Aethera Campaign Setting (PFRPG)

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Amazing Adventures Among the Stars!

Experience the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game like never before! Discover worlds where magic and technology exist together, where powerful spacefaring vessels called aetherships ply the skies and the stars. The Aethera Campaign Setting features a binary star system with multiple inhabited worlds that have only just survived a century-long war, and even now live in the shadow of an impending intergalactic invasion! Inside this massive 576-page tome you will find:

  • Four new races: Erahthi, plant-like entities with ties to a mysterious verdant elemental plane. Infused, survivors of magical experiments that possess a psychic network and telekinetic abilities. Okanta, giant-blooded humanoids endowed with powerful bestial traits and remarkable cunning. Phalanx, bio-organic constructs with living souls capable of tapping into past-life memories.
  • A new base class: the cantor, a divine spellcaster that uses the prophecy and song to debilitate enemies and enhance themselves and their allies.
  • Six new worlds to explore: The twin stars of Aethera and Ashra, the wasteland world of Akasaat, the jungle planet Kir-Sharaat, the Amrita Asteroid Belt, the gas giant Seraos, and the shrouded ice world of Orbis Aurea.
  • New rules for exciting, fast-paced vehicle combat that involves the entire party and allows you to build and captain your own ships.
  • New hybrid magical technology—aethertech—from mechanical prosthetics to unstoppable powered armor.
  • Dozens of new class archetypes, feats, spells, and MUCH, MUCH MORE!
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    An Endzeitgeist.com review

    5/5

    This colossal tome of a campaign setting clocks in at a HUGE 583 pages, 1 page front cover, 1 page inside of front cover, 3 pages KS-backer thanks, 2 pages of introduction, 3 pages of ToC, 3 pages of SRD, 1 page table/sidebar-index, 1 page back cover, leaving us with 568 pages of content.

    568 pages. Yeah, I won’t be able to dive into the details and nit and grit of every component of this colossal book, at least not without bloating this pdf beyond any form of usefulness. Got that? All right, so, first things first: This book is BEAUTIFUL. I mean it. You’ll flip open the book and see a layout, crafted by Robert Brookes, Liz Courts and Loren Sieg, and see borders that evoke at once science-fiction and art deco aesthetics, providing a rather unique visual identity for the book.

    The next thing you’ll note after the introduction, is that the chapters actually sport thematically-fitting comic-strips as lead-ins – 1 -2 pages each. Now, unlike many a campaign setting, Aethera spans obviously multiple worlds, and as such, comments on variant races and can carry pretty much an infinite amount of supplemental races. That being said, the book contains a total of 4 fully-depicted racial write-ups for new races, all of which come with age, height and weight-tables. It is in these write-ups that your jaw will likely hit the floor, as the artworks throughout this book are absolute premium-level quality. Absolutely gorgeous. The first of the races depicted herein are Erahthi, who hail from ancient forests. Born from massive fruit, they are creatures that blend the aesthetics of plants and elemental powers, and before you ask, they do have a skeletal structure. Indeed, the pdf presents relatively detailed notes for the respective societies and relations of the respective races presented. Erahthi get +2 to Con and +2 to one other ability score of their choice, are native outsiders, Medium, have darkvision and camouflage in forest terrain as well as +1 natural armor. They are treated as both plants and native outsiders for purposes of bane et al., get +4 to saves vs. mind-affecting effects, paralysis, poison and stun effects and they are immune to sleep. Non-magical undergrowth does not affect the erahthi and since they breathe through their skin, they have some cool tricks: One hand above water can keep them from drowning! However, this also imposes a -2 penalty to saves versus inhaled fumes, poisons, smoke and the like. Erahthi with Cha 11+ also get 1/day speak with plants. We get balanced FCOs for the druid, monk, shaman and slayer classes. Unique, flavorful, balanced – and before you ask, the bonus types are concisely presented throughout all races.

    Now, it should be noted that humans get a really nice, fully detailed write-up, obviously sans stats, but yeah – nice! The next new race would be the infused, basically an attempt to create a super-soldier Übermensch via the infusion of aether, these beings had suffered horrid losses in both numbers and previous identities, with the transition being often rather traumatic, with infertility and a shortened lifespan being most notable. The project that gave life to them has seen its day, and thus, to a degree, these are the twilight years for this race. Favored class option-wise, we get notes for brawler, fighter, cavalier, sorcerer, psychic and kineticist. The infused get +2 Dex and Cha, -2 Con, are humanoids with aether and human subtypes. While in zero gravity or affected by levitate, the infused gain a fly speed equal to ½ their land speed. Minor complaint: No maneuverability is given. I assume average as a default. Infused with a Charisma greater than 11 gain at-will mage hand and open/close as well as 1/day shield as SPs. They also begin play with Arcane Strike as a bonus feat and immunity to aetheric radiation. They can create a psychic bond with another creature with the aether subtype, which requires skin contact for 1 minute. Unwilling targets can attempt a Will-save to avoid the bond, with the DC scaling with the infused’s HD and Cha-mod. After a successful bond, both creatures get a +4 racial bonus to Sense each other’s Motives and to Bluff checks to pass secret messages. 1/day, an infused may share thoughts with one or more bonded creatures as per mindlink and an infused may maintain a psychic bond with up to 3 + Cha-mod creatures. Okay, one question: Can the infused end such a bond willingly? The lack of duration makes me think that it’s permanent and an inability to end such a bond by ways other than death would mean a rather large difference in how the race behaves.

    The third new race herein would be the animal-look-alike race of the Okanta, who look basically like anthropomorphized animals with massive horns – the artworks depict a bear- and a lion-based okanta, both of which manage to look actually badass. Their favored class options cover fighter, cavalier, paladin, shaman and spiritualist, as befitting of their culture. Racial traits wise, they may freely choose to assign +2 to one of the ability scores other than Strength: The +2 bonus to Strength is ficed. They are Medium humanoids with the okanta subtype and low-light vision as well as a +2 bonus to saves versus fear effects. Their horns grant them a 1d6 gore attack (would have been convenient to have the natural attack type classified here – as provided, you need to resort to the default). 1/day, an okanta can observe a creature that has a skill the okanta doesn’t have. After the 1 hour studying period, the okanta treats the skill as a class skill with ranks equal to the okanta’s level, but does not qualify the okanta for skill unlocks. Still, cool one! They also get powerful build, but suffer from light sensitivity.

    The Century War that gave rise to the creation of the infused also influenced the creation of the phalanx: Unearthed and reverse-engineered bio-mechanical constructs that actually gained sentience and soul. Suffice to say, many are war veterans today, and while gender-neutral, some phalanx have chosen to adopt gendered identities. The race comes with favored class options for monk, ranger, sorcerer, wizard and rogue. Phalanx gain +2 Con and Cha, -2 Wis, and are constructs with the phalanx subtye. They have a Con-score and don’t get bonus HP depending on size. They are Medium, with darkvision and Improved Unarmed Strike as a bonus feat. They get +4 to Diplomacy to gather information and +1 natural armor. They can also tap into the lingering memories of their souls: 1/day as a move action, they may grant themselves a feat for which they meet the prerequisites. A phalanx’ body is powered by aetherite: They must consume at least 1 au per day to avoid starvation. A phalanx remains functional for 3 + Con-mod days sans aetherite – after that, they fall unconscious and remain so indefinitely, until fed aetherite. Notice something? Yeah, robot-detectives. The artworks btw. enhance this angle and the somewhat noiresque sleuthing. Aethera predates it, but in light of Altered Carbon et al., that made me smile. As an aside: The massive construct immunities make these fellows pretty strong – but *usually* when a construct race gets its immunities, those are explicitly noted once more in the racial presentation. Their absence here means that you can kinda have your cake and eat it, too: Conservative GMs can make them behave less like constructs and ignore immunities, while those who enjoy more potent playstyles can run with them. Not ideal, mind you, but yeah. On another side, the setting assumes a level of discrimination aginst both infused and phalanx, so that should help even things out.

    The racial chapter, as a whole, provides a rather interesting array of options. Much to my joy, the races feel fresh and interesting and, more importantly, refrain from the annoying “XYZ….IN SPAAAACE”-pitfall, instead opting for unique tricks. I also like the notes for classic PFRPG-races, acknowledging what’s here without just rehashing everything.

    All right, the massive racial chapter done, we now move on to the discussion on classes in the campaign setting, which begins with a new base class, the cantor. Cantors get d8 HD, 6 + Int skills per level, ¾ BAB-progression as well as good Will-saves. They are proficient with light and medium armor as well as shields, excluding tower shields. The cantor is basically a divine bard and as such gets divine spellcasting of up to 6th level, with Wisdom as governing spellcasting attribute and the instrument as a spellcasting focus – which may mean that a cantor’s body can qualify as such. Contrary to paradigm, the cantor is a spontaneous caster and draws his spells from his own unique spell-list, which is provided with full hyperlinks for your convenience. The bardic performance equivalent, divine performance, follows the design paradigm of the bard’s performance, but does not qualify as such for the purposes of bardic masterpieces. 4 + Wisdom modifier rounds are provided at first level, with each subsequent level yielding another +2 rounds. Starting a divine performance is a standard action, until 7th level, where it may be started as a move action instead. Unlike bardic performance, the divine performance is more limited, with base uses covering countersong and fascinate, and the third use providing a reroll for an attack or save before results are made known, though this potent option has a 1 hour-cool-down. 7th level extends that ability to allies and 13th level to nearby foes, with the interactions with the cooldown noted precisely, though both such upgraded uses are immediate actions, something that changes at 19th level, where it becomes a free action, though one that can still only be taken 1/round.

    Now, you can probably glean from this reduced flexibility that this is not where the class ends. Instead, the cantor chooses a hymn at 1st level – these behave very much like e.g. bloodlines. The respective hymns are associated with planets and planes and they bestow a class skill as well as bonus skills and spells. Each of the hymns nets a new divine performance and at 3rd level, we get a so-called hymn verse, with 8th and 14th level providing the greater and superior verse for the hymn instead.

    Now, there is an interconnection between the hymn chosen and the verse class feature: At 2nd level and 6th level as well as at 8th, 12th, 14th, 18th and 20th level, the character gains an additional verse, which may be used even when maintaining a performance. Using a verse is a standard action and Wisdom governs the save DC, if any. 7 verses are provided, which, as a whole, made me wish we’d get a few more. They are per se interesting and solid. Then again, there is an important reason for the relative lack of choice here: At 3rd level, the cantor may replace the hymn verse with another verse when regaining spell slots, which also grants the selected hymn’s divine performance. At 9th level, 2 such repertoire hymns may be chosen. At 4th level, the class gains the basic verse granted by each hymn currently chosen as a repertoire hymn, with 10th and 16th level adding the greater and superior hymns of the respective repertoire hymns. Starting at 5th level, the cantor can cast a spell from a rehearsed hymn by spending a spell slot of the proper level 1/day; at 8th level and every 3 levels thereafter, the class feature may be used an additional time per day.

    8th level unlocks 5 general greater verses and 14th level yields 4 different superior verses, which are not assigned to a hymn. The 11th level ability allows the cantor to start a second divine performance while maintaining one, at the cost of twice the rounds for the second performance, for a total of 3 rounds cost. This cost is reduced to only one round of cost per performance at 17th level. 15th level allows the character to 1/day change a repertoire hymn with 10 minutes of meditation. The capstone provides divine performance maintenance without round expenditure, delimiting the performance. It should be noted that a total of 11 hymns are provided for your convenience. So yeah, the class provides player agenda and choices and its variable hymn-engine is interesting. All in all, one of the better hybrid-y classes out there and I’d probably be singing higher praises here, were it not for my love of Jason Linker’s Ultimate Composition class of the same name. We get favored class options for the new aethera races as well as the human race. Archetype-wise, the cantor gets 4 modifications: Divine dancers represent basically an engine tweak; orthodoxists get clouded vision, but also fate-themed abilities. The song councilor is a healer-specialist, capable of transferring damage. The song seeker, finally, is the repertoire specialist. All in all, decent archetypes and tweaks, but not exactly super exciting. Still, as a whole – the cantor presented herein ranks as one of the more compelling classes I’ve seen within the context of a campaign setting.

    From there, we move on to the class option array, which contains a vast plethora of different new archetypes and tricks: Bioengineer alchemists are specialists of summoning animals with the aetherwarped template, with higher level providing detonating critters. The combat medic alchemist is a pretty cool idea, using stims to mitigate negative conditions while boosting allies. Cool one! The Wastelander is a pretty typical scavenger etc. and is pretty bland; there are also two discoveries – one for plasma bombs and one for negative energy bombs. Arcanists may elect to become rift breakers, who generate elemental rifts and further modify these, with surges and upgrades etc. – the archetype is pretty complex and unique, spanning multiple pages, but as a whole, I felt like it would have been better represented as an alternate class. Bards may elect to become aether weavers, who get to create eidolons, with the Perform skill used to create them infusing their stats. Warsingers are bard/kineticist crossovers and vox riders are the political firebrands and demagogues. Theme-wise, I loved the last of these most, as it is the most unique one. The blue-shifted bloodrager has aetherite-infused bloodlines and as such gets some telekinetic skills, including the simple blast. The colossus brawler is focused on forming an aetherite shield, while the titan archetype gets a grit-based engine.

    You can find part II of my massive review here!


    Out of this World

    5/5

    Get it? Out of this world? Space RPG? Ah-ha-ha!

    I don't write a lot of reviews, but this book warrants one, as it needs to have more love. I was concerned that Aethera would be overshadowed by Starfinder, but this game is completely different. Rather than being the traditional D&D-in-Space sort of gameplay, this campaign setting has a feel that is singularly unique.

    Within Aethera, there are a significant amount of campaign points that could be used as story arcs. The writing is top-notch, and it's easy to find some bits and bobs that you could potentially use in a campaign. It's even easy enough to use fairly toss-away ideas as the bases for whole campaigns.

    Between the dieselpunk-style technological development with the political structure that addresses colonialism, imperialism, and authoritarianism vs. individualism, it's easy to create just about any sort of campaign that you want. Each planet in the Aethera system, and each location and story arc allows for a different type of science fiction - which I feel is probably the most interesting aspect of this campaign setting. If you want to play a game that's built around political intrigue set in a sci-fi post-war environment, you could easily do that; likewise if you wanted to play a Fallout-like post-apocalyptic style game, that's available as well -- just head on down to the human homeworld of Akasaat -- and likewise, the human homeworld has hive-like arcologies of people that exist on top of each other with glitzy, powerful entities living at the top of the heap.

    There's something for everyone in this book. I highly, highly suggest it.


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    Silver Crusade

    Robert Brookes wrote:

    We've discussed traits internally and we want to introduce them in a book that focuses on the races of Aethera, but that's much further out right now that I can foresee on our product schedule. As for Campaign traits, that will have to wait until our first adventure path, which is also a little ways out.

    However, the iconics?

    Keep an eye out. There's an announcement coming of another new product that might very well interest you :)

    So, I saw on Facebook your announcement for Aetheric Heroes. Will all 10 iconics be presented at different levels in the same way that Paizo has done with theirs?

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    This book is all 1st-level characters. I'm actually uploading to our printers now, and we are on track for a Friday release!

    Contributor

    7 people marked this as a favorite.
    Jason Nelson wrote:
    I'm actually uploading to our printers now, and we are on track for a Friday release!

    *flexes*

    Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

    We wanted to provide characters that served as a starting point and a frame of reference. With ten iconics having multiple iterations would've also expanded the page count way beyond scope. We do also provide some great backstories that dig into the setting lore and drop a couple new tools like repair kits (like healer's kits for phalanx), and some other surprises.

    Silver Crusade

    Frackin' page count...

    I'll have to see if I can somehow gather up the funds to get it when it releases. I am curious about the other surprises, so this would definitely be something to get regardless.


    This humble mortal has a question, oh noble, sagacious, and generous designers of Legendary Games, if you will deign to answer it? How much alteration comes to technology and how it functions in Pathfinder?

    Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Technology in the Aethera Campaign Setting comes in two varieties. Mundane and aethertech. Mundane technology is stuff like bolt-action rifles, binoculars, compasses, swords, and the like. Aethertech is advanced technology that is a hybridization of magic and really sci-fi stuff. Most of it operates with very similar rules to what is presented in the Technology Guide that Paizo published a few years back. Items use charges, take up item slots, etc.

    However, there's some differences in the ways they interact with magic (dispelling, antimagic, etc). As these items are fueled, essentially, by crystallized magic.

    We introduce some different categories of aethertech in this book:

    Automata: Prosthetics and near-cybertechnology.

    Aethertech: A catch-all for utility items, weapons, and armor (including powered armor).

    Aethercraft: Land and space-faring vessels that act in many ways like creatures.


    Pathfinder Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

    I'm looking forward to space battles so much that I bought a bunch of WW2 era battleships/destroyers/etc. and other minis and glued them to hex stands. They look great on a starry battlemat.

    Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

    Wow! That sounds really awesome, I'd love to see how those looks!

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    That's pretty great. I tried my hand at model painting for a while as a kid. I was all about the WW2 naval battles and even made up my own naval combat games to play against myself. Great way to use em for spaaaaaace!


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    This is great, just a really interesting setting. I had a great time reading through it on a long trans-Atlantic flight this weekend.

    I'm probably still going to go with Starfinder as my system later this year, but I might make this my setting. Or I'll weave this setting into the Starfinder setting. Remains to be seen. What's impressive is that weaving the two settings together shouldn't be too hard, yet the Aethera system is still vibrant and unique. Here's some thoughts of mine on meshing the fluff from Aethera with the overall Starfinder universe (we'll have to see about crunch later but I'd buy a system conversion guide in a heartbeat):

    Spoiler:
    The planes are all about the same for the Starfinder universe. Elemental Plane of Wood is new, so we say it's still way smaller than Water and Earth and no rifts/portals to Plane of Wood and the Pact Worlds have formed yet. Pretty much no conversion necessary. The Elemental Plane of Aether itself is a speculatory idea in-universe, but there's so much aether that it riddles the Aethera system. The Progenitors created a lot of friction in the Ethereal Plane when they froze the powerful connections between the Elemental Planes and the Material Plane within their star system. Paizo lore calls the element of aether the result of interaction between the Ethereal Plane and the Elemental Planes. Put the two concepts together, and it sounds like there was such a buildup of aether within the Elemental Planes (perhaps enough to create that the Aether Subplane, but it doesn't matter) that it spewed into the Aethera Star System within the Material Plane after the Collapse (another effect that would not have rippled out to the Pact Worlds yet). That pretty much all jives.

    The River of Souls article in Paizo's Mummy's Mask AP describes how souls trickle into the Positive Energy plane from the Maelstrom, flow through the Material Plane & Ethereal Plane & Outer Planes in that order, and eventually are reabsorbed by the Maelstrom. The First World of the Fey is basically a closed loop. Well the Aethera Campaign Setting describes the Aethera System as somehow a closed loop as well. Like water in one of those sealed terrariums. No GM fiat needed to combine the two lore systems.

    Humans? Well they're on Golarion, Androffa, and Earth by Paizo lore, each of those three planets being in three different galaxies even. Whatever seeded humans there could also seed them in the Aethera star system.

    Evermorn is just a region of the First World that happens to align with the Aethera system. Easy.

    Tech levels sound comparable between Aethera system and the Pact Worlds, at least as far as weaponry and such goes. The Vercites have been flying longer in their aetherships than the Akasaatis. No idea if Vercite aetherships harness the element of aether, but it makes sense; it's probably not mined from aetherite deposits on the Material Plane though. Not sure if Pact Worlds comm-tech is better than Aethera farcasters. Aetheran aetherships definitely have way slower cruising speeds (decades to cross the system vs weeks) than ships in the Pact Worlds (even when they use conventional thrusters instead of their Driftdrives while in-system); aetheric currents help by an of magnitude, which is still way slow. However, Gates Hubs allow for interplanetary journeys in minutes rather than the days it takes by either thrusters or Driftdrives in the Pact Worlds.

    If the Aethera star system happens to be within the same galaxy as the Pact Worlds system, could they be reached? They would probably be in the Vast rather than a part of the Near Worlds, though the preview about the Drift made it seem as if Drift Beacons could be placed within a Vast system to move it to the Near Worlds. But would the bubble which cuts off the Aethera system also cut off travel via Triune's Drift dimension? We'd have to say no to make it work; the Drift basically sounds like an artificial demiplane anyway even if it is comprised of stolen chunks of the Outer Planes, so maybe that's good enough to circumvent the barriers around the Aethera system. It is interesting how much more efficient intrasystem travel via Folded Space is intrasystem than travel via the Drift; I bet Triune would be extremely intrigued.

    The Score, or how denizens of the Aethera system musically conceptualize the order of the universe, is described as mathematical throughout the book. It's a blueprint, and when diviners derive prophesies from the Score they supposedly determine how something might happen rather than would something happen. Easy to tie into Paizo lore by saying Triune also sees that blueprint to the universe in the form of some complex code, which is how they knew to create the Drift.

    Energy-based economy of Aethera would be thrown out of whack if integrated into a Pact Worlds game. Like the crunch, I wouldn't know how to fix that until I saw the Starfinder core book. But overall the fluff/setting of Aethera shouldn't be hard to slot into a Starfinder game.

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Argendauss wrote:

    This is great, just a really interesting setting. I had a great time reading through it on a long trans-Atlantic flight this weekend.

    I'm probably still going to go with Starfinder as my system later this year, but I might make this my setting. Or I'll weave this setting into the Starfinder setting. Remains to be seen. What's impressive is that weaving the two settings together shouldn't be too hard, yet the Aethera system is still vibrant and unique. Here's some thoughts of mine on meshing the fluff from Aethera with the overall Starfinder universe (we'll have to see about crunch later but I'd buy a system conversion guide in a heartbeat):

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    A system conversion guide is certainly something we're contemplating for Aethera.


    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    I've run several games of Aethera so far at game days, cons, and PaizoCon, and wanted to put down some thoughts here. [Disclaimer: I did a small amount of work on the book, but I don't get royalties or anything like that. I just fell in love with the setting by being a Kickstarter backer and having time to use it these past months.]

    First, the setting really is fantastic. It's Pathfinder in Space, but it's not really sci-fi so much as it is fantasy/pulp/steampunk with some wild west feel. The technology level is about that of 1920's Earth, with a few big items like magic-powered spacecraft. It really doesn't feel like it's "the future" so much as it feels like a completely different world.

    Second: it really is Pathfinder. Not to diss the Mothership, but Starfinder is shaping up to be basically a different game system set in the same campaign world (sort of) as Pathfinder. And that's great! I can't wait to play it. Aethera, though, is Pathfinder: same rules system, just in a different setting. Space combat and new worlds to explore, alongside paladins and wizards and all that goodness. There's one new class, a few mods due to the changes in setting, and a bunch of archetypes, feats, and options for all of the Pathfinder classes (including everything through Occult Adventures), but there are no new rules systems to learn. I believe this is a big part of why players have found it so easy to immerse themselves in the setting, since they already know the rules.

    specific game comments:
    Most players have described the games as grittier and darker in tone. The lack of any connection to the outer planes has huge implications: no gods or goddesses, no clerics or warpriests, no outsiders from the outer planes, and thus alignment becomes much less a driving force in the game and much more situational in nature. The game also uses the "firearms everywhere" option from Ultimate Combat, which means that firearms are simple weapons and almost everyone can use one. Combat is less about hiding behind a high AC, and involves more movement and cover. Again, different feel while still using the same rules.

    Other folks have pointed out how Aethera can be used to model almost any sci-fi movie trope out there, from Aliens to Avatar to Star Wars to what have you. Space survival horror? Check. Clash of foreign cultures? Yep. Ship-to-ship combat using familiar Pathfinder rules? Gotcha, from single-pilot fighters to space dreadnoughts.

    I've run the same scenario three times for three different groups, run two others, and played in one game, during which I've noticed a few things. Because of the lack of many common healing abilities and the profusion of firearms, combat can be quite a bit more dangerous than people are used to. The setting generally doesn't provide automatic "safe areas" for everyone to rest after a couple of encounters, which encourages resource conservation and playing the long game. (Of course, that is not a general rule, but the scenarios I've run or played have not been designed to allow PCs an easy time of it.) This really makes the game feel different than standard Pathfinder, without actually using any new rules systems.

    There's also a lot of roleplay options given the new setting material, the various relationships between the different races, and the threat of the mysterious Taur looming over it all. In the one scenario the Taur showed up, my erahthi thornslinger and their plant-symbiont-rifle was terrified as they looked for something they could do to turn the tide of the battle. (Their player also felt some fear, which hasn't happened as a player since James Jacobs' Call of Cthulhu game at PaizoCon 2012.) There is so much for players to sink their teeth into here.

    tl;dr: Aethera is really good, fully Pathfinder compatible, and well worth exploring,


    Question. Does this setting use the Technology Guide as a basis for the technology or is aethertech completely it's own thing with no links?


    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Milo v3 wrote:
    Question. Does this setting use the Technology Guide as a basis for the technology or is aethertech completely it's own thing with no links?

    100% self-contained, although many universal concepts (like charges) will be familiar. ^_^

    Aethera's dieselpunk tech aesthetic (and how player characters fuel it) is very different from the polished futurism of the Technology Guide.


    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Is there a print version available anywhere?

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

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    Steve Geddes wrote:
    Is there a print version available anywhere?

    Yep, at the Legendary Games webstore!


    Fair warning for our international customers - I think the ACS may be bigger (and heavier) than the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

    So, uh... be ready for that. ^_^


    Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    Thank you both. Braced for shipping charges and ordered. :)

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    Steve Geddes wrote:
    Thank you both. Braced for shipping charges and ordered. :)

    Thanks Steve!

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Isabelle Lee wrote:

    Fair warning for our international customers - I think the ACS may be bigger (and heavier) than the Pathfinder RPG Core Rulebook.

    So, uh... be ready for that. ^_^

    It is indeed, by a nose. The PFRPG Core Rulebook is 560 pages, the Aethera Campaign Setting I think is about 570 or 580, and weighs in at right about 4 pounds even.


    GM Lamplighter wrote:

    I've run several games of Aethera so far at game days, cons, and PaizoCon, and wanted to put down some thoughts here. [Disclaimer: I did a small amount of work on the book, but I don't get royalties or anything like that. I just fell in love with the setting by being a Kickstarter backer and having time to use it these past months.]

    First, the setting really is fantastic. It's Pathfinder in Space, but it's not really sci-fi so much as it is fantasy/pulp/steampunk with some wild west feel. The technology level is about that of 1920's Earth, with a few big items like magic-powered spacecraft. It really doesn't feel like it's "the future" so much as it feels like a completely different world.

    Second: it really is Pathfinder. Not to diss the Mothership, but Starfinder is shaping up to be basically a different game system set in the same campaign world (sort of) as Pathfinder. And that's great! I can't wait to play it. Aethera, though, is Pathfinder: same rules system, just in a different setting. Space combat and new worlds to explore, alongside paladins and wizards and all that goodness. There's one new class, a few mods due to the changes in setting, and a bunch of archetypes, feats, and options for all of the Pathfinder classes (including everything through Occult Adventures), but there are no new rules systems to learn. I believe this is a big part of why players have found it so easy to immerse themselves in the setting, since they already know the rules.

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    This is something I've been wondering about. I'm not really keen on the idea of elves with laser blasters. Something I liked about Spelljammer was the whole "blunderbusses in space" and "sailing ships among the stars" things....though I wasn't a fan of the crystal spheres.

    I also like Steampunk type stuff like the Iron Kingdoms. Is Aethera a similar kind of vibe? Or more sci-fi?


    I'd say it's a little more sci-fi than Iron Kingdoms, but not hugely so. I believe the term we've been using is "dieselpunk".

    Aethertech is almost certainly less technologically advanced than the myrmidons used by the elves of Ios, and might be on par with the tech used by the Convergence of Cyriss (I don't know enough about their tech to say for sure). It's certainly not tremendously far ahead of all that. Fancier than steam power, though.

    Hopefully this helps. If you have any further questions, don't hesitate to ask. ^_^

    Silver Crusade

    4 people marked this as a favorite.

    Continued from my review:

    The section on different takes on music really does show just how ingrained music is in the setting, a point that is driven home often in this book. I actually kind of like that the entire setting is under a dimensional lock effect too, as it makes it very important as to how you decide to get around, and making sense of why ships are so important. I like the blood sacrifice rules, and I like that it’s needed to be stated that sacrificing others is evil; it’s also an amazingly efficient way to prevent resurrection, which is worth noting.

    The effort gone through in the fidelity of monsters found in aethera is impressive, making sure that the campaign setting remains coherent. The bestiary creatures all feel natural, and there’s a reasonable mix of high and low level creatures here. There’s also a nice collection of NPCs which is useful for getting a feel on how to build characters in this setting. The fact that things like true dragons and other classic creatures aren’t featured as much (while limiting) further defines the setting, helping to keep it from another “dragons rule everything” trope that’s been overused in other settings.

    Something that I’d really like to touch on is that we have a real spotlighting of kyton here. For me, these creatures were always ‘background devils’, but Aethera actually pushes them to center stage, giving them far more importance to the story, and I think this is a good decision so that we have more variety to the setting. The choir of the machine might be my favorite way that music is introduced into the setting, as it feels intimidating in a very real way, and helps to build up kyton in Aethera as more of a threat than anything else I’ve seen in the bestiary. I’m all for heavily regimented evil working like clockwork, and that’s what it feels like is going on here. Just the description of their dungeons alone is enough to get the wheels in my head turning as to how to best implement these adversaries in my games (also sorry to mention the art again, but wow).

    For a story based template, living idol is just too cool. It wraps up the entire outsider dearth in a very slick package. The reverence given to these creatures is also very intense, making them not just another encounter, especially with how hard it is to kill them. The idea of a normal monster getting powers through followers is just all kinds of crazy good here, and I could gush about it for a while.

    Finally we’re getting to the Taur, who I have been jonesing to read the stats on since I first read about them in the history section. I appreciate the base low CR for the taur as well as the decent spread of CRs for them, making for encounters that work at multiple different points in adventures. It’s a nice note to finish on, as I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting these things statted.

    So what do I think as a whole?

    Mechanics: 4/5

    There’s a lot in this book that I love mechanically, and most of it is non-pc stuff. The player content ranged from amazing to obvious filler, but at no point was there anything that ever made me think that it deserves lower than a 4/5. As a whole, you can tell that the people who helped with this project know their way around the rules, and it managed to avoid any glaring errors, although like most products, there were a few minor issues with formatting. Still, I believe that if you are running in this setting, you are going to find things you can use in this book to enhance your games. One thing I wish would have been talked about though is the change in how Wealth by Level works considering how the currency is also a resource, I’m still not 100% sure on how to balance that. Super props for living idol, I’d use that in non-Aethera games in a heartbeat.

    Thematics: 5/5

    I was not expecting to be as drawn into this setting’s lore as I was, not even a little bit. I’ve read quite a few settings in my day, and while there were a few cliches in here, even they were done in a way that was impressive, and the stuff that was unique blew me away. I lost sleep because I wanted to finish reading the history section, and that’s more than I can say about (almost) every other setting that I’ve read. From the taur to the century war to the kytons, this setting made me care, and that’s probably the most glowing praise I could give it. Every time I read over a location, I felt as though there was a reason to go there, an adventure or two waiting to happen, and the amount of times I wanted to jot down adventure notes while going through things was too numerous to count.

    Final Thoughts: 5/5

    I went into this expecting a lot from Robert Brookes and crew, seeing as this setting had held the top slot over at Drivethru for quite a while. What I got was a ringing endorsement of that spot, seeing why so many before me had picked this up and enjoyed it. While the mechanics aren’t perfect, the lore alone is reason to pick up this book. The Aethera team has made what WILL be my default setting for Starfinder, what may end up tying my normal default pathfinder setting, and what will be something which I am glad to have read. Kudos for this amazing setting.

    Community & Digital Content Director

    Physical copies and bundles now available!

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    3 people marked this as a favorite.

    Need a freaking AMAZING setting for your space-faring Pathfinder or Starfinder campaign?

    Aethera is it!

    This book is 580+ pages, about 130 of which are Pathfinder rules material with alien races, archetypes, items, monsters spells, and technology. The other 450 pages is sweet, delicious sci-fi flavor of the highest order. Even if you didn't read a word of the mechanics, you're still in for an incredible collection of awesome and unique sci-fi setting material blending not just sci-fi and fantasy but cosmic horror and pulp noir!

    A Starfinder rules conversion guide supplement is on the way, but meanwhile grab your copy today. THE STARS ARE RIGHT!


    Ooooo, Bundle...

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
    Ooooo, Bundle...

    It's Bundleicious!


    Jason Nelson wrote:
    Rysky the Dark Solarion wrote:
    Ooooo, Bundle...
    It's Bundleicious!

    >_<

    Silver Crusade

    5 people marked this as a favorite.

    And picked up my (#hashtagBEAUTIFUL) hardcopy, it's kinda glorious a lot.


    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens Subscriber
    ladydragona wrote:
    I bought mine on kickstarter like 2 YEARS ago and it seems like everyone and their dog has a copy EXCEPT ME!!!

    If it's any consolation, I backed the Kickstarter at Cantor level, and haven't gotten my hardcopy yet, either.

    Be patient... your order might have simply fallen through the cracks.

    The KS page says to drop an email to Robert Brookes if you haven't received your shipping confirmation email message. That's what I did.

    Also keep in mind that Gen Con ended yesterday, and Legenday Games/Encounter Table Press were at the con in force. They just might not be home yet.

    Lantern Lodge RPG Superstar 2014 Top 4

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Haladir wrote:
    ladydragona wrote:
    I bought mine on kickstarter like 2 YEARS ago and it seems like everyone and their dog has a copy EXCEPT ME!!!

    If it's any consolation, I backed the Kickstarter at Cantor level, and haven't gotten my hardcopy yet, either.

    Be patient... your order might have simply fallen through the cracks.

    The KS page says to drop an email to Robert Brookes if you haven't received your shipping confirmation email message. That's what I did.

    Also keep in mind that Gen Con ended yesterday, and Legendary Games/Encounter Table Press were at the con in force. They just might not be home yet.

    There was a hiccup with the Amazon delivery for the first 99 backers we fed into the system (I got 99 shipments, but Amazon ain't sent none), and we sorted that out today. International shipments aren't scheduled to arrive until Sept 25th, because apparently international shipping is basically the 4th ring of hell. Canadian books are moving manually, because existence is pain (for Jason).

    Sovereign Court

    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Companion Subscriber

    LIFE IS PAIN

    SO

    IS MANUAL CANADIAN DELIVERY

    Silver Crusade

    2 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Companion, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    ... so the Kytons in Aetheria have a Canadian accent?


    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Rysky wrote:
    ... so the Kytons in Aetheria have a Canadian accent?

    I always imagine them sounding more like this. Or maybe like Harbinger from Mass Effect.


    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Companion, Maps Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

    My copy arrived yesterday. First impressions: it's really heavy. Need to do more weights at the gym.

    Second impressions: Stayed up late last night reading the races and history sections, and I love it! All of the races are unique and interesting, I really like how they're all linked together, either directly or through the mysterious Progenitors. I want to create characters for all the races... I wasn't sure about the godless nature of the setting at first, but the focus on the elemental planes and increased importance of shamanism and spiritualism more than fills that hole. The archetypes are all really thematic, and if (when) I run this, using one of the archetypes will be a requirement for my players.

    I'll be reading the Cosmology and gazetteer sections tonight. Can't wait! Great job, everyone who was involved.

    Also, those Kytons are messed up. I love them. :)


    Jason Nelson wrote:

    Need a freaking AMAZING setting for your space-faring Pathfinder or Starfinder campaign?

    Aethera is it!

    This book is 580+ pages, about 130 of which are Pathfinder rules material with alien races, archetypes, items, monsters spells, and technology. The other 450 pages is sweet, delicious sci-fi flavor of the highest order. Even if you didn't read a word of the mechanics, you're still in for an incredible collection of awesome and unique sci-fi setting material blending not just sci-fi and fantasy but cosmic horror and pulp noir!

    A Starfinder rules conversion guide supplement is on the way, but meanwhile grab your copy today. THE STARS ARE RIGHT!

    Any chance that will include a conversion for the Aetheric Knight? I'm rather partial to that class/archetype and a chance to use it in Starfinder would be pretty amazing.

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    1 person marked this as a favorite.
    Robert Brookes wrote:
    Haladir wrote:
    ladydragona wrote:
    I bought mine on kickstarter like 2 YEARS ago and it seems like everyone and their dog has a copy EXCEPT ME!!!

    If it's any consolation, I backed the Kickstarter at Cantor level, and haven't gotten my hardcopy yet, either.

    Be patient... your order might have simply fallen through the cracks.

    The KS page says to drop an email to Robert Brookes if you haven't received your shipping confirmation email message. That's what I did.

    Also keep in mind that Gen Con ended yesterday, and Legendary Games/Encounter Table Press were at the con in force. They just might not be home yet.

    There was a hiccup with the Amazon delivery for the first 99 backers we fed into the system (I got 99 shipments, but Amazon ain't sent none), and we sorted that out today. International shipments aren't scheduled to arrive until Sept 25th, because apparently international shipping is basically the 4th ring of hell. Canadian books are moving manually, because existence is pain (for Jason).

    What was it I said, "like crawling across a thousand miles of broken glass and scorpions under the hot desert sun" or something like that, I think. :)


    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    Ordered.

    I would say that adding this to the next subscription shipment tripled the weight, but I added some hefty books to this recently, so now the unfortunate UPS person is probably going to need a pallet-jack to move the order.

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    2 people marked this as a favorite.

    Almost 4.5 pounds each! They need to be registered as deadly weapons in some states!

    Sovereign Court

    3 people marked this as a favorite.
    Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Starfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

    Yeah - that was why I was so happy that I was able to pick this up at GenCon. Saved me so much on shipping!

    Scarab Sages Contributor, RPG Superstar 2008 Top 4, Legendary Games

    1 person marked this as a favorite.

    I think about 20 Kickstarter backers picked up theirs at GenCon for similar reasons!


    4 people marked this as a favorite.
    Jason Nelson wrote:
    I think about 20 Kickstarter backers picked up theirs at GenCon for similar reasons!

    And contributors. :P

    Dark Archive

    Adventure Path Charter Subscriber

    The binding on this book is not great. I hope they don't use the same printer again for any other products.


    Any word on the Aethertech Manual and the Intrigue Manual? The main Aethera page says those two were supposed to be 2017. Did they get pushed back?


    They're still in development, I believe. ^_^


    I recently re-downloaded the PDF in order to check if the errors in the weapon section and elsewhere were fixed (as I'd been informed that they would be for the print edition).

    The errors appear to still be in place.

    Is there a new PDF version around, perhaps an errata document?
    I've not found anything thus far.


    Banshee16 wrote:
    GM Lamplighter wrote:

    I've run several games of Aethera so far at game days, cons, and PaizoCon, and wanted to put down some thoughts here. [Disclaimer: I did a small amount of work on the book, but I don't get royalties or anything like that. I just fell in love with the setting by being a Kickstarter backer and having time to use it these past months.]

    First, the setting really is fantastic. It's Pathfinder in Space, but it's not really sci-fi so much as it is fantasy/pulp/steampunk with some wild west feel. The technology level is about that of 1920's Earth, with a few big items like magic-powered spacecraft. It really doesn't feel like it's "the future" so much as it feels like a completely different world.

    Second: it really is Pathfinder. Not to diss the Mothership, but Starfinder is shaping up to be basically a different game system set in the same campaign world (sort of) as Pathfinder. And that's great! I can't wait to play it. Aethera, though, is Pathfinder: same rules system, just in a different setting. Space combat and new worlds to explore, alongside paladins and wizards and all that goodness. There's one new class, a few mods due to the changes in setting, and a bunch of archetypes, feats, and options for all of the Pathfinder classes (including everything through Occult Adventures), but there are no new rules systems to learn. I believe this is a big part of why players have found it so easy to immerse themselves in the setting, since they already know the rules.

    ** spoiler omitted **...

    This is something I've been wondering about. I'm not really keen on the idea of elves with laser blasters. Something I liked about Spelljammer was the whole "blunderbusses in space" and "sailing ships among the stars" things....though I wasn't a fan of the crystal spheres.

    I also like Steampunk type stuff like the Iron Kingdoms. Is Aethera a similar kind of vibe? Or more sci-fi?

    Aethera is more Dieselpunk than Steampunk, and it's in space!

    There are no Elves, save Humans the common Ye Olden Fantasy Races are absent.

    The High-Tech of the setting is Magitech fueled by aether-crystals.
    The Mundane tech is all world war II era.

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