ASE and the Land of 1,000 Towers
ASE is set near the City of Denethix, a not-particularly-horrible place to live in the middle of the pretty horrible Land of One Thousand Towers. In short: this is Earth, far in the future after some sort of terrible apocalypse. Remnants of technology are sprinkled throughout the land, but there’s also magic & sorcerery. Demi-humans are limited to the stereotypical dwarves and dark elves, who have begun to resurface in the last 50 years or so. Clerics receive their spells from orbiting satellites (though there’s also a “Cult of Science” and, of course, Nyarlathotep), and there are rules for firearms and even plasma rifles! (Guns are surprisingly ineffective, not to mention expensive.) These rules are intentionally minimalist, doing no violence to the underlying D&D rules – for example, following the old maxim that sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, much of the lost technology in fact detects as magic.
The area is splintered into city-states ruled by “wizards” (who aren’t necessarily magic-users, but rather strong, and invariably evil, personalities who transform the world around them). There’s a hex map of the area and a few example wizards, but the focus is on Denethix itself.
Denethix is not such a bad place (though it still fits best in the totalitarian side of the political spectrum) largely because its ruling wizard has, let’s say, better things to do. The city gets a map, a brief writeup on the government, descriptions of the neighborhoods, a few key locations, and brief summaries of the nearby villages. Detail is provided mostly through a set of 19 rather, umm, unusual random tables. Sure, there’s the requisite rumor table, but there’s also Haute Couture for Ladies of Means and Good Clean Country Violence. These tables are great – or at least great reads, as Wetmore has a good eye for distinctive detail and amusing writing. “Rennie, peacock farmer. Affects an air of country wisdom, and picks teeth with peacock quill,” for example (taken from the Rustic Villagers table). These tables are both tools for use in play and worldbuilding elements.