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 your thoughts, until the last moments prior to your 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.
- 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
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
- 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.
World ThemeNOTE: this is currently a place holder while the world theme is being worked on
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. 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.
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.