Explore the World: Worldbuilding the Weird

Updated: Aug 23

Creating the Idea

My favorite part of this whole project was coming up with the world and the people that inhabit it. I get to create a brand new history filled with interesting characters and fascinating places. One of the harder parts of that, however, is being unable to tell people, but now I can start!

Aether & Iron started with a simple world premise, what if cities were built upward? From there I began asking questions like "how?", "why?", "where?", "when?", etc. to fill out this world. I knew we needed a world where fighting made sense, that we wanted the Player to use vehicles to fight, and that the world needed to have some steampunk elements. From there I started work in World Anvil, a world building site often used for writers and dungeon masters, filling in this world with different people. These people then began expanding the rules of the world, the events, the culture, the desires, etc.--adding life to an idea, and then, in turn, turning that idea into a game.

Themes

In building this world, we wanted to make something akin to Steampunk, but we needed to adapt it since we weren't using steam to power the world. In our version of New York, a force known as Aether was discovered in the atmosphere, a harvestable form of electromagnetic energy that can be used for flight. The deposits of this energy became more concentrated the higher you fly, incentivizing the wealthy to continue building upward to control a significant portion of the energy production in the city. That being said, we still want to use a lot of the tropes found in the Steampunk genre such as automatons, scientific abominations, and outrageously exaggerated mechanical and architectural structures!


Besides the Steampunk theme, we also want to lean into the American Gangster vibe present in the 1930's. The vehicles, dress, attitude, era, when romanticized, creates a recognizable and fun visual theme to explore, filled with fun high stakes adventures. Our story takes place towards the end of the 1930's, nearly a hundred years since the people of New York began building upward. A recent war has broken out amongst the Kings of New York: armies have been mobilized and called to their gangster inspired vehicles for war! The Skies must be controlled, and the tool to do so are these magnificent chariots.

Snazzy early concept of a flying gangster care from Jean-Paul Fiction.

The last theme that will be incorporated into the game comes from the nature of the feudal order controlling New York. The New York of Aether & Iron takes place in an alternate timeline where the American experiment failed, devolving into a feudal society of warlords, kings, and emperors. New York itself is split into dozens of rival powers and kings, all fighting for territorial dominance. Because of this structure, some elements of medieval Europe are hinted amongst the architecture: massive walls with turrets and parapets defend districts from invaders, banners and coat-of-arms herald kings and vassals, and medieval sensibilities raise their head occasionally amongst the population.

Make Sure To Keep Up!

This stuff is just scratching the surface of the world we're building, but hopefully you'll start to imagine it for yourself in the meantime! We will be releasing new information constantly about the project, so make sure to stay up do date by following our Facebook and subscribing to our Newsletter right below!