The Pillars of Heaven
4/18/15: Uploaded a world map.
4/8/15: The creation of this wiki.
The Pillars of Heaven is a futuristic, post-apocalyptic sword and sorcery game set in a far-flung alternate future. It runs on Fate Accelerated, freely available on PDF or in print for $5. Check out the Wiki or Characters section for more.
Hundreds of years in the future, Earth passes through a cosmic energy field. For a handful of minutes, a series of parallel dimensions touch Earth simultaneously. Worldwide cataclysm occurs. The face of the planet is reshaped. Cities crumble and coastlines alter forever. Massive storms sweep away vast swaths of humanity. Global communication breaks down.
But Linergy was only the beginning. Portals open from strange other worlds, letting unfathomable monstrosities into ours. Alien diseases ravage the population, even bringing some back as shambling undead. The leftover radiation of Linergy begins to mutate generations into ancient and unforseen shapes.
Thousands of years pass. The jungle and forest reclaims the ancient cities, reduces the freeways to cemetaries. The monuments of bygone ages rot… or are repurposed. As Linergy withdraws, the earth begins to heal. Life blooms again, not only Earth’s own, but that of the other worlds that briefly touched ours. Riotous fungal forests burst into life. Oceans and jungles teem with new life as ecosystems violently rearrange themselves. The mountains sing with the sound of alien crystals. The monstrous skeletons of long-dead alien beasts become shelters for new, foundling civilizations.
Humanity, what remains of it, is no longer alone. Mutations and cross-breeding have created new races of beings: some beautiful, some bizarre. Strange beings from other dimensions, trapped here by the chaos of Linergy, make their way in the world as best they can. Some are peaceful, others hostile. Many are unique, their like never to be seen again in this world.
Another after-effect of Linergy: magic returns. Spirits and mythical beasts return from the collective imagination. Sorcery can be learned and mastered. Forbidden knowledge is passed down from shadowy elder beings from across dimensional rifts. New mythologies spring up, worshipping gods both ancient and new, some of which — according to legend — live and breathe in this new world.
The Empty World
The world is not as it once was. The cataclysms of Linergy killed billions; the aftermath killed more. Those that remain often live in isolation, or take shelter in one of the handful of cities left. Most of these settlements are city-states, self-sufficient and exterting little or no power beyond their borders. The world beyond is wild and empty, full of mysteries and perils. Few dare venture out into those mysteries, and not all who do return.
Much of the world has grown more barbarous. Monsters prowl the empty wastes and humid jungles, and warlords rule in the vast territories between cities. Humans and demi-humans often scrabble for resources, and wars are fought between tribes and clans, no longer between nations and kingdoms.
But not all is squalor and desperation. Beauty exists in many of the city-states, and Linergy brought wonder as well as terror. In the thousands of years that followed the destruction, new civilizations built new cultures and told myths of the ancient world that was. In the cities, coutrly intrigue and betrayal amuses the rich. Kings and queens, made immortal by strange magic, languish and brood in decadent palaces.
Beyond the cities, the ruins of a bygone world wait to give up their mysteries. Treasure hunters brave uncharted depths and abandoned expanses to bring back trinkets and artifacts from this world, and the thousand others that touched Earth during Linergy.
Intent and Influences
Pillars of Heaven is a sword-and-sorcery game of weird science, pulp adventure, and exploration. The players take the roles of explorers, sages, swashbucklers, nobles, mercenaries, or other denizens of the Empty Earth, seeking knowledge, fortune, and adventure.
The tone of the game is not intended to be grimdark or relentless. While the earth has suffered tragedy, a new world has risen in the wake of the old, and while there is danger, there is also beauty and new knowledge to be sought out and documented.
The emphasis of the game is on roleplaying, adventure and intrigue, not a dungeon delve or a slaughterhouse. Characters will receive experience rewards for changing or saving lives as much as taking them. Beyond that, the tone and scope of the campaign is up for grabs.
Influences: Ralph Bakshi’s Wizards. A.A. Attanasio’s Radix. Thundarr the Barbarian. Eighties sword & sorcery cinema. Robert E. Howard. Henry Kuttner. Stephen King’s The Stand. A Canticle for Liebowitz. 12 Monkeys. Zardoz. The Waters of Deadmoon (Heavy Metal comic). The Borderlands video game. Not Adventure Time (I haven’t seen it)