Friday, April 1, 2011

A is for Areon

The Red Planet
Known as "the Red Planet," both for its appearance and for its blood-drenched history, Areon occupies the fifth orbit in the heavens. In the past, trade with and travel to Areon were more common they are today, in large part due to the activities of the Eldritch Empire, whose capital was on Areon. With the overthrow of the Eld by the Thulians, most of the standing portals to Areon were destroyed and contact with the planet and its inhabitants was proscribed. Of course, that did not prevent daring sages and seekers of forbidden knowledge from finding alternate routes to Areon, a tradition that has continued even in the wake of the Thulians' own overthrow.

While hard facts about the present state of Areon are hard to come by, the following are known about the Red Planet:
  • Following its defeat, the Eldritch Empire fragmented into dozens of squabbling successor states.
  • In addition to the Eld, Areon boasts a sizable population of slaves of human and other origin.
  • Some of these slaves have successfully thrown off the Eldritch yoke and established their independence.
  • Areon was once rich in azoth but, after untold years of misuse, its supplies are dwindling.
  • Visitors to Areon report having increased strength and speed compared to its natives but have a harder time fighting with melee weapons until they become acclimated to the world's environment.
Because the Eldritch Empire relied heavily on magic the likes of which have not been seen on other worlds in millennia, it is presumed that such magic remains common on Areon. Likewise, the Eld were renowned for their dealings with demons, which has led some scholars to assert that the Red Planet is home to many examples of these Chaotic beings. There are rumors of pre-Eldritch ruins on Areon that bear remarkable similarities to those found elsewhere and associated with the mysterious beings known as "the Ancients." Some surmise that, just as the Thulians built their empire upon the foundation laid by the Eld, so too did the Eld build theirs upon the foundation laid by the Ancients.

11 comments:

  1. A is for Arion -- and AWESOME!

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  2. http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQ60ihTQHEYVTyZMjjZWk7WMaQ3bz4q_q5ePI_qiv2qa7xXUGUy approves ^_^

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  3. Great stuff - I've missed your Dwimmermount session reports, but this is a good substitute. I'm looking forward to more in your A-Z posts.

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  4. Very nice. It captures the "planetary romance" vibe quite well.

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  5. Quite enjoyable. I went the more traditional A is for Apples and wrote a piece about some alchemists apple orchard. I am glad you posted about the A to Z because its just what I need to get me to stop being lazy and post more often.

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  6. James, have you seen Babylon 5? If so: is it regarded as decent space opera? I found myself unable to sit through even a single episode of that wretched dialogue, but the overall story is spectacular stuff, and I'm curious about whether fans of old-school space opera hold it in high esteem.

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  7. (Your stuff about the 'Ancients' reminded me of it, is why I ask.)

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  8. Wally,

    Babylon 5 is, in my estimation, a deeply flawed series. Its reach exceeded its grasp on every level, both artistic and technical, but it's still an amazing piece of work that I retain a lot of fondness for. I hold the heretical view that the show's biggest weakness is its overarching story, not because the story was uninteresting or cliched (though it was often both), but because the increasing focus on it dictated so much about the unfolding of the series and its elements that, to cite one example, characters were often reduced to ciphers.

    It seems apparent to me that Straczynski had a specific story he wanted to tell and that story was such an epic one that he sometimes lost sight of the more mundane stuff that makes for enjoyable television. I find the show very "top down" in terms of its conception and presentation and that's not generally my cup of tea. But enough about the series works in spite of this that I can't simply dismiss it as an outright failure.

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  9. I hold the heretical view that the show's biggest weakness is its overarching story, not because the story was uninteresting or cliched (though it was often both), but because the increasing focus on it dictated so much about the unfolding of the series and its elements that, to cite one example, characters were often reduced to ciphers.

    Aah, OK. I couldn't get past the line-to-line writing (such focus is a shortcoming of mine), but I've loved reading summaries and retellings and articles about the macrostory itself (and even JMS's comments, though he's a bit of a berk). I'm sure it would get frustrating to see characters pingponging around inside a story that doesn't ultimately spring organically from them. Ron Moore's Galactica has that same problem, though in that case it also suffers from an incoherent 'mytharc'; Moore's lack of planning REALLY caught up to him there.

    No response necessary, but if you haven't seen Firefly, by all means do so - it nicely captures what I take (from recent reading, inspired by the affection around here) to be the core appeal of Traveller, but with extraordinary character depth and subtlety.

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  10. Ron Moore's Galactica has that same problem, though in that case it also suffers from an incoherent 'mytharc'; Moore's lack of planning REALLY caught up to him there.

    I find myself thinking that same about Battlestar Galactica as about Babylon 5 -- it's a brilliant failure -- but for opposite reasons. B5 was overplanned, whereas BSG wasn't planned at all.

    No response necessary, but if you haven't seen Firefly, by all means do so - it nicely captures what I take (from recent reading, inspired by the affection around here) to be the core appeal of Traveller, but with extraordinary character depth and subtlety.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, I dislike Firefly quite intensely. I appreciate what it's trying to do but there are too many things, big and small, about its actual execution that I just can't enjoy it.

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