The primary Exocosm world is a realistic extrapolation of Earth into the future and an investigation of possibilities based on current scientific knowledge. This is suitable for science fiction stories, however, in the fantasy genre more flexibility is available. I therefore aim to branch out into secondary worlds that diverge from reality.
Various worlds are swirling around in my head but three main possibilities are sketched out below (with tentative names) along with various possible sources of inspiration.
Amalgam is a decaying world where civilisation hangs on in scattered city states, separated by hazardous wilderness filled with threats. These metropolises rely on ancient arcane technology to survive even as it slowly warps the environment further. The influence of the alchemical prime materials is seeping into the world merging flesh with metal and creating barren sulfurous wastes.
Can life adapt to the new conditions or is it too late?
- Inspiration: Airships, Alchemy, Climate Change, Dark Sun, Flintlock Fantasy, Mad Max, Mirrodin, Steampunk
Omnium is a gaslamp fantasy (or teslapunk) style setting where no distinction is made between magic and technology. The manipulation of the flow of aether through the world enables both “spells” and arcane devices. In a set of small connected planes at the centre of the multiverse, sits the city of Panopticon. Portals lead to various suburb planes and outposts across a wide planar trading empire.
What is the mysterious entity sitting at the centre of Panopticon and what is it watching through all the portals?
- Inspiration: Age of Sigmar, Bone Song (John Meaney), Carnival Row, The Light Ages (Ian MacLeod), Perdido Street Station and other Bas-Lag novels (China Miéville), Planescape, Shadow & Bone, Teslapunk
Slivers is a space-fantasy set in a world that shattered into a thousand fragments in a cataclysm centuries ago. The survivors have gradually rebuilt on their individual shards using psychic powers and access to the realm of the dead. Using the arcane nature of obsidian and gold they have now constructed space travelling bastions that are beginning to reunite the separated people.
Is the cycle of death and rebirth natural or is the solar empire correct to bind the spirits of the dead to the land of the living to delay their ultimate departure?
- Inspiration: Aztecs, Flat Earth, Galactic Milieu series (Julian May), Kongo Cosmology, Polynesia, Solarpunk, Spelljammer, WH40K
Just for an illustration, here are some other ideas that didn’t quite make the cut for various reasons. Feel free to comment on them too.
- In Silico: A cyberpunk future where the boundaries between real and virtual are blurred and mind uploading has changed humanity forever.
- Noosphere: A space fantasy set in the far future with humanity living on vast travelling world ships using advanced reality warping technologies. Alien races war using the very fabric of space-time as a weapon.
- Primeval: A world before technology and metal where spirits influence the daily lives of humanity and the other first races.
- Xanadu: A mythic dream-like setting that consists of infinite diverse realms floating in the formless mist. The Celestial Empress is gradually solidifying the realms into one larger domain, but what is her motivation?