In the Champions Universe, the totality of all existence is known as the Multiverse; this specifically includes all “spaces, realms, and dimensions.” (The Mystic World, p. 6) Everything that exists is part of the Multiverse. Some parts of the Multiverse, such as the Dreamzone, the Lower Astral Plane, or the Netherworld, are relatively easy to access. Others, such as the distant realms of the Four Zoas or the “negative” space of the Qliphoth, are very difficult to reach. Mystics in the Champions Universe categorize and organize the Multiverse using a “filing system” based on the ten Sephiroth, a well-known occult theory which has its origin in Kaballah and has been a part of real-world Western Hermeticism for centuries.
The Four Worlds: The Multiverse is made up of four very broad divisions known to mystics as “the Four Worlds.” This is not to be confused with the Four Zoas or the Parterres, also known as the Quaternion Planes. These broad divisions are Assiah, Yetzirah, Briah and Atziluth.
- 1 Assiatic Realms
- 2 Yetziratic Realms
- 3 Briatic Realms
- 4 Atzilutic Realms
All dimensions which are not run by magic are Assiatic Realms. Earth is one such realm, but there are many others, such as the dying world of Loezen. Most, but not all, of the territory ruled by Ist'vatha V'han, the Empress of a Billion Dimensions, lies in Assiah. Worlds which are “Earth-like” are grouped together under the Sephiroth of Malkuth. Note that all Malkuth worlds are in Assiah, but not all Assiah worlds are in Malkuth.
The Astral Plane
The Astral Plane actually surrounds Earth at its margins, where it is known as the Astral Earth. It extends out beyond Earth, however, to the Lower Astral, which includes the four Imaginal Realms of human beings as well as the Dreamzone, collectively known as the Inner Planes. Beyond this lies the Middle Astral, which grants access to all the dimensions in Hod and Netzach, collectively known as the Outer Planes. The upper reaches of the Middle Astral end in the Veil of the Temple, or the High Astral.
The Parterres, or Imaginal Realms, or Quaternion Realms
The imagination of Earth has created four special dimensions known most commonly as the Parterres, or “Lands to the Side.” They include Faerie, the Netherworld, Elysium and Babylon. The Imaginal Realms are all categorized into the Sephiroth of Yesod. These “Quaternion Realms” should not be confused with the Four Worlds or the Four Zoas.
Faerie, the Land of Legends
Faerie is the home of nature spirits and pagan gods. For many centuries, Faerie and Earth seemed to be intertwined, but around 500 BC Faerie had distanced itself enough from Earth that it became a dimension in its own right. It is possible to travel directly from Earth to Faerie using certain portals, rituals, or enchantments, but travel is considerably lighter now than it once was.
- Pantheon Realms: Achaea, home of the Greek gods, is the best known division of Faerie, but the Norse, Celtic, Yoruban, Shinto and other gods also dwell here in lands of their own. Communication and cooperation between these pantheons is on the rise.
- The Onyx Kingdom: This underground kingdom is home to beautiful and deadly Dark Elves who busy themselves with intrigue and sadism.
- The Even Wilder West: The white man didn’t just invade the real home of the Native Americans, he even invaded their legends. The Even Wilder West is a legendary version of the real thing, inspired not only by Native American myth but also by dime-store novels and now Hollywood film. In the Even Wilder West, the cowboys and the Indians are remarkably evenly matched. Many of the inhabitants here were mortals of Earth who were caught up and transplanted to Faerie.
The Netherworld is built from human ideas of evil. It contains every Hell ever imagined. Indeed, not only does it contain Hell, it has your Hell, your own personal Hell, in it. This is the home of proper demons, but not so-called “demons” who actually serve Qliphothic masters. These demons form a Descending Hierarchy (or “Lowerarchy”) with Mephistopholes at the bottom. The souls of the damned come here. (But they also go to Death’s Dominion, a contradiction mystics cannot explain.)
- Pandemonium: The “city of all demons” was first described by Milton in Paradise Lost. It stands on the edge of a burning lake where the fallen angels landed after God gave them the boot. Mephistopholes, the Emperor of Pride, rules from here.
- The War Zone: The souls of those who committed sins of anger and violence go to Baphomet, Emperor of Wrath. In the War Zone, soldiers endlessly fight the same battles over and over again. Rumor has it that more than few superheroes have been seen here, confronting their Nemeses for all time.
- Mount Mulciber: Mulciber is Hell’s smith. He buys souls and uses them as raw materials for his forge.
- The Labyrinth of Greed: The domain of Lucifuge Rofocale, the Lord of Avarice, the Labyrinth is a maze of jewel-studded caves shrouded in darkness (so that no one can actually see the jewels, lest they be stolen). Those who were ruled by greed toil here as slaves.
- Niflheim: The Norse land of the shamed dead, Niflheim is ruled by Hel. She gets all the warriors who died a coward’s death. Norse heroes who die in battle go instead to Valhalla, in Faerie.
- The Chinese Hells: The Chinese have a lot of Hells, and they’re all here, from the Prison of Scooped Eyes to the Prison of Forced Drinking of Medicine.
Elysium was formed in the wake of Taoism, Confucianism, Buddhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism, which along with their descendants Christianity and Islam are known as the “ethical religions.” These thinkers rejected capricious gods and embraced laws which were intended to be spread to all people in all circumstances. Elysium was born around 500 BC. It is the most difficult of the Parterres to reach. Without an invitation from a native inhabitant, most attempts simply fail. Many parts of Elysium are also cut off from other parts, making travel here more difficult than expected.
- The Heavenly Jerusalem: The divine city is the center of Christian Elysium. It has twelve gates, each guarded by twelve angels. The streets are gold and the whole city is illuminated with divine radiance.
- The Garden of Eden: Human beings are not permitted here, and there’s no waiver for mutants either. Angels with flaming swords keep out trespassers. Four rivers spring from the hill where the Tree of Knowledge and the Tree of Life grow.
- Pop Heaven: This is the Heaven of puffy clouds walked by folks in white robes, bearing wings, tinsel halos and little harps. A being who claims to be St. Peter guards the gate, armed with a book that reveals the names of all those who are expected.
- Jannat: The Heaven of Islam is a fantastic garden of sensual pleasures, complete with houris.
- P’Eng Lai Shan: The Paradise of Taoism is a collection of three islands which are home to ease and pleasure. Houses are gold and silver. Trees bear coral and pearls. People and animals alike (including the Eight Immortals, P’Eng Lai Shan’s most famous inhabitants) drink from the Fountain of Life.
- Amitabha: The most well-known of the Buddhist heavens is just a waypoint for souls seeking Nirvana. Unlike most inhabitants of Elysium, the souls who dwell in Amitabha consider it only a stopping place as they continue to work towards merging their spirits with all of creation. This makes them particularly knowledgeable about the Multiverse, and good sources for information if a mystic can reach them. Amitabha features lotus ponds, avenues of trees decorated with jewels, birds that sing in tune with musicians, perfumed air, and jewels strewn on the streets like gravel. In other words, the usual.
Babylon, the City of Man
Babylon is a dimensional city created by man’s imagination. Although it was small and quiet for thousands of years, it is now by far the fastest growing of the Imaginal Realms. In addition to echoing all the Great Cities of the past and future, Babylon is also the place of secular ambition. Power, money, and skill rule Babylon.
- Futuropolis: One of countless districts in the infinite city, Futuropolis is an Art Deco city in which everyone is Caucasian, all the vehicles are decorated with fins, and the silver jumpsuit is always in style. The Gernsback Continuum may be a tale of Futuropolis.
- Byzantium: The Palace of the Emperor, ruler of Babylon, is a microcosm of the city itself. Broad streets and plazas are decorated with stately public buildings and villas with lots of white marble, columns, domes, and mosaic floors. Everything in the palace is beautiful, and the Emperor is rich enough to pay off the debt of every nation on Earth.
- The Library: The greatest repository of information in the Parterres, the Library contains copies of almost every book ever written, as well as many that never were. A borrower’s card is relatively easy to get but does not give access to the closed stacks. Reference searches can take days.
- The Rookeries: The greatest city in the cosmos has the greatest slum in the cosmos. The big industry here is crime and the only reliable way to find someone in this chaotic place is through magic.
Other Realms in Yesod
The Blood Tide: Human beings on Earth created Imaginal Realms, but they are not the only living things to have done so. The Blood Tide is the Imaginal Realm of Earth’s animals. Little is known of the Blood Tide, except that it is hard for humans to reach and alien to human perceptions. (After all, it is a realm created by animal impressions!) Presumably it embodies the predator-prey relationship, and those who go here expecting to be welcomed into a Disney-style “circle of life” model are sure to be rudely disappointed.
Yggdrasil: The Imaginal Realm of Earth’s plant life, Yggdrasil is even more alien and foreign to human beings than the Blood Tide. Human senses such as sight and hearing do not function here, and just learning to interpret the sensory input of plants can take years. Visitors seldom have the time to learn such skills, however, since the plants of Yggdrasil consider animal life to be “fertilizer that hasn’t stopped moving.” This dimension is hostile in the extreme; travelers should avoid it.
The Dragon: The single most significant being to dwell in the Astral Plane, the Dragon is Earth’s supreme power of evil. It is the source of human notions of Satan, Tiamat,the Midgard Serpent, and more. While the Dragon exists, to some extent, in the subconscious mind of every human being, the four hundred mile long Astral Form of the Dragon is chained beneath Faerie, which rests upon its back. Its mouth is a portal to the Netherworld. The Cult of the Red Banner is the primary force serving the Dragon in Champions Online.
Other Realms in the Lower Astral
Beyond Yesod, but still within the Lower Astral, there are other dimensions and places of interest.
Dreamzone: When human beings dream, they enter a special part of the Astral Plane called the Dreamzone. While an ordinary human being is awake, his astral form lingers here almost invisible, trapped within a transparent womb-like sac within an endless dark space. When he dreams, this astral form becomes more visible; its eyes open and its dream plays out over the filmy surface of the sac. Astral travelers can project themselves into these dreams, and even cross over from one dream to another.
Imaginary Places: The Astral Plane is filled with countless places which do not exist on Earth; they are created because they are imagined by human beings. Examples include the Spooky, Empty House, the High School Where You’re Naked, and the Sky Where You Fly. More specific places, like Puerto Muerto and Windyburg, resemble actual places on Earth.
Cysts: An Astral Cyst is created by strong magic or by thoughts which are both singularly powerful and abjectly weird. Most are far smaller than even an Imaginary Place, and they are almost always unstable, appearing and disappearing quite suddenly. New Golgotha is one example of a cyst, created by a paranoid schizophrenic and now sustained by his ghost.
Limbo and the Outer Planes
Beyond the Lower Astral is the Middle Astral, which touches all the dimensions of Hod and Netzach, collectively known as the “Outer Planes.” The Middle Astral, or “Limbo,” is a confusing and ever-shifting realm. Traveling through it is like flying through a kaleidoscope. Other dimensions appear within Limbo as portals which grow as the traveler comes closer.
Hod: Hod is a categorical term for dimensions which run by magic, usually according to some kind of regular principles which act as natural law. Inhabitants of Hod realms probably use magic in their daily life and may have supernatural powers. The City-States of Yong, which are built on floating pieces of matter only a few miles across and which float through a vast space of air marked by meteor storms, flying boats and winged riding animals, is one example of the civilizations found in Hod. The realms of Skarn the Shaper are also in Hod.
Netzach: Realms in Netzach work by magic, but that magic is governed entirely by a single very powerful being. There is no natural law in Netzach dimensions, only the ruler’s will. These worlds are known as Dominions. The godlike lords who rule dimensions in Netzach should not be confused with sorcerer-emperors like Skarn who, while they rule their world, do not control that world’s laws of nature. Tyrannon the Conqueror dwells in Netzach, though his influence extends far beyond it. Netzach is home to many Lords who embody concepts such as Order, Chaos, Nature, or Artifice. One of these, Bromion, a Lord of Order who considers free will to be a sign of rebellion, is known even on Earth.
The Veil of the Temple: At the upper reaches of the Astral Plane, anything you imagine becomes real. Here, you have entered the Veil of the Temple, which is the gateway out of the Astral Plane and into Briah, the Creative World. Any astral traveler can reach the Inner and Outer Planes, but to go beyond them to the Creative World is a test only the greatest of mystics pass. The Upper Astral creates anything you imagine, generating entire worlds if necessary and responding to conflicting desires by fragmenting your personality into distinct and separate bodies. Intruders who want to fight something will be met by villains, heroes who seek Enlightenment will find the Buddha. But all these creations are false and cannot provide anything the traveler does not himself conceive. Even retreating from the Veil is a challenge, since when a traveler chooses to go home, the Veil creates that home for him and it corresponds exactly to his expectations. Passing through the Veil typically requires a process of integration, in which the traveler comes to understand that he desires conflicting things, and finds a way to reconcile those conflicting desires into a single psyche. Some have also been ejected forward out of the veil through a process of obsession – their focus on a single thing to the extent of all others propels them into a single dimension in the Creative World from which they cannot escape.
Those who pass the Veil of the Temple can access the Briatic Realms, or “Upper Planes.” The human mind cannot truly comprehend the pure spirit of the Briatic Realms, instead filtering these places through human perceptions and perceiving them to matter. The beings of the Briatic Realms are as far above the gods of Elysium and Faerie as those gods are above ordinary humans. These are the gods of gods. Famous examples include Death, the Trickster, the Triple Goddess, and Kryptos, Lord of Secrets. These Prime Avatars sometimes possess the gods of Faerie, Elysium or elsewhere, allowing someone like Coyote (a relatively minor trickster god) to temporarily act as the nearly-omnipotent Trickster. Dimensions within Briah include the Four Zoas, grouped together as the Sephiroth of Chesed, as well as other noteworthy places.
The Four Zoas
The Briatic Realms are home to many Prime Avatars which embody universal concepts. The most powerful are the Four Zoas, the Prime Avatars of Order, Chaos, Nature and Artifice. Their realms are linked together in Chesed. The Four Zoas, their dwelling places, and other characteristics are described in the poetry of the 18th century romantic William Blake.
Ulro: Urizen is the Prince of Light and Prime Avatar of Order. Ulro can appear in one of four forms to the traveler. In the first, it is the dense and dark forest of Entuthon Benython; in the second, a labyrinthe of caves which always run downhill and which cannot be backtracked. In the third form, Ulro is a vast void holding slowly-whirling stars and planets which turn on arms and wheels. Finally, Urizen’s palace is a shining crystalline space within a star, built of marble and crystal and boasting gardens, an orchard, and the Tree of Mystery.
Beulah: Beulah is the home of Luvah, Prime Avatar of Chaos and emotion. It is a moonlit realm of summer nights and perfumed bowers. It also appears as a fierce wilderness of intense and twisted passions.
Golgonooza: The city of Urthona, Prime Avatar of Art and Artifice, Golgonooza is completely surrounded by farmland and also by the forest of Entuthon Benython, which connects all the Four Zoas. More an idea of city-ness than an actual city, Golgonooza has little in the way of detail and it changes its face to suit the expectations of its visitors.
Generation: Tharmas is the Prime Avatar of Nature. Since in true nature things have no names, “Generation” is more a description of this place than a true title. The forest here is a wild and tangled jungle which surrounds a dark and rocky lake called Udun Adan.
Other Briatic Realms
Death’s Dominion: Death resides in Tiphereth, just beyond the Veil of the Temple. Everyone sees Death’s Dominion in their own way, but it is always cold, still and dark. The dead wait here, unchanging, and only the living can affect change here. The dead can and do answer questions posed by visitors, and Death itself can be found and bargained with (though it always speaks through another dead spirit). But to bring someone back from death, another life must be paid. When this occurs, Death simply rewrites history so that the dead individual never died.
The Garden of Earthly Delights: The Garden is a more tempting trap than the Veil of the Temple because it specifically creates for the visitor everything he desires. Two people who try to fight in the Garden will be split off into distinct realms and provided with duplicates of each other, so that both can win. Riches, sensual pleasures, power, anything at all can be granted by the Garden. Entire phony Earths can be created to preserve the illusion. It is a very well appointed and luxurious prison.
Atziluth is the summit of the creation that is the Multiverse. Mortal mystics almost never go there; usually because they can’t, but also because there’s not much reason to want to.
The Abyss: The Abyss is the end of time, space, and the self. It is a more difficult barrier to cross than the Veil. Those who fail fall into it and are destroyed utterly.
Da’Ath: Balanced in the Abyss between Atziluth and realms below is Da’Ath, the “lost sephiroth.” Only the very greatest of mystics even know of Da’Ath’s existence. From this key position, the traveler can call upon the limitless power and forms of Binah and Chokmah and cast the result of this thought into the Multiverse to become real. He might create anything from a flower to a galaxy, depending upon his skill, patience, and wisdom. Moreover, because Da’Ath exists outside of time, the mystic can insert his creation at any point in history.
Binah, the Dark Sea of Being: Binah is the ultimate reservoir of power for creation or destruction. It is a single, infinite, plane.
Chokmah, the Bright Sea of Forms: The power of Binah mingles with the bright sea of Chokmah, which is infinite shape and form. The sparkling off the waves they make creates the universe.
Kether, the Primum Mobile: The most inaccessible of realms, Kether is the place where all things become one in eternity. Anyone who actually entered Kether would lose their sense of self and be all things for all time, both in the past and future. If by “God” you mean “the Supreme Being of the Multiverse,” Kether is God.