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Glossary

Definitions of some of the most commonly used terminology in this canon.

  • 6th Occult War — Large-scale occult conflict lasting from 1875 to 1882, culminating in the destruction of a major demiurge.
  • 7th Occult War — Global occult conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, centered around attempts by the Ahnenerbe Obskurakorps to complete the Rite of Solomon.
  • Aetheric Oscillation Detector — Also known as a Randall Detector, after its inventor, Dr. John Carver Randall. A device which can detect changes in background aspect radiation, commonly used for locating unopened Ways.
  • Amnestic — Amnesia inducing drugs, widely utilized by normalcy preservation agencies to conceal the existence of the anomalous.
  • Anart — Short for anomalous art. Used to refer to artwork which was created with or incorporates anomalies.
  • Anahuman — Abbreviation of anomalous human. An individual who possess anomalous abilities or attributes. Generally does not include non-human humanoids. See also; Parahuman
  • Anomalous — A catch-all term to describe things which seemingly violate the known laws of nature and defy logical explanation. When used alone as a mass noun, it can also encompass the occult and paranormal.
  • Antimeme — An idea with self-censoring properties; a meme which discourages dissemination or which is impossible to remember or transmit.
  • Apportation — An occult method of instantaneous teleportation. The extreme EVE requirements and the magnitude of the resulting backlash make apportation impractical in most instances.
  • Article 13 — Of the Köln Agreement. Provides a framework for bilateral cooperation between the GOC and the Foundation in the face of major threats to normalcy. Invocation by either organization compels the assistance of the other.
  • Aspect Radiation — EVE emissions with an intensity great enough to alter reality.
  • Atlantis — The ancient paracivilization of Homo sapiens aquarius, which was destroyed nearly 5000 years ago and all but entirely lost from the historical record. "Atlantis" is a modern appellation, as the true name of the civilization is secret.
  • AUM — An alchemically-enhanced paradrug with its origins in a Backdoor Soho Discordian sect. The formula varies, although it always has five major components; LSD and THC are universal, but the other components can span the full range of hallucinogens, entheogens, stimulants and dissociatives.
  • Aura — The natural, low-level EVE emissions given off by most living organisms and many paranormal entities. Auras fluctuate relatively consistently in response to numerous physiological and psychological factors, which makes it possible to use aura patterns to determine an individual's emotional and physical state.
  • Automated Exorcism System — A machine for automatically performing exorcisms and other similar occult workings, although the presence of a thaumaturge is required for it to function. Sold by Prometheus Labs from 1985 to 1995, customers included the Horizon Initiative, the Global Occult Coalition, and the Foundation.
  • Backlash — Randomized alterations to local reality, occurring as a result of thaumaturgy and similar occult activity. With sufficient planning and preparation, backlash can be directed and partially controlled.
  • Baseline — The mainstream or normal version of something, as in baseline human or baseline universe.
  • Basilisk (meme) — A hazardous meme which disrupts human cognition, either temporarily or permanently. Named after the basilisk, an anomalous reptile with a lethal gaze, although this property is not memetic in effect or origin.
  • Branch Universe — A dependent pocket universe emerging from a mainline universe or one of its branches.
  • Cognitohazard — Anything which, when perceived, induces anomalous or harmful effects in the observer. In casual conversation, sometimes shortened to Coghaz.
  • Concept — A concept is the fundamental and ultimate encapsulation of the qualitative properties of a thing, and represents the basic unit of metaphysics. Concepts exist (metaphysically) independently of the things they describe, allowing for arbitrary manipulation of reality by modifying a thing's concepts.
  • Conceptually Null Clearsolid — Glass-like material that possess paradoxical concepts, such as the concept of having no concepts. Organic material that comes in contact with it experiences the rapid modification and loss of concepts.
  • Conceptual Machinery — Machines that are composed of basic concepts, commonly appearing as translucent structures that are quasi-physical, resembling physical objects while lacking corporeality. These are commonly used in conceptual modification. AKA conceptual structures, "conceptech."
  • Conceptual Singularity — An intelligent or self-aware concept. A concept which possesses an inherent awareness of all its manifestations.
  • Conceptuvore — An entity that feeds on or consumes concepts.
  • Counterconceptual — Something which is impossible to perceive or conceptualize. A paradoxical or incomprehensible concept.
  • Cuchulainn Syndrome — Under normal circumstances, it is impossible for an individual to take actions contrary to a geas. In cases where two geases conflict, forcing one or the other to be broken, the result is Cuchulainn syndrome, the most common symptom of which is grand mal seizures.
  • Deconceptualize — The process through which an object reverts to its base concepts, usually occurring as a result of unshielded exposure to the Outside.
  • Deity — An anomalous non-human entity possessing extreme reality bending abilities, and largely outside the limits of human comprehension. Deities often occupy higher dimensions of space or adjacent planes of reality, either in whole or in part.
  • Demiurge — A deific entity possessing significant power and responsibility over the nature of certain aspects of a universe. A reality bender capable of altering specific and limited parameters of reality on a universal scale.
  • Demon — A loosely defined term used to refer to a wide variety of anomalous creatures originating from other regions of the multiverse, most of which are hostile to human life.
  • Demonarcotics — The practice of using demons and similar anomalous creatures, in whole or in part, as components in performance enhancing drugs. Also refers to the drugs created through this practice.
  • Demonics — Refers to the application of demons in integrated circuits, through the use of solid-state demon summoning devices.
  • Djinn — A reality bender bound by a powerful geas which prevents them from freely using their powers, and renders them invisible. Djinn may only use their powers if given a properly formed command in a symbolic language, defined by the geas. The technique for binding reality benders into djinn is a closely guarded secret.
  • Ectomorph — Paranormal entities composed of ectoplasm, sometimes created by the death of a living organism. Also known as ghosts, spirits, specters, and shades.
  • Ectoplasm — A semi-corporeal fluid which is transparent under normal circumstances and evaporates at room temperature. When subjected to an electric current it will emit visible-wavelength photons in a process known as ectoluminescence.
  • Eigenweapon — A paraweapon capable of killing large numbers of people and/or dealing massive amounts of damage to terrain, infrastructure, or the environment. An anomalous weapon of mass destruction.
  • Esoteric — An alternative term for the occult and paranormal, generally encompassing both.
  • EVE — Elan-Vital Energy. The fundamental particle of aetheric energy, which powers all thaumaturgy. Also occasionally called orgone.
  • Everhart Resonator — A machine used to produce EVE from electricity, developed by John Everhart at ICSUT during the Seventh Occult War. The conversion requires a thaumaturge to start the process, and is extremely inefficient, but it is far more reliable than any other method for generating large quantities of EVE.
  • Evocation — A spontaneous act of thaumaturgy, done without preparation or planning, and typically relying on the caster's own energy reserves as a source of EVE. Extremely difficult to perform successfully, and highly susceptible to backlash.
  • Exorcism — An occult ritual intended to remove non-corporeal entities from a person or object. If the exorcised entity or entities originate in a different universe, they will be returned to it if possible.
  • Exploit — A term for pattern-based reality bending accessible by any sufficiently skilled persons. Usually limited in scope and scale. Commonly associated with anartists.
  • Familiar — A fragment of raw intellect given form and animated by thaumaturgy. Commonly bound by thaumaturges to serve as aides and companions. The preferred technical term is Constructed Intelligence.
  • Gawker — Slang term for a member of the Global Occult Coalition, derived from the initialism 'GOC'.
  • Geas — A behavioral meme used to force a person to obey a set of rules or guidelines. Widely employed in upholding the Veil.
  • Glamour — An occult illusion, used to conceal or disguise people or objects. High quality glamours can only be detected by a thaumaturge.
  • Golden Age of Normalcy — The period during the 20th century when the strength of the Veil reached its peak.
  • Golem — A physical construct animated by thaumaturgy, possessing basic sentience and a rudimentary intelligence. Essential instructions and complex behavioral parameters can be ascribed with an emet, a written inscription on or within the golem. While technically only referring to constructs animated via Kabbalistic thaumaturgy, the term is commonly and colloquially used to refer to any type of thaumic construct.
  • Gorgon — A parahuman subspecies originating in Northern Africa and the Western Mediterranean, typified by a petrifying gaze and possessing certain reptilian attributes. Notably, these traits are only present in female gorgons; male gorgons have much less pronounced reptilian anatomy, and generally lack the ability to petrify with a look. However, all gorgons are immune to the petrifying gaze of other gorgons.
  • Hoover Mandate — Longstanding policy of the US Federal Government, enacted by President Herbert Hoover to address the handling of paranormal enclaves within the US following the disastrous mishandling of initial relations with Three Portlands by BOI/FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover.
  • Infohazard — A cognitohazard which can affect an individual if they learn about it, even without directly perceiving it.
  • Irregular Agent — UIU terminology for parahuman special agents, who are widely employed, especially in areas behind the Veil. Due to their useful abilities, hiring standards for irregular agents are relaxed.
  • Köln Agreement — A bilateral treaty between the GOC and the Foundation, signed in the immediate aftermath of the 7th Occult War, which establishes the terms for the joint containment of the Rite of Solomon and its components, and provides a framework for future joint efforts between the two organizations. Along with the GOC Charter, serves as one of the foundational documents of the post-war Veil and international consensus normalcy.
  • Law of Contagion — The part affects the whole. One of the basic tenets of Unified Thaumatology.
  • Law of Sympathy — Like produces like. One of the basic tenets of Unified Thaumatology. Also called the Law of Similarity.
  • Look-to-kill — A device which emulates the thaumoptical properties of a gorgon, basilisk, cockatrice, or another similar creature, applying an effect to anything within its line of sight. This is usually done with lethal intent. Sometimes abbreviated to LTK.
  • Mainline Universe — The central universe of a multiverse, from which all of the branch universes ultimately derive their structure and existence. Also called a baseline or trunk universe.
  • Mekhane — The fragmented and dormant deity worshiped by Mekhanite religions. Also called the Broken God.
  • Meme — An infectious idea which influences human actions, especially one which encourages further propagation of itself. Memetics is the study and application of memes.
  • Memetic Bomb — A meme carrying a dormant cognitohazard, activated by a predefined trigger (which may be a specific date, a time delay, a perceptual pattern, or even simply random.) Effects are various, and can include death, insanity, and spontaneous localized reality alterations.
  • Metafiction — The field of metaphysics dedicated to the application of paratech in order to manifest and manipulate self-contained, dependent realities based on fictional narratives, most often with the goal of inserting or removing persons and objects from specific fictions.
  • Metaphysics — The scientific study of concepts as independent and fundamental expressions of qualitative properties. Often considered a more rigorous and practical extension of the philosophical field of the same name, from which it derives much of its terminology.
  • Mnestic — A memory-enhancing drug used to counteract the effects of antimemes.
  • Multiverse — The section of reality composed of a baseline universe and all of its associated branch universes. Many multiverses are known to exist throughout reality, although the total number is impossible to know with certainty (and is possibly infinite). Travel between multiverses is extraordinarily difficult and exceedingly rare. See also; World Tree
  • Mundane — That which is normal. Lacking in any anomalous, paranormal, or occult properties.
  • Necromancy — The act of consulting the remnants of a deceased intelligence in order to gain information which may be used in attempts to predict future events.
  • Normalcy — That which is accepted and understood. The status quo.
  • Observer — An individual or entity capable of perceiving and manipulating EVE. See also; Thaumaturge
  • Observer Effect — The term for the ability of thaumaturges and many deities to use EVE to alter reality. The mechanism behind this remains poorly understood.
  • Occult — A term for things that violate the laws of physics, but which act in a manner consistent with the Theory of Unified Thaumatology. AKA "magic".
  • Ontic Bleed — A term used to describe the aspect radiation flux that commonly surrounds Ways, which arises as a result of branch universes drawing on the reality of the baseline universe to support their existence.
  • The Outside — The infinite void of conceptual unspace which surrounds and encompasses the multiverses. It is a realm of unbounded concepts, devoid of mind or matter, which defies rational comprehension or explanation.
  • Outsider — Any intelligence native to the Outside. Most are so utterly alien as to be beyond the notice or concern of mundane affairs, but there are a few with a strong affinity for human ideas which are frequently used as templates for familiars.
  • Parahuman — An alternative term for humans with anomalous properties. Largely interchangeable with the term anahuman, although different organizations have different usage preferences.
  • Paranormal — A term used for things which, while unexplainable under current laws of physics, act in a consistent, logical manner.
  • Paranormal Renaissance — The era between the 6th and 7th Occult Wars, during which many important discoveries of modern parascience were made.
  • Parascience — An encompassing term for scientific fields and endeavors which work behind the Veil to study paranormal phenomena and principles, with the ultimate goal of producing explanations compatible with standard physics.
  • Paratechnology — A catch-all term for technology that is either non-anomalous but beyond the current state-of-the-art, or which is derived from or makes use of paranormal principles which are understood well enough to reliably replicate. Often abbreviated to paratech.
  • Paraweapon — A weapon which incorporates paratech as a critical part of its operation.
  • Pitch — A property of Aspect Radiation, which correlates with the destructiveness of a thaumic event. Generally categorized into Flat and Sharp, with Flat corresponding to destructive workings and Sharp corresponding with constructive workings. Aspect Radiation with neutral or no distinctive Pitch may be categorized as Natural.
  • Plasma Projector — A type of directed energy paraweapon developed during the Cold War and employed throughout the Soviet Bloc. Plasma projectors typically use a blackbox power source to generate a highly-charged, dense plasma, which is then accelerated to hypersonic velocities and fired at a target. The resulting projectile inflicts extensive thermal and mechanical damage upon hitting a target, and produces a noise resembling a thundercrack.
  • Pocket Universe — A smaller universe associated with a particular multiverse, which may or may not be dependent on the reality of the relevant mainline universe. Most pocket universes are dependent branch universes, but independent pocket universes may naturally arise when a branch universe becomes separated from the mainline, or artificially through the actions of a thaumaturge, deity, or reality bender.
  • Project Auto-Magus — A long-term research and development program at Prometheus Labs in the early 1970s, focused on creating a fully mechanical thaumaturge. Canceled in 1976, the technologies developed were later used to create the Automated Exorcism System.
  • Psionics — A field of parascience dedicated to the study of psychic and extrasensory abilities, and of individuals who possess these abilities. Psionics focuses on documenting various forms of psychic phenomena, analyzing their biological origins, and treating psionic diseases and disorders.
  • Psychic — An individual possessing any number of psionic abilities, including extrasensory perception, innate precognition, telekinetic manipulation, and multiple forms of telepathy.
  • Reality Anchor — A mechanical reality bender, used to enforce an arbitrary reality and inhibit other reality bending within the area of effect. The operational mechanism is highly classified, and may not even be known.
  • Reality Bender — An individual with the innate ability to alter reality without employing thaumaturgy or exploits. Also called Type Greens, Bixbies, and Shapers.
  • Rite of Solomon — A powerful occult working of extreme magnitude, which can be used to indirectly alter the underlying nature of thaumaturgy.
  • Seance Dust — A paradrug that enables post-mortem communication, commonly used recreationally in Three Portlands.
  • Shadow (metaphysics) — The conceptual projection of an object or event into an adjacent universe. Normally invisible and incorporeal, Shadows can be stabilized into physical artifacts through thaumaturgy or from innate reality anchoring properties in their source. Lighthouses are a common source of self-stabilizing Shadows.
  • Sidhe — A member of a divergent hominid subspecies with a greater natural affinity for thaumaturgy. Visually distinguishable from humans by a number of minor morphological differences, such as pointed ears, longer fingers and limbs, and lighter muscle and bone density. Sidhe were previously native to the pocket universe of Avalon, but have been scattered following its destruction as a result of the 6th Occult War. Many Sidhe now live in the Little Avalon district of Three Portlands.
  • Sigil Machine — A machine that can generate various occult symbols and sigils to aid in thaumaturgical workings, with a uniformity and precision greater than that normally attained by unaided thaumaturges. Derived from the technology used in the Automated Exorcism System.
  • Skipper — Slang term for a member of the Foundation, derived from its commonly used initialism 'SCP'.
  • Special Asset — Foundation terminology for personnel with anomalous or paranormal abilities, such as wizards, psychics, and minor reality benders. The employment of such persons is the subject of ongoing controversy within the Foundation.
  • Suit — Slang term for a member of a normalcy preservation organization. The plural form is commonly used to refer to all the organizations involved in maintaining the Veil, or to the general concept of normalcy preservation organizations.
  • TAG — Thaumaturgic Alteration of Genomes. A proprietary occult working developed by Prometheus Labs for use in genetic engineering.
  • Thaumatology — The parascientific study of paranormal phenomena historically referred to as magic. Unified Thaumatology is the most widely accepted theoretical framework within this field, and provides the basis for nearly all modern implementations of functional magic.
  • Thaumaturge — An individual capable of harnessing EVE via the Observer Effect to perform occult workings. Also called Type Blues, Sorcerers, Wizards, and Observers.
  • Thaumaturgy — The use of occult workings to alter reality, in conformance with the theories of Unified Thaumatology.
  • Universe — A single self-contained region of reality with its own physical laws and characteristics. Travel between universes is accomplished via Ways.
  • The Veil — The name given to the ongoing policy of world governments and normalcy protection agencies of hiding or disguising the existence of the anomalous, paranormal, and occult from the majority of humanity.
  • Ward — A defensive occult working, used to deflect or absorb the energy of incoming attacks. Wards can be designed to counter both physical and mystical attacks, although the latter is more common.
  • Way — A portal between universes within the same multiverse, which can be opened with an incantation or ritual to allow passage. Ways can also be created artificially by thaumaturges and reality benders.
  • World Tree — Another term for the multiverse composed of a mainline universe and its associated branch universes. It is sometimes preferred in discussions of multiple multiverses, in order to reduce ambiguity. Much of the terminology of multiverse theory is derived from extensions of the world tree analogy.

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