The Eternal Game
Primordial chaos set in array against transcendent law. On the one side, fae, creatures of potentiality and dreams. On the other, empyreans, creatures of absolute reality. The Dreamheart can never touch the Empyreum. And the Empyreum can never reach the Dreamheart. They are simply too different, too alien from each other to interact. But where they clash reality and unreality boils, birthing things invested with both the freedom to change and the form of identity. Worlds of two faces, the Dreamland and the Waking World. Stages set where horrors beyond mortal reckoning can play their Eternal Game. For if one side wins, the worlds that are find themselves consumed and the stage set anew. And so you, Watcher, it is your duty to ensure the Eternal Game remains forever a stalemate. Koom lo Rlyeh, Watcher! May the sunken city never rise!
The Light of Truth is a dangerous thing, Watcher. It sears the ignorant with its brightness. But as you have no doubt learned, Watcher, there are some things best left unknown. So stand tall as a bulwark against that Light, Watcher! Cast your shadow long and dark upon the teeming masses, so that they may live their lives in the peace of ignorance. To be unknown denies our enemies their power. Koom lo Rlyeh, Watcher! May the sunken city never rise!
Spoiler: A Few Terms
Thaumaturges: People with a natural spark of arcana, able to employ the otherworldly power of the Empyreum
Deranged Cultists: Mortals devoted to otherworldly powers, be they sorcerous or eldritch. Cultists don't always have any actual access to otherworldly power, though they DO further the agenda of otherworldly powers.
Empyreans: Beings native to the Empyreum, creatures of form and reality.
Empyreum: The highest reality, realm of the Ideal Forms. A place where the Blinding Light of Truth burns brightest.
Fae: Beings native to the Dreamland, creatures of dream and possibility. Not to be confused with a faerie, a material creature or object that has been ensorcelled by the fae, causing it to become partly unreal.
Ideal Forms: The four highest Truths of the Empyreum. Hyle, Kosmos, Logos, and Pneuma.
Seemings: The three avenues of primordial fae power, Glamour, Gossamer, and Enchantment.
Sorcerers: People with a natural spark of sorcery, able to employ the otherworldly power of the Dreamheart.
Watchers: An order of mortal vigiliants who stand against the horrors that lurk just beyond the threshold. Hunters of fae, burners of witches, and purgers of abominations. They will often employ wizardry, are somewhat tolerant of sorcerers and arcanists, and really, really dislike witches/warlocks.
Witches: People who have entered into a pact with an otherworldly power in order to gain sorcerous or arcane boons. A male witch is known as a warlock.
Wizards: People who use rituals and implements to bind and contain arcane or sorcerous power and who do not necessarily hold an obligation to otherworldly forces.
The Ideal Forms are absolute realities. Four things that dictate all else. That from which all else in the empyrean flows. Hyle, matter and energy and chaos and shape. Kosmos, space and time and motion and entropy. Logos, information and data and quality and growth. Pneuma, perception and will and id and unconsciousness.
Empyreans come in one of four hosts, the names of which depend on the Ideal Form(s) they're aligned with. Greater hosts aren't necessarily more powerful in a battle than lower orders, but they ARE a greater threat to reality. Below the hosts are unaligned puti, awful little four-faced things that combine the worst attributes of toddlers with unsettling inhuman bits. Above them sits the first host, the copper host. They are dreadful creatures of their own right, sporting awful forms and unnatural abilities. Their mere presence warps reality to make it more like the Empyreum, twisting the surrounding terrain. The bronze host's aura grows in power and reach such that even looking upon the empyrean or remaining in its proximity will expose a creature to its corruptions. Worse still, they have the ability to spawn creatures of a strength similar to puti, though aligned with the same Ideal Forms as their parent. A silver host empyrean's aura grows in power and reach and they gain the ability to spawn first order empyreans. A gold host empyrean is a significant existential threat to any world it awakens upon. These Great Old Ones are able to spawn first order empyreans in plague-like proportions as well as numerous second order empyreans. The reach of their aura can become global, or nearly so.
Empyreans aligned with Hyle typically have reptilian features, crystalline growths, and pits flicking tongues. These empyreans are known as seraphim of the light, glory, splendor, and majesty orders. The motif of Hyle is interlocking, equilateral triangles.
Empyreans aligned with Kosmos are awful amalgams of sea life, often with disquieting anthropomorphic features. These empyreans are known as ophanim of the moment, season, aeon, and eternity orders. The motif of Kosmos is a spiral.
Empyreans aligned with Logos are equal parts mammalian and fungoid, sporting cloven hooves and more mouths than strictly necessary. These empyreans are known as cherubim of the psalm, hymn, ode, and choir orders. The motif of Logos is a branching line.
Empyreans aligned with Pneuma are masses of eyes and wings and arms, things that are both avian and human in awful, unsettling mixtures. These empyreans are known as malakim of the throne, dominion, principality, and power orders. The motif of Pneuma is an eye surrounded by whorled patterns.
All Empyrean creatures have four points of alignment, either major (two points) or minor (one point). Zee, everyone's favorite otherworldly barmaid, has a minor alignment with Information, Shape, Matter, and Will. As such, she is aligned with Logos, Pneuma and Hyle. However, since she has two alignments with Hyle, that makes her a seraphim. Her malign aura mutates the form of everything around her into aberrant life, including things not normally considered alive. By contrast, her progenitor K'rax-Naggath was a slumbering Ode, a horror of incomprehensible power. She bore a major alignment with Growth and Information.
The empyrean realm itself exists simultaneously transcendent to and immanent with the Waking World.