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Making a setting 02 - Choice of Worlds - The Triarku system summary and plot


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This is post two in the series of God willing around 10 posts detailing the world building and plotting of a science fantasy story Choice of Worlds, a series focused primarily on the interactions between a mostly contemporary / 1900's Earth-like world, and the communities of other humans and aliens within its solar system of which it is mostly ignorant. See here to follow a link to the original post for the seed ideas for this setting and plot. Also, to clarify with regards to my previous topic – Let's talk about dragons – this setting will not feature dragons, or at least if there are any dragons they will remain hidden as spirits.

I thought I'd try something a little interesting for this post, and instead of jumping straight to the next poll (the aliens poll), I would give you a summary of the general structure of the setting so far, as well as comment on other possible stories the previous poll could have suggested. So this topic will cover

  1. the possible settings the poll could have seeded,

  2. a summary of the distant and more recent history of the setting, and

  3. some of the fixed elements of the setting.


So, lets start with the other possibilities, and then give the details of this setting in broad strokes.


Looking at the percentage mix has made me wonder, what would I have had to work with with a different mix? Here are four examples and the approximate percentages, listing the greater percentages first.


Number One:

  • Type of setting (genre):

    • Mainly hard science fiction (~45%)

    • A fair amount of contemporary (~25%)

    • A small amount of both high and low fantasy (~15% and ~10% respectively)

    • Very little soft science fiction (~5%)

  • Planet details:

    • Mainly a nanoscale environment (~70%)

    • A fair amount of the solar system present (~25%)

    • The rest negligible

  • Story:

    • Mainly quest focused (~60%)

    • A fair amount of local problem focus (~35%)

    • The rest negligible

  • A civilisation of nanotech robots, their civilisation similar to ours with cities, families, and technology roughly equivalent to our own only scaled down and functioning on different principles – basically they are like us, only much smaller. A sudden series of problem affecting their civilisation prompts them to investigate the cause of this issues, which they discover come from another planet in their solar system. Thus they have to travel to another planet in their solar system which they have never been to before using their rocket equivalents, and face the cause of the problem head on, a cause related to the magic present on those other planets.


Number Two:

  • Type of setting (genre):

    • Mainly fantasy, favouring high but with a fair amount of low (~40% and ~30% respectively)

    • A fair amount of hard science fiction (~25%)

    • The rest negligible

  • Planet details:

    • Mainly a single planet (~70%)

    • A small amount artificial (~10%)

    • The rest negligible

  • Story:

    • Equal parts romance and mystery (~40% each)

    • The rest negligible

  • A planet that has been equipped with engines that enable it to travel across the stars, and every solar system that is passes it seeds with life and a colony of the people who built it. At some point in the journey the people who live on this ship were taught magic by aliens, and so while the technology that powers the ship is now beyond their understanding they are able to still maintain civilisation with magic substituted for technology. During its travel through another solar system it hasn't yet seeded, something goes wrong with the engines, though not enough to cause a problem for the planetship. It does prompt the inhabitants to resolve to find out how the ancient technology worked, however, so they could in theory try to fix the ship should any future problems arise. While delving into this, they accidentally encounter the ships A.I., which knows much about their early history but is forbidden from telling them certain things, or revealing how some things work. While trying to understand the engines and the ship – and indeed their own history – one of the expedition members begins a romance with the A.I., but as the A.I. is a projection, and will outlive them, the relationship is difficult.


Number Three:

  • Type of setting (genre):

    • Mainly contemporary (~45%)

    • A fair amount of both hard and soft science fiction (~15% and ~12.5% respectively)

    • A fair amount of both high and low fantasy (~15% and ~12.5% respectively)

  • Planet details:

    • Mainly on a single planet (~40%)

    • A fair amount in another dimension (~30%)

    • A small amount in a nanoscale world (~15%)

    • The rest negligible

  • Story:

    • Mainly politics focus (~45%)

    • A fair amount of mystery (~30%)

    • The rest negligible

  • A contemporary society discovers several tribes of nanoscale aliens living on their planet that are trying to join together to form a civilisation, the nanoscale aliens a tribal society. While attempting to communicate, the human civilisation, which makes use of hard science to both discover and communicate with the aliens, who themselves use something that seems more like magic to talk back to them, learn that the attempts to unite the tribes has been thwarted by an assassination attempt on one of the alien ambassadors. This discovery prompts the humans to try, in the modern technological and human scale world, to try to find out who tried that, and along the way there is a strong focus on trying to understand how the alien world works.


Number Four:

  • Type of setting (genre):

    • Mainly hard science fiction (~40%)

    • A fair amount of soft science fiction (~30%)

    • A fair amount of low fantasy (~20%)

    • The rest negligible

  • Planet details:

    • Mainly solar system (~60%)

    • A fair amount set in another dimension (~30%)

    • The rest negligible

  • Story:

    • Mainly exploration (~50%)

    • A fair amount of romance (~30%)

    • Equal proportions of all the rest, being politics and mystery (~10% each)

  • A space faring civilisation that has explored the planets nearest its sun is trying to map the furthest regions of their solar system but have a problem – their planetary drives only work on the planets close to their star, as those planets are bound by a special dimension that they have discovered how to make use of for interplanetary travel, thus the exploration of the more distant planets takes longer than travelling in the inner regions. However, they recently have discovered another dimension that the more distant planets are bound to, and so have begun to explore, though this new drive is still significantly slower than their normal ship engines. Thus it is a year long trip to explore these other planets, and along the way the crew begin to grow closer to one another, and friendships, rivalries, hatreds, and loves begin to form, along with the bickering back home reaching them, as the different nations of their world start to become increasingly unfriendly to one another.


Those are the other possible ways this story could have gone, and I rather like a few of them, so I'm going to be seeing if I can work on those at a later point. For now, however, on to this setting!



This one is a fairly even mix of science fiction and fantasy, and leans more towards low fantasy. To describe it in similar terms to the above, this is set in a single solar system in a universe shaped by conflicts in both the distant and recent past. Humans live on several planets in this solar system, with multiple civilisations on each world, each shaped by the environment in which they live – from frozen wastes to hot deserts, from jungles to islands, they are each very different. A unifying trait to the more “civilised” of these civilisations, besides their proximity to the poles of the planets they inhabit, is that they honour and respect the Benefactors, the nanoscale species that protects and guides them. The Benefactors live within a single nanoscale city, a city that is spread out across the universe, its various regions anchored at the poles of all the planets in the universe – ALL the planets, and many rocks that some would not classify as such – each within the centre of a massive machine, two on each planet, that they oversee. The machines were reconfigured to maintains the relatively Earth-like conditions on the various planets in the solar system, but their original function is to hold the Fields, the three dimensions that are known to overlay reality, apart.

Originally, the Fields were a single dimension, but it was split into three in order to contain a threat that had already damaged the original Field, and to try to help the peoples who had been wounded by that assault. That threat still sometimes reaches out, despite its imprisonment, and is a horror to all life in that universe, be they human, Benefactor, or their allies.

Humanity, however, typically doesn't have much to do with that, as that lies within the Benefactors' domain, and humans can only enter that world when they ride Soul Horses, machines that allow a human to exist within the Benefactors' city by inhabiting a nanoscale device – though the term Soul Horse is also used for the machines that are human scale and allow the Benefactors to enter into the macroscale reality.

Instead, humanity concerns itself with the ebb and flow of trade between its own worlds, as all the other solar systems are unreachable to anyone who cannot exist as themselves within the Benefactors' city, a city even they do not fully understand. The human civilisations trade, bargain, research, and fight with one another across the various planets and ecosystems of the Triarku solar system, and so humanity has its choice of worlds. Well … its choice of all but one world. A single planet, located in the ideal place for human habitation, is forbidden to the space faring civilisations of man. Because there already are humans on it.

This unique and singular world is like our own, though closer to the 1900's. Their origins tie into the same origins as humanity on the other worlds, as part of a seeding process that went wrong: a colony ship carrying embryos was accidentally damaged when entering the system from another universe, and the Benefactor's saved it. The ship split into several segments, each self sufficient but scattering the colony pods across the worlds of the solar system. Unable to gather these segments, and the segments themselves not programmed to detect the conditions of the worlds they landed on, relying on the main ship to handle that function, the Benefactors performed minor modifications to those worlds that were less than ideal for human survival, allowing the pods to safely activate and found colonies on the various worlds. The pods that landed on the fertile world in the middle of the goldilocks zone, however, they left in peace, allowing the colony to develop as its designers had intended. Those, left alone, developed into a world much like our own over the course of thousands of years, while the others, those whose worlds were only habitable due to the efforts of the Benefactors, developed quiet differently.

The people of those worlds are of many nations and many different cultures and tech levels, and have many different attitudes, but the strongest of those nations are all bound by an agreement – the goldilocks world is to be left alone, only its poles visited if anyone is to travel there on some errand requested by the Benefactors. The inhabitants of that world are not to be exploited, abused, or kidnapped, nor are the worlds of the Triarku system to reveal themselves to the inhabitants of that world. Despite this, growing rumours that the inhabitants of that planet have begun looking towards the stars, and soon their world will be the ones to reach out and initiate contact. And they may do so sooner than any of the other people's think.

Chrysmal, the contemporary world planet, has indeed developed as its designers intended, albeit missing many of the records that were destroyed with the ship, and one of those goals for the colony was for it to colonise the universe into which it was sent. That knowledge has been lost to many of its inhabitants, but some, a few organisations that have hidden their true nature and goals, know of this, and they have begun to suspect that there is more to their solar system than they had at first believed. Unlike the other worlds, they don't have access to magic, or the ability to travel between the planets of their binary stars, or the powerful weapons of their planetary kin. But what they do have is drive, resources, and their ingenuity.




The plot for the first story – a team of sellswords working in the space faring region of the solar system are hired to investigate an expedition sent by one of the companies on Chrysmal – the contemporary world – to its southern pole, to make sure they don't discover the machine present there. This is highly controversial, as the rules for interactions between the other planets and Chrysmal don't prohibit Chyrsmal from discovering the truth and initiating contact, which is why sellswords were hired to to this task, rather than a more formal militia. The sellswords come from several backgrounds, but most are decent people who fell on rough times. Some are from the polar nations of the various worlds who became outcasts for various reasons, while others are from the equatorial regions – the more extreme regions in temperature and weather – who are used to hard lives in the lawless and “less civilised” nations, who resent being lorded over by the polar nations. Some are from scholarly backgrounds, and some are thugs, but all are bound by their oaths to one another, though some value those oaths more than others.

Meanwhile, the expedition to the southern pole is itself a mixed group, consisting of both scientists and workers, and a few suits who don't seem to have a clear motivation for why they were sent on the expedition. The expedition team is the first group to ever try to come this way, and are facing new and more dangerous challenges than they had ever faced before, all while the expedition leader and chief scientist begins to suspect there are ulterior motives for this mission.

The sellswords eventually locate and start stalking the expedition, debating how to make sure it doesn't find the machine, while the scientist eventually confronts the suits to discover that, while the south pole has never been visited before, the north pole actually has, and the suits are trying to establish another base in the south to gain a monopoly on access to the knowledge of that machine.

Along the way more is discovered about the nature of the organisation which funded the expedition, its relation to organisations in the Triarku system who seek to overthrow the established order, and the eventual meeting between the sellswords and the expedition leads to internal conflicts in both groups, and the beginnings of a relationship between the lead scientist and the captain of the sellswords.


That's it for the moment. The next poll is intended to cover some aliens. Until then, have a great day!

Edited by Ixthos
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19 minutes ago, Somebody from Sel said:

When will the alien poll happen? Also I'm doing a roleplaying version of this in the roleplaying section.

Hopefully before the end of December - I've got a lot of things to do and I'm doing this as a slow process, I don't want to rush it. If you like, I can mention a few of the elements in that poll, but it won't go up for at least another week:

  • aliens (at least two)

    • number of self aware alien types to add in the story in addition to the two main (two main being the Benefactors and the Outsiders)

      • 0

      • 1

      • 2

      • 3

    • Which ones? (number chosen will equal highest number from previous question)

      • sentient mounts

      • hive mind plant aliens

      • spacefaring aliens as transport

      • Exiled minds in the nanoscale city

      • Parasites that can bond to a host

    • number of human subspecies in addition to hot and cold adapted

Those are the questions I've decided on for now. God willing the poll will have more God willing.


What sort of roleplay are you doing in the roleplay section?

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Guest Somebody from Scadrial
3 minutes ago, Ixthos said:


What sort of roleplay are you doing in the roleplay section?

It's a superhero metropolis setting but it seems like it's going to be mostly politics with superheroes, which I didn't expect, it's a bit of a experiment. Everybody's world building together so it should be a mesh of themes. It's called FFRP/world building experiment.

Edited by Somebody from Sel
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Guest Somebody from Scadrial
20 hours ago, Ixthos said:

While I work on the next section does anyone have any questions or feedback on what I've shown so far?

Not anything really, sorry.

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