Friends at the Table

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July 14, 2016

In the time of fraught paladins and wavering wizards, of contemptible fighters and indignant druids, of wide eyed rangers… and… of bards, the people of the continent of Hieron recover and rebuild in the aftermath of a cataclysm.

But, after all, for every inside there is an outside--no disaster was the first of its kind--except, of course, for… well....  And thus, in the years prior to the event that would come to be called the Erasure, in a time of civil conflict, the people of Hieron faced calamity... and they sought to recover and rebuild.

For a long while, blessed Samothes led His Somber Campaign against the heretical armies of the Boy-Traitor Samot, clashing steel in valleys and volleying arrows across plainsland. In time, though, your wise lord, the god-alive, recognized that there had been a stalemate, and that you, His people, were suffering.
And so, He returned to you, to His home, your city in the south, moving at fast pace, the dust of the Traitor Charioteers rolling like thunder behind him. And as they pursued, Samothes climbed the mountain of fire from which He forged our first tools, with which He built the first bridge, and He reached inside that mountain, and turned the ruddy summit just so. And because He is Great, it bent to His will: Viscous fire erupted, rushing down the peak and into the riverways that separated the city of light from the continent. He pulled up on the blaze like a reined mare, and yanked the city and its surroundings further away from Hieron. The ground itself shook without mercy, ocean water filled the new gap in the land, and then fire fled into that self-same sea, creating an inseparable blend of liquid heat.

Now, Samothes has returned to the mountain to work on some new holy device, and we have been left to rebuild the city as His faithful disciples.

In the wake of this destruction we’re left with this. One quiet year in a city we now call Marielda. Come Winter, the Frost Shepherds will arrive and we might not survive the encounter. But we don’t know about that yet. What we know is that right now, in this moment, there is an opportunity to build something.

Our current Dungeon World campaign takes place in the world of Hieron, a land still healing from a great calamity that struck centuries ago. Our characters only know this event as "The Erasure" but no one knows quite what happened, or just how long ago but the land carries the scars--both figuratively and literally.

Counterweight hangs in the center of the Golden Branch star sector, a forked path where the Perseus and Sagittarius Arms of the Milky Way come together. Because of its location, life brims with energy, and an exchange of cultures has led to an exchange of technologies. Automated robots valet vehicles; Starships launch in the distance at regular intervals; giant walking mechs aid in tasks both civil and military.

But all of this happens under a sky filtered in bronze, as massive energy domes filter the cold, thick air into something more breathable. The sky was scarred at the climax of the Golden War, which brought the Autonomous Diaspora and the People’s Conglomerate of Orion—long rivals—together against the Apostolos Empire. Now, society on Counterweight largely exists in these domed cities. Life is a struggle, but it is dense and vibrant, too. In the nine years since the war ended, OriCon and The Diaspora have held steady in their ceasefire, but this is a world of subterfuge, politics, and espionage. Both of these powers has its own set of domed habitats on Counterweight, with a handful of cities existing under a third, local power that struggles to keep the peace.

OriCon was once a worker’s paradise, where walking robots called Riggers helped to build a diverse and prosperous civilization. But in the last few centuries, it has become an Oligarchy: Massive corporations hold all the power and resources, but they still use the old language of radicalism and freedom. The Diaspora is, itself, filled with talk of freedom.

Like OriCon, the founder of the Diaspora once lived on Earth, but left in search of a more perfect Democracy: One managed by algorithms and interfaces and nanomachines and the constant, tidal ritual of voting. Defending the Diaspora are the Divines, giant robots with strange sentience, each embodying a different virtue of humankind, and each piloted by a Candidate, separated from society so that they may better serve.

At the end of the Golden War, it was a Rigger pilot—Jace Rethal—and a Candidate—Addax, who controlled the Divine Peace—who (it is said) sacrificed themselves to stop a terrible plot by the Apostolosian Empire that would’ve doomed not only Counterweight, but many other cities, planets, and stars too. But instead of destruction, there was life: When the light from the explosion cleared, a new celestial body hung in the sky: They called it Weight. A perfect planet, now cautiously inhabited by small groups from both OriCon and the Diaspora. It taunts those on Counterweight: Its green continents. Its unfrozen seas. It is so far away, but there it is, every night, so, so close.