An Introduction to Qet

Keht

All is quiet on the mesa. The fractured moon, Niktaluez, and its sisters gently reflect the light of the punctured sun, Yilek— the cold light giving the red-orange stone beneath you an almost purple hue.   You stare up at the glittering cosmos above, a beautiful, wild, cluster of distant stars seems as if to slither through the skies like a great serpent. Subtle hues of yellow, green, and purple dance within its belly— and for a brief moment, you shudder as a chill runs down your spine— it's watching you, too.
  Somehow, as if in a dream, you have found yourself in the world of Qet. A red-walled canyon surrounds you. Nearby, a creek babbles, as brilliantly verdant shrubs cling to life alongside it. All seems calm, even peaceful, until you hear the crazed screams of ravenous Cichetet somewhere in the distance.   Perhaps you instead have stumbled your way into the massive subterranean expanse of Tchaoxlik, your torch has expired and your entry is lost. Frightening images begin to dance in your periphery— but fade away as you nervously dart your eyes towards them. Perhaps you stand on a great mountain before a strange square meteor, or within a vast rain forest as distant music urges you towards safety.   Regardless of where you now stand, whether you lie in mortal danger knowingly or not— you are in Qet. Welcome.

A full world map will replace the above later.

What is Qet?

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Qet is a dark fantasy setting and TTRPG with heavy doses of cosmic and body horror, with inspiration in part from ancient Mesoamerican civilizations. It is a space where I allow my darker thoughts to bleed out and breathe in the open air, and where I find myself playing with myriad other thoughts and ideas that prey upon my mind.   The world itself was created from the viscera of the dead god, Qetlon. Land, water, air, life— all of it came from their now festering corpse, which decays at a nigh imperceptible rate. How or why this cadaver became the world and all that is seen within it is known to none, and very few are even aware that they were once part of a god. Humanity takes on many different forms throughout the world, having evolved rapidly to suit their varied surroundings when they were first born.   Few wield magic, or are even aware of its existence, while monsters and forces beyond comprehension, however, can utilize these strange powers naturally. Monsters, born from Qetlon's digestive system, are born with insatiable hunger— and seek to devour all of mankind. Meanwhile, strange, ancient forces pull at the very fabric of reality without regard for those living within it— often leading to horrible consequences for those unknowingly in their paths.   Those living within Qet go on, regardless. Leaders come and go— both great and terrible, knowledge is found and lost, power transfers hands, grand civilizations rise and fall, cultures and art flourish and dissolve, lives begin and end— the stories of history are always being written, while most wish for nothing more than to see another day.  

The TTRPG

Qet is the title for both a narrative setting, and a TTRPG. The TTRPG itself ties into the themes of the setting— everything has a cost. In Qet, narrative comes first and foremost— aiming towards this by minimizing the time spent on calculations by using FUDGE dice, and in the usage of various mechanics that encourage player creativity.   The game's mechanics focus on creating a sense of dread and immersion via fears, stress, and interactivity with the world. At current, the first draft of Qet's rulebook is set to be complete by the end of 2020.
 

Where Do I Start?

First and foremost, you should read the introduction on the world homepage. Following that, I've written below short primers on key components of Qet— alongside a collection of essential articles for each.  

Nature

The laws of nature present in Qet differ greatly from those of our own world. The world itself, and all that live within it, was formed from the body of a dead god. Most living beings were diluted from a larger part, while other, powerful beings, formed from whole parts of the dead god.   The dead god's powers have been diluted unequally among them, monsters can naturally wield magical energies while humans sit just below the threshold. As everything contains some modicum of this power, they can be distilled to their rawest energies and brewed into alchemical concoctions which offer temporary boons and banes to their consumers. Stronger potions allow one to permanently alter their physiology by mutating it with that of those they have distilled.   Others may find power through forbidden acts, or by making contact with eldritch beings. Either way, this power always comes with a price. The very cosmos above Qet appear to be alive— the sun has a great hole punctured through it, and the moon is shattered into various rings. Strange weather phenomena occur periodically as a result.
 

People

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Various figures live within the world, some pulling the strings of history to their wills while others lead great swathes of followers. Aspects of Qetlon— those formed from whole parts of their body— roam and shape Qet with their great power.   Stronger eldritch beings manipulate people and events, either consciously— nudging them towards their own unknown goals— or alter many lives irrevocably without the slightest awareness of what they have done.   Many do not act alone, and form organizations. Banding together to work towards a common goal. Some simply tell stories, or live alone. Scholars, occultists, farmers— all these are extant with Qet. For what is a world without people?
 

Countries & Ethnicities

Alone we are weak. No more than a trickling stream. Together, we can achieve great things, becoming a mighty river.
  Time and time again this lesson is learned. Empires rise and fall. People disperse and coalesce. Cultures change and transform as new experiences are lived through, and foreign ideas are introduced. Qet is full of many diverse peoples, and their nations.   From the faithful Gokh, who worship the stars that saved them, and their tribes— to the stoic Lliaqeu and their combined city-states of Zilopnou. The nation of Rektouzk extends its mercantile influence throughout the known world, spreading its ideas and language wherever its trade routes touch. Nations and cultures both influence one another greatly, and many flourish and wither within the world of Qet.
 

Stories

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If articles seem too intimidating, stories are always a great gateway for one to delve into a new world. After all, what is a world without stories? From histories to the struggles of individuals— Qet is home to many tales.   Some extant, and others yet to come. Many of Qet's stories thus far focus on the struggles of individuals against things they do not understand. Some are simply horror, while others carry a deeper meaning. Regardless, I hope you can find something interesting among them, or perhaps that something in the future may suit you.
 

Themes

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There are many themes found throughout Qet, some planned, and various others that crop up over time as they prey upon my mind. Before I delve into listing them all below I think it's best to start here with a few broad, ever-present ones, and then work my way down a list in loose order of importance. Firstly, horror, which is more of a genre than a theme. I do not want a lighthearted world— but that's not to say that there are no moments of levity.   The greatest fear for most is that of the unknown, and I would say that just about every other fear can be traced back to this— and thus, not everything will be explained. I'd rather shine a light on the edges of something than illuminate it brightly, questions left behind keep feelings lingering. Secondly, but arguably more importantly, is diversity. In more than just ethnicity and gender, but in ideals, culture, art, and personality. Everyone should feel welcome to dive into Qet regardless of their background.  
  • Everything comes at a cost. There is no progress without struggle. Power, pleasure, knowledge, strength, meaning, love— all of it has a price, be it in blood, time, will, or something stranger.
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  • Exploring different methods of leadership. What makes a great leader? What makes a terrible one?
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  • Those who seem best suited for it are often not those in power, and vice versa.
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  • Transhumanism. We can become something greater than human through our ingenuity. Not all are ready for this.
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  • Knowledge is not forbidden, however, without caution and foresight it can become dangerous. It depends on each of us to utilize it correctly. While many will suffer due to what appears to be forbidden knowledge— it is not forbidden, but simply has a cost that most cannot afford.
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  • Individually we are weak. Accept help. Even the most powerful humans in Qet did not collect their strength from within themselves.
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  • Tradition and family often hold us back. Progress often requires uprooting your beliefs.
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  • Every culture has something to be celebrated.
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  • We cannot rid ourselves of the worst without first confronting it.
 

Inspirations

There are many things that have inspired me throughout my work on Qet. First and foremost, before any sort of media, is our own reality. History is rich with tales often wilder than those found in media, as well as fascinating cultures, art, systems of governance, architecture, and more.   While Qet primarily takes inspiration from various historical Mesoamerican civilizations, such as the Aztec, Maya, or Toltec, I am inspired by histories from across the world such as that of Egypt, Greece, the United States, China, and myriad others. Beyond history is geography and biology; many strange and beautiful things stalk our earth— some more striking than those you could imagine otherwise. Modern culture, art, and architecture inspire me sometimes, as well.  

Media

Most of my media inspirations are video games, as that's just what I've happened to consume the most of. Dark Souls, Bloodborne, Dishonored, and Destiny are especially big ones for Qet. Those worlds all fascinated me in one way or another, and each had a veritable library of written lore I tore through.   In terms of pure writing, most of what I read is nonfiction, books about history or culture— so it's more difficult to pin down something there. Most of the horror work I've read was in the form of short stories, by authors whose names I unfortunately never recorded. Various visual artists have inspired me as well, such as Zdzislaw Beksinski, Robbie Trevino, and Mason Lindroth.   I think it's important to note that, unlike some of my other worlds— I did not go into Qet thinking "I want to make something like [media]." I still do not think such a thing. On rare occasion an article may be inspired in this sense, but my inspirations are mostly relegated to bits and pieces.   As I've spent time on World Anvil I've gained new inspirations from our community, especially notable there are The Web, Araea, and Vardania.  
 

Origins

Qet came about almost by mistake. I was in the middle of a 2-year-long writer's block, and enjoying a slowly dying D&D campaign.   Our DM began to be consistently late, to the point of flat of missing scheduled sessions with increasing frequency. A friend and I were growing equally increasingly frustrated with this, and talked about finding a new game.   I considered the idea of DMing it myself but wasn't comfortable enough to do so yet, so we kept eyes out for new tables.   Around this same time I ran into someone wanting to run a complete rules-free game— effectively pure roleplay. This intrigued me, as story was always what I enjoyed most, so I agreed.   Turns out I had entirely misunderstood— they did not want to DM, they were looking for a DM. In a bit of an awkward spot, and having been considering the idea, I agreed.  
 
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  They had wanted a dark fantasy world to play in, so I dug out the only one I had— written in a long abandoned short story.   I started writing out documents in Drive, what had been a somewhat generic dark world quickly became more flavorful— it had been years since I wrote the original story and much of it dissatisfied me. I was actually writing again, finally free of the block!   It wasn't long until the pieces came together, but my documents became difficult to sort— which is when I stumbled upon WorldAnvil.   Prompting a name for the world— which I had not actually considered prior— Qet was born.   I only ran two sessions with that player, which were good fun, but they fell off the face of the earth shortly after— but I had finally broken the block and couldn't stop!   I discovered a new passion for worldbuilding, got some of my friends interested in the setting, and I've been writing ever since!
 
 

Thanks to...

Jake, Kyle, and Momo, for early and continued support and feedback, especially when I was unsure of whether I could still write.   Lee, for early support and playtesting.   Qurilion, Asher Rose, R. Dylon Elder, and the members of the Happy Sun Lodge for support and feedback.   Mani, for support and invaluable feedback on tabletop mechanics.   Amy Winters-Voss for help navigating particularly finicky CSS.   Ademal for CSS tips, and TTRPG design advice.   Elias for the wonderful world theme.

Support Qet

Do follow the world if you're interested in seeing more! Leaving likes and comments helps my brain do the happy, and criticism is typically welcome!   Join the discord! We've got space for feedback, sharing inspiration, WIP talk on the TTRPG and playtesting when the time finally comes!   Become a patron! More funding means more cool things for the future, and you get access to WIP posts, voting, HD images, and even more!   Buy Qet merchandise! Every bit helps!   Commission me! Check out my website for details.
  The WorldAnvil team for creating and maintaining such a wonderful website!   And a handful of other friends and members of the WorldAnvil community, for support, feedback, answering questions, and even more!  


Cover image: by Garrett Lewis (Timepool)

Comments

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24 Jul, 2020 08:41

I just wanted to say, thank you so much for writing this article. It is beautiful, clear, informative, interesting, and does an amazing job of introducing your setting.   And it finally broke through my mental block that was keeping me from being able to write a world introduction that I loved. This is now also my "world intro Bible template," it is that perfect.

Author of Fillimet, bright fantasy land of possibilities
24 Jul, 2020 18:29

Oh thank you! I'm really glad to hear that it helped! Also you've reminded me again I need to update a few things here. Now I'll have to look forward to yours!

Grandmaster Serukis
Dr Emily Vair-Turnbull
14 Oct, 2020 01:00

Ahhh reading this whilst listening to the Qet theme is amazing. It really adds to the feeling and the aesthetic. <3   I love that you go through the history of how you came to make Qet, as well as all the different inspirations that have drawn together to enrich this world. I think Qet is my favourite of your worlds, if only because it feels so unique and terrifying.   Just caught one typo - 'brevity' is supposed to be 'levity', I believe.   Great job! :)

Emy x   Welcome to Etrea!
14 Oct, 2020 01:29

Thank you for the kind words!   Yeah I always like hearing origins stories for these things, I can't not include mine!   Got the typo, thanks!