Check out Toy Soldiers: Old School, our live Pathfinder 1e campaign on Twitch!

Discovering the Toy Soldier Saga

Fantasy Space Opera -- World of Warcraft Meets Master & Commander Meets Treasure Planet

The Toy Soldier Saga is a series of fantasy space opera novels, short stories, and novellas. What do I mean by "fantasy space opera?"   Well, beginning in the 1970s and spanning several decades, Anne McCaffrey created a series about dragonriders that, while it codes as fantasy, is pure science fiction. The Toy Soldier Saga codes as science fiction space opera and planetary romance, but it's pure fantasy.   There are alien races and vast empires, whom you'll recognize mostly as creatures from the epic fantasy genre. There is space travel and epic space battle, but accomplished with magic flying ships. There are heroic captains and exotic planetary dangers, but the captains fight more like gunpowder fantasy than Star Trek, and the dangers are just as likely to be supernatural as natural. In the Toy Soldier Saga, you'll hear the roaring cannons, smell the brimstone scent of gunpowder and the iron tang of blood, and watch space flow past the portholes like wine.   I enjoy space opera, and I also enjoy epic Age of Sail stories, like the Aubrey-Maturin novels "Master and Commander" and the Horatio Hornblower books by C.S. Forester. Space opera and military science fiction writers have often drawn inspiration from these stories, and I believe there's a natural link. We aspire to capture the essence of an epic age of exploration and new technologies changing the scope of warfare, but with the infinite Void as its backdrop.

As Novels and Stories

The stories center around Shaundar Sunfall, a misfit Elf who lied about his age to join the Avalonian Imperial Navy when war broke out between his people and the Fomorian Empire. His adventures take him to the highest and lowest strata of society, and force him to confront the idea that perhaps his enemies are not monsters after all. While there is joy, heroism, and epic adventure in the course of the plot, war is dealt with in a direct and realistic way. Terrible things happen, atrocities are perpetrated, and combat is bloody. I think of the novels as having a hopepunk tone, because it is how the characters face the challenges and horrors they endure that is important.  
A subscription to all our serialized fiction is available for $1 a month.
 

As an RPG Setting

The Toy Soldier Saga universe is created for use with a variety of TTRPG game settings. It is intended to capture a feel of adventure and peril. The tone attempts to blend the wonder of space opera, balanced with the harsh realities of war. Ideally, a player ought to have the sense that they are participating in a swashbuckling adventure, but death is always close and never pretty.   In part, this universe is intended as a deconstruction of many of the tropes of epic fantasy. Why are the elves the "good guys" and the orcs the "bad guys?" Can species really determine whether or not a person is good or evil, or are there heroes and monsters among all thinking beings? Indeed, why do fantasy racial stereotypes exist at all? Are magic and technology really mutually exclusive, or would they be used in tandem? Why is war always so clean and glorious in fantasy, when it certainly isn't so in real life?   Characters can and do affect broad changes, but sometimes their options are limited, and their choices may be between the least of two evils. On the other hand, there are moments of both absurdity and joy as well. What kind of game would your group like to play?   Recurring themes include:

Setting and Geography

The Toy Soldier Saga is space opera, and as such, its scope is interstellar. However, in practice, the novels focus on a handful of interconnected systems. Because of the way in which wormholes facilitate travel between the stars, there is no guarantee that the connected star systems are, in fact, in "close proximity," although some are. Magical faster-than-light travel assures that making interstellar voyages takes a similar length of time as it took sailing ships to reach distant shores, and diminishes the effects of relativity.
Systems & Wormholes  
Some of the major star systems of the Toy Soldier Saga, and their wormhole connections

Areas of Conflict

 

Military

Much of the drama in the novels centers around military conflict between the Avalonian Imperial Navy and the Fomorian Navy . The characters can choose to get involved, or fight to maintain their independence as merchants, explorers, or pirates. They could even play independent alien races with their own agendas, like Cthulans, Shoggothi, or Rachs.

Race Relations

Racism is rampant in the Toy Soldier Saga universe. People will often be judged by their race or ethnicity. Plots could center around fighting those prejudices, or perhaps even advancing the interests of a species or ethnicity in preference to others.

Class Relations

This is a colonial age, and colonialism is marked by significant class divides. Advancing oneself in this universe, which makes upward mobility difficult, or even working to break the system entirely, could be a focal point for adventures.

Technology and Arcanology

The advancement of sciences and arts (especially metaphysical arts) is key to the advancement of a starfaring culture. The technological level is based loosely on the Napoleonic Wars period, and the development of new firearms technology and nautical technology was rapidly changing both culture and warfare. Characters could focus on acquiring or building new advances in either field, and then dealing with the consequences, both foreseen, and unforeseen.

Rule of Law

Is the rule of law necessary, or does it only advance the interests of those in power? In the Toy Soldier Saga universe, there are arguments to be made for both points of view. The characters could either be working for the established power and dealing with criminals (like pirates, thieves' guilds, and illegal trade unions), or they could play the "criminal" elements themselves, resisting oppressive colonial powers.

Supported Systems

You will find most of the articles will contain relevant gaming statistic inline, which you will be able to see if you are subscribed at the Ables+ level. However, different games will require different approaches. We support (or are working to support) the following systems, and you can find information starting at the portals below:

 
A subscription to all our RPG material (plus all fiction!) is available for $5 a month.
 

Supporting the Toy Soldier Saga

  Follow the Toy Soldier Saga here on World Anvil to get the latest updates!   We're offering even better access to our Subscribers! Join me at my Patreon!  
A $10 a month subscription gets you access to all in-world Secrets.
A $25 a month subscription gets you exclusive behind-the-scenes content and signed books in trade paperback!
 

Who Are We?

  I'm Diane Morrison, also known as Sable Aradia. I'm a traditionally and independently published author. I've had some moderate successes and some great reviews! I've also started a small press and we've successfully produced an anthology with an international cast.   My husband is Erin Righ. He has been working on game systems and beta testing for a long time. He was on the staff of Fantaseum, which was the official D&D Core Rules website. Since then he ran a successful web magazine until decided that it wasn't what he wanted to do, and moved on to other things.   Both of us are old school tabletop gamers who played D&D back when that was all there was. We've played (and Game Mastered) a variety of other games, too.   We've been developing this universe through gaming and writing for a long time. We're just getting started on World Anvil, but there's so much we have to share, and we're looking forward to sharing it with you!

Don't forget that you can click on the blue compass on the left to access the Table of Contents at any time!
A Few Good Elves WA.png

Want to read all of the Toy Soldier Saga fiction, even before the rest of the world does?Subscribe now!

 

Author's Suggested Reading Order for the Toy Soldier Saga

  • The Queen's Dirk (Prequel)
  • A Few Good Elves (Novel) -- in progress
  • Survivor (Short Story)
  • To Know Your Enemy (Novel) -- coming soon!
  • Eye of the Storm (Novelette - NSFW)
  • Brothers in Arms (Novel) -- coming soon!
  • Pirate Princess Thief Assassin (Short Story)
  • Sable's Privateers (Novel) -- coming soon!
  • Homefront (Novella)
  • As Only a Soldier Can (Short Story)
  • The Mandate of Avalon (Novel) -- coming soon!
 

A Toy Soldier Saga Primer

   
Tree of Life (Starseed)
Species | Mar 2, 2021

Trees of Life are often so vast they become worlds of their own, and their Starseeds are the ships that made space travel possible.

 
Starfaring Engines
Technology / Science | Mar 2, 2021

A starfaring engine is a natural or magical engine that drives a starfaring ship.

 
Avalonian Imperial Navy
Organization | Feb 24, 2021

The Avalonian Imperial Navy is an interstellar space navy populated entirely by elves from numerous worlds.

 
Avalonian Calendar
Generic article | Sep 2, 2020

Because the elves were probably the first into the stars, the Avalonian Calendar is the standard calendar of Known Space.



Comments

Please Login in order to comment!
Powered by World Anvil