An Introduction to Etrea

An Introduction to Etrea

A world primer

It is the 28th day of Terminus in the year 5346 of the Enervant Age. Around the world, a new year is about to be welcomed as dawn breaks on the final day.   The Enervant Age began with a catastrophic event known as the Renewal. The memories of its sapient inhabitants were wiped away, leaving them only with snatches of memory and dreams of what came before. The world itself was stripped bare and create anew, though some remnants of before can still be found scattered across Etrea. There are no clues as to how these ruins survived the purge. No one knows what caused this event - or if it could one day happen again.   The wheel of industry turns, as Etrea learns to balance new and growing technology with the innate magic that ripples across the planet. The power of steam and the rise of factories and new methods of transportation fill some with fear for the future - of another Renewal. Whilst many embrace these new technologies, others vehemently oppose them.   Etrea is a planet in the Celestial Spiral, a solar system of ten distinct planets. It is understood to be the fourth planet from the sun, and is the only known celestial body to contain and support life. Although travel to the stars is still a long way in the future, people around Etrea look up at the night sky and wonder.

An Overview of Sapient Beings

We all think, and love, and feel pain.
— A somewhat rare view
  It is generally accepted by scholars that the sapient beings in Etrea descended from a single, ancient species, known by scholars as the allkin. Hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, however, have separated these beings into four distinct species.
  Whilst the following is a rather simplistic overview - in practice, each species can be split further - these four categories are broadly utilised in both scientific and academic circles.  


Humans are the most prolific and widespread of the sapient species in Etrea. They tend to see themselves as the default, which allows members of other species to blend in seamlessly amongst them.  
They are a diverse people, with myriad cultures and values. Some live in large cities made of stone, some in smaller towns or villages, whereas others travel as part of nomadic tribes or spend their whole lives at sea.   Humans are social creatures who do poorly when isolated. In the majority of cultures, exile is seen as a worse punishment than death.
  Humans have very little magic compared to their numbers. It is estimated that less than one percent of the population has some kind of magical talent.


Shapeshifters are humanoids that have the ability to transform into a second form. Whilst being able to shift into another mammal is the most common transformation, there are also a variety of avian shifters. They cannot reproduce in their second form, as pregnancy inhibits the ability to shift. This, of course, has not stopped tales of egg-laying shapeshifters spreading amongst the human population.  
Shifters tend to group together in tribes. These are most often comprised of those who shift into the same animal, though some are formed of multiple animal types.   Most avian shifters have gathered together in one large tribe, famously distrusting of outsiders. They have built a large city in the mountains, in a place where no one without wings can reach them.


Like shapeshifters, dragons are humanoids that can transform their bodies into a second form.   There are a variety of dragon species, each with their own unique features, but in general their second form is reptilian and about eight to ten feet in length. Like with shifters, their transformation powers are suppressed during pregnancy.
  Some schools of thought see the dragons as merely a subset of shapeshifters, though in recent years this way of thinking has become less popular due to key differences in their humanoid anatomy.   Dragons tend to stick to their own kind and, in some places, have completely cut themselves off from others. Elsewhere, some dragon clans have integrated with humans and are a visible presence in their society.   Dragons are the most magical of the sapient species of Etrea, with almost a hundred percent of their population displaying some kind of magical talent. They believe, however, that they are much diminished compared to the ancient dragons they teach once walked Etrea.


Merfolk are humanoids that spend all of - or the majority of - their lives in the water. This is a broad category, and both merfolk and scholars separate themselves further into different species.  
Many merfolk have a mixture of both humanoid and ichthyoid features. Commonly, what would be legs are replaced by a long, powerful tail that aids with underwater propulsion. Most merfolk also have a second pair of transluscent eyelids to protect their eyes from water and debris whilst swimming. The diversity of merfolk species, however, makes it difficult to describe what a "typical" merfolk would look like.
  Merfolk generally keep to their own kind, though this is often due to the logistics of living in or under the water than any isolationist tendencies. To complicate matters, some merfolk have adapted to saltwater whereas others can survive only in fresh.   Like in humans, magical talent is relatively low in the merfolk population. Whilst some subspecies have a higher prevalence of magic than others, conservative estimates generally place possession of magical ability at between ten to fifteen percent of all merfolk. Some scholars believe this number could be more like thirty percent.

The Continents

'There is nothing more comforting to a man than thoughts of home.'   In general, I have found this old adage to be true. However, some evenings when I'm sitting out on the cliffs and watching the sun set over the ocean, I miss travelling something fierce. I don't think I've ever found greater comfort than calm nights out on the open sea, my hammock rocking in time with the waves, dreaming of the lands I had yet to see.
An Explorer's Guide to Etrea
by Darwin Ambrose


  Stretching from the ice of the north to far south of the equator, Aenica is the largest continent on Etrea. As such, it boasts vast diversity in its inhabitants and biomes. It is in the period known as the long peace, as no war has been fought on its soil for the last two centuries - at least, not officially.   In the north, the Black Sea remains frozen for much of the year, serving as the home of several nomadic clans of humans. The mountains of the Great Northern Spine bisect the upper part of the continent, hosting the proud cities of avian shapeshifters, and large networks of caves where human hill tribes dwell.   To the south of the Spine, the dryest desert in Etrea stretches out like the mountains' shadow. The sands of the desert glitter in the unforgiving sun, forever shifting and obscuring long lost secrets.   To the far south, Aenica is characterised thick jungles and swamps with hot, sticky air. Scholars believe that the jungles of Aenica contain forty percent of all animal and plant species on Etrea, with up to a million left to be discovered.   As well as unique flora and fauna, the dense foliage hides a history soaked in blood, and the scattered ruins amongst the trees contain the remnants of fallen civilisations. The murky swamps dance with mysterious lights and rumours of monstrous creatures deter all but the most curious adventurers.


  Also known as the Fractured Lands, Caia is made up of several distinct landmasses. The climate of Caia varies wildly between the extreme north, where the land is frozen almost year round, and the extreme south, which is hot and dry where it crosses the equator. A large mountain range snakes across the continent, though one section is shattered by what some scholars theorise could have been a catastrophic meteor impact. The remains of this part of the range are known as the Broken Isles, the shards of rock piercing the waves of the Grey Waters giving rise to a large variety of both isolated and seafaring cultures. The mountains to the south are called the Teeth; to the north, the mountains are known as Ikeota.  
To the north, the native Koushan Mai have been pushed to the fringes of their former homeland, avoiding those who would kill them for their beliefs. On the island of Daren, people live behind thick stone walls with no contact with the world beyond. The Ilwyrikan Sea, frozen for over half the year, creates a bridge between Ilwyrika and Achia, allowing travel and trade - though it has also been the site of several of the bloodiest battles in Caian history.   To the south, the vast plains of Akerra stretch out from horizon to horizon. Kaien, the self-styled cultural and academic capital of the world, strives for progress in the fields of medicine, magic, and astronomy, whilst their universities fight over the best students from all over Etrea. The rainforest that covers most of Zenra is threatened by increased logging and the spread of large-scale agriculture.  


  Once a rich tapestry of countries and cultures, the continent of Oyekos is hostile and war-torn. Over the past two centuries, the land to the north has been mostly swallowed up by the ceaseless maw of the Hutsai Empire. The continent's island nations nervously watch their shores. Whilst some do their best to hang onto the traditions of the past, less and less people can recall a time when their country was independent.   Oyekos is split in two by an impassable mountain range, which has so far protected the land to the south from the encroaching war. The north is characterised by scorching deserts, endless plains, and rocky hills. To the south, the cooler land boasts temperate forests and rolling moors.


  Sarsand is a rain-soaked land of rocky hills, wind-blasted moors, and ancient forests. A volcanic mountain range dominates the skyline to the north, whereas, to the south, the land is flat and unforgiving. Standing stones from milennia past remain scattered across the landscape, monuments to forgotten gods.   Over fifty years ago, the power of steam was discovered in the country of Dryst. This has given rise to rapid industrial expansion, with advances in mass production, machinery, and locomotion. Many strive to make the next great discovery, especially as the fever of industry has spread quickly around the world. The rest of Sarsand has been slow to take up the new technology, as the chaotic social and economic changes in Dryst have caused most to cling tighter to the old ways.   Six months ago, the volcano known as Mount Vatra violently erupted. The capital city of Moragul, Vos Aren, was completely destroyed. Thousands of lives were lost, and thousands more people were displaced. With the destruction of the city came the breakdown of leadership, plunging the country into a brutal civil war.  

The Jasperic Isles

  The Jasperic Isles are an archipelago to the west of Aenica. Though some would consider the Isles a part of Aenica itself, scholars generally categorise them indepently due to the large, unfathomably deep underwater trench separating them from the mainland. The waters surrounding the islands are uncommonly shallow, with the deepest recorded spots measuring at around ten metres. There are about one hundred recognised islands in the archipelago; though some are little more than sandy atolls, some support a large population.   About thirty percent of the cultures that live in the Isles are nomadic seafarers, travelling between islands. Some settle for a time before moving on, giving the resources on each island time to regenerate. Others rarely step foot on land, and do so only out of necessity.  
In the centre of the archipelago lies a floating trade city, cobbled together from old ships, rope, and wooden platforms. The city remains staunchly independent, with its own strict rules and laws. The most important of these laws is a pact of non-aggression; violence is prohibited within the city, and even those at war must remain civil if they wish to trade.  


  Viretia is a land of vast grasslands and thick forests. Most of its coastlines are hostile to ships, with high cliffs, rough seas, and jagged reefs. Safe harbours are rare, with the majority located in the Sea of Gold to the west. This has led to Viretia being generally isolated from the rest of Etrea for much of its history. As a consequence, goods and resources from the continent are seen as a luxury across most of the world. Wine from Fluvansii is particularly sought after.   The wide grasslands that form much of Roshan and Senairi are prone to frequent and violent tornadoes. As a result, some settlements in these countries have been built almost entirely underground, whilst others are built strong in defiance of nature. The royal palace in Senairi, for example, has suffered significant damage six times in the past two hundred years, and each time is built taller and more elaborately than before. In Roshan, however the palace, is built entirely below ground and has suffered damage only to its immaculately-maintained gardens.

The Frozen North

  The majority of the Frozen North consists of a gigantic chunk of floating ice known as the Expanse. Thick columns of ice, some miles wide, reach down to the sea floor, rooting it in place. The columns and underside of the Expanse are coated with bioluminescent algae, giving off an eerie blue glow. On the surface, there's nothing but the whistling, roaring wind, snow, and the slow, ominous cracking of ice.   Beneath the Expanse is the large merfolk city of Qasceile. They maintain large holes in the ice above to allow light to filter through from the surface. The population of merfolk that live in the city includes several different species, including a small clan that are the size of whales.   As well as the Expanse, the Frozen North includes several islands. The first, the isle of Skae, is a rocky, harsh place, but is home to a small tribe of shifters. West of Skae exists a volcanic island chain, where molten rock seethes under the ice. Geothermal vents create pockets of warmth where agriculture thrives in the ashy soil.  

The Barren

  The Barren is a cold land of rock and ice. Contrary to its name, there is life here if one knows where to look. There are no permanent settlements here, but several countries have set up research stations along its coast to observe the continent's unique and elusive wildlife.
We know that we are not alone in the universe. Beyond our sky, we have observed other planets, faint points of light against the inky blackness of space.   Sometimes when I'm looking up at the stars, I wonder if there's anyone out there looking back.
An Explorer's Guide to Etrea
by Darwin Ambrose


Author's Notes

Welcome to Etrea!   Etrea has been part of my life in various forms since I was about twelve/thirteen years old, starting with half a trilogy that will never see the light of day. It means a lot to me that I finally am able to share this world with others instead of keeping it all inside my head! :)

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1 Feb, 2021 23:14

Love the placeholder shrimp :)

Check out the worlds of Terra Nova and Magic Earth
If you are looking for my Summer Camp articles check Terra Nova or My Summer Camp Progress Page
1 Feb, 2021 23:38

Thank you! I love them too, haha. :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Luca Poddighe
6 Feb, 2021 18:29


Jacob Billings
2 Feb, 2021 01:57

Yes please! I haven't read everything in Etrea so this is really appreciated.   I love the only recorded age being casually called "The Etrean Age." It just seems a bit silly to me for some reason, not that it's bad or anything.   Anyway. Such a cool article. Gotta love the shrimp and the image of dragons shifting between human and dragon form gives me Fablehave vibes and I love it.

2 Feb, 2021 02:07

Hahaha, you're right. I keep thinking about changing it but I haven't come up with anything better yet. ^^;   Thanks so much! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Starfarer Theta
2 Feb, 2021 04:18

I'm liking the style of this world. Well done!

2 Feb, 2021 13:01

Thank you! :D <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
2 Feb, 2021 04:27

I adore the layout and design of this article and it presents a very good overview of what to expect while reading the setting. It will be very exciting watching all the shrimps disappear, especially when it comes to the various different planes of existence.   I also really, really want to know more about the fact that there may be ORCA MERFOLK SIGN ME UP.

Author of Ravare.
2 Feb, 2021 13:43

Thank you! :D Lots of art to make!   And yes, orca merfolk are definitely a thing. ^^

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
2 Feb, 2021 08:58

See this is what I was trying to go for with mine, Clean, clear, well laid out, and highly entertaining. Wonderful.

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
2 Feb, 2021 13:43

Thank you! I've been meaning to redo this for a while so I'm happy it worked. :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
2 Feb, 2021 13:00

I really love how you have formatted this article - it makes the entire thing so easy to read and it all flows so nicely. It sounds so interesting and I am fascinated by this renewal, as it was an aspect of your setting I had no idea about! Usually gods tend to go for a much more heavy handed reset (i.e murder), so the mind-wipe approach is so full of interesting possibility to me!   Awesome stuff as always, Emy :D

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
2 Feb, 2021 13:45

Thank you, Q! :D I'm looking forward to writing more about everything! :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
2 Feb, 2021 13:02

It's great to get an overview of your world! I also really enjoyed the theme song as I read the article.

2 Feb, 2021 13:44

Thank you! I'm so pleased with the theme song <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Tobias Linder
3 Feb, 2021 06:03

Primers! ❤️   Nice and concise. It was relatively easy to read. Primers tend to be girthy and not that interesting. More of an info dump than anything else.   I'd say this is a valiant and good attempt at a primer. If I can get through it, it's fine. ;)   I really liked the bioluminescent ice continent. That's just awesome.   I admit my eyes glazed over a bit with the different planes. Not only is it a trigger for my inherent DnD dislike, but you stated that people don't actually know anything about the planes, so they feel like it was unnecessary to add them to the primer. But I am likely just missing how they are important to the world, in spite of not being known to its people.   Thumbs up from me, on the whole!

3 Feb, 2021 12:55

Thank you! :D   I wanted to include the planes in the primer so that people wouldn't be blindsided if I write articles about them, and also because they're connected to mythology. I get where you're coming from, though. :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
3 Feb, 2021 12:53

PLACEHOLDER SHRIMPS! I love this new format, and I'm so excited to discover about all these places!!

Creator of Arda Almayed
3 Feb, 2021 12:55

YES, SHRIMPS. Thank you so much! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Sage eccbooks
E. Christopher Clark
4 Feb, 2021 01:31

This is a fabulous overview. Paints such a clear picture of the world, and it does so with an economy of words that's admirable. That's a skill I'd love to master.   Oh, and I also love the placeholder shrimp.

4 Feb, 2021 01:42

Thank you so much! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
5 Feb, 2021 06:31

Your introduction article is so nice! It is easy to read and has a very clean layout.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
5 Feb, 2021 12:56

Thank you so much! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Master Brinsmead
Caitlin Phillips
5 Feb, 2021 12:10

This is a really beautiful article, excellent written and set-out. I'm always astonished by how multifaceted this world is. Every time I feel like I've learned so much about the world, I remember how vast, complex and almost unknowable it is. This article really portrays that.

Cait x
5 Feb, 2021 12:56

Thanks! It makes me excited to know just how much more I have to create. :D

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Luca Poddighe
6 Feb, 2021 18:39

I love this primer and I need so much to improve the one for Phaldorya! It generally very good but I especially was impressed with the theme, it's awesome!!! I agree on Jacob to change the Etrean age that feels a bit weak, but the rest is simply very well done!

6 Feb, 2021 23:43

Thanks very much, Luca!! Yep, I agree with you both. ^_^

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Luca Poddighe
7 Feb, 2021 10:32

I suppose it is a very little defect in such a cool world!

Luca Poddighe
15 May, 2021 01:44

The polished version is even better than the previous one! I sort of miss the part about planes, but I understand that it isn't gone only moved :-) I like the new name for the era, much better!

15 May, 2021 16:29

Thanks, Luca! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
11 Feb, 2021 11:09

Ah I love this article! It's taken me a while to get round to reading it - apologies for that - but it's such a wonderfully written and concise article. It makes me want to dive deep into so many different parts of your world now! And all those planes! This definitely feels like such a well thought-out world and it's so inspiring to see. One day I hope I can have a world that feels equally as solid and real!

Maker of Maps |AP.Cartography
11 Feb, 2021 11:16

Awww, thank you so much, AP. <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
13 May, 2021 15:16

Loving th e new look. Oooo those buttons are awesome! It's an excellent introduction as well. I learned even more about Etrea, despite having read a bit. Awesome work.

13 May, 2021 17:13

Thank you, Dylon! :D <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
25 May, 2021 08:31

I've been meaning to give this a read since at least WorldEmber - finally got around to it and was well worth it. I've not been the best at actually reading the works of other Anvilites, but Etrea is definitely a world I'll be taking a deeper look into.   This is an absolutely brilliant article, by the way, extremely well put together, provides just enough info to tempt readers to look further - I had to resist the urge to click on links to things at least half a dozen times, and that's not counting the number of bold terms that still lack the article to switch to if I had the option. Lovely, evocative music to accompany it, as well.

25 May, 2021 15:01

Awww, thank you so much! Yes, lots of articles still to write but I'm very excited about them! <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
Spectral 42
16 Jun, 2021 00:48

This article is put together really well!

16 Jun, 2021 15:22

Aw thank you! :D <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
30 Sep, 2022 05:42

Every time you come back to poke at this article, it gets better and better. I am also loving the art, they really convey the emotions of each location in additioj to showing how they look. Phenomenal. Very well done.

Lead Author of Vazdimet.
Necromancy is a Wholesome Science.
6 Dec, 2022 00:51

I missed this comment! :O Thank you so much. <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
25 Oct, 2022 16:44

Wow! Such a great introduction packed with so much information and well presented.

25 Oct, 2022 18:38

Thank you! :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
6 Dec, 2022 11:00

Whilst the content here is clear, well detailed and engaging... Can we just appreciate how great it all looks!? Your artwork blends in so nicely with the rest of your theme and it's all so clean! Love it.

6 Dec, 2022 11:25

Aw, thank you so much! :)

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
2 Jan, 2023 18:30

I'm glad you were able to share it with us, too. Nox is very happy about it. <3 Fantastic work, Emy

Creator of Araea, Megacorpolis, and many others.
3 Jan, 2023 01:37

Thanks, Q <3

Emy x   Etrea | Vazdimet
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