[The World Below] Your Questions Answered

It’s time for another blog for The World Below!

Since The World Below Ashcan Edition was released this week, and we ran a panel on the game during Onyx Path Virtual Gaming Convention over the weekend, we’ve accumulated a good number of questions about the game! As a result, I’m answering them right here for you and inviting you to pose any other questions you may have (along with any feedback from the Ashcan) in the comments below.

Let’s get to it.

Is The World Below our Earth in the past or future?

Not in a majorly identifiable way, no. Certain religions and societies may possess parallels (names like Fortuna and Hades show up in the World Below, for instance) but as no cultures in our world live predominantly underground in a state of chaotic unrest, that’s pretty much where the similarities end.

Are The World Below and the newly announced At the Gates connected?

Yes, but in ways I can’t confirm to you at this time. They’re both games in something we call the Earthbane Cycle, and they may not be the only ones.

Is The World Below a part of the Realms of Pugmire?

Categorically not. Not because we don’t love Pugmire (I certainly do), but because I can confirm it definitely is not. The rats and mice would constantly bump into Kaosists if they were in the same world.

Are Kaotic Retaliations like paradox effects in Mage?

Kaotic Retaliations are a form of Complication stemming from wielding Kaos (the magic of the World Below) in particularly Kaotic, unskilled ways. Sometimes a Retaliation will explode in your face, sometimes it’ll make the earth turn to quicksand, other times it’ll increase the damage of a blow and decapitate the enemy. There are many Kaotic Retaliations in the game. After all, there’s a reason it’s called Kaos

Are they identical to paradox, however? No. Kaos is not some consensus-righting force that wants to punish the use of vulgar magic. It has more in common with wild magic than that. Think of Kaotic Retaliations as the risk of firing off a flamethrower that’s leaking propellant down your arm, onto your hand, and close to the nozzle of the weapon.

Is the Ashcan complete?

The Ashcan contains every major beat we want to cover at this time, but we accept there may be elements we omitted accidentally, or that require clarification. For that, we have an errata form you’re invited to complete: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeDS27zC3d2hn-5EGfHUSmmw9rnuQ5VzXdL8g88aj2WnZ49LQ/viewform?pli=1

Do you have any visual references for the various humanoids you can play?

That’ll be a part of the art created for this game, but continue to check The World Below’s channel on our Discord server, and I’ll post unofficial art references there when I can.

To where do Kaos Portals lead?

Quite simply anywhere the Storyguide wishes, though they should keep the tone and theme of the game in mind before having the crew of the Starship Enterprise crash through a Kaos Portal into Telver’s Hearth. Kaos Portals are a source of danger and bounty in the World Below, as monsters enter the world through them, but so do resources such as clean air, clean water, farmable crops, and tameable mammals. They’re one of the mysteries of the game.

Who controls The Well?

The Well is another major mystery in The World Below, so we won’t be revealing everything relating to it just yet, other than to say pretty much every inhabitant of the World Below knows of the Well, but very few have seen it and returned. It’s supposedly the source of all Kaotic power, if you can believe it, and some people surrounding it have seen fit to safeguard it… Or keep others from sharing the power.

Are Theses analogous to Edges and Syntheses to Gifts?

Not quite, though Theses and Edges have something in common, in the sense they’re both ways in which your character can do something, access something, or know something that gives them a quality above most other people. In the World Below, this is the character exerting their will, making their statement, and applying themselves on their surrounding, hence “Thesis.” It’s their demonstration of thought and action on the world around them.

Is the Kalm season inspired by the winter phase of Pendragon?

Most definitely, along with downtimes, construction phases, tower defence, and other such parts of other games. I’m a big fan of Pendragon, and I love any game that gives your characters the chance to take stock, make lifestyle rolls and roleplay, build a family and habitat, and politic and gossip away from immediate harm.

Are all Ancestries biological?

Definitely not. Your character could have the makiru ancestry as part of their Dawn Path and be biologically human, entissian, or something else. Your ancestry in the World Below is defined by who raised you and the environment you were in at that time. While the majority of makiru do raise other makiru, it’s a sad reality of the World Below that parents are lost all the time, and someone needs to look after the young. “Racial” prejudice isn’t really a fact of everyday life in this world.

Is the Abyss the opposite of Kaos?

The Abyss is the Abyss, and the Abyss is nothing.

Are the Templars the bad guys?

No, you can play as Templars (adherents of the Temple of the Benevolent Earth) and while they pursue something of an inquisitorial role in purging enemies of the World Below (and their dogma), they also serve a purpose by doing so. That doesn’t mean everyone loves the Templars, but few can deny their effectiveness. If you want to meet a bunch of real militant Templars, go visit the settlement of Fortress.

Are there powers to build Hunters to absorb energy from their prey,or even their powers like Rogue from X-Men?

Not in this game, I’m afraid! Interesting question, but definitely not within the Hunter purview.

Are there firearms in the World Below?

There are some firearms in the World Below, but they’re not common, and are more likely to be machines particularly dedicated Qeobaca craft, or relics found at the foot of Kaos Portals, than the firearms we know.

Of the settings present in the game what is the largest in size?

It was Glowstream. Until recently. Following Glowstream, you’d probably be looking at Telver’s Hearth in terms of its sprawling expanse or Mud Town for population, as people are stacked high in that settlement.

Will your actual play from Onyx Path Con be on the Onyx Path YouTube channel?

The panel we ran with Cat Evans, Ed Greenwood, and Rich Thomas will be first as of next week! The actual play will appear shortly thereafter, but if you can’t wait you can find it by subscribing to https://www.twitch.tv/theonyxpath

I’d love to see more questions submitted. If we get some, I’ll answer them on next week’s blog!

Please continue to share these blogs. Post about them, message them to your roleplayer friends, and discuss what you want to do with this game! 

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