Worldbuilding Notes

From Asmythe

Here collected are unsorted notes about Asmythe. The information here is unknown to the people that inhabit Asmythe and these notes are intended to give Game Masters an understanding for why Asmythe is the way it is.

This is a scratch space intended for GMs and system developers. It contains spoilers for players.

History and Culture

Human and goblins were space civilizations at war with each other. A battle occurred over Asmythe and destroyed all but a few escape pods which crashed onto Asmythe; humans in Altazar and goblins in Cozak. Each race brought with them their culture and scientific knowledge. On Asmythe computers and industrial technology don't function and both races were severely crippled because of it. They lost all their technology but their cultures persisted; mainly navy/army cultural roots adapted to interstellar war.

The culture of the Armada empire is based on space navy culture, tempered through the centuries by the realities of life on Asmythe. Goblin culture is also based on their space military, but it isn't similar to human culture.

The primal dagapesh, the gods of Asmythe, are giant monsters of immense magical and mental power. Imagine Kaiju like Godzilla, Tiamat, or Cthulu with unlimited magical power.

At the end of the first age the ilthura created the moon Rolene from a continent previously in the Solestran Ocean and fled Asmythe to live there. They were forced to leave Asmythe by the dagapesh; that was the last time the dagapesh were awake on Asmythe. The ilthura were on Rolene when the humans and goblins fought their battle in space above Asmythe and were probably influential in the outcome of that battle.

Magic has shaped culture and technology on Asmythe in many ways.

  • Industrial technology doesn't work, except for delver magi-tech.
  • Primal magic can communicate magically over vast distance.
  • Humans and goblins use magic for power and war; delvers and sylvani use magic for stability and sustainability.
  • Arcane magic can create and control energy , which means it can drive ships and power some industries. But the scarcity of wizards means that such energy sources are rare until the third age.
  • Magical creatures are attracted to magical energy, both arcane and primal. Many of these creatures "eat" magic.
  • Lifeforce, "soul", is a magical energy that dissipates when a creature dies. It is not possible to communicate with or ressurect the dead.

Death is the end and there is no "afterlife" in Asmythe. The souls of all creatures on Asmythe disappear immediately after death, they do not persist in some other plane of existence. They either dissipate into the void or are consumed by the dagapesh. Under some conditions it is possible to "burn" the soul of a dying creature for energy before the soul dissipates.

Armada law is loosely based on [Uniform Code of Military Justice](

Playable Races

Humans are the main playable race. Human culture is the easiest for players to understand and most similar to other fantasy worlds.

Delvers or dolkkin are the next most familiar race, similar to high-fantasy dwarves and somewhat derived from Celtic folklore. Delvers are advanced in metallurgy and the use of clockwork devices, almost like D&D gnomes. Delvers are inspired by the dwemer of Elder Scrolls, Tolkien dwarves, and DnD gnomes.

Sylvani or faekin are more closely derived from ancient Norse and Germanic legend. They are magical, mysterious, dignified, and dangerous. They are stealthy and devious but also tender and welcoming. They are less ethereal and divine than most fantasy elves but still recognizable as "elves" to Tolkien fans. Sylvani are inspired by ElfQuest, wild elves of Forgotten Realms, and Tolkien hobbits and elves.

Goblinoids (orcs, goblins, and hobgoblins) are all different races of the same species. Goblin culture is segregated but more egalitarian than human culture. Where humans tend to be selfish by nature, goblins are collaborative and selfless but also aggressive and jingoistic, considering all other creatures inferior.

Delvers and sylvani are the same species but time and environment has split them into different races. Though able to interbreed they don't because differences in habitat and culture keep the two races far apart. The sylvani and delvers in each region, and often each settlement, have different cultures just as the societies of different continents are different on Earth.

Beasts and Monsters

Beasts were created by the ancient Ilthura in their war against each other. They were created, usually, for a specific military role. Most of the beasts have become extinct over the millennia but many remain. Beasts take inspiration from folk lore and other high-fantasy settings and such often have an andromorphic aspect, but with a skew toward fulfilling a military function.

Monsters come from subspace and take inspiration from gothic and Lovecraftian horror. Monsters are completely alien in appearance and behavior.


Technology is limited by the size of metal parts, which has some interesting effects. Because metal object less than a centimeter (about half an inch) aren't reliable many things we take for granted aren't possible. Without nails, wires, hinges and such you can't have chainmail armor. Wooden, leather, and bone work for many things, but they wear out much more quickly than metal would.

Delvers, being magical engineers, are able to get around the limitation by fusing elementals into the metal. Delvers also have access to a much wider range of metals than surface dwellers, so they are able to create better steel and other alloys. Delver tools and armor are some of the most valuable things in Asmythe.


"Subspace", "Otherworld", "Upsidedown", "Plane of Shadow", "The Dark", ... There is a material dimension parallel to the world of Asmythe that can be entered and traversed with enough magical power. The world is dark and poisonous and inhabited by gothic horrors. Time and distance are different in subspace, so that something in subspace does not age relative to Asmythe and a mile in subspace is like a hundred miles in Asmythe. Subspace is not a mirror world and there is no natural light (that creatures of Asmythe can see). Artificial light reveals a colorless, broken landscape with little vegetation. Light is dimmed and sound muffled, reflections and echoes are chaotic.

There is no magic in subspace and any magical items brought into subspace instantly crumble into dust.

When the Ilthura left Asmythe they went here, and possibly came to Asmythe from here.

Subspace is:

  • A way to travel and send messengers "instantaneously". But only if an exit portal already exists, which must be guarded against subspace invasions. It is impossible to open a gate while in subspace because magic doesn't work there.
  • A source of monsters in Asmythe.
  • Is this the afterlife? No.
  • How does magic work in subspace? No.
  • Does technology work in subspace? Yes, but not delver technology which is powered by magic.
  • Mostly important for the fourth era, where civilization can maintain roads through subspace.
  • What is the Dagapesh relation to this world? Unknown, if they are aware of it they don't enter it or project into it.
  • What is the geology and ecology of subspace? How much does that affect Asmythe?
  • Invasion from subspace destroys the world at the end of the fourth era.
  • Opening a gate requires both arcane and primal magic.
  • There is an ancient stable gate in Amren that is used to banish the worst criminals. It is walled off because sometimes things come through from the other side.
  • The process to create a gate is discovered early in the fourth era when a team excavating an ancient Ilthura ruin figures out how to restore and open a gate.

Supernatural Backgrounds

Supernatural power doesn't originate from the caster; the caster is shaping magical energy that is already in the world. Thus, any system that uses some character trait to limit magic doesn't make sense, instead using magic should have consequences. This is why Asmythe uses the No Power Points rule.

I used the "Fantasy Add-on - Wizards and Mystics" to guide the balance of supernatural backgrounds, but each is unique and don't balance exactly using feature points.

Good and Evil

"Good" and "evil" are nothing more than thoughts and actions brought into existence by the creatures of Asmythe. These terms are often used in common language to mean "actions that help others" and "actions that harm others."

With respect to Asmythe, "good" and "evil" are only conceptual. Creatures are neither good nor evil even when they have generous or destructive tendencies. The only exception are the creatures of subspace, which are powerful and strange enough to be considered "good" or "evil".

In game terms: powers, abilities, and traits that specifically affect "good" or "evil" creatures only affect beings that:

  • Originate from subspace.
  • Have supernatural abilities.
  • Have an alignment or nature that is specifically "good" or "evil".

All creatures native to Asmythe, regardless of origin or nature, are not affected by spells or abilities that only affect "good" or "evil" creatures.

Random Notes

  • Many monsters are attracted to magic. They were created to fight in a war against magic and magical creatures.
  • What are the habits of worship for each race/primal domain? What are the places of significance?
  • Monasteries provide free lodging, even to the sick. Monks/priests accept payment for divine favor.
  • Every walled town has a travelers inn to accommodate travelers and merchants with beds, rooms, and food/drink. The travelers inn can be expensive, common houses and monasteries provide free places to sleep but may be crowded and/or dirty.
  • Walled cities require travelers to check their large/obvious weapons at the gate and can be retrieved when leaving the town.

NCP Actions in Battle

  • NPCs have a motive: Why are they here? What do they want?
  • Fight tactically. NCPs aren't stupid and will often try to avoid a fight if it isn't necessary for them to get what they want.

Encounters should have multiple objectives for players, and multiple ways to get those objectives.


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