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Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Wavering Expanse

This is a bit more thinking aloud about the metaphysics touched on in my Nexus of the Mad God post a short while back.

The Wavering Expanse

An extra-dimensional plane of twisted light and sound, the Wavering Expanse is a vast sea of existence. The mundane realms float upon this plane like driftwood and detritus, slowly shifting and moving as waves of colorless light and surges of noiseless sound become currents and tides in this vast ocean.

The Wavering Expanse is an uninhabited realm, its extra-dimensional nature inimical to most forms of life. Some creatures of the mundane realms are capable of existing for short periods of time in this place, and some powerful beings are capable of crossing the voids between worlds, breaking through to alternate realities. Some, like the Mad God, can establish conduits between realms, linking two or more realms with nebulous passages that draw energy and matter from one realm to the other.

Traveling the Wavering Expanse

Creatures transported to the Wavering Expanse  remain connected to the mundane realm they arrived from (unless making use of a Conduit, see below). Mundane creatures suffer from disorientation/confusion, (Legendary difficulty to shake off, recheck every ten minutes with a cumulative reduction in difficulty), though they eventually become acclimated to the realm's bizarre sensations. Some typical examples:
  • Hear a wave of sour green light
  • See a roaring wall of sweet silence
  • Step into a pool of buzzing blue that clings like the scent of honey
Creatures trapped within the Wavering Expanse experience the passage of time, but require neither food, nor drink. Those without a natural means of escape eventually expire under the mental strain of this bizarre place.

Movement in the Expanse is chaotic at best. Each mundane realm casts shadows of solidity into the maelstrom, allowing normal modes of travel, but the terrain constantly shifts and twists beneath the tides and currents. An hour's walk within the Expanse might cross ten feet or half a continent in the real world, depending on conditions.

From time to time the Wavering Expanse breaks through to the mundane realm, creating a temporary passage back to the normal world. Experienced travelers in this twisted space become attuned to the currents and energies of the Expanse, and can sometimes predict and locate these breaks. A lucky few can make their escape in this manner.

Conduits

Some beings of supreme power can establish Conduits, linkages between mundane realms that allow the passage of energy and matter. Establishing a Conduit requires some form of anchoring at either end of the connection. Conduits are bidirectional, but most favor a flow in one direction over the other. Traveling through a Conduit has various effects:
  • Energies transmitted via a Conduit are attenuated, losing potency as distance increases.
  • Creatures traveling through a Conduit see only a fuzzy white passage of drifting, noiseless fog, a dim patch of brightness their only guidance. The time required to travel the length of a Conduit is subjective, some survivors say they traveled for days, others seconds.
  • Items are slowly pushed by the directional flow of the Conduit and are eventually ejected from the outbound end. This extends to items that are still anchored in the originating realm, so entire rooms, structures or landscapes can be pulled through a Conduit and remain intact.
Once established, Conduits can never be completely destroyed or removed, but their capacity for transport can be diminished. Inanimate objects are easiest to stop, pure energy the hardest.

Inhabitants

Though the Wavering Expanse is, for the most part, uninhabited, some few creatures are able to travel freely within this twisted realm. Others, trapped here by chance or fate, have become immune to the Expanse's mind-twisting effects and spend their endless days searching for a means of escape.
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