Some of the mages had a rather… cavalier attitude toward the sensitivities of the non-magical public. This was adopted as the official placard and badge of the office described hereon.
Some of the mages had a rather… cavalier attitude toward the sensitivities of the non-magical public. This was adopted as the official placard and badge of the office described hereon.
It’s often mistaken for a PCD. In some ways it performs the function of a PCD, but they’re generally worn on the opposite wrist. A mirrorgate will allow the wearer to enter and leave the dimension of mirrors, the other side of the mirrors. It’s a place of fractured light and jagged pathways, where a misstep might leave an unwary traveler stranded in the space between until s/he goes mad. Or is rescued by one of the denizens of the dimension of mirrors.
For the most part mirrorgates are the province of Mirage, provided exclusively to them by Artificer, a mage-engineer of great power and subtlety. Only the members of Mirage are able to make use of the dimension of mirrors. (See the Places: Dimension of Mirrors entry–forthcoming).
The spells involved in creating a portal into the dimension of mirrors—by the way—is the casting of a mana strand into the surface of the mirror, then opening it up as a portal.
Deep in the Earth there exist rare crystal caves, said by some to have formed around the grave of a great mage lost in time. For whatever reason, these stones gain a kind of sentience, and will aid a smith in the casting of them as weapons. A high crystal blade is the only blade that can still an immortal’s heart, apparently interfering with the communication between the cells necessary to allow them to regenerate from death. A crystal weapon is their greatest fear. But bear in mind most immortals either carry or have access to crystal weapons.
Many crystal weapons also have active intelligences inside them, offering advice—solicited or otherwise—and using additional abilities on behalf of the wielder. It is also possible to rune-bind them and allow them to take on magical properties. Telepathic blades are not unknown.
A particular school of smything can also create colored crystal blades with access to an obscure type of magic known as the High Art. It appeared to be the product of a symbiotic bond between the wearer and the mage stones. In return for life energy, the gems would manipulate magic to the desires of wearer. Or that had been the intended purposes. A mistake led to the propagation of a type of stone with a relatively limited array of abilities. It is thought they use one of these programmed mage gems in the creation of their weapons.
Said to be grown by dryads on a far off world, magewood is blacker than ebony, so black it almost gleams in the light. The black of a widow’s ass or a sinner’s soul. It makes it to Starhaven in small quantities, brought in by smugglers as well as legal couriers.
Carrying magewood enhances magical and psychic focus.
Hard as steel, sharp as paper. Magewood is deadly. And it can be trained. Rune-bound, of course. Throwing knives or axes with return runes on them. Designed to flip back around and return to sender—or simply reappear in a holster.
That can be done with crystal weapons as well, but it’s actually more common with magewood.
Some 25,000 years ago, the Cen released a bioweapon on a civilization some may know as Atlantea. The death toll was devastating. Some 99 percent of the planet’s human population was wiped out virtually overnight. The 1 percent who survived, however, were forever changed.
An immortal is who they down their very DNA. If one cell survives destruction, an immortal can regenerate from that little bit. Generally the way they accomplish this is particular to each immortal, but it’s something of which one might want to be aware.
The only thing known that can kill an immortal is the dreaded living crystal weapons. But for a few notable exceptions, a death-stroke delivered with one of these artifacts disrupts the cell memory and can inhibit or even deny growth. Immortals have been killed this way.
Fleeing the destruction of Atlantea, some 200 immortals arrived on what we know as Earth Prime. We sometimes like to think of it as one step sideways from OUR Earth. They split up almost immediately, the stress of losing their world and so many loved ones added to that of many manifesting preternatural abilities on top of it. A lot of immortals just wanted to be alone.
A few took off together, however, and began dealing with the humans from their adopted world. It became comfortable for some to be seen as gods. Why not? Compared to these creatures they were gods. Advised against it by the gateship Captain, the one who’d brought them here, these little godlings donned the aspect of deities and invented pantheons around themselves. Powers they had were attributed to the gods they became, and thus mankind was turned away from pure nature worship into something else.
Grand civilizations were born in the centuries immediately following the crash. Their gods walked among them, and the miracles performed were beyond counting. They discovered that belief conveyed a kind of energy, and when one had accumulated enough believers, the immortal began to develop ‘god’ powers. It generally involved the spontaneous invocation of mundane items, simple transmutation, that sort of thing. Control over the natural world was not uncommon, including the four elements (or five, depending on who you ask).
Among the most powerful immortals in those old days were Zeus, Hermes, Thanatos, Athena, Artemis, Hades, Hecate, Lilith, Thor, Odin, Sif, Morrigan, Lugh, , and Ares, as well as Isis, Osiris, and Thoth. Other gods were wiped from the face of the Earth in the First Wars. Wars so devastating and brutal that the surviving gods wiped any evidence they had ever happened out of existence. As far as anyone could tell, civilization started somewhere between 8 and 10,000 years ago. And that’s how the immortals like it.
Over the centuries others have fallen away, been lost somewhere in the web of worlds. Whole civilizations were born and died before recorded history began. Some left, many died in the war. And if anyone knows with, they’re not telling.
And the memories of those beings were where the legends of the various gods came from. And not even mankind remembers.
Loki missed it when the Cen seeded Earth with the magic stealing virus. He’d long since lost all his equipment and had been waiting for science to catch up. The war had caused a great deal of trouble and they’d had to tolerate eons of barbarism between the fall of the old and the rise of the new.
He’d expected it much earlier, having feared from the beginning that the Cen had somehow followed them, and had grown lax. Tens of thousands of years in between… he thought maybe they’d followed some other probability line and were harassing someone else’s Earth.
Until the magic all went away. The Ghost Dance was about magic’s last gasp, and it failed. The viruses carried by the settlers had wiped out whole populations, but they had also done their secret work… stolen magic from damn near the last people in the world who still carried it.
A few mage lines existed, but they stayed way underground, treating with other worlds and some of Faerie, but even most of those lines had died out by the time the 21st Century had rolled around.
Loki planned to fix that. He’d actually been trying to recreate whatever had happened to them to save his future bride, Renee had been dying of a blood disorder. He’d been working on a formula. The two things met and did something… unexpected.
One last thing about immortals that might be of particular use is this: There is a great deal of variation in the powers of immortals. Some few retain a little god power, and others are simply powerful to begin with. Powers rarely repeat, though they may overlap. Different immortals may use similar powers differently, as is found with vampires. Not all immortals have powers, however. Some are little more than super-enhanced parahumans with ultimate regeneration. Others can be quite spectacular.
An immortals power is generally considered to be superior to all other powers.
Similar powers may override each other in this order.
Thus a symsuit with power over fire would lose in a battle of control with a vampire or immortal with similar abilities. This doesn’t mean, however, that they would lose. Powers are only one aspect of any entity’s arsenal.
Magic is temporal energy unfulfilled. While the web of worlds exists because of the chain of possibility, there are those events that build energy but do not create another universe. The threshold of probability is not reached. This energy is scattered across the globe, visible to anyone with the talent for it. The innate gift of magic, humanity’s birthright, had been stolen from us by the Cen. The arcane virus, legacy of Loki’s Sin, returned that old gift to mankind. And now magic was visible again. Threads could be woven into seals and sigils.
Each strange, each loop of a sigil, represents an intention. This fragment of energy will do… this. (Imitate a kind of energy or element, like fire, electricity, cold, etc…) It may also grab something up to a mile away, or transport the mage across those distances with a single step.
One end of a strand can be tied off, the other opened, thus creating a dimension pocket. Any mage may have a dimension pocket sewn into any piece of clothing, or inside of a standard belt purse common on low tech worlds. Some carry weapons in dimensional scabbards.
Magic is complicated to explain, but let’s give it a go.
You have different kinds of magic. Offensive, defensive, affective, reflective, and creative. What determines the type of spell is the mage’s intent. Knowledge informs intent. You have to know what you want the magic to do.
Offensive is pretty self-explanatory. Every strand of many put into damaging an opponent does so much physical damage. In game terms we used a specific amount, of course, but let’s say one strand isn’t usually lethal unless it’s somehow boosted. (Lightning into water comes to mind).
Defensive can absorb as much damage as a single offensive thread can do. They cancel each other.
Affective magic induces change. One thread is equivalent to fifty lbs of mass. To change a large human man to something else of the same weight would take roughly four threads. It is presumed that some of the effects of lycanthropic and other shapeshifting draws upon magic, though it’s never actually been proven. If it does, it’s entirely outside the purview of the shifter. It is for were-creatures, anyway. We’re not making any bets about dragons.
Conservation of mass generally applies, but it is possible for a creative mage to get around this problem. Creativity and knowledge, remember?
Reflective magic is designed specifically to counter offensive and affective magics. It doesn’t simply reflect. It combines and increases the power of the attacking spell and hurls it back at the assailant.
Creative magic is the most difficult, and the most misunderstood. Creative magics are those the at which the legendary Jasmine Tashae excels. She created the imp Quickfingers, after all. He is, if anything, a construct of magic somehow given life. No one else has ever succeeded in this venture, though it’s not impossible that someone else might eventually do so.
This particular setting has a lot going for it. You can go all the way back to the beginning, in the first few years when mortals didn’t really known anything, or work forward from there. As long as you don’t write anything that impacts the main storyline (avoid killing immortals, or inconveniencing them, and this takes care of itself).
Infinity: Earth (The Cen War).
I’m not good at war stories. Imagine what it would be like to have an army of human animal hybrids, as well as gengineered insects and spider troops, up against a coalition of humans, superhumans, vampires, were-folk, and mages. If you have inclination to write in this era, drop me a message and I’ll give you a rundown on what I have for the war already.
Infinity: Earth (Aftermath and the Reunification Wars). The age of new colonialism. But now the competing groups aren’t different human phenotypes, but humans, preternaturals, and alien creatures struggling for some kind of elbow room together. The former United States is broken up into several different regions (still drawing the boundaries) ranging from the highly religious, very insular Republic of Texas and its closest neighbors. The Northeast coast is gone, devastated by the nuclear attacks the Cen attackers launched. Mages on the west coast had defended their territory, but scared politicians had chased them all away from DC… so no one was there to repel the bombs.
The same is true for the Southeast as far as South Carolina. People are starting to return to the areas to the north, but slowly. No one is sure how long the radiation will last in isolated pockets. Sales of Geiger counters are hot.
I have included no real details about any other area on the planet. It’s an open field. I write about areas with which I’m familiar. I ask that other people do the same.
Infinity: Prime: This is the hardest to explain. Let’s try this. Our earth is only one of an infinite variety of worlds… some barely a step away, others with countless variations. The base of operations for the various interworld agencies is Starhaven, a massive construct that counts as a small universe of its own. No one knows how large it is, nor how long it has existed. There are new areas discovered all the time.
The web of worlds, different aspect Earths that are each different from another, created by some historical turning point that pivoted the direction history took. A world in which the Roman Republican never became an empire. A Rome that never fell. Aztec conqueror invading Europe. A Celtic empire that spans the globe. Where the French colonized N. America, where the American Revolution failed, etc.. etc.. and it can go back eons. Epochs, even. In fact, there are universes that birthed other intelligent creatures than man. Procyon Lotor Sapiens, for example. Ursine Erectus.
The different agencies on Starhaven, each run by a member of the Immortal High Court, operate in a kind of demi-feudal arrangement. Each agency polices one particular obsession, or, as some have been known to put it, each agency specializes in meddling in different places—all of in which they don’t belong.
Tau, having begun to police time travel, needed a reason to continue once the primary time travel threat had been eliminated. They picked technology being carried into places that weren’t prepared for it. A noble goal. It is under the authority of the immortal Athena.
The Crimson Sash is a worm can of a different shade, however. They police magic. Or, at least, they attempt to. There are so many ways to abuse magic, or abuse people with magic. The Crimson Sash and its rag-tag army of Mage-Engineers, Mage-Physicians, and Warrior Mages, Spiritwranglers and dabblers, attempt to keep some serious heavies at bay. That’s always been Sash’s job.
Of course, Sash can’t do it alone.
When it comes to worming itself into the heart of the enemy, nothing beats the Triwar Guild. This mercantile outfit smuggles and sells everywhere, in nearly open defiance of Tau’s mandates. If you want a heavy weapon smuggled into a backwater, talk to the Guild. If you want some great magical artifact stolen and smuggled out? Talk to the Guild.
Then there’s the Knights of Anarchy. Ruthless buggers. They’re the ones you bring in to foment rebellion. Very handy for leading the charge against wizard-kings. Spies and assassins. Their symbol is an eight pointed throwing star. Their sign is a knifing in the night.
Havoc. The big boys with the big guns. You need a solid military outfit, designed for whatever tech level you’re looking at? Grab a few boys and/or girls from Havoc. Parahumans, Lycanthropes, and Hybrids wielding the most destructive technologies to be found anywhere. Level a city in minutes. Lay waste a planet in hours. “Havoc: We ARE the Dogs of War.”
Helix is the agency populated by Mage-Physicians and does its best to keep agents in fighting shape.
And what can you really say about Magitech? Purveyors of the finest magical and technological gadgets in the known metaverse. Artificer, the first and greatest of the Mage-Engineers. Gwen Pas-Aym, the albino steward with the powerful psychic gifts owed to her exposure to Loki’s meta virus. The sentient raccoon Chikitar.
Can’t say much to introduce the next act. Mirage. Jasmine Tashae. Nyx Deathweb. Orcus the lycanthropic killer whale, and Cecil the were-otter. And the imp. Quickfingers.
Together these different agencies, and their immortal patrons, try to keep the lid on a recipe for disaster of epic proportions. So many societies, so many different powers, swirling together in a wild web of probability. And they know it.
Agents attract trouble. It’s their job. This does not stop when they are on vacation. Vacation is a curse word. They never go well.
And, last but not least, the final milieu. Infinity: Empire. It’s the original Earth’s (the immortals’ Earth) mid 23rd Century civilization, protected by sentient, magic-using mageships and their pilots. Centers around the Magitech Lounge, a kind of meeting hall for the most powerful freaks in the Confederation of Worlds. Just a bar where the really weird folks get together to shoot the shit. And stand by each other. The bar is run by Jack, a retired time traveler. Notables include a repentant Hades, Stormchild, the living vampire Rio, Several demonic looking “Abyssians,” and the djinn Dylan.
Part 3, Magic, coming up Next.
What music informed the stories of Infinity? Which beats thumped against my ear, what strains of violin, guitar, and synth wormed their way into my psyche as the words spilled upon the page?
It is not easy as that. Music also informed my imagery. Songs spoke to scenes separately, and often I would track down a song to remind me of what I was trying to paint with my prose. I can draw upon scenes in my mind, and say “this is the music that spawned this fight, or scrawled this image across mind.”
Other music simply set a mood. Allowing me to settle into the groove of writing. Discovering Nightwish’s Dark Passion Play helped me in that regard.
Loki and Renee’s Song
Song of the Wolf
Nyx and Jaz
Then there’s the official unofficial Infinity game theme song. This is a cover version by a band I’m going to share another song from…
And then the Immortal’s Lament
The eve of the Cen War, as Ben Dalmas and Amanda look out over a burning city.