Introduction
Showcase
Workshop
Cosmology
Magic Axiom
Realities
Campaigns
Gameplay
Rule Bites
Torg Magic
Site Index

Worlds
 
Without End

Design: Jasyn Jones

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Introduction

 

The Possibility Wars rage and Storm Knights find themselves fighting on battlefronts the world over- and beyond. There are worlds other than our own, and not just the cosms of the High Lords: the pocket dimensions of our reality and theirs have also become battlefields.

Alternate dimensions enter into the Wars in many ways: mages summon creatures from other dimensions, Cyberpapal deckers wander the streets of the technospiritual GodNet and nascent horrors lurk within Orrorsh’s Waiting Villages. Knowledge of dimensions and dimensional travel can be a vital tool in the fight against the High Lords.

The game material dealing with pocket dimensions and the structure and nature of cosms is scattered, contradictory and only half-developed. The purpose of this article is to clearly define and, where necessary, revise the current material.

Dimensions in the Cosm of Aysle

 

The mages of the cosm of Aysle have long studied the nature of dimensions and dimensional travel. Though some truths remain undiscovered, the mages of the Tower of True Knowledge are unmatched in their mastery of Dimensional Lore.

The following is a transcript of an address to the faculty of the Four Towers in Aysle.

On Dimensional Spaces:
True Knowledge of Existence Beyond the Limit

Magister Phillipe duChamp,
Presentation to the Faculty of the Four Towers,
9th of Shali, YM 943

Archmage Kalilor, distinguished members of the faculty, I thank you for the opportunity to address this august assemblage. With your permission, I will begin.

It is apparent from the shortest discourse with even the most ignorant soul that magic can accomplish wondrous things. It can cause buildings to be larger inside than out, it can allow a being to fly without wings, it can even allow a mage to walk through walls. Many assume that magic can therefore accomplish anything. However, reality is not so easily ignored. Magic, as any other field of sapient endeavor, is subject to rules and limitations.

Much of magical research involves defining and pushing the limits of magic, seeking new ways to channel it, focus it, that we may learn what magic is…and is not.

These limitations are not merely arbitrary or nonsensical, they are a logical consequence of the nature of magic and the world in which we live. By studying these limits and exclusions, we can infer a great deal about fundamental aspects of the universe we occupy.

It is this fundamental structure that concerns us now. Over the last fifty years, a program of directed True Knowledge research- instituted by your predecessor, Archmage Vagel- has been studying aspects of existence that had long been speculated about, but whose nature proved impervious to even the most clever researcher, until now.

The Nature of Our Universe

For long ages, magicians have been summoning fantastical creatures from other dimensions- the Demon Dimension, the Dimension of Scholarly Spirits, and so forth. These other dimensions are worlds like our own, but which are separate from ours.

In common parlance, these other worlds are referred to as “pocket dimensions”, and viewed as something fundamentally different from Aysle proper. This is an error of the first degree, one sadly prevalent among too many of our colleagues.

The world we know shares fundamental properties with the “pocket dimensions” and, as sophisticated experiments in True Knowledge have verified, is in fact indistinguishable from them. Our world is a dimension, just like all the others.

For ages, scholars debated the exact definition of “dimension”, and what it did and did not entail. For the purposes of this discussion, I will use Agmar’s definition (Agmar, YM 783): “’Dimension’ is short for ‘dimensional space,’ a physically contiguous volume of space.” A dimension’s limits are defined by mundane physical movement: anywhere one can travel using purely motive means.

It must be immediately apparent that our world, from this island to the Limit, is a volume of physically contiguous space: a dimension! There is no substantial difference between the world of Aysle and her pocket dimensions.

This conclusion will likely be controversial among those used to thinking of Aysle as something superior to or different than “pocket dimensions.” Yet, it is an inexorable conclusion.

The crusades of Lady Pella Ardinay have taken the Ayslish to worlds beyond even our own dimensions. These worlds, known as cosms, exhibit bizarre characteristics, the most alarming of which is the apparent lack of a mature body of magical knowledge. The fact that people can survive under such conditions is a testament to the tenacity of life.

It has long been a strongly held belief of many magicians that these other worlds are simply greatly variant pocket dimensions, bizarre adjuncts subordinate to Aysle’s central role in existence. This view is pernicious and false.

From studying the journals of mages who have served in the crusades, we can gather and collate information about these cosms. Like Aysle, they are other dimensions, volumes of space, and they also have their own pocket dimensions, unrelated to ours, which dimensions cannot be reached from Aysle but only from that other world.

Aysle and her dimensions form a cosm- a unique and separate cluster of dimensions. Each of these other worlds and its associated dimensions form another cosm, equal in prominence to Aysle.

There are an unknowable number of these cosms, all of which have their own dimensions. Each cosm consists of a cluster of dimensions that cannot normally be reached from other cosms. For unknown reasons, the only way of reaching these worlds is by using Drakacanus (or, one presumes, some other similar artifact, if any exist).

To reiterate: Our own cosm consists of the dimension of Aysle, the Demon Dimension and other pocket dimensions. There are other clusters of dimensions, other cosms, and all cosms taken together comprise the cosmverse.

These conclusions are inexorable, though they deprecate the prominence of our world. Aysle is simply another dimension in a cluster of dimensions, which cluster itself is merely one of a vast number of such clusters. It may gratify our egos to think otherwise, but such egocentrism is the enemy of progress and knowledge.

Thank you for your time, gentlemen, I will now answer any questions you may have.

The Cosmology of Torg
 

The Place

Legends about the origins of any one given cosmverse vary. Some may speak of a giant Maelstrom, some of Eternity and Nothing (or Apieros and the Nameless One), some of other deities, some of a cosmic accident, some of natural evolution. The final authority is the gamemaster, who tailors the origins of his cosmverse to suit his campaign.

As for the origins of the Infiniverse as a whole, these truths are simply unknowable. It is said that the Infinivers originated in a “Place” outside of the Infiniverse, and that this “Place” is the source of ultimate truth, the dwelling place of deities, and the final resting place for eternal souls.

Gamemasters can decide the truth for themselves.

In the main, Magister DuChamp is correct, though there are worlds (and concepts) beyond even his understanding.

The Torg universe, called a cosmverse, is made up an unknown number of unique and separate cosms. Each cosmverse corresponds to an individual gamemaster’s campaign, and so he has final say as to the composition, origin, history, and development of his cosmverse. All cosmverses are contained within the Infiniverse, the sum of all possible Torg realities.

A cosm is a group of dimensions, which are created by and bound together by the Possibility Energy that circulates between them (some Possibility Energy circulates between cosms as well, but in far smaller amounts). This Possibility Energy also creates and sustains the realities of the dimensions. There is no limit on the number of dimensions that can belong to a single cosm and dimensions have no limit on their physical size.

Travel between different dimensions of the same cosm is possible through magical, spiritual, technological, or psionic means. Two dimensions can be “close” to each other, which means that it’s generally easy to travel between them, or they can be “far” from each other, indicating that it may be difficult or nearly impossible to travel between them. This distance can be metaphorical or literal and can change over time.

Dimensions can be created, modified, or destroyed using high Axiom tools or transcendent abilities. If all dimensions of a cosm are destroyed, the cosm itself ceases to be.

The Possibility Energy that creates and sustains the existence of a cosm’s dimensions and their realities (see below), is primarily concentrated in a Possibility Nexus. The dimension this nexus is located within is the core dimension of the cosm. This core dimension is usually the target of any High Lord invasion (as the other dimensions in the cosm simply don’t have a lot of Possibility Energy.) The other dimensions of the cosm are commonly referred to as pocket dimensions.

Reality

 

Action Cant

An Action Cant is a third part of a reality, after Axioms and World Laws. It measures how action-oriented the reality is on a five point scale, from “Gritty” to “Superheroic.”

The Cant modifies natural roll-agains, card play, and other game mechanics, making some realities more “fast-and-furious” than others.

The Action Cant rules can be found here.

A reality is a given set of World Laws, Axioms, and an Action Cant (see sidebar). All dimensions have attached realities. Most dimensions have realities which are at least a little different from other dimensions; some are drastically different. Two or more dimensions can have identical realities. When the reality of a dimension is removed, the dimension is destroyed.

Most cosms contain multiple realities but some possess only one. The predominant reality in a cosm is called the primary reality. Other realities are called alternate realities. A primary reality is nearly always attached to a cosm’s core dimension, and alternate realities are nearly always attached to pocket dimensions.

A given reality may be attached to a dimension (most are), but it doesn’t necessarily have to be. In other words, all dimensions are attached to a reality, but not all realities are attached to a dimension.

The link between a dimension and its reality can be disrupted through various means, including stelae and hardpoints, allowing two or more realities to attach themselves to different parts of the same dimension. When this occurs, a realm is formed.

A realm is an part of a dimension where a different reality is attached, either naturally or artificially. The areas of the Earth that have been invaded by the Possibility Raiders are realms, areas where the reality of the invading cosm has replaced the native reality.

Most such realms are unstable- reality storms form at the juncture between the realm and the dimension’s native reality. If the phenomenon that imposes the reality is destroyed or removed, the realm collapses.

Alternate realities can exist in the core dimension as a realm. Such realms are usually stable, almost never causing reality storms. Over time, they space they occupy may split off, forming a new pocket dimension.

Scholars have speculated that it is the “unnatural” nature of the realms imposed by High Lords which make them unstable. Proof is hard to come by and the issue is still undecided.

Possibility Nexuses
 

Earth’s Possibility Nexus

In rare cases, the Possibility Nexus might not be centered within an entire dimension, but only part of that dimension. Earth is one such case. The Possibility Nexus of our whole cosm is centered on our planet. This explains why the pocket dimensions of our cosm are all centered around Earth cultures, and why, if galaxy spanning empires do exist out in space somewhere, this world is the defining battleground of the Wars.

Earth’s Possibility Nexus is unusually powerful, due to the vast amount of Possibility Energy coursing through the cosm (and due to Earth’s unique World Laws). Our Nexus draws Storm Knights to it not only from Earth’s pocket dimensions, but from other cosms as well.

A Possibility Nexus is the central juncture of Possibility Energy for an entire cosm. It is where most of the cosm’s Possibility Energy is created and concentrated. The dimension the Nexus is located in is the cosm’s core dimension.

A cosm’s Possibility Nexus is almost always the primary target for Possibility Raiders, unless some unusual tactical consideration were to apply. In comparison to the core dimension, pocket dimensions don’t provide much Possibility Energy at all. By invading and capturing the core dimension, they drain the Nexus and the cosm of Possibility Energy. Without Possibility Energy, the cosm slowly decays and eventually collapses.

The Everlaw of Three seeks to prevent this, which is why it empowers Storm Knights to defend the cosm’s Nexus (and possibility-rated individuals are created far more often in the core dimension than in pocket dimensions). The Nexus also draws Storm Knights to it from throughout the cosm.

The core dimension tends to be the most important, most “real” part of a cosm. When outsiders think of the cosm, they tend to identify it with the core dimension, and see the cosm’s other dimensions as secondary to or adjunct to the core dimension. In fact, the entire cosm is likely named after the core dimension.

Core dimensions tend to be far more dynamic than pocket dimensions, exhibiting more and more rapid changes in Axioms and World Laws. This dynamism is also seen in the development of cultures, languages, religions, and so on.

Pocket dimensions tend to be far more static, changing very little even over the course of hundreds or thousands of years. For example, the Earth pocket dimension of Avalon has remained mostly unchanged for at least 500 years- it is still a reflection of the Romance era Camelot (though influences from other sources have recently begun to manifest).

The existence of the core dimension is independent of all other dimensions, while the existence of pocket dimensions is often dependent on and reflective of the cultures, religions, myths, imaginations, and legends of the core dimension. In fact, the very reality- Axioms, World Laws, and Action Cant- of many pocket dimensions is shaped by the cultures of the core dimension.

Many times, pocket dimensions are created, altered, or destroyed when cultures, myths, or religions of the core dimension emerge, change, or decline. At other times, pocket dimensions may continue to exist long after the culture that birthed them has fallen, as otherworldly remnants of dead lands or forgotten peoples.

Some pocket dimensions are believed to have originated as a part of the core dimension that split off into its own pocket dimension, as the result of a natural catastrophe, unfortunate accident, or deliberate choice.

Legends in a core dimension may prove to half-remembered stories about a part of the dimension that somehow separated into a pocket dimension. Earth has a number of such legends that may reflect pocket dimensions, such as stories about the ancient civilization of Atlantis.

It is often difficult to judge the origin of a pocket dimension; stories and legends in the core dimension may have originated from exposure to the pocket dimension rather than reflecting the origin of the pocket dimension.

For example, did Atlantis really exist in Earth’s historical past, ultimately leading to the creation of the Atlantis pocket dimension? Were those stories brought to Earth by people from or who had visited the already existing pocket dimension of Atlantis? Or was the dimension of Atlantis created by the stories and legends told of it? The truth is hard to tell.

Glossary
 

Types of Cosms and Realities

The Infiniverse is vast, and many exceptions to the general rules exist. These are some of the most common types of cosms, realities, and dimensions, along with a few of the weirder variants, to spark the imagination.

Standard cosm: A standard cosm consists of one core dimension with a primary reality. This cosm may have pocket dimensions or realms.

Granular cosm: A cosm whose Possibility Nexus is focused on all dimensions equally, and thus has no core dimension. Possibility Energy is evenly distributed through all dimensions.

Homogeneous cosm: A cosm whose dimensions all share the same reality.

Blended reality: A reality that has been created by mixing portions of multiple realities together to create a new reality. A blended reality might have the axioms from one reality and the World Laws from another. Can be deliberate or the result of a very strong reality storm in a mixed zone.

Transdimension: A pocket dimension that is in conjunction with more than one cosm. Characters who travel to a transdimension can then travel to another cosm without transcendent tools.

Monodimensional cosm: A cosm with no pocket dimensions, only the core dimension.

Paired reality: A cosm where the Possibility Nexus is centered on two or more dimensions. In effect, a cosm with two core dimensions.

Enjambed reality: A reality that shares the same dimension with a different reality.

Nomadic reality: A reality with no “home cosm.”

Transient reality: A reality created within the bounds of a reality storm. It may form a realm, though this is rare. Unless a character is transformed to the new reality or a hardpoint is energized, it will probably cease to exist after an indeterminate length of time.

This is a short list of the definitions involved in the cosmology of Torg.

Alternate reality: Any reality in a cosm other than the primary reality. Often synonymous with pocket dimension, since alternate realities are usually attached to pocket dimensions. An alternate reality may also manifest as a realm.

Core dimension: The main dimension of a cosm, the focus of the cosm’s Possibility Nexus. Often conflated with the cosm itself and the primary reality.

Cosm: A cluster of dimensions, one of an unknown number of similar clusters.

Cosmverse: All cosms there are form the cosmverse. Each cosmverse corresponds to an individual gamemaster’s campaign.

Dimension: A “space”. A dimension’s limits are defined by normal physical movement (assisted or unassisted). Reality as we know it, from Earth to the edge of the universe, is one dimension.

Extradimensional space: A space without any dimensions, essentially a point. Usually, such a space would immediately destroy anything placed within, but high Axiom tools can take advantage of their unique properties.

Infiniverse: All cosmverses there are form the Infiniverse. The sum total of all possible Torg realities.

Pocket dimension: Any dimension in a cosm other than the core dimension. Often used synonymously with alternate reality, since pocket dimensions often have realities different from the core dimension’s. Not all pocket dimensions have alternate realities- some have the same reality as the core dimension.

Possibility nexus: The primary source for Possibility Energy within a cosm, and hence the place with the highest concentration of Possibility Energy.

Primary reality: The main reality of a cosm. Usually the reality of the core dimension. For most cosms, the primary reality, core dimension, and cosm are treated interchangeably and share a common name.

Reality: A given set of axioms, World Laws, and an Action Cant. All dimensions have attached realities, but not all realities are attached to a dimension.

Realm: An area of a dimension where the dimension’s main reality has been displaced by another reality. Realms may be artificially imposed (through reality trees and created hardpoints, among others) or may result from the reality of one dimension extruding into another.

Wormhole: A natural conduit between dimensions or between different points within within the same dimension. May be naturally accessible, or may require magical, miraculous, psionic, or technological tools to traverse.

Updated: Oct. 8, 2010
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