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Ethereals

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Ethereals

In the Middleverse, Ethereals are no stronger or faster than the majority of their peers. However, everything about the Middleverse is different to Earth, and this became apparent when the first Ethereals stepped through the first Astral Rift.

Within the atmosphere of Earth, they could move much faster than previously (or… did everyone else simply move slower?). Similarly, they found themselves far more resistant to damage before, though it was hard to tell whether this was because they themselves were stronger, or because anything trying to cause them damage on Earth was weaker than what they were accustomed to. Regardless, these traits passed through the lineages of Ethereals born on the Earth plane, and there are various theories as to why or how this may be. Ultimately, most Ethereals find that there are far more important and interesting mysteries in the Universe that need solving, and haven’t cared much to look into the origins of their strength and speed.

Another peculiar side-effect of their moving from the Middleverse to Earth is that the nature of their mage abilities works differently here. Whereas other races find that thick armours hinder and block their magical powers, Ethereals find that this doesn’t affect them and that they are able to cast through armour as if it were not there.

Overview

Essentially humanoid in appearance, The Middleverse’s proximity to The Astral Plane means that all Ethereals are in some way influenced by either Light or Dark. At its most basic level, this influence manifests through the appearance of horns soon after birth. Those Ethereals who spend time in the various areas of The Middleverse more affected by The Astral Plane or who are aligned to one of the Astral Lore’s may find that is not the full extent of their development and they may find their skin or eye colour changes or, in more extreme cases, they develop wings.

It is these physical differences from Humans that have led to those Ethereals that have, in the past, accidentally ended up on Earth being mistaken for beings from human folklore and superstition. Looking through history it is easy to see examples of these Ethereals being mistaken for Angels or Daemons (or their cultural equivalent where they have been reported).

Due to their environment, Ethereals tend to live to a much higher age than humans. They are physically mature around the age of 45 and Ethereals have been known to have lifespans of between 200-300 years.

Within the last 14 years The Middleverse has become much closer to The Physical Plane. In the early stages of this happening, instances of Ethereals finding themselves transported between the two became more frequently than ever before. This lead to research being done by The Ethereals of the cities to discover whether it could be controlled rather than happening, apparently, by chance. After a year’s intensive research the answer was found and the first Ethereal transition between The Middleverse and The Physical Plane on purpose. Now, Ethereals are free to move between the Physical Plane and Middleverse at will, although the tremendous amounts of power required for the devices which enable this transition mean that the necessary equipment is located and maintained with the cooperation of the UEG.

Ethereals are, by nature, not willingly hostile but are a stout, self-confident people that are rightly proud of what their species has achieved. They are very tolerant of other species and the concept of discriminating against another based on their appearance is totally unheard of. They are, however, distrusting of psykers due to their lack of connection to the Astral Plane.

As a meta-type Ethereals have the highest phys-rep requirement and, being relatively new to this plane of existence, offer a variety of roleplay challenges. While their link to the Astral Plane makes them quite potent mages there is nothing they are incapable of doing, though examples of Ethereal Psykers are very rare.
Inspiration for the Ethereal meta-type has been drawn from a huge variety of sources, and we recommend you check out our Pinterest board to see what influences the game team have drawn from!

Things To Avoid

While Ethereals have, in the past, masqueraded as Angels or Demons (taking advantage of human superstition), few are daft enough to push their luck and claim outright that they are the major figures or gods of any religion that is still worshipped today. Still, some are confident (and perhaps crazy!) enough to try and start their own little cults here and there, attempting to stay out of sight in their actions!

Costume Guidelines

Minimum Phys-Rep

Horns, preferably in a curved design such as those seen on either rams or antelopes. Horns should not be antlers. Minimum horn size of around 5” (so as not to be confused with alien face spikes) and should come out of the forehead or through the hair.

Costume Extras

White or black skin elements (with other complementary colours blended in if desired, such as blue/silver and white, or red/gold and black). Wings (either feathered or skin. Steampunk, cybernetic and fairy wings are not suitable) of at least 2ft from top to bottom of each wing. Anything to enhance the angelic/demonic appearance of your character. White, black, bright blue or red iris contact lenses to match your chosen skin tone.

Costume Restrictions

Prosthetics can be used to enhance your angelic/demonic appearance, but you should still appear to be human-based so as not to be confused with the aliens or mutants (please check with game team if in doubt).

Style Notes

Ethereals once used to masquerade as gods of ancient cultures such as ancient Egypt, and some still retain an element of that period of fashion as a result. Generally speaking, however, they tend to cast aside modern 'human' clothing such as jeans, t-shirts, trainers etc, and instead choose to wear robes, dresses and tunics. Their clothing is rarely akin to anything you would expect to find in a high-street store, which only adds to the otherworld-ness that this meta-type seems to exhibit, as if they are loathe to fully integrate themselves with human fashion. Many of them favour metallic enhancements and accessories, with silver and gold being particular favourites for the meta-type.

Psychology

Ethereals are still at that stage where they are very curious, especially those that have only recently transitioned to the Earth plane. They have no bias towards any of the other meta-types, preferring to treat everyone as an individual. They find themselves fascinated by Mutants as their genetics are the furthest away from their own while still maintaining a strong link to The Astral Plane.

In the Middleverse Ethereals are a largely nomadic people and, as such, develop a fierce sense of loyalty towards those they live and travel with.

Those Ethereals that are aligned to either Darkness or Light find that their personalities are strongly influenced by the traits of their chosen Lore.

Meta-Type Skills

Ethereals have an Astral Attunment which allows the to cast magic while wearing any level of physical or natural armour.

Runic Control - The Rune Of Echoes

For 1 minute, the caster may ask the target deceased character questions and they will respond with truthful one-word answers to the best of their IC knowledge. Answers are restricted to "Yes", "No", "Unknown" or "Maybe"
The spell must be cast with in 2 minutes of death.
This skill cannot be performed twice on a single body.

Regeneration

A character with this skill restores 1 hit per location every 10 minutes.
This skill does not restore hits on locations on -1 hits and therefore cannot stop you bleeding to death.

Heavy-Handed

Twice per day you are able to call Strikedown with a single melee weapon over 18 inches in length.

Hard Skin (Level 1 / 2)

Hard Skin 1: +2 LHV Hits (cannot be upgraded with DR or Immunities)
Hard Skin 2: +4 LHV Hits (cannot be upgraded with DR or Immunities)
Hard Skin cannot be upgraded using Chemistry or Engineering skills to provide extra hits, damage reduction or immunities.

Ethereal History

Ethereal history is not written down but instead passed down orally – due to this a lot of the early history is confused.

Originally, the Ethereals were a purely nomadic race, travelling between the many glades scattered throughout the jungle and living off roaming herds of [Dolthe] and seasonal harvests. Their society was built around small, clannish communities which swore loyalty to a local ruling tribe which, in turn, owed adherence to a King.

With comparatively few tribes compared to the size of The Middleverse there were few territorial quarrels with full conflicts between clans or tribes being rare. Those raids and occasional deaths did not embitter the clans or tribes and it is notable that no matter how hard-fought their disputes might be, no Ethereal would despoil or steal the crops of a rival clan or tribe even though they may lie unprotected for months at a time.

It was after the first Ethereals returned from crossing over to the physical plane to their respective clans that dissent began to spread. For some, talk of permanent, settled locations from which to live was an intriguing idea to be explored while for others it went against the societal values they had developed over successive generations. Eventually, the voices of those who wanted to end their nomadic lifestyle and settle could be ignored no longer and a group split off to found the first city: Āl-am, leading to two distinct factions forming. The Ālamites (named after the city) and The Akkadians (named after the King of the Ethereals at the time, who voiced the strongest opinion against this break with tradition).

The First City - Āl-am

Fiercely intelligent, resourceful and feeling like they had something to prove, those Ethereals who decided to make a permanent home for themselves set to work. Building had never been a problem for the Ethereals as the magically resonant material Occulunium is abundant within The Middleverse. With the correct application of magic Occulunium can be transmuted into nearly anything. The result of their work still stands today, inhabited; the result of a race with an abundance of self-confidence / pride / arrogance.

Akkad meanwhile lead the clans and tribes far from the city, determined that the traditional values of their culture should not be threatened, to the edges of the Middleverse where resources were not as abundant, purposefully seeking out areas where life would be hard. The Ethereals that remained looked upon their nomadic counterparts as narrow-minded fools and fanatics. This non-violent divide between the two differing elements of society remained with the Akkadians remaining in the farthest reaches of The Middleverse from the newly created city and the inhabitants of the city content to remain and not contact their estranged brothers and sisters.

Despite the fears of the Akkadians, the city stayed mainly true to the traditions of their culture – splitting the ever growing population into families, maintained in a feudal hierarchy by one chief with rule eventually passed down through hereditary tradition. Whether this status quo remained due to the bloody mindedness of the inhabitants to prove their nomadic brethren wrong or because those Ethereals who lived within the city genuinely believed it was still the best way for them to govern themselves is unclear.

It is ironic that, through the actions of Akkad, it was actually the nomadic Ethereals that split away from their traditional roots first. Finding themselves having to work hard for their existence for the first time, the nomads found the traditional leadership structure of their clans ineffective as those that were in charge were, in most cases, unsuited to guide their tribe in how to survive in this new way. As such, they quickly implemented the new position of Felarch, which was not a position that would be held for life but would be held by the Ethereal that could lead the best for the situation the tribe found itself in. This change in the internal structuring of the clans was but the first as, soon after, the practicality of having to survive lead to the clans moving further apart until none recognised any form of central rulership.

Within the confines of the city meanwhile, territorial and political conflicts became more commonplace and fights between families to settle disputes became the norm. These fights usually took the form of single combat between champions. Fights to the death were very rare as first blood was usually sufficient to determine a winner.

The First City

The Felarch of the tribe gathered the children around the fire. Tradition dictated that, on coming of age, they started to learn the history of their people so that they too could pass it down to future generations.

“The story tells of a young warrior, Ayyu. While training with her mentor she was gifted a terrible vision in which she saw the destruction of a beautiful city at the hands of a race which was very much still in its infancy and ignorant.

Vowing not to allow this to happen she set out to find this city and prepare its inhabitants for the battles which lay ahead of them.

She searched for decades for the city, imparting her skills upon those tribes which she met along her way, but its location always remained elusive.

While exploring on particular area she had never previously encountered in her travels she was confronted by a Sher. How long the battle lasted is unknown but eventually Ayyu proved to be the victor. The legends then tell that, exhausted by the titanic battle, she fell into a long, deep sleep during which she was gifted with the knowledge of the cities location.

Once awake, she found the road that led to the city and set about training its warriors and mages in her ways of war.

Soon the day came though when she had to reveal her true purpose for being in the city and spoke to its Council of her original vision and the terrible fate that awaited them, but gave them hope of preventing it if she attacked their enemy now before it became unstoppable.

Bowing to her wisdom, the Council allowed her to take nearly half of the cities warriors, and it was with a heavy heart that Ayyu left that day using the very same road she had arrived from, for since her arrival in the city her vision had altered. With her help she knew now that the city would survive, but at the cost of her own life and all who came with her. What lay beyond that for the city she did not know, but she feared that to lose so many of their own would bring about its eventual demise regardless.

For years those left behind in the city waited for word of Ayyu’s and their war host’s victory, but none came. Many decades passed and those that were left behind had to accept that their brethren had undoubtedly been killed and that Ayyu had fallen. In truth Ayyu had succeeded in destroying the threat to the city, but had been struck down during the fierce fighting with the enemy on some far off battlefield.

There, Ayyu’s body remains unrecovered to this day but since her loss many of the lessons taught to those tribes early in her journey have been forgotten - another part of our culture lost.”

Further Cities

As those Ethereals who chose city life became accustomed to this new way of living they realised they had far more time to devote to their own personal interests than ever before. Magic, combat, engineering, and chemistry – all fields progressed rapidly as more time than ever before was devoted to them.

This was the situation groups of nomadic Ethereals came back to and, as they watched, they began to see divides within the city as each new faction pushed to ensure their agenda came first. This time though they were not the unifying voice of old but a pragmatic one, speaking in favour of splitting the population of the city in an effort to keep the peace. With the extra support of the nomads, those who had been thinking about striking out for themselves did so.

The split was mercifully peaceful, those that wished to leave had no interest in remaining in Āl-am preferring to start afresh but there was a bitterness held by the inhabitants of Āl-am towards those that left and those nomads that had come back and spoken in favour of it that is only now beginning to fade as Ethereals from different cities and clans are being forced to interact and work together on Earth.

Lilaethan

Lilaethan is the single most martial and aggressive of the cities. It is renowned for the strong warrior ideals of its people. All Ethereals of this city receive some sort of physical combat training on reaching physical maturity, being required to serve as part of the cities militia. This militia is primarily a defensive force, guarding the city from direct attacks, but does occasionally accompany the organised military of the city on offensive missions.

Ethereals of this city have a strong honour code and believe that death fighting the enemies of the city is the best death. In the centre of the city there is a special Chamber of Heroes where the bodies of the dead are interred. When the ruling council have to make a particularly difficult decision about the future of the city they retire to the Chamber of Heroes. The dead of notable battles are arranged together and often referred to by the name of the battle in which they fell.

Warriors of Lilaethan tattoo themselves with vines. For every kill they make, a thorn is added to the vine.

Lilaethan was the first of the cities to be established following leaving Āl-am and those Ethereals who built this city were determined to make a clean break with the traditions of old. As such it was decided to elect a ruling council, as referred to in their folklore, rather than having everyone swear fealty to a chief. Those who were elected to the council were masters of Runic Control as it was decided that the skill and discipline it took to master this proved that those Ethereals had the natural discipline to the lead the city. There is a ruling council of 8 at any one time. Each Ethereal holds their position until either being voted out by the rest of the council in favour of someone they consider would be more effective or until death.

Aishar

Aishar is different among these newer cities as the Ethereals which inhabit it did not build it, coming across it deserted, far to the north of any other city. Its architecture and aesthetic vastly different from anything else within Ethereal culture. Theories exist which state that this city is actually where the Ethereals originate and that they were originally not nomadic. Many Ethereals have suggested that it is the city referred to in their folk lore.

Located within one of the most darkness influenced areas of The Middleverse the city is currently ruled by the Rivalin Family, headed by Gwrih, and under them has become very isolationist having very little contact with any other cities or any of the nomadic tribes.

The cities concentration on magic has led to the Mages of the city reportedly having greater skill and being more advanced than those of other cities.

Torvendis

Torvendis is a matriarchal city society and currently most stable of the cities. While it has a strong focus on engineering and chemistry, those who reside in the city are free and actively encouraged to pursue whatever area of study they choose. While this means they do not possess the largest majority of specialists in any one area it does mean that, so far, the city has remained relatively free of any of the internal politics the other cities encounter.

Modern Day

With the passing of time the scars caused by the successive splits in the culture have begun to heal and the two factions (nomads and city dwellers) have started to work together once again. Some clans even choosing to travel from city to city, camping outside of the walls.

For the most part, when necessary the cities are known to defend their nomadic brethren (most nomads have a city they spend most of their time near) as they begrudgingly acknowledge the nomads as having a link to their shared cultural heritage. This does not mean that those who live in the cities do not consider the nomads to be backwards and rustic.