The mortal world of Empire is surrounded and infused by six magical realms, which Imperial magicians have named Day, Night, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Normally the power of these realms is sequestered away; magicians can perform spells and rituals that draw on the power of the realms, but otherwise it does not affect the day-to-day lives of mortals.
A regio is a region where the power of one or more of the realms has seeped into the mortal world. Some regio occur naturally, others are a response to significant events or powerful magics. Some regio are permanent, some last only for a few hours; some are stable while others wax and wane with the hour or the season. Some are only detectable with magic, others cause effects that are so pronounced that you cannot fail to realize that something strange is happening.
Regio are useful for magicians, and some rituals are so powerful that they can only be performed in a regio. But the main reason regio exist is to create a suite of mechanics that covers many of the classic themes and ideas of mythology. A regio could be a fairy ring that fills with music and dancers at midnight. It could be a strange glade in a Dawnish forest into which knights are prone to wander but never return. A regio is any location in Empire that is mystical in some way, either enchanted or cursed.
- A regio is an area with a magical aura that exists in the mortal world
- Regio are connected to one of the realms and draw power from them
- Ritualists can detect regio and discover their realm connection with the detect magic spell
An area with a regio in it will often reflect the nature of the realm it is connected to; an area with a strong connection to one of the themes of a realm may over decades or even centuries, generate a regio.
For example, a Winter regio might form on a battlefield where hundreds have died and their bones been left without funeral rites. A Spring regio may form at the heart of an untracked wilderness. An ancient library with hundreds of books and scrolls or an observatory where astronomancers have watched the stars for centuries may form a Day regio.
A regio often has an aura associated with it that creates a powerful roleplaying effect. Sometimes these auras may have mechanical effects as well. Neither type of aura can be permanently removed as long as the regio is intact.
For example, a Winter regio may have an aura of dread that fills everyone entering it with the certainty that they are being watched by a horrible monster. A Spring regio may allow anyone within its bounds to recover hits with fifteen minutes of relaxation and rest.
Some regio are temporary, or exist only at certain times of the year. Some eternals can help create a temporary or permanent regio, provided that mortal creatures create an appropriate area for the regio to 'anchor' to first.
For example, a Day eternal may agree to help a group of scholars create a regio in their library provided they create a weltsilver and mithril beacon to go on top of it. A Summer eternal may allow the formation of a temporary regio on a battlefield at the site where five enemy standards are arranged in a circle.
- Ritual magicians can use powerful regio to enhance their rituals
- Only one ritual can be performed using a regio at a time
- Some regio have special properties when used as part of a ritual performance
A regio may help a coven or skilled magician to perform rituals. A handful of rituals are so powerful that they can only be performed using a suitable regio. For example, any Winter regio can be used to perform Whispers through the Black Gate. Any Spring regio can be used to perform Thunderous Deluge.
A ritual that affects a region or territory requires the use of a regio in that region or territory; you cannot use a Spring regio in Bregasland to cast Thunderous Deluge on Skarsind, only on Bregasland.
Only one ritual can be performed using the power of a regio at one time. A new ritual cannot draw on the regio while one is already being cast by a ritualist or coven unless that ritual is disrupted. In the event that two groups try to start a ritual simultaneously, neither of them can draw on the regio.
Some regio are sufficiently powerful that they may provide additional benefits when used to perform a ritual. Usually, these benefits make it easier to perform rituals by allowing contributing magicians to use more crystal mana than their skill would normally allow. For example, a powerful Spring regio might allow a contributor who had a single rank of Spring lore to contribute two crystal mana to a Spring ritual, rather than just one, subject to the normal rules for effective skill.
The Imperial Regio
- The Imperial Regio is a particularly powerful regio connected to all the realms located at Anvil
- This regio is connected to the entire Empire and powerful enough to enhance all rituals performed in it
The Imperial Regio or Anvil Regio is a powerful regio located near the Sentinel Gate at Anvil. The regio is connected to all six realms, which makes it virtually unique in the Empire and its presence here is the most likely reason that the founders chose Anvil as the meeting point for the Empire.
The Imperial Regio is powerful enough to enhance any rituals cast within it. Any ritual performed in the Imperial Regio may harness its power to enhance the realm lore (of any realm) of each contributor by one rank, subject to the normal rules for effective skill.
The Anvil regio can also be used to cast powerful rituals that effect a large area on any territory controlled by the Empire. This allows Imperial magicians to perform rituals from Anvil that would otherwise require them to be in a regio situated in the target territory. A ritual can only be performed in this way if it explicitly says so in the ritual description. For example, the Anvil regio can be used to perform Thunderous Deluge on any Imperial territory, but cannot be used to perform that ritual on a barbarian or foreign territory.
Portals and Chambers
- A regio may contain a portal
- A portal leads to a chamber, a location closer to the realm
- Magicians can detect a portal using detect magic
- Chambers may be inhabited by beings from the realm
- No matter how you leave a chamber, you always reappear in the place you left the mortal world
Some regio contain a portal, a magical door that leads deeper into the realm. Imperial magicians refer to the place that lies beyond a portal as a chamber. A chamber is any location that is beyond the mortal realm but is not fully part of one of the supernatural realms. For example, a bleak haunted castle may exist as a chamber reached from a Winter regio. A pleasant glade full of flowers and feasting tables may be a chamber reached from a Night regio. A primaeval forest inhabited by carnivorous giant insects might be a chamber reached from a Spring regio.
A portal can also be discovered with ritual magic (such as Shadowed Glass of Sung for example). It is sometimes possible to wander through a portal unintentionally, especially if an inhabitant of the chamber beyond wishes to attract mortals. More commonly, a magician uses the operate portal spell to pass through a portal intentionally.
Chambers are often inhabited by lesser eternals, heralds, mortals and creatures from the eternal realm as well as people from the mortal world, but there are strict rules that govern entry and exit from a chamber. An eternal who can enter a chamber from the realm, but cannot move from there to the mortal world. A mortal can likewise enter, but cannot pass beyond the chamber to the adjoining realm. Any mortal who enters through a portal discovers that, regardless of how they leave the chamber, they always depart through the door they came in through. Only heralds seem to be able to move freely between the mortal world and the realm using a portal.
The Anvil Portal
There is a portal in the Anvil Regio that leads to the Hall of Worlds. Any magician who casts operate portal on the Anvil Regio can travel to the Hall of Worlds.
Any magician who does so once (at the normal cost of one mana) can then use the spell freely to enter the Hall of Worlds through the Anvil Regio for the rest of the event without needing to spend additional mana.