... now with 35% more arrogance!

Monday, April 26, 2021

Re-Thinking Cosmology

Because I’ve been bingeing fantasy lately, I started thinking again about some of my cosmology ideas. My general approach for a while now has been “There’s only one universe in my D&D world(s), but there are several states of matter, like ethereal and astral.”

Here’s a slightly expanded crude cosmology map:

left-hand MAIN BRANCH right-hand
(ghostly) Physical (eternal)
(umbreal) Ethereal (empyreal)
(mirror) Astral (pocket)

The rows define the three major arcane states: Physical matter (tangible,) Ethereal Matter (intangible,) and Astral matter (conceptual.)

The left-hand and right-hand columns are kind of vague at the moment, but in general the left-hand column is “less true” to the primary nature of that row, and the right-hand column is “more true” to its primary nature. So:

  • Ghostly matter is not quite intangible, more like a gas or a cloud of dust that maintains its shape.
  • Eternal matter is intangible and immutable.
  • Umbreal matter is intangible but still visible and chilling to the touch.
  • Empyrean matter is intangible but brightly visible and warm to the touch.

The “mirror” and “pocket” states will need some explaining, but I’ll get to that in a future post. Will probably be doing this as a series, one row at a time.

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  1. This is already sounding really good. Can't wait to hear more. Will there be any bits related to magic/illusionism; are magic wielding creatures drawing from these sources and the like?

    1. I've talked about magic and states of matter before, so it's certainly on my mind. For example, emotions leave ethereal imprints, and magic that affects emotions involves manipulating ethereal matter. Illusion, on the other hand, is astral in nature. Magicians create illusions as astral forms and then make them visible.

    2. You can see some first-draft stuff about this under the cosmology tag here.

  2. Yes, you and Nathan (from Secrets of the Shadowend) have touched on these and it always catches my attention.

    1. Whoops, meant for that to be a reply to the cosmology tag.