hen the world was born, the Ether and the Material plane were one, graced by the presence of powerful spirits called the Ancestrals. When Ossoth, firstborn of the eight Ancestrals, betrayed the others in an attempt to seize ultimate control, the remaining Ancestrals locked themselves away in the firmament as star signs, out of Ossoth’s grasp. Their desperate sacrifice prevented Ossoth from ruling supreme, but sundered the once flawless harmony. The essence of the world split: the Ethervale and Mortal world drifted apart…
In the interminable twilight, parts of the world give way to another plane of existence – the Ethervale. The Ethervale, the world where spirits dwell in the afterlife, exists alongside the world of ordinary mortals and manifests tangibly in this world. The Ancestrals, spirits of all those sapient creatures that lived in the bygone ages, hold sway in this place. Passage to the Ethervale is only possible when the landscape is bathed in starlight, the influence of the gods that trod their predictable paths across the distant heavens. Warlocks, Clerics, and others look to the stars and to their ancestors for wisdom, knowledge, and direction. Sometimes the results are far from benevolent. The power that some find in these forces can be dangerous and deadly and rarely has the best interests of mortals in mind. How each class views and interacts with the elements of the setting can be found in the section on classes.
The cycle of night and day holds incredible importance for the people living in this world, however unpredictable it’s movements. Most nights last eight or nine hours and end as dawn breaks and the sunlight awakens wild winds and mild storms of blowing snow. Sometimes though, the night stretches on for several days. Few are able to predict when the dawn will come, the sun rising and setting without any discernible pattern. Those that watch the skies know that it is the star called Enil that heralds the dawn. To glimpse this star rising in the sky means that dawn is but a few hours away. At night, as the world waits for the stars to tell it what will happen next, parts of the physical world give way to another plane of existence – the Ethervale.
This realm is one filled with wondrous locales and an untold numbers of spirits that are collectively known as the Ancestrals. Many of these spirits are indifferent to the creatures that haplessly wander through its’ strange landscape in the nighttime hours. Others are benevolent beings, actual spirits of the progenitors of the tribes of the Maw or the residents of the Stronghold. These Ancestrals are willing to aid their descendants in what little ways they can. There are, however, ghastly and terrifying spirits that stalk to the Ethervale, preying upon the lost and foolhardy that visit this place.
Locations that manifest tangibly when the Ethervale emerges, often follow laws entirely their own. Some look to be echoes of the past, crumbled ruins stand proud and tall in glimmering light. Its’ former occupants lingering in their daily routines as if time never passed. Other manifestations take exotic shapes or challenge perceptions and emotions; the sudden appearance of a lush green forest glade amidst the frozen wastes. The warm, glowing interior of a yurt, where around a bonfire, a tribe chieftain forebear rejoices in the virtues of life. Some claim that the afterlife holds more wisdom than any path into the future.