Skip to content

A is for Æthertouched

Published: at 12:35 AM

Table of Contents

Open Table of Contents


This is the first in a series of posts about the various sapient mortals visible amongst the planes of Galaeffa. Some of these mortals live in collective societies based on their similarities, while others find themselves separated due to their hereditary traits. Æthertouched fall into the latter category, typically forming smaller communities within larger population groups. This post aims to introduce the Æthertouched and explain what Æther is, hopefully providing a better understanding of how this core building block functions in the world of Galaeffa.


Æther can be simply defined as a somewhat tangible output of belief. It is roughly measurable, although “mercurial” would be too solid a word to define it. More specifically, Æther represents the belief that mortal beings have in those who are immortal and often intangible, such as gods, angels, demons, devils, elementals, fae, or the memories of spirits long gone from the physical plane of Yoreth. The more worshippers, believers, or other connecting anchors an immortal soul has on the plane of Yoreth, the more Æther they produce, and the more power they can wield directly in the world.


Gods are typically the result of powerful collective belief, acceptance, or acknowledgment of universal truths or constants like fire, rain, thunder, lightning, darkness, and cold. They arise from people’s dependence, fear, love, or awe of these constants. Typically, they do not directly touch the world but instead invest their Æther in servitors or angels.


Angels usually serve gods and sometimes manifest as a god’s personal Æther. However, if an angel performs a particularly visible deed on the mortal plane, they may attract their own followers and, in time, have a source of Æther of their own, gaining some independence.


Demons aim to have their acts recorded in codices and histories, to be summoned directly from the Æthervoid to manifest their activities in the world. They are bound by the contracts and terms they agree to when summoned.


Devils, products of the fear and pain ever-present in mortal societies, typically emerge from the ground during intense violence, famine, or pain, epitomizing the saying “when it rains, it pours.” Fear stokes them, and their tie to Æther is often considered fear incarnate.


Elementals are typically linked to places of great elemental power, such as deserts, great rivers, or volcanoes. They are tied to smaller regions or natural features, unlike gods, which are more often considered universal truths.


Fae represent the unknown or the very idea of trickery or alien thought. They are empowered by what mortals cannot comprehend and often “break” mortals’ minds to their own way of thinking, granting access to their sources of Æther. They are not evil but may think no more of crushing a mortal than that mortal would of crushing a bug.


Other ways to become an immortal soul include being remembered in legend by tens or hundreds of thousands of people, etching your name into eternity. There’s always a chance of being forgotten, causing your flow of Æther to cease, or having the ideals you peddle distorted or converted over time.


What makes a person Æthertouched, and what happens as a result?

A person can become Æthertouched due to ancestral relations with beings of Æther. The level of relation typically determines how many generations the Æther will remain in the family bloodline. Gods may grant traits to children of devoted mortals. Angels may fall in love with mortals, causing offspring who carry on the angelic bloodline for generations. Demons often request service from a specified number of generations in payment for their obligations. Devil-touched may arise from horrifying battles or pain. Element-born may result from being blessed by a powerful natural feature. Fae-touched may stem from direct interactions with the fae. There are as many ways to become Æthertouched as there are mortals.


The traits an Æthertouched may bear are not consistent, typically reflecting the flavor of Æther they are subjected to. Traits can range from great boons, such as flawless skin or unique eye color, to horrifying outcomes, like talons instead of feet. Scholarly debates continue over whether eternal beings dictate these traits or if they manifest from a combination of societal belief and the bloodstock of the mortals. ANY mortal can be Æthertouched, regardless of lifespan, species, or physical attributes.

Cultural Perception

Æthertouched do not form grand cities or exclusive villages; they are not rare, with perhaps one in twenty mortals being born Æthertouched. Their acceptance or reverence within societies often ties to the traits they exhibit. Those born of gods or angels may find reverence or honor, while those influenced by devils, demons, or fae might face pity, suspicion, or fear. There’s a small measurable impact of Æther on a person’s personality, though it’s unclear if this is due to societal views or ancestral contracts with eternal beings.

Historical Accounts of Notable Æthertouched Individuals

Lirael, The River’s Grace

Lirael, born during a monumental flood, was blessed by river elementals. Her ability to control water brought prosperity to her village for three generations. Her descendants, known for their striking blue eyes and affinity for water, continued to protect and enrich their community long after her passing.

Thalor, The Star-Eyed Seer

Thalor, a descendant of a star-aligned fae, possessed a unique ability to foresee celestial events. His gift neither brought him great fame nor misfortune but allowed him to live a life of quiet significance, guiding sailors and farmers with his predictions. His lineage carried this trait for two generations, fading as the stars shifted.

Gavrin, The Shadow-Cursed

Gavrin, marked by a demon’s curse, bore a shadow that whispered dark secrets. This curse caused unease and distrust for him and his kin, leading to a life of solitude. The shadow’s baleful influence lasted four generations, each heir struggling with the burden and leaving behind a broken and untrusting family.

Generate an Æthertouched Mortal

1d6 Table: Source of Æther

  1. Gods
  2. Angels
  3. Demons
  4. Devils
  5. Elementals
  6. Fae

1d10 Table: Traits from Gods

  1. Radiant Aura
  2. Voice that Echoes Like Thunder
  3. Eyes that Shine like the Sun
  4. Skin that Feels like Smoothed River Stone
  5. Hair that Flows like Flames
  6. Ornamental Feathered Wings
  7. Harmonious Singing Voice
  8. Skin that Glows at Dawn and Dusk
  9. Hair that Glimmers like Starlight
  10. Eyes that Reflect the Cosmos

1d10 Table: Traits from Angels

  1. Ethereal Wings
  2. Halo of Light
  3. Eyes that Change Color with Emotions
  4. An Intangible Halo
  5. Feathered Hair
  6. Hands that Glow with Warmth
  7. Skin that Shimmers in Moonlight
  8. Angelic Melody in Laughter
  9. Iridescent Tears
  10. Aura of Serenity

1d10 Table: Traits from Demons

  1. Horns on the Forehead or Face
  2. Shadow that Moves Independently
  3. Eyes like Black Sclera
  4. Elongated Pointed Tongue
  5. Skin with an Unnatural Hue
  6. Sharp Claws in lieu of Fingernails
  7. Tail with a Spiked End
  8. Misty Breath
  9. Chitinous Hair
  10. Intimidating Aura

1d10 Table: Traits from Devils

  1. Eyes that Pierce the Soul
  2. Unnaturally Harsh Voice
  3. Skin that Shimmers in Darkness
  4. Ashen Hair
  5. Skeletal Wings
  6. Icy Touch
  7. Protrusions of Bone
  8. Chilling Laugh
  9. Sulfurous Sweat
  10. Long Curved Horns

1d12 Table: Traits from Elementals

  1. Fire: Skin Hot to the Touch
  2. Water: Webbed Fingers and Toes
  3. Earth: Leaves Grains of Sand Behind
  4. Air: Wispy, Ethereal Hair
  5. Fire: Hair that Sparks and Crackles
  6. Water: Eyes like Deep Blue Pools
  7. Earth: Moss or Crystal-like Patterns on Skin
  8. Air: Voice that Carries in the Wind
  9. Fire: Ashen Marks on Skin
  10. Water: Skin that Glistens like Dew
  11. Earth: Voice that Rumbles like an Avalanche
  12. Air: Always Smells of Fresh Air

1d10 Table: Traits from Fae

  1. Ears Tapered like a Leaf
  2. Skin with a Natural Camouflage
  3. Antlers
  4. Hair that Changes Color with Seasons
  5. Feet that Leave No Trace
  6. Enchanting Singing Voice
  7. Unnaturally Delicate Hands
  8. Laugh that Sounds like Wind Chimes
  9. Floral Patterns on Skin
  10. Iridescent Butterfly-like Wings

🍃 - Brian Anders