Eversky: Eye of the Abyss
Welcome to Eversky
Imagine an entire world floating on the winds of change, a world in perpetual transition, barely recognizable today from what it may have been just a century ago. A world locked in a cycle of destruction and re-creation, its lands blessed with eternal rejuvenation, its inhabitants cursed with a never-ending struggle for survival.
Eversky is floating sky island world filled with high-flying swashbuckling adventure, political intrigue, and equal helpings of magic, steampunk, and the mad science that draws from both. Though it borrows many conventions from a number of published WotC settings, it is also a more down-to-earth setting in that players will likely be limited to fewer “weird” races. Geographically and celestially, however, Eversky comes with a couple of key twists that set it apart from the traditional DnD 4e world.
The first thing you’ll likely notice about the world map is that there’s only one side of it. This is because one hemisphere of the world, the entire back side of the world not shown in the map, is covered in a thick mist which makes for extremely dangerous travel. The Great Mist represents a daunting frontier beyond which few dare to travel, and from which even fewer return. It is said that beyond the Great Mist lies the Elemental Chaos, a churning tempest of clashing elements – fire and lightning, earth and water, whirlwinds and living thunder. In this crucible are formed the proto-islands which will drift into the world we know. Enormous masses of rock, imbued with the ethereal essence that lift them upwards, and later populated by plants and wildlife before passing through the Mist into the fore of the world.
Opposite of this volcanic continental forge, the fiery wellspring of all creation, exists its equally powerful antithetical force. The Maelstrom (represented by the gigantic whirlpool in the center of our side of the map) is the ever-swirling storm of shadow, chaos, and ruined island fragments, whose attractive force is the focal point of the world. Like a black hole on the surface of Eversky, the Maelstrom draws all physical matter, including the sky islands upon which living beings make their home, towards its deadly center, and down into the crater known as the Abyss. It is the bane of civilizations, creating a constant struggle for continuity among the cultures of Eversky, forcing all to seek new territories nearly every three generations, and challenging notions of immortality and empirical supremacy. With every passing day, every piece of inhabitable land draws closer to its own destruction, and cursed are those left behind without a mode of migration.
Different religions have widely varying interpretations of the Abyss, and its meaning for living creatures. The disciples of The Adamant Tribunal believe that the Abyss was a celestial judgment imposed upon mankind for original sin, and that only by cleansing ourselves through just behavior can we hope to atone for it. Other cultures, such as the elven followers of Sylvanus the Oakfather, embrace the idea that the world is in constant renewal, looking at the upside – admiring that the world in constant reformation is always abundant with resources and that no amount of civilization can ever overshadow nature, or taking comfort in the fact that even the harshest tyranny cannot last forever.
Some say that the Abyss was not always a dark and horrific place, but rather, it has been tainted by all of the suffering that has resulted from mankind’s failure to deal with it appropriately. Every family that was stranded on an island that sunk into the Abyss because they were too poor to pay for passage to the next island, was a failure of society to take care of its own. The sorrow of every victim of murder-by-neglect, purposely abandoned as human refuse on sinking islands during times of “ethnic cleansing”, and the cruelty of those responsible for their suffering, are further reflected in the dark fury of the Maelstrom. Every slave ship that emerges from the rim of the Abyss with a hold laden with desperate passengers (willing or reluctant) to sacrifice anything for mere survival, causes the further darkening of this area of the world. That very darkness feeds the Maelstrom and makes it stronger, such that those who spend too much time under its shadow, particularly the weak-willed or the greedy who come to plunder abandoned ruins for profit, are themselves affected. And so, darkness begets darkness.
The Plot: We join Eversky at one of the most decisive moments in history. The mists are red from the spill of blood, as war spreads wider. The ever-expanding Eladrin empire of Tymordia, under the command of its Machiavellian emperor, Vernus Tyrnael, has proven itself nigh-unstoppable. The Tiefling nations of Verana and Atrice went down first nearly 11 years ago, in Tymordia’s initial show of force, after which the Goliath Tribes of Haldar soon surrendered. After a decade of unsteady peace which the Tymordian Empire used to reinforce its aermada with the integration of Tiefling technology, They expanded further eastward, shattering the initial defenses of the Dwarves of Vanir. Facing the advance of the Eladrin aermada, Vanir went to the Kingdom of Illan, a diplomatic crossroads of sorts for the Free Nations of the skies, to plead for allies to join them in resistance to the empire. Returning to the front lines with the aid of the Humans of Breckenan, the Dragonborn of Relquis, and the Illani Royal Navy (led by the overconfident King Belorem himself), the allied forces put up a fierce fight.
Today, however, grim news has reached the Royal Council of Illan. Though severely weakened, the Tymordian advance has endured the brunt of the Alliance’s full-scale attack. Though the humans are accomplished shipbuilders, not even a Breckan Galleon can stand up to the arcane-fueled destroyers of the Eladrin aermada. Even worse, King Belorem has gone missing, perhaps captured, perhaps killed. The last line of defense has been broken, and the colossal stone doors of Vanir have been shut as the Dwarves retreat underground. In approximately one month’s travel time, Tymordian ships will dominate the skies of Illan and Breckenan. Tymordia’s intentions remain unknown, and no one is left to stop them.
Only one man on the Illani Royal Council still believes something can be done. This man is the Tribune of the Market District, Lance Boreal, also known as the head of the Boreal Consortium, a ruthless but high-status trading company with a glossy exterior, but an unscrupulous reputation. It is rumored to deal in contraband, extortion, assassination, research into forbidden magics, and the orchestration of the corrupt scheme which led to Mr. Boreal’s supposedly stolen election. And Mr. Boreal’s proposal is as controversial as his rise to power. Still, as the rather ineffective Council holds no formal executive authority to order arrests on each other, power simply rests in the hands of he who has the money to make things happen.
“We’ve got an entire empire bent on the domination of human civilization, and no army left to fight against it. So there is only one choice left. We make an army.”
- Lance Boreal
So it is that one team of desperate heroes, a handful of people united by desperation, greed, or simply their thirst for vengeance against the Tymordian Empire, will receive the full backing of the Boreal Consortium in a suicide mission (okay, I’m borrowing here, sue me!) that could decide the fate the Free Skies. But finding, infiltrating, and reactivating the abandoned Warforge of Arcturia will require going deeper into the swirling Maelstrom than any ship has ever survived to tell about. Even if your party can survive the the pirates and slavers that will cross your path, the roaming bands of crazed, bloodthirsty Shadar-Kai that call the Maelstrom their home, and the unspeakable necrotic horrors that haunt the rim of the Abyss, it is worth remembering that the Warforge must have been abandoned for a reason. There are only an estimated hundred or so living Warforged in existence, after all.
Can you reach the Warforge in time before its island has sunk too far into the Abyss to make it out? Even if you do make it out alive with the Mind Crystal that once powered the ill-fated construct, will it be enough to stop the Tymordian aermada? And can you trust the Boreal Consortium to hold up their end of the bargain? Do you have a choice?