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Description of terrain in the Dark Umbra and Tempest in particular

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  • Description of terrain in the Dark Umbra and Tempest in particular

    Three specific questions I haven't been able to find clear cut answers to:

    1) Is there still the typical color spectrum in the Shadowlands and Tempest? I've seen conflicting things from "no it's all monochromatic" to "it's muted and non-vibrant, but yes."

    2) Are the various seas (sea of shadows, sunless sea, sea of souls) strictly plasm/ghostly water? The imagery of the Tempest is often described in terms of oceans and bodies of water, but I've also read that it can unfold into other, even land based terrain. I imagine the sea of souls is strictly water-y given that it's made of wraiths moliated:chained together. However, what about the sunless sea? What about the sea of shadows around oblivion?

    3. I read in the Doomslayers book that the Labrynth tunnels are submerged under plasm, which can impede movement but otherwise causes no damage unless caustic in some way. While in the Tempest, are you submerged? Does it depend? If I traveled all the way down the Veinous Stair from Stygia, getting to the Well of the Void, would I go under plasm-water at some point?

  • #2
    1) The short answer is there is probably color but...

    The longer answer is that it isn't about vision it is about feeling. The underworld is supposed to feel lifeless, stale, and distant; a pale shade of life. All the sensations are supposed to be damp and unrewarding compared to the life wraiths left behind. The easiest way to do that is to play around with color metaphors. So the Shadowlands becomes 'a washed out old photograph' while the pathos that bleeds over from the skinlands has the 'vibrant and overpowering colors of an acid flashback.'

    2) The Sea of Souls and the Sunless Sea are consistently bodies of water, the former for the reasons you mentioned, the latter because it stretches between islands of stability (Stygia and the Far Shores). We also know that Stygians tell time by the tides of the Sunless Sea. The Sea of Shadows Labyrinth Edition is more fluid in nature (pun not intended... at first). Like much of the Tempest its appearance can vary but tends towards water and/or storm imagery. Given the Spectres that churn the area, I usually depict it as deep underwater.

    3) I really want to know what page that's on because I don't remember that and it's a fun idea. In general, though, the Tempest is inconsistent and you are not always submerged. I depict it as churning stormclouds as often as pitching waves (and I suspect the wings wraiths can get from Argos is a big part of why I think that way). It's also supposed to be a disorienting place and I find that odd phenomena like diving beneath the surface of the waves only to find yourself flying through the clouds are a good way to drive that home.

    In a similar way, the Labyrinth may be 'under' the Tempest, even under the Sea of Shadows, but it is also its own place with its own rules. Parts of it might be flooded but that's only because that is what it is in that area; what it 'chooses' to be, for lack of a better term. Whether is is suffused with some kind of plasma is academic because it won't feel like it is unless that is important to the region.


    Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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    • #3
      The Tempest is everywhere. It's under the ground. It's above the sky. It IS the sky. It's empty. It's full. It's a storm. It's endless stillness. It's solid rock. It's rotting rock. It's piles of junk that go up forever.

      Oh, and, frequently, it's water. Only not water, since water is a Skinlands things. Except when it's not.

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      • #4
        Thanks for the response, Ramnesis. With regard to the plasm issue, I'm wondering if I didn't misread about it. The relevant pages appear to be in Doomslayers: p. 54 and p. 158. I'd be interested to hear your interpretation, but I'm thinking that there can be plasm down there, but not that its filling every single tunnel, nook, and cranny.

        Your responses make sense. I suppose I'm just wondering how to reconcile the "Stable" ocean parts and the chaotic aspects referenced by Ajax. I mean, the Sunless Sea supposedly covers the entire space between the Isle of Sorrows and the Far Shores; excluding the Sea of Shadows (which surrounds Oblivion), I'm wondering where in the tempest one could witness the water giving way to a canyon giving way to a cloudscape giving way to a volcano, etc.

        I hope I'm making sense in my question. I suppose what it boils down to is that it's difficult for me to reconcile how the majority of the Tempest appears "ocean/water themed" and yet it also appears clear that it can be whatever at a moments notice.

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        • #5
          Is the Sunless Sea the Tempest? Do Harrowings occur there? If it is and they do than it's NOT really all that much like wate with all the scary basements and piles of garbage and sweet summer days where it all went wrong and operating theaters full of horrors down there.

          Water is a Skinlands thing that intersects with the Shadowlands in a very particular way. The Sunless Sea isn't water or like water, except that the surface is an interface between a part of the Shadowlands that wraiths can interact with in a predictable and relatively stable way (like, say, sailing on the surface of a Skinlands body of water), but that space, over the surface interface and below the point where the "sky" gives way to the endless storm of the Tempest (yup, the same one that is "below" the surface of the Sunless Sea) is effectively a great big wide open Byway allowing travel from the Far Shores to the Dark Kingdoms (which are effectively Far Shores of their own, just ones that are attached to a the Shadowlands reflection of the Skinlands).

          So, there is plasm/water in the Labyrinth where there is, but there is also a lot of empty corridors. Personally, to me, the Labyrinth is effectively "static Entropy". It's the "bottom" of the Tempest where the "weight" of reality's decay has created something solid that is riddled with cracks (it is, after all, the most rotten thing there is). Kinda like wormholes thought white dwarf degenerate matter. It doesn't matter that there is water/plasm above the Labyrinth so that the Labyrinth is filled with the stuff, because there are also empty skies right on top of it too.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Trategos_Sol View Post
            Thanks for the response, Ramnesis. With regard to the plasm issue, I'm wondering if I didn't misread about it. The relevant pages appear to be in Doomslayers: p. 54 and p. 158. I'd be interested to hear your interpretation, but I'm thinking that there can be plasm down there, but not that its filling every single tunnel, nook, and cranny.

            Your responses make sense. I suppose I'm just wondering how to reconcile the "Stable" ocean parts and the chaotic aspects referenced by Ajax. I mean, the Sunless Sea supposedly covers the entire space between the Isle of Sorrows and the Far Shores; excluding the Sea of Shadows (which surrounds Oblivion), I'm wondering where in the tempest one could witness the water giving way to a canyon giving way to a cloudscape giving way to a volcano, etc.

            I hope I'm making sense in my question. I suppose what it boils down to is that it's difficult for me to reconcile how the majority of the Tempest appears "ocean/water themed" and yet it also appears clear that it can be whatever at a moments notice.
            I keep forgetting to look up those sections every time I am home and have a chance.

            As far as the more stable parts of the Tempest, I look at them as huge, but small parts of the whole thing. Maybe this way of looking at it will help. Imagine the Tempest as a storm the volume of Earth and a massive Sunless Sea (let's say the size of the surface of all the oceans) tossed around somewhere within the greater storm. The Sea is big, yes, but the entirety of the Tempest is orders of magnitude larger.

            Also, I'd say that the Tempest is less water themed and more storm themed. Violence and turbulence are my watchwords* and while pitching waves and whirlpools fit into that, they aren't the only things that do. Anything that evokes that feeling of instability, disorientation and the merciless fury of the elements works well.

            *and fever dreams, but that's an element for another time


            Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

              As far as the more stable parts of the Tempest, I look at them as huge, but small parts of the whole thing. Maybe this way of looking at it will help. Imagine the Tempest as a storm the volume of Earth and a massive Sunless Sea (let's say the size of the surface of all the oceans) tossed around somewhere within the greater storm. The Sea is big, yes, but the entirety of the Tempest is orders of magnitude larger.

              Also, I'd say that the Tempest is less water themed and more storm themed. Violence and turbulence are my watchwords* and while pitching waves and whirlpools fit into that, they aren't the only things that do. Anything that evokes that feeling of instability, disorientation and the merciless fury of the elements works well.

              *and fever dreams, but that's an element for another time
              I'd buy that, but it's probably a step beyond that conception. It's easy to think the Tempest is, say, what Jupiter might be like - big storm on the outside, liquid-y layer under that (Sunless Sea) and solid, nougat-y Labyrinth in the middle. But, really, for certain, limited values of reality, the liquid-y part and the solid part are touching each other and the storm at every point. And they are each infinitely large (though of different orders of infinite per). And the storm and the water and the solid bit are all really the same thing depending on perspective. And some solid bits are independent of the Labyrinth and exist in a stable relationship to the other two (the Far Isles and the various Dark Kingdoms). Oh, and the whole thing is bounded by and also surrounds the Shadowlands. (which also attaches to the Dark Kingdoms with the later being stuck on like barnacles or not (vide the difference in connection to the Shadowlands "current' (Dark Kingdoms of Jade and Iron, Swar, etc.) vs. "past" (Dark Kingdom of Sand, Clay, Flint. etc.).

              Wraith cosmology is not uncomplicated.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Ajax View Post

                I'd buy that, but it's probably a step beyond that conception. It's easy to think the Tempest is, say, what Jupiter might be like - big storm on the outside, liquid-y layer under that (Sunless Sea) and solid, nougat-y Labyrinth in the middle. But, really, for certain, limited values of reality, the liquid-y part and the solid part are touching each other and the storm at every point. And they are each infinitely large (though of different orders of infinite per). And the storm and the water and the solid bit are all really the same thing depending on perspective. And some solid bits are independent of the Labyrinth and exist in a stable relationship to the other two (the Far Isles and the various Dark Kingdoms). Oh, and the whole thing is bounded by and also surrounds the Shadowlands. (which also attaches to the Dark Kingdoms with the later being stuck on like barnacles or not (vide the difference in connection to the Shadowlands "current' (Dark Kingdoms of Jade and Iron, Swar, etc.) vs. "past" (Dark Kingdom of Sand, Clay, Flint. etc.).

                Wraith cosmology is not uncomplicated.
                In my defense it's hard to describe the infinite without appealing to the finite. Same goes for the chaotic





                Mage: The Ice-ension: An Epic Game of Reality on the Rink

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ramnesis View Post

                  In my defense it's hard to describe the infinite without appealing to the finite. Same goes for the chaotic


                  Agreed. The Tempest/Sunless Sea/Labyrinth are really best described by POV. They look a certain way depending on where the viewer happens to be.

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