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Blue Thunder

Aberrant: Theomachy - The Realms

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This thread is for me to post information about the world(s) that the game takes place in. It will be updated as we go.

History of the World

Gaia was once a lifeless rock. Then the First Gods, whose names and traits are still a mystery to this day, arrived and attempted to bring life to it. They created the four elemental moons to help supply themselves with the materials necessary to bring life to Gaia; they created the Upper Realms to serve as their temporary homes while they planned; they created the Underworld to capture the souls of those creatures that died so their spirits would not bother the living. And when Gaia was complete they added baselines so that societies could develop and prosper. But the Gods watched in disappointment as their own baseline creations killed, conquered, and enslaved one another. They were incapable of descending to the world below and educating the baseline masses since their own minds were too complex to understand.

So the Gods decided to retreat within the Upper Realms and in time they grew lonely. They had grown tired of each other and desired the company of others. Taking a few of the baselines from the world below and infusing them with quantum energy they created novas. These Second Gods were not true gods but were clearly more than baseline and kept the true Gods company for many years. Things were good at first but the novas eventually fell to the same vices as baselines. Fearing they had erred greatly with Gaia, the true Gods left one by one until none of them remained. And as they left they cast all of the novas out of the Upper Realms and down to the world below to live among the baselines.

As the last of the First Gods was leaving she looked back upon Gaia and gave the novas a final message: to guide the baselines as a shepherd would a flock, to care for them as a parent would a child, to teach them as a teacher would a pupil, and to inspire them as the First Gods had inspired novas.

Or so the myth goes.

It has been roughly five-hundred years since novas first descended to Gaia from the heavens. Upon arrival they quickly set up societies and started educating baselines as the gods had requested. There was a period of peace for about one-hundred years where all novas cooperated but then conflicts appeared and wars were declared. The novas split themselves into smaller like-minded groups called pantheons that ruled over the various regions of Gaia. These divisions exist to this day, though the borders are constantly changing due to war.

Conflict is so constant that none of the original novas are alive, their spirits having retreated into the deepest recesses of the Underworld forever. Their roughly one-thousand offspring now carry on their work and shape the world as they desire.

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Heaven, Earth, and Hell

The Upper Realm

Novas originate from the Upper Realm. The term refers to a multitude of otherworldly cities and spaces which are not a part of Gaia, but which exist beyond its reach. It is said that each star in the sky is a gateway to a part of the Upper Realm that can be accessed by those that know how to reach them. The Upper Realm is the equivalent of what fantasy settings call the planes and what religions call the heavens. There are a handful of locations in the Upper Realm that have been repopulated by novas who managed to find their way back to the heavens after being kicked out and who still wish to have nothing to do with the affairs of Gaia. These various locations within the Upper Realm do not operate on the same plane of existence that Gaia does and therefore are not subject to the same laws of physics. The Upper Realm is a place of continual daytime, lowered gravity, altered time, and other bizarre effects. Novas often find that their powers work differently based on where in the Upper Realm they inhabit.

The Upper Realm is said to have been created by the First Gods as their homes before they decided to leave the Known Realms forever. Novas, being the most intelligent and adaptable of the gods' creations, have taken residence in what few of the Upper Realms they have managed to regain access to. The majority of Upper Realms remain undiscovered and are said to number in the hundreds.

One aspect of all Upper Realms is the presence of machine-like Enforcers. Enforcers were once servants and constructors of the First Gods. When the gods left these servants remained behind as occupants of the Upper Realms. They are called Enforcers by novas since they have established special Laws for whichever of the Upper Realms they happen to inhabit and they carry out punishments on those who break the Laws. The Enforcers cannot leave their home realms but they wield immense power within them that makes them a threat to most novas. They behave like automatons and cannot be bargained or reasoned with. Their minds are far more alien and bizarre than those of novas, and the Laws they enforce are sometimes nonsensical and hard to understand.

The Gaian Realm

The planet of Gaia and its four moons make up the Gaian Realm. Theomachy takes place almost entirely in the world of Gaia. Gaia is populated with baselines and mundane animals, with novas and other mythological creatures rounding out the population. Gaia is a very diverse world with numerous mortal baseline "races" throughout; all of these mortal races are collectively referred to as baselines. Very little is established about Gaia at gamestart so that players and the Storyteller can create it as the game progresses.

The four moons of Gaia embody the four "elements" of the world: fire, water, earth, and air. Each of the moons is home to legions of elemental creatures that are sought after by novas as either pets or soldiers. Novas and baselines rarely visit the four moons since they are extremely deadly to life but journeys have been known to occur.

The sun is technically part of the Gaian Realm, but it is of no consequence to the story. The concept of a solar system exists, but any other planets are irrelevant (for now).

The Lower Realm

When a nova or baseline dies their spirit enters the Underworld. The Underworld is a dark place inhabited by vile chthonic creatures that have a distaste for the still living. There are several gateways into the Underworld, each one entering it at a different location. A visitor to the Underworld can attempt to restore a nova's spirit back to living status essentially bringing them back to life. The process is difficult, dangerous, and sometimes unsuccessful.

The Underworld is populated by Keepers who must be bargained with in order to resurrect a nova and their bargains can be truly vile in nature. Keepers are not novas but entities of the Underworld that cannot leave. But while their bodies are anchored into the Underworld their powers are not. The Keepers are known for their willingness to affect the world of the living via curses and ceremonies.

Baselines cannot normally be resurrected by the Keepers, their spirits becoming a permanent fixture of the Underworld...thus the title of "mortals."

Other Realms

Other realms are rumored to exist but nothing has ever been confirmed and they currently exist only in theory. The First Gods have to live somewhere though, right?

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History of the Fallen and the Wardens

In the forgotten ages of long ago, after the First Gods had retreated from the world in sadness over the depravity of their creations, certain of the children of Gaia were uplifted and taken into the Upper Realms to dwell with their Creators, there to bring happiness and companionship to those lonely Deities. These were the Second Gods, and for a time their companionship was enough for the First Ones. But after many ages had passed, some among the Second Gods forgot their origin and their calling and returned to their old degenerate ways, and these were the first signs of what was to come. These wayward gods were cast out of Heaven by the First Gods, as a warning to their brothers and sisters and as an example of what might befall them. The First Gods cursed these degenerate godlings, renaming and recasting them as demons and fell spirits, and sending them hurtling back into the Middle Realms of Gaia.

But the First Gods, seeing that the Fallen Ones’ evil exceeded even that of the mortal races from which they had first come, took pity on the lowly mortals and determined that they should have protection. And so they chose from among the Second Gods those who were willing and whom they deemed worthy and sent them down to act as a check against the evil the Fallen sought to wreak upon Gaia. Having done this much for mortals, the First Gods turned their backs once again on Creation, and returned to their games and contemplations in the Upper Realms. This was many ages before the Great Exile, and the departure of the First Gods for Elsewhere, and during the long ages in between, the memories of those Second Gods who had remained in Heaven grew dim until they had all but forgotten those stalwart few who had descended into the Middle Realms to act as the protectors of the mortal races.

In later ages, these ancient beings were remembered by mortal races as the Old Gods, the Watchers in the Wilderness, Guardian Spirits, and many other names besides. These secretive deities were rarely seen by mortals, who knew little of their natures or activities, or of the many great battles they fought against the fallen spirits who sought to destroy Creation. And neither did the Old Gods seek tribute or worship from their charges, or even suffer mortals to gaze upon their forms, except in rare and extraordinary circumstances. For the First Ones had not commanded them to rule over the mortal races of Gaia, as they did the Second Gods, but only to protect them against the Fallen Ones and their evil. This they did for many long years of the Middle Realms, fighting in the wilds and the forgotten places of the ancient world, waging uncounted and nameless wars against the Fallen Ones, while the godless mortals huddled together and built fires to ward against the darkness as they tried not to hear when a strange deity or nameless evil passed them by in the night.

The Fallen

The Fallen, who also go by many other names including the label of 'demon,' possess a few traits unique to their kind which have developed over the centuries. All true Fallen possess these traits.

Cursed by the Creators - All Fallen start with 3 points of Taint and 6 points worth of Aberrations, in addition to any taken for NP. This allows their starting Taint to be 7.
Sense the Wardens - This ability operates like the sensory portion of Node, except it only detects Wardens. It uses Quantum for the Node rating, as usual.
Fel-Energy - The Fallen may gain a number of quantum points equal to their Taint rating x2. These bonus points can take their pool above it's normal maximum. This can be done only once per scene, and the bonus points fade away when the scene ends.

The Wardens

The Wardens, who also go by many other names, possess a few traits unique to their kind which have developed over the centuries. All true Wardens possess these traits.

Sense the Fallen - This ability operates like the sensory portion of Node, except it only detects Fallen. It uses Quantum for the Node rating, as usual.
Burn Taint - The Warden can use a Fallen's Taint against itself. By concentrating for the entire round that Burn Taint is used, the Warden may cause the Fallen to take Bashing damage equal to it's Taint score. This damage becomes Lethal if a Willpower point is spent. This damage cannot be soaked. This ability only works against true Fallen.

Offspring

The offspring of two Fallen will always be a Fallen and the offspring of two Wardens will always be a Warden. If a Fallen and a Warden have offspring together that offspring will not inherit any of their parents' traits since they counter each other, yet they will always 'ping' as either Fallen or Warden when scanned by Sense the Wardens or Sense the Fallen. The offspring of a Fallen with a baseline or normal nova will have the Sense the Wardens ability, and the offspring of a Warden with a baseline or a normal nova will have the Sense the Fallen ability. These sensory abilities will not be passed on to their offspring.

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Positions Within the Darmathian Pantheon

Below is a generalization of how the Darmathian Pantheon is organized.

At the bottom of the Pantheon are the Sacrosancts. Any nova approved as a resident of Darmathia is given the minimum title of Sacrosanct. The title can only be given by an Archon or Imperator; any nova who wishes to live within Darmathia and have any degree of respect or authority must be approved by those already in power. A Sacrosanct has no true power and is nothing more than a recognized citizen. Some novas prefer this rank, as very little is expected of them from the Pantheon.

Above the Sacrosancts are the Patricians, the most common rank among Darmathian novas, the equivalent of nobility. A Patrician is under no obligation to follow orders, though doing so causes him to lose influence, and is generally left his or her own devices so long as they don't come into conflict with other members of the Pantheon. The rank of Patrician marks the nova as special and privileged for the rest of his or her life. The nova is free to do whatever he or she wants from that point on, content with the knowledge that they will always be a Patrician/noble. Patricians are never downgraded to Sacrosancts; once someone has become a Patricia, they are considered a part of the Pantheon until death. Only the Archon or a unanimous Imperatrix vote can eject a Patrician from the Pantheon and such an act is rare. Some of the most despised and evil novas in the Darmathian Pantheon are considered Patricians to this day because a single Imperatrix is supporting them.

Patricians can also be given additional titles. While given these titles, they are still Patricians.

Praetor - A Patrician that oversees a region. A Praetor (governor) has the authority to run their region however they see fit. They can impose laws, collect taxes, draft soldiers, collect slaves, form regional governments, etc. They are the ultimate law as far as that region is concerned. They are required to respect whatever decrees the Archon or the Imperatrices give, but are then allowed autonomy for everything else.
Magister - A Patrician that is recognized for some sort of craft, activity, or field of study that they use to benefit the domain. A Magister (master) is considered to be a leading expert on the subject of their Magistration and is given great authority when their field becomes relevant in a situation, though there is no guarantee that their advice will be heeded. All novas specialize in certain trades or subjects, but a Magister can only be given their title if they use their specialty for the benefit of the entire domain on a regular basis. A Magister that only occasionally helps the domain with their services will eventually be stripped of their title by the Senate. Each Magister is given a title specific to their field: ex. Magister of Alchemy, Magister of Scribing, Magister of Funerals, Magister of Architecture, Magister of Medicine.
Consul - The Patrician that heads the Senate. The Consul presides over most Senate meetings and is required to drop all other special titles (except Patrician) for the duration of his position. The Consul has limited power and serves mostly to keep Senate meetings civil. The Consul is voted into power by the three Vicarius Consuls. The Consul serves until he resigns or is voted out of power by the Senate.
Vicarius Consul - A Patrician directly under the Consul. They wield the greatest power in the Senate and among all Patricians. An issue can only be brought before the Senate for official discussion and/or vote if a Vicarius Consul chooses to present it. This allows them to silence and ignore any issue they do not want to discuss. A Vicarius Consul is voted into power by the Senate. Each Vicarius Consul serves for three years, with a new vice-Consul being introduced every year. There are always three Vicarius Consuls.
Legatus - A Patrician in a military position. This is the only military rank a Patrician can gain. A Legatus (plural: Legates) has command over a unit of troops. This unit is almost always based in a specific region. The number of troops in a Legatus' unit can vary wildly from several dozen to over a thousand. A Legatus has control over their unit but must follow the order of a Dux when in war. Most Legates are closely associated with a single Dux, serving under them directly in times of war, but some Legates in remote regions prefer to stay independent (but are still required to serve when war is declared). A Patrician can become a Legatus by appealing to a Dux or Imperatrix for troops, gear, housing, training, etc. but doing so usually puts the Patrician into the debt of that individual. Note that 'Legatus' is a very fluid title, one that can be given or taken in a moment. If a nova is seen leading soldiers in battle, they don't need to be given a medal to be called a Legatus; the simple act of leading troops gives them the designation.

Above the Patricians exist the upper tiers of power...the Duces, the Imperatrices, and the Archon.

A Dux (plural: duces) is in command of the Darmathian military. There are always three Duces and they command Darmathia's troops in times of war. Most of Darmathia's troops are split into three legions, with each serving as the personal army of a Dux. Many Legates serve under a particular Dux and are added into their legion during war. The Dux are exempt from most legal punishments by the Senate and are appointed (and removed) by the Imperatrices; each Imperatrix can appoint a single Dux. They are given great freedoms on and off the battlefield. In times of war their authority grows to almost match that of the Imperatrices, being able to redirect resources and make demands.

An Imperatrix (plural: Imperatrices) is a vice-leader of the Pantheon, serving directly beneath the Archon. All three of the Imperatrices are wives of the Archon and they have been in their positions since the early days of the Pantheon never once having been replaced or demoted. They run the Pantheon in the Archon's stead, taking care of most issues the Archon would find unimportant or irrelevant. They are in many ways just as powerful as the Archon. Being in their positions for centuries (and likely until the day they die) and wanting to further solidify and secure their power, the Imperatrices have cultivated cults of personality around themselves and their beliefs. This has caused three opposed factions of novas to form within the Pantheon. The male form of the title is Imperator (plural: Imperators). The three are collectively referred to as the Triumvirate.

The Archon is the ultimate authority in Darmathia. The only Archon that the Pantheon has ever known is Marmir and he has no intention of giving up his seat for another, even a descendant. He rules from the Silgaean Throne where he is prophesied to stay if he wants to keep his power. The Imperatrices must obey the Archon in all regards as must all Duces, Patricians, Sacrosancts, and baselines. He is free to change the make-up and laws of the Pantheon whenever he chooses.

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