World of Factions
The Gifted are those who are in on the secret, that reality can be affected by will alone, or molded by Ritual Magic. The Gifted use their abilities to pull the metaphysical strings from the edge of the curtain. The most well-placed Gifted belong to secret societies called Factions. By leveraging the influence of their Factions, the Gifted control corporations, government agencies, religions, and the myriad facets of civilization.
In America, several powerful Factions have bound themselves together in a bid for supremacy. The Sect they have formed is called the Order. In the Order's climb to dominance, it has subjugated many, to the benefit of the few. The Order has turned America into an Orwellian nightmare, a police state backed by Ritual magicians and reality-bending secret police. Some Factions fight against them, while others merely try to carry on as they always have.
This desperate cultural struggle takes place in a gritty, yet wondrous setting. Here, the fundamental energy of the cosmos is belief. The Gifted expend belief to use their Special Abilities, and channel it through Ritual Magics. These abilities, coupled with the Gifted's occult knowledge, is the reason they have such a tremendous impact on society.
The Gifted know that the Physical Plane isn't the whole show. Spirits of all shapes and sizes hover, invisible yet nearby, on the Astral Plane. Taken together, these two Planes make up Incarna, the conscious world. But this world is only half of the cosmos.
Maya is the unconscious world, separated from Incarna by a metaphysical barrier called the Mirror. Maya is home to various levels of
depth, where the farther one travels from the Mirror, the less tied to Incarna the
rules of reality become. In the deepest levels of Maya, Outer Realms wink distantly, each one being home to its own micro-world, formed by the deepest beliefs of the mundanes.
The Gifted (and different supernatural beings, collectively called the Others) can cross the Mirror and travel between these two worlds. The most common doorways across the Mirror are in Vales and Dreamtimes. Vales are places that hold significant, symbolic meaning to the mundanes, while Dreamtimes are events that do the same. Controlling Vales and Dreamtimes are important goals for Factions, given their metaphysical importance.
The World of Factions is at times grim, dangerous, tense, mysterious, and downright frightening. But the world can also be a quirky, ironic, rebellious good time. It's a place where would-be gods call the shots and actual godheads nod and smile. It's a world where enough belief in something can make it so.