Supernal Realms

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Supernal Realms
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Definition of the Realms

The Supernal Realms (or "Realms Supernal") are the higher planes of existence from which all magic springs.

There are Five Supernal Realms known to modern mages. Each is recognised as the home of a particular type of magic, is inhabited by a particular type of higher being, and is home to one of the Watchtowers which call mages to the magical Paths. While mana from all the Arcana is present in every Realm, each is ruled by two, the Subtle and Gross expressions of the Realm's essence. The division into these two arcana as the fundamental elements of a realm can also be seen as a form to distinguish between an abstract basic element of the realm which represents a concept, or basic idea, that forms the realm and a concrete element which gives it a basic structure. A third Arcana is considered "inferior" in each Realm - its influence in that Realm is lessened as it does not mesh well with the Realm's nature. Mages find it easier to draw down magic when dealing with their Realm's ruling arcana, and more difficult when attempting to wield the inferior arcana.

  • The Aether, Kingdom of the Celestial Spheres and Abode of Angels, home to the Watchtower of the Golden Key. Ruled by the Arcana of Prime and Forces; Death is inferior.
  • Arcadia, Kingdom of Enchantment and Abode of the Fae, home to the Watchtower of the Lunargent Thorn. Ruled by Fate and Time; Forces is inferior.
  • Pandemonium, Kingdom of Nightmares and Abode of Demons, home to the Watchtower of the Iron Gauntlet. Ruled by Mind and Space; Matter is inferior.
  • The Primal Wild, Kingdom of Totems and Abode of Beasts, home to the Watchtower of the Stone Book. Ruled by Spirit and Life; Mind is inferior.
  • Stygia, Kingdom of Crypts and Abode of Shades, home to the Watchtower of the Lead Coin. Ruled by Death and Matter; Spirit is inferior.

The Supernal Realms were once intimately connected with the Fallen World, the "normal" plane consisting of the material world and the Shadow Realm, but after the Atlantean mages ascended into the Supernal Realms they shattered the Silver Ladder, allowing the Abyss to separate the Realms from the Fallen World. This makes it more difficult and dangerous to draw down magic - a careless mage can tear a hole in reality, allowing the chaotic forces of the Abyss to manifest in the material world as Paradox.

The mages who ascended the Silver Ladder now dwell in the Supernal Realms, possessed of god-like power; these are the Exarchs, who seek to prevent Earthly mages from accessing magic altogether so as to keep their mastery over all. The Oracles also dwell in the Supernal Realms; they seek to foil the Exarchs' plan and are thought to have created the Watchtowers.

The Supernatural Realms and the Realms of the Fallen World

There is a dispute concerning the question whether there is a connection between the five Supernatural Realms and the more mundane realms of the Fallen World. Factually there are some evidence that there must be a connection, for there are five mundane realms which mirror the supernatural ones. The most obvious one is Arcadia, which is the name of a supernatural realm as of a mundane one. The Primal Wild corresponds to the Shadow Realm, as does Stygia to the Underworld. Furthermore, Pandemonium and the Aether find their mundane representatives in the Inferno and Heaven (also called the Celestial Sphere). There is not only a correspondence between these two groups (each composed of five realms) but also between the spheres of influence on mundane things the arcana bestow on those who use them. For instance, a mage of the Watchtower of the Stone Book will be able to use Spirit and Life to control the Spirits of the Shadow Realm and the Animals of the real world as will an Acanthus mage be able to influence the Fae and their magic as Fae magic consists primarily of time and fate (see the Equinox Road). An explanation for this phenomenon would be to assume that each of the Supernatural Realms is the core of the corresponding mundane realm. If this is true, the Supernatural Realms contained the most pure variation of the mundane realm that surrounds them and were inhabited by creatures that are like gods (or totems) to those inhabiting the mundane realms. The mundane realms would be a mere reflection of their supernatural core, perhaps reality's memory of what once was, before the abyss was created.

(Note: It is actually up to the storyteller to decide if this question is of any importance to her or his interpretation of the World of Darkness)

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