World Laws reflect the function and flavor of the world and its inhabitants. World Laws affect everyone in the cosm whether they are native to it or not, but they are not carried outside its boundaries (though certain Perks may allow characters to channel aspects of them).
High Lord Uthorion's magical cosm. It has invaded the United Kingdom and Norway.
The Law of Enchantment
The wild magic of Aysle is so pervasive it seeps into some objects unbidden. A sword used to defeat dozens of bandits may spontaneously become a magical bane against their kind. Generations of veneration can turn mundane tools into artifacts rivaling Eternity Shards. When Uthorion’s forces emerged, their first targets were museums, since the artifacts they housed were likely to be imbued during the Axiom Wash. Dragons in particular are drawn towards such items.
The Delphi Council encourages Storm Knights to hunt magical artifacts in the depths, and bring them back for their agents to use in the fight against the High Lords. The Law of Enchantment creates powerful items created by Possibility Energy, growing in might as their legend increases. These items function outside of Aysle, but are contradictory unless the Magic Axiom is strong enough to support magical objects.
Beware! The greater an item’s power the easier it becomes for powerful foes to detect and covet! Dragons, especially, are known to collect such artifacts.
The Law of Light and Darkness
The peoples of Aysle believe that virtue is a palpable force, akin to magic in scope and power. The codified virtues as they see them are known collectively as The Light. The Light is more important than love, family, or life to those who believe in it. Those who eschew The Light have more freedom at the cost of widespread disdain.
The Light isn’t always the same thing as goodness. Obedience to the gods and royalty are prime pillars of The Light, but what if the commands given are foul? Is losing a battle courageously more important than retreating and saving lives? These conundrums make questions of honor difficult and open the way for those tinged with Darkness but who remain essentially good. Light and Darkness are vital and tangible forces in Aysle.
Darkness tends to physically corrupt people, and Aysle natives are understandably mistrustful of those who bear such marks. Some rugged souls reject both Light and Darkness. These rare individuals are called “Outsiders“ by the natives of Aysle, and are equally mistrusted by both sides.
The Law of Magic
Magic is an integral and inherent part of life in Aysle. It infuses the landscape, wildlife, people, and relics of the realm. The land itself is shaped by supernatural power, sometimes ignoring the normal laws of gravity, physics, and geology to create fantastic landscapes and exotic features. Thanks to the enriched mystic power in Aysle, a caster may put his own energy into casting spells.
The world of Torg Eternity isn’t quite our world. Magic, miracles, and monsters do exist, but all pale in comparison to some of the other realms of which we’ve now become aware. In this version of Earth, cultists lurk in the dark corners of the globe attempting to summon demons or old gods. Items like Excalibur are real. A priest’s blessing may actually bring divine favor. Bigfoot may or may not be real, but some of the cryptids chased around the globe by overzealous individuals certainly are. Core Earth is also more action-oriented and cinematic too. Heroes can do and survive incredible feats that might kill a person in our world.
The Law of Glory
Tales of ordinary men and women rising up against cyber knights, dragons, and even dinosaurs fill other Core Earthers with renewed hope. This energy builds, and when a champion emerges, fills him with additional power that can be used to thwart invaders from other realities.
Those who embrace and champion the energy of the Earth receive its thanks in kind. They become legends, capable of feats beyond mortal means: crack shots, mighty fighters, and dynamic athletes whose abilities border on the supernatural. Such heroes existed before the Possibility Wars, but the storm has expanded their power and numbers. The High Lords and their minions know these legends too. They target such heroes purposefully; when a legend falls, despair spreads like a cancer, but a new martyr bolsters opposition to the invaders.
The Law of Hope
Hope suppresses fear and despair and allows people to channel their creativity for a better tomorrow, no matter how bad the situation seems. Core Earthers are filled with Possibility Energy; even so-called “Ords“ generate more potential than denizens of other cosms.
This overabundance of Possibility Energy makes Earthers more difficult to transform than those from other realms, but also makes them better targets for the High Lords! The Law of Hope is also why most of Core Earth is made up of Dominant Zones rather than Pure Zones. Our Earth is more forgiving to alien concepts, which occasionally contribute new ideas and increase axiom levels.
The Law of the Underdog
Heroes may come from any cosm, but the hardy breed from Core Earth are at their best when facing long odds. They never give in just because they are outnumbered, outgunned, and outclassed. And thanks to the Law of the Underdog these daring individuals often prevail.
Rising to the occasion when overwhelmed by impossible foes is a staple of Core Earth legend. The invading High Lords are the ultimate implacable enemy, and their presence has created Storm Knights in unprecedented numbers. Saving Earth is a long shot, which makes this World Law a vital part of the defense effort.
Cyberpope Jean Malraux's oppressive theocracy. It has invaded France, Spain, and much of western Europe.
The Law of Heretical Magic
Malraux believes sorcery is a tool of the devil, and his cosm reflects his single-minded will. He’s never managed to purge magic’s presence completely, though. In fact, the more he castigates those who practice witchcraft and sorcery, the stronger it seems to become. He may not be able to eliminate heretical magic, but he can punish it.
The main consequences of the Law of Heretical Magic are the increased presence of demons and harsher backlash effects. To survive, witches and warlocks have turned to technology of their own. The Hexxer series of implants provides some protection from Malraux’s hate, and more powerful devices can even redirect that energy.
The Law of the One True Way
Malraux’s stairway to God is technology, and many are eager to ascend. Cybernetic conversions are a form of communion, and wondrous machines provide everyday miracles for the poor and displaced within the Cyberpope’s reach. The overwhelming rewards granted to the faithful quickly overcome most dissent and convert those of other sects or religions. There are, of course, plenty of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and people of other faiths in the Cyberpapacy, but they are slowly either leaving the realm, undergoing conversion, or at least keeping silent about their preferences.
The Cyberpope’s dogma transmits targeted ads that address citizens personally as they pass by, or television commercials that speak directly to those watching. All of this is controlled by the ubiquitous GodNet. To most citizens, it is all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful. It rewards those who follow Malraux’s way with Achievements that eventually add up to tangible rewards. This powerful mixture of doctrine and technology unites most citizens of the Cyberpapacy into complacency with some of the regime’s more draconian measures.
The Law of Suspicion
Citizens who live under the ever-watchful eyes of Jean Malraux are suspicious and paranoid. They are quick to report strange activity they witness and denounce friends and family out of misguided faith or fear. Dutiful servants of the Church are rewarded—those who aid (including failing to report) possible enemies of the state meet dark and terrible ends.
Trial by ordeal is an inherent truth inherited from Magna Verita, and is still the main method of proving innocence once suspicion has been cast. There are many different types of ordeal, but the most common are trial by combat and trial by torture. Combat matches are fought to the death between the accused and the cyberpriests’ chosen champions. Holographic images of trials are projected by the Church for education and entertainment.
High Lord Baruk Kaah, a lizard-like humanoid from a world called Takta Ker (which literally translates to “The Living Land“), rules a primeval, mist-shrouded realm that stretches across wide swaths of North America. It is filled with dense jungles, erupting volcanoes, sheer cliffs, and the ruins of lost worlds. Creatures resembling those of Earth’s prehistoric epochs fill the jungles and skies. Survivors have seen animals similar to Sabertooth Tigers, woolly mammoths, giant tarantulas, Velociraptors, Tyrannosaurus Rexes, flying Pteranodons, and other fantastic beasts.
The Law of Life
Where the goddess Lanala is prevalent, living things grow much larger, faster, and in far greater diversity than usual, creating a massive array of flora and fauna at tremendous sizes. Lanala is a vibrant and active goddess. Even those new to her lands can hear her name echoed in the cries of newborns and the dying. Lanala grants her miracles to the devoted of any species, so long as they respect the cycles of life.
Vegetation grows quickly here, overwhelming trails and roads and producing a bounty of edible plants that support a thriving ecosystem of game and predators. Wounds heal quickly under the influence of this law, but tend to leave prominent scars. The Cosm card of the same name reinforces this bounty.
Corpses and perishables typically decompose within a day. Sealed or canned foods fare better, decaying at only twice their normal rate. Metal and plastic begins to deteriorate within months. Tanned leather and worked wood last years. Strangely, bones—especially of gargantuan beasts whose skeletons tower above the landscape—seem to last much longer, accentuating the strange vistas of the Living Land.
The Law of Savagery
Reality here rewards those who embrace their primal instincts. The realm favors brute strength and ferocity. The Law of Savagery also works to alter a character’s appearance. Clothes shred, stick, or hang in ways that emphasize a character’s most masculine or feminine features. Along with the low Social Axiom and the breakdown of modern societal norms, amorous encounters tend to be frequent, brief, and passionate.
The Law of Wonders
Explorers have recently uncovered secret places hidden or even buried in the depths of this mysterious realm—ruined temples, ancient cities, and even shards of lost or fallen cosms! Anything that was lost may someday be found here. These ruins maintain their own pocket Axioms, functioning as hardpoints of the people and creatures who built them. One might find a ravaged section of some fantastic city sundered from a distant world, or an entire intact village of mystic bird-men miraculously transported here from another. These lost civilizations are sometimes populated by small tribes of survivors, while other times they’re nothing but dead cities. Often, they contain fantastic relics, mysterious technology, or priceless secrets—including ways to defeat Baruk Kaah or the other invaders.
Those who oppose Baruk Kaah believe the shards are preserved and hidden away by Lanala as a final testament to life—saving the last vestige of some cosm destroyed by the Tyrant Lizard. The High Lord’s forces seek to destroy such places, seeing them as symbols of defiance to their master’s rule. The Delphi Council has made finding and contacting these lost worlds a high priority in hopes of securing aid in the war against the Reality Raiders. Of course, the ever-present vegetation, the “Deep Mist“ that confounds navigation, and an endless supply of ferocious predators make this an extremely difficult quest, even for the most veteran Storm Knights.
Dr. Mobius, the High Lord of the Nile Empire, is as subtle as a blitzkrieg. During the invasion, his armies exploded onto the scene armed with 1930s technology, weird science, and Egyptian miracles!
The Law of Action
The dangers and stakes in Nile Empire confrontations intensify to match the epic abilities of the combatants. A hero doesn’t just battle her nemesis, she battles him on a speeding train which has just caught fire—and her sidekick has been tied to the tracks ahead! The Law of Action keeps things moving at a breakneck pace. When one battle ends, heroes rush headlong into another with no need for rest or recovery.
The Law of Drama
A certain amount of spectacle accompanies every event in the Nile Empire. Emotions tend to be simple but heightened. People fall in love quickly and passionately. Rivalries become heated feuds. These passions drive the stories of the realm.
Death is rarely permanent in the Nile Empire, at least for Stormers and Storm Knights. “Slain“ villains almost never leave a corpse—they fall into the Nile, crash through a crumbling Cairo rooftop, are lost in the ruins of a burning building, dragged off by their lackeys, or otherwise vanish after being defeated. Important villains might also surrender before they risk life and limb, or be knocked unconscious rather than perish. Killing a helpless person, even the most nefarious servant of Dr. Mobius, is a clear act of evil. Storm Knights who do so incur the wrath of the locals and the Delphi Council. They’re supposed to be the good guys, after all!
Of course the same Law of Drama often means death is a temporary situation for heroes as well! Storm Knights who fall in the Nile Empire might find their way back to life via the Inevitable Return Cosm card. Such a traumatic experience may change a returning character’s perspective or produce a dramatic transformation. The player should work with the Game Master to figure out not only how her character returns, but what effect it has on her—at least for a while. Maybe she feels “dead inside“ for a time and just goes through the motions of being a hero until some dramatic event shocks her system back to normal. Maybe she transforms to the axioms of the Nile Empire and becomes a dark pulp heroine. Or maybe she was just lucky and managed to escape the Grim Reaper’s grasp through some miraculous turn of events. A good resurrection story can be as exciting as one’s demise thanks to the Law of Drama.
The Law of Heroism
The Law of Heroism is the source of pulp powers and a mighty tool in the Delphi Council’s arsenal against the High Lords. The Nile Empire is about big action and heroic feats. The good guys are able to win even when they’re greatly outnumbered. They escape death traps, stand up to villainy, and overcome seemingly impossible odds as they battle the forces of Pharaoh Mobius and the other terrors of the Nile Empire.
The Law of Heroism aids champions inclined toward the greater good, including Storm Knights!
The leader of the Reality Raiders and the grand master of the invasion of Earth is the Gaunt Man. His horror-soaked realm, Orrorsh, is a Victorian-era cosm of colonial rule, native suffering, and monsters straight out of humanity’s worst nightmares.
The Law of Eternal Corruption
Perhaps the worst of the horrors that plague the populations of Orrorsh are those that come from within. Many of the foes Storm Knights encounter are former humans who have given their souls to darkness. They are lovelorn men or women who expose their throats to vampiric embraces or angry souls who let evil into their hearts in exchange for the power to avenge some slight or misdeed.
The Law of Fear
Fear remains a very real and tangible presence throughout the cities, wilderness, and villages of Orrorsh. This constant, overwhelming feeling grips even the staunchest of heroes. A terrible death is always close at hand in Orrorsh. Everyone within the realm knows they will eventually come face to face with the reaper. This reality is expressed by the Law of Fear, the bane of many valiant monster slayers.
The Law of Perseverance
Orrorsh is seeped in fear, evil, and monsters beyond imagining. Some of these are native to the world of Gaea and other cosms the Gaunt Man has conquered. He selects certain of these malevolent creatures and sets them loose to wreak death and carnage. The Gaunt Man’s wretched control over his domain marks those who resist him for death. But there is still a sliver of light in the world. Those who fight despite the darkness and evil—who persevere—can break the High Lord’s hold.
No obvious maelstrom bridge nor High Lord has appeared in the Asia-Pacifica region, but the world has changed just the same. An outbreak of a mysterious plague has afflicted millions, from Tokyo to Seoul to Shanghai. The virus transforms men and women into raving cannibals, and some into what are being called “jiangshi,“ with astonishing speed and leaping abilities.
The Law of Intrigue
Pan-Pacifica seems a model for the rest of the world. The terrible jiangshi virus has been largely contained and the public generally accepts martial law. Society has returned to a semblance of normalcy. New high-tech devices by Kanawa and other companies provide escape and diversion to the populace as they wait for the troubles to pass. Movies, video games, and virtual-reality parlors distract the masses from the invasions occurring elsewhere around the globe or the occasional jiangshi outbreak.
Beneath the surface, however, paranoia runs rampant. People watch their neighbors carefully for signs of the virus. The government encourages this by sponsoring commercials, television shows, apps, and ads that urge citizens to report all suspicious signs to the authorities—including the actions of criminals, traitors, and other seditious types. Within the companies that manufacture, market, and distribute new technology and other goods, a cutthroat mentality has developed. Those highest on the corporate ladder are awarded not just greater pay, privilege, and freedom, but might be able to have infected loved ones captured and placed in cryostorage chambers rather than being put down like most of the jiangshi.
Kanawa’s public face is stern but compassionate, but those who work there say the corporate environment is anything but. Results are prized above all else. Everything is analyzed for profit. Backstabbing is encouraged—those who fall prey to it are seen as weak.
The Law of Tenacity
Pan-Pacifica encompasses many different cultures, including those of Japan, China, and North and South Korea, as well as numerous small islands that have fallen under its sway. The heroes of all these regions battle not only the ravening jiangshi, but the overzealous actions of Kanawa Corp and countless other forces. Whether they are hardboiled policemen and women, private detectives, rebels, or outlaws, Storm Knights of Pan-Pacifica know they can rarely rely on backup. They are almost always on their own against impossible odds. Police officers look the other way for Kanawa’s minions. Private detectives face hostile police forces, uncooperative locals, and security forces with full authority to shoot on sight.
The Law of Vengeance
Though backstabbing is commonplace in Pan-Pacifica, revenge is even sweeter. Just as betrayal is socially acceptable, reprisal in kind is mandatory. A man or woman who won’t or can’t avenge wronged friends and family is openly scorned. The Law of Vengeance isn’t engineered or encouraged by Kanawa. It’s a violent reaction to the manipulation of the cosm’s World Laws, a release that calls to the souls of everyone affected. Retaliation is cathartic and reinforced by reality.
Tharkold is a realm of techno-horror in the cities and near post-apocalyptic survival in the vast reaches between. It is a world where technodemons rule enslaved humans, crudely called the “Race.“ Tharkoldu “prides“ are in turn ruled by seven powerful Dukes, chief of which is High Lord Kranod.
The Law of Domination
The first and most important law of the cosm is simple: The strong take what they want because they can. The weak must either serve the strong or rely on their mercy, a commodity in very short supply. Everyone in the realm is either a dominant or a submissive. In general, reality–rated heroes and villains count as dominant and everyone else is submissive. The Game Master may rule on specific exceptions as the situation warrants, but in general submissive individuals do what any dominant personality orders them to do—without question.
Tharkoldu are organized in prides run by a dominant “alpha.“ The members of the pride still dominate their own thralls, but must obey the alpha or duel him to become the new leader. Denizens of the realm tend to automatically fall into one of the two roles without consciously thinking about it. Storm Knights and Stormers “feel“ dominant to observers, but a display of weakness may swiftly change that. A “Player’s Call“ intimidation might even force a villain into a submissive role, at least temporarily.
The Law of Ferocity
The technodemons and the humans who thrive in their service are short-tempered, brutish, and zealously suspicious. They trust no one and believe tearing down a rival mentally and physically is a sound preemptive tactic. Kindness is simply a window of vulnerability waiting to be exploited by someone who understands the world better. Beings from Tharkold generally aren’t subtle, but they are ruthless and murderously effective, both in political maneuvering and in combat. The ferocious nature of the realm accentuates violence, and most conflicts end with bloodshed. This wild energy courses through Cosm cards like Scourge and Supremacy, and adds a feral desperation to the realm’s denizens. Hold nothing back, give no quarter, and always shoot first.
The Law of Pain
Tharkold is a savage place of blood and barbarism. Pain works as a source of power, literally. The secret to activating many demon devices and implants is the suffering of the user (or an unfortunate proxy). “Vril,“ sometimes called “Agonite,“ is a form of crystallized suffering demons occasionally use as fuel. Inflicting pain draws palpable energy from the target, but for some, suffering has become a gateway to strength as well. This economy of torment reinforces the “do unto others before they can do to you“ aura in the realm. Tharkold Occultech works on the same principles, trading constant anguish from implants for inhuman power. Even those without precognition can feel the suffering that reverberates throughout the realm.