Power Hierarchy Physical / Metaphysical Law in Nys | World Anvil

Power Hierarchy

Levels of being are a hierarchical categorization of all living creatures based on their power.


At the beginning of the third era, people had already understood there were different kinds of creatures. Plants, regular animals, people, spirits, demi-gods and, perhaps, even gods existed on Nys, sharing room and resources. It was obvious there were differences between them, and philosophers discussed how one could categorise them. They came up with several different systems, each with points of strength and weakness.   At first, common categorisations were based on the creatures' intellectual abilities to understand the cosmos around them. One of the common ones featured plants, animals, people and god-like creatures, for instance grouping together in the last category Damparo and the Moon Goddess.   When scholars started to have a better grasp of magic, they joined the discussion, dividing creatures based on their ability to handle magical energies. Although this approach was highly disputed at first, it introduced some features of modern systems. The main argument against it has been that it induced an ambiguity when considering members of the same species. Elves, for instance, can cast magic, but most individuals do not have an aptitude for it, thus making evaluating elven-kind as a species more difficult. To solve this issue, the system evolved by classifying individuals instead of species, thus putting mages in a different category than other members of the same species. Many philosophers and scholars rejected it, but the core idea of switching the focus from the species to the individual survived.   With time, the more frequent appearances of Cosmos Wayfarers made clear that single individuals can be far more powerful than the average member of their species, thus making the individuals-focused systems the standard. They joined the discussion with their knowledge about the cosmos and the kanvæ (in particular their guardians) and helped develop what is now considered the standard systematization.   The modern hierarchy is based on the ker, a part of the soul present in every living creature. It serves the purpose of producing energy for the body and the mind. Extensive studies showed that all wayfarers share similar characteristics in how their ker works and that no ordinary people present them.  

The Hierarchy

Several variations of the categorization exist, each with its characteristics. Here the most common one is presented, with short hints at how other systems classify groups and why. It is often represented as a triangle or a pyramid, since the higher up a level is, the fewer creatures are in it.   From base to top, the standard hierarchy features plants, animals, people, wayfarers, guardians, gods and possibly higher entities.   Plants. At the base of the triangle, some scholars put plants and other creatures without a ker, while others do not consider them in the scale.   Animals. Sometimes the base of the hierarchy, animals have a ker but cannot understand and harness magical powers.   People. Possible the most discussed level, people of any species seem to be equally able to understand and use magic, in principle, even though their society may not push them to do so. For instance, in the Dark Lands only a few people, the alńe, are able to harness magic, while the majority actively avoids it. Whilst many scholars group all people together, regardless of their actual knowledge of magic, others prefer to split the class into two levels, ordinary people and magic users   Recently, some studies in the Free Lands showed how adventurers, people who complete missions for a living on behalf of others, travelling and exploring lands and cities, seem to have a stronger ker than sedentary people. Because of these results, some scholars started classifying them separately. It is unclear whether a non-mage adventurer would be stronger or weaker than a sedentary mage.   Demons are usually classified as powerful as adventurers or above them, either in their own category or in the wayfarer's one.   Wayfarers. Wayfarers represent the first significant power gap in the hierarchy. While some animals can kill a person, even an adventurer, it is almost impossible for a single person, even a skilled adventurer, to kill a wayfarer. It seems their ability to travel across the worlds makes them more than simple travellers. They claim their additional strength comes from the journey they have to take across an abyssal region to get to the Crossroads the first time.   Some scholars put spirits and the like within the same level of power as wayfarers, while others put them one step below or above the travellers of worlds. The most common approach to spirits is that they're too different, and there's a lack of studies about them. Some mages do not even agree on their existence.   Guardians. The guardians' level group god-like creatures ruling over a kanva. They would have about the same power of Damparo, but less than the Moon Goddess or Canopus. A commonly used variation consists in adding a lower layer with only Damparo inside it. The reason for its introduction and adoption is that the champion of the Moon seemed weaker than a guardian to some wayfarers. Damparo claims to know exactly how to order these layers of the hierarchy but refuses to elaborate further. The power gap between guardians and wayfarers is even larger than the one between ordinary people and wayfarers. However, a well-prepared and skilled individual might be able to kill a guardian alone when equipped with just the suitable items.   Gods. The Moon Goddess and Canopus are currently the only known members of this group. Someone fits in this group Bheratal, the owner of the Crossroads, leader of the wayfarers. Gods are incredibly powerful, they can harness enough magical energies to destroy entire armies with a single spell and hold vast knowledge about the cosmos.   Higher entities. Whether more powerful entities can exist is an open question. Most Doujatar researcher, possibly under the Moon Church's influence, claim there cannot be anything more powerful than the Goddess. Others propose the Abyss might be one of these, depending on its nature. The wayfarers claim there exists one god that has helped them in the past and must be way mightier than anything in existence. They only call them "the crow" and know very little about them.

Cover image: Nys Logo by Fabrizio Fioretti


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