Lex Arcanum: Part 6

Posted by Peter Gates


As there has been a fair amount of referencing the cosmology of my Lex Arcanum setting in recent play reports, I though it about time that I write something up that goes into a little more detail (at least, how I imagine it at the moment, as I'm still hashing out all the details).

Lex Arcanum

A Fate Core Conversion for Mage: the Awakening


The Fallen World, the Otherworlds, and the Beyond

There exists three major layers of reality, the mundane or Fallen world, the Spirit Wilds and the Beyond. 

Fallen World

The Fallen World is the world we know and understand, where we live, go about our business, and generally understand how things work, like gravity, and don't expect them to suddenly change on any given day.

The Gauntlet

Between the Fallen world and the Spirit World exists a barrier known as the Gauntlet that acts as a wall between worlds and ensuring that the two worlds do not collapse upon one another, allowing the denizens of the Wilds free reign over the mortal world. As mages draw their magic through the Gauntlet, using their soul as a conduit, any variations in the wall (either weakening or strengthening) can alter the effects of a mage’s magic, as well as other supernatural creatures that draw their power from the Wilds.

The Otherworlds

The Otherworlds is a reality that co-exists with ours, a shadow of a material and yet a separate world unto itself. It is where entities such as Fae, Spirits, Gods, and other entities come from. These entities have a connection to the Fallen world in that they, either directly or indirectly, must feed from the Fallen world to live.

Within it’s borders exists three different types of regions, changing the further one travels from the Fallen world to the depths of the Otherworlds, and eventually the Beyond.

  • The Shadowlands. The lands closest to the mortal world, and those most heavily influenced by it, and often appear almost indistinguishable from mortal reality. They are often stylized, but rarely out-and-out alien. They represent a fundamental overlap between the Fallen World and the Otherworlds, and as such, exist in and as both.
  • The Marches. An encompassing region that includes such lands as Arcadia, the Underworld, the Spirit Wilds, the Aether, Asgard, Olympus, and many others. These are the lands formed out of the Will of the Marcher Lords that reside over them, shaping the essence of the Marches into a reflection of their own selves. The environment of the Marches shifts and changes to that envisioned by the Lord the closer you move towards their domain.
  • The Wastes. A battlefront between the Otherworlds and the Beyond, the landscape scorched and twisted, with an ever looming darkness staining the horizon. It is a battle that has been continuing before the beginning of man. But, slowly and surely the Beyond is crumbling away the Otherworlds and reaching ever closer to the Fallen world, sending its agents to open pathways to the Fallen world and hasten the decay of reality.

The Beyond

Unlike the Otherworlds, the Beyond has no connection to the Fallen world, and thus has nothing to ground is chaotic, maddening landscape. Existing in the spaces outside (and between the cracks) of the Otherworlds, it is a place where nothing is static, with the laws of reality twisting and changing with every passing moment with no rhyme or reason. The entities that exist in this place as so foreign that they completely defy human comprehension. It is a land that calls up such imagery of cults worshipping mad, twisted gods that lie far beyond human comprehension. It is all that, and worse.

Supernatural Creatures 

In order to determine how certain magic work given this new cosmology, supernatural creatures have been split into five broad categories. 

Fallen Natives

The first category are natives of the Fallen World, they are created and exist entirely (save for a few exceptions) within the Fallen world. These include such creatures as angels (created by the God Machine from the fabric of the Fallen World to carry out its grand design), and their counterparts, demons.

Touched

The second category are individuals and creatures native to the Fallen World touched by the Otherworlds in some way.  This includes vampires, ghouls, ghosts, mages, and to an extent, werefolk and changelings, although they have a stronger connection to the Wilds than most. 

Awakened

Awakened, or mages, are humans that have had their souls travel to the Spirit Wilds and develop a connection to this realm. Their soul, now resting part in the Fallen World, part in the Spirit Wilds, acts as a conduit through which this power can flow, drawing upon the energy of the Wilds to manipulate the very fabric of the Fallen world around them.

When a mage causes paradox they pull too much energy down through their connection to the Spirit Wilds and, unable to control it, create a pathway through which the chaos of the Beyond can bypass the Spirit Wilds and enter the Fallen World in the form of twisted magic, or in the extreme case, a manifestation of an entity from the chaotic realm.

Through this connection with the Spirit Wilds, mages also have a natural sensitivity to other supernatural creatures that their powers from that plane, sensing when they use their abilities in the mage's vicinity.

Vampires

Vampires are human bodies that, upon being embraced by their sire, transform into bloodthirsty monsters craving mortal blood to sate the hunger that burns within them. Some speculate that the source of this hunger,  the 'Beast' as vampires call it, is a parasite-like entity. It is believed that the entity is spread through the flow of blood from sire to childe during the embrace, and is responsible for maintaining the vampire's immortal state and their unnatural abilities.

Werefolk

Werefolk are individuals that have part of their souls partially bound with wild animal spirits. These people usually live normal lives up until their soul ‘awakens’ to its true nature, and the individual undergoes their first change (which in itself is a traumatic and painful experience) and their soul merges fully with the animal spirit. Once this has occurred the werewolf is now able to assume the form of it’s beast spirit, as well as a powerful hybrid of man and beast. However, there is a downside in that the werefolk can be driven made by the beast within him, and so must be careful to balance both the man and beast if he hopes to remain sane. 

And example of such a werefolk is a werewolf, people whose souls are bound to predatory wolf-like spirits that relish the sensation of the hunt, and feel a natural instinct to maintain a territory and police it, both within and out of the Shadowlands.

Spirits

The third category are known as spirits, birthed from the actions of humanity within the Fallen World, they exist almost entirely within the Shadowlands, feeding of the essence generated by humans, and each other. These spirits can be representations of animals, concepts, objects, emotions and the likes. These Spirits can also cross over the Gauntlet into the Fallen world and take up residence there, directly affecting their environment in order to feast upon the essence generated. 

Otherworld Natives

The fourth category are natives of the Otherworlds, birthed not from the whims of man but from processes that varies from entity to entity. These include creatures such as the Fae, Gods, and similar beings that, while they feed upon and are influenced by the Fallen World, are wholly native to the Otherworlds in a way unlike that of spirits. It has been know that some powerful spirits have been able to bridge the gap between these two categories, although at that stage they transcend the concept of spirit and become something else entirely.

Aberrations

Outside these categories are the creatures from the Beyond, entities that defy logical explanation or description that they shouldn't exist at all. Even the sight of a lesser creature from the Beyond is enough to drive most mortals mad.