1. A Place of Power; Introduction
2. Schoolhouses; Practices and the Place of Power
3. A Hut on Chicken Legs; Placement, Realms, and Routing
4. Furnishings; The Things Found Within
5. In Power; Exercising and Translating Power
6. Permission to Enter; Guests, Long-Term Residents, Familiars
7. Preparations; Staging, Expectations
8. The Ritual; Making the Claim
9. First Steps in One’s Place of Power
10. Advanced Demesne Practices
11. Closing Thoughts
Chapter One: A Place of Power
The Demesne, sometimes called the Demesnes, particularly if there are multiple spaces or dimensions to it, is the practitioner’s place of power.
It is hard to pin down when and where the Demesne originated, not because of any lack of records, but because the demesne can be as flexible as the practitioner, and the lines between the establishment of sanctuary, the elaborations on sanctuary, and the origination of the Demesne as a practice are not clear ones.
The Demesne is a place declared by the practitioner, and serves as a place for one’s own comfort and security, convenience, and the myriad expressions of power. The chapters of this text explore these ideas, the ritual, and the effective use of the Demesne.
Assume, unless stated otherwise, that the Demesne is a challenge to penetrate. Even a greater practitioner may find it difficult or impossible to intrude if a practitioner of the lowest tier is within. The space is the practitioner’s in every respect, with permission to enter contingent on their permission. Within, matter may be shaped, power transformed or put to efficient use, and spaces demarcated for specific uses. The practitioner can be considered an unchallenged lesser deity within their place of power, with control over contents, rules, and boundaries within the space, although the strictures and nature of the original space will impact the limits and bounds, as will the nature of the practitioner themselves.
These limitations are flexible ones, and investment of time, attention, and power will allow a practitioner to grow the effective space or challenge its rules more and more with time. This grows more difficult as the limits are tested, and thus an expenditure of power might expand a space by twenty percent with the first instance, fifteen with the next, and ten the next, diminishing each time until it is fruitless. This expenditure is easy and natural, and may be directed at other functions, aspects of the space, or qualities of the space, though the nature of the original space will constrain all things, not only dimension.
The ritual places a heavy emphasis on claiming one space, to a degree above and beyond even the influence of common spirits, who must be given permission to enter. The ritual, explained in some depth in a future chapter, requires a challenge to establish this claim against all who would take it. Of the three major rituals common to western practice, it is the most difficult, and the most rewarding.
Note, however, that depending on how the Demesne is cultivated, this personal place may develop in a variety of ways. Virtually every statement and rule listed within this text may be challenged, but one should expect that this challenge has its own cost and weakens the end result. Because the bones of the demesne ritual are so malleable, we draw on a variety of examples to illustrate, all real-life cases, some with names changed and details slightly altered.
Chapter Two: Schoolhouses
The Demesne is a reflection of the practitioner, and few things impact the practitioner more than the practice. Arguments could be made for the things that impact the man having greater weight, but here we primarily focus on the arts that man wields and the impact on their realm.
With this in mind, the innumerable schools of practice have their impacts on the Demesne, the initial steps, and the end result, and we begin with this. This also provides us with a foundation we can use to illustrate the variety of possibilities.
Keep in mind that any practice will draw on aspects of multiple schools.
The Schools Excorporate
In the Schools Excorporate, also known as conjuration schools, we count those practices which deal in those forces both flighty and fundamental, which may be banished, brought, wrought, and bound most easily. The elementalist, shamanism, echoist, necromancer, and evangelist schools can be counted in this number, all with some ready ability to translate power to the apparent Other or that Other’s actions.
Vlatka is an Archaic Echoist, a wide-track specialist who has dedicated decades to finding, collecting, deciphering, and studying those echoes of events in early civilization, when Others held more power. She has a Demesne she has cultivated since she was young, and it provides the structure for her to place echoes within. The area is akin to a museum, hermetically sealed and secure, but it holds the scenes as far as she has been able to piece them together.
Judi is an Ardorous practitioner, an incarnate practitioner who collects and wields the diffuse Others of attraction, obsession, love, sex, and physicality, transforming certain Others into those of an Ardorous type. Her Demesne is a home for her Others to reside in when she doesn’t require them.
The greatest difficulties for these practices are the point of expenditure where they must pay the cost of bringing their creations and effects through, and the relative fragility of their creations and effects, with a propensity toward taint and outside influence. These may be mediated with the practice.
Vlatka has finished enough of one scene that she can create a greater echo, the shadow of a Titan of ancient times. The individual components of this greater conjuration are no less than a thousand echoes that were directly in the Titan’s vicinity or resulted from the wake of its movements. In virtually any other environment, so many echoes would be prone to being tainted. Within this cultivated Demesne, they are free of that influence. Moreover, the great ritual to bring the Titan’s echo forth is one that is exceedingly fragile and prone to being tainted in itself. Here, however, though her realm is a wide pool of black sand punctuated by constructions of white marble, not even a speck of sand will land across the diagram as she works on it. The Titan’s echo can be brought forth without interruption or difficulty, and it can be kept within by those same measures.
Judi’s situation has changed, as she establishes an ardous pentad that links her to four other practitioners and Others. As one member of their network finds themselves under threat, Judi wishes to contribute resources and help protect the others, defying her normally conflict-averse nature. To these ends, she modifies her Demesne, drawing out courses and connecting these courses to adornments she wears. Her Others remain within her Demesnes as before, but some are kept on standby. Calling them forth is made easier and less costly, as her Demesne now launches them forth.
The Schools of Contrivance
In schools of this heading, the practice is dependent or focused on the physical object, wielded, honed, or made the focus or endpoint of the practice itself. Enchantment, collection, textual, some vodun and sympathetic practices can be counted in this broad category of schools, as may the practices of those chosen by a greater power, or those who negotiate with Others such as goblins or Faerie for magic items and tools.
Greene is a trophy hunter, unaware of the practice in large part for twenty years of hunting Others before chancing across the community, Awakening, and learning a small amount of practice to supplement the hunting. For Greene, the Demesne ritual was the end, rather than the means, as Greene practices largely with the trophies collected from slain Others, such as the tooth of a Chupacabra, the eye of a Siren, and the fur of a Blight Hare. Performing the ritual was a crude means of drawing the attention of an elusive quarry, and, indeed, every Other in the greater region.
Sebastián is a Complex practitioner who finds, creates or encourages the creation of Incarnate Spirits that are enriched by being set on the world, then collected and stored in cards. For him, the Contrivance is the deck of custom-made cards, each card a binding for the specific Other, and the deck as a whole a battery for power he can gather, with the cards taking on color and additional detail as they divide up the power between them. He finds he spends enough time in the Alcazar constructed of his deck that he decides to formalize the arrangement, creating a Demesne where the Alcazar is forever erected.
The focus of Contrivance practitioners is on the object, and the Demesne may act as an environment to work on that object, or it may provide alternate rules for effective handling of the object or associated practices.
Greene treats the Demesne as a secure storehouse for those items he is not using on a given hunt. The Demesene becomes something of a workshop for refining objects, and Greene even invites some base Others in as workers to process and craft. When he has power to spare, he adjusts the area, making time pass at a different rate, so these craftsmen might do eight days worth of work in a week.
The Complex practitioner Sebastián finds that the Demesne space is a refuge. The contrived situations, the deck of volatile Others, and the number of outside parties who want the cards for themselves are a constant onslaught, and the Demesne is a contrast to that; a place of rest and a vault few can penetrate. Because it is an Alcazar, he can spend this leisure time examining the deck for imperfections, taint, and influences, something he cannot do in the hectic day to day elsewhere, and he can remove any taint or alter any cards while within. Rules are adjusted to put the specific requirements of each card on hold while Sebastián and the deck are within. Later he expands this effect to ease the strict requirements for a time after leaving.
The Schools of Realm
Those schools of practice that dwell on realms are interested in travel and in places both mundane and esoteric. Virtually all practices draw power from Other realms and Other influences, and the Realms practitioner often travels to or through these sources, such as the Scourge, the Fae Walker, the Warren Runner, and the Dreamer of Paths or Chaos Mage. In other cases, they remain rooted, but bring importance to areas, such as the the macro-scale practitioner or Astrologer, the Technomancer, the Nomad Shaman, or the Draoidhe Caller.
Realms practices have some unique interactions with the Demesne, and as such, are given special focus in chapter three. For the time being, we will save the examples for more discussion there, and simply state that any and all of these practices can have special applications or benefits from the Demesne.
The Schools of Relation
Relation practices are those which dwell on connection or the interaction of practitioner and another. Practices of illusion, deception, misdirection, and those practices where the power is drawn from sources that must be negotiated with each time they are used will fall in this field. The Oni and Faerie practices can be both, while Enchantresses and Enchantment may lean into the former, and Shamans or Finders the latter.
Darren is a dabbling Oni practitioner, bartering with those Others who eschewed label and sought to war against Practice itself. Many Oni went out of their way to specifically attack, subvert or exploit the convention of Practice, and Darren barters with Oni for these techniques to supplement his general practice as an illusionist. Sharp knives, in a sense, to wield in the fog. He creates his Demesne as a place to practice and catalogue this knowledge, for it comes with strict rules.
Mimi is an enchantress who navigates a media-focused environment she does not wish to disclose. Her day is busy and crowded with people, to the extent that she cannot find the time or space to practice. Even bathroom stalls will have people in earshot. Her practice is established in those few private moments, with rituals and rites that she can then coast on, making the social interactions of her day that much more fluid. To better allow for these private moments, and to help freeze the escalating rent in an expensive city, she claims her apartment.
Relation practices are focused on other individuals and when taken to a Demesne, are almost always a place to invite Others to. The space can be customized and part of that customization may be to make it more hospitable or comfortable. In other cases, it may be a lens to work through.
Darren marks out a table, lit from an unseen source of light, surrounded by shadow, and the tableaus depicting the various arts he’s learned and gifts he’s been given, kept secret enough by the dark. He makes the space one for Oni to be invited to, a difficult process when Oni are opposed to practice. He makes the central space of the Demesne one that is for Oni, not himself, as something of a counter-Demesne or forfeited space. With this, the invitations become easy. With the right props, such as tea poured into a golden cup, the assumption of a visit from a specific Other is enough that they can easily travel to him, stepping out of the shadow and to the opposite end of the table.
Mimi regularly invites ambitious Faerie of the lowest caliber to her Demesne, making deals to ferry them into areas of a specific entertainment industry and its culture in exchange for the power to drive her enchantment. Her career flourishes, until she finds herself hitting a wall with a particular individual she must impress. She turns her Demesne into a lens, creating a facsimile of the woman as a statue, then placing small stolen and discarded objects of the individual near the statue to exaggerate the connection. Tape to take the imprint of a lip from a coffee cup and give it to the statue, the scraped-off lubrication of the outside of a condom, and a pen picked up and forgotten. All of these things focus that ambient and ‘coasting’ nature of her practice against one individual to better ensnare their attentions and respect.
The Schools of Lore
Schools of Lore dwell on collected and collecting information, on Sight, and the associated forms of awareness. Augury, Heroic and Historic practices, Crossways practices, Alchemy, some Binding, and practices of the Devout can fall into this field.
Jie practices as a Binder, using information and secrets gathered about individuals to tie them up in connections or alter those connections. He works as a life-binder, using his everyday profession to get detailed information about families, family histories, businesses, and delves into the wealth of social media of everyone still alive to decipher a family, codify it into a ritual space, and then weaves customers into that space. For the very highest price, a man may be a stranger one day and a familiar and loved natural born son the next. Most of his contracts ensure and compel arranged marriages. He creates his Demesne as a system to visually map out the relationships and webs of any given project that he is working on.
Milen is an Alchemist, devising and refining esoteric medicine for mental illness. Much of her and her husband’s time is spent on ensuring the next batch of youth potion, to turn back the clock and keep her at a young age, repeatedly postponing the day she biologically turns nineteen and three months old and a cavalcade of mental health issues, including schizophrenia and major depressive disorder, take hold. Each time the potion is brewed, however, the regression in age is less pronounced, the ingredients must be purer, rarer, and thus more expensive and she becomes a little less human and a bit more Other. The Demesne is established as a place where Time will have less of a grip on her, and a place with a window peering out on the world, letting them better locate ingredients.
The weaknesses inherent in Lore practices are often relatively straightforward, with a high initial knowledge base required, the years required for many of the workings, and less applicability to combat and direct confrontation. These things, however, are not easily amended by the Demesne, and so the Lore practices often lean more heavily in the direction of executing the strengths of the practice more effectively.
Jie has his Demesne start speaking to him, and turns it into an assistant, running the data and organizing things so he is more free to work on the less dreary details. As part of a critical project for a key individual, he captures reflections of the various members of one family, brings them to the Demesne, and then interrogates those vestiges thoroughly for details to further the project. Once used up, the consciousnesses and remains of the vestiges are fed to the Demesne to advance its own awareness and capacity.
Milen, in a desperate attempt to gather information, turns the searching eye of the Demesne into a spying one, looking over the shoulders of other Alchemists and associated fields. A prying look into a powerful family’s search, however, sees some retaliatory practice driven to the Demesne’s heart, blinding the eye and weakening the effects of the Demesne, with some rebound and lingering poison. Milen chose to stay within. Soon after that day, according to Milen’s husband, the door to the Demesne ceased to open.
The Schools of Security
Those schools of practice that deal in warding off harm are second only to the Realms practices in their relationship to the Demesne. These means of warding off harm can vary from the martial to the passive, deflection to avoiding the circumstances or consequence of harm entirely. Practices of warding; rhythm, chant, and mantra mages; many Incarnate practices, and the practices focusing on karmic law fall into this category.
Kaja practices warding, carrying on a family tradition of forestalling a Great Spirit of Economic Decline from washing over her area. This same spirit has consumed many of the other villages along the same coastline, exaggerated in part by the continual deflection from the one location, but through her efforts her town continues to exist. Much of what she does is rooted in history, creating a generations-long pattern that grows in strength roughly proportionate to the Great Spirit’s rising strength as it is rebuffed time and again. The decline is inevitable, and at this stage, it promises to do untold harm once it finds its footing. Her Demesne, claimed while the Great Spirit is otherwise occupied, is but one foothold and one territory it cannot pass, tethered to the quiet and unoccupied demesne of the deceased family members that served this duty before.
Claude is an Incarnate practitioner, addressing Vigor, an Incarnation subordinate to Nature, and to a lesser extent, War. Tying himself to that pillar of human nature, he gains the ability to spread vigor and steal it, and protects himself and others by having Vigor’s influence wash over areas, deflecting and diminishing incoming events that would impact his own health and energy in any negative way. He maintains some secondary relationships with Fertility and Integrity to extend his versatility. However, every Incarnation is a double-edged sword, and comes with its drawbacks, unyielding expectations, and will often extend its influence to his enemies. The Demesne, Claude reasons, is a place that is just for him, and he can enjoy the full benefits of the incarnations without worrying he will arm his enemies with the same.
The Demesne has its roots in Sanctuary, those spaces that man first was able to claim as safe against the Other, and through this link, much like what occurs with the Realms practices, covered in the next chapter, it affords certain benefits to the practitioner that grows the space.
As Kaja cultivates her Demesne, she ties it to her Self, and brings some of it with her wherever she goes. Should she express her Self, she extends the influence. As the Great Spirit draws near and the fishing in the Fjord starts to struggle, she lends her voice, her aid, and her character as a politician to the events, extends a degree of Sanctuary to the docks, and protects the space. Lashing out offensively from the Umbra, she peels away the layers of warding and the customized rebukes she has given her Demesne, tying them to the offensive rebuke instead, and drives the Great Spirit away. In both cases, these are acts that would not be nearly so easy without the easy connection between the Demesne’s sanctuary and the Self-as-Warden, if they were possible at all.
Claude’s cultivation of Fertility, to put it as succinctly as possible, led to a surge in new life in his area. The Universe’s attempt at striking balance, however, saw one local ghoul turn into fifty, death as the inverse of that new life, but still using that same exaggerated fertility to spreading their nature and bringing others to that cusp of life and death both. Forced to deal with the problem, he deals with the ghouls as best as he can, gaining some added protections as he brings the fight closer to his Demesne, as its Sanctuary extends out for him. This protection only lasts as long as a greater Self, power, or claim to the area doesn’t override it, and the arrival of the original ghoul does so. Claude keeps the heart of his power within the Demesne, and controls the ‘double edged sword’ by slamming the metaphorical door when he doesn’t benefit from it.
The Schools of Wages
The final school we will discuss here (though there are a variety of other ways of classifying practices by school, including combat practices, material, immaterial, and those focused on greater powers), the Schools of Wages are those practices that bear the highest costs or risks. The practices of the Heartless, the Host, of Sacrifice and Blood, and those that channel power from sources that would devour them with but one mistake, such as the Harbinger or Cultist, fall within the scope of this category.
Roland mimes the Doppleganger, riding the fine line of identity and humanity to stalk and mirror individuals. Feeding an insatiable hunger to replace an absent childhood, he mirrors young boys, stealing their faces, bodies, and memories, while they undergo a kind of warped puberty, adopting piecemeal qualities of a fifty year old man. His Demesne is his sole place of residence for the latter stages of this process, allowing him to disconnect from the connections and realities of everyday life and better discard what remains. The final stage of the process sees him take over the mind, shucking off much of his own awareness and memory, so he might be a boy in mind and heart as well. As he leaves childhood behind and becomes a teenager, he regains his memories and awareness, rapidly ages to fifty, and begins anew.
Roux was a cultist, a devout practitioner specializing in tapping into greater powers who are not aware of her actions. Pulling on the power of a nameless god bound to one of the great clockwork wheels of the universe, she drew too much attention, received his undivided attention for but a moment in time, and was pierced through and filled with his power, instead. Now she is a Harbinger, a vessel and aperture for more power than her body could hope to bear, too full of it to practice much else, and a concept neighboring space and time but condemned to history now leaks out of her, reordering the world in a subtle storm around her. She created her Demesne as a place this body and power does not war with the world, aligning the Demesne’s rules to that lost order of creation, and fuels a spiraling creation with small sapient life she rules over as a goddess, and finds her sanity in fleeting moments within, before the power compels her out and forward, to spread that bound god’s power and find a way to weaken its shackles.
The practices that touch on Wages are often strong, versatile, far-reaching, or cross into ground that many other practices cannot. Some Demesnes may be one of the many ways that a practitioner of this stripe medicates, tempers, or defers the costs of their practice. In other cases, the raw power that drives these practices may be put to work with a single added functionality, something that is harder or far lower in impact with other schools.
Roland does face a difficulty with his practice, and it is one that plagued him in the first century of his routine; when he takes the boy’s place, the boy takes his, including his ability to practice and much of his experience, with only personality differences, traits, and facets of appearance carrying over. His efforts to create deathtraps only he could escape, enlist help to murder the fifty year old practitioner, and negotiate with the targets all had their points of failure. To these ends, he used the Demesne as a thing tied to his Self, impossible to transfer. Carrying out the process, he migrated to the boy’s location, put the boy in the Demesne, and kept the doors locked. The man that had been his target would be kept within, to be devoured by the darkness that swelled as the Demesne fell into its cycle of sleeping, waiting for its master to return so it could wake and resume its part as part of his engine of stolen childhoods. A large part of it becomes this efficient devouring, keeping the target within.
Roux has a long term goal with her role as a false goddess in her place of power. Reigning over a miniature planet with a miniature civilization, she leverages her past experience as a cultist and begins to dialogue with the lowest and weakest of deities, beginning the process of using her Demesne to negotiate her way up a chain of relationships to where she can begin to talk or pass messages on to the deity that is feeding her power. Her hope is to shut off that flow of power, which may kill her, but for the time being, she can use her Demesnes as a way of reaching out once in a good while, to make a request or change the nature of her storm.
As a closing thought, keep in mind that these functionalities are not, with the possible exception of Realm and Security, restricted to the school. They may operate better with specific practices, but the Demesne as a space is readily molded, reflects the practitioner, not only the practice, and thus functions such as these are readily available.
Chapter Three: A Hut on Chicken Legs
The Demesne maintains an interesting place within the cosmology, as outlined in the text Kobold Koba’los, oft deemed one of the essential texts on the Goblin practices. Translated:
The [Warren] realms distill the vulgarities of man in architecture and arrangement. Yet when we take our place of power, we find it adjacent…
In the text Umbrage, on Scourges:
The Demesne forms an easy bridge between the fleeting world of man and our bent and churning dark at the heart of reality…
And, though the citations are abundant, we can finish our illustrations with a quote from the apocryphal Art Almighty:
…we contend the Manse [Demesne] is not only an art we may practise, but one we must. It is proven and enshrined that the Manse stands above the Kingdom of Man and below the Kingdom of God. To elevate a place to it is to raise ourselves and raise this world closer to Him…
The Demesne, paradoxically, is one fixed location in our reality, but a roaming place in our cosmology, capable of being adjacent or connected to any realm.
Those who dwell in the Realms practices will find this much to their advantage. Ironically, though the Demesne is locked in place, those who travel gain many benefits, including an easy connection to return home with less impedance, easier flows and translations of power, and benefits specific to their practice.
Trinette is a technomancer, specializing in a film and video setup that allows her to take snapshots of areas and transpose them to new locations, dropping a room, corridor, or other environment into a location with a camera flash and extensive precautions. She claims a Demesne in part to have a failsafe, a place to retreat to should something go wrong and she find herself in a situation such as a corridor with nothing to connect to on either end. Should she make use of it in this way, she finds herself imprisoned within for as long as the Demesne takes to draw out a path between one point and a familiar place, sometimes days or weeks, but she can escape once that duration elapses.
Ivan is an Undercity Nomad. Using shamanism, he bids the spirits of populated areas to come forth so he can communicate with them, and uses them to access a distillation of that place’s underbelly and dark mirror of its good aspects. Through this, he enlists help, forms connections, and thrives as a career criminal. To the innocent outsider, he appears to simply find the best of the worst people and enlist them for help, in record time. His Demesne makes his movements more fluid and flexible; he has a means of accessing it, and with the right key and the right knock, any door without an active claim on it that isn’t being watched can be an entrypoint to his place of power, or an egress.
Titface is a Warrens Runner. A goblin princess specializing in the exploration, mapping, and nuances of the Warrens, she created her Demesne as something unbounded. Taking the largely unclaimed Warrens as hers, she leaves the Demesne undefended and free for others to take or alter as they see fit. For the most part, the oldest parts of it crumble beneath the weight of vandalism and the attentions of bottom-tier goblins as she claims new territory, making it hers with ‘Titface’ insignia graffiti and the help of her ‘crowd’. Her Demesne is fluid in a way a non-Realms practitioner could not manage, but the expansion of it is largely dependent on the existence, support, help, and goodwill of the crowd of goblins that follow her for her excellent parties and demeanor. It dwindles when she stumbles on an ancient goblin and twenty of her ‘crowd’ die, and it grows when she does something sufficiently wild or reckless.
In each of these cases, the rules and default assumptions of the Demesne are looser. It is, for Trinette, an escape hatch, always within reach but with its price of time. For Ivan, it is a means of travel. For Titface, it is something that moves, extending at the ‘head’ and crumbling at the tail.
None of these aspects are tied explicitly to their practices. A walker of the Faerie realms could use the escape hatch, and a Finder could make their Demesne a perpetual additional room or space adjacent to whatever region of the Dream they are traveling, one they understand and have a connection to.
For other practitioners who have ties to places, their practice modifies those places.
Langley is a practitioner who focuses on rituals that permanently alter a place, largely focused on cleaning up those places that are unsalvageable or dangerous for the innocent. The rituals require some extensive investment, and encapsulate an area, warding it off while severing connections, to effectively drop it from reality. The Demesne is a kind of insurance, to guarantee that nothing too severe happens and nothing is lost. Places ready to be ‘dropped’ are held in suspension, adjacent to the Demesne, for a limited time. Langley and his family explore the locations as much as is possible with the inherent problems that caused it to be sequestered in the first place, hold to it in case some residual connection would see some linked people or hideaways who resisted evacuation dropped with the location, and then let it go. The cost of holding onto a rural stretch of wilderness, abandoned mineshaft, or lost farmhouse is exorbitant, but it gets less expensive as the pattern and routine are established.
The practices that affect wide areas and regions, including Astrologers and Callers, can benefit from their own unique rules and relationships to the Demesne. For Langley, the Demesne can reach out to adjacent areas and influence them. For a Caller, it may be a way to transform the effect as a great power is called on to flood an area.
Many theories abound as to why the Realms tie into the Demesne, including the notion that practicality demanded it and exceptions found the rule, but the leading principle is the notion that the Demesne is, in brief, its own Realm, much as the Faerie or Abyss may be. As a realm with a population of one, it is fluid, flexible, and easily adapted, moved here and there.
In any event, when these effects take hold, the claim one has over an area is exceedingly important. Something as simple as an innocent with a deed to the property being impacted is a barrier to entry. Nature has its own claimants, in beast and in the Others that may reside there. Many of these effects, additional features of the Demesne, and the routes that may open up are often going to be rooted in lost, forgotten, and abandoned areas. The nomad may well thread their way through the part of town where houses aren’t occupied and don’t sell, enter their Demesne, and then exit to a place so inhospitable that even the animals don’t dwell there.
Chapter Four: Furnishings
Within the Demesne, one wields power. A primary expression of this power will be defining the space, and populating it with properties. In this, we can discuss some of the nuances of the material, immaterial, and other schools not covered prior.
Objects brought from the outside will, unless sufficiently claimed by others or indicated as separate from the Demesne, be gradually absorbed into the space, as the place’s power saturates it. Once saturation is complete, the object will be part of the Demesne, and may be hard to remove.
Many parallels can be drawn toward this saturation and the act of ‘gardening’ by allowing an object to reside within the Abyss or Faerie realms, and the effects are often similar to an object being given a great deal of focus from the practitioner’s Self. Keep in mind, however, that these things are often tethered through the Demesne; one can imagine a string that reaches from object, loops through the Demesne, and then extends out to the practitioner. Function, form, and effectiveness will be at least partially dependent on the proximity to the Demesne.
Most often, however, one will want to put a small amount of power into the Demesne to have the objects take shape. This is initially a fragile process, discussed in more depth in chapter nine, but suffices to add basic features. The nature of the power employed will determine a great deal about what comes about; visceral practices, Others, and realms fuel the tangible first with art coming second. The immaterial may provide the artistic elements, or ambient changes such as mood, warmth, or weather. Divine practices and those from greater powers are better for the changes to the rules, and for those who wish to create life, the divine breath is adept at doing so.
At the practitioner’s whim, things may be set to be devoured for their power, preserved, or altered. Imagination, concentration, focus, and Self are the tools by which things are sculpted.
In the end, however, the end results may be as varied as a chair, a whispering wind, or a rule about decorum for those visiting, but all of these things are made of the same clay. What begins as an unfurnished room in a house remains that unfurnished room, with something taken away and something added when it is shaped into a new thing. Power, sometimes a vast quantity of power, is necessary to have any true influence over the space, adding to this initial stake and adding to the metaphorical lump of clay.
The Demesne is a lifetime commitment, and this investment is made over the lifetime.
Hmm… Demesne coming third in the arc makes me wonder if the kennetteers might wind up switching to making some kind of non-stationary demesne for Lucy- maybe using the alcazar practice?
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Langley seems like a good dude. Roland is a monster. Roux is fun, terrifying. God damn Cultists.
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Was this meant to be “Demesne” rather than “Alcazar”? The guy with the Alcazar-Demesne was the next guy on the list, right?
I knew I should have put money on the Demenses coming this week. Though that would require someone willing to put money against that…
Supposedly, there are ways to toy with the details of this ritual to make it less likely that Others will react to your claim in time to challenge it. Supposedly, this is a reference to something mentioned in one of the last Pact not-Interludes, which is why I’m being so vague about it. Supposedly, it would be neat if one of the girls pulled off a similar trick. (Though not the same one—that would be kinda dull.)
“How do I flush that ol’ bastard out of cover? …Oh, I know, I’ll do a ritual with the intent of pissing off every Other within half a mile!”
Greene sounds like such a character.
Which still is not enough to show he cares.
Who’d have thought practitioners of the occult arts would be so puritanical?
Well that’s unsettling.
I wonder how detectable that is. If used on an Innocent family, it would probably lean on their tendency to explain away the supernatural (until something happened to break the artificial bonds). What about if, to pick an arbitrary example, Mags had paid to join the Behaim family? How long would it take them to notice, what would tip them off, and what could they do about it?
For some reason, Kaja makes me think of a magical Taylor Hebert. Which is weird, because Brockton Bay definitely isn’t a Scandinavian fishing village!
I refuse to say whether or not I misread that as “Tiffany”.
But “Titface” is certainly…a name…
This chapter drives in how much more…ethereal the Practice feels than I remember it feeling in Pact.
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Well, I’m reminded of that scene where Oynxr vasvygengrf gur Orunvz snzvyl ol hfvat tynzbhe gb znfdhrenqr nf n abaqrfpevcg “hapyr”. V rkcrpg vg’q cebonoyl ynfg ng yrnfg gung ybat.
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V qba’g guvax gung xvq jnf nalbar’f hapyr. Hayrff V sbetbg nobhg nabgure Orunvz zrrgvat Oynxr vasvygengrq, ohg gung frrzf hayvxryl.
Also, this process sounds more involved (and hence probably sturdier) than just a touch of glamour.
Lbh sbetbg nobhg ubj abobql jbhyq unir yrg na hanggraqrq xvq vagb gung fnzr Orunvz zrrgvat, naq Oynxr vafgrnq vasvygengrq vg nf na byq zna va 3.3 orsber eriregvat gb n xvq va gur onguebbz.
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Vg srryf jrveq gb glcr fbzrguvat yvxr gung va EBG13.
Ab, lbh qvqa’g sbetrg nobhg nabgure zrrgvat. Lbh whfg sbetbg gung uvf vasvygengvba unq gjb cunfrf. Ur svefg fahpx vagb gur cnegl nf n trarevp zna, gura jura gur cenpgvgvbaref frcnengrq bhg gb qb gurve ovt evghny, ur pbcvrq n fcrpvsvp puvyq fb gung ur’q or noyr gb farnx va naq Oynxr guvatf hc.
practice-lore and how it all worked in pact was definitely more focused on qvnobyvfz, puebabznapl naq xvaqn rapungerffrf, ohg zbfgyl cybg-sbphfrq vzb. cnyr vf n ybg zber sbphfrq ba gur cenpgvpr naq ubj gung eryngrf gb gur cybg, vs gung znxrf frafr. obgu ner tbbq gub, naq vs nalguvat vgf erserfuvat gb frr gur qvssreraprf (pbzvat sebz fbzrbar jub ernq cnpg naq cnyr ng gur fnzr gvzr)
anyway, great chapter wildbow :^) i love the perspective theses ‘gathered pages’-like materials give us of the otherverse outside of the main plot-line :^)
I liked Pact, but it had a lot more “throw the reader head first into the Abyss, with extra demons, and see if they can make sense of what’s going on” than Pale does. Pale is giving us a much more balanced introduction to a wider variety of practices.
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yes! you explained it way better than i could. i like both for exactly those reasons
also as a curtesy, remember to either warn before spoilers or use the rot13 cypher
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Titface gains followers in the warrens due to her: “excellent parties and demeanor.” Imagine a party that draws goblins, must be truly vulgar.
All these use of demesnes for realms practices, maybe Avery could find some use for it.
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Comment Before I read. Ssssqqqquuuuuueeeeeeeeeeeeee. I’m so happy that we got each of the big three texts in the full bonus material glory. I adore that even though pactverse magic is a soft system we can get all this delicious in world info about how shut works. Didgqbqoaodjwbevehwoak. As should be clear I have been enjoying these and intend to enjoy this as well.
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Comment after I read: dayum that was better than I ever hoped. Really interesting lense to discuss demesne through. I loved the different schools of practioner and oni sound awesome, though I suspect they will only continue to dwindle as humanities influence keeps spreading. I also love that while some practices definetly belong solidly in one school or another I can picture many practitioners arguing vehemently about which school they are in and many who would seem to belong in one school would apply there art in the manner of another school. For example an enchantress that uses their connections to gather artefacts. I love how the more we find out about the world the more definitions make sense, and the urge to categorise increases but at the same time I find solidly defining any individual harder as multiple definitions apply. Freaking love it.
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“Objects brought from the outside will, unless sufficiently claimed by others or indicated as separate from the Demesne, be gradually absorbed into the space, as the place’s power saturates it. Once saturation is complete, the object will be part of the Demesne, and may be hard to remove.”
I wonder if there’s a chance that something similar to this happens to longstanding pupils attending the BHI?
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Believe in the HEART OF THE CARDS!
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It’s got big Card Captor Sakura vibes going on, I love it!
Huh Cultist practices are fascinating. I guess it never really clicked for me that there are practitioners who specialize in skimming powers from godlike beings under their noses.
That’s utterly insane and also hats off to those practitioners for literally robbing gods.
Now I kind of want to see a Technomancer-Cultist who finds and utilizes exploits in the major systems and powers.
“The Demesene becomes”