Gaia and her solar system are only meant to resemble our real world Earth enough to provide a frame of reference, but Gaia is not Earth, at least not our Earth. It might be a parallel incarnation of some sort. The reader and writer can decide.
You do not have to read the History of Gaia in order to create a character as it pertains to a past so distant that it is considered as myth or fairy tales by most of the races. We do encourage you to read it at some point as it will help you understand and immerse yourself in the Chronicles of Aereth realm.
The Solar System
First and foremost here, we are not going to worry overmuch about the laws of physics or theoretical physics in regard to the setup of our solar system. It is what it is. If you need an explanation for the how and why, apply arcane physics!
Gaia’s solar system, viewed by one of the telescopes from our world, would appear as a binary star system. However, it is not. Cernunnos, Gaia’s star, has a sister that, seen from the surface of Gaia, simply appears to be a very bright star that seems to dance around the Great Maker. The sister star has been named Boudica and carries no true influence on the planet of Gaia.
There are several planets with moons residing in the Gaia system, but we will only name them here when and if they become pertinent to the story in any way.
Gaia is the thirteenth world. It orbits at a distance of 92,960,000 million miles from its sun. Gaia’s axis is tilted 23.5 degrees away from the plane of the ecliptic. This tilt allows for distinct seasons making it possible for sustainable agriculture. Based on the science of our world today, Gaia would be considered a super earth.
Two moons orbit Gaia. The nearer and smaller of the two is a rather unremarkable rocky planetoid, much like our moon, albeit slightly larger. This moon is called Sealgair (means Hunter in the shared ancient tongue of the Cymry and Celts) and the arrangement of craters, shadows and peaks on its surface appear to be the image of a leaping jaguar when the moon is full. Sealgair is also known as The Hunter.
The second and larger moon is gaseous and surrounded by three rings made of ice, various sizes of rock and iron meteors, massive chunks of compressed carbon (diamond) and other space debris. This moon is called Marnwr, the Judge, because it is always visible, always watching.
The moons are in a geosynchronous orbit with Gaia. Sealgair presents phases in approximately thirty-one day cycles similar to our moon. Marnwr’s great rings appear to wax and wane in thousand year cycles although the inner ring is always faintly visible. Additionally, Marnwr will appear to *dim and brighten in roughly thirty-one day cycles because it does rotate on its axis unlike Sealgair (and our moon) which always presents the same face (or side) to Gaia. However, even during daylight hours, Marnwr is visible, even if very faint
One side of Marnwr is beset with massive storms (think of the great storm on Jupiter but on a much larger scale). These storms draw in dust and clouds which clouds that side of the moon, but does not darken it entirely. This makes it appear dimmer. When Sealgair is in full phase, which matches the period that Marnwr’s dark side faces Gaia, its brightness adds to making the ringed moon appear darker.
During Marnwr’s dim phase, it is said that The Judge is looking away.
Gaia has an unusually stable geological history in relation to most planets in the galaxy or even known universe. She is geologically active and has gone through periods of natural cataclysm. There is a regular cycle of rising and retreating seas and the continents and land masses rise, sink, collide and reform.
For the majority of Gaia’s geological history, her landmasses have tended to consolidate into one or two massive continents with outlying barrier islands and a few island-continents. In her current iteration, there are two known major continents, Aereth and Xia, numerous island-continents (some yet to be discovered by the current population) and many inhabited barrier islands, island groups and island archipelagos.
Gaia is also riddled with massive and deep reaching cave systems, many of which have never been explored and are not known to exist. Most of these systems carry with them great rivers and hot springs which many of Gaia’s inhabitants tap for hot water and drinking water. The Dwarrow are the only known inhabitants of these Deeps, as they are called, although the Cymry tend to locate their great holds and keeps on or near entrances to them.
Like any inhabitable world, Gaia is surround by magnetic fields that help protect her from the harmful rays emitted from Cernunnos (the sun). In addition to the magnetic fields, Gaia is surrounded and permeated by lines of magical energy called Ley Lines or simply the Ley. These are massive streams of power and energy. The Ley Lines had a termination point that kept them stable. In the histories and myths of Gaia, it was known as the Great Talisman. Its destruction unleashed immeasurable quantities of pure magic into the world.
Some of the sentient races living on Gaia have evolved to make use of the Ley (i.e. use magic). This is a physical genetic adaptation that binds them both to the world and the powers of the Ley. Please read each race’s documents to understand how they interact with the Ley.
Flora and Fauna
Life is abundant on Gaia. There is a multitude of flora and fauna of all kinds, even several species of megafauna have survived into Gaia’s modern ages. Due to the fact that many of those living on Gaia have a reverence for nature and follow nature based or shamanistic type belief systems (Pagan, Druid, Native American), there are vast forests of all kinds. Agriculturists take advantage of the rich and fertile river plains, valleys, and other areas that are naturally compatible with farming and ranching although other than the raising of a few domestic animals such as the Suri (an Alpaca like animal, chickens and other fowl, cattle, etc.), the preference for most is to hunt for what is needed and to give thanks to the creature that sustained and to Gaia for providing the animal. With few exceptions, hunting just for the sport of it is not a standard practice.
Languages of Gaia
Yes, it is possible to create an entire language for a fantasy or science fiction realm. No, we are not going to do that here.
For the most part, we will base the languages of our people in real languages of Earth since many of us are not multi-lingual. Therefore, despite its faults, Google Translate will be our linguistic bible. Each language will be entered in our Glossary as we have time to update it.
The People of Gaia
Gaia, the Chimera, the Sidhe and the Stoneborn are ancient. The oldest known artifacts date from a period before the Age of Dreaming (Dreamtime) and the Fall of Atlantis. None of the current races have substantial records of that period. The civilizations that created these things are called the Forerunners. They are long extinct and only the barest hints of their former grandeur is ever found.
The Chimeran (aka Atlanteans) races include the Cymry, Wyr, and Ddraig. The Dwarrow are one of the races known as the Stoneborn and the Sidhe, who originated on Aereth include several nations (or races) as well. The Ddraig were created during the Age of Dreamings on Atlantis so are included as one of the Chimera.
Racial Classes of Magic Users: Chimera, Sidhe, Stoneborn. A Racial Class or Classification is not the social standing of an entire race, but the class a race falls under. It is equivalent to species.
The modern races of Menfolk did not exist during the Age of Dreams and evolved long after this time period.
Game Manager’s Note
No, you may not create a Forerunner character. They are extinct poof! Crossed to the Great Beyond.
The Chimeran races arose during the Age of Dreaming (Dreamtime) and reigned for many thousands of years. They are the original Atlanteans. There is some debate in regard to which of the Chimera came first, but like the Chicken and Egg Debate, it does not really matter except to the members of each respective race engaged in the debate.
The Cymry are considered, by themselves at least, as the oldest race of sentient beings in the world. They are an immensely arcanely powerful race able to shape the energies (natural elements) of the world to their needs. In the last 1500 years, there have been events that have attached a stigma to their magic causing its use to fall out of favor with them and with other races around the world, particularly some of the Menfolk races residing in their homeland of Cymeria.
Somewhere in the same timeframe, the Wyr arose. They are a race of shape changers whose affinity are to the birds and mammals of Gaia. Each Wyr has a natural animal form based on genetics and bloodlines. There are clans of felines, canids and birds, but no rodents, amphibians or reptiles. If there were ever clans that took their second shape from the largest of the megafauna, they are now extinct although there are still clans of short-faced bear and Dire Wolves. The megafauna clans appear to be rare with the largest animal form being equines and the smallest being foxes and martens.
Ddraig are a race that was genetically engineered by magic. They were created by the Cymry as they experimented with high magic and later trained to fight the creatures of the Shadowed One, but in time, they became useful for other things such as guarding the great homes and palaces of the Cymry although they never quite replaced equines as beasts of burden since they had a tendency to eat their riders and handlers. They were considered intelligent, but as they lacked social and cultural development, they weren’t considered truly sentient.
Many Ddraig escaped captivity over the thousands of years of Atlantis’ existence. Over time, these Ddraig developed a cohesive culture and mental language in addition to their trills, calls and roars. They also, as their association with Menfolk turned sour, learned to take on human form – much as a chameleon changes color to blend in with its surroundings.
The Sidhe are still in flux so this bit might change slightly. Currently, however, the following are the nations (races) of the Sidhe.
- The Caldurai (Moon Folk)
- The Arytar (Frost Folk)
- The Elcarain (Woodlands Folk)
- The Lervallaine (Sun Folk)
- The Sheantyar (Sea Folk)
The Stoneborn includes the Dwarrow (allowed in play), Troggs, Gnolls, Stone Giants and others. Only the Dwarrow are currently allowed in play. Stoneborn are considered Magic Users.
The Dwarrow, the children of the Stone, are a mysterious race, said to having been carved out of stone in a frosty winter’s night and then been given life by a storm, their beginnings in this world are a riddle for many. Crafters and traders, living in the High Peaks of the Mountain Home, they are not one of the Elder Races but came into the world after the great Shattering. Their Kingdom has become a place of trade all across the world, and the dwarves have played a role in the events of the world. On the next pages, you dear reader, shall find information on the land and the nation of Tynar-Dazûr.
The races of Menfolk approximate our races on Earth from ancient times and may also mirror the opinions and beliefs of bygone eras.
Humans, homo-sapiens, are the youngest of the species and races, yet some of them are still quite ancient with a culture that can trace their history for thousands of years. For specifics on each Menfolk race, you should browse the Lands & People Codex for their documents.
Menfolk and Magic
With humans of any ilk comes sex. With sex comes intermarrying and interbreeding (this is also true of the arcane races. In general, Menfolk races that seem to have a higher instance of arcane abilities are likely descendants or offshoots of one of the original Elder Races.
Note: Menfolk races do not have the ability to shapeshift unless one of their parents was Wyr or (less likely) Ddraig. They may, however, possess the arcane ability to cast such an illusion.
True magic ability is rare amongst the majority of Menfolk. As with our real world, there are a minority that have some form of psychic (paranormal) ability such as clairvoyance or psychometry. Except for charlatans and scammers, no one can have friendly chats with dead people although there are likely sensitives that can feel a place’s paranormal traits (i.e. sense its arcane aura and know that it is either haunted or a place of Shadow).
Menfolk can receive arcane abilities through an Arcane Gift. An example of that would be the Ryndars who serve the High Lord of Cymeria and receive a range of arcane abilities via a ritual called the Quickening. Another example would be those that give their allegiance and soul to Yr Un Cysgodi (the Shadowed One). In return for that, they may receive a range of dark arcane gifts to aid them in their service to this evil and dark force.
Travelers are basic homo-sapiens but from parallel worlds and universes. They are not from Aereth’s past or future! They arrive on Gaia via portals that have glitched and briefly reached into those distant realms. Travelers are very rare and they cannot influence the tech level on Gaia. It is also a one-way street. Once a portal deposits them on Gaia, they must adapt to living out their lives there.
Travelers are the only type of character that we impose a game limit on. No more than three Travelers can be created for regular play. A Traveler may be created as needed for storyteller purposes.
The Dark and the Light
The people of Gaia do carry a belief in evil. This great force is referred to as the Dark, Darkness, even Evil. Its antithesis is the Light. In general, the cultures of Gaia do not consider the Dark or the Light as actual beings.
The Shadowed One (Yr Un Cysgodi)
The Shadowed One or, in the Cymry Old Tongue, Yr Un Cysgodi, is the intelligence of the Darkness. It can manifest in forms to communicate with the living, but usually only those that have vowed allegiance (the Shadow Touched) ever see these forms. However, there are creatures living on Gaia that are reputed to have been created by Yr Un Cysgodi (such as the Gray Ones and Rasti).