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How much does mankind know about the Imaginal Realms?

In an effort to keep Dr. Bulgarex gainfully employed, I've come up with another lore-related question. (Kidding, of course! :p )

This one's pretty straight-forward but the answer has evaded me thus far. Just how much does mankind know about the Imaginal Realms, the "origin" of magic and super powers, and the benefits/dangers that they propose?

Additionally, I would like to cite a Dr. Bulgarex in-game through character descriptions, should the man, myth, and legend provide his endorsement!

Comments

  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    edited September 2019
    That's sweet, Speanoz, thank you. :) But to be honest, I'd rather you not put my forum username in the game. For one reason, the Champions Universe is just a hobby for me, through which I happened to acquire some info I'm happy to share with interested parties to hopefully add to their gaming fun. I wouldn't pretend to be a Doctor just because of that. (I have a Doctorate, but not in that field.) For another reason, the vast majority of CO players would have no idea who this "Bulgarex" clown is. :p

    Speaking of vast majorities, that's how many of the populace of Champions Earth have never heard of the Imaginal Realms, or any of the multiversal cosmology of that reality. On that subject I previously read the expert opinion of Dean Shomshak, the Hero Games author responsible for creating most of that cosmology. Dean went on to write that mystic dabblers, such as those who follow New Age philosophy or join faddish cults, may have heard something about the Astral Plane, the realms of gods and demons, the Four Zoas, and the like; but their knowledge is fragmentary and overlaid with religious doctrine, superstition, and/or pop-culture metaphysics. Only a relatively small number of serious occult scholars have a reasonable grasp of the structure of the Multiverse, what the Imaginal Realms are and how they came to be. But even for the greatest of those scholars, there are deep mysteries beyond the comprehension of any mortal mind.

    As for the origin of super powers, magical adepts are aware that ambient magic on Champions Earth surged higher in 1938, and that superhumans began to appear around the same time; so they suspect those are connected, and have theories as to how. But super powers very often manifest as some aspect of science, and science and magic are decidedly different fields of study, so the connection isn't clearly understood. Very advanced alien civilizations, such as the Mandaarians and Odrugarans, are aware that an underlying force affecting the laws of physics waxes and wanes in our galaxy over time; but they don't really understand that force (magic) or employ it in any significant way.
  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    Whew! That is the fastest summon yet, I think!

    I think you deserve acknowledgement for your expertise, and it'd be such a great way to honor you among those in-the-know. However, I understand and respect your position. :)

    I mostly inquire if UNTIL in particular has any pertinent knowledge on the "creation" of super physics and Imaginally derived power. I've made a character that I've established as an UNTIL scientist of a sorts and I am curious how much of the deeper lore is at my fingertips.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    Hmm. Well, UNTIL has plenty of accomplished scientists on tap, as well as some knowledgeable mystics, so the clues are available. But as I mentioned, practitioners of technology and of sorcery traditionally have found little common ground. There are a very few brilliant individuals, and even a few non-Terrestrial civilizations, who have had some success bridging the gap between the two; but that joint expertise is extremely rare on Earth.

    Maybe if you described the kind of character you want in more detail, I might be able to suggest relevant precedents.
  • fermifermi Posts: 117 Arc User
    To be fair, I was gobstopped just yesterday because a co-worker had never heard of the Oort Cloud. Even pretty regular science stuff is not infrequently completely opaque to normies, much less the more obscure stuff like imaginary time.
  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    edited September 2019
    bulgarex wrote: »
    Maybe if you described the kind of character you want in more detail, I might be able to suggest relevant precedents.
    My character primarily focuses on climatology and cryophysics (being an ice power user in addition to a scientist). Though I've latched onto the idea of there being a very slight interest in the Imaginal Realms and the "creation" of modern super people.

    Would it at least be fair to say that UNTIL is aware of the existence of the Imaginal Realms?
    fermi wrote: »
    To be fair, I was gobstopped just yesterday because a co-worker had never heard of the Oort Cloud. Even pretty regular science stuff is not infrequently completely opaque to normies, much less the more obscure stuff like imaginary time.
    The say what now? Do you kiss your mother with that mouth? :p

    Though I think you bring up some key points that, as a whole, mankind is largely unaware of things not pertaining to their day-to-day lives.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    edited September 2019
    speanoz wrote: »
    My character primarily focuses on climatology and cryophysics (being an ice power user in addition to a scientist). Though I've latched onto the idea of there being a very slight interest in the Imaginal Realms and the "creation" of modern super people.

    Would it at least be fair to say that UNTIL is aware of the existence of the Imaginal Realms?

    I would say that's very fair to say, given that a large number of menaces to world security, and no few heroes, have come to Earth from the Parterres ("lands to the side" as those dimensions are also called) over the decades.

    Given your character's powers, expertise, and service in the world's premier super-law-enforcement agency, researching any of those menaces with a cold/ice connection could have led him/her to consider the link between the supernatural and superhumanity. You've probably already heard of or encountered Kigatilik in CO: a god or demon of cold and darkness from the far North of the world. For centuries while he was imprisoned, Kigatilik was worshiped by the Ice King Vultok, ruler of the Land of Ice/ Ice Kingdom, a corner of the Inuit region of Faerie. Vultok was the greatest menace to Canada during WW II, but near the close of the War he was killed, and his realm devastated, when the prototype A-Bomb he'd stolen was accidentally triggered during a fight with Canada's heroes. Champions Of The North p. 78 mentions that UNTIL continues to keep watch on the ruins of King Vultok's Earthly domed palace in the far North. (Golden Age Champions p. 213 states that Vultok returned from the dead in 2008, and has again allied with Kigatilik, but nothing more on his activities.)

    But Kigatilik himself owes allegiance to an even greater supernatural entity, The Ice, embodiment of all the terrors of winter night in the North. The Ice is one of the "Four Great Spirits" connected to the North, along with the Land, the Sea, and the Sky. These four spirits have recruited or created a number of superhuman champions, from the distant past through the modern era.

    Kigatilik is thoroughly described in Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains, while the Four Great Spirits are outlined in Champions Of The North. That latter book, and Golden Age Champions, provide the notes from which I pieced together the story of King Vultok.



  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    I was aware of Kigatilik's general backstory. I know that there are in-game mentions of the Ice and other meaningful spirit analogs. I was not aware of the Ice King Vultok or the Ice Kingdom within Faerie.

    That's absolutely awesome stuff, though! Since UNTIL actively manages surveillance on the ruins of his palace, that surely indicates they have more than just passing knowledge on Vultok, right?
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    It's a safe bet UNTIL knows everything I transcribed about Vultok above, except perhaps that he's returned and partnered with Kigatilik.

    What UNTIL and everyone else definitely does not know, is that Teleios is also very interested in the remains of the Land of Ice. His "Project Roentgen" is a plan to breed a race of drones, or "Radio-Men," immune to highly radioactive environments, from the DNA of Vultok's deceased subjects, the Ice People. As part of that plan Teleios wants to use his agents to drive a wedge between UNTIL and the Canadian government so the former will have to pull back from their watch over Vultok's palace, allowing the Perfect Man to infiltrate the ruins and rebuild them into a major base.

    (Project Roentgen is briefly outlined on COTN p. 78.)
  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    bulgarex wrote: »
    I would say that's very fair to say, given that a large number of menaces to world security, and no few heroes, have come to Earth from the Parterres ("lands to the side" as those dimensions are also called) over the decades.
    On an only slightly related front, just how many in-house Projects does UNTIL have? I am only familiar with Shiva, Clockwork, Hermes, Stargazer, Snakecharmer, and Mind Game. I think I have seen mentions of a Frankenstein and Citadel as well...
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    Since at least 2004, Project Shiva (Dr. Destroyer), Project Hermes (magic threats in general), Project Stargazer (space defense), Project Snakecharmer (VIPER), Project Mind Game (psionics and mentalists), and Project Citadel (Istvatha V'han) are all permanent, ongoing Special Projects for UNTIL to counter each of those threats. As of the last published word on the subject, Project Clockwork (Mechanon), Project Frankenstein (Teleios), and Project Carolingian (Eurostar) were all in the consideration stage. Clockwork had preliminary approval and is probably established by now, but Frankenstein and Carolingian were not at that stage (and haven't been mentioned in subsequent publications).

    However, most UNTIL Special Projects are temporary, dealing with specific menaces at specific times. The agency rarely establishes new permanent Projects.
  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    Thank you much for clarification; and for indulging my curious whims! I realize that this is really another topic entirely, but every bit helps.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    You're welcome, and thank you for the employment. It may not be "gainful," but at least it keeps me off the streets. ;)
  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    Heh. I just got done writing a lengthy topic in another sub-forum here myself...

    Dr. Bulgarex saves the day once again! =)
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    I should add that Champions Earth scientists are widely aware that other universes, particularly alternate versions of Earth, exist. That's actually a field they're much more comfortable dealing with than most mystics. Occult traditions have never really included the concept of alternate Earths, but their existence is well supported in quantum theory. Those worlds have more often been visited by scientists than sorcerers. Where scientists have trouble dealing is with "higher planes" that function more by metaphysical laws than physical ones.
  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    Where does UNTIL stand on visitation of these alternate worlds? During the in-game Resistance "adventure pack", Harmon's portal technology is considered a scientific breakthrough to the public.... yet such technology has existed for some time on the military level, no?
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    Well, no. No government on Champions Earth has been shown to possess reliable dimension-travel technology. Most official characters crossing between alternate Earths have done so through accident, by employing experimental prototype devices, or both. Only a very few human genius inventors have developed the means to span alternate universes at will, like Professor Paradigm. Of course Istvatha V'han gave her troops and subjects the tech to do so, within restrictions. The Lythrumans also understand how to do it, although their tech is partly magical.

    Nothing has been printed about a general policy for UNTIL in regards to alternate Earths, aside from preparing to counter threats originating from them. However, UNTIL's Project Citadel is described as sending spies into V'han's empire whenever possible to attempt to gather intelligence. Ironically, that has most often involved calling on a "supermage" for help, since some of them know spells to navigate the Multiverse.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    I think I need to make an important qualifier here: I make every attempt to extrapolate consistency out of the precedents appearing in Champions sources, to give inquiring players the guidelines they ask for. But just like actual comic books, the Champions writers clearly put a higher priority on crafting an entertaining story, than on making all their stories align perfectly. There was definitely oversight for the PnP book line that resulted in connections applicable to all of them, but exceptions and contradictions still appear, and some smack of being deliberate from different authors with differing visions, while others may have been deemed not worth the effort to beat into conformity.

    I think there's a lesson we can draw from all that: if saying your character is an exception to anything "official" would make his/her story more interesting and compelling for you, don't be afraid to prove the rule. B)

  • speanozspeanoz Posts: 173 Arc User
    I tend to value consistency, myself. The lore is very important to me, but it is not a word-of-law nor a prerequisite for in-character interaction with my characters. For the most part, I ask a lot of these questions for future references, heh.
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,893 Arc User
    this raises an interesting question... the higher planes.... do they exist as a multiverse too?
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  • this raises an interesting question... the higher planes.... do they exist as a multiverse too?

    https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/championsonline#/discussion/1213190/multifaria-and-imaginal-realms
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    this raises an interesting question... the higher planes.... do they exist as a multiverse too?

    https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/championsonline#/discussion/1213190/multifaria-and-imaginal-realms

    Thank you for the question and the response, Mark and Reaper. :)

    Okay, this one takes a bit of explaining [deep breath...]

    The plan of the Champions Multiverse is derived from the Sephirothic Tree of Life, a concept from Kabbalah which maps the spiritual cosmos. The "bottom" of the Tree is called Assiah, that is, the Material World. This sephira contains universes whose physical laws don't run by magic, including all the alternate versions of Earth's universe. "Higher" on the Tree is Yetzirah, the Astral World. All the Imaginal Realms which accompany a particular Earth are found there, connected by the Astral Plane.Together these form what are commonly called the Inner Planes, those most commonly and easily visited by human mystics. However, elsewhere in Yetzirah, and in even higher sephira, are planes which run on magic and have no direct connection to Earth or any other Assiatic universe. These are commonly referred to as Outer Planes, and are home to spirits and supernatural races, "dimension lords," and beings embodying fundamental concepts of Reality.

    Whether the Outer Planes also have alternative versions is a question that baffles modern mystics; as The Mystic World p. 10 notes, until the Age of Superheroes magic practitioners were unaware of the existence of alternate Earths. No "alternate" beings from the Outer Planes have been encountered, nor have those beings ever mentioned such to humans. But since the Inner and Outer Planes share no causality, there's no reason to assume the multiplicity of the former has any bearing on the latter.

    (If your head is starting to hurt from all this, it's not even the most esoteric feature of the CU. There is a LOT to it.) :o

    The CU's Multiversal plan is laid out in The Mystic World, with duplication plus expansion in Book Of The Empress. What's above is a greatly abbreviated and simplified version.
  • markhawkmanmarkhawkman Posts: 4,893 Arc User
    So some are and some aren't?
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  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    Inner Planes probably are. Outer Planes, nobody knows for certain (or if anyone does they're not talking to the likes of us). But the higher Outer Planes are the abodes of conceptual entities (if such things can actually be said to "abide" anywhere), and for my part I would be astonished if there's more than one embodiment of Chaos, Nature, Time, Death, etc. Let alone God.
  • jaazaniah1jaazaniah1 Posts: 3,723 Arc User
    In which planes do the mythological gods reside? E.g. can there be alternate Zeus's? Zeus of CU earth? Zeus of Multifarian Earth? Etc.
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  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    The mythic gods mostly reside in Faerie, although those whose domains are more "hell-like," e.g. Hades and Hel, dwell in the Netherworld. The forum thread reaperwithnoname linked to above has my assessment of their "alternate" possibilities, FWIW.
  • edited October 2019
    bulgarex wrote: »
    this raises an interesting question... the higher planes.... do they exist as a multiverse too?

    https://www.arcgames.com/en/forums/championsonline#/discussion/1213190/multifaria-and-imaginal-realms

    Thank you for the question and the response, Mark and Reaper. :)

    All I did was link a source. :P
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    Here's a rendition of the traditional Sephiroth, for illustrative purposes._7153266.gif?314
  • fermifermi Posts: 117 Arc User
    Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that the Imaginal Realms contain HUMANITY'S CONCEPTION of the divine, among many other projections of human ideas. Which would explain why there aren't overt duplicates - it requires the collective Jungian archetype to generate that kind of energy, or every human would have his own conceptual plane.

    And this does leave open the possibility that there are ACTUAL gods out there in other planes doing actual godlike things like creating worlds or planes or whatnot which have nothing to do with whatever humans happen to think of them. But again, my understanding is that our knowledge of any of this would be orders of magnitude more obscure than even the obscure Imaginal Realms, excepting perhaps the occasional cryptic prophetic message.

    Likewise, it is my understanding that the 'Ban' which prevents powerful beings from mucking around on Earth only applies to critters from the Imaginal Realms (enforced, as it is, but humanity's idea of 'what can happen'), so any ACTUAL gods could still step in and do whatever they liked. That they don't generally do so suggests either that they're not there, they're not inclined to interfere, or that there is something else blocking them. But which of these would be true would be a matter of conjecture.

    Perhaps all that is just mucking things up. Maybe I shouldn't even bring it up.
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    edited October 2019
    Well, the old saying goes that the two subjects one shouldn't discuss are religion and politics. Doesn't stop people from doing it. ;)

    You are absolutely correct about how the Imaginal Realms are generated. It requires the belief of a large number of human beings over an extended period for a dimension, region within a dimension, or living entity, to come into existence. The Parterre of Elysium contains all the gods, spirits, and heavens of the world's modern "ethical" religions: those which emphasize principles of conduct and standards of virtue, rather than the whims of human-like gods. But these aren't the "real" gods of those religions, if such beings exist -- Champions lore takes no religious stand. These beings appear and behave as the majority of their worshipers conceive of them, e.g. Yahweh/ Jehovah/ Allah as a stern, bearded patriarch. Accomplished magicians who follow any of these faiths consider the gods of Elysium to be masks the real gods wear to relate to simple folk who can't grasp their true natures.

    But since human belief isn't monolithic and evolves over time, not all of Elysium resembles the orthodox view of those religions. A number of "pop culture" Heavens exist, e.g. the region of robed, winged humans playing harps on fluffy white clouds. :p

    The Outer Planes begin in Yetzirah, containing among other things dimensions ruled by "dimension lords" of godlike power unimagined on Earth, e.g. Skarn the Shaper and Tyrannon the Conqueror. Skarn is known to adept sorcerers on Earth, although not to most of the public. He's actually invaded the Champions Earth version of Faerie in the past. The magic of Earth's gods doesn't work against entities from the Outer Planes, so they can't protect Earth from them (i.e. human heroes have to step up). Nor does the Ban prevent such entities from coming to Earth. There have even been invasions of Earth from other dimensions, e.g. "the Chaos-Beast and his horde of reality-warping demonic beings" in 1988. (Champions Universe p. 70) Earth's mystics aren't yet aware of Tyrannon, a potentially even greater threat. Each of these dimension lords commands large armies as well as their personal powers, but can't devote all their resources to a particular plan of conquest; Skarn, Tyrannon, and Istavatha V'han are rival dimensional conquerors, and have to defend their borders from each other. There's no known evidence that multiple versions of these dimensions and their rulers exist; in fact V'han is explicitly noted as being multiversally unique. (All three of these villains are written up in Champions Villains Volume One: Master Villains.)

    Above Yetzirah is Briah, whose inhabitants embody pure concepts. The greatest of these are and control fundamental elements of Reality across the entire Multiverse, such as Chaos, Nature, Death, and Time. I would consider it highly unlikely that "alternates" of these beings exist. The highest and most inaccessible of the sephira within Briah, Kether ("the Crown"), lies completely outside of Time, and is the place where all things become One with everything that exists. Reaching Kether would require a supreme effort of courage and will by only the most enlightened and self-aware of beings. But any being who reached Kether would be God, by whatever name you choose to call It: the Creator, the Primum Mobile, Adam Kadmon, Brahman, the Tao, etc. Because Kether is outside Time, to everyone else in the Multiverse that being would always have been God. Moreover, every being who ever has or ever will reach Kether, is also God.

    Yeah, I know. :o
  • bulgarexbulgarex Posts: 1,890 Arc User
    fermi wrote: »
    Likewise, it is my understanding that the 'Ban' which prevents powerful beings from mucking around on Earth only applies to critters from the Imaginal Realms (enforced, as it is, but humanity's idea of 'what can happen'), so any ACTUAL gods could still step in and do whatever they liked. That they don't generally do so suggests either that they're not there, they're not inclined to interfere, or that there is something else blocking them. But which of these would be true would be a matter of conjecture.

    Should the major conceptual entities wish to take action in the material world, they often possess "local" belief-generated gods of similar disposition and function and use them as their avatars. For example, Death might make Hades or Osiris its puppet. The Trickster, a major Archetype of Chaos embodying the randomness and unpredictability of existence, has possessed the likes of Loki and Coyote. When the Archetypes possess a god its powers are greatly increased. Coyote is normally a minor mischief-creating figure in Native American myth, but when he channels the Trickster he can transform the world.

    The Four Zoas which embody the conceptual substance of Reality -- Order, Chaos, Nature, and Artifice -- include many lesser spirits who serve their purposes. These can range up to unique and powerful Lords of Order/ Artifice/ etc., some of whom are dimension-lords in their own right.
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