Abyss

Slipping Away

The Abyss is one of the thirteen Near Realms in the Umbra. There are many places in the Umbra to fear, dreaded places of nightmarish horrors that are not meant to walk the physical world. Nests of monstrous banes, places of endless battle and carnage, and entire realms dedicated to the twisted Maeljin Incarna. But the Abyss seems to humble these places horrors. For within the Abyss there is only dreaded silence and unnerving emptiness.

The equivalent to a spiritual black hole, the Abyss is surrounded by thick mists, leading to a realm of barren mud and rocks. This in turn leads to the gaping pit that is so deep and wide that it must be bottomless. Anything tossed into the Abyss is forever lost, simply disappearing as though they never existed. Almost everything that has fallen into the Abyss has never come back out again. The only thing that does seem to come out of the Abyss is a strange lulling call. Getting to the source of this siren song isn't terribly difficult, as there are many paths that lead here. In fact it is said that any mundane crack in the Umbral soil will if followed long enough, lead to this vast nothingness.

To the Garou, this is the despot of all things lost. Persons, cultures, totems, even the forgotten spirits of dead tribes come here to wither and die. If one dares to enter the Abyss itself, they will be met with frightful visages. The names and faces of totems and forgotten heroes seem to be carved out of the cliff face itself. However these carvings may also be the monsters that are waiting to be unleashed during the Apocalypse. Truthfully, no one knows the precise representation what what these cravings are to represent.

The Abyss is many things to may different tribes. To the Bone Gnawers, the eldest of Vampires lay in torpor here, waiting for the night when they can come to suck the world dry. The Get of Fenris have a similar legend, but they believe that hordes of loathsome Wyrmspawn will rise from this "Maw of Jormungandr." The Star Gazers see the Abyss as the greatest of paradoxes, an embodied spiritual koan. Only Klaital, greatest of the tribe, was able to descend fully into the Abyss and return from within. The Silent Striders whisper that, should the greatest of Garou heroes sacrifice himself by voluntarily hurling himself into the Abyss, the entire realm will close in on itself, sealing itself shut for all time. Of course, the Striders also remind those listening that, despite several heroes' attempts, it is still there, intact and inviting others to try. Not only are the Garou aware of the Abyss. Thus is the impact of this terrible thing in the umbra that the other Fera have their own legends about it. The Bastet believe it to be the first Den-Realm, seized by the Wyrm and desecrated into what it is now. The Mokolé see the Abyss as the anathema of Mnesis, the embodiment of all that has been forever lost from even their prodigious memories. The Ananasi tell tales of a bloated Goblin Spider who spins forever spins a web in its depths, seeking build a bridge and bring the Apocalypse to the world. The secretive Nagah believe the Abyss to be the mark were the Wyrm struck the spirit world and injected it with its poisons. The Shadow Fang. Whiles the Corax, for all their Umbral travel, will simply not speak of it.

Geography of the Void

Like any rock on the physical or Umbral plane, the Abyss's walls are just as scalable. However, one is welcome to do so at one's own risk. Powerful gusts of wind buffet travelers and threaten to fling them in the great nothingness below. This realm devours all forms of sensory perception, wither they come from light, sound or even scent. If is foolish enough to go far enough, there is the threat of complete sensory deprivation. At that point however, they are lost for all times.

There are three paths that lead down into the Abyss, all of them aligned with vast networks of caves where nearly anything and everything lost can be found. Each one is lined with a particular kind of mineral that gives the path its name.

  • The Golden Path - Named because of the nodes of pure gold that line this path. This makes this path the most tempting to take, however those who wish to take from the path, as it were invoke a potent curse. To add to this, it is the most precarious of paths, lined with fissures, sheer drops and other obstacles. This is the deadliest of the Abyssal paths.
  • The Iron Path - The Iron Path, like the name preludes is striated with bands of iron ore. This path is favored by poor lost cubs that accidentally wonder about the umbra and find their way to the Abyss. It is over run with endless numbers of caverns, however these caves are almost always filled with stranded creatures or spirits who have gone insane because of the ever-consuming nature of the Abyss. Rescue is possible, though difficult, and is worthy of great renown by those who do. Of the three paths, the Iron Path is the easiest to traverse.
  • The Silver Path - It is said that the Star Gazer hero Klaital took the Silver Path through and out of the Abyss. Most of the great totemic carvings lie along this enigmatic path. Silver taken from this path is said to be particularly useful in the forging of klaives. The Silver Path is more difficult and treacherous than the Golden or Iron Paths — in its own way — otherwise more would be known about it. However, no two Theurges can agree on the precise nature of its challenges.

The Abyss calls to those who look into it for too long. Tugging at the emptiness in their souls, convincing them that they aren't worthy to defend Gaia, or that in the long run their existence is meaningless. Some shapeshifters, particularly Corax, have been known to fly directly into the Abyss. Those who do so ultimately suffer the effects of sensory deprivation as they travel deeper and deeper into the lightless, silent void. They begin to hallucinate as maddening terror fills their being.

Those Who Dwell in Darkness

There are few who permanently choose to dwell in this lonely land, and rightfully so. Spirits that wish to come to this place must materialize to enter the realm, falling out of touch with the rest of the Umbra as they do so. Neither the Weaver or the Wyld are strong in this place, as their charms simply do not function. Break or Solidify Reality isn't very useful in a place that seems to eat at reality. So both kinds of spirits give the realm a very wide berth. Ironically however, the Abyss acts as a beacon or magnet to spirits. Anyone attempting to summon a spirit while in the realm will find it very easy to do so.

Nightmaster

Of the few that dare to call this dismal place home, none is as infamous and terrifying as the great Shadow Lord Nightmaster. Once a great hero to the Garou and a member of the Society of Nidhogg, he traveled into the Abyss long ago with his pack. Seeking out the realms secrets, his pack went mad with the nature of this realm and he was force to put them down, one by one, till he was the only one standing in the lightless void. There, he made a pact with the Abyss itself, either becoming its slave or its master. In doing so, he sacrifice his soul to the dark, and destroyed everything in his being that was weak or natural. He now walks the Abyss with impunity, freeing those creatures suited to his whims and subduing them into his service. He is a fitting ruler for this gloomy realm.

The Hive of the Jagged Maw

The Hive of the Jagged Maw is a group of Black Spiral Dancers that have chosen to dwell permanently in the Abyss. This insane group is devoted to the worship of the aspect of the Triadic Wyrm known as the Eater of Souls, the leader of this hive, lead by its priestess Grythyg, believes the realm to be the mouth of this Wyrm incarnation. Members of remain by the great pit, enacting horrific rites in preparation for the Apocalypse, when they believe the Wyrm-monster will rise from the ground and devour the world. Members of this hive seek to keep the Abyss "pure" of outside contaminates. This of course means keeping those devoted to Gaia from "polluting" the region. Cunningly they often pretend to be lost Gaian Garou. Once a pack has "located" one of them, they ambush them, and then relish their victories by torturing and tossing their would be "savors" into the Abyss alive.

As one can imagine they hate Nightmaster with a passion, but as his forces are greater then their own, there is little they can do about him. In a twist of irony, hive members occasionally aid in his lesser schemes in an attempt to gain information about his weaknesses. To date. they have found none.

The Lost Legion

As of late, Umbral travelers have started to see strange phantasmal figures near the Abyss. They bear the chill of the Low Umbra, and appear to be the spirits of the humand dead. Coming in many shapes, but all bear weapons, cuirasses and hauberks of black iron. Moving in with the preciseness of a military formation and bearing a soldierly seeming, they handle the swords, pikes, guns and other armorment with east.

Once in service to the Lords of the Dead, these hapless ghosts were blasted from their posts in a great spirit-storm. And try as they might they are unable to find their way back from this umbral realm. Now this rag-tag hodge-podge of a military unit has erected an encampment along the Iron Path, calming it as their home. As of yet they are uncertain what to make of their new surroundings, and are wary of travelers. They know of Nightmaster, but nothing more.

Getting In and Getting the Hell Out

Getting into this realm is terribly easy. Falling off a moon path, wandering off-course, or even failing to fully cross the Gauntlet. Most don't even know that they are entering the Abyss until it is too late.

Exiting the realm is much, much, much harder. One can be trapped in the realm for days following the many cracks that lead elsewhere. And even then, they must be free of any of the maddening effects of the Realm. Creatures suffering from either Harano or a derangement find themselves in for a long trip unless either condition is cured.

Laws of the Realm and Optional Rules

Like with all the realms, there are things that are constant. A mix of the "laws of physics" to the realm, as it were.

  • Anything without the ability to fly that falls in, is forever lost.
  • The Abyss is a natural magnet for spirits, thus amplifying the powerful summonings preformed in this realm. Garou performing a Rite of Summoning in the realm can do this with twice the ease.
  • A Garou staring into the Abyss must reach into their willpower least succumb to fox frenzy, if the Abyss has eaten away all their willpower, said Garou will attempt to leap into the void.
  • Upon entering for the first time, a Garou must test their willpower or succumb to Harano.
  • While depressing, exploration of the Abyss can be enlightening and revelatory. Gaining gifts, enigma knowledge, and added Gnosis can be rewarded from trips to this realm. However, this is at your own risk.
  • No actions involving expending of Gnosis work in the Abyss.
  • Anything lost in the umbra and not found by others eventually arrives in the Abyss.
  • Difficulties in perception increase by one for every three hundred feet that one goes, however, the fuller the moon is the less difficult it is.
  • Any attempts in intimidation, gifts included, work doubly well here.
  • No Moon Bridges may penetrate the Abyss Realm. This includes those created by the gift Bridge Walker.
  • Collecting Gems and Gold from the Golden Path may make one rich, however, they come with a terrible price. From that point on they will be dogged with the Curse of the Abyss, and things will have a terrible tendency to go missing, particularly things that are of great importance. These losses can even include love, control, or even sanity. The Abyss isn't picky.
  • Using the gift Sense Wyrm is pointless in the Abyss, due to the fact that the realm itself is of the Wyrm.
  • Some gems along the Abyss's walls are fetishes known as Hearts of Midnight. Attuning them to oneself will allow the user to remove them from the Umbra, but do so at your own risk.
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