No Books of Men: World Building – Houses, part II

After a cold that knocked me off my feet for almost a week, I’m back with three more Houses!

These three are the “Founding” Houses of the Council. These are the groups which, possibly older than the Cult of Thoth, helped come together to form its core in the Roman Period and later recruited the other Houses. These are all very different in level of organization and stability, but all are united in their loyalty to the Council. Most also tend to have contributed to the Order’s ranks centuries ago, and thus have counterparts within the Order.

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No Books of Men: World Building – Houses, part I

As promised, I’ve started putting together summaries of the Houses of the High Council. As I’ve been going through these factions, I’ve been drfiting further and further away from calling them Houses. They’re more than simple “factions” however, so until I can think of a different term for them they will continue to be called “Houses.”

The first three of the Houses are those who began as groups independent of the Council, the Order, and the Schism Wars. Houses Lian, Mara, and Masar each have a unique history and set of circumstances which brought them to the Council and thus have a certain degree of autonomy and independence that other Houses might not. That said, they are still full members of the Council and thus follow its guidelines while helping to shape the bylaws of the group.

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No Books of Men: World Building – Supernaturals, Part IX

The Heralds. The closest thing to Angels or Demons in the No Books setting, but they’re still very different from either classification. The Heralds are creatures created by the Elder Things to serve obscure purposes and dark goals. They are manipulators and architects, building and changing things to suit their masters’ purposes.

They have more power and knowledge than Magi can imagine. They control, manipulate, and abuse more than Vampires could even dream. They have more mutability and adaptability than Werewolves or Shifters think possible. Wyrdlings are created to serve the Heralds and their masters in turn, even those who retain/regain their free will are doing so in defiance of the Heralds. Heralds are (theoretically) eternal and have existed since the dawn of time and will survive its end. They are the Alpha and the Omega, and yet these puny mortals defy them and defeat them at every turn (intentionally or otherwise). They are bound by rules they cannot help but follow, which hinder them in their machinations. They are powerful, but restrained. They are of this world, but something wholly alien as well… Continue reading “No Books of Men: World Building – Supernaturals, Part IX”

No Books of Men: World Buillding – Supernaturals, Part VIII

While Urban Fantasy, as a genre, has a different focus than the broader Fantasy genre there is still a tendency for some to question the status of the “other” races/species. Elves, Dwarves, Goblins, Dragons, Dyrads, Centaurs, Unicorns, and more fall in this category. So, what about them? Do they exist in the No Books setting?

Short answer: Yes. While these races and creatures exist, they aren’t common. These sorts of creatures were rare in ancient times and they have only become more so in the modern era. Some hide in the unpopulated corners of the globe, others seek out refuge in places of magic, still others have simply gone extinct and are only remembered in myths and legends. This is only the briefest of overviews and is not meant to be all-inclusive, just a conception to show how those living in this world are familiar with these races/species. It is unlikely any of these creatures will play more than the smallest of roles in any No Books stories.

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No Books of Men: World Buiding – Supernaturals, part VII

Spirits. If Shaman, Mediums, Necromancers, and other spirit-talkers exist… What are they talking to? Ghosts are a real thing in No Books, but what about non-human spirits? Yes, they exist too. This is only the briefest overviews, but it gets at the ideas behind the Spirits and their world beyond the physical.

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No Books of Men: World Building – Supernaturals, part VI

Angels and Demons. A sticky topic, to say the least, which is difficult to wiggle out of a religious context. Also one which seems somehow unavoidable in the context of modern fantasy. Of all the supernatural “races” which commonly appear in modern fantasy, these two bother me the most. “Angels” all too often fall into one of two categories: either they are flawless beings used as a Deus Ex Machina or deeply flawed beings which stand to represent the falliability of faith/God/whatever and is most often used as window dressing to make a character “more interesting.” Conversely, Demons are also prone to one of two groups: either the moustache twirling “EVIL” being which tempts or provides an easy target for monster-of-the-week killing, otherwise they’re on some sort of redemptive arc to prove that even “Demons can be good.”

While these two groups (and it is rare when one appears without at least some reference to the other) can be used in interesting ways, even within the aforementioned stereotypical roles, but its rare I want to deal with them in my own writing. Hell, one of my favorite novels (Good Omens) stars both an Angel and a Demon. I prefer reading them to writing them though, and despite faith in their existence being a true thing in No Books, the entities themselves…

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No Books of Men: World Building – Supernaturals, Pt V

Wyrdlings are kind of unique in the No Books setting. They share certain similarities with changelings from folklore (and admittedly with a certain RPG bookline which shall remain nameless), and this is on purpose. Stories of otherworldly beings kidnapping people, mostly children but sometimes adults as well, and spiriting them away to realms unknown are very fitting with the setting. Unlike the folklore (and closer to the aformentioned game line), the Realms people are brought to in this setting isn’t really meant for people and thus many perish. Those (un)fortunate to survive are changed, mutated by their experience and the emanations of the creatures which call those places home. 

While some Wyrdlings do see themselves as “fae-touched” it is worth noting that in No Books there is no such things as “faeries.” The fae (and similar creatures such as the Yosei of Japan or the Yakshi of India) are merely constructions and stories created by humanity from the piecemeal scraps of information brought back by survivors of encounters with the Elder Things and their Heralds. One thing that these legends were wholly correct in describing is, regardless of their actions an how they affect humanity, the entirely inhuman motivations and goals of the “Fae.”

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