Bridgeways: Return of the Phantom Isle
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Appendix 2: Sundered Skies
Sundered Skies is a game setting and plot point campaign for the Savage Worlds game system. Sundered Skies is written by Dave Blewer and published by Triple Ace Games. I imagine that most people reading this are familiar with the Sundered Skies world. If you are not, the sections that follow will bring you up to speed on the major components of the setting that relate to this story.
Millennia ago, a horrible event called The Sundering shattered the world. Now all that remains are an unknown number of islands floating in an endless sky. There is no ground, no sun, no day or night. There is only the endless expanse of the void. Skyships, crewed by brave souls, venture between the known islands, bringing trade and hunt for relics from the lost world.
No one know how or why the islands float in the sky like they do. No one even fully understands the workings of skyships. Everyone is just doing their best to survive in the harsh world of the Skies. Food and water are often scarce, as are natural fundaments such as iron.
The void between islands emits a constant, orange-ish light known as void glow. Long-term exposure to the glow has been known to cause madness, mutation, and ultimately a horrific death. The glow is a fact of life in the Skies. It comes from everywhere at once, and it never stops. All aspects of life in the Skies revolve around managing and avoiding the ceaseless, maddening glow.
The first symptom of glowmadness is a heightened temper. The person may then become unusually aggressive, even attacking others with little provocation. Those displaying these symptoms are usually quarantined in a dark chamber until the madness passes. If exposure persists past this phase, or the glow is especially concentrated, the glowmadness progresses into full on mutation.
Those who fully succumb to the glow have their bodies horribly mutated in a manner befitting their species. But one thing is constant, the melting of the eyes. Once a person has reached the final stages of glowmadness, there is no cure. Their minds are forever lost to madness, and they will live out the rest of their usually short lives in a blind rage, attacking anything that moves.
Needless to say, glowmadness is feared above all else in the Sundered Skies.
The gods of the Skies are very real and very present in the world. Rather than reside in some far-off celestial realm, the gods live on the island of the Skies amongst their followers. That being said, it is far from a common event to actually meet a god in person. They are usually reclusive and quite secretive, appearing before only a few of their most devout followers.
Four deities play an important role in this story.
The Lady of the Winds
This goddess touches the lives of every islander in the Skies, for the winds blow constantly through the endless void. A benevolent if somewhat capricious deity, the Lady of the Winds famously has five separate faces.
- The Aspect of Breeze
- The Aspect of Rain
- The Aspect of Calm
- The Aspect of Storms
- The Aspect of the Vortex
Followers of the Lady are known as wind priests and many revere (and embody) one of the deity’s aspects above the others. Temples to the Lady of the Winds are always found on exposed, wind-swept isles. Wind priests themselves are valued members of a community and are often called on to bring rain for crops, calm storms, and propel skyships quickly across the void.
The patron god of the dwarves, the Artificer is often credited with the preservation of life after the Sundering. A deity of invention, imagination, and knowledge, the Artificer has created such wonders in the world as the magnificent bridges of Bridgeways and even the technology that allows skyships to fly.
Followers of the Artificer are called steam priests, and they are known for their magnificent, steam-powered inventions. Their temples are often found deep in factories or other industrial districts. Following in the footsteps of their patron deity, steam priests strive to improve the lives of everyone in the Skies with their great inventions and steam-powered automations.
Once known as Oceanus, god of the oceans, the deity now called Lightbringer went mad shortly after the Sundering. Bereft of his element, for there are no seas in the shattered world, Oceaneus slowly went insane. Ages ago, his madness started a hundred years’ war known as the War of Fools that almost brought about the end of all life in the fragile Skies.
Now, Lightbringer is worshiped only by the most mad and deranged among the Skies. His followers are known as void priests, or simply voiders, due to their belief that their god lives in the void glow itself. They strive to spread glowmadness to as many as they can, believing that the mad touch of their deity will bring true enlightening through unbridled madness.
The Lord of Misrule
Not really a deity at all, the Lord of Misrule is a mysterious, demonic force that has remained hidden in the Skies for millennia. No one, not even the gods themselves, knows the true nature of this dark presence. One thing is for sure: it is an evil being of immense power with abilities that rival those of a god.
The Lord of Misrule chooses its own followers, usually no more than one or two at a time. These cursed souls are known as Godshifters, and their dark patron blesses them with corrupt miracles stolen from the true gods of the Skies. A single Godshifter, operating in solitude, can cause untold destruction on an island-wide scale.
Heartland and the Elves
The isle of Heartland is by far the largest known island in the Skies. Home to the elves and the mysterious Willow Court, few outsiders know what really takes place beyond its grasping green shores. The elves are secretive and strangely militaristic, having one of the only standing armies in the Skies. Elven missionaries bring seeds of The Wild, the elven deity, to other islands, slowly terraforming them into replicas of Heartland.
The elves themselves all show strong evidence of their plant heritage, having leaves, vines, bark, or even flowers as part of their anatomy. A race of small, animal-like creatures known as wildlings are literally grown to serve the elves as slaves. Those elves that resist the militaristic and slave-owning nature of their people are known as Boughbreakers, a sect of elves and others on the outside that work to free the wildlings and bring an end to the tyranny of the Willow Court.
Beyond the Glow
Warning! Spoilers ahead. If you plan on playing a campaign in the Sundered Skies, stop here. If you don’t care, or are part of my game group, feel free to read on.
Beyond the edges of the endless sky lies a horrible truth. The entire world of the Sundered Skies exists in a fragile, glowing bubble trapped in hell. After the events of the Sundering that destroyed the former world, demonic forces pulled the remains of the dying world into hell. The gods did what they could, constructing a shield to keep the demonic forces at bay. Known as the Soulshield, this mystic barrier at the edge of the Skies is the only thing keeping the demons out.
Everyone in the Skies, the gods included, are effectively trapped within the confines of the Soulshield. For mortals, the Skies seem vast and nearly endless. For the gods, it seems maddeningly small and confined. Slowly, due in part to demonic forces like the Lord of Misrule, the gods themselves are going insane.
The forces of hell, both beyond the Skies and within it, work tirelessly to bring about the end of the gods’ mighty barrier. If the Soulshield were to fall, an unimaginable legion of demons would swarm into the Skies, destroying all in their path in their search for the long-lost Heart of their demon king.
Led by the mysterious Lord of Misrule, dark forces are at work within the Skies that seek to weaken the Soulshield from within and spread the terror of their demonic masters however possible. If the Lord of Misrule were to succeed, it would mean the end of all life in the Skies, both mortal and divine.
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