Tales of a Dark City
The Concept Realms
The multiverse is vast and complicated. A number of different worlds, or “realms,” interact with the Brave New World. Parallel worlds, alternate timelines, and worlds with vast differences in how their scientific laws operate call all be found somewhere.
A number of realms represent ideas made manifest. These are places where once specific “Concept” has formed and shaped all the beings within. The Concept Realms are known as various afterlives or fairylands, but they are all real. And the Brave Now World has drawn their attention.
The Concept Realms grow more powerful when people accept the fact of their existence and influence over their lives. The beings that control these realms desire this belief in their power, as it allows them strength against their rivals in the other Realms. Diametrically opposed philosophies seek to wipe the opposing viewpoint out, to prove that the concept they represent is superior.
In order to sway the residents of the Brave New World (which is an important keystone in the cosmological sense thanks to the Shadow Weave providing godlike powers to normal people), these beings have empowered people to act on their behalf. These beings, variously thought of as spirits, ghosts, angels, demons, or faeries, Imbue people, places, and objects with special power. Holy ground, haunted buildings, and profane sites of power are all places where it is easier for once Concept Realm or another to contact mortals, and if the connection is strong enough manifest themselves in physical form. These places are fairly rare, however—a spirit that wants to have a lasting impact on the world finds it easier to possess a person or an object, making a deal with the person to provide power in exchange for service. Sometimes these deals are obvious pacts, but more often subtly and trickery are used to anchor the spirit to the mortal, and being forced to make pacts under duress isn’t uncommon either.
There are numerous Realms, but the ones that are most important to the Brave New World are listed below.
- Oneiros, The Realm of Nightmares – Oneiros is a region of dreams and thoughts unbound, a nightmare realm of twisted beings who thrive on fear and terror. Oneiros is the most active Concept Realm in attempting to overtly conquer the Brave New World, sending agents to create cults to open portals or drag nightmare monsters into the waking world. The Nightmare Prince rules here. Psychics often inadvertently have contact with Oneiros, and many mortal minds brush Oneiros when they are asleep.
- Arcadia, The Realm of Faerie – Realm of Faerie encompass a number of different Concept Realms that all act in relative concert. The Realms of Faerie are divided into two broad categories: The Seelie Court and the Unseelie Court. Broadly speaking, Seelie fairies are known for playing pranks on humans and having a lighthearted attitude, forgetting their sorrows quickly and not realizing how they might be affecting the humans they play pranks on, while the Unseelie are more vicious, martial, and prone to trickery that is actively meant to cause harm and discomfort. Both courts find humans endless amusing to fuck with. The Courts don’t tend to hatch many long-range plans, as intrigues among the Fey Nobles take up too much of their time. But the Fey enjoy stealing people away to be servants, lovers, slaves, or just playthings. Those who are stolen occasionally escape their masters—this is the origin of most abnormals who have fey powers. Since Acradia is the realm of beautiful madness, the vast majority of feytouched abnormals are cracked in some way. The Queen of Fire and Light, Ruler of Summer, and the Queen of Air and Darkness, Ruler of Winter, are said to be the most potent Peers among the Gentry, the faerie lords who rule these realms.
- Stygia, The Realm of Torment – Stygia isn’t a single realm, but rather a coalition of various afterlives representing punishment of transgressions in the afterlife. This realm represents a wide range of demonic cultures, and the demons of this realm are known to occasionally squabble or come to blows over different interpretations of the same act. Their interest in the BNW is in punishing transgressions, bringing torment and pain to those who (in their eyes) are deserving. There’s a lot of demons who just enjoy causing pain and suffering for its own sake, however, and few have any mercy or compassion within them. Asmodeus, Lord of the Outer Night, is the most powerful leader among them, and hatches many dark schemes for outright invasion and conquest.
- Abattoir, The Realm of Murder – Abattoir is the urge to cause pain. It is sadism, cruelty, and base urges. It is a realm soaked in blood and screams, and the spirits within are crazed and vicious. This realm is particularly active, attempting to claim the BNW and turn it into a cesspit of violence, war, and pain. Vampires are imbued with spirits from this realm. If there is a guiding intellect or being behind Abattior, it hasn’t revealed itself yet.
- Zion, The Realm of Justice – Zion is an angelic realm, where warrior angels fly to meet with the hosts of Stygia and defeat them, and guard against those who would do harm to others. Zion is a realm of law and protection, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that the angels of Zion are nice. The beings of Zion exist to enforce law and punish transgression. They have a lot in common with the forces of Stygia, though many are loathe to admit it. The Archangel Michael is said to be the greatest among the various angels, though it is rumored that The Archangel Gabriel is attempting to usurp his position.
- Empyrea, The Realm of Hope – Empyrea is a fiery realm of light and song, seeking to uplift and inspire. The beings of Empyrea take on angelic forms similar to the angels of Zion, but are much less militant. They are the angels that provide guidance to the lost, hope to the downtrodden, and provide comfort, protection, and nurturing.
- Autochthonia, The Realm of Reason – Autochthonia is a realm of pure intellect and computational precision. Everything is scheduled with mechanic precision. Failures and shortcomings are not tolerated. Security is vitally important and the closer you get to the core, the stricter they get. Deep within the core resides the Metamind, the absolute authority of the Realm. Cybernetics and biomechanics are normal within the realm and are used for nearly everything, and the spirit being here manifest as pure thought entities. The Metamind has no use for “defective meat puppets,” as it refers to mortals, and prefers to anchor spirits to machines, especially computers. Many mad scientists have wound up with computers possessed by these spirits, which take the form of sentient programs. A number of cyborgs have wound up with more than they bargained for after getting possessed implants, and a few robots gaining self-awareness have done so through the power of a Reason spirit.
- Erebus, The Realm of Darkness – Erebus is a bleak realm of oblivion, darkness, and entropy.
- Hades, The Realm of Death – Hades is a realm of the dead.
- Avarice, The Realm of Greed – Avarice is the concept of greed and self interest taken to extremes.