Spirits and the Metaplanes

I’m trying to get to a certain point in the campaign before one of my players leaves for school in the autumn, and so I’m crazy busy trying to get the next run ready by this Friday. So I don’t have a lot of time at the moment. At some point I’m going to talk about Charles Stross’s The Fuller Memorandum, and possibly about urban fantasy in general, but right now I’m a bit squeezed. Instead, you get the results of a datasearch Panzer recently made. During the last run the players were attacked by what seemed to be the ghost of the vampire from On the Run, who they killed. Panzer’s player told me in an email that “Panzer will … run a search on information relating non-awakened metahumans entering the astral; if he’s going to have to go to another dimension to fight a vengeful vampire spirit thing, he wants to know what to expect. He’ll run some paralell searches using other parameters: 1. how to kill spirits, 2. spirits of vengeance, 3. vampire spirits, 4. astral beings and non-awakened metahumans, etc. He’ll spend as much of his free-time (whenever he’s not training, Running, spending time with Breagh, or buying shit) trying to figure out how they’re going to kill that vampire dead; if the Matrix doesn’t yield anything promising, he’ll meet up with either Breagh or Rook (possibly both) and see what they can contribute.”

Behind the jump is what he managed to gleam from his Matrix searches.

The Matrix, you discover, has a vast amount of bullshit, lies, and propaganda, and while the agent is better at filtering out the worst of the stuff than you are, it still can’t always tell fact from fiction. Some of the nuggets of info you find:
-The astral and the metaplanes are difficult, but not impossible, for a non-Awakened person to enter. The most common way is to get a free spirit to use the astral gateway power to open a gate to a particular metaplane, but they have a tendency to send you where they want you to go instead of where you want to go. The other, less common way is to go through an Astral Rift, such as the one left behind when Dunkelzahn died, but those tend to be well guarded and it’s uncommon for people who go through astral rifts to come back, and those few who do tend to come back insane. Lots of people say they’ve gone to the metaplanes, but lots of people say that they’ve been taught magic by dragons or are actually Damien Knight or have been abducted by aliens. Some people also say you can reach the metaplanes through Alchera, which are astral things that occasionally manifest on the physical world.
-There are almost as many theories as to what the metaplanes are as there are Professors of Thaumaturgy. Probably more, since shaman seldom get Ph.Ds (though it’s becoming more common in the NAN). The very general idea is that they’re the places spirits come from, and are either all the result of mankind’s unconsciousness or they really are some sort of separate plane or planes of existence. Insect spirits, faeries, shedim, and other nasty things like that have led the “mankind’s collective unconsciousness” theory to lose a lot of ground in recent years.
-Metaplanes tend to be more like the physical world than the astral, but they almost always have a “metaphor” that everything is influenced by. The common ones are things like “Plane of Water,” “Plane of Salish Beast Spirits,” “Plane of Shinto Ancestors,” and “Plane of Valhalla,” but there’s also things like the Plane or Planes of the Dead, which are very difficult to reach and tend to, unsurprisingly, hard to get out of, and weirder things, like the Plane of Steampunk Cowboys, the Plane of Devil Cows, and the Plane of Angry Monkeys. Even when it’s something simple, like the Plane of Water, different magicians seem to describe them very differently, except for all the ones that agree, of course. There’s also the deep metaplanes, where things like Insect Spirits or Shedim come from, and they’re really, really hard to get to; you pretty much have to follow one back with some sort of material link.
-The consensus on permanently destroying spirits pretty solidly states you’ve got to go to their home metaplane and destroy them there.
-Ghosts are pretty commonly accepted as existing, but aren’t well understood. There are lots of conflicting theories about them, but the most academic sources say that ghosts are wild spirits that have been “imprinted” by nearby deaths, turning them into the echos of the deceased. There tend to be more exceptions than rules when it comes to ghosts.
-There are drugs that can allow mundanes to astrally project and even reach the metaplanes with the right guide.
-Magicians whose bodies are killed when they are astrally projecting sometimes become ghosts, though more often they just hang around as long as they would normally be able to project before dying, then fade away.
-There are a fair number of nodes and a lot of documents that discuss both vampires and ghosts, but only a few talk about vampires that become ghosts when they are killed.
-One of the most common reasons for ghosts to form is when the person that imprinted them was killed violently or otherwise died while feeling strong emotions. It’s really not predictable, though; there is one ghost on record because someone died of a heart attack while watching a scary movie, while hundreds of people die violently and horribly every day without ghosts forming.

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