The Worlds You Don’t Know
Hamlet had the right of it when he said, “There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
The scope of human knowledge and endeavor is woefully limited, compared to the incalculable vastness of the cosmos as it truly is. Worlds – metaphysically speaking – lay atop, beneath, beside, and even within the warp and weave of the one that people take for granted as the truest, and perhaps only, face of reality. These many worlds abut and overlap one another, and, for the most part, those within any given plane of existence only perceive and interact with their own immediate environment. The average spirit in the infernal realm knows as little about what’s taking place in an Addis Ababa apartment as the people living in that apartment know about that’s spirit’s goings-on.
The difference, of course, is that those existing firmly beyond the borders of mundanity are generally aware of the reality of the other worlds, and capable of interacting with the denizens of those places – though whether they can do so safely is another matter, entirely. The day-to-day world is a dangerous enough place, in many cases, and these realms beyond are even more so. It’s rare for entities originating in other planes of existence to visit the mundane world for what most humans would consider being benevolent purposes.
In truth, there are seven “worlds” that exist within reality, at least as we know it. These worlds are the mundane, the secret worlds, the invisible world, the ethereal plane, the astral plane, the celestial plane, and the infernal plane.
Playing an O7 Game
Occult 7 - shortened to O7 throughout this book - is a variant rules system based on the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. Like much of the core of the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game, O7 is a game of enigmatic heroes who rise up against terrible dangers and overcome powerful, diabolical and earth-shattering foes. However, instead of using Pathfinder’s usual 20 levels of character progression, O7 uses only the first seven levels. This keeps characters in the “sweet spot” of adventuring. They are tough enough to take on the darkness but are still manageable. Adapted from the Epic 6 rules variant (add footer here), O7 is designed specifically for Bloodlines & Black Magic and is intended to work with the classes presented in both Pathfinder Occult Adventures and the Pathfinder Advanced Class Guide, both of which are suggested for this setting.
Seven Secrets of Bloodlines & Black Magic.
1. Magic is real. For most of the world, magic is one of two things: a series of well-crafted illusions designed to entertain, or the unsubstantiated believe in loosely connected, human-driven events. While most people give magic little more than lip (or card) service, the truth is quite simple; magic exists.
2. There are global elites. Both the occult and conspiracy communities have long pointed to a nameless, global, ruling elite who they believe is holding them back. While most rational humans wave off such conjecture, the truth is stranger still – there are global elites and they have a vested interest in keeping the masses dumb, fat, and divided.
3. Monsters walk the night. Parents, the world over, tuck their children in with the same reassurances over and over. They open closet doors, look under beds, and click on night-lights to hold back the darkness, all of them repeating the same refrain; there are no monsters, go back to sleep. Those parents, like so much of the world, are wrong.
4. The Power is in the Blood. Beyond the glass towers and exotic retreats of the global elite, a stranger group of people – many of who occupy thrones in the Invisible – play an even more delicate game with the world; these blooded humans, collected into bloodlines families, are the secret lineages of those who truly rule. Although some have waxed in influence, many of these bloodline families still exercise considerable power in the mundane – making kings from fools, changing national borders, and even reorganizing societies to suit their own, personal agendas.
5. We are Legion. Made famous in the New Testament, the Goëtic Spirits have long been at odds with the Archons, taking on forms from a wide array of cultures and myths. Some of the spirits could easily be traditionally considered demons or devils, although they are clearly in the minority. The Goëtic Spirits comprise a much larger, more diverse group than those commonly identified by the various monotheistic faiths.
6. The Veil is real. Occultists, conspirators, refugees, activists, veterans, protestors, magicians, gamers, and weirdos – all of them have their own ideas of what is really going on in the world. Some of them actually have a clue, too. But the truth is, while some of those wild ideas might actually hold a little water, most of them are little more than hyped-up conjecture riding shotgun with a bunch of speculation. Which is exactly what the Archons want. The truth should make you sound crazy. Why? Because that’s how the Veil works...
7. The Archons have a mission. Most people have no idea who or what the Archons are, much less what sort of mission they might have. The truth is, whatever the Archons are trying to do, it’s a slow march toward completion and keeping humanity in the dark is a big part of that mission. The few magicians who have discovered them know little about them, although a single word does keep reoccurring in plenty of conversations – stability. What that word means to them, however, is still a mystery for most.
With over seven billion people dominating the Earth, there are countless bloodlines that cross time and space - all of them carrying specific strands of DNA - that many come to learn to hold their own secret potentials. Although those with extremely narrow understanding rely on exterior appearances and or one’s ethnicity to judge the true worth of an individual, the wise know this is the first step down the path to folly. Racism is a deplorable human trait, one that most rational people would be happy to see wiped from the planet, but those who have pierced the veil know it is an altogether dangerous trait, as well. With billions of humans all vying for power at every level of society, those with the capability to do a little more - to pierce the darkness and see reality for what it really is, are a rare lot.
For eons, these individuals grouped together, marrying into select families that could trace their roots to ancient peoples and, it is whispered, to the very entities that command the invisible realms beyond. Of course, these could be calculated fallacies - a longstanding fabrication used to justify everything from cronyism, nepotism, and in some of the darker corners of history, incest. Only those who have walked into the invisible know the stark, sobering truth….Some families hold power.
There are seven bloodlines. They are:
The Fey Blooded - Delicate and lively, individuals who carry the blood of the fey display strange insights. Some claim to suffer from otherworldly visions of both the future and past. Prominent throughout the Old World, fey blooded individuals often display interests in nature, environmentalism, and history - especially history related to Ireland, Scotland, Gaul, and even some of the Nordic lands. Mischievous to a fault, these individuals often rally around pranks, their impish and coy demeanors betraying their better nature. Quite a few display connections to the natural world that, in the past, would have marked them as witches and saw them burnt at the stake.
Nearly eliminated during the Dark Ages, this bloodline has seen a resurgence in the modern world that some have suggested could only be the work of the Seelie court itself. Humans with this bloodline generally begin to display its traits during puberty.
Infernal Blooded - Cunning and strong, individuals with ties to this bloodline rarely discover the power of their blood until late into their teens, although some don’t manifest their abilities until their mid-twenties. Naturally intelligent, these individuals combine their wit with their strength, outwitting or strong-arming others into following their directions, regardless of their will.
Unlike many others, individuals with infernal blood have an almost unnatural understanding of the Infernal realm’s three most profane laws; might makes right, self-preservation trumps sacrifice, and stupidity is a sin. Born with deep, almost reddish complexions that often match their demeanor, these individuals frequently display small, physical imperfections that set them apart, be it a blemish, mismatched eyes, off-color strands of silver or golden hair, and other oddities that are clear deviations from the norm for their ethnicity.
Dragon Blooded - Born cold, calculating, and prone to dreams of conquest outsiders rarely understand the dragon-blooded are a confident line – some who whisper their heritage is as old as the serpent that encircles the cosmic egg.
Although many people chuckle at the idea of sleeping dragons, these individuals know all too well that the blood is as cold as it is ancient. Individuals from this bloodline often spend decades dedicated to self-mastery, tempering their spirits and directing their will in ways that, in the dawn of history, built entire empires. Although some dragon blooded humans claim their blood comes directly from dragons long lost to the modern world, nearly all humans from this bloodline can trace their ancestry back to the ancient empires of the world, both in the east and the west. Whether as royal emperors, peaceful philosophers, or modern dictators, the individuals who lay claim to the blood of dragons are not to be trifled with.
Dragon-blooded humans always manifest their natural gifts before puberty. These bright children, when others of their kind notice them, are groomed throughout their young lives, growing into adults that naturally command their lessers. For some, this means long lives sequestered away in mountaintop temples, while for others it might mean something far more public – like ruling a nation.
Jinn Blooded - As passionate and dedicated as any modern dervish, jinn blooded humans have ties that predate the modern Middle East, their heritage arising from the Assyrian, Sumerian, and Babylonian conquerors who, under a burning red sun, worked ancient magic in the earliest dawn of man. Wise and tenacious, these individuals display a resilience rarely found in the modern world, many choosing paths that are anything but easy. Naturally predisposed to conflict, these men and women often excel as diplomats, as well - luring their enemies into a false sense of security before ending them with a single swing of their sword or, worse, an uttered word of ancient, lost magic.
Although many jinn blooded humans can trace their heritage to the Fertile Crescent, not all of them hail from there. Natural explorers with a strong understanding of trade, many jinn blooded humans have settled throughout Europe, Australia, and the Americas - making them one of the most widespread bloodlines on the globe. Most humans that carry this bloodline begin to manifest its traits during puberty, although some late bloomers may not manifest their abilities until their early twenties.
Seraphic Blooded - Nearly as famous as their infernal siblings, seraphic blooded humans are wise and comely, many displaying a natural charisma that reveals their angelic roots, attracting others who simply want to bask in the presence. Attractive to a fault, these individuals display their bloodline in a number of physical ways; they have bright eyes, angular features, and silky hair that range from the dark of ravens’ feathers to the golden hues of the Valkyries themselves. A rare bloodline that has expanded to nearly every corner of the globe, seraphic blooded humans are incredibly uncommon, making up a part of the global population that is never recorded on any census – which is just how their families like it.
Claiming a heritage with ties to divine figures or, in some stories, the very angels themselves, this bloodline is sometimes mistakenly attributed to the prophets of the Abrahamic faiths, leading to all sorts of cults, secret societies, and conspiracies. Whether or not these hold any water, of course, is a secret these individuals are not want to discuss.
Shadow Blooded - Of all the bloodlines, those who carry shadow-touched blood are perhaps the strangest of all the bloodlines. These rare individuals openly display a love of the dark and many of them openly avoid the daylight, some of which suffer from minor medical conditions that discourage activities like sunbathing, hiking, and a host of other outdoor activities. While others are quick to write them off as weirdos with gothic sensibilities, most who carry shadow’s blood don’t mind. In fact, many shadow blooded individuals are clannish wanderers who are as distrustful of outsiders as they are of them, creating a sort of mutually-beneficial xenophobia that has left this bloodline precisely where it wants to remain – in the shadows.
Predisposed to the divinatory arts, many shadow blooded humans claim that their knowledge of the supernatural exceeds that of the most notable of the Old World’s hermetic houses; whether or not this is true is open to debate, but one thing remains true - their understanding of magic far exceeds that of many other bloodlines. Shadow blooded humans commonly manifest their abilities in their late teens.
Spirit Blooded - Attuned to a world visited almost exclusively by dreamers, spirit blooded humans claim a heritage older than that of any other bloodline, many claiming that their very bodies are the world’s ancient spirits made flesh. Others claim they are the children of the dreaming realms, readily pointing to the Astral Plane as their original home. Natural medicine men, healers, and wise women, these individuals enjoy a degree of diversity many other bloodlines cannot lay claim to, with many individuals tracing their family lines back to central North Africa, the steppes of northern Asia, Aboriginal Australia, and pre-colonial North America.
A bloodline with a strong connection to the Astral, spirit blooded humans excel as spiritualists and shamans, applying their innate understanding of the invisible world to modern problems, offering insights uncommon to our modern world. This connection, however, often haunts them, as many spirit-blooded humans have a hard time separating the two; the world of the spirit plaguing them in ways few grasp. Still, more and more of these individuals are stepping into the modern world; using their understanding of the spirits they court, this bloodline pushes back the darkness.
Spirit blooded individuals normally manifest their abilities during childhood, their invisible friends remaining by their sides throughout their adult lives.
Witches in Bloodlines & Black Magic align themselves with powerful goëtic spirits and their legions, using those powers to hunt down the Archon’s servants in the world, or just to safeguard their allies against even darker forces.
Bloodlines & Black Magic – The Witch has everything you need to play this class in the modern world and includes a host of new material for your game, including:
• The Witch - Learn how the witch uses fetishes, goëtic focus, hexes, and other powers to carve out a place of power in the modern world.
• Seven Unique Goëtic Spirits – Learn more about some of the spirits positioning themselves for power in the world. The Witch gives you details, pact feats, and powers for the spirits Astaroth, Bastet, Joro-Gumo, Kali-Ma, Melek Taus, Pazuzu, and Tirawa.
• New hexes for the witch including Archon’s Beacon, Blowout, Criminalize, Current Surge, Ghost in the Machine, Haunted Head, Hex Oddity, Hex the Threshold, Shatter the Veil, and Seducing Screen.
• Over 30 new feats for Bloodlines & Black Magic that remain compatible with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game.