste the following BB code into your world-page: [articleblock:a78360cb-7d2a-4a46-af0e-c11ecff0d62c]
 

Financial Means of Support

for you big-ballers
  • Patreon - web hosting and artistic comissions can get pricey. You can help alleviate some of the finnancial strain by supporting directly via Patreon
  • OnlyFans - if you're looking to get direct access to the saucier content, support Bræd directly via the OnlyFans! *feet pics withstanding*
 

Thank You!

This project would never have been possible without the loving support of both friends and family. You guys are awesome. I really don't know where I would be without you. There are many thank-yous to mention, but I'll keep this section brief.   To Jessica, Collin, & Heather thank you a million times for allowing me to talk your ear off about this project. Your constant feedback and insightful edits have helped shape the world at large while simultaneously bringing a degree of clarity to it.   To Stormbril, Damion Otter, & TJ Trewin thank you for letting me pester you for criticism on both article CSS and content. You guys have really opened my eyes to what WorldAnvil is capable of as an artistic medium.   To Dimitris Havlidis & Janet Forbes I am incredibly grateful you guys have built such a powerful tool while simultaneously fostering an incredible community. WorldAnvil may very be the secret ingredient taking the project of Bræd from an idle daydream into a fruitful reality.   To the WorldAnvil community, patron supporters, and helpful friends you guys mean the world to me. I cannot understate this expression of gratitude. Any success experienced is by and large in thanks to your support, thank you.  

Credit & Disclaimer

All artwork, styling, and content is copyright © Boldt J. (@icastbolt),
unless otherwise specified   Icons provided by Lorc and Delapouite of game-icons  

Comments

Author's Notes

A lot of the names and details are subject to change. Figuring out the exact inner-workings of the world tends to be a daily struggle.   Yes, it has become quite clear to me I am a big Ghibli fan


Please Login in order to comment!
7 Sep, 2020 20:57

What an amazingly well designed theme! I really like your side quote boxes and their very clean transition factors.


Graylion
Roleplaying
Ruleplaying
Rollplaying
10 Sep, 2020 00:28

Thanks Lion! I'm happy you like it. Did you have any criticisms? Anything that was unclear?


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
7 Sep, 2020 21:12

This sounds like such an intriguing setting! I can't wait to actually have a moment to read through it finally.

8 Sep, 2020 01:36

I don't think they get the comment if you respond to MY comment lol

8 Sep, 2020 02:27

Yesss, let me know what you think when you get the chance for a full-dive!


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
8 Sep, 2020 02:36

Your question is valid, it means I'll likely flesh out a dedicated Hearther article sooner rather than later.   The Bræd is a manifestation of metaphorical threading that surrounds and envelopes all existing things within the world of the Æfterlife. Because this threading can be used to transfer æther along it, the construct of a Hearth is effectively transferring a 'drip' of æther to its originator preventing that soul from decaying. Even if there is a separation of body and distance.   Larger communities of Boundkin will collectively 'give themselves' to a unified Hearth to share their æther with the others of their tribe and ensure unified survival.


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
8 Sep, 2020 09:42

What a great article! A great first taste of a wonderful world. I look forward to seeing/reading more of it!

10 Sep, 2020 02:03

Thank you for taking the time to read it through! Did you have any general criticisms?


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
8 Sep, 2020 12:24

I love the layout--there's a TON here but you've done a good bit of breaking it up so it's not just a wall o' text--you've succeeded! :) The inspiration section opening via a button toggle is also super cool. <3   Did not disappoint with the amount of neat ideas building your world's baseline. Æther fueled sandships? Check. Souls trying to create what they think their Æfterlife should have been? Checkity Check. Wildly unwelcoming landscapes and spiritfauna? Yeeeeah Check :D Well done!   Is the only Æther source inside the souls themselves? As in, the land is absorbing it from them as they exhaust their own resources? You mentioned periods of shortage--is that from lack of strong-enough souls, or from locii using it up? If decay can overcome the world--can Æther build it back as well? Or is there a near constant danger of the realm losing ground to void? (Without a locii to manage it, I mean.) And can souls gain it back? I know Hearthers can provide a source of it, but is it eventually drained, or kept a constant supply with braed mastery? Has anyone tried to escape? Is that common, deadly, possible? Also what are chalice trees bc those sound COOL.   One quick fix: Æther, a raw form of energy and it's inverse sinn = its*   I see so many potential article spawns here--cannot wait to read more about the sophonts and their factions...and everything else. <3

10 Sep, 2020 23:31

AHHHH, these questions are still so awesome. I really can't wait to answer them in some of the articles I'm working on right now.


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
Journeyman Sloqush
Sloqush the Sloqush
8 Sep, 2020 13:55

This is an awesomely done primer and I absolutely love it :D   It is filled with so much information, details, and pictures, all wrapped in a beautiful CSS theme, all which make one crave for MORE ^_^ In my case that would be the "Kindlers" because you know explosions are awesome :D   I especially liked the very detailed inspiration section and I am very happy to find that my own setting served as a source of inspiration for yours :D

Explore Sloqush's bleakdark sandox: Cenorad
10 Sep, 2020 02:14

Of course your Sloqushyness! Cenorad is AMAZING. Absolute proof you don't need overly fancy themes to have a really rich and engaging world.   Duly noted! I'll be sure to add the Kindlers to my list of articles to complete first.


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
9 Sep, 2020 02:39

Honestly I don't have any criticism to offer here, this is a fantastic primer! It's even got me kinda rethinking my own now, whoops.

Corvo Branco
Corvo Branco
9 Sep, 2020 17:45

Gorgeous page, I really like the visual identity. Nice map too.   You elected a pretty bold core for your fictional world. After all that subject was literally "worked to death" by a lot of authors. One could say that almost everybody has considered the subject at least once, since before the first written language probably. Nothing was object of more human attention in History, except possibly baby cats.   On the other hand, we are still slowly decaying into the subject all the time.   So: entropy is valid in your world, if I understand well. It either means no reincarnation or at least no infinite number of them. Isn't eternal life, just a extended echo of the existence as we know it (right ?).

10 Sep, 2020 22:54

Haha, yeah most high-fantasy tends to take place in some permutation of Tolkien's works. I've been wanting to explore something a little different, so I figure why not throw out the world altogether while I'm at it. I realize talking about the underworld, is nothing super new. I'm hoping my take on it will be fresh enough to warrant a read.   Tha's correct, even in this afterlife once a soul vanishes its gone for good. Very perceptive of you to refer it as an echo of the life we are living now because that's precisely what I've been going for.


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?
9 Sep, 2020 19:11

Hi this is my first time commenting on something so please excuse any messiness. This world is really interesting but there are a couple of important things I'm confused on. First off is this the afterlife of our world or is it from a more magical world or even multiple worlds. Second off how much do spirits remember about their previous lives. Those are the major things but there are also minor things I'm less confused and more curios about. First off is it possible to lose stuff in the process of manifesting and even more interesting is it possible to absorb nearby aeither and sin and if so what are the affects of the process. A second thing is does the amount of willpower required from manifesting make the denizens of Aether all have a stronger survival instinct.

10 Sep, 2020 23:29

Hey there! Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. Allow me to go through and provide answers to your questions.   1. I'd like to keep what exactly was 'The Before' open to interpretation. Especially given that I have no intention of going full bangsian fiction and including historically famous figures scattered around the underworld.   2. Few souls ever remember actually dying. Many of them wake up here as if coming out of a dream into yet another dream. When manifesting not everything carries over leaving some souls as mere 'shadows' of the beings they were before they died.   3. It is possible to obtain more æther, I'll be covering that in a new article soon.   4. Hrrmmmm, that's an excellent point concerning survival instincts. While many animalistic spirits may be eager to obtain stores of æther even at violent means, I'd like to believe that the willpower of sophonts would often be expressed in more creative means as anything else.


Bræd: What happens when you don't wake up in the afterlife you were promised?