Aes Libris 1

The start of our new video series: Aes Libris. This is the successor to Aes-y Listening, which we’ve posted about before.

Our first Aes Libris video is the famous stoic Victorian poem, Invictus, by William Ernest Henley. The text:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.


Aes-y Listening 19

One of our favorite architects that bridges the steampunk and modern eras is Frank Lloyd Wright. So for episode 19 of Aes-y Listening, we picked one of his short speeches from 1938.

In it he discusses the Floo Floo Bird and how its tendency to fly backward was similar to the attitude of architects. His advice, that designers should move forward with the materials they have rather than cling to what came before, underlies some of the building design we’ve used for Laton.

This is the last episode of Aes-y Listening. YouTube, sadly, dislikes puns in the names of series when it comes to searching. So for the next episode, we used a new name for the concept.

Iconic Spotlight: Ji Wang

Welcome to a new series of articles, “Iconic Spotlight!” Our Aes Quick Start Guide includes a half-dozen pre-made characters. We wanted to highlight each of these explorers in turn.

Our first iconic to feature is Ji Wang, the concoction expert. Ji Wang is a very old character, whose existence predates Aes: Brass Revolution. She was originally developed as an NPC who uses a new class of concoctions, serums. Her scientific research in turn supplied lore and background on the history of serums, as well as concoctions in general.

Since being shifted to a pre-made, her specialty went from serums to solvents, but her quest to discover new chemicals remained. Thanks to her status as the very first pre-made character we envisioned, she is also the character we use in the core book to provide an example of character creation. We also made her the leader of the iconic heroes, as we felt it made our team composition a bit more unique than what we’d seen in other games.


Ji Wang, science heroine and leader of the crew of the Airship Zhuge! Steady and analytical, she supports her teammates in clashes with her array of concoctions. In the social arena, she often acts as the team’s lead voice to academics and omnipresent innovators.

Ji Wang’s passion has always been concoctions. As a young girl, she’d spent hours mixing various compounds in her home in Tanso. One particularly memorable incident involved her pet hamster, Huey, and an explosion of sticky solvents. From then on, her parents worked hard to afford her access to books and tutors as they could find them. They dedicated everything they had to ensuring she would advance to a better life – a chance she swore not to take for granted.

Growing older, she studied the history of concoctions and their myriad uses for inspiration. The Tanso immigrants didn’t have many volumes on ancient Zhengqi concoctions, but she absorbed what she could. Applying to Guozijian University, she was admitted by demonstrating a new solvent for safely dissolving glues and gels without damaging solids.

Graduating with full honors, Ji Wang went into the world to pursue her studies in the wild. While at Guozijian, she’d become fascinated by the ancient herbal concoctions that predated the formal sciences. While some had been formally studied and integrated into balms, many more remained untapped. She set out into Aeneam to find these “lost” ingredients and bring their properties to modern science.

Her research caught the eye of Christy Eosolvo, who offered her a faculty position at Eosolvo University. With the sanction of the university, Ji Wang began to travel Aeneam. Along the way, she met the doctor, Draben, whose knowledge of vis exceeded her own; and the artist, Anna, whose keen eye proved valuable. A chance encounter in Buffalton brought her into contact with Aisa, Gurgen, and Yegor. Together, they set out to explore the continent.


Ji Wang has three main faculties: Solvent Maker, Maker Haste, and Hammer Space. The first gives her the ability to create and customize solvents. That plainly ties into her back-story. Maker Haste allows her to create these solvents faster than a normal person, which is useful during a clash. Hammer Space allows her to draw small items from nowhere on the fly. That means she’ll always have a handy solvent vial ready if she’s caught by surprise or in a difficult pinch.

Thanks to both a human adaptation and knowing Solvent Maker, Ji Wang knows 4 modifications. One allows her to create gases. Another creates traps. The third deals damage to living things and the fourth gets herself out of being stuck in glue.

Play Style

Ji Wang is the crafting example we supply to players. Since a key focus of Aes is “heroic science,” we needed a crafter who would function both in and out of combat. Ji Wang focuses mainly on the use of flair, making her great at dealing with people as well as manipulating items. Her high clarity in invention means she looks intelligent – good for interfacing with Laton’s R&D labs or university professors.

Normally, a crafter has to spend their whole turn to make a new item. By giving her Maker Haste, Ji Wang can craft and move in the same turn to keep herself from harm. As that improves, she’ll eventually be able to make concoctions on the fly for free while still helping to deal damage to targets.

Her ability to create traps that cause targets to stay put is highly versatile, since it can be used offensively and defensively. By making gases, she can reach targets that are behind closed doors. While she has little offensive power on her own, she can inflict some with at least one concoction type if she needs to. Lastly, she has the ability to get herself and allies out of sticky situations if her own solvents are used against her.

Ji Wang is a support build – she helps the combat characters from the rear and by helping to control the battlefield with her traps. Unlike other games, her status as a crafter does nothing to hinder her ability to participate in combat, so those who play her aren’t totally on the sidelines.

Aes-y Listening 17

For episode 17 of Aes-y Listening, we did a reading of “If” by Rudyard Kipling.

Here is the full text of the poem:

If you can keep your head when all about you
    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
    But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
    And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
    And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
    Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
    And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
    And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
    And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
    To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
    Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
    Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
    If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

Aes-y Listening Episodes 11-14

More episodes of Aes-y Listening are up!

Episode 11: The Owning of Books – The joy of owning and reading books. A private library is a must for anyone in this day and age.

We also have three more parts of the Tao Te Ching up: Episode 12 (37-45), Episode 13 (46-54), and Episode 14 (55-63).

You can also check out the Tao Te Ching playlist we’ve added to the channel.