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Just another ordinary day in the Actuality...
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Invisible Sun is a surreal Fantasy Tabletop Roleplaying Game created by Monte Cook of Dungeons & Dragons and Numenera fame. The game revolves around the Actuality, a dreamlike realm that until recently was hidden away thanks to a great and horrific magic war that caused many to flee to the non-magic world of Shadow. Characters have discovered they are vislae, or magic users, and with that comes access to Actuality, its nine suns note , and the fantastical City of Notions, Satyrine, which is starting to rebuild itself in the post-war period. Vislae work on settling into their new magical lives, which might simply involve intrigue and helping to rebuild the recovering Satyrine and go all the way to an epic journey that takes the PCs to all nine suns.

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All characters are summed up with a statement consisting of four parts: "I am a [Foundation][Heart] of the Order of [Order] who [Forte]", each of which establishes an important part of the character's nature. The Foundation is the character's background and dictates their physical existence, such as where they live, what they do, and who they know. The Heart dictates which one of temperaments a character roughly falls into and the symbols they use. Order is one of the fournote  Orders of the Invisible Church a vislae can be a member of and rules over how they call on magic. And finally, a Forte grants further talents and abilities that are unique to the character and can reflect how they manifest themselves to the world.

Along with its emphasis on an eldritch reflection of our own world, Invisible Sun also experiments in mixing conventional tabletop gaming with modern life; when it can be hard to get a gaming group together for regular sessions, games can continue with missing players and outside of the game table itself through e-mail, phone, or smaller group sessions. The game is ideally supposed to be original and flexible. In addition, supplemental material is further provided by Monte Cook through a concept called Directed Campaign, where plot elements, prompts, and even physical props periodically continue to arrive that can change and alter the direction of play.

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Note: On this page, 'spoiler' refers to information contained within the Secrets Envelope that comes with all purchases of Invisible Sun. As stated in the file, the information contained within is not for players.


This game provides examples of:

  • The Alcatraz: In a nameless prison in the Nightside of Green, a corruption of the lifegiving power of the Green Sun keeps the prisoners from dying, for dying is a form of escape. And no one escapes. No one.
  • Alien Geometries: Buildings in Satyrine stretch in impossible directions and streets wrap around themselves like Mobius strips. Structures move, and avenues repeat. Places trail off into seeming nothingness. Until you really know your way around, getting lost in Satyrine is practically a given.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Ienu believes that executions not only punish the guilty but also serve as a deterrent for those tempted to do wrong. Thus armed with that logic, after leaving the Silver Sun, Ienu eventually realised that rather than just punish only the vilest crimes, it made sense to execute any guilty party.
  • Alternate Self: Vislae have different aspects—literally versions of themselves that coexist but operate independently on different levels of reality, so vislae are properly referred to as they.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: Demons are, by definition, the worst things in the world. Vile, hateful, spiteful things, they revel in pain and corruption. There is no act too hideous and vile for them.
  • Animated Armor: An armor of spite is humanlike figure formed of pieces of armour cast off or lost by demons.
  • Anthropomorphic Personification: Shrepakti is the embodiment of anguish. The only way to hurt it would be to erase all sorrow from the world, and the being works hard to make sure that will never happen.
  • Appropriated Appellation: The name of Satyrine's Hollows district comes from an old slur for the poor in the city. Since then, the people of the Hollows have claimed the term as theirs and sometimes refer to themselves as hollows.
  • Artifact of Power: The vislae of the Order of Makers are masters of making these, channeling their magic through tools and objects of their own creation. Since this is Invisible Sun, just making items out of simple metal or wood is often too mundane; Makers might prefer to work in anything from living flesh to dreams.
  • Artifact Title: The history of the Royal Academy of Lifesages says that it originated in a kingdom far to the south that purportedly no longer exists. When the academy moved to Satyrine, it kept the name, even though the word royal has no meaning anymore.
  • Ascended Demon: Zero was a powerful, ancient demon who eventually transformed himself into a bar. It is said that he either gained a soul, or just had a change of outlook (a pretty fundamental occurrence, if true). Nevertheless, Zero seems to no longer have any interest in the other demons' destructive or corrupting activities.
  • Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: Members of the Court of Nous were mortals who transcended a material existence and became pure thought.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: Club Maldoror is a foul, depraved meeting place for those who truly relish what most would refer to as evil. If the suffering of others (or yourself) does not bring you pleasure, this club is very likely not for you. Groups from Satyrine such as the Vespertine and the Church of Midnight sometimes seek out Club Maldoror, using it as a haven or a secret meeting place.
  • Barred from the Afterlife: Those that are executed by hanging in the Gallows Forest remain trapped there, unable to pass into the Pale.
  • Barrier Maiden: Nem, warden of the Dark, keeps demons of the Dark from swarming into the realms of the suns.
  • Bazaar of the Bizarre: The Celestial Bazaar is almost certainly the largest, greatest and most extensive marketplace in the Actuality. This being Satyrine, people can shop for ideas, emotions, magical ingredients and materials, ephemera and objects of power. It's difficult to think of anything unavailable in the Bazaar.
  • Big Fancy Castle: As large as any three palaces anywhere else in the Actuality, Empress Xjallad's home above Catafalque is as impressive as it is grim. It is filled with pools, streams, moats, and waterfalls, all of which are solid or liquid at the Empress's whim.
  • Bizarrchitecture:
    • Satyrine's streets can move or shift. A district might be larger or smaller than the actual space it occupies. Architecture does not conform to expectations or anything resembling physics or engineering needs. Just for starters, Satyrine boasts buildings made of origami or smoke, or held aloft by butterflies.
    • The buildings of Phthisis are organically grown and shaped by the inhabitants, and then infected by the Red. They heal and grow at a rate that more or less matches the decay, and end up looking like huge cysts, tumours, rot and pustulant sores.
  • Bizarre Seasons: In Fartown, the only season is autumn.
  • Black Mage: Battlemages are vislae who specialise in spells that kill and keep others from killing them. Battlemagic practices are sometimes called murderspells, and rightfully so.
  • Black Magic: Some magic associated with the Nightside is demonstrably dangerous, often in insidious ways. It might begin to corrupt and rot the vislae's spirit, make them look more and more evil in some fashion, or draw the attention of powerful demons and entities that most vislae would probably not want to meet.
  • Black Sheep: Apostates are vislae who refuse to align themselves with one of the four Orders of the Invisible Church; they can wield magic of any type and make their own discoveries, but lack the refinement or benefits that being a member of an organized Order grants. It can also make it hard for them to get along with dedicated members of an Order.
  • Blob Monster: Liquid dreams are made of liquid congealed from leftover dreams in the Deeps of Sleep.
  • Brown Note: During the War, there was a play called Beyond the Yellow Door that reportedly drove everyone who saw it violently, murderously insane. The play, performed in the Isabelline Theater in the Palindrome, was never staged again.
  • Came Back Wrong: If something's been dead for more than a year and a day before being brought back by the Resurrectionist, they typically have lost most of their memories and personality.
  • Cannibalism Superpower: A fervent is eager to learn the story of beings it encounters, and then if that story is intriguing enough, eat them and gain something of their aspect, appearance, personality and powers.
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: The sahira contain the nature of Indigo within them, and are utterly incapable of telling a significant lie.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: In the Pale, a surprisingly byzantine bureaucracy holds sway and strictly regulates everything from construction to marriage.
  • Chaos Architecture: The location of Mollitious Manor shifts across the Gold Sun, as do its exterior and interior.
  • Chest Burster: Larval demons, called urgeborn, can mature and grow when possessing a host. When it matures, the demon bursts forth in a material form, killing its host and feeding on its pain.
  • Child Prodigy: The nine-year old Kwamil is already a skilled vislae and 1st-degree Vance.
  • Circle of Standing Stones: Canossa is a circle of standing stones beneath the Gold Sun, each 15 m high and covered with glowing runes and inset crystals.
  • City on the Water: The floating city of Vagabar is built upon old ships and long wooden platforms on the Endless Sea under the Blue Sun.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: If a memory have existed long enough and powerfully enough to form a part of the Serpentines, it has existed long enough to take on a reality of its own. Stumble into a memory of someone's angry mother and you can (and likely will) interact with their angry mother. Walk in on a time when someone was attacked by a dog, and you’re facing an attack dog. And they will be physical threats able to react to what a visitor might say or do.
  • Color-Coded Elements: To a degree with the Suns. Most of the Suns seem to represent an element that corresponds to its color as well as concepts and ideals, but it's not known if that's due to the worlds themselves, their Wardens, or just the expectations imparted by the inhabitants or visitors. The most prominent examples are the overgrown and wild Green Sun, the cloudy and airy Blue Sun of dreams, the Gray Sun of lies and a literal shadow of other worlds, and the fire-and-brimstone Red Sun of destruction.
  • Control Freak: Empress Xjallad likes to be in control of the door to the Pale, and she doesn't like it when mortals (like vislae) can slip through it on their own whim. To say that she has control issues is really understating her attitude.
  • Cool Key: Wicked keys, which players can find or earn to unlock any obstacle in their way. Even things that shouldn't be able to be unlocked with keys, like people.
  • Cool Train: The Satyrine Rail runs through the city, with a station in most districts. The train's track is often elevated, and in places it travels around impossible curves, does spirals and loops, and runs on its side or even upside down. Regardless, passengers experience a relatively smooth and flat ride.
  • Counterspell: Only Apostates have access to counterspells, allowing them to stand up to the more established and powerful Orders.
  • Cyborg: The Angel of the Gears has incorporated huge metal gears and pistons into his own body to give him even greater strength and endurance.
  • Dark Is Evil: The Dark is everywhere not illuminated by a sun, home to hungry, soulless demons that wish nothing more than to corrupt the beings that dwell in the light, and eventually extinguish the light of the suns altogether.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: There is an alternate path of the Suns to follow called the Nightside Path, with each Sun reflecting different qualities and even having a different Warden. Most vislae view this path as the "evil" one, but some point out that while Nightside deals in the darker ideas of each Sun, following it in and of itself does not make you evil.
  • Deal with the Devil: A willingness to interact, trade and consort with demons is part and parcel of walking the Nightside Path. Demons only interact with mortals (particularly vislae, and particularly Goetics) because they see a potential for personal benefit. A demon will always act in its best interest unless truly compelled to do otherwise, and the smarter demons aren't just that—they are deceitful and conniving by their very nature.
  • Demonic Possession: A spirit can enter and take control of a physical creature, called the host. Unless specified otherwise, only spirits can possess physical creatures, and only physical creatures can be possessed. Most of the time, the possessing spirit is in complete control of the host. Physical harm that befalls the host does not affect the possessing spirit.
  • Demon Lords and Archdevils: Some demons of the Red organise themselves like military legions, each led by a commander who has absolute authority and refer to a singular Duke that they all serve, but no one ever names him; if he actually exists, this is an extremely well-kept secret. Demons of the Dark do not organise themselves into legions; instead, demon lords claim a title referring to something they hate or war against, like 'The Enemy of Strength'. Each lord rules over a number of servants, wielding power far beyond theirs.
  • Dirty Cop: The gerents of Rivenhome have extensive police forces, who are the epitome of corruption, so crime is commonplace.
  • Door of Doom: Threshold lurkers exist only in doorways, but cannot open doors, and can take victims who open the door with them.
  • Dream Land: The Deeps of Sleep, a special part of the Noösphere, is a dark, surreal landscape formed from dreams and subconscious thoughts, inaccessible to non-sleepers. Adept sleepers or vislae can access the Deeps of Sleep while they dream, lucidly aware amid people's subconscious thoughts.
  • Driven to Suicide: If a Xan Weir member is exposed, they cry out in shame, apologise to God for their sin of living, and attempt to kill themselves as expediently as possible.
  • Ear Worm: The Insidious Song is a disease in musical form that lives in the mind of a thinking being, its simple but catchy tune echoing over and over. It is impossible to get the song out of your head once it takes hold, barring some kind of curse removal magic. The Insidious Song is highly contagious and tries to get those in its grip to hum or sing enough of the tune so it also spreads to other minds.
  • Easter Egg: The game has lots of goodies hidden away within the Black Cube and its contents, rewards for those who inspect their sets very carefully or have an eye for detail. Known ones include a bonus spell, an address to a website with a purpose yet to be revealed, a code that needs to be deciphered, and hidden messages and information in the artwork and layout of the books.
  • Eating Optional: Thoughtforms can eat and sleep, but they don't need to (unless deliberately designed that way).
  • Elemental Plane:
    • Eight of the Nine Suns are actually alternate planes of existence within Actuality that represent fundamental concepts and abstract ideals. For example, the Indigo Sun, where most vislae start out, is the realm of truth and ideas. The Green Sun represents ideals such as life, prosperity, and success, while the Red Sun covers not only destruction and alien natures, but also change as a whole.
    • The one Sun exempt from this is the Invisible Sun itself which has no world to visit and exists outside the other Suns, yet shines on all of them and connects them. It serves as the source of magic and power.
  • Emotion Eater:
    • Demons feed on emotion, consuming it in the process. Most of the time, they feed on negative emotions, as these are often easier to create and sustain, particularly for demons.
    • The Nightmare Prince feeds on all negative emotions and feelings—fear, disappointment, unease, anger, frustration, and annoyance. They want nothing more than to foster negativity in the world.
  • The Emperor: The Pale and its Nightside are the only realms where the warden also claims dominion. Empress Xjallad and Queen Fazromir are the only wardens with armies, as well as territory to fight over and upon.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Even demons of the Red would admit that they don't want to destroy everything, if for no other reason than there would be nothing left to destroy. Only the worst among the demons of the Dark, who seek the ultimate annihilation of everything, work alongside the Vespertine. In other words, this group of mortals is too extreme and too evil even for some demons.
  • Eye Scream: Theoric hunters eat eyes and infest the victim's eye socket until they are removed or get hungry and leave.
  • The Faceless: Imitions resemble humans whose features are obscured by a random creature hanging without obvious means of attachment before their face.
  • Fallen Angel: Ienu, the Angel of Executions, used to execute those judged guilty in lawful trials before it developed its own talent at passing judgment, which proved to be far more expedient. It now travels the Path of Suns, executing (read: murdering) anyone who committed any crime. Other angels seek to find and stop Ienu, referring to it as the angel of murder.
  • Fantastic Ghetto: Fartown, a district of Satyrine that exists in its own Pocket Dimension and is dedicated to the vislae. Ostensibly, it's so if the vislae lose control of their magic as they experiment, they don't accidentally blow up the entire city. Although a few vislae have come close, it hasn't happened... yet.
  • Feudal Overlord: Empress Xjallad rules the Pale through a system reminiscent of feudalism, with landowners governing regions of the realm in independent lands, all subservient to the Empress. These rulers are responsible for providing Xjallad with taxes and levies. In return, she grants them protection from enemy forces as well as other hazards.
  • Fictional Video Game: The Game Masters of Sharwen use the power and influence of the Silver Sun to create games of all kinds. These board games, roleplaying game books and similar creations are elegant in design and extremely entertaining.
  • Fire and Brimstone Hell: In the Nightside of the Red, a few demonic commanders replicated the Hell-like setting sometimes expected from the Red, abducting people from the Pale and subjecting them to nine different venues of torture.
  • Fisher King: Each Sun is a reflection of the Warden that reigns over or protects it, often with subtle guidance rather than direct rule. Some vislae theorize the reason the Gray Sun (and Shadow) is a Crapsack Only by Comparison is because it doesn't seem to have a Warden in the first place.
  • Floating Continent: The Skytower is a structure 900 m tall that floats another 300 m above the Marquis Quarter of Satyrine.
  • Fountain of Youth: The Cicadidae use magical knowledge of the Green Sun to hibernate for seventeen years at a time. At the end of that time, they emerge, their youth and health completely restored.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Invoked with the four types of Heart characters can be:
    • Galants are sanguine, intuitive improvisers who can keep their cool in most situations.
    • Empaths are melancholic, sensitive to the emotions of others and themselves and good listeners to boot.
    • Stoics are phlegmatic, usually contemplative, logical, and hard to shake up even under extreme duress.
    • Ardents are choleric, reactive and often temperamental, and usually prefer power over finesse.
  • Gargle Blaster: Red wine is delicious, but it burns. Drink a little and the endorphin rush that accompanies the slight intoxication is interesting. Drink too much, and you'll literally feel the lining of your esophagus disintegrating. Drinking contests with Red wine can be deadly.
  • Gate Guardian: Unlike the other wardens, Ravenol does not merely stand watch at its gate—it actively defends it so that none may pass into the Nightside of Silver.
  • Genius Loci: Zero is a powerful, ancient demon who transformed himself into a bar.
  • Ghostly Chill: The presence of a ghost creates a cold chill in the air perceptible to almost everyone.
  • Gladiator Games: The Sanguinary Campaigns in the Gory Cathedral are an opportunity for the most bloodthirsty, murderous, bitter beings to pit their rage and power against each other in an increasingly difficult set of dangerous games.
  • Great Big Library of Everything: The Sinistral Athenaeum is considered one of the 'Holy Grail' libraries. Hundreds of thousands of tomes, row upon row of shelves filled with books, cover a wide variety of virtually all possible subjects.
  • Great Offscreen War: Not long ago, there was a great, long and terrible War that brought death and destruction across the realms, especially Indigo. Many vislae (including the player characters) fled the Actuality into Shadow to escape the War. The War is over, and 'we' won, and that's about all you'll ever get out of anyone. No one speaks of the details and certainly none speaks of the Enemy.
  • Halloween Town: Empress Xjallad has a very macabre sensibility, and it is showcased in Catafalque. Grey and pale white buildings are the norm, with a motif of skulls, bones, and other grim representations of death.
  • Hate Plague: Those within the Cloud of Hate must resist its influence every round or be gripped with violent hatred for something they can see.
  • Have You Seen My God?: Quiss, the Warden of the Indigo Sun, went missing sometime before the war in Satyrine; theories abound as to their absence, including everything from them going into hiding to them being killed by some fantastically powerful weapon. Many see Quiss's absence from the realm as alarming and seek to find them and return them as Warden lest something bad happen again.
  • Healing Spring: Any body of water, or a part of a body of water, might take on the qualities of a resurrection pool. As the name suggests, it restores the dead to life, repairing (or providing) bodies to make them fully functioning and living once again.
  • Hellhole Prison: The most formidable prison in the Actuality lies in the Nightside of Green, ruled by the King of the Oubliette.
    King of the Oubliette: You'll gain a new appreciation for the passage of time. In case it wasn't made clear before, you won't die here. Oh no. This is not a place of death. The Pale does not reach here. You'll spend eternity in the dark. You'll find no pleasure here. No warmth or solace. Just an existence of loneliness and cold that never ends. Eventually, you'll go mad. At that point—well, we'll discuss that when the time comes.
  • Hellish Horse: Bleak horses from the Pale look and often act like a normal horse, except their bite extrudes an inner ghost mouth emerging with such horrific speed and ferocity that can inflict terrible wounds.
  • Hive Mind: All Yashites swallow a capsule containing a barravil which lodges in each person's brain. All barravil are part of the same creature, meaning that all Yashites exist in a sort of hive mind, connecting through the barravil.
  • Horror Hunger: Hunger gnaws at Abdominous and drives its every action. It cannot decide if it's a curse or a blessing that it can never be satisfied, that it is always starving. On some days, when Abdominous cannot get enough to eat, it seems a curse.
  • Hub City: Satyrine is the centre of culture and the crossroads of trade in the Actuality. Everyone comes to Satyrine, even the angelic kings and queens, the rulers of the dead, and the demonic lords themselves.
  • Hungry Jungle: The Green is a realm of verdant, dangerous forests, fields and wilderness. Stand still too long and you might be engulfed by the growth spurt of a copse of trees or a snaking vine.
  • I Gave My Word: Demons of the Red have a code of ethics. If a vislae makes a deal with a Red demon and holds up their part, the demon will do the same.
  • I Know Your True Name: Knowing a vislae's secret name gives you power over them and them power over you.
  • Ingesting Knowledge: The ideophage eats ideas, thoughts and memories. When she does so, a visual image relating to the idea appears briefly in the emptiness in her guts. She's always hungry.
  • Interspecies Romance: Ekbal and the Exalted are a couple who don't care that one of them is an angel and the other a demon.
  • Invisible Monsters: Shadow lampreys are always invisible. If somehow seen, they appear something like a lamprey made of shadow.
  • Invisible to Normals: The Actuality can only be seen and accessed by those who embrace magic as vislae. Otherwise, non-magic users only have access to the Gray Sun and realm of Shadow.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: A rare disease causes elderbrin to change their shape and appearance to match whomever they are talking to at the time.
  • King Mook: Each demon lord of the Dark has a number of servants that look exactly like them, but these servants have only a fraction of the power of their master.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: The Knights of the Name dedicate themselves to the ideals of charity, aid and fighting against all kinds of wrongdoing. They stand by their convictions and their principles and let nothing compromise their integrity.
  • Light Is Not Good: The mysterious Kaleidoscope Void is supposedly a realm where the light of all the suns comes together. Metaphysically, it is the opposite of the Dark, but it is perhaps just as dangerous, a realm of madness where all the lights of the suns mix, swirl, congeal and tear themselves apart.
  • Limited-Use Magical Device: Ephemera are items or abilities that have a single use before they are consumed utterly or disappear. Objects of power are more permanent and can potentially be used many times, but have a chance to run out of potency when used.
  • Living Dream:
    • Within the Dreamt Menagerie walks one of every creature from every dream. Five-headed sphinxes, spiders as massive as cities, lumbering elephant bodies with faces like family members, and more. Many visit it to catch just one more glimpse of a creature that has long haunted their sleeping hours.
    • The Deeps of Sleep are populated by living, intelligent dreams that seeped down from someone's dream. But they're not being dreamed by someone anymore, and they're in the Deeps, so they've become real. Not all of them can exist outside the Deeps of Sleep, but some can follow you back home.
  • Living Statue: The Gheyal is a statue of stone and urgalic steel that moves around Zardim, always taking the same winding, convoluted path. The people of Zardim climb aboard and ride it like public transportation.
  • The Lost Woods: The Ghostwood is a forest that can suddenly appear anywhere, even on a busy Satyrine street. In moments you find yourself lost in a thick tangle of ancient trees, ferns, fallen logs and underbrush. Those unable to find their way begin to hear noises of a Beast of the Ghostwood.
  • The Mafia: The Revelation is a criminal organisation with a vast network that extends throughout all of Satyrine. Its primary activities include general thievery and burglary, but can also involve extortion, kidnapping, and murder for hire.
  • Mage Tower:
    • The Goetic Hall of Records has five towers (one of them is a clock tower), each decorated with carvings and statuary of leering demons, noble angels, and other spiritual beings.
    • The Sodality of Vryn is a cabal of sorcerers in the Red with a series of towers built in a pattern of mystical significance.
  • Magical Library:
    • Every book in the Sinistral Athaeum is possessed by a demon or is a demon in book form, turning it into the preferred library for Goetics and scholars of the Red.
    • The Droning Library is a vast cloud of flying insects, each of which is a book (metaphysically speaking), and the droning of its wings conveys the contents of the book. Understanding the droning is difficult, but anyone who does so can 'read' the book by listening to the insect for ten minutes or so and then letting it go back to the swarm.
  • Magical Society: The Invisible Church, which is not a religious group so much as an organization overseeing the use of magic in Satyrine. The four Orders correspond to the four types of vislae (Vance, Makers, Goetics, and Weavers) and each Order has its own oversight, rules, and expectations. Those who are rejected by the Orders (or reject the Orders themselves) become Apostates.
  • Mama Bear: Mother Ingran always says that taking care of her kids is a mother's most important job. She has fought demons, crime lords, living diseases, and things spawned from hate cysts, all to protect her kids.
  • Master of One Magic: Zilats, who are born with an affinity for a single magical talent, do not learn spells or rituals, and instead hone their sole ability to perfection. This makes them very focused and very specialised, but within their one arena, very powerful.
  • The Maze: The islands of the eastern portion of Quiet Lake are girded by high stone walls so that the channels between them become passages in a maze. Large sections of the maze are also covered, making the passages dark and claustrophobic. There are many hidden places within the maze, difficult to reach even with patience and a boat.
  • Mega City: Satyrine is vast, stretching for miles, and used to be the largest city in existence prior to the War. Perhaps its population numbered in the tens of millions. Now it is likely no more than one million, and much of the city is abandoned. Since the War, the largest city in the Actuality is Catafalque, whose population numbers well over ten million and is always growing.
  • Mental World: The Noösphere is a nonphysical realm created by intelligent thought. Its streets and plazas are made of memory, and its buildings are thoughts and emotions. Everyone with a mind is a part of and (often unknowingly) helps to create and sustain this mental network, but those who understand it can tap into it as a communication or information resource.
  • Military Mage: Battlemages often have a military or similar background. Cadres and schools of battlemages were once far more common, but today they exist only here and there throughout the realms.
  • Mirror Monster: Mirrors are a virus that infected reality, and seek to replicate and spread so that they can reflect more and more. Once they have reflected everything that exists, they will invert reality so theirs will become the true universe and ours become a reflection. Smart people smash every mirror that they see as a service to reality, but sometimes they disappear mysteriously when alone in a room with a mirror.
  • Misery Builds Character: A game mechanic. Characters earn Joy or Despair based on the outcomes of various events and how it impacts them. 1 each of Joy and Despair merge to form a Crux, which is spent for major character advancements. The game downplays the trope in that too much of either Joy or Despair will not get you anywhere.
  • Mix-and-Match Critters:
    • Scalopedes are some kind of intelligent insect things with wasp heads and mantis-like bodies.
    • Serpopades have the body of a leopard and the long neck and head of a serpent.
    • Swarmwolves are wolves with a swarm of wasps for a head.
    • Skerricks seem to combine the worst qualities of a lizard, a badger and perhaps a viperfish.
  • Mordor: The landscape beneath the Red Sun is jagged and brittle, like shattered glass, covered in a fine layer of dust. Volcanoes roar, the ground quakes and storms rage, all destroying and reshaping the landscape over and over again.
  • Mundane Afterlife: By the standards of the Actuality. Residents of the Pale carry on the existence they choose, in a society not unlike when they're still living, so a city of the dead ends up being relatively familiar to living travellers.
  • Mundane Fantastic: Once a vislae makes it into the Actuality, magic is just a way of life.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: The Dark Trinity is a trio of demons of the Dark who, after having spent time in the Actuality, found that they enjoyed the fear, subjugation and despair they invoked among others. In doing so, they turned away from the nihilistic goals of the Dark, which could not compare to the exquisite delights they felt in existing.
  • Mystical Plague: In addition to familiar diseases from the Shadow, there are stranger diseases in the Actuality that can only be cured by magic.
  • Name Amnesia: The God in the Wine Glass no longer remember its actual name. It's been too long since anyone's used it.
  • Nature Spirit: Hands of the Green are a type of conceptual spirits, embodying nature, native to the Green, where they are as common as living creatures. They can easily manifest as any physical aspect of life, are wise beyond humans, and scour the Green of unwanted trespassers.
  • Never Grew Up: The dead do not age, so children who die in the lands of the living spend their time in the Pale as children as well.
  • No Body Left Behind: Dead thoughtforms fade away into nothing but the pure thought that created them.
  • Non-Human Head: The Veil Child might look like a young girl, but beneath her dark hood, she wears a moth for a face.
  • Nonhuman Humanoid Hybrid: Viara is the daughter of the Duke of Demons and a truespider.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: The Vespertine are destructive nihilists who seek no less than the extinguishing of all the suns and destruction of all the realms.
  • The Omniscient Council of Vagueness: The Court of Nous secretly controls different groups throughout the Actuality (mostly in the Blue and Indigo), through everything from subtle mental manipulation to outright mind control, to gather vast resources. Most of the time, they use those resources for extremely esoteric research, such as studying very specific emotions.
  • Only One Afterlife: Any living thing with a soul that dies transitions to the Pale.
  • Our Angels Are Different: Angels are aspects of the Legacy, left in the universe by the Absolute to watch over creation. There are many types of angels that come in many forms, both spiritual and physical. Angels often greatly value honour, benevolence and justice, but sometimes fall to temptation.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: Ghost is a term for any kind of spirit of something that used to exist. Objects can have ghosts as can creatures. Even slain demons or angels can return as ghosts. In terms of people, though, a ghost is the specific form taken by a dead spirit who remains after the transition period.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Mystic cannibals, or derogatorily ghouls, are vislae who gain power when they eat the fresh flesh of intelligent beings, preferably a creature killed by the mystic cannibal themselves. Their sallow flesh, red eyes and pointed teeth become self-evident when they are about to feed.
  • Our Gods Are Different: God is a term without a strict definition. Gods are powerful spirits. Gods are mortals who have achieved immortality. Gods are mighty beings for which we have no other name. And Gods are definitely not to be confused with Wardens, who are extremely powerful, but also only rule over and embody their specific realms.
  • Our Souls Are Different: Everything with a consciousness has a soul. With very few exceptions, all living beings are conscious and intelligent. Sometimes, nonliving things gain souls, often because of prolonged exposure to a living being with a soul, but other events can give rise to this as well.
  • Our Spirits Are Different: Spirits are conceptual entities made from pure qualia who look upon emotions and concepts as fundamental aspects of their reality. Unlike ghosts, they were never physical creatures. Most of the time, spirits are put into one of four categories: angels, demons, dead spirits and conceptual spirits, but these categories can be a bit misleading, because all spirits are conceptual. Spirits that embody noble concepts are called angels, and those more nefarious are demons.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampire is not a term with a precise definition. You’ll find so-called experts who will say 'vampires are immune to such-and-such' or 'vampires can be killed by such-and-such', but the truth is, it can vary from vampire to vampire. What is true, however, is that the rules that govern a vampire typically pass to anyone they transform into one of their kind.
  • Palatial Sandcastle: Along the shores of the Sea of Aeons to Come, the Vardeskaal built sand castles sized for people, and then left once the work was completed. Some are still left empty, waiting for occupants.
  • Parasite Zombie: The fungi of motion find purchase in the flesh of dead creatures, grow quickly, and use the corpse's own muscles and systems to move and act. Even a small portion of a creature can serve as a host for the fungi of motion.
  • Plague Doctor: Doctor Phileth insists on wearing a bird-like plague doctor mask, which also serves as a breathing mask that filters the air, at all times.
  • Plague Master: An enemy of health brings sickness wherever it goes.
  • Power Copying: The grim mimic mimics the appearance and the most dangerous ability of one of a victim's prior opponents, enemies or feared beings, whether that being is alive or dead.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The plants in the Garden of the Living Soil grow out of the flesh of living people tied to stakes. These wretches are fed just enough to keep them alive so the plants can grow.
  • Power Incontinence: With just a touch from the Resurrectionist, something that was alive but is now dead is alive once again, even if the wound that killed them is still present. However, this power is uncontrollable: step on a bug and it immediately comes back to life, brush against a dead tree and it's alive again, and the Resurrectionist is not very welcome in grocery stores or mortuaries.
  • Precursors: In a time period best described as 'who knows how long ago', the city now known as Satyrine was founded by people or beings known as the arabast. Eventually, the arabast disappeared, and the human founders of modern Satyrine settled in the abandoned ruins left behind by the arabast.
  • Private Detective: Basil Fictorum makes a living by offering his detective services to others, as he used to in his stories.
  • Professional Killer: If given evidence of true malevolence, a sacred assassin—also known as a silver slayer—will agree to murder a specific wrongdoer anywhere in the Actuality for the right price. The right price often involves some act of significant charity or benevolence, but never of violence.
  • Rain of Something Unusual: Satyrine is prone to keyfalls, or rains of keys. Most of the keys that drop are worthless, but occasionally storms will drop wicked keys, which have the potential to unlock any hindrance.
  • Refugee from TV Land: Basil Fictorum originated as the protagonist of a massive novel anthology called The 1,000 Grandiloquent Cases of Detective Basil Cotton, until some combination of magic and desire caught him up and he stepped into Satyrine, hot on the tail of his archnemesis, Doctor Roarke, only to discover that neither he nor Roarke existed.
  • Religion of Evil: Among demon worshippers, the Church of Midnight is singular in its rather overt nature. They openly operate and welcome those who might oppose them into their temples so they can share their truths.
  • Rent-a-Zilla: Augoral towers above the surrounding landscape, with iron chains a thousand feet long replacing his hands, and an iron helmet the size and shape of a crenelated tower on his head.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: The Knight of Poetry never stops speaking in verse. Only the type of poem changes, from epic poem to haiku to rhyming couplets and everything in between.
  • Ritual Magic:
    • The Order of the Vance are vislae who rely on learned and established spells to cast magic; many actually believe the spells to be intelligent in and of themselves and will only allow themselves to be wielded effectively by one who shows the proper respect to them.
    • Certain kinds of magic, called invocations, are available to any vislae as part of their Ephemera. Even the unstructured Weavers appreciate them since it never hurts to have a reliable spell to call on in a pinch.
  • Sapient Ship: Non-vislae or those who don't want to travel from sun to sun under their own power can board a sunship. Sunships are old, sentient, and very wise.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can:
    • The Mute Gods either committed horrific crimes or were wrongfully accused of such. Either way, they dwell in the Nightside of Grey, voiceless and (mostly) powerless, and would like to be restored to their original nature.
    • Tremoc Aliastor (meaning Loosed Ruin) is a giant set of sealed doors on the Nightside of Indigo, said to be created by the Undergod Gulanon to seal his monstrous enemy, Augoral.
  • Serial Killer: Morath, possessed by spirits of murder and at least one powerful demon, stalks the Quiet Lake and murders people.
  • Shadow Dictator: The Deathless Triumvirate rule over Satyrine and hold absolute power; their word is law. However, they rarely speak. For rulers with limitless authority, they do very little and do not make public appearances. The Triumvirate is distant, entirely unknown, and thought of the way one might think of an indifferent god.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Lieutenant Fisk is a veteran haunted by the War. Bringing up the War is likely to trigger strange effects in him, and he begins to babble nonsensical things about battles and death.
  • Sizeshifter: Truespiders can be as big as a house, but spend most of their time the same size as regular spiders.
  • Skeletons in the Coat Closet: The dead adorn themselves and their structures with symbols of death (skulls, bones and so on), out of respect.
  • Soul Eating: All souls gained by demons are temporary and eventually consumed, so they are always on the lookout for new ones.
  • Summon Magic: The Order of Goetica, who can call on angels, demons, and other creatures of the abstract to do their bidding.
  • Soiled City on a Hill: Satyrine, the main city of Indigo and setting of Invisible Sun, was a Merchant City before it was completely destroyed by the War. Its residents who have returned to the Actuality are working on rebuilding it, but between miles of desolate ruins, extremely dangerous magical objects called cysts that spread hate like cancer, and a few other forgotten secrets, it's harder than it looks.
  • Soul Eating: The Seeker of Souls feeds on souls, drawn toward soul-related magic.
  • The Speechless: For reasons known perhaps only to them, the nomads living on the shores of the Lake of Lost Tongues have lost the power of speech.
  • Spider Limbs: Anything can suddenly contract spidering, causing it to sprout eight spidery legs, become interested in hunting, and develop an arachnid mouth and a venomous bite.
  • The Spook: A man known only as ???? roams the streets of Satyrine, and is described as such in The Path:
    You see a man walking toward you on the street. You've never seen him before. His appearance is not at all striking. You know nothing about him. But you are instantly convinced that he is the worst thing you've ever seen, and he will utterly destroy you and everything and everyone you love. If you confront him, he says nothing and attempts to get away. Perhaps, if you're quite clever and resourceful, you can somehow learn his name. It sounds a lot like your own name, but garbled.
  • Stable Time Loop: The uncreated creator appears at some point in the middle of the timeline, which is still in the future. Without a creation, there is nothing and no creator. Creator must have creation, but creation must have a creator. The world mind is, in itself, emergent. The world creates itself.
  • Star Scraper: The Temple-Tower of Al Ru Stam rises many hundreds of miles into the sky, disappearing into the clouds. If it has a top, it's not been seen by mortal eyes.
  • Supervillain Lair: Marquis Erevest sits on a comfortable throne in a tower of solidified fire that rises up above a plain of nettles and broken glass in the Red, surrounded by a legion servants who must obey every whim.
  • Surreal Horror: The game plays largely into the concept that things like logic and order are frivolous notions in the Actuality, and anything can go from normal to abnormal in the blink of an eye. Invocations can cause characters to do anything from growing screaming mouths all over their body to coughing up poison or disease into a ball they can then fling at an enemy. The artwork for the vislae signature characters emphasizes this, with a thief that literally twists and melts into the shadows, an armored summoner that has extra arms growing from their own flesh, and a woman whose head is half flesh, half book.
  • The Swarm: The swarmstorm is a species of 3 to 6 inches long centipedes that moves in a rapid swarm in the billions, turning the Green black as they cover everything. They feed on everything they come upon until predators thin their numbers enough that the swarm disperses.
  • Take Away Their Name: The so-called Nameless Ones have somehow unnamed themselves and survived. They exist without names, even secret soul names.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The six members of the Balefire Sextet hate each other, but also need each other.
  • Temporary Online Content: The Essence of Invisible Sun is not for sale and exclusively available to backers of the game's Kickstarter campaign. Other people who want access to this supplement have to buy second-hand copies or resort to piracy.
  • Too Important to Walk: Minister Aug Fullan is unable to walk on her own and rides in a circular sedan chair carried by huge, brutish thoughtforms.
  • Transflormation: Those who cause widespread harm to trees develop the xyloid plague, an infectious disease which turns victims into trees.
  • A True Story in My Universe: Enchiridion of the Path consists of dozens of documents from across Satyrine and beyond, taken from old letters, treatises, arcane notes, and the pages of long-lost books.
  • Turtle Island: Built upon the back of the Cadallish, a mile-long, ten-legged snapping turtle, is a small city of gold and black towers and minarets.
  • Underground City:
    • The Undersling is located beneath the Confederacy of Cloisters and part of the Palindrome in Satyrine. Played with in that rather be in a cavern or sewer system, it is hung from hundred of wires, ropes, and chains beneath the structure of a city and over a deep void. The only way there, other than by specialized magical vehicles, is a very rickety bridge that has to be constantly rebuilt since it keeps collapsing.
    • The majority of the Tumulus is underground, accessible only via elaborate, flexuous tunnels, various secrets, and special spells.
    • Deep within the ice that covers the Glistening Expanse lies an ancient city. Sometimes, in the right light, you can see the very tops of spires and minarets through the ice below your feet.
  • Undying Loyalty: Queen Frageliva's angelic servitors love her with such intensity and sincerity that a harsh glance from her will kill them, and a kindly nod will send them into ecstasy.
  • The Unfettered: Vislae who walk the Nightside Path do whatever they need to do to get what they want. That doesn't mean they are insane monsters doing whatever mad idea comes into their head at any moment (although there are some), or that they are reckless and have no sense of self-preservation. But it does mean that they want to accomplish something, they will allow no social mores, no authority figure, and no sense of ethics, morality or decorum to prevent them.
  • Urban Segregation: Satyrine is a very stratified city, with great distinctions in the lives of the wealthy and the poor. Different classes typically live in different districts or at least different neighbourhoods.
  • Vancian Magic: A Vancian spell must be prepared and stored in the Vance's mind before being cast, and when it is, it is gone until it is prepared and stored once again, unless the Vance chooses to spend Sorcery points to keep it in their head. The preparation and study process takes a Vance about an hour.
  • Variant Chess: The Spider's Game, a vislae version of chess routinely played by members of the Order of Weavers to keep their magic weaving skills sharp. It involves anywhere from four to nine boards and a complex array of pieces and moves that anyone outside the Weavers are likely to find incomprehensible.
  • Villain in a White Suit: The Duke of Demons is sometimes called the Thin White Duke due to his appearance, as he resembles a human man with chalk-white skin and hair, typically wearing only bright white clothing.
  • Voice of the Legion: Cherulis, warden of the Green Sun, claims to be a multitude given singular form, speaking with many voices at once.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Elderbrin and demons have fluid forms and no true appearance. Vislae who Live in a Fluid Form have emulated the elderbrin and learned to use magic to change their form and appearance.
  • Was Once a Man: Using Nightside magic might corrupt and rot one's spirit. It won't destroy them, but it might affect them. Given enough dark magic, they could be changed into something no longer truly human.
  • The Watcher: Anmiprestar watches time go by, and ensures that things happen and time passes by bearing witness to cause and effect and the process of time itself.
  • Weakened by the Light: The Insidious are physically weak and cannot abide bright light. This makes it almost impossible for them to operate outside during the day, but they are very dangerous inside or at night. They excel at hiding and during the day will do so somewhere inside or underground.
  • Weird Currency:
    • Orbs are made of literal thoughts, memories, and ideas; fleeting thoughts or easily forgettable memories are worth the least while important secrets and significant ideals made solid are considered extremely valuable. Obtaining the memory used to make these can cause the person who spawned them to lose it. Some vislae avoid certain areas of town where the minor varities are "harvested" to be made into currency for fear they'll have something important taken.
    • Bloodsilver appear to be normal coins, but no normal individual will accept them. That's because every coin is cursed, and the more coins you carry, the more cursed you become. There are some that accept them as payment out of bravado because the more bloodsilver you can hold and still maintain your stability, the more powerful you look. Others use them to test potential assassins they're about to hire; if the assassin refuses to accept the coin as payment, they may be considered too fearful or not enough of a risk taker to suit the task at hand and are subsequently rejected.
  • Weird Weather: Satyrine has strange weather systems, but none hold a more significant place in the minds of its inhabitants than the storms that bring keyfalls, where keys rain from the sky.
  • Wild Magic: Vislae of the Order of Weavers consider rituals to use magic too stifling and decide the best way to use it is mix two kinds together and see what happens. Rather than end up with a Random Effect Spell, good Weavers learn which types work best for their purposes and can get a useful effect out of the result.
  • Wizarding School: The headquarters of the Order of the Vance is the Vancian Campus, where Vances take or teach classes. Among the hundreds of classes offered are psychology of the living spell, spellbook upkeep, advanced spell mechanics and so on.
  • World of Chaos: Physics doesn't have much meaning in the Actuality, because it implies a single set of inflexible rules governing all of reality, which doesn't exist in the Actuality. Change and variation are as much a part of the Actuality as structure or reliability, if not more so. Gravity pulls you down, unless it doesn't, typically for a reason, but sometimes that reason isn't obvious, or even knowable.
  • The Worm That Walks:
    • Slipping Jack is a human shell filled with spiders who control every action with near flawlessness.
    • A mortis mephitis is a cloud of dead moths encased within an airtight leather suit and a gas-mask-like headpiece.
  • Wrong Side of the Tracks:
    • Rivenhome, home to Satyrine's working lower class, is not generally regarded as a happy place, with its sombre, oppressive, uniformly grey buildings, where crime is commonplace.
    • Tent City is an unofficial section of Catafalque, located outside the wall, and a slum of haphazard, often ramshackle structures, inhabited by impoverished people. Existence in Tent City is difficult and the authorities do not patrol or police it well, if at all.
  • Yandere: Part of the Captive Beloved's philosophy is that if you love something, you need to secure it so it can never be taken from you or leave of its own volition. The temple of the Captive Beloved is rumoured to kidnap people loved by the worshippers and hold them against their will.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Decuman hails from a faraway island, and he has lost the way back, despite his seamanship. More than anything, he wants to return to home and family, but he has long suspected that there's some kind of magic that prevents him from doing so.
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