Multiple power sources, limited direct interaction between them.
Worldblood – Power of Body, Raw Might
Stellar Pacts – Power of Soul, Extreme Versatility
False Wizardry – Power of Mind, Beginner’s Toolset
Divine Transcendence – Power to Surpass, Cultivation
Prismatic Corruption – A Foreign Power, Sacrifices and Tradeoffs
Halfmad Mechanisms – Power of Invention, Lost Wonders
Unbeing – Power of Undoing, Decay and Corruption
Ridiculously large ‘planet’, possibly an infinite plane.
Not geographically homogenous- as you move farther from the ‘center’, features (mountains, deserts, oceans) tend to grow larger, higher, deeper, more exaggerated.
There is no bottom of the world, and there is no ceiling- lava does not arise from a molten core, but from many pockets embedded in the rock.
This pattern of exaggeration is semi-random; you may find areas that more closely resemble modern earth many lightyears from the origin point.
There is a certain order to the natural world, which it inherently attempts to return to.
A mountain will not emerge, blossom with life, and then erode away over geological timescales; the mountain will simply exist, and will inevitably return to its ‘intended’ existence over very long periods.
Order of the world is demonstrably derived from a complex algorithm; advanced math permits prediction of broad terrain features at great distances.
This has limited range, due to the inability to apply the subtler terrain generation factors to mortal estimates.
If used in a CYOA, title:
Your Ever So Slightly Less Generic Isekai Adventure Remains Fairly Ridiculous
Put in some adventure draws, some things part of the general setting, some specific to an area/the player/the CYOA.
The world is split into Zones.
Zones are ranked numerically, based on the potency of the natural world within their bounds, the ambient density of Worldblood.
66.6% of the world is encompassed by a Rank-1 Zone, basically identical to ‘our’ world.
22.2% of the world is encompassed by a Rank-2 Zone. Materials are 1.5x as good but 1.5x as hard to shape, animals are tougher but more nutritious, the air thicker and more vital, etc.
This continues endlessly into higher and higher ranks, each thrice as rare as the last.
Higher-ranked Zones tend to be both smaller and rarer(subject to exaggeration of features with distance from center); an example might by a Rank-5 Zone that includes a single deposit of Low Mithril.
This numeric ranking is made possible by the tendency of Worldblood to rest at specific stable densities.
These actually vary somewhat between different materials, ‘density’ in this case corresponing to ‘Worldblood per unit mass’.
Nevertheless, each stable density is a 50% greater concentration than the previous.
Upwellings of various kinds dot the world, serving as the primary source of ‘natural resources’.
Small mines that slowly regenerate what ores are extracted, everfertile glades, places where strange beasts, mighty but infertile, claw their way out of the depths each morning, and so on.
These even exist in Rank-1 Zones, as endless sources of iron and copper, areas perfect for agriculture, rapidly regenerating forests, etc.
By consuming food or medicine from a higher Zone, a person can slowly adapt to it and become stronger.
This is necessarily gradual; the body generally cannot withstand food too many ranks above what it has already adapted to.
There is some disparity in how traits improve.
Ability to recover from damage and regain stamina grows more slowly than ability to survive damage and capacity for stamina.
Advancement to higher Rank only slows future aging, doing nothing to reverse what has already occurred, and this slowing is significantly less than 1.5x, closer to 1.2!
Creatures, people, and even lifeless items need infusions of Worldblood to maintain their strength.
This can, when necessary, be achieved by concentrating the Worldblood in lower ranked things, such as feasting on lower ranked foods- this can maintain a given rank, but not increase it.
Someone who has adapted to become a rank 7 being would need 22,000 Calories of ‘normal’ food a day to survive.
Naturally inanimate things are less hungry, and items left unused even less so- ingots of metal in storage require minimal expenditure to maintain their strength.
Maintaining something like a sword would generally require treatment with Worldblood-rich oils after every significant use, but nothing while simply sitting on a wall for months at a time.
In environments of equal or greater Rank, items do not require any Worldblood-infusing maintenance at all, no matter how heavily they are used.
Using and maintaining higher-rank equipment and personnel carries a constant cost.
Higher-ranked beings are less tightly bound by the inherent limits of what pure skill can achieve.
With enough training, they can craft items that surpass mundane perfection.
The magic of Worldblood universally stems from physical implements- limited use wands, permanent foci, integrated augmentations.
These must tap into the Worldblood of the materials composing them, draw out that of the user, or slowly accumulate it from the air- fuel is always required.
Most such items are solid pieces- you can’t make a healing potion from high-ranking herbs, but could assemble a healing wand from high-ranking alloys.
Some form of blood magic is possible, making use of it as a dense reservoir and potent conductor of Worldblood.
This world does not naturally possess an afterlife.
Upon death, human souls are cast into the infinite Heavens that blanket the World, becoming Stars.
-Yes, this is a pun, the Heavens contain all the heavens.
All souls bear an innate power, an endless font of Starlight, but without form, this power cannot be applied to do anything.
A dead soul can bind themselves to a Purpose, some task, policy, or statement of how things should be, and assume a number of powers.
Complexity, breadth, and thematic incoherency breeds inefficiency, rendering these powers exponentially less efficient.
These powers are needed to both build a soul’s personal afterlife and influence the world of the living.
Souls with a sufficiently similar Purpose can join together, becoming brighter Stars.
This melds the afterlives of these souls together, and allows them to pool their Starlight.
Stars can link to other Stars through bonds of thematic similarity, combined utility, or similar resonance, forming and expanding Constellations.
This provides free and easy communication between the Stars forming the Constellation, but does not meld their afterlives.
The ultimate size of a Constellation is constrained by its thematic coherency- if a new Star would cause a collapse, it cannot be added.
All such fusions are effectively irrevocable; they cannot be reversed by the powers of the dead, and the living cannot reach them.
Building an afterlife is a slow and costly process.
Producing empty space to build in and inhabit takes a power, producing and reshaping a specific kind of material takes a power, producing and directing a kind of living thing takes a power.
This can be partially circumvented by using a power to copy things over from the world of living, though this method requires appropriate connection points.
More complex afterlives tend to be either extremely inefficient and costly to expand or rely on some ‘trick’, such as the production of basic elements from which more complex things can be laboriously derived or the previously mentioned copying.
A lot of afterlives just stick to one narrow theme, making almost everything out of clouds or dark stone.
Communications between Stars are difficult.
Without powers of the right kind, a Constellation-link, or an appropriate connection in the world of the living, it is almost impossible to even detect other souls.
Through spiritual efforts, harnessing the Starlight that burns in their own heart, the living can communicate with the dead.
This is a fairly difficult and laborious process, though it becomes easier with an understanding of the target Constellation or Star.
Once a person has initiated communications with their target, they can form a Pact with it- this only works if the dead allow it.
Those that have formed a Pact with a Constellation or Star act as a link between it and the world of the living.
They can more easily communicate with the source of the Pact, and can help others to communicate with it.
This will rarely, if ever, be effective enough communication to let someone simply talk to a dead relative.
Upon the death of someone who has formed a Pact, they will inevitably join the Star or Constellation they formed it with.
The Constellation’s Starlight flows down the connection forged by the Pact constantly.
Once the Pact has been forged, it cannot be undone, and the dead cannot stop providing power.
All souls are capable of carrying the same amount of Starlight, and no training can change it.
Thus, Constellations or Stars made from more souls are not any more potent, merely capable of powering more simultaneous Pacts.
The bearer of the Pact gains every power provided by the Stars they are bonded to, and can use them freely, even constantly, without issue.
In the case of Constellations, the Starlight channeled is inevitably divided equally between every Star composing the Constellation, providing a greater number of powers at lesser strength.
In some cases, this can improve the potency of the powers- a Star granting strength and another granting durability is more efficient than a single Star granting both.
Pact-users constantly exude invisible Astral Essence attuned to their Constellation, a byproduct of the Starlight constantly thrumming down their connection.
Astral Essence disperses like a mist to evenly fill thematically-coherent volumes, such as a specific house, the confines of a town’s walls, or the cave or forest it was exuded in.
Astral Essence tends to burn up when exposed to sunlight, though this works slower where it is denser.
The Constellation the essence is attuned to, or living souls with essence-stealing powers, can direct it, filling prepared vessels or living souls with the Astral Essence.
Astral Essence can be used to artificially channel Starlight from the Constellation it is attuned to, and thus wield the powers of its source.
Thus, a living person can use Astral Essence in their soul or in an artifact to temporarily gain extra powers, or the dead can use Astral Essence in an area to use their powers on the world of the living.
This cannot provide a person with powers at a greater strength than they would get from forming a Pact with the source Constellation.
The connections formed by Pact-users and burning Astral Essence can allow the dead to perceive the world of the living in ways they otherwise could not, even without powers appropriate to the task.
Additionally, they can make communications between multiple Constellations vastly easier; two Pact-users a few meters apart form a shorter path than the vast distances of the Heavens.
Many people use Pacts to get comfy afterlives with their families and community.
As such, the actual powers they gain in life are minimal.
Particularly complex Constellations can require over a dozen people working in concert, minimum.
New, ‘artificial’ Constellations require the expensive spiritual effort of locating the dim, solitary soul of its first Star.
The majority of Constellations made to grant the living power are less than perfect.
Acquiring Astral Essence is a useful source of extra powers for anyone.
Many people will perform tasks for the sake of a certain Constellation in exchange for the investiture of essence.
The Pact-users of a certain Constellation, though a source of its Astral Essence, can’t directly give the essence to others.
A Star can be made to grant a wide variety of powers.
Strength-amplification, fireballs, enhanced skill, means of communicating with the dead, exotic perception, etc.
There are Tinker-like powers that function by applying abilities meant to construct an afterlife to real materials- these spiritual constructions are actually quite common.
Many powers should remain useful even in the face of higher Worldblood ranks, though shitty powers or powers designed for greater low-rank utility at the cost of high-rank utility remain possible.
There are powers that permit the artifical production/obtaining of Astral Essence.
Some might permit theft of ambient essence, some might allow you to generate essence by killing grand things, some might let you build artificial connection points.
The same processes that allow one to detect other souls in the Heavens work in the World below.
Thus, one can use their own reserves of Starlight to detect the souls of others nearby, more easily but more limited in range.
With training and supplementary powers, this can grow to detect baser things, at greater distances, and with superior precision.
A finite set of 7 million spells exist, created an unknown time ago.
What is known is that new spells cannot be created, and that they were not created by humans.
Ancient libraries filled with thousands to millions of spells are surprisingly common, given the cost of such infrastructure.
The spells produce effects resembling that of simplistic JRPG and Roguelike magic.
There are spells that launch basic elemental attacks, generate undirected healing energies, cure common ailments, lay down temporary curses, enhance specific physical attributes for a time, and so on.
Entire chains of spells exist, incrementally more powerful versions of the same core effect with no novel traits.
Most spells do not leave effects that linger for more than a few minutes, and very few leave effects that linger for more than a few hours that are not, in actuality, produced by some manner of permanent physical transformation.
Writing down False Wizardry spells takes exactly as many repetitions as learning them.
This includes even the establishment of printing press letter plates, and the use of such machines.
Those libraries that contain the most powerful spells often hold copies made from ancient, forgotten printings, due to the expense of making copies.
Once someone has learned a spell, they can copy it down from the perfect impression in their mind without issue- this makes the preservation of magical knowledge easier, in some aspects.
This knowledge comes with an understanding of the spell’s name, to such a degree they will understand what words of even totally alien languages reference the spell- through this, many translation efforts have been greatly expedited.
Acquisition and Use:
Spells are learned by study, which permanently imprints their patterns on the prospective wizard’s mind.
The nature of each spell is that its informational pattern is unusually weighty- simply transferring knowledge of a spell from paper and into the reader’s mind requires multiple readings, multiple full comprehensions, before it actually moves and sinks in.
This weightiness means even the simplest spells do not fade from the mind over time, even resisting loss due to brain damage.
The simplest spells require over a dozen repetitions to imprint, and this only increases, alongside complexity and size, as the spells grow stronger.
Additionally, most spells with any real power are built upon large chains of required precursors, without which the imprint they form is useless.
Every imprinted spell-pattern accumulates a unique mental energy, ‘Velt’, and serves to store it.
Each spell provides enough Velt generation and storage to cast it once a day, and recover the spent power by the next day.
This energy responds to thoughts which resonate with the patterns containing them, and through this method can be directed by the user.
First with tricks like incantations and gestures linked to specific ideas, and eventually by act of will alone, Velt can be forced through an imprint, out of the mind, and into reality.
This process is the casting of a spell.
The nature of this power source harshly limits the ability of wizards to shape their spells.
There are no parameters beyond assigning a ‘pointer’, often the caster’s hand, through which the spell is released.
A spell cannot be made stronger or weaker by using more or less Velt; this results only in failed castings or wasted energy.
If a spell has multiple possible results, it will not allow the caster to decide between them.
Spells of healing will pick what injuries they mend on their own, at times expending all healing power fixing the broken bones of a man bleeding to death.
Spells of teleportation are liable to place the caster at a completely random location.
More advanced spells tend towards more specific effects, such as ‘Heal: Blood Loss’ or ‘Teleport: 10 Meters in [Direction: Pointer]’, but achieving any significant flexibility by taking advantage of this would require learning many highly-specific spells.
Effects on User:
Each False Wizardry spell a person knows acts as a mental anchor point.
Their sheer informational weightiness acts to stabilize information around them- most obviously by improving a wizard’s overall memory, and permanently locking in memories from around the time the spell was learned.
Spells that have been written down are known to reinforce the medium they are written upon, books of mighty spells even refusing to burn.
As a caster makes use of Velt, moving it between imprints to cast spells, some portion of this energy naturally leaks into the structure of their mind.
This allows the mind to expand partially beyond physical reality, reducing the degree to which physical limits can constrain mental function.
Long-term users of False Wizardry remember more information than their physical brain could possibly hold, ignore major nerve damage, and cannot be perfectly predicted through wholly deterministic means.
By a variety of tricks, methods have been found to bind unrealized spells into physical substrates, so they might be unleashed at a later point.
This is approximately as difficult as learning or scribing the spell to be bound, and a good bit more expensive.
Though potions can be made that anyone can use, cheaper scrolls require at least the bound spell’s precursors be known by the user to function correctly.
A limited selection of spells can enhance items via permanent effects, such as the instantaneous reforging of a metallic object’s internal structure for greater strength.
Technically, anything that has a mind can be taught and use False Wizardry- though rare, there are intelligent items capable of wielding magic in this manner.
By a process of mental scarring, it is possible to convert spells into ‘permanent’ effects, as if they were cast constantly, or at a certain precise interval.
This is difficult to undo, and consumes large quantities of Velt continuously, and prevents normal casting of the modified spell, but is used to acquire certain useful passive abilities.
False Wizardry has some conflict with Worldblood, due to poor scaling.
It is harder to heal high-Rank people, and harder to hurt high-Rank enemies.
With Stellar Pacts, False Wizardry can be enhanced in many ways, spells amplified or made easier to learn.
Though this power source has a high power ceiling, it requires what most would consider ridiculous amounts of study to achieve great feats.
Many spells are thought to be beyond normal human comprehension.
Human belief holds an innate power, capable of changing the world.
Even unconscious and uncontrolled, powerful manifestations of belief may take shape, allowing the seemingly impossible to occur.
It is unusually difficult to discern that these manifestations are strange in any way; a swordsman empowered by the belief of millions can easily seem to simply be very good and very lucky.
Where other sources of power would ‘overpower’ or ‘surpass’, belief tends to ‘transcend’.
Nevertheless, some are able to realize the presence of an unknown power source, determine its origin, and replicate the natural manifestations.
While some groups may understand the path differently, the broad strokes remain largely the same.
There remain many side-paths, other ways of obtaining and using divine power, but those remain afterthoughts, less efficient than the ‘standard’ progression.
Above Stage 5, there are no ‘natural’ examples to draw upon.
All that remains is refining what you already have and stepping into the hallowed field of True Wizardry.
Stage 0: Unconscious Excellence
All humans naturally produce the energy of Faith whenever they believe in something.
Most of this energy is lost, and decays back into nothingness.
A small portion of the Faith directed towards a person- both that of others, who have strong beliefs towards them, and that person’s belief in themself- collects in their ‘essence’, diffusing through body, mind, soul, and all other aspects.
When someone attempts an action, feeling a very strong need for success, there is a chance they will unconsciously wield a crude form of Excellency.
A portion of the Faith collected within their essence will be spent to enhance and supplement the action, improving it in ways that outwardly resemble luck or adrenaline surges in nature and potency.
Greater renown, self-worth, and confidence can allow a person to use Excellency more frequently.
Using Excellency, even unconsciously, naturally lends to a degree of refinement, more efficient and controlled application.
There are many exceptional people who apply a degree of Excellency to almost everything they do.
Stage 1: Controlled Excellence
Use of Excellency beyond the purely subconscious requires a minimum degree of self-mastery.
Indeed, self-mastery and faith in yourself are the foundational characteristics of this power source, a direct measure of talent and qualitative strength, and so are abstracted into the ‘Spark’ attribute for easier reference.
By understanding your feelings and beliefs, viewing them clearly, and controlling them, a person can come to understand their Faith, perceive it, and control it.
Having a clear understanding of why you hold a particular fetish, and what aspect of it you like most, would directly improve your ability to analyze your own Faith.
Self-deception in any form makes it harder, potentially impossible, to consciously wield Divine Transcendence.
Faith is capable of interacting with Faith.
By controlling one’s own Faith, it is possible to indirectly manipulate Faith received from others.
Thus, one could keep Faith from spilling out to become an Excellency, or force it out exactly when needed.
This is much easier with, and highly dependent on, a greater supply of faith-in-oneself.
Through manipulation of your own Faith, the belief others have in you can be drawn upon more directly, absorbing a greater portion of the Faith they produce.
This is most effective with the whole of the mind directed towards the effort, thus, with meditation.
No matter how much belief is directed towards someone, their Spark, skill, and progression along this path limits the amount they are able to claim and absorb.
Eventually, with enough training, and a somewhat higher minimum of Spark, it becomes possible for a person to define [Faith Others Have in Them] as [Faith That is Theirs], and thus [Their Faith].
Conversion also tends to require tedious meditation to work quickly, though skill and Spark alike can accelerate it.
Controlled, conscious Excellency, fueled entirely with one’s own Faith (be it produced directly or refined from that of others), is almost universally superior to unconscious applications of Excellency.
Excellency amplifies one’s capabilities for the span of a single action, in a manner that is not quite simple luck, extra power, or heightened skill, that can allow one to take normal abilities to extreme, impossible heights, masterful climbers scaling perfectly flat surfaces.
The amount of benefit this can provide scales directly with the user’s unenhanced capabilities in the area of ability so enhanced- Excellency can rarely do more than double a person’s effectiveness- while the cost in Faith scales directly with the amount of absolute benefit applied.
While a master swordsman can draw greater benefit from Excellency, applying it in such a powerful manner is much more expensive than the lesser expressions a novice could summon.
Stage 2: Reservoir Construction
This stage of development is made possible by a minimum degree of Faith manipulation capability, and eased greatly by a substantial supply of directly-controlled Faith.
Making use of Faith’s capacity to interact with other Faith, it is possible to refine it into a condensed, stabilized form, and then assemble it into a lasting structure of ‘solid’ Faith.
Properly built, these structures can be used to enhance one’s capacity to store Faith by a massive degree, and ease the process of drawing in and converting the Faith of others by a lesser degree.
Constructing or expanding a reservoir requires Faith and lengthy periods of meditation, during which the complex work occurs.
During the initial construction, the ultimate structural quality of the reservoir is determined from a combination of Spark, time invested, and skill (including specialized knowledge relating to reservoir construction).
Under most circumstances, improving the structural quality of a reservoir would require dismantling and rebuilding it completely.
As there is no hard limit to the amount of reservoirs one person can possess, this is most often avoided- the extreme stability of a reservoir’s materials make even taking it apart for Faith an undesirable process.
It is unfortunately difficult to access multiple reservoirs simultaneously, making the transfer of Faith between multiples tedious.
Once the initial construction has finished, the reservoir can be expanded with the simple investment of more time and Faith.
The rate at which it expands is based almost entirely on structural quality and Spark, and is generally linear, continuing at a more-or-less fixed pace until the size limit, derived from structural quality, is reached.
This limit is extremely high, taking many years of steady work to reach, and not a concern for most.
Expanding the reservoir has no effect on its ability to aid the user in drawing in and refining the Faith of others; this is based solely on structural quality.
In the case a person has multiple reservoirs, they will be able to selectively use only the best reservoir for this task, retaining the full benefits.
Stage 3: Legend Accumulation
This stage of development is made possible by the ability to call up very large amounts of personal Faith all at once.
Doing so requires either a sufficiently-developed reservoir, with a certain minimum structural quality, or an extremely potent essence, or a number of reservoirs, and the impressive degree of skill and Spark necessary to access each simultaneously.
Amassing enough Faith together all at once, it is possible to catalyze the formation of a Legend Chrysalis, another non-physical structure of solid Faith.
In order for the Chrysalis to develop, it must be attached to some aspect of its creator’s essence- a skill, attribute, or power that is sufficiently developed to carry this metaphysical weight.
More developed traits can bear more of these structures, though the degree of development to accomodate another grows non-linearly.
Over time, the relatively undifferentiated Faith within the Chrysalis develops.
Legend-worthy events accelerate its development, potentially massively, and shape its future development by eliminating possibilities.
Lengthy meditation sessions help shape its future development by pointing it towards specific possibilities.
Eventually, the task of the Legend Chrysalis is finished, and it hatches into a Minor Legend.
Each Minor Legend provides a unique benefit closely tied to the trait it is attached to- it might allow that trait to defy normal rules or limitations in some way, amplify it in a manner resembling a degree of permanent Excellency, or provide an unusual advantage in certain specific circumstances.
It never costs anything to use a Legend.
Unlike Minor Legends, gestated from a dense mass of the user’s own Faith, Natural Legends are formed when the Faith of others accretes around an entity or trait.
Natural Legends always form gradually, growing stronger over time rather than coming into existence at the peak of their power, and can often develop novel applications, becoming much broader in scope than any Minor Legend.
As these structures form around the trait that supports them, enclosing it, they prevent the addition of Minor Legends to it, and provide a degree of protection from that which would diminish the trait.
It is possible for Minor Legends to form upon items below a certain (high) threshold of strength, enclosing the entirety of the object’s essence in a shell of reinforcing Faith.
The degree of enhancement this phenomenon can provide is much less limited by the object’s original potency than normal Legends, due to the more stable nature of an all-encompassing shell.
Stage 4: Theme Cohesion
This stage of development is made possible by a minimum degree of Spark and skill, often reinforced by Legends, and a relatively large number of Legends of any kind.
Before beginning, the user must decide upon some manner of link between their Legends, a thematically coherent idea that will tie them all together- this becomes the ‘unifying concept’.
Manipulating the structure of their Legends, the user ties them together through the unifying concept, forming a Legend Web.
This grows more difficult with each new Legend added to the web, and eventually requires adjusting the natures of any new Legends added, a difficult, dangerous, and painful process.
Once the Legend Web is sufficiently developed, the user must adjust their metaphysical existence, causing the network of Legends, supported by aspects of themself, to in turn support everything else.
This adjustment does not preclude the addition of more Legends to the Legend Web, nor the formation of new Legends entirely, and the benefits of it actually grow as the web expands.
The number of Legends in the web, combined with the efficacy of the unifying concept, determines the ‘Rank’, the magnitude and efficiency of the benefits provided.
The unifying concept used determines what traits- skills, attributes, abilities, and even Legends- receive the most benefit.
Divine power becomes discernably present in the blood of the cultivator, growing more obvious with higher Rank.
With higher Rank, it becomes easier to absorb and convert the Faith of others whenever that Faith resonates appropriately with the unifying concept.
Every Legend added to the web is amplified based on the user’s Rank, which combines with necessary modifications to turn small advantages into powers in their own right.
It is not unusual for the interaction of Legends through the web to produce new abilities, resembling powerful Legends but requiring expenditures of Faith to use (scaling with the amount spent on them); the natures of these abilities are defined strongly by the unifying concept.
The user’s talent and potential are increased to some degree in all areas, and every action carries some degree of free Excellency.
The presence of divine power in the blood provides an immediate boost to stamina and resilience, allowing one to potentially fight for days without rest or survive horrific wounds without Legends devoted to the task.
By drawing on the sustaining presence of their divinity, the user can use Faith in place of food, water, air, and physical stamina, and similarly expend blood in place of Faith.
Benefits spill out from the user’s person into any equipment they use, making it work better, withstand their actions, and work well with their particular abilities- even those not stemming from Divine Transcendence.
Stage 5: Myth Formation
This stage of development is made possible by a powerful unifying concept.
The unifying concept is first transformed into a Sculpted Mythos, by infusing into it truly vast quantities of Faith in a specific myth compatible with the concept.
Then, the user gradually incorporates Legends from their Legend Web into the Sculpted Mythos, by creating a story for each Legend that resonates appropriately with mortal minds and the rest of the Mythos and drawing on the Faith the story produces.
In both these processes, the Faith cannot be refined or transformed- it must be absorbed directly into the target to be changed- and regular meditation sessions are required to control the changes.
This process can be made more difficult by conflicts of belief; rival gods with sufficiently similar Sculpted Mythos can risk ruining each other’s development.
Once the Sculpted Mythos is initially established, it becomes useable as an implement for directly manipulating appropriately-attuned Faith, produced from belief in the Sculpted Mythos, rather than the user themselves.
This does not require absorption or even refinement, though it can aid those processes to some degree.
This Faith can be used to fuel powers that are only limited in scope by the amount of Faith fueling them (though there remain some constraints on the density of power that can be achieved).
With time, the transfer of this Mythos-attuned Faith from true believers tends to form ephemeral connections, allowing the user to manipulate Mythos-attuned Faith despite vast distances.
The powers Mythos-attuned Faith can fuel are initially limited to grander, warped versions of prior Faith-fueled Legend Web -derived powers.
With each Legend incorporated into the Sculpted Mythos, the ‘Domain’ of the god expands, unlocking new and greater expressions of power, related to the Legend and the new story that incorporated it into the Sculpted Mythos.
The more complex and developed the Sculpted Mythos becomes, the more limited the user becomes in how they can apply these powers.
If they draw their strength from tales of themselves as an evil, selfish god, it may be impossible to use Faith in that myth to heal freely.
Without proper care, the limitations of ‘in character behaviour’ can rapidly become extremely stringent.
By channeling unrefined Mythos-attuned Faith inwards, a unique expression of Excellency can be achieved, ‘Act as Mythos’.
Rather than enhancing their actions, this directly boosts their capabilities, strengthening attributes, abilities, skills, and Legends in tune with the nature of the Sculpted Mythos.
The degree of augmentation Act as Mythos can potentially provide is far greater than Excellency, yet it carries a far greater cost.
Beyond extreme inefficiency, and weakening traits antithetical to the Mythos, this imposes limitations on the user’s choices, growing more severe and lasting the more deeply they drink of the power of their Mythos, easily capable of enduring for days after ceasing all use of the ability.
Some additions to a god’s Domain permit the use of particular ‘common’ abilities.
They are grouped by a similarity in ultimate effect that defies the wide variety of mechanisms to produce such functions.
A given god could have all, none, or some of these abilities, at varying degrees of effectiveness and efficiency.
Certain additions allow the creation of Mythic Legends.
Mythic Legends are many times more expensive than Minor Legends to catalyze, but form rapidly, taking minutes at most to form completely.
Unlike Minor or Natural Legends, Mythic Legends draw from the Sculpted Mythos of the god bestowing them to determine their effects, and restrict the bearer’s free will in a degree and manner correspondent with the Legend’s power and nature.
Every Mythic Legend requires a steady stream of Mythos-attuned Faith to sustain its power, though it obtains this by draining a portion of the Faith that would otherwise go to the god that created it, a process the god cannot interfere with.
When bereft of power, a Mythic Legend becomes almost impossible to detect or interact with, even allowing other Legends to take its place, forcefully dislodging them if it is ever reawakened.
In some cases, a god can deepen the link between itself and a true believer, and bestow a Faith-construct that is a microcosm of its own Sculpted Mythos upon them.
This produces a Theurge, a being capable of wielding lesser expressions of its god’s Domain, fueling them with Mythos-attuned Faith in the immediate vicinity or with their personal reserves.
These powers are naturally weaker than those the god wields, not nearly as easy to use, and require more training to truly master.
Once a being is a Theurge of a certain god, it is very difficult for them to lose that status, even if they stop believing or become directly hostile to the god.
There is no hard limit to the number of gods a person can be a Theurge of, though this can interfere with a person’s capacity to bear Legends.
Some gods can form avatars, semi-partitioned extensions of their divine mind that can duplicate much of the direct, personal strength Act as Mythos and the Legend Web provides.
Though avatars are not incredibly costly to create, preparing appropriate vessels is slows, and they require large amounts of Faith relative to their power to maintain function.
Purely mental avatars are comparatively cheap, and can serve to ‘automate’ the use of divine powers.
Avatars formed wholly from Faith are more firmly constrained by the Sculpted Mythos, barely able to even consider inappropriate actions without prompting from the core mind, while others, especially those made from bonding Faith to living humans, are both freer in action and harder to control.
The effects of developing this power source can extend outwards to lastingly effect the world, even without active efforts to do so.
Most ‘divine blessings’ that do not fade quickly are effectively permanent, not easily reversible even by the efforts of their source- a god cannot strip away the powers of a Theurge, and the Theurge will retain some shadow of their divine magic even if the god it came from falls.
Equipment enhanced from the use of a Stage 4+ individual can come to retain that enhancement, eventually becoming a permanent tool that is not only better all around but acts to supplement abilities in tune with the divine being that happened to make it.
At Stage 5, death, and even the passing of one’s human soul, can be survived, albeit at a great cost in both free will and non-divine powers.
Descendants of Stage 3 and above users retain shadows of the Legends their progenitor developed.
These provide some degree of power, and serve as templates for developing Bloodline Legends, close mirrors of the original that grow in strength organically over time until their limit is reached.
The decay of these Legends over generations can be slowed or stopped with sufficient efforts to develop and maintain this inherited power, and with breeding with others of divine heritage, potentially producing entire partially-divine races.
At Stage 4, shadows of the Legend Web and its benefits carry through, and the expression of divinity through blood allows easier retention of this divinity over generations.
At Stage 5, fragments of the Domain and a limited degree of mental influence from the Sculpted Mythos are passed down, nudging a god’s children towards specific personality traits.
Natural gods, those not formed from people following this path of power intentionally, are most often not human.
They are constructs formed entirely of Faith, lacking a human soul, a human mind, the minimum degree of freedom to act outside their themes a human always retains.
Cleverer gods can edge around their restrictions when it serves a goal more important to them, but this is difficult, and often reduces the power they can express.
That said, they are much more deeply in tune with their powers and their faithful than almost any human god.
Demons, formed naturally from unshaped Faith or made by a powerful being, are to Legends what gods are to Mythos.
Demons are effectively avatars of themselves, capable of reforming from any destruction so long as appropriate Faith is available and reliant on that Faith to maintain form.
The mind and behaviour of a demon is more and less limited than that of a god.
Though they have even less leeway in their restrictions than a god, unable to consider edging around them to serve a more important goal, but their natures are more loosely defined, making the set of restrictions smaller.
A demon formed from the idea of a chivalrous knight might be incapable of dishonorable action, but otherwise free to act.
It is very difficult to compel demons to act against their nature.
With the right Domain, Legends, or even Spark and skill, it is possible to create animate constructs of Faith.
These vary wildly in capabilities, and can possess powers of their own, though must be actively fed Faith to maintain their existence.
The behaviour of these constructs is unable to stray from their original ‘programming’- this is not a matter of restriction, but of a complete and total inability to learn and respond to new events except with responses built in from the beginning.
If destroyed completely, a construct cannot reform itself, though new copies can always be made.
Alien entities existing in endless variety, collectively known as ‘Primordial Beings’, inhabit the World.
They are easily identified by their similar metaphysical properties, even when both behaviour and abilities wildly differ.
Very few are intentionally evil or cruel, but their mindsets and intellect vary massively, and none match the human norm perfectly.
Those that are truly unable to function in the World, mentally built to inhabit realities where basic logic worked differently, naturally thinned out, and are quite rare.
Power varies wildly- some Primordial Beings are much like the World, existing as foreign realities intersecting with our own, while many are weaker than natural animals.
The Infinite Sun is a prime example of a mighty Primordial Being, using its powers to light and warm the entirety of the infinite World.
While some Primordial Beings are built into the fabric of the World, helping to maintain and sustain it, others may interfere with normal function, creating areas of distorted geography or altered physical constraints.
All Primordial Beings are noticeably out of step with the World- their physical substance cannot hold Worldblood, they lack star souls completely, they do not produce Faith, and no Primordial Being has ever become Halfmad.
For all they rampage across the world, Primordial Being have a much harder time acquiring strength beyond their nature, and are forever bound from touching the Heavens, and the precious human souls within.
The powers of most Primordial Beings do not tend towards the incredibly exotic.
They cannot manipulate the powers of others, trade the lifespan of one person for the tempered skill of another, or travel the multiverse freely.
They can never touch the soul, beyond the most ephemeral aspects that disappear upon death.
Most often, they possess relatively simple abilities that lack certain normal limitations, or otherwise act in odd ways.
Winged flight that works the same underwater or in a vacuum, sharp claws that inflict only fire damage, photosynthesis that does not require light, a quick dash that ignores ordinary physical barriers.
The life cycles of different breeds of Primordial Being follow few set patterns.
Generally speaking, stronger Primordial Beings are harder to create, and cheaper Primordial Beings (many seem to take no resources whatsoever to create) are less powerful.
There are primordial pests that spontaneously multiply when exposed to certain environmental conditions, and grand monsters that freely spawn minions and tools.
There are primordial plants that amass resources to create deadlier combat forms to spread their seeds, and cannibalistic beasts that devour each other to pool their strength.
Fortunately, even where it may seem they could spread exponentially and without limit, covering the whole of the World, Primordial Beings inevitably face some manner of restriction, on total territory or on total population or on spawn rate or on population density.
Those Primordial Beings that do not emerge at full power grow stronger through a variety of mechanisms.
Simple time, killing enemies, consuming food, sleeping on a hoard of valuables, all these and more can contribute to bringing a young primordial towards the peak of its power.
Humanity exploits Primordial Beings in many ways.
Mutations and materials are the most obvious, taken from the living or the dead.
Many Primordial Beings are edible, and some of those are easily farmed- in the dark depths below the surface, primordial plants that need no light to grow are agricultural staples.
Some primordials exist as realms unto themselves, buildings, expansive dungeons, or whole demiplanes that produce monsters for hunting, treasures to steal, or living space to colonize.
A few daring souls have studied the interactions between human and primordial flesh, and found ways to create symbiotic grafts.
The vast majority of Primordial Beings can corrupt humans in some way, applying mutations and templates.
This naturally stems from their ability to convert the substance of the World into that which forms and sustains them- a universal ability, as without it, they would not survive in the World in the first place.
Mutations are difficult to reverse, and do not remove old mutations when applied- if an old mutation would conflict with a new mutation, its most likely the new mutation simply fails to apply.
Though mutations that are effectively net positives are common, all mutations apply some kind of trade-off, making the mutated individual worse off in at least one aspect.
Applying a mutation is comparable in difficulty and expense to creating a new Primordial Being of similar strength, making weaker and less beneficial mutations vastly easier to spread.
Corruption can provide effects that resemble the powers, form, or behaviour of the Primordial bestowing them.
Weaker mutations tend towards fleshier, more physical effects, while a strong mutation could leave someone physically unchanged, granting them the ability to fling energy blasts from their hands but a vulnerability to darkness.
In some cases, mutations are difficult to identify as mutations- as they remain part of a human body, they do not suffer from many Primordial Being flaws, including the inability to absorb Worldblood.
Some forms of corruption apply their trade-offs as psychological limitations; there are groups of paladins, with the power to heal, summon burning sunlight, and more, that are bound to act the part.
More complex corruption templates exist, known for the ability of the corrupted to spread their templates in some fashion.
This produces the many breeds of werewolves, vampires, and other modified humans with widely varying weaknesses, powers, and growth potential that dot the World.
Most demihuman races, including numerous recognizable variants on classics like elves and dwarves, are produced by the accumulation of inheritable corruption.
Primordial Beings are a natural source of materials with mutated properties.
Creatures of living rock and fire can be harvested as endless sources of stable heat, the nests of those that build can be harvested for the materials they create doing so, bones can be ripped from the corpses of titans.
The acquisition of any given material falls somewhere on a spectrum between mining, hunting, and farming.
Used appropriately, these materials can have incredible effects.
Potions to change or temporarily enhance the body, powerful weapons, and more exotic implements.
It is not rare for the remains of a Primordial Being to be useful in devices that replicate their powers- and so wands to produce and manipulate flame, paired platforms that teleport people between each other, and more become possible.
The primary limiter on what can be made is the acquisition of materials, and thus finding and killing the right primordials.
Some portion of the population has a sympathetic resonance with an unknowable force of technology and endless progress.
This is not totally random; those who are not already driven to science or invention are much less likely to develop the necessary resonance.
It is difficult, nearly impossible, to unmake this resonance and break the connection it forms.
Those so touched are known as the ‘Halfmad’.
When they seek to invent devices to fit a certain goal or need, they gain strange benefits.
They still need to perform research and experiments, but they have a certain degree of insight into what they should focus on, and find experimental results slowly shifting towards that which would best suit their goal.
Insanity may be doing the same thing and expecting different results, but they actually get different results.
Eventually, given enough time and resources, they will produce some manner of Invention.
The physics of this world do not support mundane technology beyond a certain level.
Lightbulbs would only work as an Invention, the steam engine could only be an Invention.
Anything that seems technological could be created as an Invention, even clockwork automata that see by focusing light upon meshes of gears.
Inventions cannot harness or manipulate supernatural forces directly, bent to order and reason as they are- you can harness a Primordial Being of fire to fuel a furnace or alchemical fire to empower a bomb, but not create a chamber that concentrates Worldblood into a subject within.
Inventions are much like normal technology.
They can be taught to anyone, conveyed through any means of sharing information, though never reverse-engineered from an example.
Nothing but the supply of materials and labor prevents mass production of any Invention, and though they need quality materials to be effective, they generally do not need particularly rare, exotic, or supernaturally potent substances.
Continued research can improve upon an Invention, though this has limits, and will inevitably plateau.
Building Inventions with exotic and supernatural materials and components can have odd effects, as can using Invented components in the creation of supernatural artifacts.
Worldblood interacts with this beneficially, as Worldblood-strengthened materials have superior mechanical, electrical, thermal, etc. properties.
The capabilities of an Invention depend on the effort invested into developing it.
As only one Halfmad can work on an Invention, the rate at which this can occur is limited.
In the case of two Invented combustion engines, one which was labored over for thrice as long would be far beyond the other.
As the Halfmad create Inventions to fit goals, however, and abstract goals such as ‘move at 200 mph’ don’t work very well, Inventions are more often built to ‘surpass this other Invention’ or ‘imitate this other Invention to a lesser degree’.
When a Halfmad dies, it is no longer possible to build new examples of any Invention they created.
Old examples remain functional, and can be maintained indefinitely, so long as they are not destroyed beyond repair.
The creation of new examples is only possible if a new Halfmad puts in the necessary work to recreate the lost Invention from scratch.
1: Unbeing distorts.
2: Unbeing diminishes.
3: Unbeing aggregates.
Existence is like an infinite mountain.
All that exists has some place on the mountain.
Unbeing, nonexistence, is the bottom of the mountain- but, as the mountain is infinite, it has no bottom, the bottom does not exist.
Existence is like a whirlpool circling a drain.
Sometimes, things flowing down towards the drain collide, clumping together.
Sometimes, the eddies of the water temporary fling something farther away from the drain.
But the water never stops flowing down.
There are no non-existent entities that can be called up into reality, that wish to see it destroyed.
Entities of unbeing are simply things moving closer to unbeing, things dislodged from their place on the mountain.
It is naturally very difficult to stop this downwards progression, even by throwing the thing back up the mountain a good bit.
The tendency of creatures of unbeing to spread their affliction to others is caused by the simple mechanics of their own fall dislodging nearby things.
‘Nearness’ is not necessarily physical; cultists aligned to Unbeing pop up because someone had extreme mental similarity to someone else who became an entity of unbeing.
It is possible for a falling thing to slow or reverse its fall at the cost of other things.
It is possible for a falling thing to amass greater power at the cost of other things.
Power- even power in the form of naturally acquired knowledge, wisdom, skill, sanity- comes at the cost of increased difficulty slowing or reversing your fall.
It is theoretically possible, but practically impossible, to return to a metastable state once your fall has begun.
Things set on a stable path, that will not collide with others- spreading Unbeing or absorbing additional power- can be made to ‘circle the drain’, diminishing much more slowly.
Things that are put on a more direct path, burning up quickly, can seem to be more powerful than they were originally, though this is but an illusion,
Falling things act differently than when at rest.
This applies to all power sources.
The nature of this is highly variable, based on the original position and characteristics of the falling thing and the path of its descent.
Souls can become rents from which baleful curses spill out, Faith an oppressive force that consumes and replaces the essence of its bearer.
A user of Worldblood, slain and animated as an undead beast, can retain much of its strength, and more than all of its hunger.
In order to really get started destroying things to create things of Unbeing, certain personal sacrifices are often required.
It is difficult to rip apart a soul, creating a font of negative energy, without first sacrificing your own reservoir of Starlight to get the power to rend spiritual things.
These sacrifices can often end up fatal; the sacrifice of Starlight for a well of dark power causing the rest of the soul to rot away.
Partial sacrifices are difficult- while you can restrict it to one aspect of yourself, you cannot so simply drain away a portion of your strengthen, lessening yourself overall with no lasting harm beyond that.
To make even a partial sacrifice is to lose your pure Starlight, or your False Wizardry, totally and forever.
There is no simple method to command things of Unbeing.
There is no spell to control undead.
For all the metaphysical similarity it produces, the state of falling is difficult to use as focus or target.
That said, those that turn something into an entity of Unbeing can often choose the path down which it descends.
In this manner, the behaviour of undead plagues can be guided, monsters can be set to guard specific locations, the diminishment process reordered.
Once made, it is much more difficult to change these behaviours, even if they become actively detrimental.
How do you exploit Unbeing for gain?
Use it like a bomb, directing its destruction towards acceptable targets.
Expand your food source more quickly than your hunger grows.
Forcefully prevent yourself from growing stronger, or weaken yourself, stripping away all growth you achieve, even skills and memories, so that your hunger might remain unchanged.
Create short-lived minions, controlling their strength and hunger.
Corrupt only a part of yourself, sacrificing what that piece could be for greater power in the now.
Corrupt something selectively, giving it a finite lifespan in exchange for changing its nature- altering what a power or artifact does.
The hidden ‘eighth power source’, see Discworld and Octarine.
Not a standard power source like others; not actually a power source at all.
Based on carefully exploiting other power sources to manipulate supernatural energies, obtaining arbitrary effects.
May include Vancian stuff, from need to perform laborious rituals to hack multiple exotic energies into proper form.
Worldblood is a fuel source.
Anything infused with Worldblood is a powerful engine.
Stellar Pacts provide useful powers, classically the ability to create spiritual constructions.
False Wizardry reinforces the mind, provides free energy, and provides foci to shape supernatural energies (not necessarily Velt, if you force things in the right manner?) into precise effects.
Prismatic Corruption provides exotic powers and substances.
Halfmad Mechanisms make excellent use of any materials and energy that can be accessed.