Etrea is a planet in the Celestial Spiral. It is understood to be the fourth planet from the sun, and is the only known celestial body to contain and support life.
Currently, Etrea is in a time period known as the Enervant Age, which is sometimes also called the Waking Age. This began with an event known as the Renewal, when divine beings attempted to strip the world bare and create it anew. The memories of its sapient inhabitants were wiped almost clean, leaving them only with snatches and dreams of what came before. The Renewal was not a perfect success, however, and remnants of the previous ages can still be found scattered across Etrea.
Etrea is also the colloquial name for what is known as the mortal plane. The existence of other planes is not currently general knowledge, though many myths and legends across Etrea originate from interactions with them.
An Overview of Sapient Beings
It is generally accepted by scholars that the sapient beings in Etrea descended from a single, ancient species
. Thousands of years of evolution, however, have separated these beings into four distinct species. Whilst the following is a rather simplistic overview of each of these - in practice, each species is actually split into multiple species - these four categories are broadly utilised in scientific and academic circles.
Humans are the most prolific and widespread of the sapient species in Etrea. They are a diverse people, with myriad cultures and values.
Some humans 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 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 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 and some rare cases of reptilian ones.
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.
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 large.
Dragons tend to stick to their own kind and, in some places, have completely cut themselves off from others. However, in other places, 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.
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. The diversity of merfolk speciess, however, makes it difficult to describe what a "typical" merfolk would look like. In the far north, for example, exists a species of polar merfolk the size of whales.
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.
The continent of Aenica
is the largest on Etrea and, as such, it boasts a large diversity of inhabitants and biomes. In the mountains
, avian shapeshifters have created proud cities and human hill-tribes dwell in large networks of caves
. Whilst the dryest desert
in Etrea holds untold secrets, the humid jungles
hide a history soaked in blood, and the swamps
dance with mysterious lights.
Also known as the Fractured Continent, Caia
is made up of several distinct landmasses. A large mountain range snakes across the continent. The climate 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
. The waters in the north are littered with islands
, giving rise to a large variety of both isolated and seafaring cultures.
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
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.
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 is a cold land of rock and ice. Contrary to its name, there is life here if one knows where to look.
The other planes of Etrea are both similar and different to the mortal plane. If you were to lay maps of all of them on top of each other, the coastlines would match up. However, everything else - climate, geography, fauna, flora, etc - is different. Where there are mountains on one plane, another may have the jawbone of some long-dead creature.
Across the planes, there are rifts
or weak spots that allow things to slip between them. These are rare, and often well-hidden, and, as such, most of the mortal plane is not aware of the existence of other planes. However, denizens of other planes are common in Etrea's mythology and folklore.
The Divine Plane
The Divine Plane was the first plane created by Sin, the consciousness responsible for the creation of the universe. It is the home of (most of) the divine beings, the only living creatures created directly by Sin.
Each divine being has claimed a chunk of the plane for themselves. As such, the Divine Plane is a diverse place full of magic, wonder - and danger. These beings are responsible for the creation of many of the other planes and their denizens.
The Hells are the home of the rest of the divine beings, who were banished from the Divine Plane by the others. These beings are generally responsible for the evils in the universe and the darker planes of existence.
Like their counterparts on the Divine Plane, each being has taken a section of the plane for themselves. As such, the Hells are just as diverse, though much more dangerous.
The divine beings of both planes are often worshipped as gods by the other planes, though rarely accurately.
Also known as the Realm of the Dead, The Beyond is a place where spirits from the other planes pass to after death. These spirits often have no memory of their life before The Beyond, though there are exceptions.
Though The Beyond features - often inaccurately - in the afterlife mythoi of many cultures and species, where a spirit ends up is largely random. Several species of sentient beings call this plane home, ruling over or tending to the spirits that end up there.
The Faelands are a lush plane, brimming with flora, fauna, and magic. It is also home to a wide variety of sapient species, many of which are magical in their own right.
There are several places in the Faelands where the barrier between it and the mortal plane is thin enough to slip over. It is not uncommon for people from Etrea to find themselves in an unfamiliar place - or for those of the Faelands to go on an adventure.
The Umbra is a chaotic realm where the strong rise to power on the blood of the weak. The divine beings often consider it to be the opposite of the Faelands. It is home to a variety of sapient species, many hedonistic, spiteful, or sadistic.
Like the Faelands, there are several places where the barrier between it and the mortal plane is weak enough for unsuspecting people to pass through. The denizens of the Umbra use this to their advantage, gathering slaves to further their own gains.
Ashtakh is a realm full of darkness and eldritch monstrosities. Few sapient beings call this plane home, but those that do can perhaps only be described as monstrous.
In the dark, hidden places of Etrea, deliberate tears to Ashtakh exist, waiting for unsuspecting creatures to fall through.
The Wastes is, as its name suggests, a blasted wasteland. It is the site of a never-ending battle between armies from the Divine Plane and the Hells.
Surprisingly, several sapient species call the Wastes their home, eking out an existance between the eternal battlegrounds.