By Borgolos Thought Splitter, Shamage of Doom
Mount Doom Shamanic Studies Program: Interdimensional Magineering & Research
Mortal mages and scholars have a limited understanding of how the multiverse functions. This is perhaps understandable as it does take centuries of study to even truly appreciated the complexity of Time and Multi-space; which is why the gods tend to have the best understanding of how things work. However, with the assistance of the Altrusians, the Djinn and some input from moderately cooperative gods, Doom’s understanding is far beyond that of most mortal scholars.
In this article, I shall restrict myself to speaking of the Planes of Orc, the material world. Discussion of the Outer Planes, Elemental Planes, Astral Plane and the Abyss can be found in other articles within the L.o.D. I shall include some information on the ætherial realms as these realms are intrinsic to the various material planes. Further, as this is but an introductory overview, I shall not discuss the mathematics, nor the actual magineering requirements and proscriptions. Those too, may be found in numerous other documents.
We begin with clarifying basic terminology that is often confused and conflated.We begin with clarifying basic terminology that is often confused and conflated.
- The Multiverse: The entirety of creation, including all Planes of Existence
- The Elemental Planes: Should be well known as the material components of the Multiverse, Earth, Air, Water, Fire, Spirit. It is the interaction of these 5 elements that creates mana.
- The Planes of Orc, Man, Elf, etc. These are the material or physical planes created by the combination of the 5 Elements. Called Midgard by jötunnkind, the Æsir, the Vanir and many others.
- The Outer Planes: A ‘halo’ region outside of the Planes of Orc, it is very mana rich and animus friendly, these regions reflect aspects of the Material Planes and do so subject to the machinations and manipulations of very power magineers—commonly referred to as gods.
- The ætherial planes are contained within the Planes of Orc, they are specifically tied to individual material planes of existence. They are ‘Spirit’ shadows of the material plane to which they are attached.
- The Astral Plane: Is a very unusual plane that is accessible only to animus and mana, more so than the Outer Planes. The Outer Planes may have refleca materials which are reflections of material objects and which have the semblance of material properties, however these do not exist within the Astral Plane. It is a realm only accessible to animus and mana, similar to the ætherial realms; however, unlike the ætherial realms there is only one Astral Plane and it connects all of the other planes of the multiverse. Some scholars have alluded to it being the ‘grouting of the multiverse.’
- The Demi-Planes: Djinnistan. A realm of spirit and elements that is arranged differently than the material planes. In some ways they might be considered an alternate set of material planes, however there are, apparently, not an infinite number of time-streams. Unfortunately, for security reasons, the djinn are not particularly forthcoming about their own plane(s).
- Limbo: A layered buffer realm, or set of planes “between” Midgard and the Outer Planes. Many deities and pantheons use it as a staging area for followers awaiting Judgement or Assignment.
- Purgatory: A layered buffer realm, or set of planes “between” Midgard and the Abyss. Many deities and pantheons use it either as a staging area or as a threat of “Damnation” for their followers requiring either additional review or as a milder punishment than having them thrown to demons or the dark gods of their own pantheon.
- The Abyss: A.k.a. Home. A place that defies logic, contradicting the laws of both magic and physics.
- As far as we can determine, the Abyss is infinite in extent.
- It has materiality, like the Material Planes, yet it also is quite friendly to animus and mana. This should not be possible.
- There is only one Abyss. Unlike the multiverse, it appears to be time invariant. I.e. it is not possible to bifurcate its timeline. This presents numerous issues with regard to events in the material planes as well as those in the outer planes (which reflect events in the material planes)
- Some scholars, both demonic and godly, have referred to it as the bedrock, or foundation of the multiverse. However, this, plus its time invariance contradict the Standard Model of the Multiverse and its relationship to time.
- This has caused some to suspect that the Abyss may lie outside the multiverse, which of course is contradictory and ontological; however, this theory would imply that the Multiverse exists somewhere within the Abyss. And I do not pretend to understand the ramifications of such a statement.
Understanding time is critical to understand the vast majority of the Multiverse. Time is a the zeroeth dimension and orders (and reorders) the multiverse. It is different from all of the other 665 dimensions that form the multiverse, in that it is the baseline for the ordering of the different universes of the material planes.
For clarification, the Planes of Orc, the Material Planes, are the literal heart and majority of the multiverse, assuming something that is technically infinite can be the majority of something super-infinite. The Material Planes are bound by, ordered by, Time. The Outer Planes, as reflections of the Material Planes are thus affected by time, however, the very powerful magineers (gods) living there, are more than capable of distorting their own reflected worlds. I must cut this discussion short, because, while quite interesting, it comes perilously close to discussing one of the touchiest issues between the accords of the Gods and Demons, the Rules of Temporal Manipulation. Allowing that the RTM are a very political issue, I shall not discuss them further in this article.
As stated previously, the ætherial realms, being tied to material planes are temporally synchronized with their material plane. The Astral Plane is loosely coupled in time with the Material Planes, and because of this loose coupling, there can be some very unusual circumstances. For example, two different incarnations of the same individual from different closely aligned timelines can actually meet with impunity in the Astral Plane.
The elemental planes are assumed to be relatively immune, or rather, oblivious of time. Since there is no life there, at least as far as anyone can determine, there is no clear way to measure or detect time in the elemental planes.
The Abyss clearly has time, is ordered by time, but as stated, there is only one timeline for the Abyss, there are no alternate-Abysses. At least in so far as anyone can determine. Similarly, the Abyss has no ætherial plane, we suspect this is related to the fact that spirit forms (animabodies) can exist here without being dissipated.
The time invariance can create some paradoxes when mortals come to the Abyss as it, in theory, should collapse a mortal’s timelines to a single instance; yet upon their return to their material planes do their timelines re-bifurcate to their original state? This is not clear to our researchers due to the fact that we cannot directly measure our own alternate-timelines. We can only examine alternate timelines that are highly distinct from our own.
There is some speculation that this is how some ‘deceased’ individuals in a particular material plane/timeline manage to “return from hell.” The idea being that an alternate, non-deceased version of themselves travels to the Abyss and then returns to their timeline. A glitch in their re-bifurcation could cause the previously deceased timeline version to return to their original timeline, once more alive after having been in the Abyss.
In any event, back to time.
Most material planes of existence have a single primary timeline. This timeline may temporarily bifurcate when individuals make different actions in the same circumstance, however, if these differences (such as what one ate for breakfast) are minor and makes no major impact on the timeline, they are quickly collapsed back to the main timeline.
However, there are times when a confluence of events is so extreme that the timeline will bifurcate more severely and there may be multiple independent timelines for years, centuries or millennia before they re-collapse, and of course if the course of events compounds, the multiple timelines may end up being completely different planes of existence.
It is possible to travel purely in time, or nearly purely. Actually to travel in time, one must also travel in space, unless one wants to end up in “outer space” (whatever that is in your universe) due to your planet moving. Thus true time travel, except for very short jumps, is quite tricky, complex and energy intensive.
This is one reason it is not done that often, other than by inexperienced individuals. Given that temporal bifurcations generally collapse back to the main timeline, there is little point in traveling back in time, unless one is planning to stomp on a large number of butterflies and thus force a permanent bifurcation of one’s material plane.
Now, clearly, lesser bifurcations can exist for years or centuries, however for someone within the timeline who is time traveling, all they are really doing is shifting their perceived consciousness to another version of themselves. Meaning that the old version in the old timeline may still exist, or may be ended depending on events.
This of course, applies only to individuals within a timeline using time travel. Individuals from without the local timeline, manipulating the timeline of other planes of existence is a very, very different issue and as mentioned, the Rules of Temporal Manipulation are quite firm and violation of them may result in very serious sanctions.
Mortal scholars often refer to the material plane/timeline they reside in, as their Local Universe, or localverse. A localverse is a single timeline, a single plane of existence. The alternate worlds in a “localverse” are not on other planes of existence, they are simply other planets orbiting other stars in the same “universe.”
Further, because the further one must travel in space, within one’s localverse, the more energy is required, the categorized or known worlds in that localverse are often the worlds closest in space to one’s own planet. The power requirement for contacting worlds within ones localverse that are in other galaxies, for example, is often larger than that required to go to a completely different universe.