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.
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 essentially being little more than 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.
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…