Umbral Domains: Old World of Darkness - Humans in Umbra

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Mortals in the Umbra[edit]

The following are clarifications and expansions (possibly also revisions) of the rules governing the mortal humans living in the Umbra. While not intentionally against canon they do go a bit beyond what the books say.


Staying outside of a concensus too long has physically and psychological altering effects on the un-enlightened. These arise from the mind and sense of purpose losing touch with "humanity" in the vastness and normlesness of the cosmos. The conciousness instead latches onto other, less complicated concepts to identify it's self with and the transition from human to spirit begins.

Back in the mythic ages, before the technocracy and it's precursors started hammering out a concensus, the nature of the world wasn't unified and there were just a bunch of separate locals joined by tenuous routes through "unknown" places. These unknown regions were the Umbra and the human world at that point was basically a bunch of small Realms floating within it.

Traveling between the known regions (ie. traveling through the Umbra) could be dangerous, even terrifying for mortals, but not necessarily maddening or deadly. On the other hand, as mortals have gotten used to static reality in the modern era, encounters with stranger realities (and particularly some of the things that dwell there) have become more difficult for them to come to terms with. Therefor modern humans are more likely to go crazy and/or evolve into pure spirits as a reaction to the anomy they preceive in the Umbra. As stipulated in other works after about 60 days of exposure to the Umbra any mortal human who survives permenantly transitions into being a purely Spirit being.

But although exposure to the Umbra it's self may be "corrupting" to the human mode of existence, there are respites beyond the Gauntlet. Realms within the Umbra, especially those shaped by magi and/or a group of humans large enough to form a small concensus, do not necessarily count as part of the Umbra for the purpose of turning humans into a Spirits.

Also, the Void Engineers frequently employ unenlightened marines and other personell aboard their ships, even on long missions. This is made possible by the fact that Voidnaughts and other large human constructs provide a certain degree of stability against the Umbra's effects. Similarly a large enough group of unenlightened humans creates a mini-concensus. While such a small concensus has no real effect on the surrounding Umbra, it does help anchor the humans in their humanity to some degree.

The unenlightened may still experience a certain degree of psychological trauma from Umbral travel though, even aboard ship or while traveling in large groups. Early symptoms tend to include obsessions (even harmless ones) or a far away or "haunted" look in the eyes. However, various mental re-programming procedures employed by the void engineers tend to keep these effects at bay for the most part. Conceivably Tradition Magi might employ similar techniques to assist any unawakened collegues who happen to be traveling with them.


--Peter K. 11:23, 11 June 2006 (PDT)