Monday, February 25, 2013

HUSK: Old Stabs at a New World

K so ten? fifteen? years ago I started going all out on a game setting deliberately leaving behind all the standard fantasy trappings. No elves. No dwarves. No humans either... the other deliberate choice was to say yes to any idea that felt like it would fit. And so the Orb was born, a world on the inside, filled with a central sun, orbited within by other planets, and chock full of every damn idea I had.

It was a mess. A glorious two year mess. But I wrote a fuckton of words about that mess, and I figure what the hell, you got nothing better to do than read about it. So slow days these next few weeks get snippets of what I used to call the Orb. Only now it's Husk, cause it's edgier. Grrr. It's warts and all, crappy proto-writings and pomposterousities and all over done, but still. Better out there than hiding on a hard-drive. 

First up a wankery overview of the physical world. Next the races, then the history. 

As cringeworthy as parts of it are, still, I hope you enjoy it.


What is the Orb? It depends entirely on whom you ask, and on what they hold sacred to their hearts. Some consider the Orb to be the Womb of God, a pregnant creation awaiting birth into a new universe. Some believe it is the Spawnshell of the First Goilnoi Lovers, left behind after their rutting; others believe it is the Bubble of the Great Blower of the Cheebacs. Among the Bokucryu it is where the Eight first lay down to mate; the Horrm know it is the Great Wound where their God speared the Writhe with his Hornfist. The true nature of the Orb is know to all and agreed upon by none – of that you may be certain. Yet there are some things about the Orb that the myriad beliefs do concur, and the physical makeup is one such thing. 


Geographical measurements within the Orb use the Viperial System, developed well over 7,000 years ago, using the length of the Narghwan Queens or Qu as its standard unit [One Queen is equal to 500 meters in the Metric System].


The Orb is a huge spherical hollow. There is enough room within the Orb for the Heartsun, seventeen suns, and numerous orbiting bodies. Planets and moons, comets and stars - these can all be found dancing a complex pattern around the centre of the Orb. On the inside surface of the Orb lie vast lands and oceans; across these lands and in these oceans are found the innumerable creatures and life forms who live and die within the Orb. Some even live on the outermost planets and moons, and some spend their whole lives in the air. Ancient astronomers were able to calculate the following dimensions of the Orb:

Circumference: 46656Qu [23328km; slightly larger than Mars in size]
Radius: approx 7425.533Qu [3712.766km]
Surface Area: approx 692,891,337.529Qu2 [173,222,834.382km2]
Land Area: 40% of surface area; approx 277,159,505.225Qu2 [69,289,133.753km2
(Africa+N & S America)]
Water Area: 60% of surface area; approx 415,739,257.837Qu2 [103,933,700.629km2 (two-thirds of the Pacific)]


At the centre of it all lies the Heartsun, the great beacon of life, whose radiance illuminates the Orb, bathing the Orb in warmth and energy. The Heart’s luminous nature pulses in a regular rhythm, like the beating of any other heart, and this beat defines life in all the Orb.
At the beginning of each day the Heartsun appears to be dead, a lifeless shell, a dark and cold sphere. At dawn a crack appears, a sliver of light that shines out. Then another crack splits its surface, and another, much like a young bird breaking out of its egg. Soon there are cracks to be seen all over the Heartsun, and rents of dappled light beam out through the cracks and spin across the surfaces of the Orb. Soon nothing remains of the shell and the Heartsun is an orange ball of fire, slowly growing in intensity, til at its midday peak it is a blazing white brilliance, far too bright to look at. Then it slowly begins to wane, losing its brilliance and returning again to a smouldering fire at dusk, and by evening it is little more than a smoking coal. At last, as night sets in the Heartsun cools down, and grows dark again, til the next dawn. This is the way it has always been. Around the Heartsun orbit numerous bodies, some are radiant suns, some are dark planets. These planets and moons and stars have a variety of orbits - some spin around the Heartsun within the Orb; others trace paths that pass through the Orb to the Beyon, only to return again and retrace their paths. 


Closest to the Heartsun lie the Shards, a collection of long dark fragments that are made up of flakes of shell that the Heartsun sloughs off each dawn. The Shards are jagged and irregular, conglomerations of spikes and edges, which taper away from the Heartsun. Though no one has ever been to them they appear to be sentient, for they often jostle with each other and vie for each new shellflake. The Shards vary in size, some barely a mile long, the biggest two or three times as long as the Heartsun is wide.  None are large enough to eclipse the Heartsun, but as a swarm the Shards can often block out its light. When there are no shellflakes about they assume varying positions around the Heartsun. Interestingly, the voracious appetites of the Shards has meant that no Shellflake has ever fallen to the Orb, but it is said that long ago a Shard fell to earth, but it fell into the ocean, and was never found. 


Beyond the Shards orbit the Suns. Each Sun is a radiant sphere of light and heat, no brighter than the Heartsun in the late afternoon. Each of the seventeen Suns is golden or fiery in colour, and each travels a most unusual journey. They emerge from huge circular Suntunnels that open across the surface of the Orb, rising out of an encircling ring of burnt and blasted mountains called Birthmounts. From there the Suns rise quickly into the sky, casting their own light and heat across the surrounding lands, which is why most Birthmounts are girt by deserts – few creatures can bear such temperatures. Each Sun then traces a long and lazy journey through the aether, passing near the Shards and the Heartsun til, towards the end of the Sun’s day, it returns to the surface of the Orb. Finally, at sunset, each ball of fire is swallowed up by the earth, disappearing into another mountain-ringed tunnel called Deathmounts. It should be noted that some Suns’ Mounts are located deep beneath the waves, either rising in a huge cloud of boiling steam, or being quenched as they descend into the cool waters. Surrounding coastlines are constantly battered by huge waves and fierce weather. Suntunnels are roughly twenty to forty miles in diameter; the actual diameter of the Suns is yet to be properly gauged, but logically is less than twenty miles across. Where each Sun goes during it journey through the Suntunnels remains a mystery to this day, but it is said they journey to the Beyon, mythical lands far from the surface of the Orb. It remains a matter for taletellers and cosmologists; the last attempt to follow a Sun through its Suntunnel resulted in the destruction of the entire expedition and the cataclysmic Sunfall at Vinvasleen, where the Sun Verliha crashed into the Orb’s surface destroying half a continent and permanently scarring the Orb.


  1. A giant Dyson Sphere fantasy world? Very nice.

  2. I don't think that is cringeworthy at all, beats all those everything and kitchen sink settings all the regular Joe DM's have in their binder of shame with suns named after Gary, Dave and Doc Holmes, with maps that have notes like "land of lusty elf babes" on them.