- The foundational article was written by Warren, and published in the Crystal Hall Forums, WA Universe section: Entity Classifications
Entities are any type of "supernatural" creature. In this case, supernatural indicates things that seem to be outside of normally understood biology or physics. Aliens are not entities. Ghosts, vampires, spirits, and Cthulhu gods are entities. Lessons at Whateley (particularly for Avatar and magic-user types) will teach students to identify and differentiate the different classes.
Class 1 (mutants)Edit
Class 1 entities aren't really supernatural at all, they're normal mutants. Some mutant powers may end up looking a lot like something supernatural (particularly for some of the ugly mutants), but it's really just good, old fashioned mutant powers. Examples: Techwolf, Fey, Phase in ghost form, Thuban, Jello. Mutants, but prone to being mis-identified by stupid normals.
- Main article: Powers#Meta-gene complex
Mutants always have a characteristic genetic signature called the "meta-gene complex." This complex is spread into 18 parts over a number of different chromosomes. The reverse is not true - possession of a meta-gene complex does not mean that someone is a mutant. The metagene complex is fairly widespread. Depending on the authority, as of the early 21st century, anywhere from a sixth to a third of humans may possess it. Mutants with manifested preter-human powers are, however, rare. Again depending on the authority, there may be anywhere from five thousand to fifty thousand of them; the low end of the estimates make them literally one in a million.
Semi-persistent knots of magic. This is the explanation for about 95% of the "things" out there. Spirits, Demons, Gods, Totems, Manitou, Kachina, Kami, Divs, Loa, Faeries, Goblins, and Fey's hobgoblins. All began as knots of magical energy with a very limited duration. Achieving a greater duration involves several steps:
(Optional) Follow a template. Somehow, successful spirits communicate how they did it. This helps establish a template that later spirits follow. Templates are often common to a region, so you'll often get aboriginal-style spirits in the aboriginal locale. Templates also seem to be carried by people, so when people move to a new region to escape old haunts, sometimes similar events seem to follow them.
Establish a "hallow" - a location or object that anchors the magical charge and is a home of sorts. Most Hallows are located at places where lines of magical force cross; there is usually something that will hold a charge there (pool of water, standing stone, tree, so forth). Objects, especially precious stones, can become Hallows; this is called being Cursed.
Select a focus - is this an "Ancestor Spirit", or a "War God", or a "Vampire Spirit", or a "Trickster Spirit"? The definition tunes and limits. While increasing certain actions, and increasing the inflow of certain energies, it closes off other energies and actions.
Feed. Spirits require an influx of magical energy for survival, but they are highly limited. This energy must be "pushed" into the spirit, it cannot be pulled. Magical energy is akin to electricity- there's Amperage and Voltage. Voltage "pushes" Amperage through the wires. Ambient magical energy has lots of natural "amperage" but little natural "voltage". Voltage is provided in nature by things like storms, wildfires, volcanoes and death. Humans can provide magical voltage by two means- Great Discipline and Intense Passion. By inspiring humans to some great emotion (anger, hate, love, fear, shame, etc.) spirits can trick them into "pushing" magical energy, which provides the Spirit with more magical potential. Humans should beware, since spirits are always hungry for more energy. An intense debate is Magical Theory is "Do spirits have rational intellects?" or instead "Are spirits entities of pure reaction?" There are theories and proofs on both sides (which often involve the spirit parasitically exploiting a host's intellect or abilities to meet its own needs).
One theory credits spirits with independent intelligence - initially at purely an animal/reactionary level, growing over time as the spirit persists and adapts, eventually reaching human or super-human levels.
Kristin Darken, on Spirits and GodsEdit
- Spirits in the WU have little to no ability to influence the physical world due to the "power charge" of crossing out of your 'home' realm/plane/dimension. For a 'spirit' to cross over into the physical world takes a massive amount of energy. Once here, the spirit/entity has to expend energy to stay here (and it doesn't necessarily get an automatic return home when it runs out of energy... a spirit that flips over into the physical world with no way home that runs out of energy before getting a way home CAN and usually DOES die). And in most cases, while here in the physical world, the spirit is 'lesser'... it takes more 'oomph' to manipulate the physical world than they are used to and they also don't have innate abilities to just relax and go to sleep to recover their strength.
- This is why, with all these spirits running around, you don't see tons of possessions in the WU. At least, not by 'spirits'. It has to be very very important to the spirit to commit to spending their energy to manipulate the physical world. Of course, they can get some mage to pay the crossover charges by performing a summoning ... that's one way to 'work' the system. It's also possible for a spirit to be given a 'benefits package' as part of a summoning - something that supports their presence in this world, maybe even makes it more like they are a native so that what the spirit does doesn't cost it a lot of its own life force. But no free lunch... SOMEONE is still paying the bill. Usually the summoner, directly or indirectly.
- It's also why a spirit getting hosted by an avatar is such a good deal for a spirit. The Avatar's Hallow exists in their world. So not only do they get to interact with the physical world indirectly, they get to do so without any of the risk or expenses of crossing over. And it comes with room and board in the spirit realm equivalent of a fortress. Ya, ok... most of them also expend some of their energy to ensure that their host is going to be safe and inclined to the sort of activities that they personally enjoy. But they can afford to at that point, because for the lifetime of that host, they've got it made.
- Gods, on the other hand, are very different. It's true that gods in the WU can transcend the physical body. But they are not spirits. They're not external entities in the 'cost of doing business on the physical plane' game. Unless they are a god from outside. Gods that started here get to keep their home court advantage after they transcend... gods that transfer in have all sorts of problems until they adapt (or impose their nature on the world). The source and nature of a gods power is quite different. And while you can draw analogies between the life force of a spirit and its power, the essence of a mage and its manipulation, and the power of a god and how it is used... these three things are not the same 'type' of energy. Can you use one in place of the other in certain situations? Yes. All situations? No. Can you convert one to one of the others? Yes. Always? No. Are there exceptions? Probably.
Sub-categories of spirits:Edit
Magical entities that have a solid or partially solid body, like brownies, demons, cockatrices, and jackalopes. Usually, destroying the body destroys the knot and the entity.
Magical entities with an intangible body, like will-o-the-wisps, or banshees, or poltergeists. Despite their lack of a solid body, they can still affect the material world. Most possessions are due to a class 2/non-corporeal entity.
Entities bound through death. Either the creation power came from a death, the hallow is a body, the focus or template is a dead form, or the feeding seeks to cause more death. Examples include ghosts (which many argue contains only a template image of the dead person, not a "soul"), zombies, vampires (summoned by death, the hallow is the body, feeding is done to cause further deaths as well as providing maintenance material for the hallow), etc.
This may involve focusing on one animal which evolves into a more powerful being (a fox-spirit or bear-spirit), focusing more diffusely on a type of animal (all wolves hear the great wolf spirit) or a region (the forest here does not tolerate man). Often, natural spirits become almost symbiotic with the animals that form their focus - the animals feed the spirit through their lives, emotions, and deaths; the spirit guards and protects the animal species at large (but not the individuals).
A common template, this draws power from a natural event - a waterfall or volcano. Advanced versions of this entity will be able to form an independent body composed of their focus element. Unlike corporeal entities, destroying the "body" merely sends the spirit back to its hallow.
Unlike "corporeal", this type inhabits the body of a living creature and fills it with magical power, strengthening it, granting new abilities, and gradually warping the creature into a monstrous parody of the original creature. Killing the body dissipates the entity.
Demonic / divineEdit
Any of the above entities, grown old enough to (apparently) display advanced thoughts and goals, along with much greater power than a new-born entity.
- Main article: avatar
Are a kind of mutation or preter-human ability to host nearly any Class-2 and some Class-3 spirits. They will subconsciously provide the "voltage" necessary to feed and maintain the spirit. The avatar powers may give the human host total control over all spirit abilities.
While Class 2 entities compose the bulk of supernatural encounters, there are other beings out there. Extra-planar creatures, discorporate human intelligences, beings of pure energy, pure astral life-forms, etc. The amateur supernatural sleuth is separated from the professional by the ability to differentiate Class 2 creatures from Class 3. As Class 3 entities obey entirely different sets of rules, treating such an entity as a class 2 may be dangerous or fatal. Avatars are incapable of possessing most class 3 entities.
- Main article: Cthulhu Mythos
Entities of this nature are classified at the highest imaginable threat level. Many predate the planet earth, they may predate this universe. The Old Ones apparently cannot be harmed (or even irritated) by powers at human disposal, but they might be distracted or turned elsewhere. Many encounters of this class will not be with Old Ones per se, but with lower-level servant entities. These are (theoretically) mortal - the encounter usually involves stopping such beings before they can attract the attention of an Old One.
The nature of Old Ones is beyond comprehension by any human-type intelligence. They exist "in the spaces between the dimensions, undimensional and unseen." They will continue to exist long after the planet is gone. According to reliable intelligence, the world is endangered because "the Elder Things wish to strip it and drag it away from the solar system and cosmos of matter into some other plane or phase of entity from which it had once fallen". Obviously, even the mightiest hero should be cautious when dealing with beings who would send the planet spinning into another dimension.
It is reputed that contact with any Class X item (whether entity, artifact, or simply second-hand writings) has the potential to damage sanity. It is well accepted that such damage is cumulative.
- ↑ Techwolf is not a mutant, he's a cursed baseline