An Ethereal is a spirit created by human imagination and native to the dream world known as the Marches (also called the Ethereal plane). Those that are self-aware are often neutral to the War, since the demons only want to use them, while the angels actually tried to kill many of them in the early Middle Ages, an effort led by the Archangel Uriel and known as the Purity Crusade.
Denizens of the DreamworldEditAccording to the Ethereal Players Guide, most Ethereals are classed into a few basic types:
- Primal Spirits, who have one overriding feature to their makeup, such as Fear, Lust or Gold.
- Elementals, who may have more than one basic element to them, but are still defined primarily by their elements. A spirit composed primarily of Battle and Vehicles, for example, might resemble a tank -- or a Mad Max fighting automobile.
- Dream Spirits, who are created in a human's dreamscape as they sleep and sometimes survive after the dream goes away. These are often referred to as "figments" and could be anything from the landspeeder that zips past in the background, to the image of your secret love whom you seduced and won ... in your dreams, anyway. Of a slightly different sort are the "gestalt" dream spirits, images that are common to thousands or millions of dreams and have an easier time achieving a life of their own. The hundreds of Santa Clauses and Easter Bunnies would count as gestalt spirits, though this verges very near to ...
- Myths and Legends, beings that people believe in so strongly (consciously or unconsciously) that they're born in the Marches without first awakening in a dreamscape. Faeries and mermaids are ancient examples, followed by younger beings like Robin Hood or King Arthur. These days, a lot of the "legends" are born of pop culture, and fade as quickly as they rose -- though some, like the various Elvises, prove enduring.
- Pagan Gods, ethereals that gained immense power (and Essence) from popular belief and then persuaded humans to worship them, sending more Essence their way. It was this behavior that led Uriel to call his Crusade in the 8th century AD in order to remove false gods; the resulting combat destroyed or weakened many pantheons and sent some retreating into the arms of Beleth. These days, most "gods" are about the strength of an average or strong celestial, but a few of the oldest can command the power of a lesser Superior.
Ethereals and EssenceEdit
Ethereals gain 1 Essence every 24 hours at midnight. They can also gain Essence by consuming other ethereals and by convincing humans to spend Essence in their dreams (usually through nightmares). Some gain a little Essence from popular belief; active worship channels more Essence to the ethereal, but is harder to get these days.