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 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.   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

 
It is generally accepted by scholars that the sapient beings in Etrea descended from a single, ancient species, known only as the origin. 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

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.   Humans 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. Above all, they are social creatures who do poorly when isolated.   Humans have very little magic compared to their numbers. It is estimated that less than five percent of the population has some kind of magical talent.

Shapeshifters

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.   Some tribes, however, are formed of multiple animal types. There are also several mountain cities built by an alliance of avian shifters.
 

Dragons

Like shapeshifters, dragons are humanoids that can transform their bodies into a second form. 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.   There are a variety of dragon species, each with their own unique features, but in general their second form is reptilian and about eight feet in length. Like with shifters, their transformation powers are suppressed during pregnancy.   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

Merfolk are humanoids that spend all of - or the majority of - their lives in the water. This is a broad category, and many merfolk separate themselves further into different species.   Many merfolk have a mixture of humanoid and ichthyoid features. Commonly, what would be legs are replaced by a long, powerful tail that aids with underwater propulsion. The diversity of merfolk species makes it difficult to describe what a "typical" merfolk would look like, however.   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

 

Aenica

  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.

Caia

  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 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 grasslands 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.  

Oyekos

  South of the equator, Oyekos is a war-torn continent split into two by a large mountain range. Once made up of many countries, the land to the north is slowly becoming swallowed by the ceaseless maw of the Hutsai Empire. North of the mountains, the land is made up of sandy desert, endless plains, and lush jungle. South of the mountains, the country of Koye is characterised by rolling moors.
 

Sarsand

  Sarsand is a rocky, wet continent, where it is more likely to be raining than not. Fifteen years ago, the power of steam was discovered in the country of Dryst. This country is currently in the middle of an industrial expansion which is slowly spreading out to the rest of Sarsand.  

The Jasperic Isles

  A tropical archipelago, the Jasperic Isles is a region with diverse flora, fauna, and cultures. Whilst some islands have come together and formed alliances, others remain isolated from the rest of Etrea. There are also several underwater nations of merfolk who call the islands home.  

Viretia

  The majority of the continent of Viretia is warm and tropical, though towards the south the climate becomes temperate and colder. Beyond the southern mountains, the country of Fluvansii struggles with particularly harsh winters.  

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.   A volcanic island chain seethes under a layer of ice and snow.  

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.


Cover image: by FelixMittermeier

Comments

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 Solis Empire, Magic Earth, Ithir and Vyraj
Check out my Summer Camp progress page
1 Feb, 2021 23:38

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

Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
6 Feb, 2021 18:29

+1!

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
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.

Give me a visit at my current project(s): Aesontis
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

Starfarertheta
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

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. ^^

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

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

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

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!

Author of prize-winning RPG settings Dark Shadows and Cinders of the Cataclysm. Designer of the narratively focused CD10.
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. :)

3 Feb, 2021 12:53

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

Author of Arda Almayed, resident myth nerd!
3 Feb, 2021 12:55

YES, SHRIMPS. Thank you so much! <3

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.

Check out my pledge for Summer Camp 2022
4 Feb, 2021 01:42

Thank you so much! <3

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

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

Grandmaster AzounIV
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!

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
6 Feb, 2021 23:43

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

Grandmaster AzounIV
Luca Poddighe
7 Feb, 2021 10:32

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

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
Grandmaster AzounIV
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!

Transform your quirks, in your strength! Join the revolution and visit Phaldorya (Eng)
15 May, 2021 16:29

Thanks, Luca! <3

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!

11 Feb, 2021 11:16

Awww, thank you so much, AP. <3

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

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

Sage Spectral42
Spectral 42
16 Jun, 2021 00:48

This article is put together really well!

Live long Dream big
16 Jun, 2021 15:22

Aw thank you! :D <3

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