Prompt of the Week: The Wasting Abyss and the Origin of Amnar

A figure stands before a terrifying mechanical object emerging out of a dark and stormy sky.
The city of Cir Nacayjil, capital of one of the Five Empires, Basat. (Dream/WOMBO)

I was supposed to post a prompt response, but I decided to do something a little bit different today. I've been playing with the Deck of Worlds. I almost didn't post at all this weekend, because I think the anaemia has come back and I've been feeling unwell for the last couple of days. TMI in the footnotes.*

Instead of just pulling a card out of the expansion deck, "Shared Hearths and Common Creeds", I've gone up a level. This morning, I used the Deck of Worlds horror expansion, "Worlds of Blight and Shadow", to draw a more complex location prompt.

This is what came out.

See blog text for details.
Card arrangement from the Deck of Worlds (apologies for cat hair).

The cards and their texts:

Region card: Abyss
Attributes assigned to the region:
Namesake card: Wasting
Origin card: Created through extreme violence
Attribute card: Source of dark power.

Landmark card: Spiral
Attributes assigned to the landmark:
Namesake card: Of Shadows
Origin card: Site of a mysterious disappearance
Attribute card: Known for monster hunters.

Advent card (both of which apply):

• A tear has appeared in the sky: Releasing creatures, strange weather, or unnerving sounds.

• A heinous crime is shattering the community: Murder, vandalism of something sacred, or a linked series of crimes.

This is not the only way of doing a layout, but it is a much more detailed one, where both the Landmark and the Region card have a full arrangement of cards.

The "Worlds of Blight and Shadows" is a horror-based deck, but this is much more about mood than anything else. I wasn't sure, when I ordered it, if I was being daft to get it, but it's actually very useful regardless of the type of world you write in. And note note note, I don't get money for saying that. I've just really enjoyed playing with these cards and I've wanted to do so much more than I've been able to so far (but haven't had the time or energy).

A female warrior fights against a sky filled with monsters.
Talija fights at one of the first Gaps to open.

OK. So this was unexpected. I went out for a run and thought about what to do, because this is very much like the structure of the Amnari world and how it came to be.

Is it cheating if I use this as an opportunity to write up an introduction to Amnar? An abyss with a spiral at its centre that spews terrible monsters into the world is pretty much the background to the Amnari world as it is now.

Note the final card, from the "Advent" section of the deck. Yes, we have the rip in reality and monsters coming through. But also, the site of a heinous crime! This will be part of something I want to write about in the future, so I'm going to keep it under wraps for now. No spoilers.

What is Amnar?

Amnar is an alliance of seven city states across several continents on a planet called Amaresh. The seven city states emerged after the end of the "Gap War".

Five empires had worked together for over a thousand years to control a vast stretch of territories. They fought a series of wars over control over a technology that would enable the leaders of those empires to become gods.

The effect of these wars was the displacement of millions of people, the destruction of the environment on a global scale, widespread enslavement and conscription, scientific experimentation to develop new technologies in the pursuit of the ambition to harness the power of the gods.

Accidentally, one former slave fell into the God Machine and was the first to connect with the gods to become one herself. This was Isha. She changed the tide of the war by inviting refugees, slaves and former slaves, and others, to find sanctuary in the former territory of one of those empires. These people became known as the Hundred Thousand, although there were probably many more.

To protect them, Isha called upon five tribes—also known as nations—from around the territories of the five empires, to unite under a single banner.

A tear in reality opens over a landscape with a gold river and mountains on either side.
The Gap opens in Rad Ruinn.

In order to stop her, the empires ripped open holes in reality itself, known as "Gaps". The first opened in the cavern where the Hundred Thousand were hiding from the empires' armies.

Isha and her supporters were eventually able to defeat the empires. However, it was at incredible cost. Seven gaps had been torn open, throughout the world. These holes led through to other, terrible places that released awful monstrosities that poured into the human realm.

The Hundred Thousand, the members of the five nations, and other survivors came together under the banner of a new civilisation called "Amnar".

Its intended purpose was to protect the rest of the world from the creatures that came through these unstable tears in reality. Each of the cities surrounds a gap. It's an unusual setup, since most cities protect inhabitants from outsiders; Amnari cities protect outsiders from the gaps at their core.

Amnari society is therefore unusual, because it is based on training up and maintaining the defence of "the Line". Below each gap is an abyss, created by the loose and unstable energy tearing out of reality. The warriors who fight on the Line do so on a narrow platform above the abyss.

A stormy, cloudy sky over a mountainous landscape.
The Storm Gate (Gap) at Nas Trinitar.

They're restricted in terms of what they can use, because the nature of the energy loose when the gaps open. The energy, called kata, has devastating affects. So, although it is used by Amnari to heal wounds and cure illnesses, it can also cause illnesses and has strange and often terrifying effects on the environment.

Proximity to the Gaps, even when they aren't active, is incredibly dangerous. It's not just that kata is dangerous when active, but the impact on the surrounding environment is something Amnari are constantly working to mitigate. This is why not everywhere on the planet has immediate access to the energy and is able to use it in the same way.

Over time, Amnari have been working to find ways that will allow them to share the positive benefits without spreading the negative impacts. This is a long, ongoing process that is only piecemeal as most Amnari resources are taken up dealing with the constant activity at the Gaps.

And there we have it. I'll try to post this on the World Anvil site because I think it might be a suitable introductory blurb and I haven't got one right now.

Lightning pouring out of a giant tree with a pond in the foreground.
The death of the great Tree at the end of the Gap War.

* OK, so I got diagnosed with stage 3 anaemia in April. Symptoms included exhaustion, struggling to run, chest pain, breathlessness, sleeplessness, and restless legs. I don't have the restless legs, but I've been struggling to sleep and got the chest pain, struggling to run and breathlessness back again. This is not fun, but probably due to the fact that taking iron supplements is like being a walking chemistry experiment and I keep getting it wrong. I will be restful tomorrow and see if that helps.