- The astral world is the world of spirits. When a mage uses sorcery, they are drawing energy from the astral and channeling it into the physical world. The stress of this creates drain. When they conjure a spirit, they manifest the entity from the astral energies of a place or object.
- Attempting to use magic while in the astral always results in physical injury that may take days to fully recover from (and without the aid of any healing, be it magical or medical). Taking the energy straight from the source into your soul is too much to handle. Character death or coma may occur if all daily drain is spent while in the astral.
- The"physical "real" world can be seen from the astral world, but you cannot see the astral from the physical world. This means that normal every day people will never be aware of the existence of the astral.
- Physical strength, speed, ect mean nothing in the astral world. Though the "Fearless" trait can be used to stand in for any one (and only one) enhanced physical ability in the astral.
- While something in astral space can see the real world, there are limitations and differences from looking at the world through physical eyes:
- The sustained action of projecting precludes a number of other actions that cannot be taken while the magician is away from their body, to include conjuring, banishing, and a small variety of other actions that are rather demanding.
- Astrally projecting magicians have normal human ranges for sight and sound. Even those who would have 'advanced' senses in the real world. Those telescopic eyes do nothing for you in the astral.
- Non-living things like walls or cars or the like all appear in dull grays.
- Reading is an impossible feat. Abstract information presents it's abstract form in the astral. Words do not appear as they do in the physical, though strong impressions behind certain writing can be seen and felt.
- Emotional impressions caused by arguments, death, passionate speeches, ect can all be "felt" the same as one would see or hear something in the physical world.
- Magic is visible, unlike in the physical world. This includes spells, active foci, spirits, and sometimes the magicalness of an individual if one can read auras.
- All living things generate light on the astral. This includes the Earth its self, though any rock or dirt that has been "separated" from the Earth by being excessively shaped or refined will no longer generate light. This includes any magical objects, even if they are not living.
- Traveling through solid objects can prevent one from seeing where they are going (walls, solid rock, ect). Traveling through material like water, fire, and the like functions similarly to fog or mist.
- Impedes the use of magic and can appear as a foggy haze on the astral planes. While only the heaviest background count can make magic almost impossible or totally impossible to use, light amounts make it at least mildly more difficult to draw mana from the astral.
- Created by strong concentrations of magic use and/or emotions. If caused by emotions, the emotional impressions can be "seen" when they are viewed in the astral planes.
- Spirits do not like areas of severe background count, and cannot be conjured in places where it is very strong (by sane mages at least...)
- Small amounts of background count can be annoying to attempts to use magic. They are weak in their emotional impressions and have only a limited effect on warping the flow of mana.
- May be be caused by things such as heated arguments, mind numbing office environments, hospitals or minor magic ritual sites.
- Moderate amounts may actually increase the drain of magic that is used in the area (player choice, not enforced unless someone wants to really abuse the concept).
- May be caused by things such as church services, organ thief "chop shops" or burnt out residential areas (such as the Redmond Barrens).
- Severe amounts of background count may make magic next to impossible to use and many spirits will refuse to enter such areas (if they can be conjured at all anywhere such a place).
- May be caused by sites of historical emotional scope such as Arlington Cemetery, The Louvre, Hiroshima, Auschwitz, heavily polluted rivers or totally deforested hillsides.
- The most extreme levels of background count can kill a mage or drive them insane if they are exposed to it whilst projecting (sometimes even when just perceiving). These are rarely found on Earth and usually accompany events of suffering and magical power that dwarf almost all events in history combined. Seattle has no known "Mana Warps" of this degree.
- Background count becomes higher and higher the further one gets away from the "Gaiasphere" of the planet Earth. Once when has finally gotten into space, magic is physically impossible to perform. Attempting to fly into this space as an astrally projecting mage (or trying to perceive while on an orbital space station), can result in death or crippling insanity.
In short: Higher background count = gimped magic.
- Some people (aspected mages, anything dual natured, certain adepts) can see into the astral planes.
- This isn't an ability that is "on" all the time, they voluntarily gaze into the astral. This may accompany a ritual of some kind, such as use of peyote for a Native American practice.
- Restricted by the laws of the physical world, but the "perceiver" does exist in the astral at the same time. They can touch astral things and astral things can touch them (this means a spirit doesn't need to manifest into the physical world to try and kill you).
- Able to determine people's general emotional states, if they have cyberware (though not what/where it specifically is), can see if someone is magically awakened and can see their general state of health (healthy, injured, ect).
- Usually an ability only possessed by full mages.
- Allows the mage to leave their body and exist purely as a disembodied soul.
- As the body cannot live without its soul for long (being why those who get too much cyber end up dead), the mage's body will die within six hours if they don't return.
- While in this state, the mage can:
- Fly through any non-living or non-magical object without any resistance.
- While blocked by living things, cannot touch them unless they have a presence in the astral planes (has an active foci, is dual natured, astrally projecting, ect). Something as simple as vines loosely draped over a door is as good as a steel wall; they are alive, and you cannot move them.
- Manifest to the physical world as a ghostly image, but is just that, a ghost, unable to physically interact with anything.
- Move at almost the speed of thought, traveling to the other side of the planet is a trifle while astrally projecting (though going such a distance means that one is quite prone to getting lost).
- Able to touch anything astral just like a perceiver or a spirit.
- Dual natured creatures exist in both the astral and physical worlds at the same time. Essentially, they are always astrally perceiving, and cannot turn the ability off.
- This includes many magical creatures, most commonly Ghouls (though includes many things).
- Also includes any magicians or adepts while they are astrally percieving.