Welcome to No Books of Men! We are a modern alternate history board set in a magical school nestled in the Columbiana Valley of the Rocky Mountains. Students of the Collegium Illustrata Columbiana (commonly called simply The Academy) are free to explore their wildest imaginations in learning the mystic arts, so long as it does not jeopardize the ongoing Shadow War with the Exarchs. How will you live up to the legacies of Merlin?






darkkenchild is the Head Admin here at No Books. He enjoys long walks on the beach and debating the metaphysical underpinnings of reality, so any questions about your character , the plot of No Books, and/or how magic works on the site, please do not hesitate to ask him.

Squeeji is the head of “Human Resources” here at No Books, and responsible for pretty much everything related to our contact with the outside world. Advertising, orientation, and just about anything to do with bringing in new blood is in her wheelhouse.
  
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May 25 2018, 12:02 PM
So, what is the Schism War? Well, that’s both very simple and very complicated…

To start with, the Schism War is not a singular conflict, but rather a long standing “Cold War” style conflict that has raged since Roman times. An easy shorthand to understand things is to look at both the long term and recent history of the conflict as separate aspects.


The Ancient Conflict

The root of the conflict really lies in the Cult of Thoth, an ancient order of magic users which came together with the goal of uniting scholars of the mystic into a web of shared knowledge and learning. For centuries the Cult trained young mages, sought alliances with other disparate groups across the known world (i.e. mostly Europe, N. Africa, and the Middle East), and generally fostered a unification of willworkers greater than ever seen in history. As the Cult and its influence grew, it grew beyond its own namesake. The relative peace amongst willworkers lasted for centuries more, particularly under the influence of its most illustrious leaders; Aquila and Lycurgus.


Aquila and Lycurgus were twins and, while each was a powerful willworker in their own right, together they were amongst the greatest mages in history. They lead the Cult, and later the Order, through the transition from a Roman group of willworkers with ties to other groups into the first truly global organization of mystics. Now the preeminent mystic order in the world, the group began calling itself the High Council. It’s goals shifted to focus primarily on fostering goodwill between mystic traditions and peacekeeping between the various factions that had arisen within its sphere of influence.


Now the siblings were talented leaders, but together they struck a potent balance. Aquila was the more warlike of the two, leading the Council’s armies in times of conflict and codifying its laws during times of peace. Lycurgus was the more peaceful and diplomatic of the two, leading the Council’s healers during strife and inspiring its scholars in times of study. They were perfect complements to each other and both founded a line of potent magi to follow in their stead upon their deaths. Unfortunately, that is exactly where the problems began.


After Aquila and Lycurgus passed, the mantle of leadership passed to their offspring and from them on down the line. Two always ruled and were advised by the High Council, from which the order took its name. In 948 CE, these leaders were Titus of House Aquila and Prisca of House Lycurgus and a conflict arose between the two leaders that would shake the foundation of the High Council to its core.


In 858, a landmass had been re-discovered within the distant oceans between modern day Europe and North America, which held the ruins of an ancient colony of willworkers. Titus, seeing the vast reserves of mystic power and artifacts from bygone eras thought the land ripe for resettlement (and a refuge from the “unenlightened masses”). Prisca, fearing both its inevitable sinking and the arrogance of claiming such a place for such selfish purposes would only result in disaster for all. Both had supporters amongst the Council, but neither held a majority. Debates raged for decades before Titus declared that he had reached his limit.


Rallying his supporters, Titus took the island and declared it the foundation of a new Exalted Order with him as its Immortal Guardian (later Emperor). He offered structure, law, and isolation from the mortal world and the people who feared mystics. This alone would not have caused problems, if not for Titus also claiming the High Council a heretical organization that existed in defiance of the tradition of his ancestors. In counter, Prisca and the remains of the High Council declared the growing extremism and isolation of Titus and his followers as anathema. What began was a conflict that would rage for 1500 years…


Modern Conflict

While each side of the Schism War would hold dominance for a time, neither would prove sufficiently powerful to eradicate the other. Thus, the mystic world came to be typified by bouts of violent conflict interrupted by decades (or even centuries) of uneasy peace. The so-called “Sixth Schism” was a conflict that raged in the background of both World Wars and ended with a truce between the Order and the Council in 1950 in response to a growing level of “diabolism” and worship of “extra-dimensional entities” was discovered amongst both groups. The truce gave each the time and focus to cleanse their ranks of those who would doom them all.


Unfortunately, it was not to last. In 2001, the Exalted Order broke the peace accord and attacked the Council’s Colony at Leng (on the continent of Antarctica). It was a place of quiet contemplation and scholarship, never before marked by the conflicts of the Schism War. There were only a few dozen survivors of the over 10,000 who lived there. The High Council took this as an obvious declaration of war and the Schism War had begun anew within hours.


The modes of the conflict have changed however, in the modern world. While the conflict does sometimes escalate into skirmishes or even full-blown warfare between the two sides, the Scourge and the threat of mortal intervention (modern weapons are almost as deadly to mages as to mortals these days), has kept the conflict quiet and behind-the-scenes. It is closer to the mortal world’s “Cold War” than “WWII;” in that it is more often a war fought through espionage/sabotage, propaganda, and subtle manipulation of mortal governments than wizards throwing spells at one another...
May 23 2018, 01:45 PM
[dohtml]<link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Catamaran" rel="stylesheet" type='text/css'><center><center><div style="font-family: 'Catamaran', sans-serif;font-size:42px;color:#D94E1F;">WHAT ARE CONSPIRACIES?</div></center><div style="width:400px;background-color:#EF8B2C;height:20px;"></div><div style="width:400px;text-align:justify;font-size:14px;"></center>[/dohtml]

A Conspiracy is a group of individuals brought together to pursue a particular goal or purpose. Some seek to control the world around them to some degree. Some focus on protecting themselves or others. Still others are essentially social clubs with a particular purpose, such as exposure or study. To put it simply, Conspiracies are groups which choose to work together and organize themselves independently of governments or other large organizations.

Here at No Books, Conspiracies are an intergral part of how politics and society works in the Columbiana Valley. Strings are being pulled from a dozen different places at any given time, each group with its own agenda and goal. That said: Conspiracies are OPTIONAL during character creation. Membership in one or another Conspiracy is common, but far from required. Not to mention, that Conspiracies can be joined (and, more rarely, abandoned) in-game.
May 22 2018, 01:57 PM
The Exalted Order:
  • How dangerous are they to Mages?: It varies, although the “official” stance of the High Council (the group all PC mages are part of) and the Exalted Order is that the two nations are at war. Thus, it can be assumed that if any two mages sharing a space find out they are of opposite factions, combat is quite likely. However, just as any citizen of a country at war might have differing views, there are certainly some who pose no threat or are actively open to cooperation. As with an American meeting a Russian during the Cold War, the assumption is usually that they are a threat until proven otherwise.
  • How dangerous are they to Wyrdlings?: The Exalted Order as an organization has little interest in the Wyrdlings, beyond academic curiosity. While individual Exalted will sometimes capture Wyrdlings to study, there are just as many who would ignore or even ask for an alliance with an individual Wyrdling. The group as a whole is not a direct threat to the Wyrdlings, and each must be dealt with as an individual.
  • How dangerous are they to Townies?: In short, the Exalted Order sees mortals as being essentially monkeys. Sure, they share certain evolutionary traits, but they’re nothing more than a primitive relative of Mages. Thus, most Exalted ignore Townies, and the only threat they pose to Townies is if they get caught in the crossfire.
  • Summary: Centuries ago, the descendants of the two founding members of the world’s largest organization of magic users (the High Council) began to argue amongst themselves as to how they should interact with the world of non-magic humanity. One side argued that it was their duty to protect and educate humanity, to someday open the whole world to magic. The other side argued that humanity was essentially no more than an “outmoded” species that Mages would someday replace. Those who favored the latter mentality broke from the High Council and renamed themselves the Exalted Order. The Schism War has raged (to varying degrees) ever since.

    The Exalted seek to better themselves and strengthen their Order, to better open the way for their Ascendancy to rulership over the mortal world. They claim there is no malice in this goal, as they are truly the next step in humanity’s evolution (a modern term to replace the old concept of becoming divinity). Their studies and goals are aimed at personal enlightenment and empowerment, all with the goal of replacing humanity and, according to their philosophers, to pave the way for more powerful descendants that will someday replace even the Exalted…

The Kindly Ones:
  • How dangerous are they to Mages?: Mages are not of any particular interest to most Kindly-Ones. Some individual Faerie Lords find them curious or entertaining to keep as pets, but most consider Mages to be more trouble than they're worth. Thus most Greater Fae ignore Mages, unless the Mages themselves do something to raise the anger of Faerie-land and are then dealt with swiftly and mercilessly.
  • How dangerous are they to Wyrdlings?: The Kindly Ones don’t appreciate that some of their “toys” have escaped from Faerie Land, and thus most seek to reclaim their “prizes.” As every Kindly One is unique, their methods in reclamation vary wildly. Some send agents into our world to bargain with or simply recapture their wayward Wyrdlings. Others cast powerful spells to create traps and snares which will drag unfortunate Wyrdlings back through the Maze to Arcadia. Still others create horrors to stalk the Maze for ways into our world and destroy all Wyrdlings they see, to one day return to Arcadia with the essence of its prey. Regardless of approach, the Kindly Ones are always a threat to Wyrdlings.
  • How dangerous are they to Townies?: Relatively little. The Greater Fae certainly love when a mortal stumbles into their webs, but very few seem capable of even noticing a mortal until that moment. The rare times they take notice of an individual, it is not unlike noticing a red ant amongst black

    Summary: Elves. Aziza. Tuatha Dé Danann. Yaksha Since the dawn of mankind there have been legends of powerful, mystic creatures live in the wilds far from people, or perhaps in hidden realms hidden away from mortals. While Mages have long debated on when the first of these creatures first appeared, they cannot deny that they have become increasingly common over the last two centuries and for reasons unknown. These creatures (and many more which defy definition) are known to live in a “multiversal pocket dimension” (as one modern researcher describes it) which exists outside the known universe, but also touches upon this and many more universes beyond. This realm, which defies all reason and logic, and indeed seems to follow the “laws of narrative” instead of any understanding of Physics or Magic.

    The Realm of Arcadia would be dangerous enough if it were not for the Faerie Lords (one of many titles for the “Kindly Ones”) who live there. These creatures, when in their own realms, seem to have near infinite power and influence over those in their domain. Worse yet, these Greater Fae seem to be fascinated by the sentient creatures of other universes; using their unfortunate victims as some odd combination of pet, experiment, and slave. The only thing which seems to hold true about categorizing the Kindly Ones is their chaotic and unpredictable nature. They can be helpful and kind in one moment, only to become cruel and brutal in the next. For now however, there seems to be little the Kindly Ones can do to directly influence our world; instead they must rely on dumb luck or their much weaker servants to do their bidding in the “real” world.

The Foundation:
  • How dangerous are they to Mages?: Minimal. The Foundation seems to think most Mages are part of some rival, Occult Society, which is seeking the same ends as the Foundation but through mystic means instead of the Foundation’s favored scientific. Thus, skirmishes and rivalries are common, but outright hostility towards Mages is extremely rare outside of Mages interfering directly in their operations.
  • How dangerous are they to Wyrdlings?: Extremely. While the Foundation is concerned with any items or individuals which they see as “alien” to this reality, they target Wyrdlings to an extremely high degree; likely due to their sentience and unique impact on the “metaphysical ecosystem.”
  • How dangerous are they to Townies?: Not at all. The Foundation considers itself a “guardian” of the mortal populations of this world. As such, they actively try to prevent “civilian” casualties or involvement in their operations. In the rare circumstances where Townies are involved, the Foundation has a healthy “insurance” account to compensate victims and “memetic drugs” which erase the worst of a Townie’s memories regarding an incident.
  • Summary: The Foundation is a clandestine, scientific organization which aims to “detain, study, and neutralize existential threats to this universe.” What this slogan means is simple: if it isn’t native to this world they wish to capture/contain it so that its threat to reality can be prevented, its nature can be studied (and maybe even used to improve human life), and neutralize (i.e. destroy) it if it cannot be permanently detained. They have a variety of facilities and field offices scattered across the world, but their center of operations appears to be in North America; despite conspiracy theories to the contrary, the Foundation has no direct connection to the US government however, or any government for that matter.

    While the Foundation’s goals appear to be benevolent, their lack of oversight and dogged pursuit of those it considers “deviant” to this reality can easily border on zealotry. They have caused severe harm, and even killed, Wyrdlings who resist capture; and while the Foundation actively tries to prevent harm coming to “civilians” there have been quite a few “complications” which their organization has covered up. This isn’t to mention their approach to Mages. The Foundation considers Mages and their Magic as “natural” (for now), and thus they do not target those groups or other mystic creatures. However, their “reckless” behavior and general disregard for “how things have been done for millennia” has led to increasing tensions with their mystic counterparts…

Servants of the Elder Ones:
  • How dangerous are they to Mages?: Ranges from minimal to existential, depending on the individual servant of the Others and the individual Mage. The average cultist actively avoids drawing the attention of Mages (or really anyone with power/authority), but will defend themselves if they or their works are threatened. On the other end of the spectrum: The Heralds are direct agents of the Others and have considerable power of their own, enough to pose a very real threat to the world as a whole and they see Mages as either tools to use in summoning their masters or enemy combatants to remove from the field.
  • How dangerous are they to Wyrdlings?: Like Mages, it varies, but Wyrdlings have an odd advantage that they don’t quite understand. While Cultists and their ilk can still prove dangerous depending on circumstances, the Heralds largely ignore Wyrdlings. Indeed, when confronted with a Wyrdling, most Heralds politely apologize and excuse themselves from its presence. Why this happens is still unknown, but it saves Wyrdlings from dealing with extremely dangerous creatures… so they tend to not complain.
  • How dangerous are they to Townies?: Most Heralds and other powerful servitors tend to ignore Townies, due to the relative lack of power or influence most Townies have available. Rarely, more influential Townies become targets for manipulation, but this is almost never obvious (even to said Townie). Cultists on the other hand can prove dangerous, much as any secret organization of insane/ murderous servants of darkness would be. Most Cultists prefer to recruit than fight police or civilian forces, but exceptions exist.
  • Summary: There are… things… which exist outside of our universe. They were already ancient when time began and are too metaphysically “large” to exist within any universe with physical laws. Worst of all, these Elder Ones detest existence as it and they wish to remake all realities in their own image. Fortunately, for mortal life, their very nonexistent nature, prevents them from simply muscling into a reality and reshaping it their whims. They must instead find and/or create servants which can operate on a mortal level and have these servants “open the door” and allow them into reality.

    These are those servants. While there are countless variations on the theme, most of these servants fall within two categories. The first, and by far most numerous, are cultists. These are mortals, mystically inclined or mundane, which worship one of the Elder Ones and wishes to open the way for their master to enter this reality. These folks are generally not dangerous in their own right. After all, what is a single Townie to most Mages or Wyrdlings? Even when one encounters the rare Mage or Wyrdling who serves an Elder One, they are still manageable on their own. Unfortunately, these cults are rarely small and they rarely travel alone. When confronting one such cultist, always be wary for his/her allies which may be lying in wait. Worse yet, these cults can sometimes be deceptively pervasive and often have fingers in politics (local is a matter of course, but conspiracy theorists worry that the influence of these groups have spread to state, national, or even global levels…).

    Sadly, the cultists are more than crazed zealots. They have faith, certainly, but they also have proof that their masters know of them and seek their success. They have Heralds. Heralds are creatures created by the Elder Ones with the sole purpose of leading the Cults and other servants of the Elder One in the mortal world; they are also known to manipulate human history, in subtle ways, to help optimize the chances of the cults succeeding in summon their master. These Heralds are dangerous to the extreme. They are extremely fast, strong, and resilient to damage; not to mention their ability to manipulate reality itself (thankfully this control over existence is limited). They are single minded in their devotion to their masters. They are terrifying proof that Gods exist, and they do not wish existence to continue…
May 16 2018, 04:11 PM
[dohtml]<link href="https://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Catamaran" rel="stylesheet" type='text/css'><center><center><div style="font-family: 'Catamaran', sans-serif;font-size:43px;color:#D94E1F;">THE RULES OF MAGIC</div></center><div style="width:400px;background-color:#EF8B2C;height:20px;"></div><div style="width:400px;text-align:justify;font-size:14px;"><br>

Magic is a complicated and fickle thing. While it holds tremendous power and untapped potential for those willing and able to access it, it can also prove overwhelming and dangerously difficult to control. To aid the untrained and uninitiated in learning the processes of magic, the Cult of Thoth long ago created a unified system of magic and its permutations. While this system has been renamed, modified, and adapted many times since its inception (most notably into two different "systems of magic" to differentiate the Atlantean and Councilate approaches) the fundamental structure has remained unchanged.<br><br>

Functionally, when making a Mage character a player should choose their Mage's ability from the trees below. At creation, the player should only choose from the "schools" that are available to their chosen Society. This is to ensure that things remain simple and logical during the creation process, but theoretically any Mage is capable of learning any/all spells (and more) listed here. However, to represent the training and specialization of each Society (and the sort of Magi they attract) a Mage must master at least one School associated with their Society before exploring schools outside of your Society’s specialties.

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Note: Mastery of a School requires all three non-Master level spells be learned before the Master Level can be taken. For example: To take the Avatar spell in Elementalism one must first learn Call the Elements, Cloak of Elements, and Shape the Elements.

Starting Number of Spells:
  • Undergrad: 4
  • Graduate: 6
  • Faculty: 8
Society Specialty Schools
CES: Scrying, Telekinesis, Telepathy
Kadji: Elementalism, Healing, Spiritus
Lian: Decay, Enchanthing, Transmutation
Mara: Decay, Hexing, Spiritus
Masar: Fate, Warding, Weather
Opifex: Elementalism, Enchanting, Transmutation
Silvani: Hexing, Transmutation, Weather
Sophia: Healing, Spiritus, Warding
Tanka: Fate, Scrying, Telepathy

Schools
Decay:
Things fall apart. The center cannot hold. The universe is constantly falling apart, and the Magi can choose to speed it along in a way that proves beneficial...
  • Cripple - The Mage causes a target's limbs to decay and grow decrepit, temporarily causing them to stumble and slow as if decades older than they should be.
  • Defile - The Mage causes an inanimate object to grow weaker. Doors rust. (Non-living) Flesh grows weak and soft. Wood rots. This isn't as potent as Dissolve, but can affect a much larger area (up to 20 foot diameter).
  • Dissolve - The Mage causes a physical object to literally disintegrate, but only an object (or area) smaller than roughly a foot in diameter.
  • Master of Decay: Become the Reaper - A Mage can cause instant death in a living creature and/or disintegrate an object of significant size (20 ft diameter). The Mage must be able to touch the target and the player must get permission if used on another player character. ((Also note: frequent use of this spell on living targets will attract the attention of the authorities, both mystic and mundane.))
Enchanting:
Excalibur. Srivasta. Yata no Kagami. Magical objects imbued with the power of their creators, holding the magic in stasis until needed.
  • Note: All Enchanting requires other magics to use (i.e. spells from other Schools).
  • Imbue - Allows the Mage to permanently imbue an object with the effect of a single spell.
  • Relic - Creates a receptacle which, when conditions are met, create a mystical effect whenever it is "primed." An example would be a cauldron which, when food placed within it, produces a dozen more of the same food item.
  • Token - A single use item imbued with a single spell, usually the first Enchanting spell learned by the Mage. Once the spell is released, the item will never again have the magic. An example would be a "healing potion."
  • Master Enchanter: Weyland's Blessing - Able to craft a legendary object capable of multiple (up to 3) effects and impervious to (non-magical) forms of destruction.
Elementalism:
Earth. Wind. Fire. Water. These are the elements of creation and they are yours to control...
  • Call the Elements - Summon an amount (roughly a 2x2x2ft "cube") of a single element. There can be some variance from "pure" element (i.e. summoning earth may contain jewels or summoning water may include diluted acid), but cannot be intentionally and specifically summoned. In other words, you can summon "fresh air" or "valuable earth" but not "diamonds" or "solar plasma."
  • Cloak of Elements - Create a protective barrier against a single element. A cloak of earth becomes immune to stones being thrown or falling. A cloak of fire becomes immune to flames and heat. A cloak of air becomes immune to falling damage or toxic gases. A cloak of water cannot drown.
  • Shape the Elements - Using already existing or called elements, the Mage can reshape the elements into any form or aspect desired. Shaping steel like it were clay, purging toxins from water, and moving a candle flame through a vent to burn a single sheet of paper are all examples.
  • Master Elementalist: Avatar - A master of the elements can become a being comprised entirely of a single element. As water, the Mage can flow through anything not water-tight. As fire, the Mage can burn through any obstacle. As stone, the Mage becomes almost immune to damage. As air, the Mage can fly and become invisible.
Fate:
Time is not a river, but an ocean. It flows and churns within itself, but never disappears. Learn to ride the wave.
  • Precognition - A Mage using this spell can glimpse the future in brief (and often vague) snippets. The further out the moment glimpsed is from the present, the more difficult accuracy and clarity become. A second in the future may give the message "duck" and save the user from decapitation, but a decade in the future is about as specific as a newspaper horoscope.
  • Postcognition - By tracing the threads of fate backwards, a Mage can see a specific event tied to a person, place, or object they can touch. This vision can only interpret about a five minute span and only within about a dozen yard radius from the thing touched.
  • Ride the Wings of Luck - A Mage twists Fate in their favor. They have no control over the effects of this spell (In-character, at least). Fortune smiles upon the Mage however, and any luck-based event will skew towards the Mage's favor. Light's change just in time to save minutes from a trip. Coin flips always land on what the Mage calls out. Any number of tiny events will lead to better outcomes for the Mage.
  • Master of Fate: Living Backwards - A master of Fate has the ability to "remember the future" as if it were the past, but only when consciously doing so. This allows them to remember relevant details of a situation before they happen and adjust their actions to get a desired result. This is not foolproof (as free will makes perfect prediction (even for this power) impossible), but gives the Mage tremendous insight and influence over events.
Healing:
Physician heal thyself. Or heal the sick. Or the lame. Or whatever. The power over life itself is within your reach.
  • Close the Wound - Most relatively minor wounds can be cured without incident or much strain (think scraped knees, minor cuts, etc). Major wounds, such as the sort caused by violent combat, can also be closed and divides healing time in half. Even mortal wounds can be cured, but only in the sense of preventing immediate death.
  • Cure Disease - This spell can cure most minor diseases. Potent infections or genetic disorders (i.e. late term cancer, Progeria, etc) are outside the scope of this spell, but almost any other infection can be cured by this spell. Most autoimmune and major infections (i.e. HIV, Hutchinson's, etc) can be suppressed, but the disorder still be present. Thus, the 'cured' might be able to survive but still be a carrier or pass autoimmune disorders to their children.
  • Fortitude - The best offense is a good defense. This spell does not heal, but instead prevents. The skin thickens and resists bruising or cutting. Disease and infection are less likely to take hold. Bones resist breaking. This spell effectively reduces any harm imposed on the target in half, or reduces the chance of infection by half.
  • Master of Healing: Restore - This spell exchanges health for health. Any disease can be completely cured, any wound repaired entirely, and any bone removed without a trace. Even genetic disorders and other 'incurable' diseases become no obstacle to the Mage. Even (recent, i.e. within the last hour) death can be reversed. The price of such control over life is steep however, and the diseases/wounds must be transferred to another living creature. In the case of resurrection, a life must be sacrificed to return them to life.
Hexing:
The evil eye is upon you. Curses fly free to torment your enemies. To drain their life, turn their luck, and torment their lives for daring to defy you.
  • Drain - There are times when one needs more energy to survive, but after a long fight or when sorely ill a Mage can sometimes find that they just can't get enough to fuel their own magic. When one doesn't have enough, why not take it from someone else? Drain allows the user to literally suck the life force out of an enemy (or even a friend if one were calloused) and use it to heal themselves or even fuel their magic.
  • Evil Eye - Seen by many as the opposite of "Ride the Wings of Luck," the Evil Eye inflicts misfortune and ill luck on a target. Crowds always seem to get in the way when running late. Rain on one's wedding day. Essentially, everything in one's life seems to go wrong.
  • Torment - Pain is a powerful motivator. Pain can distract and weaken resolve. Pain can drive one to surrender. Pain can cause one to confess to a crime, even one that they did not commit. Torment gives the Mage power to control that pain, giving him a dial to turn up or down on a whim. Torment causes no lasting damage itself (of course if one used Torment on a rock climber...), but can easily incapacitate if not defended against.
  • Master of Hexes: Blight – “A pox upon one's enemies.” A common threat in ages past, and most often seen in magic as manifestations of the Evil Eye spell. Blight is something altogether different. Blight is a mystically virulent plague, and when cast the Mage must choose a target to which Blight will unfailingly infect. Examples of criteria might include all members of a family, all who bear a particular mark, or all who serve a particular lord. The criteria must be specific ("all women" is far too vague and broad) and while mortality may be high amongst the group, it is never truly complete. Survival rates are consistently around 15% and the curse can be cured easily with magic once correctly identified (but only with magic).
Scrying:
Knowledge is power. The more you know, the more you can control. Scrying allows the Mage to find information from far away and remain in safety.
  • Astral Form - The Mage can use this spell to temporarily detach their soul from their body and cast it into the Æther, connected mystically by a silver thread. From that point, the Mage may travel either into the Astral Reaches (and from there to other Spirit Realms) or to some place in the physical world. When traveling in the Astral Reaches the Mage's spirit is effectively the same as their physical form (with the same capabilities and skills) but is free to explore the Collective Unconscious of this plane. With concerted effort (and the knowledge of their existence), the Mage could then find pathways to other Spirit Realms through connected Astral Concepts (e.g. Reaching the Spirit Wilds through the "Woods" of Little Red Riding Hood, or descending to the Underworld through the Legend of Orpheus). When traveling the physical world the Mage gains tremendous speed (traveling hundreds of miles in seconds) but is completely invisible and inaudible (though these two can be overcome with conscious effort) as well completely unable to interact physically with anything (which cannot be overcome except through other spells). Additionally, this spell leaves the Mage's physical body inert and unable to defend itself.
  • Clairvoyence - With a bit of focus and a specific question in mind, the Mage can reach into the Aether and pluck the answer from thin air. The question need not be a simple one but the more complex the question the more unclear the answer, meaning yes/no questions produce easy answers but one like "what is the meaning of life" will produce immensely vague and useless answers. Some facts may prove impossible to learn through this method, either because the facts have been clouded through Warding or cloaked by other (greater) powers.
  • Stroke of Genius - Sometimes there's a problem that the Mage cannot solve, or more frequently the problem is missing crucial details needed to find the solution. When struggling with a problem that seems unsolvable, this spell grants the Mage insight that she does not (or sometimes, should not) have which can lead to a solution. This is not a "pull useful information out of thin air" spell (Telepathy is closer to that), but rather a way to fill in identified gaps in information. An example would be an advanced scientific formula which the Mage cannot solve, but with a Stroke of Genius she realizes she's missing a variable. Another example might be a puzzle box containing a powerful artifact is frustrating a Mage and he uses this spell to realize its "trick" and can thus use his own knowledge to finish the puzzle himself.
  • Master of Scrying: Omniscience - A Mage with this power is capable, upon activation, of becoming one with the Collective Unconscious itself and thus can access the knowledge (but not thoughts or memories) of all living creatures not Warded or otherwise protected by some mystic force. The downside is that this only lasts about 5 minutes and the toll of so much information being contained in a single mind causes a temporary coma (usually roughly 24 hours) after its time expires. In the few minutes of Omniscience, the Mage can act however she likes, but any words she speaks come out in an archaic and unintelligible speech making the passing along of any knowledge impossible (and lending the spell a nickname: "Climbing the Tower of Babel").
Spiritus:
The World and its realms are full of spirits, and only some of them were ever human. Spiritus gives Mages the keys to these kingdoms, and the tools to walk amongst the spirits as one of their own.
  • Exorcism - Sometimes spirits go where they shouldn't and those capable of Spiritus are amongst the few that can do something about it. Exorcism allows a Mage to force a spirit to depart a place. This may mean forcing a spirit out of a body it is possessing (living or dead), ending a haunting, or even forcing a Spirit to flee from a Mage's immediate presence.
  • Negotiate - Negotiate is actually two different but similar spells, differing only in tone/intent. Both spells compel a spirit to perform a service for the casting Mage, but the difference lies in how the mage approaches the issue. The most common (and least likely to anger the spirits and draw down a curse) is a referred to as "The Bargain," which is where the Mage forges a pact with the spirit in question wherein the Mage performs a service in exchange for the spirit's assistance. Less commonly (and officially condemned by the Council) is "The Command," where the Mage uses magic to force a spirit to perform its service with nothing in exchange. "The Command," except in the direst circumstances, tends to draw negative consequences when used: both from their Mage peers and from the offended spirit they have violated...
  • Summoning - There are many reasons to summon a spirit and this spell gives a Mage the power to do so. Perhaps the Mage needs information, or wishes to "hire" a spirit to watch over and protect an ally. Sometimes spirits of violence might be called to help a Mage survive combat, or a spirit of peace to prevent violence from starting. Regardless of reason, a Mage should be prepared to use Negotiate as well (or have a damned good explanation) when summoning, as without the power of Negotiate there is nothing to prevent the spirit from taking out its annoyance on the caster...
  • Master of Spiritus: Open the Door - The apex of Spiritus allows the Mage to enter the Realms which the spirits call home. It creates a portal (more literally: a tear in the boundaries of reality) which the Mage and/or her allies can use to enter the Spirt Realms. Any portal can only open into one of the Realms at a time, and must be defined as the Mage casts the spell, but can be any one of the three Realms: Astral Reaches, Spirit Wilds, or the Underworld. The portal persists until the next moonrise but can be closed by the caster at any time before then. Take care! Anyone can walk through an open portal, friend and foe alike!
Telekinesis:
Mind over matter. The power of the mind over its environment. Telekinesis gives a Mage the power to interact with the world around them without so much as lifting a finger.
  • Crush - The Mage can channel the Æther permeating the air to create and direct force surrounding an object (no more than a volume roughly 2x2x2ft), and thus applying up to 500 lbs of force to any object within the area of effect. This spell alone does not cause sufficient damage to kill an organic creature, but creative uses can potentially cause serious harm or even death.
  • Float - The Mage can channel Æther to lift an object (up to 300 lbs) off the ground (up to 10ft) and move it around slowly (about 5-10mph) in any direction desired. This spell, slightly modified, can be applied to the caster instead and allow a limited form of flight. When applied to the self, the height and speed rates are doubled.
  • Push - The Mage shifts the flow of Æther towards a target and creates a wall of pure force to knock over any resistance. The range of this spell is up to 10 yards away before its effectiveness begins to diminish. The amount of force applied is as little or as much as the caster requires, from the lightest touch to a tremendous force (equivalent to a low speed car collision, non-fatal but very painful). Note that this can also be reduced to the point where a button could be pushed from far away or an apple plucked from high in tree, not just as a combat application.
  • Master of Telekinesis: Poltergeist - The above telekinetic powers are restricted to one target at a time, the level of concentration and effort to affect more than one object at a time is too great for a non-master. With Poltergeist, the Master of Telekinesis can now use any other Telekinesis power on multiple targets (up to a dozen) at once.
Telepathy:
The mind is a book with a lock, thoughts written every day and protected from the perusal of others. A clever mage can learn to pick that lock...
  • Note: This power, more than any other, opens the door for metagaming/godmodding. Please don't. There is lots of room for interesting and engaging uses of these spells, but be sure to get the approval of any player OOCly before using these spells on a character ICly.
  • Direct Order - This allows the Mage to implant a single, simple command (no more than 3 words) directly into the mind of another. While this command does not force the individual to follow the command (free will can still over power this command), it is unlikely to be ignored for two reasons: First, it carries a strong "you should do this" feeling attached and, second, it appears in the subject's head in their own "voice" and thus seems like it was their idea. Please note that this power cannot make a target ignore survival instincts; commands such as "Kill yourself" will always fail.
  • Empathy - Empathy allows a mage to "see" the emotional states of others. In some cases, this is a literal "sight" in the form of auras around the subject. In others, the spell's effects might manifest as anything from a "vague feeling" to different "smells" for different emotional states. Emotional states can sometimes be more telling than reading actual thoughts, as it can prove easier to predict actions when an subject is angry or depressed, as opposed to reading the thought "I hate you" in the same subject.
  • Open the Book - This spell allows the caster to read the surface thoughts of a target. It does not allow the caster to see deep thoughts and memories, but rather lets them skim through a target's current thoughts and short term memory to look for information. This does not go unnoticed by the subject, and creates a feeling not unlike "someone walking over your grave."
  • Master of Telepathy: Possession - Similar to the Astral Projection spell, a Master of Telepathy can project their consciousness out of their body. Unlike Astral Projectors, Possessors do not leave the earthly plain and instead project their consciousness into the body of another. The "host" personality is suppressed and will not remember anything done during possession (much like a dreamless sleep) and the caster's personality takes over control of the body. The Possessor has access to the body's physical capabilities and skills (so things like strength and athletic "muscle memory") but not the memories or social/mental skills of the host. While possessing another, the caster's body lies inert and defenseless. Also note that, while less frequently done, Possession can be used on animal targets as well.
Transmutation:
They say to always dress for the job you want, not the job you have... What should I do if my dream is to become a dinosaur? Learning Transmutation is the answer.
  • Become Like the Beast - This spell allows the Mage to change their shape to that of another creature. For up to 24 hours, the Mage can become almost any creature. The mage is restricted to animals that are no larger than ten times the size of the mage's human form (so a small rhino is possible, but an elephant is not), and no smaller than ten times smaller than the human form (so a dog is possible, but a rat is not). The human mind of the Mage is unchanged beyond gaining instinctive knowledge of how to use the body's natural abilities, such as echolocation or using a prehensile tail. This spell can be ended any time before the 24 hour time limit if the Mage so chooses.
  • Become Like the Stone - This spell allows the Mage to change their shape into that of an inanimate object for up to 12 hours. The object they become is the same rough weight and size as the Mage's base form, but can take any shape desired. While in "object form" the Mage cannot move any more than the object would be capable of on its own (e.g. A coat rack can't move at all, while a mannequin has almost full (if awkward) motion), but is supernaturally resistant to damage (roughly equivalent to the damage resistance of a human body regardless of the object's "true" material. When in "object form" the only thing that is always true is that the consciousness of the Mage remains unaltered (despite not having a brain) and they can always return to their natural form.
  • Enhance - Transmutation isn't just about the ability to change yourself into the form of a creature or an object, it is also about altering the base form of the caster. Though temporary (usually lasting a few hours), Enhance allows the Mage to increase their physical capabilities. Enhance allows a Mage to run faster, jump higher, survive tremendous damage without flinching, or even slow their breathing and heartrate to the point of near death (thus allowing them, with occasional reapplication of the spell, to survive for days or even months without food or water).
  • Master of Transmutation: Share the Shape - Mastery of Transmutation allows the Mage to use any Transmutation spell on another. The only difference between the spell effects when cast on the self and when cast upon others is that only the caster can cancel the spell early, the target cannot. So if a Mage were to turn someone into a pig, the spell will fade after 24 hours or when the Mage cancels it but the victim cannot use their own magic to end it early (unless they find a way to perform the rituals, use the hand signals, and/or intone the words without a human body).
Warding:
The best offense is a good defense, this is just as true in Magic as in anything else.
  • Barrier - This creates a "wall" of Æther which can prevent any magical attack from striking its target. For example: A fireball flung at the Mage dissipates into nothingness when it strikes the Barrier the defending mage creates. The Barrier can only defend one direction at a time, so two of the same fireballs sent from both left and right cannot be both stopped with the same barrier (one might, but the other would not). Barrier however can defend a range of rough 10x10ft and anyone who fits behind said barrier would be equally protected.
  • Countermagic - It is difficult at the best of times to utterly destroy or disrupt Æther once another Mage has set it in motion. Where barrier produces a wall for spells to break themselves upon, Countermagic is a more direct method to protect oneself. Countermagic is founded on a mystic equivalent of the physics concept of "for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction." Magic does not care for physics; in fact there is usually no direct opposing force to magic and instead it creates only reactive forces (i.e. Magic Fire burn as well "real fire) or punitive forces (i.e. the Scourge). Countermagic allows a defending Mage to provide their own "opposing force" and manifests in one of two ways. The most common use is to negate a spell's direct effect on the caster such as Magic Fire doesn't burn the defender, but still burns their clothes and surrounding. The other is to diminish the "area effect" of a spell, such as a summoned Storm becomes less a deluge and more a sprinkle (but does not make the Mage immune to getting wet).
  • Sanctuary - The Mage can declare a zone inviolate from invasion from a particular force or creature. Nothing of that force or creature type may enter the space so declared, but the space can be no larger than 10x10x10ft unless the space is confined by solid walls/roof (so a church building can be declared a Sanctuary, but only 10ft cube can be so warded in the woods). This Sanctuary must be "keyed" to a single and specific word description of its designated "target" upon casting, "Fire" and "Werewolf" are specific enough but "Magic" is too broad. While this area is a Sanctuary, nothing matching the description may enter and when attempting to do so is stopped by an invisible wall of force. No Sanctuary can be "keyed" to more than one "target" at a time and the Sanctuary lasts for one "turn of the moon" (or 28 days) before it needs to be recast or allowed to expire. For example: A Church might be a Sanctuary against Vampires, a Mage's home a Sanctuary against Goblins (i.e. Wyrdlings), or the area around a tree's base might be a Sanctuary against flames. (Note: Exceptions cannot be made. If a priest makes his church a Sanctuary against Vampires, they can't invite their new Vampire friend through the barrier. The only way to do so is cancel the spell early, which would allow [i]all Vampires through. The spell could be recast with the Buddy Vampire within and they are free to move around within the building, but once he leaves he cannot come back in.[/i])
  • Null Zone - A combination of the above spells, a Null Zone is a space (either 10x10x10 or within the confines of a building's walls) that is warded against "Magic" instead of a specific target. While it allows creatures like Vampires or Werewolves through the boundaries, their supernatural abilities fail to function. A Vampire's fangs dull and their enhanced physical abilities fade. A Werewolf's ability to shapeshift fails to function. Even a Mage's spells fail and instead fizzle into nothingness, even spells cast by the Null Zone's creator. Supernatural attacks from outside the Null Zone strike an invisible barrier and fizzles into nothingness as it strikes a Barrier of Countermagic. The only spell that does not fail within the Null Zone is the spell which cancels its effect, which can only be cast by the original caster. This spell lasts until the original caster's death or until it is canceled by the original caster.
Weather:
You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows, but when you can control the direction of these winds...
  • Call the Storm - The Mage beseeches the heavens and calls down the rains. This can range anywhere from a light drizzle to a torrential downpour, even causing flash flooding and other similar effects from heavy rains. The uses of this ability depend which end of the scale the Mage wishes to operate the spell. A light rain is good for refreshing dry crops and providing relief from heat. A mid-range rain could be used to wash away grime, footprints in dirt, or even evidence of a crime. A heavy rain obscures vision of enemies and makes travel difficult. While such called storms do not require clouds to be in the sky (the fewer clouds the higher chance of Scourging though), it cannot cause precipitation if the season is wrong. No snow in July (at least north of the equator)! However, this does mean that this spell can instead call snow (or freezing rain) during the winter months if the mage so desires.
  • Guide the Winds - The name of this spell is something of a misnomer. While this spell does indeed confer the ability to direct and control the winds, it also allows the creation of winds where none exist. Once a wind is present, the mage can change its direction as well as increase or decrease its intensity. A slight breeze soothes the soul, a mid-range wind makes swift travel easier, and a gale-force wind can literally sweep enemies off their feet.
  • Weather Shield - This spell makes a Mage immune to the effects of all weather, regardless of its origin (i.e. mystic or natural). Any direct effect of weather conditions can safely be ignored by the mage. This means a Mage will not suffer frostbite or hypothermia even in sub-zero temperatures, will not suffer heat stroke in a desert (though dehydration could prove a threat), will not be blown over by the winds (though a falling tree could still crush them), and stays dry even in the heaviest rains.
  • Natural Disaster - Call the Storm summons rain, but cannot independently summon wind or lightning. Guide the Winds can summon winds of any strength, but lack control over other conditions enough to change those winds into something more. Natural Disaster pulls together these two abilities, increases their scope, and combines them with control over other atmospheric conditions to create something greater than the sum their parts. This spell allows the Mage to summon (but not control beyond an initial location) a storm of destructive scope. Hurricanes, Tidal Waves, Tornadoes, Earthquakes, Volcanic Eruptions, and the like now come at the Mage's beck and call. Note: This doesn't allow the summoning of a Hurricane or Tidal Wave in the Sahara Desert, there are too many factors preventing the forming of such a storm. Similarly, a Volcanic Eruption in central South Dakota is effectively impossible, while tornadoes are common in such a place.
Jan 21 2016, 10:29 AM
Cosmology

Cosmology. A word that is deceptively simple. Cosmo- as a prefix means simply "the universe" and the suffix -logy means either "the study of something" or "the collected knowledge of something." So what is cosmology? It's simply the study or collected knowledge of the universe. A simple concept really, but one with implications that could be discussed for decades without pause.

So what does this have to do with No Books? Well, simply put, most of the supernatural creatures and especially talented folks that call Columbiana Valley home are capable of stepping "outside" our physical world and into other realms. A point of constant confusion for players, both new and experienced alike, is what exactly is there in the places "outside" in the world of No Books? What follows is a basic breakdown of these realms. Each section will describe the realm in question as well as provide an idea of how that realm might be reached and by whom

The Realms

Note: To reach any of the Realms requires a spell learned through either the Scrying or Spiritus schools, and depending on which of the two spells are used will alter how the mage appears in the Realms. Alternately, there are enchanted “portals” available in certain buildings on campus which can also be used to access the Realms, but doing so without permission will certainly result in disciplinary action.

“The Realms” is a collective name for the various “shadows” of the physical world which can be found across the spiritual barrier known as the Spirit Wall. The various Realms are frequented by the denizens of the Valley because they are the most easily understood by dimensional/spiritual travelers. There are generally considered 3 major “realms” and each "reflects" the physical realm through the lens of that Realm's purpose (i.e. Astral, Wild, or Dark).

Movement within an Umbral reflection can be seen in one of two ways. The first (and most common) is “three-dimensional” travel, where one can move left/right, forward/backward, and up/down just as they could in the physical realm. The second, and metaphysically more difficult, is along what one could call a fourth dimension or sometimes called "depth." To move "deeper" into an Umbra is to move further away from the physical realm and enter places more abstract and bizarre than the physical world.


The Astral Reaches

Other Names: High Realm, Astral Realm, Astral Space, Mindscape, Dreaming, Dreamlands

Description: The Astral Reaches are a bizarre landscape which alternates between the familiar and the unknowable. Any being capable of sentient thought will feel comfortable here, even if they don't know why. The reason for this strange familiarity is that this Umbral Reflection is built by the thoughts and dreams of every creature to have ever had a thought or dream, including the mage herself. In fact, the Astral Realm is a place that every sentient being visits most every night through their dreams, albeit unconsciously.

The Astral Reaches consist of three "layers" according to those who have studied it. The first and most personal is the Mindscape. The Mindscape is a "pocket realm" reflecting the conscious mind of a living being, and one exists for each and every living (and a few, potent non-living) beings. These Mindscapes, if entered by any but the being who it reflects, are usually empty beyond a few powerful thoughts or memories The exception is when the individual sleeps, when the Mindscape becomes a theatre of sorts where the dreams of the being becomes tangible and plays out within.

The next deepest layer is the Collective Unconscious. This is the layer where a mage typically arrives when coming to the Astral Reaches, unless they enter through their own Mindscape. The Collective Unconscious typically reflects the understanding that locals have of an area. Buildings of cultural or spiritual importance tend to stand in this realm much as they do in the physical world. In fact, places long demolished, but well remembered (such as the Roman Coliseum or the Library at Alexandria), can still thrive for decades or even centuries after their fall. This layer of the Astral Reaches is mostly populated by spirits of the local culture such as schools populated by spirits of wisdom, government buildings populated by spirits of authority or duty (depending on the style of government), or parks populated by spirits of nature or joy.

The deepest layer is a place called the World Soul, which represents the collective unconscious of everything which exists in this universe. It reflects the most abstract of concepts and carries the weight of things that don't have sentience in the strictest sense. This includes the entirety of history and places far beyond human experience (such as other worlds or other times). This is a place of abstracts and the inhuman; and it borders the furthest borders of this reality. This is also a place where human (and other species) religions have powerful reflections. Gods, devils, angels, and other religious creatures can be found here, but whether these are mere reflections of human belief or the literal beings who have reached out to humanity through the Astral Reaches is a hotly debated subject...

Examples of Deeper Places in the Realm s: The Fountain of Language, Asgard/Mt. Olympus/Heaven/other religious realms, The Pillar of Government, The Grand Library, The Apex of History

Ways to Enter: Anyone can enter their personal Mindscape through dreams. Mages can easily enter through direct Astral Projection, merely by concentrating and “thinking deeper.” Alternately, a portal can be opened with Spiritus; such portals are much easier to open in places of intellect and/or learning, such as a school or laboratory. Wyrdlings can naturally enter any Mindscape through making a pact with the individual who owns it, but entering the Collective Unconscious can only be reached by Changelings with an appropriate Trait.


The Spirit Wilds

Other Names: The Middle Realm, The Wild Realm, The Primal Wilds, The Ancient World

Description: The Spirit Wilds are a place of nature unfettered by the whims of humanity. It is a place where spirits of nature, often indistinguishable from wild animals, run free from mortal influence. The closest layer of this world reflects the spiritual health of the physical world. Though it is extremely rare for cities or towns to be reflected in the Wild Umbra, the effects of these settlements can be seen in spiritual pollution or bizarre clearings in the woods. Spirits of species long driven from an area (wolves for example), can still thrive in the Wild Umbra for centuries after the last of their kind disappeared in the physical world.

Deeper layers of the Spirit Wilds reflect worlds further and further from a world with humanity. The deepest of these Realms seem untouched by any sentient species and are places of primal truths. Behemoths impossible in the physical world are common there, spirits of the heavens walk the moon-roads of the sky, elemental spirits burn, flow, rumble, and blow through the thick jungles. Storms rage endlessly. It is a place where few mortal creatures can survive for long and abstract thought can get you killed.

Examples of Deeper Places in the Realm: Pangaea (a place of extinct species), The Bygone Realms (a place of dragons, chimera, and other 'mythological' creatures), The Flux (a place of eternally shifting land and predation), The Elemental Realms (i.e. The Firelands, the Deep Earth, etc)

Ways to Enter: Mages can open a portal for themselves and their allies with Spiritus spell, which is much easier to do in the wilderness; or by first entering the Astral Realms with a Scrying spell and then looking for “entrances” in stories of wilderness or in primordial concepts. Wyrdlings cannot usually enter the Wild Umbra without assistance from a Mage, but rumours persist of a rare few with a Trait which allows them entrance. Werewolves and other shapeshifters are rumoured to be able to enter this Umbra without restriction, but this is currently unproven. Even mortals can rarely enter the Wild Umbra in the deepest and wildest places of the world (including a rumoured entrance deep in the Columbiana Valley).


The Underworld

Other Names: The Low Realm, The Dark Realm, Land of the Dead, The Shadowlands, The Afterlife

Description: From the beginning of human history, there has always been references to souls who linger after death. The exact nature of these spirits has never been entirely clear to the living, but their presence has been persistent. Though the eventual fate of the human soul, and the reality of a true afterlife, is still unknown to the living and the lingering dead alike. However, it is known that some spirits linger in either the physical realm or in the Shadowlands.

For most, the first images of the Shadowlands they see is a decayed reflection of the physical world. This first layer is a place that appears nearly identical to the world of the living, only empty of life and riddled with decay. Buildings are collapsed, fields lay empty, whole forests full of dead trees, and cold winds blow slowly through a barren landscape devoid of any warmth or life. Spirits of the recently dead, usually those who departed life within the last century, haunt this part of the Umbra and sometimes find avenues through the Spirit Wall to haunt the living. Why these souls linger varies with each individual, but they all have some form of unfinished business which keeps them bound to the lands of the living.

Though rare, some spirits linger much longer after their death and have nothing remaining to keep them tethered to the lands of the living. Cast adrift, these souls wander deeper into the Underworld and into the realms beyond. Some of these realms bear a passing resemblance to the afterlives of mortal religions, but always ring hollow. Heavens lack bliss, hells lack penance, and Limbo seeps into all. Other spirits defiantly seek to forge a new 'life' amongst the dead, building cities on the shores of Oblivion and defying the Abyss from their new Necropoli. Are there deeper places, lost in the decay of Oblivion? Maybe. One fact always holds true: the deeper one travels into the Underworld, the fewer have ever returned.

Examples of Deeper Places in the Realm: Reflections of various Heavens and Hells of every imaginable kind, Various Necropoli (examples: The Jade Empire, Shangri-La, Nyx, Gotham), The Labyrinth, The Maw of Oblivion

Ways to Enter: Most people catch fleeting glimpses of the Shadowlands intermittently throughout their lives, but mortals can almost never reach this realm without aid (at least, while alive). Mages can open portals for themselves and their allies with a Spiritus spell, or by casting themselves into the Astral Reaches and symbolically “dying” or finding a place reflecting the concept of “death.” Most Wyrdlings are unaware of the Shadowlands, but some few possess Traits which allow them to contact or even visit the Shadowlands.


Other Places

Though the various Realms are, by far, the most common places for those who would explore outside of the physical realms, they are far from the only places. What follows are the rare few places outside of the physical and spiritual realms that are known to those within the Valley.


The Hedge

Other Names: Arcadia, Faerieland, Tir Na Nog, Countless others

Description: The Realm of the Gentry is something... else. It is connected to this world, but is still somehow outside of reality's rules. The border-marches between the two realms is often referred to as the Maze, and refers to the strange realm that has cropped up between the two. It is a place where the laws of the mortal world are weak, but the laws of Arcadia don't have total control. It is a world of half-truths and half-measures. Things impossible in reality can stand comfortably alongside mortals and both survive equally well. Unfortunately, the Maze is dangerous. It leaves mortals exposed to strange threats and even mortal magic is weaker there, leaving them ripe for capture by the beings native to Arcadia.

Arcadia itself is a place where the rules and truths of reality are as fluid as water. The Faerie Lord who hold power in a given territory set the rules and can change them on a whim, leaving even the most powerful and talented of mortals at a tremendous disadvantage. Only a fool would enter of their own free will, and those taken against their will are always forever changed by the experience.

Deeper Places in the Realm: There are as many different realms in Arcadia as there are Gentry, maybe more. Rumours persist, of an “Elder Kingdom” in the heart of Arcadia, ruled over by the “Elder One” to which all Gentry owe their loyalty. None who have chosen to explore the furthest reaches of Arcadia have ever returned.

Ways to Enter: No one knows how many or how many there are, but there are “Gaps” in reality which lead to the Maze. Through these Gaps, those who wish to do so can reach the Hedge and Arcadia beyond, but the road can go both ways. Some say they have been able to open new Gaps with magic, and imply they were also able to close it afterward, but if true none have ever explained how...


The Eternal City

Other Names: The Living City, The Endless City, Infinopolis, 416c6c2057696c6c204265204f6e65

Description: An endless city, which spread as far as the eye can see and much further beyond. Some say that the city encompasses a world equal in size to our own. Others say that it is much, much larger than that. Regardless of the truth, the city is massive on a scale difficult to comprehend. What’s more, the geometry of the city is constantly shifting and appears to operate independent of what humanity considers “normal” or even “possible,” which makes navigating the city in any reliable or repeatable fashion nearly impossible.

Deeper Realms: There is no deeper realm, only more of the city’s sprawl.

Ways to Enter: No reliable method is known, but various anomalies and locations have been known to open into the Eternal City. Such places and occurrences are far more common in urban areas, but even small towns have been known to have “disappearances” which can be traced to the City. Those who seek the City seem to always find it, eventually. The problem is, due to the odd nature of geometry and physics in the City itself, most who seek the City never return…


The Outer Realms

Other Names: The Realm Outside, Lair of the Elder Ones, The Great Black

Description: A place of Unreality, the Outer Realms are mostly unknown to those of this world. What little is known is more defined by what these bizarre realms are not and not by what they are. Scattered within this place of Nothing, there are pockets which contain whole other Universes. Some are deceptively similar to this world. Others defy explanation.

Deeper Realms: Countless realms of all kinds and descriptions

Ways to Enter: No reliable method is known, but rumours persist of impossibly complex and powerful rituals that are capable of opening gateways. If these rumours are true, those who know of these secret rituals keep them carefully hidden away...
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