by Constantine Thomas (30 Mar 95)
This is just a note of explanation regarding the Continuum and Nexus documents included elsewhere on this page (hopefully!). What is presented below amounts to the 'Author's notes' and includes some of the reasoning behind the Continuum, which will hopefully show the logic behind some of the ideas....
The Continuum and Nexus basically represent a change of
direction for Mage. Originally, it started out as a little homage to
a rather obscure (but VERY Magey) early 80's British Sci-Fi series
called 'Sapphire and Steel', starring Joanna Lumley and David
MacCallum. The series itself is a bit heavy, but the stories are
excellent and the ideas are quite unique. If you can get hold of some
of the videos of these, then they are certainly worth watching! It
revolves around two Agents who are despatched by an unknown extra-
dimensional organisation to deal with the invasion of very alien
creatures who dwell 'beyond the Corridor of Time'. Indeed, one of the
nasties they face bears an uncanny resemblance to a Nephandi Pure
Form (found in the back of Mage)...
This got me thinking as to how I could incorporate them into Mage, and the result was the Continuum. Originally, this was designed to replace the Cult of Ecstasy as the Tradition that specialised in Time (I felt that the CoX had very little connection with Time), but in the final draft I decided to keep the Cult as a Tradition and put the Continuum OUTSIDE the Traditions and the Technocracy. Thus they are neither a Tradition nor a Convention - they're just the Continuum. The role of the Continuum itself is to guard reality against invasion by the Darkness (ie. the Nephandi).
The full supplement is taken up by two documents. The first document is a complete description of the Continuum itself (in the first half), and of its Paradigm (in the second half). The whole thing is described largely in terms of the Continuum's Paradigm, which means that it is advisable to read through the Paradigm Page first so the rest of the documents can be understood fully.
The second document is a description of the Continuum's
Chantry Realm - Nexus, the Shade Realm of Time. Unlike Doissetep (in
the Shade Realm of Forces, described in the Book of Chantries), the
connection between Nexus and the Continuum is very strong - so strong
in fact that it is more like the relation between Iteration-X and
Autochthonia. Nexus is definitely the home ground of the Continuum,
and they operate at a distinct advantage there. Because of this,
outsiders may gain Paradox in Nexus. While this may seen a little
controversial, it is not too hard to believe when one considers that
Tradition Magick probably suffers just as much (if not more) on
Autochthonia, since it is so alien to the It-X paradigm - the
situation is very similar.
Nexus is also the link to the Virtuals, a new kind of plane in the cosmology of the Tellurian. These are essentially alternate worlds, in which history took a different route. Any and every possible world is represented somewhere in the Virtuals that Nexus can access.
The first part of the Nexus document contains the rules for creating and using these Virtuals. The second part of the document describes Nexus itself, and also describes a few of the Virtuals (in the Nodes and Virtuals section). The third part briefly glosses over Central Office (the actual Chantry of the Continuum, located in Nexus) and the Continuum's policy regarding the Virtuals and its allies and enemies.
It is important to note that the existence of the Virtuals may tip the balance in the Ascension War, since they contain a vast amount of Quintessence. I have endeavoured to make the reasoning behind the Virtuals follow that described in the Mage game (ie. make it continuous and 'realistic' in Mage terms). For this reason, the Continuum zealously guards the Virtuals, allowing only those individuals from the Traditions that it trusts implicitly into Nexus (ie. actively 'employs'), and remains outside the Ascension War. Should any of the Traditions or the Technocracy break through and plunder the Virtuals, they will have a vast amount of Quintessence and resources at their fingertips - certainly enough to win the Ascension War!
The rules presented herein are designed to fit in with the
normal Mage background, without changing the slant of the game. One
can either have adventures on Earth, or one can roam through the
Virtuals, but neither should have a significant effect on the other.
The Virtuals should remain largely separate from the rest of reality,
outside the Ascension War.
While these rules are designed to be used alongside the existing Mage background, it is also possible to change the whole slant of the Mage game using them. One obvious alternative is to have the Ascension War fought almost exclusively in Nexus and the Virtuals. This would take the form of the Technocracy (who seek to control and solidify reality in the Virtuals) against the Continuum and the Traditions (who seek to prevent this and let each Virtual evolve on its own to its own destiny). In effect, the arena of the Ascension War is now infinitely larger - not only does it take place on the Earth we know, but it also rages across all the other possible Earths! However, I have not included specific details of how to manage this, as I feel that it is too great a change to the background. However, individual Storytellers may wish to do so, and the rules provided here can give a necessary starting point from which to do this.
Two things are noticeable by their absence - full
descriptions of the Virtuals and their Inhabitants, and the Rotes
that the Continuum uses.
I have not described the Virtuals in any detail because I feel these should be up to the individual Storyteller to design. I have put in a few ideas (listed below), but basically the Virtuals should be personalised to how each Storyteller envisions the alternate Earths. And besides, there are far too many possibilities out there...
The Virtuals mentioned are:
It should be noted that if there was a general theme to the Continuum, it should be that of Mystery. The Virtuals that the Continuum explores are not the inhabited ones (like Reich or Aegypt) but are rather the ones that are left myseteriously untouched by sentient life (eg. Lucifer and Neverland). I think that designing Virtuals along these lines would do the Continuum the most justice.
As for Rotes, there aren't any her primarily because I haven't gotten around to thinking about those yet! When I do get round to thinking some up (that are uniquely Continuum-oriented) I'll try and get them published - I'll try and them written up soon! Hopefully, the Continuum should be usable as it stands using existing Rotes and Talismans. Remember that they're Technocratic Mages though, that require devices for their effects! (see 'foci' in the Continuum Description).
However, one important thing to note about the Virtuals is that because of their unusual (Time-like) nature they can be entered using either Spirit 3 (stepping sideways) or using Time 3 (as a direct equivalent to Spirit). I should have mentioned this in the rules, but I forgot!
This may be a good point to define the `theme' of the Continuum and Nexus. This theme is the exploration and interpretation of the Mysterious Unknown. The Strange, the Weird, and the Unusual. Enigmatic Alien artefacts on empty worlds, disappearing cities, mind-blowing Hard Sci-Fi mystery, strange forces shaping realities, civilisations never encountered before, and so on. Bear this in mind when designing your own Virtuals.
That's it then. I hope that you enjoy these new rules, and hope even more that you find them useful :-)! I've left a lot of the specific details about background delieberately open-ended, so that Storytellers can decide for themselves what to include in the Virtuals.
Some inspiration is always a good thing, and there's plenty of it out there! Here's a brief list of things that may prove useful!
There's loads of Time Travel Series flying about (Quantum Leap, Time Tunnel, etc) but only a few are going to provide much inspiration for Nexus and the Virtuals...
Finally, but by no means leastly, I must thank those responsible for helping me to get this all published! Certainly, without the contributions of DJ (Shelby) Babb and Anders Sandberg, this monster would never have gotten off the ground. Many of the ideas in here came from these two guys, and I really appreciate the patience and time that DJ and Anders put into helping me, and for putting up with all my emails! And of course, I am indebted to Anders for putting this on his Mage Page - its an honour to be here! Thanks a lot guys!!!!!!
That's it from the preface - enjoy the Continuum and Nexus!!!! If anyone's got any questions, comments, ideas, etc, then I can be contacted at:email@example.com
Thanks for reading this, and enjoy the show!!!!!
Nexus is a truly incredible Realm, and is home to Central Office,
the Main Chantry of the Continuum. It is from here that the Continuum
co-ordinates its defence of the Corridor.
Aside from its bizarre inhabitants and environment, Nexus opens whole new Vistas of opportunity and adventure for Mages, through the Virtuals that can be accessed from it.
Some periods of History appear to result in the creation of an Alternate Corridor to the Main Corridor (MC) representing Earth. History may take a different course in these Alternate Corridors, known as Virtual Futures, or more commonly, VIRTUALS. Within these Virtuals, an exact duplicate of MC is created, but with one difference - the outcome of the event.
When the time comes for the event to occur in MC, one of these Virtuals 'crystallises' or becomes Real. This former Virtual now represents the outcome of the event in MC. The other Virtuals at this point 'shear off' the Main Corridor, and these 'failed' Virtuals are cast adrift in the Darkness. Many (if not most) of these Virtuals are rapidly dissolved by the Darkness, but some survive for long enough to be captured by Nexus and made Real.
The Darkness itself requires some further explanation. It represents the corrective forces of the Metaverse. The Corridors themselves are actually aberrations in the fabric of the Metaverse, and as a result are quite unstable. To restore equilibrium, the Darkness (the natural fabric of the Metaverse) seeks to dissolve these instabilities. On Main Corridor (the only True Corridor about which anything is known at present), these attempts at correction manifest on the whole as seemingly intelligent entities seeking to invade and destroy our reality - the Continuum's sole purpose is to repel these invaders. The Continuum is fully aware that it can never `win' this Perpetual War, and as such solely operates defensively, foiling invasion attempts as and when they occur. To some, these invasions appear to be driven by individual entities - the Garou see an entity known as the Wyrm. However, this is an illusion. The Continuum know that the Wyrm (and the other devils of the Awakened) are but the physical representations of a much greater concept. In a sense, the Darkness itself (or at least its physical representations) may be considered as sentient in an extremely alien way. It cannot destroy our True Corridor directly, but instead seeks to weaken it from the inside through these invasions. As such it manifests within Main Corridor as entities which appear `evil' and `nihilistic'. Although the Continuum destroys or banishes Wraiths where it finds them (due to the fact that they seem to weaken the Walls of the Corridor where they appear), the Oblivion of these Ghosts is probably much closer to a true understanding of the concept of the Darkness than the Wyrm.
Nexus itself is unusual in the cosmology of the Continuum. It is directly attached to Main Corridor, running parallel to it (unlike the Branches, which radiate from the sides), but borders directly on both the Darkness and Main Corridor itself - thus, in Mage terms, it is a Horizon Realm with access to both the Deep Umbra and the Near Umbra and Earth. Thus, it can collect the Virtuals that are cast adrift from Main Corridor.
It is not entirely clear what factors allow certain Virtuals to survive dissolution by the Darkness. The probability of their outcome is very likely to be one factor, although the amount of Energy (Quintessence) they hold also appears to be important. Sometimes it just seems to be the will of its inhabitants' existence that gives the Virtual strength against the Darkness. One possibility, which the Continuum or any other mortal is completely unaware of (and is quite possibly afraid to consider), is that Nexus itself is ACTIVELY saving Virtuals from destruction. This also raises the question of whether or not Nexus itself is in fact the Oracle of the Continuum.
Nexus is surrounded by thousands (if not millions) of Virtuals,
accumulated it seems from the beginnings of our own Corridor. These
Virtuals surround Nexus like a fibreoptic cable, with Nexus being the
core 'fibre'. However, when accessing Nexus from MC, it can be
entered directly without recourse to having to pass through a Virtual
first. The Virtuals themselves can only be accessed via Nexus, and
not from MC. It appears that the Virtuals related to Earth and
humanity are the most easy to access from Nexus, while other, more
'incompatible' Virtuals are much harder to enter. There appears to be
some kind of metaphysickal barrier that prevents different and
incompatible Virtuals from intermingling. Thus, a Virtual where the
very physical and natural laws define Reality to consist solely of
Radiation (with no matter) is going to be extremely difficult (if not
impossible) for an MC human (who comes from a Universe where Matter
dominates) to access.
A Virtual contains a 'less potent' (see later) duplicate of EVERYTHING (even Nodes) that was contained in the Main Corridor when it separated. When a Virtual splits from MC, Time freezes within it, since it is now no longer sustained by The Flow while adrift. This makes it very vulnerable to invasion by the Darkness through the 'open ends' of the Virtual. In all cases, if the Darkness breaks through to the drifting Virtual, it is discorporated in seconds..... mercifully, its inhabitants (frozen in time) are not even aware of their destruction (they are not even aware of their existence at this point).
Nexus itself seems to be a Pseudo-Corridor - similar to MC but not quite the same. It possesses some kind of MetaGravity, that allows it to attract the drifting Virtuals. It also, being a Branch (albeit an unusual one) of MC, has the Flow travelling through it. The Flow represents Prime, but it also pushes objects within the Corridor (and all of its Branches (including Nexus)) forwards through Time. If a Virtual has no Flow, it is temporarily rendered both 'unreal' and 'outside Time'. If a Virtual survives its drift in the Darkness and is re-attached to Nexus, the Flow resumes through it. This restarts the flow of Time through the Virtual, and its inhabitants continue their existence completely unaware that their future is different to that of Main Corridor (although their past is the same). As far as they are concerned, their future is the correct future, and the ONLY future. This is due to the Law Of Continuity, described below.
As a result, Nexus is fuelled by many thousands of Nodes in many different Virtuals (and in MC), so it is a huge Realm - even though most are weaker than MC Nodes, there are so many that it makes little difference.
It should be noted that this whole sequence of shearing/drift/ reconnection takes place outside the flow of Time. In the Virtual itself, no time has passed. In MC and Nexus, the Virtual rejoins apparently at the moment it separated. Effectively, from an MC perspective, the Virtual shears off and instantly reappears at Nexus (assuming it survives its drift through the Darkness). Thus the `clocks' of MC, Nexus, and all its Virtuals are the same.
This synchronicity of all the `clocks' of each Virtual with MC and Nexus is present because of the way Time works. There is a constant flow of Time in the Main Corridor - there is a definite beginning (at time t=0 - the Big Bang, or creation of the Universe) and presumably there will be a definite end.
Virtuals shear off at a certain time (corresponding to the event that creates them - a Virtual in which the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake didn't happen would shear off from MC at this time), after which Time progresses at the normal rate in both Virtual and MC. Time is strictly linear and unidirectional in Main Corridor and the Virtuals (although in Nexus, Time is not fixed, and can flow at a changing rate in any direction), which means that it is March 1995 (the Present) on all the Virtuals. Thus, there are no Virtuals whose local time is before or after the Present - they are all synchronized with Main Corridor.
It should be noted that Virtuals are NOT actually Realms. Rather,
they are almost identical copies of MC, with a few major differences
in their histories. As such, they have access to the same Nodes as
they did in MC, which are also reproduced in the Virtual. However,
the critical difference is that the Virtual's Nodes are weaker in
strength. In effect, the Virtual is a less potent copy of MC.
Life exists as normal (where the physical conditions allow) in the Virtuals, and is completely indistinguishable and compatible (again, assuming the physical conditions of the Virtual allow it) with normal life in MC.
Human civilization appears in many alternate forms - on the Virtual called Aegypt, the ancient Egyptian civilization never collapsed, and continues to the present day. On Reich, the Nazis won the Second World War and are enjoying the 50th year of the 1000 year Reich under Ernst Hitler, son of Adolph. On Armageddon, the Cuban Missile Crisis erupted into a full-scale nuclear exchange, and the planet and humanity are recovering from the Nuclear Winter.
Then again, there are equally many where human civilisations, or even life, does not exist. On Sauron, a dinosaur civilisation flourishes. On Lucifer, Life on Earth was never even created. On Neverland, all animal and human life on Earth suddenly disappeared without trace on January 18th 1993.
To re-iterate, ALL the Virtuals exist in the NOW. It seems there is an underlying, objective, sense of Time that runs throughout the entire Metaverse - all Corridors appear to have begun at the same time. Thus, in all the Virtuals, it is the present. No 'future' or 'past' Virtuals exist, although technological differences may arise because of the dominant attitude of the Civilization in that Virtual. For example, on Terra Prime, the Technocracy has won the Ascension war and the technological level is very high (this Virtual is kept Ultra-Secret by the Continuum, and it continually guarded and observed). On Lemuria, the technology level is very low, and society very primitive, since the Dreamspeakers have won the Ascension War there. But on both of these Virtuals, it is still the beginning of 1995 - the present day. On some Virtuals, magick does not even exist - Quintessence is non-existent!!
No Virtual has its own sustainable 'Virtual Future'. It seems that only a Virtual cast off from Main Corridor has sufficient energy to allow for the possibility of survival in the Darkness and capture by Nexus. 2nd generation Virtuals simply are never strong enough to survive this shearing.
The inhabitants of the Virtuals view their realities (which they
usually refer to as Earth as well - the names given earlier are the
Continuum Codenames for the Virtuals) as the ONLY version of Gaia.
They are completely (below Oracle level, at least) unaware of the
existence of any other Virtual, or of Main Corridor itself. In
effect, each Virtual has its own metaphysical 'frequency'. A Mage
from Virtual A is naturally 'tuned in' to his home Virtual, and as
such is completely incapable of entering or even sensing Virtual B
which has a different 'frequency'. Only Mages from Main Corridor,
which is the root of all these Virtuals, can access any of the
Virtuals they please, and even then they can do it only from Nexus.
This is the result of a Metaversal Law of Continuity, which ensures that each Virtual remains unaware that its status in the Metaverse has changed (ie. it is no longer the `only' and `correct' Earth). This Law of Continuity is why the barrier to general cross- Virtual contamination described above exists. However, there are some Virtual individuals blessed with a Temporal Avatar, which allows them to travel across the Virtuals, Nexus, and even Main Corridor itself. However, in almost all cases, except where the Virtual Inhabitant possesses a Temporal Avatar (described below), a Virtual Mage can NEVER enter MC, Nexus, or any other Virtual. Only Mages from MC, the source of the Virtuals, can be aware of the existence of the Virtuals and Nexus.
The Law Of Continuity states that a Virtual should remain completely unaware that it is now not the 'official' Universe (since MC is). Thus it retains access to its Realms and Near Umbra as normal. ie. the Virtual has its own self-contained cosmology. This Cosmology is completely separate from those of MC and other Virtuals, and as such can only be accessed from the Virtual itself. It can't detect that it is now a Virtual, and never will. This is imperative to preserve Continuity in the Virtuals. In fact, the only thing all Virtuals have in common is the Deep Umbra, as it surrounds all of them. In addition, having no access to the Deep Umbra would violate Continuity.
The Law Of Continuity implies that Sauron will have its own Near
Umbra and Realms which have a distinctly unique Saurian slant to
them. These are different to the Realms and Near Umbra of Lucifer
- which in fact are completely barren since no life has ever existed
there. The Cosmology of Reich is separate (and different) to both of
these Virtuals, and so on and so on....
Trying to make rules to cover and create all these alternate Cosmologies is pointless. However, these basic guidelines should be observed when creating individual Virtual Cosmologies:
It should be noted that MC Mages and other MC Awakened Creatures
do NOT have alternate versions of themselves in the Virtuals.
Similarly, Virtual Mages and Awakened Creatures WITH TEMPORAL AVATARS
have no duplicates in Main Corridor.
It appears that all beings with Temporal Avatars or MC Avatars are UNIQUE in the entire Metaverse. However, beings without MC Avatars or Temporal Avatars (ie. Sleepers, Virtual Mages without Temp. Avatars etc) may be and indeed are often duplicated in other Virtuals. Also, these `duplicates' are not necessarily the same as the 'originals' - a Virtual Mage in one reality may be an OoH Mage, but in another may serve the Euthanatos.
The Law Of Continuity allows this, since those without Temporal Avatars will never be able to see their alternate selves anyway. Those with Temporal Avatars however would be able to perceive and interact with their duplicates, thus violating Continuity. This is why all beings able to cross realities have no duplicates in other Virtuals or in MC.
A note here should be made about the existence of Virtual Shade Realms of Time. These DO exist, but are not quite the same as MC Nexus (henceforth referred to as just `Nexus') - they do not have any Virtuals. Otherwise, the physical environment within the Virtual Shade Realms of Time are exactly identical to that described below. However, the Continuum and Virtuals do not exist in any other Realm but Nexus (the former due to the fact that their Paradigm (and thus the Tradition) can only be created if the viewpoint originates in MC - thus the Continuum is unique to Main Corridor - and the latter due the fact that 2nd Generation Virtuals (such as those that could theoretically be trapped by a Virtual Shade Realm Of Time) never survive their Drift in the Darkness)). The Shade Realm Of Time in other Virtuals does not contain Central Office, but may instead contain the Main Chantry of another Tradition which focuses on Time (or remain completely uninhabited). However, in all cases there is no connection between the Virtual Shade Realms of Time and Nexus.
In the Virtuals, Magick generally works as it does on Main
Corridor, but many Virtuals have variants on MC's Sphere Ratings,
depending on the dominant Paradigm. As a result, Avatars (and
Awakenings) can occur in the Virtuals, which means that Indigenous
Mages can exist there. Other indigenous supernatural entities
(Kindred, Garou, Mummies, and Wraiths) can exist in many of the
Virtuals, as long as the local conditions (and in the case of Kindred
and Mummies, local mythologies) allow it.
However, the actual magickal specifics for each Virtual can obviously be very different. The Saurians (inhabiting the Virtual where Dinosaurs never died out and remain the dominant species on the planet, with a flourishing civilization) are obviously going to have very different paradigms to the humans of the WoD. As a result, they may even have completely different Spheres and Systems of Magick to our own. How detailed these differences are is completely left to the individual Storyteller to decide. However, as a general rule the Paradigms and methods of human Magick should remain similar throughout the human Virtuals - differences occur due to the branching of human philosophical evolution in that Virtual after it sheared. Thus, in modern Aegypt, Magick should be based more on an Egyptian System (such as that suggested in Mummy) than a Hermetic System. However, this Egyptian System is similar to that of ancient MC Earth, having the same roots.
On the whole, Virtual Mages (and other Inhabitants such as the Garou) are completely unaware of the existence of Nexus, the other Virtuals, and Main Corridor. They simply cannot perceive, interact with, or enter any of these other Realities. However, some Virtual Inhabitants are blessed with an unusual Avatar (or Soul) that allows them to be aware of the true nature of their reality. They are as a result fully aware of the Virtuals, and can travel to Nexus and Main Corridor. Such Avatars are known as TEMPORAL AVATARS, and are unique to the Virtuals.
Temporal Avatar: +1 freebie point (Virtual Inhabitant only)
The Avatar (or soul) of the Virtual character is unusual in that
it is not specifically tuned to his own Virtual. Indeed, it is to all
intents and purposes, the Avatar/soul of an MC Mage/inhabitant.
This means, that the Virtual character is capable of perceiving and entering any Virtual, Nexus, and even Main Corridor, and interacting fully with the inhabitants therein. Basically, the character is treated as if he was from Main Corridor.
Note however that a Temporal Avatar does not allow the use of Quintessence as an MC Mage. If a character with a Temporal Avatar originates from a Level 2 Virtual, then MC (and Level 1 Virtual) Quint will still be twice as powerful as his indigenous Quintessence, with a corresponding chance of Burnout (see `Virtual Quintessence' below).
Also, Magickal difficulties are increased for the Virtual Mage in Main Corridor, any of its Realms, or any higher level Virtuals. The increase in difficulty is equal to the difference between the Virtual Mage's Home Virtual Rating and the Rating of the Virtual (or MC) he is currently in. Treat MC (and MC's Realms and Near Umbra) and Nexus as having a Rating of 0. Thus, even an inhabitant of a Level 1 Virtual is going to be at a slight magickal disadvantage in MC.
Note that MC inhabitants do NOT require this Merit - they are already capable of interacting with a Virtual at will.
As discussed earlier, Mages from MC can enter the Virtuals and can leave as they please. While their Magick operates in the same way as described in the Mage Rulebook, when using Virtual Quintessence and Tass they operate at a disadvantage to the local Mages. A Virtual can be viewed as a 'scaled down' or less potent version of Main Corridor - this applies even to its Nodes and Quintessence. Because Virtual Mages are scaled down with the rest of their Virtual, they use their Quintessence as if it were normal - ie. for a Virtual Mage:
1 point of Quint = -1 Difficulty on Magick rolls.
However, MC Mages come from a more potent reality. To them, Virtual Quintessence is often weaker than MC Quintessence, so more must be used to achieve the same effect as in MC.
Give each Virtual a Quintessence Rating of 1 to 3 (this can be
determined randomly or through choice). This rating determines the
equivalence of Virtual Quintessence and MC Quintessence. Only the
most potent Virtuals will have a Quint Rating of 1. Most have a
Rating of 2 - ie. 2 points of Virtual Quintessence correspond to an
equivalent of 1 point of MC Quint. The weakest have a Quintessence
rating of 3.
The Quint rating shows how strong the Virtual is, and also how many points of Virtual Quint are required by an MC Mage to get the same effect as using 1 point of MC Quint - ie. how many points of Virtual Quint the MC Mage has to burn to reduce a magickal difficulty by -1.
ie. a Mage is in a Virtual whose Quint Rating is 2. This means that to him, each point of Virtual Quint is actually equivalent to 1/2 a point of MC Quint. So he must absorb 2 points of Virtual Quintessence to gain 1 point in his MC Pattern. He therefore has to burn two of these Virtual Quintessence points to reduce the difficulty of a spell by one, EVEN IF HE IS IN ANOTHER VIRTUAL OR IN MAIN CORRIDOR. These points are locked up in his Pattern, so are carried with him wherever he goes until he uses them up!
If an MC Mage enters a Virtual with MC Quint already in his
Pattern, he can use these as normal, regardless of the Quint Rating.
Of course, this means that MC Mages have to be careful that their
Tass doesn't get into the wrong hands in a less potent Virtual, since
it (to a Virtual Mage) is either 2 or 3 times as potent as their own
Quintessence! However, use of MC Tass can be very dangerous to the
Patterns of Virtual Mages, as its energy density is too high for them
to use safely - this is described in `Burnout' below.
While in a Virtual then, an MC Mage appears to be working at a considerable disadvantage - Virtual Quintessence is not as useful to him as it is to an indigenous Virtual Mage. However, because the MC Mage is used to exerting his Will against a more potent Reality, Magick comes a lot easier to him in a Virtual. DIFFICULTIES OF ALL SPELLCASTING ROLLS FOR MC MAGES ARE REDUCED BY A FACTOR EQUAL TO THE QUINT RATING OF THE VIRTUAL - even in Level 1 Virtuals, MC Mages have it easier casting magick (although in real terms Quintessence in a Level 1 Virtual is identical to MC Quint).
As described above MC Quintessence is more potent than Virtual
Quintessence. This also applies to any Virtual Quintessence from a
higher Level Virtual (ie. a Mage from a Level 3 Virtual is at risk
from burnout if using Quintessence from Level 2, Level 1, or MC
itself). If used by a Virtual Mage, it could result in damage to his
Pattern as a result of the higher energy density - this is known as
This is handled as follows. Every time the Virtual Mage uses Quintessence more potent than he can handle (ie. from a higher level Virtual or MC), he must first make a:
Stamina Roll at Difficulty (4+difference in Rating)
Thus, a Mage from a Level 3 Virtual must roll against a difficulty of:
This single roll covers the use of all the points of more potent Quintessence in a single effect - the actual number of Quint points used is irrelevant. Regardless of the result of the roll, all the points of more potent Quintessence are used up in the effect.
If the Stamina Roll succeeds, the Quint is used as normal and provides the desired effect (usually the lowering of magickal difficulties). Note that the spellcasting roll must still be made after the Stamina Roll.
If the Stamina Roll fails, the Mage cannot successfully contain and direct the energies of the Quintessence, and it flares off. All of the more potent Quintessence is used up, but has no effect on the outcome of the effect. It is simply discharged. It may do this spectacularly, with lots of visual effects, but this is at the GM's discretion.
If the Stamina Roll Botches, the Mage tries to channel the
Quintessence into the effect, but it is too much to handle. However,
instead of flaring off into the surroundings, the Mage is consumed by
the excess energy. All of the more potent Quint is channelled
directly into the Mage's Pattern. This is known as BURNOUT.
On a Stamina Botch, even if the spellcasting roll succeeds, it is treated as a failure. Natural failures are treated as normal (with the added effect of Burnout). Thus, magickal effects can only either fail or botch if Burnout occurs. The effects of a Botch on the spellcasting roll occur in conjunction with the effect of the Burnout.
Burnout can manifest in many ways. It often manifests in a similar way to Paradox Damage (ie. the striated burns all over the Mage's body, causing aggravated damage). Damage is equal to the number of more potent Quintessence points used in the effect, and is aggravated.
Alternatively, it can manifest as damage inflicted directly onto the character's living Pattern as it is frayed by the energies unleashed. This may cause a variety of effects - his life expectancy may drop, or he may acquire a form of cancer or lesions. His mental faculties may be dulled for a while, or he may get permanent brain damage. The exact effect is up to the Storyteller, but should involve damage to bodily functions (malignant Life effects are good examples), and should be proportional to the amount of more potent Quintessence discharged in the Burnout.
Nexus is a generally Earth-like environment, in that the
atmosphere is breathable, liquid water is present, and the flora and
fauna are compatible with those of Earth. The scenery is spectacular,
Nexus apparently has no Sun. However, it is continually illuminated by the light from many stars - night is non-existent on Nexus. In addition, five large moons circle Nexus, equally spaced along the same orbit. The moons go through phases, which is odd considering there is no Sun. Their day sides are reddish, implying that the source of the light is red in colour. At any given point, all the phases are accounted for - one moon is New, another is Crescent, another is Half, another is Gibbous, and the last one is Full. A day is defined as the time it takes between moonrise and moonset - 32 hours. A month is defined as the time it takes for a given moon to pass through all its phases - this takes 50 days.
If the Garou were aware of this place, no doubt they would attach some cosmological significance to the fact that all their auspices are represented in the sky. A search for the light source in the sky using telescopes has as yet revealed nothing, which baffles Continuum Scientists.
The atmosphere on Nexus is thick and humid, but pleasantly warm.
It rains a lot, and occasionally great thunderstorms sweep across the
land. There appears to be no seasonal variation. Gravity is
The landscape is very extreme - there are vast oceans, huge perfectly flat plains, and towering mountains and crags that dwarf the largest on Earth. An unusual rock in some areas is known as `Timestone' - from a distance it appears solid, but on closer inspection other realities can be seen through the shimmering translucent rock. Nexus is largely unexplored by the Continuum, but appears to be a vast place, much larger than Earth.
The flora and fauna are generally Earth-like, although the vegetation varies in colour from greens and blues to reds and purples. The plant life is striking in its variety - there are towering Needletrees that reach up to 200' tall that do not sway in even the strongest hurricanes, and others (Lowtrees) that are about 2' high but spread over and area of about 100 square feet!
Fauna is varied too - some animals are dangerous, many are not. Predators can be difficult to deal with, since they often have some precognitive ability to know where their prey is. Some prey species also have this ability, but in many cases they allow themselves to be killed by the predators anyway.
Other more dangerous species feed on Time itself, and will either
age their prey or create a Time Loop in which they repeat the same
actions. Somehow they derive sustenance from these shifts in Time.
There is no direct evidence for any intelligent life on Nexus, but there are ancient/future artefacts on the plane. A lighthouse, paradoxically dated as being built 3000 years from now, stands at the edge of the Shifting Sea. This is not a sea at all, but is rather a plain, where reality itself ebbs and flows with some cosmic tide. Elsewhere, ancient ruins depicting the entire histories of realities lie, untouched by time, below the Sands of Time.
Time is a strange and highly localized
phenomenon in Nexus. It appears that individual, aware beings (ie.
animals and sapients) have their own Internal Time Field in which
they operate, regardless of the External (environmental) Time Field -
for example, a human Mage from MC Earth caught in an External Field
where Time apparently passes 10 times slower will still be able to
move at his normal rate. However, everything around him (that is not
another animal or sapient being) will be moving much slower - plants
will sway lazily in the wind, bullets will take longer to reach their
However, it is still possible for Mages studying Time to contract or dilate their own Time Fields - thus in a part of Nexus where Time passes twice as fast as normal, the Mage can speed up his own Internal Field (using Time Magic) to match the External Field. If this is done, the External and Internal Fields are synchronised, and to the Mage's perspective, Time passes at a normal rate for him.
Being the Shade Realm of Time, Nexus is subject
to unusual temporal environmental effects. The most important of
these are the Temporal Waves that sweep across the Realm. These
appear as immense transparent linear waves that travel across the
land, moving at varying speeds. Some travel extremely rapidly, others
can be escaped simply by walking. These Waves have the property of
altering the flow of Time by their passage. The exact effect of the
Temporal Wave can be deduced by looking through the Wavefront as it
approaches. The image of the environment on the other side is sped up
or slowed down depending on the effect of the wave. Thus, if a Wave
will speed up the flow of Time three times relative to the present
rate, images seen through the Wavefront will appear to move three
times faster than those nearer the observer.
This results in a form of `Temporal Weather Prediction', as sensors in the Field detect the incoming wave and transmit data to Central Office. This is then processed and transmitted to Field Agents operating in Nexus so they can prepare for the approaching Temporal Wave.
Studies of the geometry of these Temporal Waves has shown a slight curvature to them, which indicates that they emanate (like ripples) from a very distant central point somewhere to the south of Central Office (CO). This is certainly in the unexplored regions of Nexus. Quite what could be causing the Waves are another matter, and an expedition to what has been dubbed `The Origin' is being considered by the Research Section of CO.
The actual rate of passage of a being's Internal Time
Field depends on the External Time Field of the universe it was born
in. The External Field of Main Corridor is the one that we as humans
are most familiar with - it is what we consider the `normal' passage
of time. Most of the Virtuals, being derived directly from MC, have
this same External Field. However, in Nexus itself there are zones in
which the basic External Field is different to that of MC's. These
stable zones are known as Time Zones, and can be thought of as
Islands of stability in the temporal storm - the passage of time
within these Time Zones is unaffected by the passage of a Temporal
Wave. Central Office itself is built in the only known Time Zone
where the passage of time is equal to that of MC. However, there are
many others in which the External Field is slower or faster. Note
that Time Zones can have any physical size and shape. The largest
known is a square whose sides are 25 km long - this is where Central
Office is located.
Time Zones are frequently inhabited by indigenous creatures, which either evolved there from scratch or migrated there from other Time Zones and temporally adapted to the new External Field. This means their Internal Fields are synchronised to the External Field of the Time Zone they live in, even if they move outside it. Animals indigenous to the slower Time Zones to Central Office are rarely a threat to humans since they therefore move at an inherently slower rate, but those originating in the faster Time Zones are often quite dangerous, since they can naturally operate at much faster speeds. Agents are frequently advised to be on their guard in the field in Nexus [Time 1 actually has some use here, since Mages will be able to sense when they have entered a Time Zone].
Some Zones have been discovered where there is no External Time Field - in these places, there is no apparent passage of Time. Past, Present, and Future have no meaning in these Zones - indigenous creatures are effectively immortal (since their Internal Time Fields are synchronised with the External Field - Time does not pass for them). However, humans entering these Fields can still grow old since their Internal Time Fields operate as normal - the External Field will still be present though, so they will not be aware of the passage of time at all. [Think of the Nexus in `Star Trek: Generations' if you've seen it].
Time Fields are quantified as follows:
A Time Field where the flow of passage of time is equal to that within Main Corridor is known as a Class 1 Time Field. The number indicates the rate of passage of time relative to Main Corridor. Thus, faster fields are known as Class 2, 3, 4, 5, etc fields (non-integer flow rates are possible, so there are Class 2.5 Fields, for example). Slower fields are defined by numbers less than one, usually written as a fractional number - a field where time passes at half the rate of MC is known as a Class 1/2 Field for example. Time Zones in which there is no External field are known as Class 0 Fields.
The Weather in Nexus is generally earth-like, but the
temporal effects of the environment can produce several unusual
phenomena - the most striking of these are the SlowStorms. These are
thunderstorms that accumulate and disperse very slowly, almost as if
they were in a much slower Time Zone. When they do accumulate, the
lightning bolts they throw travel to the ground extremely slowly -
slow enough for beings to see them coming and dodge!!!
Other unusual meteorological conditions include FastStorms (like SlowStorms, but they accumulate within minutes and are over very rapidly - seeing one from a distance is one of the most spectacular sights on Nexus, as thousands of lightning bolts rain down in a few minutes) and Hard Hail (Hail falling in an accelerated External Field - thus when they strike humans (moving with an Internal Class 1 Field) they appear to fall much faster and thus can actually cause serious physical damage when they strike.
Timestone is nothing less than Solid Space-Time. It is the
base from which all reality is constructed from, and is extremely
rare in the MetaVerse - indeed, it has so far been found only on
Nexus. In situ, it is a brownish-tinged translucent rock through
which other realities can dimly be perceived. Its properties are as
largely unknown, but it is known that if one concentrates and tries
to `walk through' a Timestone exposure one can enter the Virtual that
lies on the other side. However, it is often much easier (and more
reliable) to enter a Virtual using Spirit magick than via Timestone,
since the same Virtual rarely remains behind a TimeStone exposure for
It has been discovered that TimeStone has the property of being detectable within other Virtuals through the use of Time 1. Being a part of Nexus, it is only perceptable to MC Mages and those with Temporal Avatars. Thus it can be used by Continuum Agents as a kind of homing beacon to others of their kind in other realities.
In Nexus, TimeStone has a most useful property - a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of TimeStone is equivalent to a single pawn (1 point) of Level 0 (MC-quality) Time or Correspondence (Space) Tass. Thus, it can only be used to fuel either Time or Correspondence effects. The mass required precludes it from being carried around by individuals in huge quantities. Unfortunately, outside of Nexus, Timestone is simply another lump of glassy brown rock, which has no effect on magick - presumably, it is too unique to Nexus to be of any use anywhere else.
In many places in Nexus, the geology is generally Earthlike - however, the rate of geological evolution is quite varied, and confusingly seems to have no connection with the External Time Field. Mountain Ranges have been known to appear overnight, and erosion can occur extremely rapidly (usually depending on the Entropy rating of the area). Glaciers have been observed travelling very quickly, while volcanic eruptions have occurred at very slow rates. Fortunately, CO appears to be situated in a reasonably stable region of Nexus!
I think its a good idea to not only treat Ratings as 'pluses' or
'minuses', but also as actual Sphere levels. As it stands,
Correspondence +3 implies that Immediate Spatial Perception (Corr.
1), Colocality perception (Corr. 2), and Teleportation (Corr. 3) are
naturally possible in a realm.
But I don't want this - what if I just want a realm in which Teleportation is natural but the Perception effects are not? Simple - I just put the rating as Correspondence 3. No pluses or minuses. This implies that effects involving Correspondence 3 alone are natural in this realm and do not require a spell-casting roll (or at most just require a coincidental roll). All other Correspondence effects involving other levels are treated as normal magickal effects.
|Spirit||3 (Virtuals only)|
Nexus is so much a part of the Continuum's Paradigm (and vice
versa) that magick in it is considerably harder for those who live
outside this paradigm. The situation is rather similar to that which
must exist in Autochthonia, the Home Realm of Iteration-X - Tradition
Magick must be impossible (or at least very difficult) there since it
is so against the paradigm of that Convention.
Continuum Agents can cast their magicks as normal in Nexus (using the sphere ratings described above), but any invading Traditions (or the Technocracy) have to cope with Paradox! Paradox thus strikes as normal for any Mage whose Paradigm is different to the Continuum's. All magicks cast by an invading Mage require a spellcasting roll, even if they are 'free' as a result of the sphere ratings. Paradox strikes in exactly the same way as it does on Earth, though it does not seem to affect Continuum Agents. This is one reason that the Continuum managed to hold off the Technocracy when they seceded from them in the early 20th century. Additionally, it is rumoured that this may be the result of a change in the nature of the Realm created by the Continuum's Oracles.
Fortunately for the Continuum's allies, there is a way around this. Through training, the outsider can be acclimatised to the paradigm within Nexus such that he does not gain Paradox for casting magicks there. In addition, every outsider entering Nexus is given an ID badge which contains a tiny piece of modified TimeStone. This acts as a kind of bar-code which is used to identify the outsider. This must be worn at all times in the Realm, and must be returned when leaving Nexus. Since TimeStone acts as a beacon outside Nexus for those with Time 1, it can be used to unerringly follow those who try to smuggle their ID badge out of the Realm (for duplication, for example). Since Timestone is unique to the realm, it is very hard to duplicate outside it. This provides another security measure to protect the Realm.
Nexus is fuelled by many nodes from a wide variety of (largely unpopulated) Virtuals, as well as Earth itself.
An extremely powerful Node, this is
located on the major continent of Lucifer, a Level 1 Virtual. In
this timeline, Life never evolved on Earth. The planet remains as
hostile Hothouse world, with surface temperatures ranging between 50
and 120 degrees Celsius [between 120 and 240 degrees Fahrenheit], a
large proportion of Steam and Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, and
very hot polar oceans. There is extensive volcanic and seismic
activity. Of course, there is no Oxygen content in the air at all.
The planet itself is tipped at an angle of 40 degrees to the
vertical, and a day is equal to a mere 8 hours!!! As a result, winds
and storms on Lucifer can be extremely powerful.
Interestingly enough, Lucifer has no Moon, leading many Continuum scientists to believe that the formation of the Moon played a critical role in the formation of life on Earth.
In this hostile environment however lies one of the most powerful Nodes in the Metaverse. The Node itself is a 10' diameter globe, the Orb of Lucifer, hovering a few feet above the ground on the planet's major continent. It is constructed of a black material that defies all analysis (even Magickal). It rotates around its axis, tipped at 40 degrees to the vertical, once every 8 hours - exactly like the planet it is located on! And its power is immense. No ley lines or other Nodes exist on Lucifer - it is almost as if all the planet's Quintessence is channelled to and concentrated at the Orb.
The Orb's origin is unknown - its connection (if any) with the present state of Lucifer is also unknown, as is its purpose. Whether its builders will return to claim it one day is a matter that most Continuum Agents would rather not think about.....
The Orb is heavily guarded by the Continuum's finest agents, and it is presently located in a sealed Guard Station that has been built around it. Humans require spacesuits or atmospheric protection to survive outside the Station. The Orb and Station has already been the focus of several concerted attacks by agents of the Darkness, all of which have been successfully repulsed so far.
This is a mysterious city of glass, which appears
(along with the small rocky island it is situated on) out of thin air
in the Southern Indian Ocean on Earth. It always appears at Sunset,
and is only visible while the Sun's disk touches the open sea, and
even then it is only physically *real* if viewed/approached from
certain angles. After the Sun sets, it disappears for the rest of the
night and following day.
Nada One itself is a beautiful, eerie and silent place. It is uninhabited, and completely unaffected by the environment - it is extremely clean, and the glass it is constructed on is perfectly unblemished. The glass itself appears to be indestructible - it cannot be broken.
It is not known where the Island disappears to after Sunset. It is believed that the city travels through the Corridor, appearing at random points in Time. If anyone or anything is left behind on the isle, they are never seen again - when Nada One returns, no trace of its accidental passengers are ever found. Indeeed, anything moved in the Glass City resumes its normal place when Nada One returns.
Located on Earth itself, Easter Island is a collection of hundreds of smaller Nodes, each represented by one of the famous `Heads' that gaze out to sea. It is quite powerful, and the Order of Hermes has been vying for access rights, but so far the Continuum is having none of it.
Alpha is located in a Level 1 Virtual
codenamed `Neverland'. Neverland is exactly identical to Earth until
January 18th 1993. On this day, every higher life form on the planet
(ie. all human and animal life) suddenly vanished without a trace!
The only clue to this Vanishing is the continual signal emitted from the Aricebo Radio Dish in Puerto Rico, aimed at what is apparently a point of empty space about a billion kilometres beyond the orbit of Pluto. Further research by the Continuum through Neverland Aricebo and US Government records has so far yielded no official documentation or explanation for the transmission, and no target for the signal has been described. However, the signal was activated on the 18th January 1993. Interestingly enough, there is no record of such a transmission in the Aricebo records on MC Earth at that time.....
Aricebo itself is a major Node in this Virtual, which is beaming out Quintessence to its target point. Although the Continuum has deactivated the transmitter, Quintessence is nevertheless still being beamed to the target. In addition, Aricebo is the nexus of all of the Ley Lines on Neverland - this ley line network is believed to be artificial, and hints at some secret magickal experiment (probably set up by the Technocracy) that backfired horribly. It is even possible that the Darkness partially intruded on this Virtual before it was re-attached to Nexus, which may be an alternative explanation that accounts for the disappearance of the planet's higher lifeforms.
The Continuum has managed to at least tap some of the flow, but with this came the discovery that Neverland itself is actually losing cohesion - the Quintessence is actually disappearing from the Virtual at the beam's target point! The Continuum is trying to prevent this loss before Neverland becomes a Level 2 (or worse) Virtual, or completely loses cohesion.
Introduction: The following are guidelines to the integration of the Continuum to a standard Mage Chronicle. This section largely covers the policy of the Continuum regarding Virtuals and other outsiders. They are by no means complete, and need not be considered 'official'. The existence of the Continuum and Nexus can change the focus of a campaign, so I leave it largely up to the individual storyteller as to how they should be included.
Central Office itself is a complex of interconnected utilitarian
red-brick buildings situated on an large flat prairie in Nexus. It is
located in the only known stable Class 1 Time Zone.
The buildings include several towers and fortification, a holdover of the days when the Technocracy sought to actively invade Nexus and wrest control of it from the Continuum. CO is still heavily defended, and regularly patrolled by experienced and well- armed guards. It is also magickally shielded so that it is impossible to enter it from outside using Correspondence magicks.
Inside, Central Office is a network of laboratories, ready rooms and offices. It is powered by its own generators in the basement, and has several backups in case of a power failure. It also has a computer network directly connected to the main Intelligence Acquisition Station in London, England on Earth. It has extensive research facilities (though not as much as other Home Chantries) and a huge catalogue of data on the known manifestations of the Darkness.
Entrances to Nexus are small in number and are found only in the vicinity of Central Office, and as such are very heavily protected by checkpoints and guard posts. While the level of security can sometimes be oppressive, those working in Nexus acknowledge that it is essential to prevent the Realm from falling into the wrong hands. The security is not invasive however, and many Mages often forget they are working inside a fortress.
The Continuum has a fixed policy regarding the inhabited Virtuals
(ie. those that contain indigenous sentient beings) - it only deals
with them as and when necessary, and even then only with Awakened
members of that society. Sometimes it actively Quarantines them (as
in the case of the more hostile Virtuals such as Reich and Terra
Prime). This is akin to a 'Prime Directive', and is largely as a
result of the Law Of Continuity. However, those with Temporal Avatars
that originate in these Quarantined Virtuals and attempt to leave are
quickly hunted down and 'contained'. This usually involves Mind,
Prime and Spirit manipulation which blocks the Temporal Avatar and
prevents it from leaving the Virtual. However, many have escaped this
fate, and most have gone on to join the Technocracy on MC Earth. A
few fight a guerilla war on Nexus itself, but these are rarely a
significant threat to the Continuum.
In most cases though, the Continuum leaves the inhabited Virtuals alone, though it often welcomes those with Temporal Avatars (from the Non-Quarantined Virtuals) who blunder through to Nexus and discover the truth about the extent of the universe. Indeed, many of the Continuum's finest agents are from other Virtuals.
Although there is a vast amouunt of Nodes available to tap among the Virtuals, the Continuum leaves those in the inhabited Virtuals to their inhabitants - there are plenty of Nodes to be found in the uninhabited Virtuals. The Law Of Continuity could easily be violated if a Continuum agent is capture by the inhabitants of a Virtual, who then discover that they are in fact no longer the 'official' universe. The social consequences of this within the Virtual could severely undermine the world-view of the inhabitants, a fate that the Cotinuum wish to avoid. Many Continuum agents in the field are extremely careful, and Intelligence Acquisition sets up complex identities for them to allow them to fit into the Virtual more easily. In some cases (eg. Sauron), the Agent has to be physcially changed to fit in!
However, the Continuum has an open policy when it comes to the uninhabited Virtuals, those that are not populated by sentient beings. These it uses for resources (minerals, Quintessence, etc) and exploration. Many uninhabited Virtuals are simply catalogued and forgotten, but bases are frequently set up in the more unusual Virtuals (such as Neverland and Lucifer).
While the Continuum remains comparatively open with the
Traditions, it frequently has to hold them at bay from raiding the
Quintessence of the Virtuals. Tradition Mages are extensively vetted
before they are allowed to enter Nexus, and those seeking to join the
Continuum must often pass stringent examinations to do so. Any allied
mage found comprimising the security of the Realm, Virtuals, or
Central Office is dealt with with extreme prejudice....
The Technocracy is not allowed within Nexus. The Continuum is aware of what this organization could do given access to the Virtuals, and does not wish to take the risk of them invasively plundering the resources of the Virtuals to give them a huge advantage in the Ascension War. The Traditions as a whole are similarly prevented from doing so.
The Continuum fully places itself outside the Ascension War. It plays no part in the domination of reality, and seeks to remain neutral - it has its own role to play in the defense of reality, which is a fulltime job in itself.
The Marauders are one of the main enemies of the Continuum. They are a constant thorn in their sides, since their immunity to Paradox applies even within Nexus. Virtual Marauders, while limited to their own Virtuals, have been proving a problem since there are reports that some have kidnapped MC Mages (and Virtual Mages with Temporal Avatars) and somehow 'transplanted' the Temporal Avatar to their own bodies, effectively turning them into MC Marauders able to access any Virtual, Nexus, and Main Corridor. It is not known why the Marauders are so interested in Nexus and the Virtuals. Perhaps it is because it represents the 'Dynamic' aspect of Time - the infinite possibilities that lie in the alternate universes of the Virtuals. Many think that the Marauders seek to 'free Time' from the constraints of the Virtuals, creating a realm where all the alternatives exist at once. Regardless, the Continuum repels Marauders wherever they are found in Nexus.
Speciality Sphere: Time.
Secondary Spheres: Any.
The Continuum is an unusual group of Mages, separate from both
the Technocracy and the Traditions (though it was once part of the
former), who specialise in the Sphere of Time. They are entirely
devoted to the defence of reality from the Nephandi, which they call
The Continuum has existed (though not as an organisation) since the dawn of Man, as individual Mages from the various Traditions who constantly battled the Nephandi. After the Mythic Age, these Mages joined the Technocracy when they discovered that the nascent organisation also sought the defence of reality. During this time, the previously individual Mages that fought the Darkness found new purpose together, and formed the organisation that would be called the Continuum. A large majority had studied the Sphere of Time to aid them in their battles against the Darkness, and a Construct (Central Office) was set up in the Shade Realm of Time (Nexus). This Realm was found to contain access points to many alternate realities, or Virtuals, which were observed, explored and catalogued.
After a while however, they felt they had become trapped in the Technocratic Agenda and the Ascension War, which they felt was meaningless given the true Perpetual War with the Darkness. In addition, they were increasingly becoming aware of dark plots within the Conventions that would wrest control of Nexus from the Continuum.
The tension built between the Continuum and the other Conventions when in 1905, the Continuum realised that Time was not constant but relative to the observer, and believed that this was something so profound that the Sleeper scientific community should be informed immediately. The Technocracy forbade them from publishing, since this was scheduled to be revealed far ahead in their Time Table. The Continuum itself then announced that one of their researchers had 'rebelled' and had published the Theory regardless. The resulting paradigm shift was far more dramatic than the Technocracy had ever imagined, as the traditional Newtonian/Copernican system was swept aside by the new Special Theory of Relativity. Suddenly, Sleeper scientists had the answers to those nagging problems that had started to plague the Newtonian Universe - this in itself Awakened a few of their Avatars. There was now a new way to describe the Universe.
The Void Engineers also made unexpected gains, when it was realised (and popularised) that Space Travel was now a step more 'tangible' - by sending someone to distant stars at extremely rapid velocities, he or she would age relatively more slowly than those left behind. This made people more accepting of the concepts of Extended Space Flight, a goal of the Void Engineers.
The Technocracy as a whole, however, were not impressed. Further (covert) investigations revealed that the publication of the Relativity Theory was actually intentional, despite the Continuum's protestations of innocence. This was all the excuse the Technocracy needed, and in an emergency Symposium the Continuum was declared an enemy of the Technocracy and an attempt was made to destroy them. However, the Continuum had foreseen the attempt and set numerous booby-traps that killed or trapped many of their enemies. Damage was heavy, but the Technocracy could not afford to follow up with a huge Mage Hunt due to the preparations for the approaching First World War.
Alone for the first time in over 300 years, and aware that it could not possibly defend against the much more powerful Technocracy on Earth, the Continuum retreated to Nexus. Central Office became a fortification, and the former Convention recruited many Mages from the Traditions, who were keen to woo the Continuum to their side of the Ascension War. By the time the Technocracy could begin to retailate effectively, the Continuum had become too firmly entrenched on its home ground. The Technocracy simply could not afford to divert the manpower to destroy the Continuum and a stalemate was declared, even though the Continuum had managed to elaborate on their earlier theories and published the General Theory of Relativity in 1915.
While Nexus and its Virtuals were obviously a valuable prize, the Technocracy realised (much to its chagrin) that the Continuum was more valuable alive, since they had absolutely no interest in the Ascension War and served a useful purpose by combatting the Nephandi as and when they appeared. Outright hostility between the two ceased, and Nexus was left to the Continuum, although covertly the Technocracy still seeks to somehow regain control of their seceded Convention and their Realm.
Having no urge to participate in the Ascension War, the Continuum was not interested in joining the Traditions either, despite repeated attempts by the Council of Nine to persuade it to do so. Instead, the Continuum concentrated on the struggle against the Darkness. However, it has accepted Mages from the Traditions into its ranks and often allies with them where they have the same targets. It still does not trust the Technocracy, and their paths often cross. Encounters between the two often escalate into full-blown animosity. Despite the fact that the Continuum targets the Nephandi, Marauders, and Wraiths (forces that the Technocracy also consider dangerous), the Technocracy would rather deal with these themselves - killing the competition can only be an advantage. It is also rumoured that some elements within the Technocracy seek to use the Nephandi for their own ends, and as such would rather have these creatures alive. As a result, the Continuum has had to divert a siginificant part of its forces to defending itself from its former 'employer'.
As described above, the Continuum sees itself as separate from both the Traditions and the Technocracy. They view the Ascension War as a struggle in a burning house - Reality is under siege from beyond, and the only powers capable of protecting it are locked in their 'petty War'.
Today, the Continuum is a rather militaristic organisation. While
there are many non-combatative personnel, its main focus is on the
Perpetual War with the Darkness and the organisation's defence
against the Technocracy.
The Continuum is divided into three main Branches. The most important branch (Repulsion Branch) is largely concerned with combating the Nephandi, who they see as dwelling 'beyond the corridor of Time'. Wherever the Nephandi break through into our reality, the Continuum is there to close the rift and destroy the intruders. The Continuum believes that the Traditions and the Technocracy are too busy fighting their Ascension War to realize the magnitude of this threat from outside. Repulsion Branch also often deals with Marauders and Wraiths where they prove too much for Target Neutralisation (see below).
The other major branch of the Continuum is Intelligence Acquisition, which collects information against its enemies on Earth, and forecasts any future attacks using their Time magic.
Target Neutralisation applies the knowledge gathered by Intelligence Acquisition and is the part of the Continuum most commonly seen on Earth. This Branch most often works with Mages of other Traditions.
We must repel the Darkness at all costs. It is
enough that it seeks to destroy reality - THEN where will the
Traditions and the Technocracy fight their Ascension War? They can
struggle against eachother for as long as they like, but in the end
the forces from beyond the corridor of Time will devour all - while
they fight eachother the Darkness can only gather its strength. Once
both sides are weakened enough, it will step in and destroy
everything they have fought for.
We must ensure that this never happens. Since neither side wishes to listen to reason, it is left to us to fend off the Dark Ones' continuous attacks. We have held them off so far, but how long can we continue without the full attention of our allies? No matter - we have a mission to protect the Corridor. Should we fall, reality will be left wide open. Perhaps then our 'allies' will realise the folly of their ways.....
We are the advance guard of the Continuum. Should there be an assault against us, we will know of it long before its initiation. We are the early warning system of Reality, forever vigilant for Nephandi attack. We have a job to do, and we do it well.
We are the Front Line in this reality. We seek and destroy the enemies of the Continuum on Earth, and we secure and protect its allies.
It is believed that this Branch of the
Continuum is directed by the Oracles in person, whoever they might
be. Certainly, no Repulsion Branch Agent knows the origins of his or
her mission orders - and no Agent ever questions them. They know the
gravity of their situation, and do what must be done. Agents simply
receive their orders - strangely, they are completely unaware as to
how they know their mission. All they know is that they have been
briefed before the mission, and will be de-briefed afterwards.
There are two types of Repulsion Branch Agent - the Field Operatives and the Specialists. Much of the mission work is done by the Field Ops - should a situation get out of control, the Field Ops can call in the Specialists to patch things up. Specialists are usually the Adepts and Masters of their field, while Field Ops have Sphere levels between 1 and 3.
Field Ops are frequently assigned in pairs or threes. These partnerships are usually fixed, until one partner is killed or lost in action. The ability to work as part of a team is essential to Repulsion Branch Agents, and each Agent's magical abilities frequently complement those of the other team-members. Specialists work alone, but are never dispatched into the field unless called upon by the Field Ops.
The Earth Section of the Repulsion Branch is but the final obstacle for any invaders. Most of the Repulsion Branch guards the Horizon into the Deep Umbra, continually fending off assault from the Nephandi. Occasionally, some slip through the net and must be stopped by Earth Section (usually from within our own reality) before damage is done. Earth Section closely liases with Target Neutralisation.
Intelligence Acquisition is based primarily on Earth, and is organized in a similar fashion to military intelligence gathering organisations. It is important to realise that this part of the Continuum takes part in both intelligence acquisition (through Time, Chaos (Entropy) and Mind effects) AND in Target Neutralisation, which takes out the perceived threat. Neutralisation Agents frequently have potent Forces, Matter, and Life scores in order to best affect any opponents. While Intelligence Acquisition focuses on any forthcoming attacks, any extra-dimensional assault (ie. Nephandi) is directed to Repulsion Branch, while any attacks from within Reality (ie. Technomancer) are directed to Target Neutralisation.
Target Neutralisation is based exclusively on Earth, and deals with the enemies of the Continuum therein. As such, they are not quite as specialised as Repulsion Branch, as they have to deal with the Technocracy, Wraiths and the odd Marauder. In addition, they must acquire certain targets alive (such as new recruits for the Continuum) and protect them from their enemies. Target Neutralisation is a highly militaristic organisation, which liases closely with the Earth Section of Repulsion Branch.
Much of Repulsion Branch is based in Nexus, in the Home Chantry of Central Office. The Specialists and Field Ops of the Repulsion Branch are despatched from here to Main Corridor (Earth) or to one of the Virtuals or Realms which are under attack by the Darkness. Some Repulsion Agents are based on Earth, often in other Chantries. They often work in teams of two or three, and often work with Target Neutralisation Agents.
Acquisition Chantries (called Stations) are located in many of the occupied Realms of Main Corridor, as well as in the Near Umbra and Earth itself. A complex network of sensors and look-outs around each Station provides the information that is relayed to the Repulsion and Target Neutralisation branches.
Target Neutralisation are often associated with members of other Traditions in Chantries on Earth. These are sent out as Strike Teams to the Target Location in order to neutralise the target if hostile, or acquire the target if 'friendly'. Out of mission time, these Agents can continue their normal research.
Intelligence Acquisition keeps an eye out for
any Sleepers who have had experience with the Nephandi and survived
to tell the tale. While they may be in deep shock from this
experience, it has been shown that in some it goes some way to
awakening their Avatars - they begin to question what they have
seen, which is the first step to becoming Sapient. Although they
often eventually recover from the ordeal, they become perfect
targets for either the Technocracy, looking for more Avatars to swell
their ranks, or Nephandi eager to finish what they started.
Acquisition dispatches Target Neutralisation teams to escort the
'Initiate' to Central Office, the Continuum's Chantry located in
Nexus, Main Corridor's Shade Realm of Time, where he or she is
introduced to the ways of the Continuum and fully Awakened. Those who
do not Awaken as a result of their brush with the Nephandi are
usually held as Acolytes for the other Branches.
In addition, many Mages voluntarily join Repulsion Branch from Target Neutralisation or even from other Traditions (although this is rare). They too are escorted to Central Office to undergo Training.
This is a much more open Branch of the Continuum. It approaches those in other Traditions who choose to specialise in Time and Mind and requests that they join this Branch. It also keeps an eye out for Sleepers who self-awaken and show aptitude in the Time Sphere - it then picks them up (usually with a Target Neutralisation team) before the Technocracy can get hold of them.
Many of the Agents who join Repulsion Branch work in Target Neutralisation first, honing their skills on more mundane enemies than the Darkness. Some remain in Target Neutralisation, training others who come to join the Front Line on Earth.
The main Chantry for the Repulsion Branch is at Central Office in Nexus, the Shade Realm of Time. Intelligence Acquisition and Target Neutralisation are based on Earth, and they share a main Chantry which is located in London, England.
Time. All Agents receive some training in the Sphere of Time, but many of the other Spheres are also extensively studied. Many Target Neutralisation Mages concentrate on Forces, Correspondence, and Matter to attack or protect their targets. Intelligence Acquisition Mages usually also specialise in Entropy (Chaos) to best assess probabilities and Mind. Repulsion Branch Agents usually have high scores in Correspondence, Mind, and Forces. Spirit is also popular among all Continuum Agents in order to enter and leave the Umbra.
Since they have spent a few hundred years as members of the Technocracy, Continuum Agents require foci for all their effects until their Arete reaches 5.
Meditation: Observation is the key to Continuum Magick (see the
Paradigm Page below). An Agent has merely to concentrate for a few
seconds to Observe the desired effect for it to occur. This requires
at least one round of meditation per Sphere dot, and one point in the
Meditation skill (regardless of the level of the effect).
Note that Countermagick can be cast in the same round as the incoming effect, and does not require such meditation. Fastcasting is also possible, and allows the effect to be cast in one round with a penalty of +1 to the difficulty. All Spheres that do not need a physical focus (ie. Correspondence/Mind/Prime/Spirit) can only be cast through meditation.
Calculator: Chaos and Entropy calculations must be done on some form of calculating device, be it abacus, calculator, or computer.
Timepiece: Frequently, this is a pocket watch of some sort, though some Agents prefer a digital watch. This helps to focus the Agent's mind on the Observation of Time. It is a unique item.
Weapon: This is often a high-tech weapon of some sort, and is unique to each effect. Continuum Agents are completely incapable of using Matter, Forces, or Life without the relevant weapon (which is in fact a unqiue talisman). Thus, to fire a laser at a target, the Agent needs his Laser Rifle, which is a Forces 3 Prime 2 device. Each device is a unique item. The rules for these are similar to those for the devices of the Sons of Ether.
Soldier, Information Gatherer, Secret agent, detective, anyone who's discovered things they weren't meant to know.
'Dark forces are at work here.....and they're very cunning so far. This could be a trap...'
The Continuum's opinion of the Traditions is descibed below. The Traditions' opinion of the Continuum is denoted in parentheses below this. [Note that many of the subtraditions here can be found in the various Mage Archives on the Net].
They are too wrapped
up in their own primitive views of reality to see the threat from
(They overestimate the magnitude of the Nephandi threat. Our immediate struggle against the Technocracy is much more important).
They are far too focused on their 'One', and are
worryingly ecclesiastical. However, they can be quite useful allies
in the Perpetual War.
(They are committed fulltime to the destruction of demons and devils. This can only be good. We are not blind to the threat from beyond).
They know of the Nephandi threat but focus too much on
the Earth. They should realise that Earth is but part of Main
Corridor, which will be destroyed should the Nephandi break through.
Still, we respect their views - after all, their existence means that
we can devote less troops to protecting the Earth itself.
(They speak wisely of the threat from the Nephandi, but we are powerless to aid them at the front line of the Horizon. It is our place to protect Gaia from harm, and their to guard the Near Umbra).
A worrying group of fanatics and murderers. Despite their
<ahem> good intentions, many are prime targets for corruption by the
Darkness. Most of them seem to attract ghosts like moths to a flame,
which we must endeavour to extinguish.
(Close-minded scientists! They think we are agents of darkness!! Don't make me laugh... There's nothing wrong with what we do. They overestimate the threat of the Nephandi!)
They have their uses, and were once our brothers.
Their devices are without rival. However, they are still too
complacent with regards to the threat of the Darkness.
(We'll deal with the Nephandi as and when they appear. Of course, to have this lot get there first saves us a lot of bother).
We saw this little Schism from our former 'employers'
coming. Their ideas of virgin new Virtual Worlds are interesting, but
should we fall their worlds will be destroyed as surely as our own.
(The Continuum have got it all wrong - our worlds can survive anything the Nephandi throw at them).
NOTE: The Paradigm as described here is probably only important to Agents of the Repulsion Branch. Continuum Agents within Intelligence Acquisition and Target Neutralisation tend to be more 'Earthbound' than those in Repulsion Branch, so many 'round down' their personal paradigms to a much less esoteric level. For example, a Target Neutralisation agent is probably more likely to just Teleport (ie. think 'I need to get from A to B in no time at all' and then teleport) than to think about exactly how he is moving across the Corridor in a Space-Like Path. As a result, Repulsion Branch Agents sometimes think they take their job much more seriously than their Acquisition/Neutralisation counterparts.....
Reality is an endless Corridor, with time as its length and space as its width. The Corridor is under constant attack from the Darkness beyond its walls and its agents within. The walls of the Corridor must be continually guarded, and any holes in its walls must rapidly be sealed before any permanent damage is done.
An Accepter [Sleeper], sees events around him as they have been defined by the Observations of other, more astute Observers [Mages] - observing an event fixes it in time and space (ie. the Corridor). Observers are able to see what they want to see, thus fixing events in the Corridor according to their own requirements.
By travelling along
a 'space-like' path (effectively, by moving sideways) in the
Corridor, an Observer can bypass Time and travel great distances
instantaneously. By shifting one's perceptions along the width of the
Corridor, an Observer can sense distant events and locations. By
reaching across the Corridor, an Observer can physically affect these
Note that it is not possible for Accepters to travel across the Corridor in this way - the closest they can ever get is the theoretical maximum of the speed of light (c), which itself cannot travel across the Corridor instantaneously. However, acceleration to such velocities warps the fabric of the Corridor such that Special Relativistic effects can occur to slow the subjective passage of time. Observers travel on Space-Like Paths so both t (absolute travel Time) and Tau (subjective travel Time) = 0.
By observing events at the Quantum Level, an Observer can control probability and randomness.
One of the more esoteric concepts within the Paradigm of the Corridor - since observation defines reality, opinion of what one sees plays a critical role in determining what one has just seen. Thus, opinion is also a vital factor in fixing reality.
All things are pushed in one direction through the Corridor - the current that drives them is the Flow. By increasing or decreasing the density of the Flow through an object, it can be more or less firmly anchored to the Corridor. Decreasing the Flow density causes an object to become inherently unstable, until it completely discorporates when the density reaches zero.
There are many 'side doors' in the Corridor, through which branch corridors with differing parameters to our own may be entered. It is believed that other Corridors (as opposed to Branches) do exist, presumably also under constant siege from the Darkness in which they rest.
The infinite length of Corridor itself
represents Time. The Flow passes through everything within the
Corridor. While manipulation of the density of this Flow affects an
object's inherent stability, the Flow also imparts a FORCE to the
object while it passes through it (that is not related to its
density) that pushes it along the Corridor. This force is uni-
directional in Main Corridor - it only pushes the object in one
direction (forwards through time). Manipulation of this force
affects the speed at which an object travels down the Corridor.
Increasing the forward motion makes Time pass at a faster subjective rate - decreasing the forward motion makes Time pass at a subjectively slower rate. Anchoring the object to Corridor so that it has no forward motion freezes that object in Time. Experiments are curretly underway to reverse the direction of motion in a test object, but all attempts so far have failed - the reversal of causality (cause and effect) that results creates a Singularity since such phenomena are not stable in the Corridor.
All forces (Gravity, Electromagnetic, Strong and Weak) are manifestations of unseen interactions between particles. Only in certain circumstances do these interactions manifest as real particles such as photons and electrons. By Observing these interactions, an Observer can influence the forces that affect the macro/microscopic world.
E = mc^2. Mass has energy, and energy has
mass. All physical objects, whether solid, liquid, gaseous, or
plasma, possess this mass-energy. Observers can convert ambient
energy into mass (transferring it from extremely distant parts of
the Corridor to their present location if necessary) and fashion this
into any material they desire through Observation and opinion. Note
that the total amount of mass-energy in the Universe is constant, so
even Observers cannot spontaneously create mass-energy - it must
exist already in another form.
[Note that this is just background - in reality, Matter as used by a Continuum Agent will itself draw the energy from elsewhere in the Universe (say, a cloud of interstellar gas a thousand light-years away, or the air around the targeted object) to create the material/ object. Correspondence or Mind is NOT required to use Matter)].
Living beings are still constructed of basic
matter, but this interacts in a complex (biochemical) manner to fuel
the body. Affecting Living creatures requires more finesse and
concentration than that required for non-living material, and by
necessity the problem must be approached from a separate direction.
[Life is affected in a similar way to Matter, but since living bodies are much more complex than non-living material, a new approach must be set up in the Observer's mind - hence, Life is a separate Sphere to Matter).
More Astute Observers can understand the Corridor better by seeing in more detail. Observers become more astute through experience - by noticing the subtle nuances in every Observation.
Energy is an unusual quantity. While in the conventional universe it manifests as a force or as mass, the truth is much deeper than this. Energy is in fact a physical manifestation of the density of the Flow, the current that perpetually pushes events forwards in time along the Corridor. In the physical world, the Energy Density of the flow can manifest in many forms in the right circumstances. This Energy can be used to back up Observations, ensuring they are perceived correctly.
Instabilities created by poorly Observed events in the Corridor result in the creation of Singularities [Paradox Flaws and Spirits]. In some cases, the disturbance is so severe that Naked Singularities arise, which necessitate the creation of an Event Horizon around the Observer which shields the surrounding Corridor from the instability [ie. a Paradox Realm - since nothing originating in the Corridor can penetrate an Event Horizon, the Paradox is enclosed and Reality is effectively shielded from the instability while the Observer negotiates the Paradox Realm set up within the Event Horizon].
Accepters who start to question what they
see become Sapient. By doubting the Observations of others instead of
just accepting them, they formulate their own Opinion and so become
It should be noted that the Continuum does not believe in Ascension. The struggle against the Darkness is continuous, and so can never have such a culmination [other than the total destruction of Main Corridor]....
Observers are capable of seeing reality in its true form - the Corridor. By looking behind them [in the past], they can cover their tracks so they pass with very little trace along the Corridor.
Observers exist because the Flow through them is denser than the Flow through normal Accepters. In addition, Observers can draw upon this excess density as a kind of Energy 'battery' with which to back up their Observations.
Some Observers are simply very good at what they do, or show a faint hint of extraordinary talent - as such, they deserve recognition.
Since the Corridor contains everything that will be, is, or has been in existence, it is possible to scan its contents (at least in the immediate vicinity) for knowledge that the Observer may require.
The Flow through some regions of the Corridor is denser than normal - more Energy can thus manifest in these locations.
The Darkness. The raison d'etre of the Continuum, the
Nephandi are the Darkness that surrounds the Corridor. Like the
Corridor itself, this Darkness appears to have always existed, and
has always acted to destroy it. The Continuum believes that the
Darkness represents the natural state of the Metaverse, with the
Corridors being unstable imperfections in its fabric. As a result,
the laws of reality always try to correct these flaws by destroying
them. However, the destruction of the Corridors would be the
destruction of all reality - absolute Oblivion.
As such, the Continuum continually acts to defend the integrity of the Corridor from the 'corrective forces' of the Darkness and any who would aid them. The Nephandi themselves are the physical representations of these forces. Since the Darkness is infinite, the Continuum never seeks to 'win' the war against it - its actions are entirely defensive, striking the Nephandi as and when they attack Main Corridor.
The Penumbra represents the periphery of the Corridor, nearest its walls. Since the Corridor is infinite in length and width, only Observers (not Accepters) can perceive its Walls. By entering the Periphery, an Observer can easily find doors into Branch Corridors, while at the same time being able to perceive 'normal' reality. By entering these side doors, Observers can enter other Realms in the Umbra. In some places, doors may lead directly into the Darkness that surrounds the Corridor [ie. the Deep Umbra]. Such doors are sought out and are continually guarded, since they present an obvious route for the Darkness to enter the Corridor. More adventurous Observers claim to have seen other Corridors [ie. Realms in the Deep Umbra] suspended in the Darkness around our own, but the Continuum cannot afford to expend its limited resources by investigating them and defending our own at the same time. It is assumed that these other Corridors are also under siege by the Darkness.
The Continuum holds what appears to be a violently
paranoid opinion of Wraiths - it actively seeks and destroys them
wherever they exist! In their view, when something dies it may leave
an Imprint of itself [ie. a Wraith] on reality - a good analogy would
be to equate the Imprint to an after-image left on the retina after a
bright light is shone into one's eyes.
The Continuum perceives these Imprints as a very real threat to the Corridor's integrity, for it is through them that its walls become weakened, allowing the Darkness outside easier passage to reality. By resonating with the Imprint's desires, the invader can manifest itself within the Corridor. Lingering memories and desires, nursery rhymes, and even old photographs have proven to be a major thorn in the side of the Continuum as it fends off attempts by the Darkness to break through the weakened walls.
There is much debate on whether or not these Imprints are sentient. Some argue that Imprints are just that - emotional after- images left on reality, with no sentience or intelligence. Others (especially those who have come face-to-face with Wraiths) believe that they are indeed sentient, but can be driven, used, or tricked by the Darkness into acting as a gateway into the Corridor. All factions believe that while these Imprints may or may not be a direct threat, they remain a weak link through which the Darkness can break through, so they should be removed wherever found. Some Agents actively seek and destroy Fetters in order to loosen the bonds of a Wraith to the Living World.
[In game terms, the Continuum sees Wraiths as a direct link to the forces of Oblivion, toys to be used by the Darkness to penetrate the walls of the Corridor. It should be noted that the Underworld has not been discovered by the Continuum, and cannot be accounted for within its Paradigm.
Chronicles involving the interaction/confrontation between Wraiths and Continuum Agents (especially Repulsion Branch) are potentially the most interesting of all. Inspiration can be found in the early 1980's British Sci-Fi Series 'Sapphire and Steel', starring Joanna Lumley and David MacCallum. Indeed, the Paradigm of the Continuum is extrapolated from information hinted at in the six adventures that made up this series - Adventure 2 in particular is a very good example of Wraiths being used by the Darkness for its own ends. As an aside, Sapphire and Steel themselves can be considered as Repulsion Branch Field Ops (with Lead and Silver (who also appear in the series occasionally) as Repulsion Branch Specialists)].
The Continuum is neutral to the Garou, primarily because it knows so little about them. The Continuum views the Garou as natural hybrids of the forces within this Corridor and its Branches, since they exist at or near the Periphery (ie. the Walls of the Corridor). If the Continuum knew enough Garou cosmology, they would probably believe that the Wyrm is yet another manifestation of the Darkness. It is not certain that the Garou are aware of the existence of the Continuum, but where they can, the two sides prefer to leave eachother to fight their own battles with the Darkness on their own terms.
While the existence of Vampires is rumoured, the Continuum knows too little about these creatures to draw an opinion. The general consensus is that they are a form of unusual but natural lifeform unique to our own Corridor, possibly forming when an Accepter dies while becoming Sapient to create a partially-Sapient creature. All of this is conjecture - if truth be told, Vampires are a largely unknown quantity to the Continuum. However, it is believed that there is no connection between the Darkness and these entities. Wherever possible, Vampires should be studied (carefully!) by Continuum Agents, although their paths rarely cross. Nevertheless, the Continuum is aware that some of these creatures actively aiding the Darkness, and tries to seek and destroy them when they can.
Inhabitants of our Branch Corridors. The Continuum is curious as to the nature of these creatures and how they interact with our own Corridor. However, it is aware that some of these beings either willingly or unwillingly serve the Darkness, so it treads very carefully when dealing with them. All attempts are of course made to destroy any who do serve the Darkness.
The Continuum is aware of the existence of these creatures, and studies them wherever possible. Faeries themselves are cited as proof of the existence of other Corridors, and are believed to originate from a 'nearby' Corridor. Changelings appear to be exiles from this other Corridor, believed to be known as 'Arcadia'. Very little is known about the Arcadia Corridor, and some Observers believe it to have once been a Branch of our own. How and when it separated from our own would be of great interest to the Continuum if it had the time to study it.
Accepters. Those whose lack Sapience and so are unable to Observe the Corridor. Accepters merely accept the Observations of others as fact (hence their name). However, while they are incapable of forming their OWN opinion and making their OWN Observations, they are capable of instinctively Contradicting observations made by Observers that go against their accepted world-view. Such Contradiction is dangerous to careless Observers, as it can set up Singularities and Event Horizons to plague them - by making Observations that can fit in to an Accepter's world-view, an Observer can avoid these problems.
Prior to the Age of Reason, the Continuum did not exist as an organisation. When the Technocracy formed, the like-minded Mages that had been defending reality from the Darkness beyond came together, believing that the Technocracy appeared to have similar goals to their own. They formed the Continuum within this organization, and learned much from it. Unfortunately, the Technocracy quickly became too wrapped up in their attempts to completely `define' reality, and so the Continuum lost interest in them. The `accidental' publication of the Special Theory of Relativity in 1905 was done partially out of spite to them. The Continuum had been restrained and obstructed for too long, and saw that the Technocracy did not take the defence of the Corridor seriously. When they realised that Relativity had been released to the `Masses' far earlier than they wanted it to, the Technocracy attempted (and failed) to destroy the Continuum. As it is, they still prove a constant thorn in the Continuum's sides even today, obstructing them at every count.
The Continuum is not entirely certain of the origin of
this bizarre group of Observers. It is believed that they are from
our own Corridor, and represent Observers who have become Sapient
in a highly stressful environment. Some believe they have come face
to face with the Darkness and have been driven insane by it.
Certainly, the Darkness holds many alien horrors that can drive even
Observers insane - even Continuum Agents do not enter it without
Marauders are a constant thorn in the Continuum's side. Originating in Main Corridor, they are fully capable of entering Nexus and the Virtuals, which they see as a playground of sorts. They have contaminated a significant number of inhabited Virtuals, which the Continuum actively tried to prevent.
In addition, the Marauders' disruptive activities can provide gateways into Main Corridor for the Darkness to enter, so the Continuum makes every effort to drive them back from whence they came.
The Continuum sees itself as separate but allied to this this group of Observers, since it now has much more in common with them than the Technocracy. Most of the Traditions are too focused in their `struggle' against the Technocracy, which serves no purpose - who would be left to pat the winner on the back should the Corridor collapse to the Darkness? The Continuum believes they should focus instead on the real enemy - the Darkness. Many of the Traditions leave the Continuum alone, and while some do not trust them, they do acknowledge that someone has to take the defence of reality seriously. However, only the Celestial Chorus, Dreamspeakers and Cabalists are sometimes helpful to their cause in their own way. Ideally, the Continuum would gladly see some Traditions destroyed outright - the Necromancers and some Goetics actively aid or seek the Darkness, which cannot be tolerated. The Continuum distinctly distrusts the Euthanatos, believing they deal too much with Wraiths and so are a threat to the stability of the Corridor.
The Ascension War between the Traditions and the Technocracy is something that never ceases to amaze the Continuum. They liken it unto a battle in a burning house, with the walls collapsing all around the combatants. The Continuum believes that both factions should cease their childish bickering and pitiful powerplays and devote themselves to the defence of the Corridor against the Darkness outside.