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Grand unified theories of the world of darkness?

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  • #16
    Here's sorta what i am working with at the moment.
    .
    .
    Cosmology
    Before the sundering
    An age of wonders, an age of magic, an age of sorrows, a time of exaltation.

    It is easy to see how one could blend this into the pre-sundered myth. When we look at the information that the various books have given us of time and we hear of a world where spirits interacted freely with the mortal realm, of spirit gods, primordial entities, powerful magics, dragons, supernatural people and creatures. Sounds like Exalted to me.

    Pre history
    The Sundering occurs. The outer realms are all split off, and the realm and the exalted fade into myth, and the world begins anew. Autochthon sensing the coming end of times, creates a final vast program and drops it into Creation as the sundering occurs. This nascent program is the seed that will become the God M. It gains a foothold and starts to propagate itself into this new world. Autochthon floats off into the ether, becoming one of the outer realms. A borderland of a kind comes into existence for those rate times that the Fallen World touches it. A place of never ending tunnels of machinery, haunted by strange robots and the descendants of the people who once lived in Autochthon. Rare alchemical exalted prowl this desolate junkyard borderland, searching for something. Of Autochthon itself, no one knows as no one has been there in millions of years.
    The shards of essence of the various exalted splinter further and drift off into the ether. Most are lost but some are gathered by entities outside the Fallen World, hoarded for a possible time when they may be needed again.

    Some scholars and historians of the occult and arcane posit that the Sundering caused the Wyld to become the outer realm known as Arcadia, the Raksha becoming the True Fae. Extrapolations of this manage to account for the creation of the other outer realms from the underworld, yu-shan and malfeas.
    Some arcane scholars whisper that Creation is still out there in the ether, a vast outer realm, floating serenely in the dark waiting for a time when it might be needed again.

    The past
    The various splats evolve over time.

    The 1920s Event
    A member of the inspired sets off a telluric device creating stalwarts and other adventure era types including streetfighters.
    Arcane scholars argue that the device tapped into the place that the remaining exalted essences were kept.

    Modern day
    Mesmerists begin to evolve into psions and the first novas start to appear from the descendants of the stalwarts. Occasional aberrants also appear.
    Other splats continue to evolve

    Future
    Aeon Trinity. Psions. Novas.

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    • #17
      Personally, I've come to the conclusion that all the different "forests" aren't making more mysteries. They're just creating more pidgeon holes that are hyper specialized. After a bit, the mystery of the Underworld becomes rather old, so we have a new "dead world" shoebox - Strix-world, Duat, etc. Just shove them in a "out there somewhere" space.

      So, in my head cannon, no more different worlds coming out of everywhere. They're all one and the same. You get Faerie, Underworld, Astral, Human and Hisil. That's it. Anything else, like the Inferno, Supernal, Duat, etc, are all curious aspects of the main five worlds. The laws of the realms are not static.

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      • #18
        Originally posted by MCN View Post
        Personally, I've come to the conclusion that all the different "forests" aren't making more mysteries. They're just creating more pidgeon holes that are hyper specialized. After a bit, the mystery of the Underworld becomes rather old, so we have a new "dead world" shoebox - Strix-world, Duat, etc. Just shove them in a "out there somewhere" space.

        So, in my head cannon, no more different worlds coming out of everywhere. They're all one and the same. You get Faerie, Underworld, Astral, Human and Hisil. That's it. Anything else, like the Inferno, Supernal, Duat, etc, are all curious aspects of the main five worlds. The laws of the realms are not static.
        Not a bad way of looking at it. Keeps things more manageable, at least.


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        • #19
          These are some really great theories, I'd explain mine but..my players view the forums and I'd like them surprised :P . But god...imagine like every Onyx Path project was in the same universe so like Pugmire was the result after some big event that wiped out humanity xD.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by MCN View Post
            Personally, I've come to the conclusion that all the different "forests" aren't making more mysteries. They're just creating more pidgeon holes that are hyper specialized.
            That's why I always favour the One Arcadia model in versions where I make the Supernal Realms places unto themselves - one realm that produces both changelings and Acanthus (along with their surroundings and entourage) strikes me as more mysterious than two realms each far more predictable in its manifestations.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by SunlessNick View Post
              That's why I always favour the One Arcadia model in versions where I make the Supernal Realms places unto themselves - one realm that produces both changelings and Acanthus (along with their surroundings and entourage) strikes me as more mysterious than two realms each far more predictable in its manifestations.
              I get consolidating the cosmology, but this seems like a weird way to do it to me, at least in 2e. I would put all of the Supernal Realms as part of the Astral. Arcadia is in my opinion far more similar to the Astral than it is to Faerie.


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              • #22
                Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post
                I get consolidating the cosmology, but this seems like a weird way to do it to me, at least in 2e. I would put all of the Supernal Realms as part of the Astral. Arcadia is in my opinion far more similar to the Astral than it is to Faerie.
                That's why I had the "in versions disclaimer." See my earlier unification in this thread where I make the Supernal a condition rather than a realm, more analogous to Twilight than anything else.

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                • #23
                  Theory- there's actually only one other realm, period. We are just only seeing snapshots of it. If the only parts of the universe you saw were Chicago, the Amazon, the Atlantic, Mars and intergalactic space, would you figure out they were all parts of the same world?
                  Last edited by Urbenmyth; 04-22-2017, 08:07 PM.

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                  • #24
                    Originally posted by Charlaquin View Post

                    I get consolidating the cosmology, but this seems like a weird way to do it to me, at least in 2e. I would put all of the Supernal Realms as part of the Astral. Arcadia is in my opinion far more similar to the Astral than it is to Faerie.
                    I put the Supernal in the Astral sometimes, too. I put Faerie in the Astral as well, though, and if I try hard enough, I can justify just about everything being in the Astral or influenced by it.


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                    • #25
                      Originally posted by malonkey1 View Post
                      Personally, I place Duat at the bottom of the Ocean of Fragments, and that it's hungry for Memory and Identity. The Ocean itself is a manifestation of that, a layer of identity-munching water that sucks out your very notion of self simply by being there.
                      I had a character who believed the bottom of the Ocean of Fragments was close to the Supernal, in the same way that the Ocean Ouroboros is, in the Astral. He wanted to achieve Archmastery by sinking to the bottom of the OoF and triggering a magically stored functional backup consciousness in the belief that perceiving the Underworld without an 'I Am' would get him into Stygia.

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                      • #26
                        My thing:

                        God-Machine and Principle are merged into one thing, though with different functions.
                        Strix are a kind of rebel psychopomp from the Underworld, not true ghosts. They do open shadow gates to the Underworld however.
                        The Inferno and psychic powers are all different factions of the Astral. Its all tied together in a twisted way, along with a very strong question about who and what souls actually are.
                        I've actually put the Primordial Dream into the Hedge. There was a big deal about the Astral not being dreams, so eff it. We'll put the Primordial Dream into the actual dream road were actual dreams happen.
                        The Hisil absorbed some crazier mentions of things like worlds of unending life, growing without borders.

                        The Supernal and the Abyss are potentially myths. Do they really exist, or are they just creations of wild magic that spontaneously appear? Mage is a game of investigation, so nothing from that core game is going to be hard set. Its all giant question marks as much as I can make it. I don't like hard answers, and I've already houseruled the hell out of MtA, so meh.

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                        • #27
                          My cosmology is the standard, "linear module" so to speak- that is, ti has an objective "up" and "down" directions in space. At its very top, you'll have a huge chunk of awful ice, going upward to all eternity. At its bottom, you have a raging turbulence of primordial water, which go down until they freeze one more. In a way, the whole cosmology is just a tiny bubble of life inside a vast, cold heaven of pure ice from before time.

                          The reason that the world still exist is a small, crystallized power source- burning white fire which is the source of all souls, of the "Empyrean". While it may look like a perfect crystal, if you look carefully you may see a small crack in its perfect structure. Created by humanity thousands of years ago, that crack is the Principle, the first dogma of the world which constantly works in order to repair the damage created by mankind. Until then, liquid, divine fire leaks from the Empyrean, giving life to the dead, creating imperfect souls and changes the world around it. Where it touched the mortal world, it ignites into a beautiful, golden corona- Elpis. Where is falls to the vast emptiness of the Lower Depths, it turns upon itself and creates the Mockery- the first mistake of the Principle, power of pure Flux and destruction. Those drops of fire which manage to enter the world take a golden form, inspiring alchemist to follow the path of the sun toward heaven.- at any price it may cost. Above it, the steams of the boiled ice create an raging storm which could only be called as Heaven- raw, untamed power of virtue and creation, which punish the wicked and bless the righteous.

                          Go bellow the Empyrean, and you'll see vast, barren field of stars, or Aaru is some call it. Fate is written in those stars, and strange beings before humanity roam in that starry desolation. A great ladder in the shape of human spine connects it to the material world, made out of pure will, while a strange star which was not originally a part of Fate' plan wildly roams those heavens- some call it Nibiru, others Sothis. Saints burn in the light of the stars, leading other to their heavenly worlds.

                          Beneath Fate's desolated landscape, the white light of heaven is shattered to colourful spectacular, creating the very symbols which defines the world around us. This is the Supernal, and its great Watchtowers stand still as they translate the raw power of creation into syllables, words and sentences, give meaning to the endless potential. Ten seals surround the Supernal, written by a language which humanity has invented in order to force their selfish tyranny upon the divine majesty. Then lies which humanity tells itself in order to forget the truth, ten words which force the gods to obey human hubris. Another, eleventh seal stands at the Supernal's bottom- stands as a gate which filters the light and decides what can enter and what can't- and everything which can't goes into the depths of the Abyss.

                          The Void is the next layer- a wound in heaven, an undefined singularity in the world's function. It is not a part of the ice. It is not a part of anything. It is simply everything which isn't true, everything which never was and never will be. Countless worlds could be found in there, yet none of them actually exist. Strings fall out of that primordial nothingness which was formed just as mankind understood the difference between "is" and "isn't", all of them lead to a single source, a single puppeteer which heaves upon them all, and the constant ticking of a broken clock which counts time which never was. Broken light shines through the void, giving false inspiration tho those whose mind is shattered enough to see, if not understand. The Old Gods of man, which has fallen from grace, also lurk in that nothingness, the only way to seal their tremendous power... until they manage to escape.

                          Most people, however, will never pierce that darkness. The highest they can reach are the different emanations of the Supernal, which are reflected from the light which crossed the vastness of the Abyss. Bellow them, you could find the Citadels, circling the great mountain of the Omphalus, the pinnacle of thought and the serpent of creation, upon which stands the highest layer of the Astral- Anima Mundai. There, the gods that mankind has always dreamed about sleep, their souls taking draconic forms in their majesty. Go down with the mountain, and you'll find the many different dream worlds which exists in its different layers, until reaching its base- there, a great wall made of the very first human language stands separates the mountain from a great forest, a primordial wilderness of monsters which mankind have always feared. Go beyond that wilderness, and you'll find places were the life of the Empyrean stop and all that's left is the harsh reality of dreams without dreamers, of fears without words, of disasters which devours anything and could never be satiated. Upon the walls of man, lies the greatest heroism of the human spirit- one which turns it into a monster motivated by selfish heroism. However, the human spirit also dares to run into that primordial wilderness, creating fools as it runs wild and faith were it tames the primordial wilds. Above those realms of fear, shines bright the realm of hope- and in its shadows and storms, the realm of despair.

                          Beneath the great mountain, stands a great coil weaved from every thought, passion and dreams which ever was- the Skein, the foundation upon which the Astral stands. The Skein is connected to the material through the dreams of mankind. Now, we finally have the material itself- the world in which we live in, hidden by the vast darkness which created the world, which gave light to the Empyrean in order to melt the ice and bring life which it could torment. Fearing the darkness, mankind has established a great Machine to maintain the status que and stop the world from falling to ruin. Unfortunately, they have lost control over it ages ago, and now it is still working, following its last command. Still, the human spirit doesn't lose hope against the darkness and the machine, burning like a candle as it stands vigilant in the night- until it is drowned by terrible, mad masks of shadows. Sometimes, it draws upon hidden resources which were given as its birthright, creating true heroes which lead it in the darkness. But the human spirit is not alone in fighting the machine- Raziel, the first of exiles, still tries to fix its maker by teaching mankind the secrets to control it, while Azazel works to corrupt its agents and take over it for its own uses. The Living Devil, the first experiment of the Machine, also seeks for vengeance, and its spawn carry its anger. But Earth is not the only world in the material- and the dwellers of distant planets travel to it for their own, unknown purposes.

                          Half of the material exist in a state of Twilight, vast mists which swirls and flow down, to the bottom of the world. Sekhem, the very essence of existence and memory, navigated by the tender pulls of the stars above and the harsh laws of hell bellow, remembers every civilization which ever was. The very forms of art whisper to chosen mortals, leading them to make impossible creations which capture the light of distant stars. More importantly than all, life itself seem to be alive and conscious, always adapting and growing as Nature takes endless forms most beautiful- and those fossilized forms it leaves behind take life of their own, as their stony bones cling to a semblance of life. Magic itself is also alive, changing and twisting in order to birth new wonders and grant mortals the ability to preform great sorceries- for better or worse.

                          A tender veil covers the world- once a great wilderness or the principles of nature, it has collapsed with the death of the greatest of all predators. Cross beyond the Gauntlet, and you'll find Hisil, the spirit world. Hisil reflects the material, yet points to different directions. Strange spirits live beyond its stars, beings of Void which do not mean anything which exist on earth. Gaea called the greatest of all to serve as her sword- Helios, the great spirit of the Sun. The Moon, however, was made from her very flesh and blood, a mercurial essence which belongs to earth, is is not defined by earth- Luna, the mother of all idigam. The first purified human spirit also rests in that world- the first sign of mankind on the Shadow, which would not vanish as long as humanity exists.

                          Those who go deeper cross the boundary between life and death, reaching the dread Underworld. Those labyrinths of stones, iron and rivers contain all of the junk the world has thrown away through its ages of existence, ghosts of eons past which restlessly roam those dead dominions. Its many rivers flow down and down- once, they flooded the whole world. Now, and the warmth of hell opened its once blocked paths, the water can flow to the primordial sea, leaving behind the Ocean of Fragments. at the Ocean's depth, one may be able to find a black ziggurat upon which the very first Old Law was written- that everything must die. Great serpents swim in those cold rivers, manifestation of the venom of death itself. Mysterious light shines in the Great Bellow- calling dead souls toward unknown destination.

                          Once you leave the Underworld, you officially enter what you could only call as "hell"- thousand of little worlds, each of them is lacking, each of them is hungry. The closest is called Inferno- which feast upon the virtues it lacks and its fires corrupts the Underworld, Hisil and even reach up to the Astral, creating terrible wounds upon the world. It is ruled by the first sinful thought of mankind, which gained life of its own- but others has found sanctuary in that prison realm. Radio signals are being broadcast from hell, luring angels to leave the Machine and join the Morning Lord's armies. Moloch, once a powerful pangaean and servant of the Sun, has devoured both the Machine and the Law and turned into the very principle of Sacrifice, eternal and burning in every human heart.

                          But there are others, more dreadful realms of existence which lack other defining traits of reality- Dis yearns for life, its shaded owls fly through the Underworld and into the world of the living. In that grave dimension, the gods themselves lie in their tombs, their blood giving birth to vampires, their glory paves their way to heaven and their death lingers as dread shadow from which all owls are birthed. The number of seven decorates each of their tombs, and the silence of their graves call back to their blood, and bring end to their requiem. Black wind blows between the graves, called from the great Void to the depths of hell to fight demons with demons.

                          Another famous Depth is known as Duat- a great Maw which feats upon memory, where the Devourer endlessly chew upon the world. The still mists of the Twilight are drawn into it, leading dead souls and ghosts to feed its constant hunger. Inside of it, stands Anpu, which guides the souls to their eventual judgement before Azar, Eset and the Judges which dictate the Laws, while their children are trapped in mansions of ash and feast upon hollow bones. Twin rivers connect that world to the world of the living and flow through the Twilight- the river of life and the river of death, one goes from Duat and one into it. In that endless cycle, Sekhem flows. White flowers grow upon those rivers- majestic sight which was never meant to be, creation of human will which transcend its nameless gods.

                          At the very bottom of the world, one could find the emptiest of all depths- Annwn, which is ruled by Arwan, a realm which lacks all existence. Its hounds sometimes escape their ancient prison, which was locked by terrible curses and blood magics invoked by witches years ago, but lately a new crack in the prison was formed- and the hounds roam the world once more, hungry as ever. And bellow it- the sea, the bottom of the world. From the sea, a single plant grows, twisting through all planes of existence- the depths, the material, the Astral and even up to the Supernal and Empyrean. Its thorns cut through all realms, its sharp leaves wound all who touch them. Many souls are lost on that thorny Hedge, yet that thorny cocoon is the world's last line of defense against things both wonderful and terrible- a vast garden surrounds it, filled with sweet scented roses. Faerie. Only one rule controls that land, the stories of the Wyrd itself. Echoes of the Wyrd's stories travel through the garden, creating false impressions of fake flowers and paper roses. Older song is heard in the garden, like the beating of an heart or the sound of drums. It is the call of the Wild Hunt, which calls the to tell the ancient story of hunter and hunted.

                          And from outside it all, strange things enter unbidden- being called through the endless eyes from other bubbles of reality, those beings intrude the world and take body not their own in order to experience life like which they would never know in their own realm- even if it means consuming the life of this world.

                          And that's it, more or less- there are other parts of the cosmology which are not yet finalized, but all in all it is the closest thing I have for a "unified theory of darkness", not including my musings about Supernatural Thermodynamics or Occult Quantum Interpretations :P
                          Last edited by LostLight; 04-25-2017, 04:01 PM.


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                          • #28
                            Originally posted by Urbenmyth View Post
                            Theory- there's actually only one other realm, period. We are just only seeing snapshots of it. If the only parts of the universe you saw were Chicago, the Amazon, the Atlantic, Mars and intergalactic space, would you figure out they were all parts of the same world?

                            Ooooo, I like that!


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