On the first day…

“Just remember life is all an illusion…..it’s your creation and you can dismantle it and re-create at will.”

Nanette Mathews

Now that we’ve had the chance to get reacquainted with the Fantasy Trip again, we at the ‘aerie were looking for new ways to tell epic stories and stage great adventures with these rules. The background material from ‘In The Labyrinth’ is a start, but we wanted something a little more distinctive for our new setting.

Further, we wanted to break out of our own creative comfort zone and not revisit the ideas that inspired the countless fantasy games we’ve ran since the first Fantasy Trip hit game store shelves. So, we turned to fantastic illustrator and friend of the ‘Aerie Billy Beuthien and asked for some drawings that he thought might make for an interesting world.

This is what he sent:

We’ve got massive trees and towers, flying ships, bird mounts, goblins on spiders, and enough bizarre details to fuel our nightmares for weeks. in other words, a great starting spot. We are also going to (loosely) follow Patricia C. Wrede’s world-building questionnaire as an outline. So come along as we play god and spin a world from our (and Billy’s) imagination, and feel free to chime in and your ideas into the mix.

Welcome to the Cidrian Shards.

1. The Concept

The Cidrian Shards are less a world than a stream of worlds, bobbling along in a celestial current in glittering space. It is said that the shards were once all one world, built by a long-vanished race. But either time or strife broke this world apart and left its shards swirling in the void.

Some shards are truly massive, the size of our own Earth, while others are no more than islands. Between them is the Scintillance — rarefied space of swirling mists, glittering crystal radiances, and the lairs of the night dragons. Few dare ply the currents of the Scintillance, but the sails of the skyships or sweeping wings of gryphons can sometimes be seen in the skies.

The Scintillance itself is a band circling a central star. It is not the true void of space, but holds a thin atmosphere and even a small amount to gravity. Objects in the Scintillance will ‘fall’ toward the nearest substantial shard or, barring that, toward the star itself. Shards do not all share the same orbit, or even the same point along the Scintillance. Some race through at speed seemingly dart between slower objects, while others continue at a ponderous pace as if they are locked in place.

Each world is distinct, and may not even be aware of others outside of shimmering points in the sky. Each is unique, and they are widely varied in climate. culture, and geography. But there are some aspects shared by most. Their gravity, while similar to the reader’s world, is limited to the surface and below, and dissipates quickly as you rise above the ground. At 100 feet up you will feel noticeably lighter, and by 500 feet gravity is less than half. This allows for the growth of massive vegetation and the raising of dizzyingly tall towers. It also allows for creatures of great bulk to fly with only limited magical assistance. Rocs, manticores, and other monstrous flying creatures lair in these huge trees and other high places to make use of lighter gravity, and the sky ships moor atop lofty towers to aid their left.

In addition, many of the shards are all but hollow, honeycombed with caves and passages that open into massive crystal spaces that open like underground plains and seas. These have become home to goblins and other creatures that abhor the light.

If there is true power over the shards, it is held by the Keepers, wizards who use ancient Gates to travel between worlds and extend their will by force or trade. The Keepers hoard knowledge as well as power, and know many secrets of the past.

Next time: A world to call home.


  1. How do I participate in this world building … through the telling of tales, art, game play? What rules if any do apply? My specialty is monster creations. Am I free to post?

    • Comments like this are always good. Facebook is another good place to share ideas. Your art is always welcome.

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