Introduction to Atheria: The Minor Domains II

   This concludes the listing of the known magical Domains of Atheria. As usual, information on the more common Birthrights – the “racial” packages of abilties which those born within the various domains gain – can be found on the Races of Atheria page and the characters for the setting use the abilities from Eclipse: The Codex Persona, a classless d20 system (also available in a shareware version HERE).

   Other domains that support small colonies – or at least could – include:

   Necromancy Domain: The deceptively normal-appearing lands, forests, and hills of the Necromancy Domain are haunted indeed: here the fading echoes of the past – old spells, old lives, old causes, and old beliefs – may defy the dictates of time and entropy to manifest again, reflections in an obsidian mirror. Such recreations are invariably flawed: in both death and memory, something is always lost. Necromantic power may compensate for those flaws, even to the granting of puissance beyond the template which has fallen, but neither time nor death can be entirely denied. The dark power may fill the hollow gaze, make of possessiveness and obsession a shadow of forgotten love, fill cold limbs with unnatural vigor, and replace forgotten warmth with well-worn habit and cold logic – but the dead remain dead. Such reflections are not made anew, partaking of the essence of the maker and thus reborn, but are merely assembled once more from scattered shards of what once was.

   That does not make such manifestations less heart-wrenching, less dangerous, or less powerful.

   Here the Lords of Death – those mighty magi who can maintain their minds and wills as they pass between existence and its shadow – have traveled many times through the dark mirror, mixing life, death, and necromantic power in a variety of manifestations. It is foolish to incur their wrath. Lesser beings within the realm – both living and dead – are but fodder for their experiments. Those who die, and cannot pay a price in potent coin, may be brought back as the servants of others more mighty or find their souls used to empower constructs and devices.

   There are far more undead than living within the Necromancy Domain. The living are so fragile, and need such care. If they were not a vital source of new souls and experimental subjects, the Lords of Death might not bother with them at all – but as it is, they are offered some protection: the dead may not prey upon them without due leave, they are aided in producing food, their areas and the common areas of the necropolises are kept clean – and they are prevented from escaping. The living bring new things – and you never know when some new thing will provide a deeper insight.

   In general, it is wise to avoid the Necromancy Domain – although a few adventurers, slavers, and merchants with an eye for profit and a tolerance for risk may visit.

   Truth Domain: The Truth Domain simply has very little land: there are a couple of clusters of small islands, but they generally aren’t big enough for much of a functioning society. There are a few small orders of monks, hermits, and contemplative mystics – and virtually no one with the Truth Birthright. That’s really for a very simple reason: anyone who’s contemplating having a child here will soon realize that giving a child a Truth Birthright won’t be doing him or her any favor. Such individuals often wind up taking vows of silence, acting as advisors to rulers until they’re forced to run away, or becoming ruthless, self-indulgent, psychopaths. The human mind simply isn’t made to know itself that well, and few other people like being regularly dosed with that much truth.

   Wards and Shields Domain: Surrounded by the Venom, Negation, Doomweaving, Transformation, Dream, and Absolute Command domains, the Thousand Peaks of the Wards and Shields domain consist of little more than a scattering of “islands” of land – protected by the Birthrights of the plants and animals within them from the reality-corroding forces of the neighboring domains – set among the cruelly-eroded ravines, pools of unnatural substances, and twisted monuments to magical power run amuck, carved out by those forces. Between the perils of traveling between those patches, the difficulties in getting into them, the relatively limited area they cover, the difficulties of traversing the surrounding domains, and the difficulties with gathering food in a domain where everything uses protective spells, there aren’t very many people here. In fact, there may be a few small colonies, or there may not be anyone at all: the various wards make it almost impossible to find out except by laborious physical visits to each little island.

   Unsurprisingly, while the Wards and Shields Birthright is probably the most protective of all, exact details are sadly lacking. A few scholars may be aware of the possibility of such a Birthright – one or two possible examples have been seen – but this is in no way guaranteed.

   The Winter Domain may or may not exist: there is speculation that it may actually be a domain of “Seasonal Magic” – an argument bolstered by the general tendency of realms to avoid repetition and the existence of the Ice domain. Of course, for a counterexample, the Sun/Purity Domain and the Light Domain show certain similarities – although those may simply be due to human linguistic and perceptual limitations. Regardless, thanks to it’s isolation beyond the Twisted Peaks of the Binding Domain, the Kershalag Swamps of the Decay Domain, and the Necromancy Domain, and the very limited land area of the domain – a modest stretch of coastline and a few miles inland – the “Winter” Domain is unlikely to support any significant population.

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   Quite a few of Atheria’s magical Domains cover little or no land area. While characters may still have such birthrights – having been born at sea, on one of the few patches of land which the domain extends to, or at the fringes of such a domain during a period when the boundaries had temporarily shifted – such events are exceptional, and such domains support no major cultures and have few obvious physical features. Domains in this category include the Abjuration, Creation, Crystal, Divination, Illusion, Mentalism, Negation, and Time Domains.

   Other Domains are so hostile that characters from them are vanishingly rare – either because no one goes there, they don’t survive being born there, or because their Birthrights usually kill them in childhood. Such domains include the Doomweaving, Death, Decay, Destruction, Dream, Forest, Summoning, Transformation, and Venom Domains.

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