The Ameth Chronicle
Supernaturals of Ameth
An overview of the supernatural situation
Supernaturals in Ameth are rare. There’s no publicly available numbers, but you’re not likely to simply stumble over another supernatural while wandering around (except maybe spirits/ghosts). That said, apparent weirdness and unusual phenomena often trace back to a supernatural if you know how to look. Supernaturals influence the city through levering their power at key points, rather than having a member hiding in every human institution.
They are analogous to mafia famiies. Such families might only have a hundred or so actual members, but they know how to recruit associates, wield influence, and generally dominate the underside of cities they operate in. The same thing happens in Ameth.
The kindred excel at this, and often use tactics that would appear familiar to the mafia, which supernatural additions. The influence both business and government entities, but it’s been made clear to them that even though the Hexarchy doesn’t want an open supernatural war in the streets, there are limits to what it will tolerate. Exactly how and what those limits consist of are only known to the Prince and Regents, but it’s generally thought to include leaving the highest levels of government independent and controlling the number of new vampires embraced.
That first restriction chafes them when they consider what the changelings were able to pull off. While the vampires heavily influence four of the six layers, the changelings run Baojia Caozi. The kindred version of the story is that they’re pawns of the Hexarchy and the spreading influence of such a fifth column should be contained. The changelings say that’s just propaganda designed to kill their business interests in other layers, and that when the First Aberration Purge happened, the changelings had already become such an integral part of legitimate society that the Exorcists couldn’t root them out without turning the whole layer against the then-less-powerful pillar government, while the vampires were hidden shadowy mysteries that could be eliminated without mass protest.
The Court of the East periodically tries to expand it’s business interests into other layers, and the Invictus Prince Siegfried organizes the other covenant leaders to make sure those ventures wither and fail. It’s a stalemate that’s been in effect for a long time.
The other supernatural groups that exist don’t compete in that arena. Malachi and his agencies are generally considered to be harmless do-gooders and occasionally helpful in de-fanging a Hexarchy operation. Sin-Eater krewes and Changing Breed packs are generally street-level affairs that aren’t playing in the same league. The Werewolves have their own problems with the Hexarchy, but that struggle is external to the city. Anything else is usually a one-off oddity.
The Hedge that connects to Ameth doesn’t connect to the True Fae realms of Arcadia. This is, in general, a good thing.
The official line is that True Fae simply cannot pass through the Demon Gate, its nature doesn’t allow them transit. The Demon’s Gate seems to be a one way portal through which entities can arrive but not leave. Sometimes those are changelings. More often they are horrors. The changeling Court of the West is headquartered in a respectable fort surrounding the gate, preventing the majority of them from reaching Ameth proper.
Changelings, hobgoblins, hedgebeasts, and even the odd human have been known to pass, and there’ve been significant battles when hostile hobgoblins and darker things have tried to pass, but no one’s mentioned a member of the Gentry passing through.
The gate itself is a swirling multicolored sphere of magic and chaos. It’s in the middle of a courtyard in the Court of the West’s fortress; really more of an inner keep than a courtyard. While the court has repelled attacks from within and without, the inner defenses facing the gate are the strongest. And they use the strongest defenses they can get.
The hedge manifests as a network of caverns and tunnels, much like the tunnels outside Ameth, only with the weirdness vastly increased.
If the nature of space and distance was questionable in the tunnels outside Ameth, it’s downright shady in the Hedge. The paths in the hedge seem to go much farther than they should, and they don’t always go to the same places.
Where the tunnels outside Ameth have forests along the river paths, the hedge is completely overgrown, and the vegetation gets progressively more bizarre as you venture away from gates into Ameth. Sometimes the hedge opens up into great stadium-sized caverns, other times it forms tunnels where the walls appear as the entrails of some vast subterranean beast. The vegetation frequently provides light, whether as a psychoactive reaction to the denizens’ need for light or as a reflection of the frequently lit tunnels outside Ameth. Some things the live in the hedge know how to turn the lights off.
If the tunnels outside Ameth have dangerous creatures lurking, the depths of the Hedge are truly monstrous. While it’s true that everyone is probably better off with the True Fae locked out, they did make sure that nothing rose in the hedge to the point it could challenge their power. And they aren’t here now. There are powerful things in the depths of the hedge.
Despite those dangers, there are also riches to be obtained. Changelings who have grown in power and experience would realize that the six changeling corporations take advantage of the fact, although the exact means and methods are secrets except to those who need to know. Certainly goblin markets and the doors/workshops of hollows might play a role.
Worlds Beyond Ameth
Ameth is truly an isolated city. No magic of any kind can penetrate beyond around 100-200 miles from Ameth’s center., depending on the specific angle and other more esoteric factors. All travel, viewing, or other attempts simply fail. The only exception is straight down.
Ameth is isolated not just in the Material World, but in all others as well.
Shadow reflects the same barriers surrounding the city that exist in the material world.
The Underworld has it’s own little pocket for Ameth, populated with the ghosts of Ameth. There doesn’t seem to be any exit to the lower mysteries or the Underworld at large. But not all the ghosts are there forever. They have to be going somewhere….
Any world not mentioned here has similar constraints.
Supernaturals in Ameth are outlawed under the Hexarchy and are hunted by a special law enforcement branch called the Exorcists. The Exorcists themselves are figures of mystery, apparently human but with powers to stand against supernaturals or to call backup who can. The demons are sure the Exorcists are working with the God-Machine, but as allies, puppets, or something else, they can’t say.
The Exorcists consider some supernaturals more important than others, and spend more of their time and attention hunting those creatures down. The priority list has been figured out by supernaturals, who find certain aspects of it hard to understand. Vampires in particular are both relieved and somewhat offended to find themselves so far down the list.
In order of their prioritization, the current status of supernaturals in Ameth:
Prometheans (Priority 0)
Prometheans are the Exorcists highest priority target. This is generally considered to be because even the weakest of Prometheans could throw the entirety of Ameth into disorder. There is no organized structure of Prometheans within Ameth, and what few there are tend to stick to the tunnels where constant migration is easier. The only thing the Exorcists value more highly than destroying a Promethean is destroying the demiurge that created it.
Mages (Priority 1)
Information obtained about the Hexarchy’s fear of the never-observed mages suggests they’re worried that if a mage created a paradox effect inside Ameth, the Abyss could corrupt the connection the world of Ameth forms, with devastating consequences.
Of course, it’s theoretical, since there hasn’t been a mage spotted in centuries.
Geists (Priority 2)
Geists are a mix of powerful ghost and human soul. Harder to kill than anything outside of a Demon and with supernatural powers to match, they are high on the Exorcist’s enemies list.
The Underworld pocket that exists in Ameth is controlled by the Twinned Torches, the most powerful Geist Krewe in Ameth. Other smaller krewes and independent geists occur as disembodied geists cut deals with dying mortals of the appropriate temperament.
Werewolves (Priority 3)
Dealers in spiritualism and bestial rage, there are no known werewolves in Ameth proper. But reports of them in the far reaches of the tunnels send Exorcist squads scrambling. The Hexarchy obviously believes they’re out there. And they don’t like it.
Changelings (Priority 4)
Changelings were once humans, but were kidnapped by the Fae and warped into something else. Of those that escaped, some ended up in Ameth. No one is sure if the Changelings are a low priority because they aren’t a threat to the Hexarchy’s goals, or if it’s due to the Court of the East’s influence.
Ameth’s Changelings are ruled by the Directional Courts. It’s said that originally the Seasonal Court of Autumn had a presence here, but in a land of no seasons they faded away.
The Court of the East controls the a majority of the rulings corporations in Baojia Caozi, and through them virtually the whole of the layeri. This political power has earned the Court of the East and affiliated supernaturals a certain protection from the Exorcists so long as the Court tightly controls their behavior. Apart from the agencies, professing fealty to an organization like the Court of the East is one of the only ways to secure protection for new supernaturals in Ameth. Of course, being in debt to the Court of the East is an unpleasant proposition as well. That’s one of the reason you find changelings who prefer to take their chances outside the relative safety of the Court of the East controlled layer.
The Court of the South are also headquartered in Baojia Caozi, and while it maintains independence, it is subordinate to the Court of the East.
The Court of the North is headquartered in Ummah Wahidah, where it has a solid relationship with (among others) the ascetic members of the Lancea Sanctum.
The Court of the West is headquartered in the local Hedge and has less to do with the affairs of Ameth than many others, serving instead as it’s protector against intruders from the Daemon’s Gate. They’re also the welcome wagon. The True Fae don’t have easy access to Ameth, so that’s one horror the citizens don’t have to deal with. The changeling population is all imports, one reason it’s so small, and one reason the changelings have the best idea of what’s going on in the outside world.
Vampires (Priority 5)
Given Vampires’ powers of social manipulation and conspiracy, you’d think the Hexarchy would see them as a greater threat to the control of the city. Many vampires think the same thing and get a little pissy about it.
As covenants go, the Invictus are the strongest. With holdings in all layers, the Invictus have resurrected the old Feudal Monarchy system of Princes and Lords. Each layer has a prince; the ulitmate power resting with a Ventrue named Siegfried in Grutas dos Guimarães.
The Ordo Dracul are the second most influential, focusing on individual takeovers of the vast residential structures and turning them into miniature kingdoms in their own right.
Lancea Sanctum and the Circle of the Crone are much diminished. Lancea Sanctum had almost faded away, but had a resurgence with the breakway of Ummah Wahidah from Baojia Caozi and now controls a small portion of that layer. The Circle of the Crone has maintained a small but stable presence in Girijos Draustinis. Both have only token presences in other layers.
The Carthians no longer exist. None were present at the founding of Ameth. However, a faction of unaligned vampires in Atlantis founded the Načá Omníčiye covenant and participate in forms of elective governance similar to the old Carthian ways. They have even less influence on other layers than the Lancea Sanctum or Circle of the Crone.
Spirits (Priority 6)
Spirits inhabit Ameth just as the did the Old World. Most of the time they’re beyond/beneath the notice of local supernaturals. But every once in a while a spirit grows too powerful and needs to be put down. The Exorcists arrange Spirit Hunts on occasion in the far tunnels. Not all of them come back.
Interference in spiritual affairs is resisted by the authorities of Atlantis. Their leader is rumored to consort with spirits, and it’s equally rumored that he’s unpopular with other Hexarchy leaders for that reason.
Ghosts (Priority 7)
The city is old. Ghosts that have been haunting since the city’s founding are now powerful enough to pose actual threats. There aren’t many of them, and the harm they can do is limited, but if the Geists don’t get them first, the Exorcists will.
Changing (Priority 8)
As were-beasts more attuned to nature than the spirit world, changing breeds are generally considered harmless, hunted more on principle than anything else. The exceptions are changers who show an affinity for magic or spiritualism. Activating those powers gets you chased down as quick as anyone else. Changing breeds in Ameth are almost all have an animal form that reflects the urban setting, possibly reflecting nature asserting its existence in even this artificial setting.
Human Dabblers (Priority 9)
Sometimes normal people learn how to dabble in matters beyond the natural. The Hexarchy has made learning the truly powerful secrets near impossible, so the amount of trouble mere humans can cause is limited. At least, that’s the current point of view.
Experimentation with mental powers is allowed, as the current mode of thought is that solely biological meddling can’t impart supernatural powers. That is a subject of some debate.
Mummies (No Priority)
There are no known Mummies in Ameth. Should the Hexarchy identify one, it will assign the type a Priority.