This is an alternate setting proposed for Song of Swords. It is essentially a weird hybrid of Warhammer 40k, Spelljammer, Treasure Planet and Das Boot, with some ties to Tattered Realms: It's set in the future with considerable influence from science fiction, and it's not really designed to be easily accessible since the assumption is that most people will go to the main fantasy version first. That said, Tattered Realms is not strictly required reading, but many of the references (Zells, Sahaquiel, etc) may be lost upon newcomers.
The setting is also rife with kitschy sci-fi references, including playful jabs at The Culture series, Sid Meiers' Alpha Centauri, the Valkyria Chronicles games, and (possibly) Killzone.
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The universe is a great, endless plane of vacuum, gas, and swirling energy. There is an up and a down in this void. There is gravity that pulls inexorably downwards towards the "Dark Space," (or Underspace) a place that many believe to be hell itself, and away from "The Heavens," (or Overspace) in which can be seen stars and moons, as well as a great number of "eyes" that might be stars. Or, is it stars that might be eyes?
Islands float in the void, kept aloft by Voidstone (Moonstone?) a kind of mineral that resists gravity. People have learned to use this mineral to create Voidships, which can traverse the space between the islands.
Over the centuries, great advancements in technology and shipcraft have allowed the countless islands of the Void to establish trade, communication, and political relationships between them. All of this relies on the Voidships, which rely on Voidstone. And voidstone is increasingly rare as time goes on.
But now, a new energy source has been discovered: The Laser Whales. Great beasts that emerge from the Dark Space below, the Laser Whales are terrible in size, scope, and hunger. They have the ability to project lasers from their heads, with tremendous destructive force. The oil harvested from their bodies possesses the same buoyant qualities as Voidstone, as well as having countless other great uses. An entire industry has sprung up around venturing into the Void to hunt Laser Whales for their delicious Laser Whale Oil.
Some Laser Whalers venture too close to the Dark Space in their hunts, and return changed, poisoned by the dark forces of the abyss. Some come into contact with foul entities from beyond space and time, and come to serve them in attempting to bring down the upper world, and sink the islands into the darkness.
The Great Powers Edit
Sacred Chiron The Hive, The Confederation of Independent Straits, and The United Culture are the four major powers in the Void. Each of them have an expanding sphere of influence that is steadily bringing them into conflict with each other.
There are also the Rahoo, a distant island-chain of great size that is fractured by civil wars, but produce many weapons in use across The Void.
The Zells keep their own gods, the Seven, though many of them are a bit irritated at the lack of water in the Void, and some have even rejected their own deities out of disappointment, and abandoned their lives at sea to live on land. Or, what's left of the land.
The Albish worship "God," or Genosus, but they have no concept of him as the sun anymore. There is a degree of consensus between the Albish and the Chironic churches that Genosus and Sahaquiel are the same entity, known by different names. The Albish and the Zells both came from Underspace, and so did Sahaquiel, if the stories are true.
Sahaquiel Twelvehands, or Sahaquiel "Sky-Shatterer" was a mythic figure "the size of the sky" who swept out of Underspace in primeval times, tearing up the fabric of empty space and creating the islands, the stars, and the moons. Chironites under the influence of Babel Tar claim to have seen this event in visions, and their religion revolves around awaiting the return of Sahaquiel.
A strange feature of this deity is that those prophets who have seen him and attempted to describe him in anything but the broadest terms, or draw or paint him, have had their fingers suddenly and spontaneously broken by some invisible force. As such, the Chironites believe strongly that attempting to visually depict their deity is a sin. They sometimes apply this to other powerful figures seen as "godly," like Kyton von Richtofen, and more recently Hermann Muller, who are never depicted from the front – only standing away from the viewer, often making some sign of leadership.