Who will you be after the Rise of Æster?
Will you play a nightman in the St. Louis City of Light, trading for medicines to treat an outbreak of disease in your village?
Perhaps an airship captain who's just barely getting by, dodging air pirates, the law and your competitors to make ends meet?
How about an industrialist with a clever method to use fungus as a "grown" building material in constructing Æster-resistant buildings?
These are a mere sample of ideas to explore in Rise of Æster. Our goal is to provide you a framework, so you can roleplay any steampunk character that you wish, in a great story of a pulp-adventure style.
If you haven't already created your own steampunk character, these are a few iconic character snapshots to help a new player around the myriad possibilities that are presented in our world.
Lightkeepers are the first line of defense against the darkness within the Cities of Light. Some may be civil servants whose job is little more that replacing burned-out lamps and repairing broken wires, but others are heroic masters of the cities, knowing every nook and cranny that power lines run to. The Lightkeepers hold back the hard, cold darkness under the Æster with determination and grit, and any community under the Nyx or Argentum relies on them for survival, lest the crops in their vast greenhouses wither.
Hanging hundreds of feet overhead to repair a damaged illuminator or kneeling in the gutter to fix a footlight, Lightkeepers are a constant reminder that just beyond the city's lights is a cold, dark and dangerous world. In an emergency, the Lightkeepers are always amongst the first to respond, wardens wading into the dark and danger with their signature staffs of office blazing and mantles of lights showing the way to safety.
In the darkness of the Nyx and the Argentum, rat infestations are an unpleasant fact of life, made even more unpleasant by generations of æsterized mutation. The common wharf rat has grown to great size and fierce aggression, requiring more specialized methods of pest control. The Ratcatcher is therefore a much appreciated member of any city of light community. These urban hunters are privately contracted by city residents of all classes and are paid by the pelt. While not guaranteed to be a lucrative business, some ratcatchers are well-known and respected throughout the cities of light.
Æster Rescue Marines
The brave men and women of the Æster Rescue Service place themselves at extreme risk when attempting rescues deep in the hostile environment of the Æster. Drawn from the finest units in the British military,they no longer serve in combat, but dedicate their lives to preserve and protect.
“That None Should Be Left Behind” is the creed these men and women live and...if necessary...die by. No finer example of the spirit of service can be found in the Empire than that represented by these soldiers of the sky.
Nightmen are the tough, resourceful, and cunning descendants of those people who remained in the Nyx and Argentum during the Rise. They have gathered into tribes and developed a keen capacity to survive in the cold, dark and danger filled world under the Æster. Although Nightmen have some similarities, the particulars of the geography in which they live causes the Nightmen to adapt specialized methods in order to survive. That is where their similarities end.
Nightmen can be generally grouped into broad categories. These categories are associated primarily with their survival strategies:
Neobarbarians- Neobarbarians utilize primitive levels of technology and have developed a way of life that allows them to thrive in the dark, resource-scarce environment. Neobarbarians are generally organized on clan and tribal affiliations with leadership base on strength or the ability to obtain resources for the group as a whole. The Red Hand Tribe is an example of this type of Nightman society
Traders- Traders have found that the key to survival is not about taking things from others as many Neobarbarian raiders do, but acquiring things people need through trade and commerce. These Nightmen create a bridge or pipeline between cities of light and the far-flung tribes who might not otherwise have access to these goods. The Glass Knives are an example of Traders.
Hunters- Most Nightmen hunt in one way or another to survive, but this category is made up of those who do so as their primary mode of living. They hunt for meat, furs and other animal product which is then traded for goods. The infamous Nachtjaegers are the quintessential example of hunters.
Farmers- It takes tremendous work to farm in the darkness of the Nyx. It requires either Tesla Lights to allow crops to grow, or a knowledge of mycology to allow the farmer to successfully grow mushrooms, molds and fungus to sustain themselves or to trade. The best known of these Nightmen are the Enduring Brethren whose discoveries in fungus and mycology have lead to advances in everything from medicine to materials science.
The cunning Nightmen present a wide range of possibilities for characters. Living outside of the Cities of Light, the Nightmen have developed unique styles and cultures in their isolated tribes and clans.