Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Universe of Source

Time to dust this thing off and throw out some words!

I've been working on a concept for a miniature skirmish game...  The rules are coming along apace, and I have a really interesting idea for a potential distribution vector, but for right now I figured I'd get some content out there about the setting itself.  The game is still very much a work in progress, but the working title I have for it right now is Source.

The known universe is a vast place comprising many worlds and realms.  It does not adhere to the cosmology with which we are familiar; planets, star systems, galaxies and the like may exist but are the exception rather than the rule.  Instead, each world exists like an independent bubble of reality, with its own climate, denizens, and sometimes even natural laws.  Some realms are massive, others are tiny.  Some realms are verdant paradises sheltering Utopian civilizations, and others are desolate wastelands incapable of supporting life.  Those who have learned to travel from realm to realm have discovered that there are many consistencies that indicate a shared origin: humans are ubiquitous throughout the realms, and they share worlds with elves, trolls, dwarves, and dragons.  Common languages and cultural practices abound, despite how different and unique (and sometimes downright alien) each realm can be.  Cosmic entities such as daemons and the disturbing, half-mad Scrounge maintain the boltholes between the worlds.  Confederations of Magi have banded together in support of common goals, whether those be the reunification of the disparate worlds, or the sacrifice of entire realms to inscrutable cosmic horrors, or simple self-mastery.

Sages believe that it was not always this way.  They speculate that it was the complete and utter consumption of one of the Sources that caused the universe to be forever shattered.  In ancient times, cabals of wizards of incomprehensible might drew deeply on the Quintessence, manipulating it in ways that would now be impossible.  Quintessence is the raw substance of reality; something greater than matter, energy, or anything in between.  It is pure power, unspent potential.  The universe is Quintessence, and Quintessence is the universe, coalesced into form.  Refining and extracting the matter of the universe into raw Quintessence is an exhausting and prohibitive process that no Magus has ever really mastered, but many continue to try.  More effective, then, is to draw Quintessence from the Sources.

The Sources are the primordial origins of all creation: Platonic idealizations representing the transition of Quintessence becoming the Universe.  The Sources are not a place or thing, but rather an omnipresent ideal shaping the realms of the universe.  Magi must first learn to draw upon the Sources before they can expect to manipulate magic.

There are six Sources recognized by the Magi:

Ansetal:  The Light, the Source of illumination, innovation, warmth and heat.  A source for civilization, law, rulership, courage, craftsmanship, and the callings of a higher soul, but also oppression, stasis, absolutism, fascism, and war.  It is known as the Voice of Inspiration across many worlds.

Taelyst:  The Dusts; the Source of Time and Place, Serendipity, Destiny, and Doom.  Venerated by the wise and the mad alike as a bringer of divine vision, but also fraught with peril and terror.  Those who look too deeply into other places and times often lose all sense of themselves.

Hurad:  The Spiral, the Source of the eternal dance of life and death.  All living things are ruled by Hurad, and it governs birth, growth, and death.  It can provide healing and growth, but it can also inflict blighted rot and decay.

Umuon:  The Well, the Source of spirits.  Umuon rules the world of the living hand in hand with Hurad, but where Hurad rules bone, branch, flesh and leaf, Umuon rules the unseen mystery of the soul.  It can manipulate spirits, unseat the soul, or allow the living to briefly transcend their mortal limits.

Voroc:  The Crashing, the Source of Elemental Forces.  Here dwell earth, air, fire, water, the collision of matter and energy.  Eternally violent and calamitous, Voroc is violence and change.  It is recognized as being a powerful and drastic Source, with consequences for its wielders.

Nysroth:  The Emptiness.  Nysroth is no longer a Source, properly, but it is believed to have once been.  Now it is an echoing, ashen waste in the void, burnt-out and utterly used up.  Tales say that Nysroth’s power was so tempting to the ancient Magi that its powers were consumed utterly.  Whatever archetypal force was provided to the universe by Nysroth, it is now so completely absent as to be removed even from memory.  Once one of the primordial building-blocks of the universe, Nysroth is now colloquially known as the Source of Hunger.  It functions as something of a null or negative source, always devouring, destroying, and corrupting.


  1. That's quite clever. I can imagine a fantasy series based on that kind of premise. Very intriguing.

  2. Thank you! I've got more coming over the next few days. Watch this space!