Of Stars and Times Physical / Metaphysical Law in Explorers of StarSea™ | World Anvil

Of Stars and Times

This article is set in the Explorers of StarSea™ setting.
Written by Dirk Johnson and Julene Johnson
Cover Image: Original images by Greg Rakozy and Alexander Andrews; Derivation by SapphireSong
Inherent to StarSea, the stars in the heavens are a wonder that inspire awe, desire, and gratitude. These living beings of light illuminate StarSea, provide solar winds, and serve as guiding points in navigation and the tracking of time, be it the hours in a day or the passage of years and ages. Despite what might be known or presumed about the stars, they are still one of the great mysteries of StarSea.


As living beings, stars have a life cycle: they are born (or rise), they live, they observe, they learn, and they die (or fall). The term fall is a literal description - dying stars fall from their home through the levels of StarSea. Starfalls are a wonder to see, and yet, few stars fall in a truly dramatic manner. Occasionally one might see a brilliant display of light or some other phenomenon that accents a certain star's falling.   The term rise is used simply as the opposite of fall. In fact, rather than rising to their position, the stars seem to blink into life, appearing where once no star shone. It is believed that stars originate from The Abyss herself. Even more so than with starfalls, the rise of a star is rarely dramatic. If an observer is lucky or blessed, they may witness a starrise punctuated by a flare of light or energy.   Once risen, most stars remain in place until their death.  
There are some who claim to have seen all of the stars of StarSea move as one, shifting and shimmering. One such legend has resulted in a traditional celebration called the Ma'initri.
  Stars make their home in the heavens, which are the farthest reaches of the High Sea where none can travel. As such, all members of the three Taxonomic Kingdoms of Creatures - Mortals, Monsters, and Majestics - see the Stars far above them. Because the stars cannot be grouped with a single sea, they are watched over by their own Guardian Fate, Avah.   Most stars have light phases, or a repeated pattern for when they shine and dim; some shine only during the day, some shine only during the night, and a few shine all the time (called Everstars). Everstars can be especially useful for navigation, while the light cycle of other stars aid in determining time.   When a star grows bright, it is said to wax, and when a star grows dim, it is said to wane. The time it takes day and night stars to both wax to their brightest and wane to their dimmest (no light at all) is 1 hour. When day stars are waxing, night stars are waning and when night stars are waxing, day stars are waning. These two 1 hour periods are called, respectively, Dawn and Dusk. Together, they are referred to as Twilight.  
Some currents, winds and passageways within and between seas are only available when certain stars shine. This ebb and flow is known as the Tides of StarSea.

Falling Stars

The length of life of a star is varied, and there is no known way for any but a mystic with an affinity for the stars to predict when it might fall. Additionally, stars are rising at a nearly even rate with the fall of stars, so while the sky is ever changing, the number of stars in the heavens remains basically constant. Overall, Everstars tend to live shorter lives due to the fact that they shine both day and night and are always at their brightest. If, by Avah's whim or wisdom, multiple stars fall at once, or should some force, item, or creature lead many to fall to the same location over time, the result is a Starfall Field. These star graveyards are the stuff of legends where untold wealth and power can be obtained.  
One of the treasures created using a Starheart collected from a starfall field is the Fallstar Tiara, which allows the wearer to shift aether currents to their will
  When a star falls, it breaks into three distinct parts:
  • The stars' essence, or their memories, knowledge, and personality, is contained in a Starheart. These indestructible heptagonal prism polycrystals are exceptionally rare. Each fallen star produces a single Starheart.
  • Starshards are single heptagonal prisms used as a currency in StarSea and as catalysts in alchemic reactions. While there is a similarity in appearance to Starheart geometry, Starshards are far more brittle. One fallen star can produce several thousand Starshards or more.
  • The massive power inherent to stars is passed on in the form of Stardust. By far the most abundant resource obtained from a fallen star, these tiny particles serve as a power source in StarSea. Wake Drives and alchemic reactions are two examples of what Stardust can power.
    The prevailing mythology is Mortals were made from the stars - made of Stardust.
  Because there is still life in Starhearts, a stars death isn't a full death, but more of a passing into a new state. Regardless, many view these star parts as resources to be obtained. Upon a star's fall, the resources are scattered througout the High Sea, the Open Sea, and the Deep Sea as it passes through. The initial descent is visible to all of StarSea, but as the remnants of the star reach the traversable aether, the pieces enter individual seas, and will only be visible from the sea they are in. Most star parts from a single fallen star will enter the same sea, but a small amount will almost always scatter across multiple seas.   StarHunters roam StarSea in search of Starhearts, Starshards, and Stardust. While some seek any star resources, some are only interested in specific star parts and/or starparts of specific colors. The color of the materials tend to match the color of the star they came from, though a single star can produce many colors of material. Should the star have been a rare color, the materials will generally be in higher demand. Thus, when the rarer stars fall, one can expect a swarm of StarHunters.  

The Sun and The Moon

At all times, there are two stars which differ from the vast majority. The primary star and source of light during the day is called the Sun, and the primary star and source of light for the night is called the Moon. These stars are by far, the biggest and brightest stars in StarSea, the Sun generally being larger and brighter than the Moon. From the perspective of the occupants of StarSea, the two stars occupy the same position in the heavens, directly overhead.   Currently, a star by the name of Celesta serves as the Sun and a star by the name of Tunis serves as the Moon.   The Sun and Moon differ from all other stars in 3 ways:
  • While stars come in all colors in the visible spectrum, Suns are the only white stars, and Moons are the only black stars. This means Sunhearts, Moonhearts and their associated shards and dust are the most rare. White stars and black stars only produce star parts of their respective color, and white and black star parts only come from the Sun and the Moon.  
    There is also a unique aethereal nature to the light of the Moon. Some only recognize it as a dim light which casts a subdued feeling upon all of StarSea, and in truth, most have only experienced the light as such. However, in certain places, the light of the Moon takes on different behaviors and appearances. Witnessed Moonlight-triggered phenomena include: objects glowing, objects blurring into unnatural shadow, and revealing of objects, beings, or markings which could not be seen in the light of the Sun. The effects of Moonlight are not documented in completion, for new effects can be discovered as often as adventurers explore more of StarSea.   The remnants of a fallen Moon exhibit the same diverse properties as the light. Thus some may be hidden, some may be bright, some may warp the area around it, and so on. These behaviors make them hard to discover and has led some to believe that there are still a myriad of black starparts to be found. A rare breed of StarHunter specifically focuses on acruing these black star parts. These are called Black StarHunters, and they are considered the black sheep of the StarHunter profession.
  • Starting at dawn, the Sun continues to grow bright until noon and then starts to dim until it reaches the end of dusk. This means you can tell the time of day by the brightness of the Sun. Likewise, starting at dusk, the Moon continues to grow bright until midnight and then starts to dim until it reaches the end of dawn. This means you can tell the time of night by the brightness of the Moon.  
    Various instruments have been developed which allow individuals to measure the light coming from the Sun and/or the Moon. These serve as clocks in StarSea. Some ships or islands also employ mystics which connect to stars to determine the brightness. The individuals who serve in this capacity are also called Clocks, and so the term has come to connote a profession rather than simply an object.
  • The Sun and Moon life cycles are fixed with the current Age to which they belong (see The Cycle of the Ages below). This means at the end of the current Age (the Age of Mortals), Celesta and Tunis will fall, and a new Sun and Moon will rise with the coming of the Age of Monsters.
  Due to their age and power, Sun and Moon Starhearts, Starshards, and Stardust are in the highest demand and are the rarest of these resources. To have claim on a Sunheart or Moonheart is to be a person of great wealth, power, and influence. They are the ultimate prize for StarHunters.   During Twilight, when stars are either waxing or waning, all the stars can be seen in the heavens; these are magical times.  
Additionally, during Twilight, you can see the Eye of StarSea. As the Sun and the Moon appear in the same place in the sky, due to the synchronicity of their opposed waxing and waning, as the smaller Moon shines its black light, and the larger Sun shines its white light, they form an eye in the sky called the Eye of StarSea. This is the symbol of Mystica. The mystics say that StarSea's nature and influence are strongest during Dawn and Dusk, and thus these are the times Mystics are at their most powerful as well. There is a saying, "Never mess with a Mystic at Twilight". It should be noted that the stars are so high in the heavens they are universal to all 7 seas. If you don't know what sea youre in, you could navigate yourself into lands unknown thinking you know where you're going.  

Unfettered Stars

Small numbers of stars, for whatever reason, are in motion across the sky, and they seem to have varying cycles of when they shed their light - these are called unfettered stars and are considered the light of unfettered souls that could not be held in place.  


In addition to stars, residents of StarSea will find planets in the Heavens. Planets are believed to be stars whose light has gone out, but which have not yet fallen. They, too, fall at some point. Since their light has already gone out, their very nature has shifted, and the dust has collapsed in on itself so that, instead of dust, large chunks of planets fall. Thus, falling planets are called meteor showers instead of starfalls. Some think this is the origin of the islands, and that some of these floating bits of land have the Starhearts of these extinguished stars trapped within.  


Explorers roam StarSea with the use of maps and stars. As the largest and brightest stars, Celesta and Tunis serve as the upper light for navigators. Each navigator chooses two stars as their lower lights - one day star and one night star. Because most stars are anchored to their location in the heavens, they can be relied upon for identifying where a ship or island is on a map. However, occasionally, stars chosen as lower lights fall, and navigators must adjust.  


Startographers map the stars for navigation. As the heavens look different between day and night, it requires there be two versions of a map. Additionally, since stars are constantly rising and falling (not all at once) an effort needs to be made to keep the maps current. Due to this constant churn in the day and night skies, Startographers and their sextants are kept very busy.  
There is a rare type of map which adjusts with StarSea. These maps will show both day and night patterns.
  Startographers have a knack for knowing where to look for the remnants of a fallen star. Consequently, they are in demand for StarHunters.   StarHunters, Startographers, and Mystics know and understand the stars the best, each from their own perspective - StarHunters see their value, Startographers know their Alchemy and “motion”, and Mystics see their life and meaning. Because of this, many Startographers are really Alchemists with a focus on the stars.  

The Cycle of the Ages (Time)


StarSea cycles through 3 Ages in a repeating order: The Majestic Age -> The Mortal Age -> The Monster Age -> Repeat.   The name of an Age corresponds to the Kingdom which the stars are favoring. Thus, the Kingdom who's Age it is will have more power, influence, and prominance across StarSea during that age. Currently, the stars favor Mortals, who are thriving as a whole.   The transitions: from the Mortal Age to the Monster Age is the Apocalypse; from the Monster Age to the Majestic Age is the Rupture; from the Majestic Age to the Mortal Age is Regenesis.   Nobody (except the Abyss) knows how many ages StarSea has seen.

Each Age lasts 7000 years.
Each year lasts 7 months.
Each Month lasts 7 weeks.
Each week is 7 days
Each year is 343 days
  An Age starts counting years at 1000 and ends at the end of the 7999th year. Full dates are listed like the following: YYYY.M.W.D; AGE. This means the first day of the Monster Age, for example, is 1000.1.1.1; Monster Age, and the last day is 7999.7.7.7; Monster Age.  
The starting date for this setting is 7850.1.1.1; Mortal Age.
This means there is 150 years until the transition to the Monster Age
A day is 24 hours.
Dawn lasts 1 hour ---- Daylight lasts 11 hours ---- Dusk lasts 1 hour ---- Nightlight lasts 11 hours

Cycles and Watches

A "cycle" is 4 hours long. Cycles are often used to measure how time passes in StarSea. 1st Cycle (the first 4 hours of the day) starts with Dawn and the first 3 hours of Daylight. 2nd Cycle is the next 4 hours of the day, and so on to the 6th Cycle. When watching over camp at night, 4th Cycle is often referred to as 1st Watch, and so on through 3rd Watch, which would be the last hours of night light. If watches need to extend into the daylight hours, then 4th Watch is the 1st Cycle of the next day and so on till 6th Watch.    


Islands in StarSea have the same sky, and therefore, each day begins at the same time as all other islands, but as each islands ecosystem varies, their seasons can all be different. For example, one island can have winter for 4 months and spring for 3 months and skip fall and summer, while another can have all 4 seasons.'

Name Meanings

Celesta is derived from the name Celeste, which means "of the sky, heavenly"
Tunis means "camp at night"

List of most recent Suns and Moons

Monster Age
Majestic Age
Mortal Age

Links Found in Article

Heavens (The High Sea)
The Abyss
High Sea
Guardian Fate (The Fates)
Avah, Guardian Fate of the Heavens
Starfall Fields
Fallstar Tiara
Aether Currents
Alchemic (Alchemy)
Wake Drive
The Open Sea
The Deep Sea
Sea (The Seven Seas)
Map (Attuned Maps)
Last updated 2024-01-31

Cover image: by Greg Rakozy and Alexander Andrews combined by SapphireSong


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