Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)


The world, like it or not, is so much more than we imagine. While our Dominion, known as the Tell, is pretty much how we imagine it, with corporations, suburbs, and coffe shops on every block, there are some significant differences we have yet to acknowledge.

Foremost among these is that Majic works. Myths and legends for aeons have described the powers of majic, but the incursion of the Industrial age has all but convinced us that majic is nothing more than fantasy. Even the few who believe have mostly been wrong in their description of it.

The loss of Majic in the world is owed to two things. First, we have developed a worldwide culture that denies our Passions. Out of social pressure, and the need to survive or make a living in the world as we know it, out Passions become mere hobbies, or log-lost dreams that we hold no hope to accomplish. We don’t want to be considered eccentric or schizophrenic, so we suppress the mighty power we have to manifest our Passions as majic. We don’t want our friends to look at us strangely, or to lose our jobs. This has forced a great loss on us.

The second piece is that for a very long time, we have not realized the truth of majic’s manifestation. We have forgotten how it’s done, and our new explanations owe so much to Cartesian and Euclidian ideology. Majic is not about will, as we often suppose. It’s not about wishing very hard. Majic happens when we feel, when our Passions are set free and we allow ourselves to be what we are. This happens rarely in the Tell, which is why so few believe in majic.

Still, there are a few Maestroes, or majicians, in the Tell, and they consistently stand just outside normal society. They speak of their experiences rarely, because to do so would condemn them to mental institutions. Worse, they may be lynched as demonic – the world is not so advanced as we’d like to think. When the Shoal, the sleeping masses unawakened to the true reality, no matter how open-minded, are confronted with Majic, their suppressed Passion causes changes, and the Maestro is faced with the backlash of Lex.

Lex is part of a triangle of interrelationship. Passion creates Majic, but Passions suppressed, as they usually are in the Tell, create Lex, which has majical but unintended effects. Lex and Majic are short steps removed from each other, and Lex is the more dangerous. It can transform the “stuff” of Reality, Quiddity, and thus can even change a being. Maestroes faced with Lex can become powerless because of Lex, or find themselves “rewritten” as something entirely different.

Suppose the Shoal find a Maestro and witness him weaving a Rapture, a spontaneous and powerful spell. Suppose it created a wolf-like creature to defend the Maestro. Shoal cannot believe that such a thing has happened, and Lex steps in to transform the event into a reality that the Shoal could accept. The wolf-like creature becomes a true wolf, brought into the area because it was following a wounded deer, the Maestro transformed. While the Maestro might eventually find his way to his own shape, he is in considerable danger until he can.

Still, there are places where the Maestro or the Noom can live on happily. Haight-Ashbury, Greenwich Village, Boulder – any place where the hippies and the alternative live on happily is conveniently weak in the power of Lex. In such places, as well as in the wild woods, there are often clubs, bookstores, or small towns where the majical can find sanctuary. In fact, these places are called Sanctuaries, for just that reason. Midian in the movie Nightbreed is one of these Sanctuaries, a stronger one than most, because of the Noom that live there and the Maestroes who protect it.

Even outside the Sanctuary, though, there are Noom and Dawned individuals, Shoal who have awakened and understand reality as it really is. They are simply disguised, and cautious of who they can trust to become close. Artists, occultists, Wiccans, and those at the borders of human society often host scores of Noom among their numbers unwittingly. The potter/babysitter down the street is a Dawned member of the Pale, and the computer wizard cum programmer, who works graveyards, actually is a wizard. And the Middle Eastern homeless guy that reads bones downtown, he hides his ibis-head well.

Things to cover in detail:
- The exceptional in the Tell: majic and maestroes
- Sanctuaries
- Dawning: how we are awakened to the Coil
- Shoal and Dawned, and their uneasy and unconscious alliance
- Lex, its origins, and its effects

This Mortal Coil

All you know is a lie.

The truth has been concealed, obscured, forgotten and ignored, and you have instead been fed the pabulum of law and rule. When you were a child, they told you that there were no monsters under the bed, and that wizards and magical princesses were only in stories. When you were a teen, they taught you to lie to each other, that there was a right way to be, and that to be different was dangerous. Now, the Lie is reality, and anyone who says otherwise is a freak worthy of ridicule and derision.

The world is more than you know, and it teems with all kinds of unexpected life. The babysitter down the street? She's a werewolf. The computer wiz at work? He really is a wizard, a techno-wizard, to be exact. The willowy beauty who teaches flute at the high school? She's really the Princess of the Calyx.

More than that, magic is real, and anyone can use it. The fireballs you hoped to desperately throw at the jocks who harassed you - you could have thrown them, if only you'd known how. You could have turned them into toads, or made them shrink like an icy winter's day, if you get my drift. As it happens, the majority of the Coil uses magic daily, and you've probably done some yourself, all without knowing.

Eventually, you'll discover the Truth. You will see the Realms of the Plasm, and meet Quem, Inchoa, and Bana. You will foil the plans of the Marahh, or work for them infiltrating the Calyx courts. You will discuss philosophy with Maestroes, the breaking of the Compact with the Pale, and discover yourself alongside your closest friends.

You will learn that Reality is like a photon. In some ways, it is a particle, with solidity, stability, and the laws of physics. In other ways, it is a wave, with frequency, change, and laws of magic. Reality is just like that too, two sides of a coin called the Coil, its two sides the Dominions of Reality, the Tell and the Plasm. The Dominions interpenetrate and twine about each other, and any event in one will have effects and repercussions in the other. Forever separate but never more than a step away.

There is the Tell, the world we know, a Dominion filled with accountants, convenience stores, and train schedules. Science defines reality, and that reality is constant and stolid. The people of the Tell are sleeping, unaware of the magic just around the corner, and because of that, dangerously vulnerable. Luckily, Lex is there to protect them, though it comes at a price.

Lex and Sight

Magic is the manifestation of Passion, the vital principle of Life. When Passion is suppressed, whether out of ignorance of magic, rejection, or fear, it must find a release. That release is Lex, the ability to shape reality according to expectation. From Lex were born angels, demons, and immortal gods, shaped and enlivened with the very stuff of the Plasm. Lex is a powerful tool, untilized in extreme circumstances: the grandmother who lifted a truck off of her grandchild was using Lex, and so was the pilot who jumped from a doomed plane, fell 18,000 feet without a parachute, and only slightly sprained his ankle. When emotions are at their most intense, Lex manifests and reality is changed in accord with the most powerful hopes, dreams, and nightmares. It is a shield against Feits and Raptures, the Tides of the Caesura, and even the occasional Quiddity storm.

As a Sleeper dawns to the reality of the Coil, their ability to unknowingly use Lex is transformed into Sight. Once PaThis additional sense allows them to see the Truth, revealing the true forms behind the Lex-imposed reality. Sight can be used to determine the expected Tatter or Tribe of an individual, to perceive Caesurites and Tides, to discover numina, and to know the weaves and flows of Quiddity in Rapture, Feit, and Dominion

Lex and Sight
Lex > Sight once Dawning has begun
every instance of majic witnessed, and every Fate causes one mote of Lex to become one mote of Sight

Majic is not the will-imposing, demon-summoning, pleading-with-Gods process that most Shoal have been led to believe. It is simply an outpouring of Passion. the key to majic is not imposing one's will on reality, but rather the power of belief, choice, and desire. And, of course, knowing how. But when Passion is suppressed, and Majic is not released, it twists. This is very common in Torpid Realms and the Tell, where Majic and Passion are often buried, and become Lex.

Lex has many different effects when it manifests, a result of the changes wrought on Quiddity as it rests unreleased in a closed mind. In times of extreme Passion, Lex burns through the walls of disbelief and causes amazing Majical things to happen: the grandmother who lifts a 2-ton pickup off of her grandchild, or the man who jumped from 18,000 feet without a parachute, and got only a slightly sprained ankle – these are but two examples of Lex manifest.

Lex, as the power of disbelief, creates "armor" that is resistant to the changes that Majic can cause. It protects the Shoal from the unknown and unbelievable, including Majic itself. It can prevent an individual from seeing true: they cannot see through the seemings a Noom might use, nor can they sense Quiddity, the Caesura, or various manifestations of Majic.

The most powerful, and therefore dangerous, power of Lex is its ability to reorder reality from the DNA up. For most Shoal, this is rarely a problem, but all of the other Tatters are susceptible to its power. Rents in the Caesura allow Lex to enter the Plasm unchanged, and the twisted manifestation of Passion transforms beings, creates Realms, and generally causes havoc with the landscape of the Plasm. This consequence of the Breaking is the actual cause of the War, as Noom are being lost or remade at an astonishing rate. As damage to the Caesura increases, the rate is slowly spiralling higher.

In the Tell, Lex primarily results in its first two manifestations, creating armor, amazing luck, and the odd supernormal circumstance. The Noom who wander unprotected into the Tell may be subject to its influences as well.