Introduction To Ethnis

Ethnis is a massive Science-Fantasy setting and a backdrop for stories woven in many mediums—including books and RPGs


You have arrived at a Strange and Dangerous Time

You may have to become strange and dangerous to survive

Ethnis is on the other side of a vast divide of history. There is a war going on and everything is on the line. It's a war between seven Banners, thousands of planets, and quadrillions of people. This war is The War, the sum of life and death; every reason to fight played out at once, a controlled burn of faith, pride, politics, money, bigotry, and necessity.

Somewhere, in all of this, is you.

You live in Ethnis, among its people. You know of the Meta, and how it allows you to command the nature of the world around you. You know of the Wayhall—the path through the stars—and you know of the Banners, the Sophont, the Sovereigns, and most importantly: The Wheel.

You know this because Ethnis is home.

Fear becomes passé when it is constant.

It is our lot to rage against the dying of the light, to fight with primal furor and disarm that primordial dread of its scythe and hourglass with the wonders of science. We have slain the horsemen, stolen their steeds, and now use them to terrorize each other.

This era is not one belonging to Death, it belongs to unrepentant, unforgiving, unrelenting life.

Make it count.

— Archivist Vendamir

Among Proud People

The peoples of Ethnis, divided into their major groupings Back to top ↑

The Sophont

The three species, each boasting many subspecies beneath

Antti Hakosaari Verin Faeo Bust
Faeoverin by Antti Hakosaari


They were the first. Their history stretches far beyond any other. They were the first to discover Meta, to discover genetics, and to discover Indices. The Verin pride themselves in their history, and taking the time to always make the right decision.   Within the Verin is the drive to be a beacon of stability. They maintain ways of life that have worked for millennia. They embrace the Meta that made them strong, and adapt new technologies only when they can make them perfect.
Read more about the Verin

Antti Hakosaari Sazashi Parisan Bust
Parisan by Antti Hakosaari


A race not evolved, but engineered. The Verin created the Sazashi as a slave race. They were designed to survive with the best of Verin and Sazakraht genetics. With such strength, they did not stay slaves for long.   The Sazashi have a drive built within them. Their Akjhe gives them purpose that is as much physical as it is mental. This drive led them to spread from their home of Jhoutai, to expand to new worlds.  
Read more about the Sazashi

Bleakheart by Ademal


Once a proud and optimistic people, time has not been kind to humanity. Over the ages they have been forced to adapt, to change culturally and physically. They have to be like the Verin and Sazashi—exacting and harsh.   In humanity there is an urge to be different. They grew up on Eden without the Meta and wish to embrace that history, if only the meta wasn't what made them unique now.  
Read more about Humanity

The Banners

The Banners are the high powers of Ethnis to whom all other factions swear fealty. They spiral towards their final war, postponing it only to strenghten themselves.

The Verin Haimarchy
Organization | Jul 24, 2020

The ongoing legacy, a primarily Verin banner, older than all the others, which is focused on its longevity, supremacy and growth.

The Church of The Somnolent
Organization | Mar 15, 2019

One of the Seven Banners, the Banner of Eden. It is ruled over by the Somnolent and his Church, and fiercely protects its holdings against the threat of impending war.

The ValuSelu Pact
Organization | Jul 31, 2020

The powerhouse of the universe. A primarily Sazashi Banner, they hold to their Akhje with a focus on productivity, expansion, and community.

The Jupiter Syndicate
Organization | Mar 21, 2020

The other-half of Humanity, created as a response to the Somnolent. This all-sophont Banner focuses on corporations, money, and efficiency.

The Apple of Hedonism
Organization | Jun 8, 2020

One of the Seven Banners, the Banner of Hedonism. It is ruled over by Desire and her Seven Luxuries, and holds onto the belief that the mutual pursuit of happiness is the only way for Ethnis to find true peace and joy.

The Federation of Free Planets
Organization | Jul 8, 2020

The newest Banner, a mix of planets and Sophont banding together to maintain their independence. They focus on liberty and freedom.

The House of Sorrows
Organization | Mar 21, 2020

The truth of the universe is told in pain. This banner lives in the shadows, and can take many forms. All believe that suffering is the path to enlightenment.

Read more about the Banners

You Are A Sophont,

A measure of minds
Sophonce is what divides greater and lesser minds. It is intelligence classified into tiers denoting degrees of introspection, as well as the presence of the Soul and ability to utilize and shape the Meta.

Read more about the Sophont

Of A Kind,

Each distinct and distinguished
There are three confirmed Sophont, and many Kinds within those Sophont. The Kinds are the subspecies within Sophont, distinct phenotypes of capability and build. Which are you?

Read more about Kinds

Belonging To A Tribe

Unique callings and upbringings
The size of the Banners does not allow homogeneity. Different people from different worlds and of different bodies each have a unique story to tell and a different tribe to call their own. What's yours?

Read more about Tribes

And Bearing Great Power

Within every Sophont is the potential for earthquakes and hurricanes Back to top ↑

The Meta

Breath of The Wheel, Mastery of the Cosmos

The Meta, Metaphysics, magic. The Verin discovered the most base forms of Meta millenia ago and it has only become more advanced since.   Most everyone has basic grasp of Meta, because as they hone their Skills they also open new avenues of metaphysical prowess. Skilled users are called Psiolic, and accomplish such feats as commanding the wind, spewing fire from their palms, and tearing stone asunder.   All Sophont are capable of Metaphysics. Wielding Meta is the litmus test of Sophonce and Sophont maturity, as most are incapable of casting until they reach the more existential stages of puberty.  
To deny Metaphysics is as foolish as to resolve to only ever walk on your palms or eat through your nostrils. It is a great power gifted to us by The Wheel. Seize it.
The Meta by Ademal

Read more about Metaphysics

Inner Strengths; Deeper Truths

Those who master the Meta and their skills often tap into a deeper gestalt and arcane power, and harness it to gain monumental will and incredible capability.  
They become Monoliths.
  In the distant past, Monoliths were one in a hundred-thousand. Now, thanks to technology, education, and the freedom to explore passions, they are one in ten-thousand, and often comprise the peak of society.   This power is in your grasp.

Rank/Title | Mar 24, 2020

Monoliths are Sophont who have achieved such a level of mastery over some skill—anything from the mundane to the metaphysic to the fantastic—that they Transcend into a higher state of being, will, and power.

Read more about Monoliths

The Wheel

The Root of All Mystery

There is a higher force at play in the universe, some source for the Meta, the Soul, the Wayhall, and the Sovereign. It is the root of the greatest mysteries of Ethnis—the prime enigma.   The nature and presence of this force is is a topic of great debate. Many, even academics, point to a higher mind: The Wheel. The nature and presence of this force is is a topic of great debate. Many, even academics, point to a higher mind: The Wheel.   For some The Wheel is a placeholder term for the unknown, something to not be considered seriously; for others it is the will of God, or God itself. It is an ongoing conversation, often played out in deaths.

Glowing Wheel by Ademal

Read more about The Wheel

The Chosen of The Wheel

The Sovereign are the supposed chosen of the Wheel and the keepers of the afterlives. There is one each for the Sazashi, the Verin, and Humanity.   Prophecy foretells the rise of a fourth, but who?

The Sovereign
Profession | Apr 18, 2019

The Chosen of The Wheel

Read more about the Sovereign

You Will See Many Worlds

Explore strange lands and encounter stranger things Back to top ↑

The Wayhall

An intergalactic highway of unknown origin

The WayHall is the expansive web of WayPoints which define the borders of civilization and links the worlds. Its existence allows for mass transit and commerce beyond the capabilities of the Sophont.

Without it the peoples of Pillar Spoke and Via Lactea would never have met, and intergalactic travel may not have happened for thousands of years to come.

A millennium ago, the Banners sprawled through the stars, fighting viciously over worlds and WayPoints. They were unstoppable, until, for unknown reason, the WayHalls closed and their Indices disappeared.

Overnight, the universal economies collapsed and the Banners imploded to base parts as they struggled to maintain grip wherever they were. At first they turned their energy towards re-finding the Indices, but only a couple were found before the apocalyptic state of the Hub forced their energy towards conservation and to abandon hope of growing.

Within the last century, the Indices have begun to appear en-masse, and once more the Banners grow...

Read more about the WayHall

The Hub

The origin of life and the Banners, in uneasy conflict—click a galaxy for more info
The Hub is the core of Ethnis—the worlds of the Banners which exist in an uneasy, sometimes violent, truce. For any of them to survive there must be a measure of cooperation, for now, but each of them is waiting for that insight or advancement that puts them ahead of their peers and secures their place as the dominant Banner.

Read more about the Hub

Many Worlds Beckon,

Reclaim old worlds, discover new ones
Indices are discovered frequently, each one marking a fresh gold rush—mostly of worlds being brought back into the fold, but also of entirely new ones being found. This new era is the Reclamation, and is marked by rampant, exciting growth.

Read more about the Reclamation

Rife with Opportunity,

Take up the mantle of your choice
There's no shortage of work in the Reclamation, and with the economic boom comes a demand for explorers, adventurers, settlers, and warriors of every shade. Take up a mantle, and seek out adventures and fortunes!

Read more about Mantles

And Relics of The Past

Learn from the hardships of countless worlds
The abandoned worlds didn't all die at once, and some never died at all—the survivors took root and built new civilizations. Every world is a treasure trove of ideas, technology, and life, ripe for exploration, exploitation, or resettlement. Get out there!

Read more about the other worlds

And You Shall Stake Your Claim

Read Ethnis, join it as a hero, or contribute to the ongoing development Back to top ↑

What are you?

A Reader?

The Ethnis Universe is an expansive one, with ambition to match. As it progresses, it will have many stories to tell, and many ways to tell them. Dive in, and lose yourself in a rich tapestry of interesting characters and wild worlds.  
Introduction to the Narrative Universe
Generic article | Apr 6, 2020

Ethnis has many stories within it. Some are short, some are long; some funny, some sad. If you would like to experience them, this is the place to begin.

A Player?

The RPG allows you to adventure within Ethnis. Make rich, interesting characters with intriguing backstories and lofty goals, fight gods, save worlds, and rise to become a renown power in a diverse and wild setting.  
Ethnis Core RPG
Generic article | Apr 12, 2019

An introduction to the Ethnis RPGs: Ethnis Light and Ethnis Core. Learn the basics, how to make a character, and, of course, how to play! Most RPG content is for Adept+ supporters only, but you can preview the basics before deciding to back.

A Supporter?

You want more—you want to be involved, to contribute, to help Ethnis get out into the world. Support comes in the form of time (sharing Ethnis on social media) or money (backing us on Patreon and other platforms, and we deeply appreciate both.  
Support Ethnis
Organization | Jun 15, 2020

How you can help Ethnis grow! Share us with friends, give us feedback, and support us on social media and Patreon!

Content Warning!

Ethnis contains intense themes which may not be suitable for all users Keep an eye open for content warnings.

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Articles under Introduction To Ethnis

Cover image: Hologram Wheel by Ademal


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@ Hiromon
11 Dec, 2017 23:50

Man I love the Layout <3

@ Dennet
Dennet Krishnan
20 Jan, 2018 06:39

Loving the layout and flow.. Superb.

11 Feb, 2018 15:22

I love this article, I need to do one for my world, its an inspiration.

GorgeFodder - Former Forge Father & Former Community Director of World Anvil
25 Feb, 2018 01:58

Amazing! Beautiful, smooth narrative that flows easily from one section to the next without overwhelming, but instead informing and intriguing the reader. Very inspiring, Ademal!

Forgemaster Janet
Janet Forbes
7 May, 2018 10:43

Such a fabulous introduction page - great job! <3

-- Janet (pen name J.D. Blythe), Founder of World Anvil Grab your hammer and GO WORLDBUILD!
7 May, 2018 14:59

I'm so glad you like it!

Admin of the World Anvil Codex & Discord | Director of Ethnis | My Ko-Fi | My Twitter
22 Jun, 2018 16:32

this is okay I guess.

23 Jun, 2018 14:54

Yeah it could use a little love.

Admin of the World Anvil Codex & Discord | Director of Ethnis | My Ko-Fi | My Twitter
15 Feb, 2019 21:59

It has received the love.

26 Feb, 2019 17:38

Too much love. Everything else in Ethnis pales now.   Time to start over!

Admin of the World Anvil Codex & Discord | Director of Ethnis | My Ko-Fi | My Twitter
@ Nocturnal Nightingale
Nocturnal Nightingale
30 Nov, 2018 20:55

A lovely introductory article, well paced and informative without being overwhelming.   As we discussed, here’s the results of my proofreading, some are grammatical and others are just suggestions based on what I think will sound nice, feel free to take them or leave them.   “The beast whose metal they were cast from, the sazakraht, is a force of nature—the Sazashi are them engineered to greater aspirations.” First paragraph under “Sazashi”, near the end, “the Sazashi are them” sounds like it could use a little neatening up, maybe something like “the Sazashi are their progenitors”?   “The Banners are the high factions of Ethnis, to whom all other factions must swear fealty or risk having as enemies or, equally bad, having nobody to trade with or protect them.” First paragraph under “The Banners”, at the top. This sentence feels run on to me? May be better to split it into two? “The Banners are the high factions of Ethnis, to whom all other factions must swear fealty, or risk having as enemies. Equally dangerous is the risk of having no allies for trade or protection.” Or something similar.   “There is no denying that there is some higher force at play in the universe, some source for the Meta, the Soul, the Wayhall, the Sovereign, and so forth, but what exactly this force is is a topic of great debate.” First paragraph of “The Wheel” feels a little run on again, maybe? Can avoid “but” and “is is” at the end by splitting into two sentences. “...and so forth. The source of this force is a topic of great debate.” Or something.   “The Sazashi rediscovers he Earth Index” First sentence of “The Era of Bonds” I assume “he” is supposed to be “the”.   “At first it’s good, but tensions inevitably build and war erupts.” Same paragraph, “At first it’s good” sounds off, maybe something like “Early interactions begin well, but…”   “Now that the 500-year gestation of the colonial terraformation grids has long past those worlds are now rich for populating.” First paragraph of “Era of Reclamation”, middle of paragraph. I’m pretty sure “past” in this context is supposed to be “passed”? May be wrong? Not 100% sure but figured I’d mention it.   “and perhaps rise to become a renown intragalactic force.” Under “tabletop rpg”, last sentence, I think renown is supposed to be “renowned”? Or “an intergalactic force of renown”? Not sure again, but figured I’d mention it.   I think that was everything I could find. But I’ll continue to look it over and let you know privately if I discover anything else. Good luck with World Ember!

26 Feb, 2019 17:34

I took a lot of your feedback into mind when I did the article rehaul. Thank you!

Admin of the World Anvil Codex & Discord | Director of Ethnis | My Ko-Fi | My Twitter
Master Redclaw123
Elias Redclaw
10 Jan, 2019 17:01

This is the way that one should pull off an introductory article to ones world. It is simple and precise and to the point . The adequate usage of links here is simply perfect and it seems to flow smoothly and fluidly. I believe that this article is a must read for those who are wanting to do introductory articles to their own worlds. Well done Ademal and Barron. Hope you guys can keep up the great work

@ yeslittlehummingbird-deleted
Anna Elizabeth Boyett
15 Feb, 2019 20:11

Easy to read. Informative. Piques your interest. Gives you plenty to explore... Now my intro article feels like a potato by comparison XD Once again your skills absolutely blow me away. Beautiful work, love!

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