Nexus of Thieves

Nexus of Thieves

In Nexus, the city at the center of the multiverse, a guild of thieves exists which plies their shadowy trade across the dimensions, through skill, technology and magic they plunder all known worlds. Will you join them or try to stop them?

194 readers have visited this universe since glibglobb created it.

Introduction

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Setting


Nexus, the Axis Mundi, the City at Center, the City of Gods, the City of Tears. Nexus, it exists everywhere but nowhere. In every world there are tears, openings in the fabric of space and time and although some such passages may lead at first to another world or the boundless aether, all paths eventually lead to Nexus. Like a pocket of still water in a rushing river, Nexus collects flotsom, debris both animate and inanimate from across the multiverse. From such accumulated and diverse matter the city was built and from the unlucky stranded and intrepid travelers both its population grew.

No one knows how old the city is, though, it's current mammalian and avian rulers trace their overthrow of the draconic overlords to the year 0 in their modified calender (the current year being 1191). At the center of the city the great palace forged by dragon fire for the Saurian emperors still stands, though now it hosts the Nexian council, representatives of each species, and consequently each universe, which stakes a claim to the Axis Mundi. Radiating out from the draconic palace, renamed the Great Hall, are the rings, each named for the laws of physics dominant there, for unlike the island universes which hold to one law, the rules of Nexus shift from place to place. At the center and encompassing the Great Hall is the Ring of Magic, a power favored by the nobility and held acquisitively by that most secret of institutions, the Arcane College. Beyond that the ring of Gods or Temple District where the influence of those formless denizens of the aether is focused like the gaze of an unseen eye. Outermost of the districts, teetering on the edge of Nexus's disc-like shelf, the Ring of Gears, where technology, the common man's power, is dominant. And, of course, across all these districts the underestimated and mistrusted power of psionics never fades for the mind is always.

Doorways


Without portals, there would be no multiverse, only worlds in perpetual isolation. Unfortunately or fortunately the skill to craft stable portals was lost along with the ancient draconic empire. Some of these gates, fittingly termed dragon gates, still exist, powered by crystals which can only be charged by a gifted psionic or many psions working in concert. Use of these gates is strictly monitored and only used regularly to reach the so called 'awakened' realms, worlds aware of the existence of the multiverse with representatives on the Nexian Council. Travel to worlds which have forgotten or never known the other dimensions is prohibited by law and enforced by penalties rarely risked by anyone outside the notorious Thieves Guild which plunders such untouched worlds for their wealth.

In addition to the ancient dragon gates there exist unstable portals called tears. These tears can open up anywhere though some locations in space time are riddled with them. Such a location is Nexus, hence its name, city of tears. Most worlds also contain locations where tears are frequent, known as places where people and the vessels that carry them vanish without a trace. Many such vessels and their passengers wash up or crash on the shores of Nexus adding their cargo to its ever swelling contents. Nexian authorities and the Thieves Guild are in a constant competition to discover these tears. When discovered by the government they are guarded until they close, when discovered by the Guild they are skillfully hidden and used, if possible, to bring wealth into the city from the other side and even establish extradimensional outposts of their 'Guild'.

Cityscape


The city of nexus has a roughly oval shape spreading out from the jagged spires of the Great Hall, the old draconic palace, at its center. Above ground, the city is an orderly construct built upon solid earth or stone accumulated over the millenia from various outworlds. The influence of magic and technology shifts throughout the city giving rise to the circular districts called Rings which mark the Great Hall as their epicenter. As the districts extend out from the axis, magic gives way to faith which gives way to science. At the very edge of the city lies the Mirror Wall, a deceiving reflection which paints the illusion of an endless urban sprawl but is actually an impenetrable wall of force, a 360 degree fold in spacetime.

Beneath the rather well ordered Over City is a chaotic undercity composed of the accumulated trash of a million worlds. Fortunately less than 5% of this matter is socks, the rest of it is ships, planes, houses, turrets, tanks, entire blocks of lost cities all welded together by time and the imposing weight of the city above. Here beneath the light of the street lamps and arcane willowisps, tears are most common, cramming new material into the city on a daily basis, many opening and closing without ever having been noticed. Here too, the dregs of Nexus make their home amidst this chaos, the thieves guild among them, ever seeking refuge from the prying eyes of the city guard and its detectives.

Cosmology


The multiverse can be thought of as a body of liquid. Within the liquid there are bubbles, each a universe in itself with its own laws of physics. Some of these worlds abhor magic, while others reek of enchantment. Some are driven by the will of the Gods while others know no powers beyond their fold. The liquid in which these worlds float suspended is termed the aether, a formless vapor speculated to be the essence of magic and the home of the Gods, yet beyond the ken of mortal beings. Among the bubbles floating in the aether Nexus remains unique. Unlike the other universes whose expanses are vast, Nexus is unimaginably tiny, encompassing a space not much bigger than a large island. Nexus is also unique in that all its portals, of which there are many, lead to the same general location among the many universes, a world of earth, air and water, a world of life which has evolved differently yet similarly in each dimension, a world sometimes collectively referred to as Terra or Outworld.

Denizens


All known creatures can trace their origins to a Terran world, none are natives to Nexus, all are tourists in the City of Tears, though some were born in that strange pocket of space and time. Although the diversity of life across the multiverse is as immense as the multiverse itself war, circumstance and probability has limited it to a degree, leaving a handful of common races and clades. Two, are most populous in Nexus, the Humanoids (Man) who evolved from apelike ancestors and tends to hail from worlds of minimal magic and the Lemurian (Fae) who evolved from prosimian ancestors (lemurs) and hail from worlds of abundant magic. Both groups became populace in the same manner, having been bred by the dragons as slavestock yet despite such forced breeding they retain diversity (in part because they were bred for different tasks). Some humanoids are short and stocky, others tall and narrow; some lemurians have lost the long tails of their animal forebears while others boast furred prehensile appendages. In general, however, the two prominent races can be distinguished by their ears (the Lemurians being pointed, the Humanoids being rounded) and their eyes (the Lemurians being oval and glossy, the Humanoids being round and clear). Lemurians also tend to be more lithe in build and fair of complexion, though this does not hold true for all subspecies.

Humanoids and Lemurians, abundant though they may be, account only for around half of Nexus's population and much less of the multiverse's. Other prominent species include the Avian, an ancient bird race who served the old dragon emperors as scribes and scholars but sided with the mammals against them when war came. Deeply contemplative and moralistic to a fault, the Avian have given rise to many of the myths regarding angels on outworlds. The Emir are a feline group as diverse as any other, yet branded as thieves and smugglers. Secretive and stealthy in the extreme, their passage across the multiverse has caused little more than a ripple. The Okami are canines ranging from the wolfish to the vulpine and known for both loyalty and cunning. Collectively, they are responsible for the myths of werewolves and dogheaded demigods on the worlds they have visited. Finally, there are the Chiropterans or Vashir, richist and most influential of the races. Gifted in psionics, the Vashir are an old race who evolved from bats who gave up their wings when they descended to ground. On many outworlds their notorious hunger has given rise to the myths of vampires and other blooddrinking monsters .

Existing in a notorious class of their own are the old races, many remembered only for their attempt at exerting their will across the known worlds. Having attained sentience millions of years in the past these species are highly evolved and often equipped with psionic powers augmented by sophisticated biology. The dragons are chief among them. Evolved from dinosaurs and gifted in pyrokinesis they once ruled thousands of worlds from their capitol in Nexis, but were driven back to their terra of origin, the legendary dragonhome, in ancient times. Even older and more powerful than the dragons, yet far less familiar, are the entities known only as Old Ones. Evolved from invertebrate ancestors in deep time, they were once worshiped as Gods with cults on nearly every world. Now nearly all such religions are extinct and the Old Ones have faded to myth.

Powers


Four powers are known in the multiverse. The most common of these, magic and technology, are polar opposites and where one is strong the other must, by necessity, be weak. Magic is said to derive its power from the aether and is strongest when the umbra, the boundary between existence and the formless beyond, is weak. Technology is said to derive its power from physical laws, laws which are bent and broken by the presence of magic. The third power, Favor or Faith, derives its clout from the will of Gods, mysterious beings which exist in the aether yet hold stake in the affairs of Terra and Nexus. Although Favor derives from the aether its intent is focused by divine will and so it does not interfere with technology and can exist side by side with it or magic. However, on worlds where the umbra is particularly rigid even the influence of the Gods can be muted. Finally there is Psionics, the fourth and, according to some, the weakest of the powers. Deriving from the mind which is described by some philosophers as a 'self contained aether', it operates the same regardless of environment, and can be influenced, even augmented, by the other powers (most notably magic). Within the bounds of Nexus such psionic augmentation is illegal for all remember the pyrokinetic fire of the dragons fueled by their cherished soulshards. Without augmentation the effects of psionics are subtle and often dismissed yet in the hands of the sly and intelligent they still make for a potent tool or weapon, one which can be called upon anywhere and without reliance upon the whims of Gods.

Guilds


Below the Councilors, the Guilds stand as the greatest powers in Nexus, for each is responsible for the regulation of one of the four powers. The Arcane College or Wizards Guild handles the affairs of magic and issues licenses for practitioners. The Metric Guild handles all the affairs of technology and trains engineers and scientists in all the arts acquired from the many worlds, from simple mechanics to advanced fusion technology. The Guild of Altars oversees clerics and the many faiths as well as operating the Inquisition, feared justicars who root out the worshipers of evil Gods and the cults of the Old Ones. The Occularum or Guild of Psionics, symbolized by the mystic third eye, keeps telepathic tabs on known psionics assuring that free will is respected and the fourth power is not used in the manner of the dragons, to dominate.

In addition to these official Guilds, there exists a few informal organizations which label themselves as Guilds yet are anything but. One of these is the Guild of Technomancers, mad scientists who believe that magic and technology can be reconciled but who more often wind up blowing up entire blocks of the city and ripping huge tears in the umbra. Both the Wizards Guild and the Metric Guild, rarely in agreement on anything else, team up to hunt down and imprison these quacks before their 'experiments' can harm citizens or unravel the fabric of spacetime itself. Then there is the Thieve's Guild, a group dedicated not to power, but to wealth. Sometimes called the Guild of Coins, it is an organization which stretches across the multiverse with outposts on many worlds. Most such outposts don't even know their mysterious leaders are part of an interdimensional crime syndicate and like most outworlders they remain unaware of the realms beyond. Constantly the target of the Nexian Guard and their elite psionic detectives, the Thieve's Guild must operate in hiding for their very existence violates the central tenant of Nexus, established at the downfall of the dragons, that never again would any multiversal empire, be it forged by magic, technology, faith, will or even coin be allowed to exist.

Player Characters


Player characters should fall into one of three categories. They should be either established members of the Thieve's Guild, prospective members (some of whom might be Terrans who are unaware of the multiverse at the start), or members of law enforcement (Nexian Guard, Inquisitor, or even some Outworlder Cop who's in over his head). Players may pick from any species mentioned above (including humans, the most common humanoid subspecies) or create their own race. Player created races should evolve from a known vertebrate animal group (extinct or extant) and be able to easily interact with others, enter buildings, etc. (no 50ft long eel people please :-P).

RP


My RPs are player driven so if you are a dead fish who needs to be pushed along, this is not the game for you. However, I welcome players who often feel cramped by preordained plot and desire to take an active part in directing the story and creating the world. The specifics of the tale will depend on the characters submitted and their actions in game, so I can not give any information about it as of now apart from the fact that it will focus on the criminal activities of the Thieves Guild and follow their capers across the multiverse.

Q&A


How common are humans?

Humans are the most common subspecies or race of humanoids and the most common citizen of Nexus. They make up around 10% of the population. This is due in part to the probability of human evolution making for their appearance on many outworlds and the fact that dragons favored humans as a slave race breeding them in massive quantities during their reign.

What about earth?

Earth is an outworld and it is out there. The time is modern day and you can be from it if you want. It is, obviously, an unawakened world so travel there is prohibited by law.

Are the Old Ones like in Lovecraft?

They are loosely based on Lovecraft because their real existence influenced cultures around the multiverse including that on earth of which Lovecraft is a part.

What do Dragons look like?

Few beings alive have seen a dragon, though, paintings depict them both as typical winged beasts and more humanoid demonic figures, scaled yet standing upon two legs.

What do animal races look like?

Nearly all walk on two legs and possess dexterous forearms for this physiology seems to be the primary driver for the development of sentient intelligence. Some have faces that are flattened and almost humanoid while others retain very animalistic features.

How advanced can technology be?

The most advanced technology known to Nexus is roughly a century ahead of what we have on earth. Fusion has been mastered and compacted into battery size generators. Advanced cybernetics and nanites are possible though not advisable for they will malfunction in high-magic zones. Weaponry ranges from old fashioned dependable firearms to rail guns, particle emitters, plasma sprayers and laser rifles.

Toggle Rules

1) Don't be a douche
2) Don't power play
3) Don't God Mode major NPCs (villains) or other PC unless they say it's okay (I also follow this rule unless I am 99.9999999% sure how a PC will react).
4) Be creative and add your own flavor to the setting. Always feel free to God Mode minor NPCs and put your own spin on my ideas, just stay true to broad themes.
5) Have a little faith in the GM. GMs are like Gods they almost always have reasons for what they do even though those reasons are not always readily apparent.

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Most recent OOC posts in Nexus of Thieves

Re: The Nexus of Thieves

blissfullyquixotic wrote:I'm very interested in the story and I would love to take part in the story. I won't be able to post my character right away from lack of time but could have a character up within a few days. My only problem is I work a lot and start school soon so I might be only able to post once or twice a week- is that okay with you?


My general rule is 1/week for ancillary characters, 2+/week for main characters so yeah that should be fine. You might not want to thrust yourself into a centerstage role, but apart from that I wouldn't worry. Look forward to seeing your character

Re: The Nexus of Thieves

I'm very interested in the story and I would love to take part in the story. I won't be able to post my character right away from lack of time but could have a character up within a few days. My only problem is I work a lot and start school soon so I might be only able to post once or twice a week- is that okay with you?

The Nexus of Thieves

The concept of an interdimensional thieves guild is one I've wanted to try for a long time. Partially inspired by the film Time Bandits and the D&D setting: Planescape, this is my first attempt at doing so. I hope people are as intrigued by this concept as I am and prepared to wade through the complexity that goes hand in hand with such a broad setting where magic, science, religion, and psionics all rub shoulders.

cron