The Astral

The Astral Plane is a psychic dimension parallel to real space. It is known by many names: The Ether, the Immaterium, the Sea of Souls, and also as the Realm of Chaos. The Ether is a dimension of random energy that exists simultaneously within and beyond the material world. It is the domain of the gods, daemons and souls. The Astral Plane has no true form and functions with its own fluid laws of time and space. Its energies are in constant turmoil, subject to endless disturbances, whether it be by the shaping and reshaping of the landscape by the will of its inhabitants or simply the fluid nature of the Plane itself.

The Formless Wastes

The Formless Wastes refer to the rest of the Warp uncontrolled by powerful god or daemon. It’s endless lands are beyond mortal comprehension, partly formed and able to be interacted with and partly ethereal. In some areas other powers such as Greater Daemons and Daemon Princes who have become capable of forcing a small influence over their surroundings create their abodes here, but ultimately it is a place of no real order. The Wastes are also the home to many minor deity-less daemons and souls. These creatures roam the waves and formed or formless lands of the Astral Plane, seeking the souls of any who visit there or a means by which to enter the Material Realm.

Of Gods and Daemons

The nightmare creatures that inhabit the Astral realm are infinite and varied. In material reality we have a plethora of animals, sentient races and those creatures that man, dwarf and elf may call monstrous, this so is true for the Astral. There are those that we call Daemons and those that we may call Angels, and whatever falls in between. These range from entities of extreme power and will known as Daemon Princes to the insignificant soul complexes of the near formlessness of the Void Swimmers, that like fish, insects or sea-jelllies school in the teaming currents of the Empyrean. These creatures all have differing capacities and wills, and many of the stronger ones have a definite shape or form that even among st the void they are able to assume, the weakest though are formless. It is on entry into reality though that these creatures will generally assume whatever form they can. Also in the void, though sitting in their carved out realms, shaped to their every-whim and desire, no matter how incomprehensible are the God's themselves. Beings of immense power they sit astride the parts of the Astral they have stamped as their own, and many of the entities of the Astral swear allegiance to them. It is these entities that have sworn allegiance that make up the known types of Daemon, Succubus, Balor, Dretch. They owe their type and form to the power of the greater being they serve. These entities in exchange for protection in the void, or for some other unfathomable desire are warped and shaped by their Princes into a desired form and from then on they become that type of Daemon. It is in these places and in the swirling maelstrom of the Astral sea that these titanic forces of wills play at the God's Game, constantly trying to shift the balances of power between themselves and the other denizens of the void and reach out to manipulate the events of the material.

There are many denizens of the Astral however, that are not as powerful as the Gods to stamp their will on vast swathes of formlessness, or as unknowing and content as the Void Swimmers. These are those beings that we commonly know as Daemons. They are drawn like the the material, they crave its stability and they crave mortal life. Souls are the key. All sentient races and even some other creatures posses souls, even animals possess bits of soul or tiny insignificant souls. These are inexorably linked to the Astral. As we dream and as we experience life, we feed parts of this into the shifting tides of the Astral. Dreams can be prophetic precisely because the Astral is not limited by time or space, and it touches all of our souls. These packets of emotion feed into the swirls of the empyrean and create eddies and currents. It is indeed suggested that Daemons wish to feel these same emotions we do, for they cannot in the void. It has also been said that Daemons assume the shapes we imagine in our nightmares, that their forms are in fact taken from our imagination as it shapes the Astral.

For the Arcanist their souls are stronger willed than most, and can channel the energy of the Astral and use it to effect the reality around them. Those of the Divine tenets have little to fear from warp creatures, for their souls though bright, are guarded by the will of their God and they manifest that immense power directly. Arcanist's however are always at a risk, for their souls shine out attract denizens who would desire to use their soul as an entry into reality. Thus it is the prerogative of the Arcanist to defend their mind, lest their souls be sucked from out of their body and broken apart and consumed by nightmare creatures before their body is taken and warped horribly as the Daemon enters the material.

It is true that in the Empyrean there dwell entities devoted to good and justice, and not self interested caprice and chaos. However these entities are limited by the same constraints that limit the evil Daemon. It is hard for them to effect the material, without manifesting in it either through a rift or through the possession of a soul. Such beings though, as devoted to justice and good generally do not possess the bodies of those in reality, preferring to effect their changes in much subtler ways.

Weakening of the Void

A weakening of the Void, or lay focus area, is a weakening of the barrier between real space and the Astral Plane, allowing its creatures to enter the material universe. Sometimes these ‘rifts’ occur randomly, other times Daemons, Gods or even mortals manufacture them. Some last mere moments, others for days, years, or even centuries. There are some points in the known world where there is a permanent weak barrier between the Astral and Material planes and in these locations often spring towers or castles to take advantage of the magic saturation occurring. The rifts can take many forms, often a seething whirlpool of raw magic, other times they may show a glimpse into the Astral Plane, they have also appeared as gates of green fire, clouds of impenetrable shadow, boiling lakes of pus, and other terrifying visions driving mortals mad. However it is far more common for these areas to be only discernable by mages or those with the True Sight, meaning that many exist without ever being discovered.

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