Starhaven Pt 1

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In between one breath and the next

for me, in this land beyond,

was yet a year passed back home

unknown

My family grew, laughed, and cried

Certain I had died

But I dined and danced beyond the veil

In what seemed 

but a single passing night

Valhalla, Avalon, the Blessed Isles, Paradise, Heaven, the Courts of Faerie.  The dimensional construct now known as Starhaven has been featured in many mythologies, tales thrown down around a campfire, of experiences in a place no mortal could quite comprehend.

Time stands still in a static universe.  Starhaven is a construct so large that no valid estimates of its size actually exist.  Attempts to circumnavigate the colossal structure in spacecraft have come to naught.  Those who have attempted it just loose their way and end up back where they started.  Even computers and mapping devices come up short.

Starhaven is broken up into several sections, each accessible to the others via teleporter pads in each region.  There is no other known way to get from one section to another otherwise.

The regions now seem well designed to serve the function impressed upon them by the Interworld Agencies as a clearing house for equipment, agents, and other resources, as well as several common areas for entertainment and housing.

The Starhaven Bazaar itself takes up one whole section and is, in general, a mercantile free-for all.  If it exists, you’ll likely find it somewhere at the Bazaar.  The Bazaar itself is run by a merchant’s guild, who is in turn represented on the Immortal High Court.

Violence is frowned upon, but generally tolerated as long as intentions don’t run toward the deadly.  These days the law, such as it is, will be enforced by the Phoenix Squad, 50 of the fiercest mortal fighters on Starhaven, backed up by the Immortal Dedra Phoenix.

In case of an outside attack they can shut down the worldgates and remain unmolested for as long as they leave them down.  There is only one rift between Starhaven and the outside universes, and thus that single rift can be taken down.

(This is not strictly true, however certain the Starhaven Agency Manuals might say otherwise.  On more than one occasion an externally activated rift and gate was able to breach the outer defenses.  Each time the interlopers were driven off).

The Sections of Starhaven are as follows:

Agency:  The offices and classrooms of the primary Interworld Agencies, including a good portion of their internal R&D operations.

Housing: Divided by agency.  Family, individual, and co-hab units.

Bazaar.

Entertainment:  Cinemas, concert halls,  Practice yards and shooting ranges.  Swimming pools, museums, virtual zoo, 

Magitech Commercial:  Magitech Bank, the original Magitech Lounge, The Magitech Outlet, Havoc’s Ye Old and New Weapon Shoppe.

Magitech Private:  Housing for members of Magitech and Mirage.  Artificer’s labs.

Medical Section.  Helix Headquarters plus R&D and medical facilities.

High Court:  ArchAngel’s apartments, Phoenix team barracks.  High Court Chambers.  Other immortal apartments/suites.

Worldgate:  The only way on and off Starhaven.

(Note:  Kids are generally raised off Starhaven, at least a good part of the time.  They do not age if they remain within the dimensional rift where Starhaven exists.  It is not unusual for way stations on backwater Earths to be staffed by a whole family.  It provides early training for the young and allows them a chance to actually grow older).

Infinity Bible Part III-Magic

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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.

Infinity Bible Part II

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Settings

Infinity: Earth

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.