Abyss FAQ

What is Abyss?

The Abyss is a vast chasm that underlies all reality on the outside and which may be accessed most easily near the Thelbane. The power to access it is also called Abyss. Forces that destroy reality create new openings to the Abyss. Operating in the Abyss requires dual consciousness and self healing capability. It is possible to shape the substance of the Abyss through force of will. Abyss users have the ability to step into the Abyss from anywhere Outside and to step out of it to anywhere Outside bypassing shields and protections. Anyone who passes through the Abyss, including Abyss users, may be subject to attack.


Other Powers
Shape Shifting


  1. The Abyss holds a population of Abyss hags. The hags are ruled by a queen. I have met two of her daughters: Leaghagh, daughter of Uranus the Titan and Hagatha, a descendent of Lintra Hendrake.

    When new powers are created, an Abyssal hole opens. The Abyss hags come out with two purposes: attacking and harassing the individual trying to inscribe the new Logrus or Pattern, and soliciting a blood sacrifice from the Creator that will be used in a ritual to close the rift opened by the new Creation.

    It is essential that the new Creator be protected from the hags long enough to complete their task. It is also essential that fresh blood of the Creator be available for the ritual to close the rift. Close will not do, a relative’s will not do.

    The hags will stream out in hordes and fight endlessly to the death if they are denied this sacrifice. It requires a demonstration of extreme force to convince them to stop or negotiate if the sacrifice is not forthcoming and substitutions are not welcome as the hole between the worlds is destructive if it persists.

    The hags appear to see this as a purpose in life and are gleeful at the opportunity for mayhem.

  2. I’m not sure that this belongs in the “powers” FAQ: it’s more about the Abyss as an environment and its residents. But it seems to be where information of this kind resides.

    The Abyss is home to worm-like creatures as well as Abyss hags. These worms range in size from as little as perhaps 10cm in length to as large as perhaps 100m in length — or perhaps larger. There appear to be many more of the smaller ones than the larger ones, so I think it likely that I never saw the extreme end of the size distribution. They appear to be mindlessly aggressive or just hungry — they ate everything in their vicinity. I believe it is a bad idea for them to get out of the Abyss and into Shadow. The Abyss hags apparently are excluded from the worms’ aggression, and a hag was able to put a semi-permanent tattoo on several people which protected them from the worms as well. The worms appear not to ordinarily leave the Abyss through Abyss holes, but when Trinley was weaving an Abyss hole closed, the worms were, as far as I could tell, “beached” on the newly created Shadow, and started eating things.

    Trinley’s solution that worked fairly well was to have the initial band of woven Shadow be filled with fire, and then overlay it with a more hospitable environment after the worms had died. We backed this up with the attention of thousands of troops who got the worms that managed to survive the fire.

    Some Abyss hags (the royal line, it would appear, but perhaps others as well) are descended of Chaos as well, and are initiated into the (Thelbane) Logrus. I would imagine that there is at least the possibility of other powers initiation in Abyss hags as well. When we were engaged in closing Abyss holes, the hags responded by initiating sophisticated attacks on us — not a mindless horde, more of invisible individuals teleporting nuclear weapons onto our ships. Once we opened negotiations with them, they were willing to accept blood that was not of the person closing the Abyss hole (but we were closing the hole without creating a power, and the hags indicated that they would be less flexible in the case of power creation closing a hole) in return for leaving us alone. In another case, the hags were willing to accept blood in order to provide assistance in operating in the Abyss (the tattoos to protect from the worms, and helping us get back out of the Abyss when we needed to range far from the edge of the hole).

    An Abyss hag claimed to us that they use the blood that they negotiate for to, first, in some way metaphysically shore up the newly created Shadow from “beneath,” and that this was necessary to genuinely close a hole. She said that any remaining blood was consumed to empower the hags. I have no real means of evaluating the credibility of this hag, though my gut instinct is that she was telling the truth, but not the full truth.

    It is possible to create “islands” of relative normalcy in the Abyss — environments much like regular Shadow. The one case I saw of this was apparently supported by a death gem. I don’t know if other artifacts or people could support such an environment.

    1. The Abyss is a lightless, airless environment. There is a perception of gravity and “falling” in the Abyss, but that direction changes based on what seems to be the perception of the person in the Abyss.

      It is possible to bring air into the Abyss (I survived it by going in in a shuttle, though I may not have understood all of the powered precautions taken to make that work), but it is generally not possible to bring in light. Light sources (at least relatively ordinary ones) “light up black” rather than actually providing light. It is possible to perceive one’s environment in the Abyss using Logrus, and I would imagine other powers that have a perceptual component.

      Two people who dive into the Abyss from very close points at the edge of an Abyss hole may not be at all near each other in the Abyss. You can overcome that by being in physical contact when you enter the Abyss, either directly (holding hands or embracing, say), or mediated (several people gripping the same rope), which should preserve your relative positions as you cross from Shadow to the Abyss.

      It does not appear to be possible for most people to exit the Abyss on their own after they have entered it. For example, Lydia Lee Cantrell dove into the Abyss, anchored by a rope just a few dozen meters long. She then, to her perception within the Abyss, climbed “back up” the rope for what she felt was over a kilometer without reaching any edge of the Abyss.

      Abyss initiates can help you exit the Abyss (as I mentioned above, they were in at least one case willing to trade blood for help exiting the Abyss), and some but not all cross-Shadow powers may be able to as well. If you do not need to venture deep into the Abyss, the simple approach to getting back out is to be anchored to someone on the outside who can pull you out. So, continuing the example given above, after Lydia unsuccessfully “climbed” the rope to get out, the person anchoring her, on the Shadow side of the Abyss hole, was able to pull Lydia back out.

      Reportedly, it is important for any anchor lines back to Shadow be manned by a sentient being, not just a mechanical process. We did not test this for safety reasons, but according to local information at the Thelbane Abyss hole, unmanned anchor ropes go wrong in a variety of ways. Since the process appears to be more metaphysical than physical, I would regard this caution as credible.

      1. Two final comments about bargaining with Abyss hags for blood:

        First: I have seen three successful bargains with the Abyss hags for blood. In all cases, the Abyss hags held to the agreement without further complication (no lengthy contracts, no working against the spirit of the agreement). But it is important to disclaim that in all cases, we were in a powerful and well-prepared group. I have no information as to whether the hags would be so scrupulous if they felt that they could easily get their way by simply overpowering their counterparts. Three experiences is not many! It would be arrogant to imagine that my experiences comprise the final word on what bargaining with Abyss hags is like.

        Second: In all three cases, the amount of blood that eventually was exchanged was measured in barrels or hogsheads — from as few as 20 hogsheads to as many as 1,000. In other words, vastly more than what I might term “normal people” can spare. I believe that in all these cases, the donors spent months or years in a fast-time environment making regular donations to prepare a huge stockpile for the bargaining.

        The Abyss hags made the claim that the “standard” donation was 30 hogsheads of blood. I do not have the experience necessary to assess the credibility of this claim. I do not have a sense of whether the negotiations that I witnessed were “good bargains” for the donors, or whether they could have achieved their goals for much less blood. I do not have any information on the nature or scale of the downsides of bargaining away your blood (besides the inconvenience of achieving blood donation on such a scale).

    1. There were a few separate things.

      From the perspective of notable events in the multiverse as a whole, Trinley closed a large Abyss hole near Ygg — while I am not the best person to ask, my impression is that there are whole new Shadows there now where once there were none.

  3. The Abyss does not touch on the realms of the Inside.This is likely by the will of Roland. He despises blood magic, and blood bargains. I’ve often wondered if the creation of the Aurellis wasn’t, at least in part, an act of rebellion against old, distasteful practices. Whatever the case…the Abyss does not touch on the Inside, though I suspect other, as yet undiscovered by the vast majority of we “Outsiders”, realms do.

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