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 ConflictJust 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!?
- 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 AfterEven 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.
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.
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.
ManifestationEvery 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.
Rise and Fall by Lucas Zoltowski
by *unknown artist*
DecayNothing 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.
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.
Setting of The After
Cosmological PlaneWhile 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 their thoughts, until the last moments prior to the second-death.
Manifested SophontsSpirits 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
UnnatureWhile 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.
- Grovemire - 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
FactionsNotable 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
- The Floq - 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.
Æ / æCommonly 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 / ðA 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'.
|Written As:||Spoken As:|
Original Concept:Initially conceptualized as a pair of lovers, one an atheist the other a believer. Following their tragic death they awake in the afterlife. To their joint surprise this land of the dead is not as they had expected. Growing beyond the scope of the original concept, Bræd has been through several layers of iteration and has blossomed into a fully realized fantasy world.
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.
Genre:High-Fantasy, featuring a hard-magic system and elements from both MagiPunk and BioPunk.
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.
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.
Themes:Community, relationships, and the existential nature of existence.
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
What an amazingly well designed theme! I really like your side quote boxes and their very clean transition factors.
Thanks Lion! I'm happy you like it. Did you have any criticisms? Anything that was unclear?
This sounds like such an intriguing setting! I can't wait to actually have a moment to read through it finally.
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I don't think they get the comment if you respond to MY comment lol
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Yesss, let me know what you think when you get the chance for a full-dive!
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.
What a great article! A great first taste of a wonderful world. I look forward to seeing/reading more of it!
Thank you for taking the time to read it through! Did you have any general criticisms?
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
You are doing a great job! Keep creating; I believe in you!
Luridity: Where love is love and life is lived. Contains NSFW content.
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.
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
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.
Garrett Grace Lewis
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.
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 ?).
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.
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.
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.
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
Finally got a chance to read this - September was a complete write off, lol. I really love the concept you have going on here, and it's obvious you've put so much time and effort into this. I'm really looking forward to reading more about the world of Bræd. I love the layout you've got going on here. It's so clean and all the information is seperate and easy to read. :) The only criticism I have is that there are not more articles to read. :D
Hey! Thanks for spending the time to read through it. Well, if you're looking for another article to read, I just pushed my submission for the alliance challenge that's going on this month. Shooting for an honorable mention, I guess we'll see how it plays out. xD
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
I just saw it appear in my notifications! Working through them so hopefully will get to it tonight! :) Good luck with the challenge - it's my first time entering so I'm super excited! :D
As you should be, your article submission is K I L L E R. (i promise that's not supposed to be an assassin pun)
How did you css the comment section?!
Not sure I understand the question. Do you mean the user comments such as this one? If so, when you put together your CSS, as long as it is assigned to the appropriate content it should automatically adjust the comment section of any of your pages.
I love this, but I would like to hear way more about actual mechanics and how your "magic system" works!
I love this, but I would like to hear way more about actual mechanics and how your "magic system" works!