The metaphysics of the universe are generally well known. Some people known more than others, but the majority of the population manage to get on with their daily lives without worrying to much about where it all comes from and why. These subjects are consigned to dusty textbooks and the lounge of the colourless college's theoretical applications division. It is generally agreed that a thorough knowledge of the structure of the universe is in fact pretty useless; an interesting way to spend your life if you inherit enough money to fund it, but it's not going to put food on your table, keep you safe at night, or allow you to transform into a pan-dimensional being with control over magic and the power to harvest people's life-force as food.

A summary of what an educated, inquisitive individual would known follows, but feel free not to know or care about any of this.

The thing on which you are standing (and sitting, and running, and living) is called The Prime, or "The Prime Material" to give it its full title. Above the prime are the gods, the planes of magic, and the Dreaming, where mortals go when they sleep. Below the prime live demons.

Every one of these "things" (the Prime, the gods, the planes of magic) is a "plane". This means it is a thing which is pretty long in 2 dimensions, and not quite so long in the third dimension. Some might describe them as giant floating pancakes, but then worry that this may be a blasphemous way to speak of the gods.

The gods

The gods are, as far as anyone can tell (and they can tell pretty far,) real personalities with real goals who occasionally speak directly to their followers about what they want them to do. The actual "substance" of a god is made up of the souls of people who have died. It is believed that when most beings die, their soul goes to the god whos principals were closest to their own, even if they were not particularly devout during their lifetime. It is believe that those who please their god are given higher positions in the afterlife. Tales tell of spirits returning as angels of or people capable of speaking to the souls within a god, which seem to confirm that most followers of the gods are pretty happy with their afterlives and are still the same people as they were before.

The power of the gods comes from the deeds and experiences their followers undergo in their lifetimes. When a soul reaches its god, the sum of those deeds and experiences reinforces that principals and stability of that god, and providing it with power.

The pantheons

The gods are arranged into three pantheons. Each pantheon is named after the Holy symbol of whichever god has godhead in that pantheon. Godhead within a pantheon represents that god being head of the pantheon, and grants followers of those gods some small advantages over others in their pantheon. In general, the pantheons are united by a common tenet, and may try to work in harmony to that end - in practise it doesn't always work out that way.

When a priest casts a miracle, they must call upon the name of their god in order to cast it. They may instead call on the name of a different god within the same pantheon, expending twice as much spiritual authority as they are counting on the favourable relationship between deities to grant you power. Caution must always be used when doing this, as a gods attention is called every time their name is used. A Vivamortian creating undead in the name of Azrael can expect an extremely negative response. Balance counts as a member of all pantheons, and godhead of none, for these purposes.

The planes of magic

Also above the Prime are the planes of magic. This are vast bodies of power drawn upon by mages to perform magical effects called spells. The planes themselves are not conscious as the gods are, but each is ruled over by a powerful elemental being, either an elemental lord or lady. They do not impose any kind of code of conduct upon those who wish to draw power, though deliberately abusing the privledge they grant can result in drawing their direct attention and retribution. The amount of magical power a mage can draw is dependent on their own stamina for such things, an attribute that is referred to as mana. Unlike spiritual authority, this is an intrinsic property of the mage, and their capacity to call on power is increased through practise rather than divine favour.

The dreaming

The dreaming is a plane somewhere between mortals and the gods. Most mortals spend almost no time thinking about it, which may be surprising considering how much time they spend there. Normally when mortals sleep they are transported to the dreaming in a state in which they cannot be harmed. The dreaming is a strange place; a changing landscape where the insane may seem reasonable and the reasonable impossible. It is inhabited in part by the Fae, who have cornered off a small section known as Arcadia. The goddess Luca claims dominion over the entire dreaming, and her servants the nightmares are also active there.

Elemental elves

Similar in many respects to true elves, elemental elves are the descendants of a group of elves who performed a ritual known as the Ritual of Elemental Soul, about 1300 years ago. Elven legends say that this ritual freed the elven people from the rule of the Dragonlords, and sunk their homeland of Atlantis beneath the waves. They also claim that the ritual established the six elemental planes of magic from the wild magic that was all there was in the world at the time, and in doing so each elf gave half of their soul to the elemental lords and ladies who rule those planes. The missing component of their soul was replaced by elemental power of that colour, and so hydrokin have a natural kinship with water, pyrokin with fire, etc. The effects of this ritual continue to all children of elemental elves, most of whom are quite happy with their special relationship with the elemental lords and ladies. When an elemental elf dies, the half of their soul still in their body travels to the same elemental plane as the first half.

The interaction of magic with spirit and metal

It has been found that magical and spiritual powers are fundamentally incompatible, and any attempts to combine their effects generally ends destructively. For example, attempting to cast a ritual or a powerful protection spell on a very blessed individual may result in sparks and an explosion if not quickly terminated. For this reason, very few individuals are both mages and priests. It is possible to be learned in the ways of magic while being spiritually awakened, but wearing a focus and a holy symbol simultaneously can have extremely negative, if not immediately obvious effects, and attempting to channel either power while wearing the (OOC: please inform the refs if you are planning to try this, or believe you have done it accidentally or deliberately.)

Magical power tends to flow toward metal, so that it acts as an "earth". This means that magic and large quantities of metal often interact badly. In general, a mage carrying about 3 daggers-worth of metal (or wearing a suit of full studded leather carrying no metal weapons) is on the brink of an embarassing accident. Above this threshold limit, magic will spontanesouly discharge, draining the mage's mana reserves and quite likely injuring them and anyone unfortunate enough to be closeby. Elemental elves, whether or not they are mages, are similarly affected, and tend to be uncomfortable being in direct contact with metal in any way. Performing a ritual while carrying metal, or upon someone who is carrying metal, is likely to result in serious injury and potentially send the ritual circe spewing out errattic bursts of power until it can be safely contained. Warriors who even step too close to a ritual circle while carrying large quantities of metal can feel the tension in the air waiting to reach out and scorch them.

Performing a ritual on a blessed paladin in platemail is a very bad idea.


What happens when you die depends on your race. In humans, orcs, kender, and true elves, the soul leaves the body and makes its way to one of the ten gods. The soul also leaves the bodies of dwarves, but it is not known where they go, as the dwarven gods perished millenia ago. Most believe that dwarves will go to one of the ten gods, others prefer to believe the simply cease to be shortly after death. Dwarves are sufficiently rare and scornful of religion that no conclusive evidence has been uncovered to discern the fact.

Once the soul has left the body, the body remains "open" for habitation by other spiritual creatures, and may become an undead, either naturally or at the hands of a priest with necromancy miracles. The only way to prevent the future inhabitation of the corpse is with the rite of Lay to Rest, which will both send the soul on to their deity that minute, and close the body against future possession. The rite of Lay to Rest is granted by Aten, Azrael, and Nephthys.

When an elemental elf dies, the remaining half of their soul travels to the corresponding plane of magic, and merges with it. Most elves believe the two halves of their soul are reunited on the elemental plane and they continue to exist after death. Due to the incompatible nature of magic and spirit, it is impossible to determine whether this is true. The body is left containing a high concentration of elemental magic, and without a soul to stabilise it, this magic quickly consumes the body, so that in effect the body dissolves into the substance of that element, in most cases leaving the clothes behind. For this reason, elemental elves are generally not concerned with becoming undead.


Demon planes exist below the prime. Like the gods, demons are fundamentally linked to their home plane, so that the plane is the demon and the demon is the plane. The demon planes are chaotic and unstable, reflecting the nature of many demons. Some demons seek to find a more stable home on the prime, or among the gods, and hence incursions on the prime are relatively common, but seldom successful. Due to the fact that they are linked strongly to their planes of existence, it is very hard to kill a demon; if gravely injured, they tend to disappear, only to pop up again refreshed and reinvigorated a short time later.

Arcane connections

An arcane connection is an object which can serve as a supernatural link to another person, for instance a personal possession, or even a part of them, eg hair clippings, blood. They can be used in both magical rituals and spirtual rites, most famously those of cursing from a distance.

Arcane connections decay over time. Most personal possessions last a fortnight, hair maybe a month weeks, blood a couple of months and a severed limb/Holy Symbol about a year. Spirit weapons remain power Arcane Connections for as long as they remain empowered.

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