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
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.
Among Proud People
VerinThey 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.
SazashiA 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.
HumanityOnce 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.
You Are A Sophont,
Of A Kind,
Belonging To A Tribe
And Bearing Great Power
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.
Inner Strengths; Deeper TruthsThose 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.
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.
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.
The Chosen of The WheelThe 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?
You Will See Many Worlds
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...