Beyond the Aether

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Beyond the Aether


Join in the Story!

Olympia, WA
Steampunk fantasy
Conflict resolution system
Light-touch boffer
Full weekend game
Date run
November 2012-
Number of participants
How many participants were there?
Paul Vorvick (Creator/Owner), with assistance by Bryan Gregory (rules), Zakelro! Story Studios (rules), Paul Robinson (rules), Katrina Acaster (community support), Cassandra Boggio (illustration), Jonathan Singer (setting), Cristina Rivera (setting), Ash Law (rules and setting), Carrie Rasmussen (setting), and Justin Gallaher (rules).
Beyond the Aether's Website


"In 1883, a British colony was lost in Faerieland."

A Discovery . . .

In 1882, Mr. William Atherkell embarked on a search of mythological sites throughout southern England. His goal was to discover what basis, if any, the folklore of fairies had in fact.

Using his scientific tools, he settled down to study the circles of stone and mushrooms found commonly in the area. What he found was a way to step from one world to another, as one would step through a door. Shaken but excited, he prepared to present his findings to the Royal Academy.

A Mission . . .

The night before, Mr. Atherkell was taken from his home by men in black suits, and shown to an audience with Her Majesty the Queen of England. She charged him with a singular task: to colonize the new land he had found. "We must protect our borders on all sides," she said, "from any nation who would take advantage of your work, Mr. Atherkell."

In the dead of night, Mr. Atherkell was made into Duke William Atherkell, and sent with an order to use any means necessary. He was to pursue any avenue required, requisition anyone and anything, in his quest to subdue Faerieland. No matter the cost, the British Empire would have supremacy in all its worlds.

A Colony . . .

Duke Atherkell sent out the call: come to a new place, where all your crimes will be forgiven and your work will earn a decent wage. Thousands flocked to his recruitment centers, volunteering themselves for the hard work of building a new life. They were taken in secret, and saw nothing of the transit. They awoke in a lush, beautiful, unsullied land.

And so they began to build. The colonists expanded to fill the land, placing outposts and towns wherever they were needed. It was a heady, intoxicating time, where there seemed to be no limits on what a man could do.

A Disaster . . .

Then on August 27 of 1883, with a terrible roar and clamor, the doorways from England to Faerieland slammed shut. They no longer led home, but to an infinite void of nothingness and hunger. The Duke was missing, home was no longer a short step away, and then hordes of ravenous nightmare creatures began to invade the colony. The colonists shattered, and began to fight amongst themselves.

Seven groups picked up the pieces of the colony, and began to solidify into nations. Each had its own troubles and triumphs, and they banded together long enough to repel the immediate threat. Now that threat is no longer immediate. The nations have gained a bit of breathing room.

A Conflict . . .

Now, they have all discovered a fascinating Relic: a cauldron which has the power to resurrect the dead. The small town of Ellsborne, unaligned and mostly forgotten, has become a focal point for the politics of nations. In this town, the fabric of society will be tested, as each group scrambles to establish itself and lay permanent claim to the Cauldron.

To that end, each has sent representatives. These people, trained or not, talented or not, will forever decide the fate of Ellsborne, and thus the colony, and thus Faerie itself. And as they arrive, they realize that not everything is exactly as it seems.

A discovery of a magical cauldron. A mission to control it by any means necessary. A colonized town divided, viciously fighting amongst itself. And a disaster, looming on the horizon. An epic story, of a land Beyond the Aether.

Game history

Beyond the Aether was first conceived in the spring of 2009, during Paul Vorvick's work on LARP at Marlboro College. The game was originally designed as an attempt to streamline and refine the Alliance LARP rules system, and set in a British colony lost in Faerieland. While some of the underlying structure of the finished game was present, there were many aspects of the game which were still rooted in the Alliance LARP tradition.

Upon first playing the Devia LARP in January 2010, Paul Vorvick began substantially altering the design of Beyond the Aether to reflect these new influences. Much of the game was now designed to be similar to the Devia LARP, borrowing heavily from its rules system and player-vs-player conflicts. While the setting was still a British colony lost in Faerieland, the seven Baronies were now updated to be seven nations, allowing for a more steampunk-focused game and less of a fantasy setting.

During the summer of 2010, Paul Vorvick began bringing staff onto the project. The first staff member recruited was Justin Gallaher, who brought much of the item and tag system to fruition. By providing a simple and effective way to determine item quality, Justin allowed the game to focus on crafting and creating by players. Justin Gallaher and Beyond the Aether parted ways in late 2010, and Justin went on to design the Collider LARP system.

The final major step in development of the rules system was consulting with Zakelro! Story Studios in early 2011. During this time, Paul Vorvick further refined the rules into seven philosophical Principles, each one of which had allies and enemies. The Principles system gave a strong underlying symbolic logic to the game.

Recruitment of staff continued with the addition of Jonathan Singer and Cristina Rivera (who had worked on Steam & Cinders), Ash Law and Carrie Rasmussen (who had LARP experience in England), Cassandra Boggio (an illustration major from Pacific Northwest College of Art), and Katrina Acaster (a clothing designer). All six contributed heavily to the game's setting, and Ash Law provided Beyond the Aether with a number of rules ideas which were added to the game. Later, Jonathan Singer and Cristina Rivera left to pursue other opportunities in Boston, while Ash Law and Carrie Rasmussen resigned due to time constraints. At this point, the staff was reduced to three: Paul Vorvick, Katrina Acaster, and Cassandra Boggio.

External links