So I'd be lying if I said I'm not extremely stressed out right now with my data engineering fellowship. After the first couple weeks in New York I basically stopped going to the gym, I haven't cooked or baked in forever, and I haven't done anything creative. The majority of what I've posted since January was stuff I pre-drafted or really old stuff I salvaged. I'd like to get back to World of Wonders, but that post was mostly a minor edit of a thing I wrote years ago and don't feel great about, and I don't want to post the rest of it just to say I did it, I want to make sure it's actually good.
I've been thinking about my micro-setting Aquarian Dawn, which I'd like to run for some of my local friends here in New York when I actually have a moment. I've got a whole bunch of ideas I haven't had the chance to properly write up yet, this barely scratches the surface, but I thought this bit of prose might be a decent intro to the setting. I've worried basically since the start of this blog that my setting writeups are too stiff, so maybe this more organic approach will do it some good, even if I feel it's leaving out a lot of worldbuilding.
I'd say the setting has a bit of The Witcher, Vampire Hunter D, X-Men, gritty street-level superhero comics, and Game of Thrones. It's relatively low fantasy and intended to be a bit more reigned in than my usual stuff (we'll see how true to that it ultimately ends up being), and more pre-apocalyptic than post-apocalyptic. I guess it's a bit political too.
The archmages, the few of them left, say the magical things are coming back. That the roads are gonna get dangerous. That the crops'll get ruined. That we don't have the infrastructure for it when it happens, and that a lot of people are gonna die and maybe it'll be the end of us. Nobody's listening. Nobody wants to. That's why there aren't so many archmages anymore.
We killed all the pretty magical things a long time ago, or anyway we left them for dead, when we built the roads. We killed the ugly ones too, mostly. But not all of them. The archmages say when we killed the magical things, to build our roads, that we set off a cascade of sorts, and that's why the elves left the world or ran into the forests, and the dwarves went far above or far below and got all weird. The halflings were another matter. There's no mystery to what happened to them. Just some good old fashioned greed and bigotry and casual genocide. Remember that the next time you read about one of them stabbing folk for their jacket and leaving them to freeze, on the side of the road.
So here we are, living in our comfortable homes, riding along our convenient roads, with more food than we know what to do with. But the food's been enchanted with the gods know what and there's no nutrition in any of it. And there are fewer and fewer mouths to feed anyway because only a fool would have a child in this day and age, and that's why we have so many fools. And every day one of our wonders of science and magic breaks down and there are fewer and fewer left able to fix them. We yearn for the days when we used to turn the dials and flip the switches, forgetting all the accidents and all the gross things the magic used to do to our bodies and minds. Instead we drown in drink and drug, or drown in dread, and I don't think anyone really understands why.
So instead, they blame it on the irrelevant elves and dwarves, or the poor halflings, or the savvy fey-folk. Or the aquarians. The nobles like to talk about them like they're an invading horde, like the monsters of yore. Creatures with no individual will, collectivist insects dredged from the eastern shore to see the end of our way of life. The aquarians don't give a fuck about us. And frankly, I think they might be the only ones left who aren't monsters.