Anesidora is a very different alien world. The days and nights are 50 times longer than they are on Earth, and the planet is plagued by extreme winters. The days are often cloudy and overcast, while the nights are usually clear.
These conditions make it difficult for humans and almost impossible for plants and animals we know. What life has survived did so through the power of magic (ancient super advanced technology) or through the power of the Change, genetic mutation that has effect almost all life on the planet.
Even "normal" humans have been effected by the Change, they recover from wounds quickly, are more resistant to the elements than normal, and have become accustomed to disease and parasites found on the planet. In contrast, humans who have relatively pure blood lines are known as Ancient Blooded and are able to use powerful magic that most people are locked out of. Because of this power, they are seen as special and often picked for priesthoods or marriage into noble families.
In the same way, animals from our world are raised in the god-cities or kept as pets by the nobility and viewed as status symbols. Plants from Earth are known as the Ambrosia, a delicacy only possible through the power of ancient magic. analogs of Earth life are seen in the world, but warped by the Change.
Most ancient items have a counter that goes up to 24 hours before resetting to zero. This is called a Cycle and is used to track and organize time. It’s especially useful, because days and nights on Anesidora are extremely long. It takes Anesidora 100 Cycles to fully rotate, 50 with the sun up and 50 with the sun down. A year is 400 Cycles long.
Each Day and Night syncs with a season that starts at sunrise. The year begins when the sun rises, marking the beginning of Spring, which is still quite cold. Summer is the only warm season, which is still relatively cool. The cold can be very extreme at night, Anesidora rarely gets warm, except in very special locations. When the sun goes down during the winter, Anesidora gets extremely cold and dangerous. Almost all people hide for the fifty days and most animals and plants go into hibernation. This time is called the Nyx Winter.
Large clouds follow the sun, often dropping rain and snow, and the sky tends to be very clear during the night. Sudden storms can roll upon Anesidora without warning.
Two multi century long winters have destroyed the civilizations of Anesidora. The first was Ragnarok, over a millenia ago. It was the event and following winter that destroyed the gods, magic, and the Ancient civilization that used to rule all of Anesidora. The second was the Reign of Chione, a two century long winter that froze the planet and killed millions. This event split the Chosen from the Exiled and society has been trying to recover ever since.
During Ragnarok, the Bifrost that let gods come to Earth was shattered. Records show that at one time the Bifrost was connected to Mt Olympus.
There is a black space in the sky above Mt Olympus. It can only be seen by noticing the stars aren’t in the right place from certain angles. Legends say that it is the tear in the heavens from the destruction of the Bifrost, and the gods’ fall from heaven during Ragnarok
During the time of the Ancients, there were three moons:
A large white disc that lights up the night sky during seemingly random phases and a shifting path across the sky
A small blue disc used to track time and direction through astronomy.
The Titan who fell from heaven during Ragnarok and created the cursed land of Yomi.
Magic is a varied and strange thing. It covers everything from guns and power reactors to mysterious creatures changed by unchecked genetic manipulation, and the unexplainable events of nature. At its core, magic is technology beyond comprehension.
Magic is governed by the laws laid down by the Ascended, Prometheus, when he first appeared to humanity and gave them the power of magic once again. These are ancient laws from the time of the Titans before the Ancients, and it is one of the duties of the Ascended to hunt down and destroy those who break the Law of Themis.
Only use magic as it was intended by the gods.
Do not attempt to speak to those beyond the horizon, the heavens are the domain of the gods.
Do not attempt to fly like the birds, for you will be struck down by Zeus’ Lightning.
Do not take from the bodies of the Unliving, for their hearts are cursed.
The ancients did not print anything or use keyboards and other similar modern technologies. Even vehicles do not have normal controls as we think of them. Instead the ancients used computers capable of directly linking to human minds, allowing them to directly speak to the AI, or Shades, and enter virtual and augmented realities. Since Ragnarok, this process has become known as communion, because people believe they are speaking to the actual spirits of the ancients. And maybe they are?
The hearts of the gods are filled with a powerful light and energy. This light is the source of all magic, and if harnessed properly, they can power and recharge the spirits of magical items. However, it is also incredibly dangerous and can kill if handled improperly.
The ancients left behind powerful magic items with a variety of uses. In order to operate, they require parts constructed in the Godcities or left behind by those who came before. Chosen and Exiled both mine and salvage to produce goods, and some cultures can make their own replaceable parts for the weaker pieces of magic items.
The gods, Ascended, and some power magic users have the means to replace some of a mortal body with divine metal. It is only done ritualistically by people with great wealth and power.
Some parts of the world are still filled with the magic (technology) of the past. They could be ancients ruins or forest groves with tech buried beneath them. Magic is more powerful in these places and shades and wraiths can manifest physical forms. These places can be the homes of wealthy chosen, holy sites, or cursed places. All God-cities are Magical Places.
Anything that goes against the Laws of Themis falls under the Black Arts. Black Art is specifically the perversion of the powers and purpose of Magic. In addition, the term is used colloquially to describe any Magic or lifestyle that a culture does not approve of.
Necromancy is the looting, control and rebuilding of the Unliving, and considered the darkest of the Black Arts. The Unliving are cursed and their hearts are poisoned. Where they die, nothing grows and those who visit them or take metal from them suffer an early death. Their hair falls out and they waste away slowly, even if they get rid of the cursed metal.
Some have found a way to survive working with the bodies of the Unliving, or have simply accepted their dark inevitable fate in exchange for power. True Necromancers are dangerous and terrifying, and their minions are nigh unstoppable, never clouded by feelings of fear or mercy.
The bodies of the gods are made out of a special, light weight, ultra strong material. Only the power of the gods can break these materials, and even that cannot destroy them. When the material is exposed to the full power of a god, or the Ascended, it breaks up into 2 inch long “shards,” which is where they get their name. Some of these shards were scattered during Ragnarök, but most that were easy to reach have been collected since then.
Most of the Citizens of the God Cities want to rebuild their Gods, so they tax people for them. Due to their religious value, and use in making powerful artifacts and weapons, Godshards are used as currency by the wealthy and powerful. A single Godshard weighs about as much as a gold coin, but is worth the same as hundreds of them.
Only high priests and the ascended can forge new items from Godshards, so they are usually kept and traded in their shard form or whatever form they were found in. They're coloration is similar to fluorite.
Humanity has been changed by the power of Anesidora and the Titans. Most humans have minor changes, but some are considered something completely new. Those people whose changes are prominent and external are referred to as “The Changed.”
Shades are spirits of dead ancients that can be helpful to humanity. They inhabit many magical items, ancient computers, or can be tied to areas. Skilled Characters can Commune with these spirits for help.
Wraiths are malevolent spirits that lash out at other shades and want to cause harm to humanity. In some places, Wraiths can project themselves as semi solid holograms and attack people directly.
Elves, dwarves, and fairies are all members of the fae. They are mysterious beings who live at the edge of even exiled civilization. They have mysterious powers beyond the understanding of humanity and are beings of superstition and pure magic. They are ruled by a royal court of fae, often going by titles of Lord or Master.
In the 1st Age, beings made of metal and godshard served the gods and Titans. When their masters fell, they went insane. Since then, their cursed mindless bodies have continued to wander the world, trying to do what they were meant for, but only spreading chaos and violence.
No one knows the true origin of the Ascended, but there are many rumors and legends. Some say they are great heroes who ascended to become demigods. Others believe they are Unliving who retained their minds and still serve the gods. Whatever the case, they have been essential in rebuilding society and teaching people about the use of magic. Unfortunately, they require human sacrifice, or they turn into unpredictable monsters, much like the Unliving.
The Muses are the daughters of the Titan Mnemosyne. They are Unliving that look like unnaturally tall and thin metal women with frozen faces. They have been known to wear clothes and cloaks to hide their identity. Seeing them is a sign that a tragedy is about to take place. Legends say they appear right before the fall of great civilizations.
Titans have nigh unlimited element power. Each Titan has a particular ancient task that they perform, ignoring humanity. We have only included some of the most powerful Titans.
Titans are beings the size of continents. They shaped the world originally and served the gods. During Ragnarok, they were freed from the shackles of the gods. They do not care about the affairs of men and seek them is to seek your own death and destruction. Fortunately, they sleep in known regions for long periods of time and can be easily avoided. Like the gods, only some of the most important Titans are listed.
The Gods are beings made of Godshards that fell from the heavens during Ragnarok. Cities have been constructed inside their wreckage and in the surrounding area. Many of these have become the capitals of entire countries, while some answer to other God-cities. This is not an exhaustive list and your group are welcome to create your own god cities based on some of your favorite myths.
The Exiled and Lost have some of the most varied cultures on Anesidora. Some have been presented to give a taste of the variety.
This section only covers some of the major cultures in each region. There is room for a campaign to include different cultures and massive areas of unexplored lands.
Pantheism is the belief that all the gods exist in a single pantheon and are deserving of worship. It is the most common religion on Anesidora, and many Exiled tribes follow it, though they believe that they were rejected by the Gods.
Serve the Officers and their heirs
Do not enter the wilderness alone, it holds many dangers
Maintain the holy relics, find them in the waste, take them from the Exiled
Pay the Godshard tithe, so the Gods can one day be restored
Spread the faith
Only create art that glorifies the pantheon
Do not travel at night
Exile heretics and heathens
Do not consort with the Titans or Unliving
Sacrifice your best to the Ascended
Construct a temple to honor the local gods
Do not ask compensation for saving a life
Reject the Exiled, they can never be trusted
Only bear children to maintain the population
Keep the blood pure, do not mix with the Changed
Convert all other cultures through conquest
Do not trust those who walk in the night
Anesidoran is the belief that the only true goddess is Anesidora herself, the giver of gifts. She is the planet's spirit who provides what is needed and everyone lives at her will alone.
Have many children. Fill the world with your clan
Art and cultural expression is important for the community and self
When Anesidora gives little, take little. When she is generous, eat your fill
Never forget you come from a family, community, and tribe. They are your identity
Embrace other Exiled as family
All things have a price
The Morrigan are a cult among the Anesidoran. They believe that the gods are a curse upon Anesidora. They follow these additional tenets.
Kill the Gods and their followers
Those who give mercy to your enemies are now your enemies
Anesidora is a member of the Pantheon. All religions and beliefs have something good to offer and teach. Members of this faith are very rare and considered weak or nonbelievers by most.
Spiritual gods do not have a physical form and exist in their elements, or everywhere at once.