Powers are the nigh-incomprehensible and godlike eldritch abominations that are responsible for the existence of both magic and everything else that is considered supernatural by the Censor's Veil. They do not reside in the Material Reality. In fact, it remains unknown if they exist in any place even remotely imaginable for humans. The good news is that they appear to be largely unaware of the existence of Mankind. Or if they do know about it, they consider it to be beneath their notice. Some scholars suspect that there are tens of thousands of Powers. However, only a handful of them is interested in our existence. Those that are at the very least named by humans are those that - if one were to follow the comparison of humans to Powers as ants to humans - are their equivalent of entomologists. They noticed us and found us intriguing enough to spend a moment or two watching what we are doing. Or, perhaps, intervening a bit in that. Even the most outwardly benevolent of Powers is still incredibly alien to us. Their magic might be centred on relieving pain, healing wounds and empowering empathy... but using it still carries the risk of mutation, insanity and losing your humanity. Humans are too weak to bear powers of this magnitude and remain unchanged. Their interventions might appear benevolent or malevolent depending on whom you ask. Perhaps due to them misunderstanding us, perhaps due to focusing on some long-term goal that's beyond our understanding.
Powers are divided between four pantheons, typically alongside similar themes and rituals. Trying to describe members of the same Pantheon as some form of 'allies' is pointless. Attempting to describe the relationships between entities you are fundamentally unable to comprehend tends to be a waste of time. If the magic of Power A causes more damage to servants of power B, is it a sign of antagonism? Or perhaps something else entirely that we don't know how to name? Every Pantheon has its own, unique title that is also used to describe its members. You can expect most major Powers to have some regional titles, sometimes known to the Non-Initiated (so grounded in folklore or religions, new or old). Their titles in many regional translations are what can be considered to be their official names. Used by a majority of the Initiates.
A diverse and powerful group of Powers, in a way acting as staple eldritch abominations of the setting. They appear to be actively malevolent. It is, naturally, hard to say what their plan for the universe is. And it is possible to use their magic without horrible things happening to you. However their cults tend to be malevolent, and their magic is typically perceived as more horrific than average. Ancient of Flesh - An origin of flesh shaping, a deity of bodily transformations (willing or not). Learning her magic can let you shape your body, improve your looks or restore lost body parts - but overusing it might turn you into a ghoul or will infect you with a desire to change yourself... into something no longer appearing like a human. Ancient of Denial - A god of materialized self-denial, whose magic allows you to utterly ignore things... and then make them stop existing entirely. Once you get far enough, however, you'll inevitably make yourself stop existing. As one can except, this particular Power tends to be rather tricky to work with, and more alien than usual. Also, it apparently doesn't exist. Ancient of Cogs - A deity of industrialized evil. Patron of mad scientists and industrial exploitation, who teaches how to ignore all concerns - especially the moral ones - when the concept of production is included. Ancient of Reflections - A deity of mirrors and reflective surfaces. Main reason why most sane Initiates keep their mirrors covered when not in use. It's magic concerns manipulation of perception (in a way, illusions) and different dimensions (so, also the summoning magic). The latter is incredibly dangerous, however. There are things living in the mirrors and in whatever spaces they lead to, and they are often not friendly. Ancient of Desire - A deity of fertility and hedonism, ranging from sex (of every imaginable and some unimaginable types), drug intake, alcohol drinking and seeking comfort as a whole. It treats all sorts of desire as equally valid, meaning that while in moderation it's not that bad, she also patrons the more illegal desires. Ancient of Filth - A deity of all things disgusting and unhealthy, a patron of rot, mold, pus, entropy, diseases and all the things dead. It includes certain elements of necromancy, too. Ancient of Control - A god of control, especially those of the minds. It's the source of majority of mental magic, including not only straight mind control but also brainwashing, directed illusions, mental debuffing and magic that can straight up destroy someone's mind. Ancient of Secrets - A deity of knowledge and learning - including knowledge that should stay secret and learning magic at the way too steep of a coast. It's magic includes some of the best scanning/detection magic known to man. Ancient of Night - A deity of night and darkness, with strong lunar themes. It's a deity of both generally understood sneakiness, but also ability to manipulate darkness and shadows, to a variety of goals. Ancient of Days - A deity of day and light, with strong solar themes. It's a deity that was traditionally associated with rulership and authority in general. It's often considered to have something of a rivalry with the Ancient of Night. Ancient of Strife - A deity of war, conquest and, to a degree, hunt, espousing powerful 'might makes right' mentality, with most of their cults being a badly cuthroat environment with a propensity for Klingon promotion. Ancient of Malice - A deity of evil, pain and terror, considered to be an oddity among the Powers. There are only a handful of spells of Malice out there, which is possibly for the best due to their uniformly horrific nature. Malice also lacks aberrants and demihumans.
Group of Powers that appears to be theoretically benevolent. However, sceptics point out that making your body horror aesthetically pleasing (to a degree) doesn't necessarily make you the good guys. They appear to be tied to the Abrahamic religions, a fact further explained later in this article. They are a diverse bunch when it comes to their magic, as you can find everything between healing and utter annihilation in their portfolio. Archon of Mercy - A deity of healing and more magical defense, having everything between spells capable of detoxifying people and magic to create magical shields to repel spells and other projectiles, with ability to heal injuries or even resurrect very briefly deceased. Generally considered to be slightly more varied counterpart to the Ancient of Flesh' magic. Archon of Defiance - A more defense-minded of the combat-focused archons, Archon of Defiance offers a significant list of spells focused on making yourself much harder to defeat or injure, improving your resilience (both physical and mental). This includes even spell that render you entirely invulnerable for some time. Archon of Life - Archon of Life is a deity of natural life. Archon of Life's domain all sorts of animals - both those of natural environment and cryptids. Humans are a part of its domain (due to being a lifeform in the ecosystem), and they are the only ones that get to use its magic, which implies some degree of preference... but not a lot of it. Archon of Sacrifice - Archon of Sacrifice is a Power associated with self-sacrifice, including magic that has rather destructive (or quite the opposite, largely beneficial) spells, that tend to have limited number of casts per life person, or have notable and permanent negative effects. Rarely used. Archon of Purity - A power of purification and more metaphysical cleansing, with a number of more elemental-themed spells (expect fire, water etc.)... but with a twist. You can expect Purity's magic to cause incresing damage for certain entities, typically aberrants as a whole. Archon of War - A more offense-minded of the combat focused archons, Archon of War appears to be a patron of a war for more 'righteous' reasons. It's magic tends to make people faster, hit stronger, and you can expect it to also empower your feelings of anger into a controlled but still burning rage. Archon of Transfiguration - A more 'meta' archon, with magic that appears to often verge into reality warping, with the weaker spells including manipulation of probability. It can also alter other magic (make them stronger or negate them). It tends to be significantly harder to learn, and it tends to be rather tricky to learn without stopping to be human.
Shapers are Powers directly linked to the laws of physics. They appear particularly interested in 'obtaining' scientists, offering knowledge and madness in equal terms. They do not appear to be actively malevolent, however. Most of their cults become dangerous only when the madness part kicks in. Power-wise they play in the second league, and they appear to be disinterested in Mankind as a whole. They also lack folklore and religious counterparts. Shaper of Form - A patron of magic that allows one to manipulate the form of objects - in short, to manipulate their shape. This can be used both in defense (form your floor into a wall between you and the enemy) in offense (shape floor into spikes to impale your enemy). With a notable usage in 'crafting' and in creation of art. Shaper of Energy - A patron of magic that allows one to manipulate and control various forms of energy and other, 'immaterial' natural phenomena. This includes things ranging from vibration (sound magic) through radiation to certain degree of energy weapons equivalent and simple electricity. Shaper of Change - A patron of magic that allows one to perform various forms of transmutation, while also overseeing conversion of certain things (such as potential energy into kinetic one or vice versa). Shaper of Laws - A patron of magic that allows one to bend and alter laws of nature. This includes, for example, a manipulation of gravity (one of the most common aspects of this magic), but also certain degree of warping reality and some limited time magic.
Primordials are perhaps best compared to elementals of some fantasy world. They are, in a way, mindless. Interested only in an endless expansion of their domain. It makes them a relatively safe bet when it comes to learning magic. Gaining their attention is least dangerous of all Powers, and they appear to be particularly easy on both sanity and corporeal stability. Instead, they tend to be physically self-destructive towards their users. Oddly enough, they appear to have next to no counterparts in a Non-Initiated culture. Primordial of Fire - A source of fire magic, that's as varied as fires themselves - you can find entire variants of that particular magic that include, for example, a blinding fire of burning magnesium or a much more horrific fire of burning white phosphorus. There is also a small aspect of this magic that includes control of plasma. Primordial of Water - The default source of water magic, espousing similar mindset to most Primordials, with more of their domain being seen as good, regardless of the collateral damage. It also includes the ice magic and certain degree of ability to manipulate water vapour (to create mist, for example). Primordial of Air - A source of magic that can manipulate air, generate and twist winds and possess an aspect that includes limited control of thunders, forming a surprisingly versatile magical school. Especially as poisonous gasses have become a part of its domain at least since the times of the First World War. Primordial of Earth - A source of earth magic, which also possesses a significant aspect dealing with a manipulation of rock and natural occuring crystals and even jewels. In general - for as long as it's part of the ground under your fit and it's of natural origin, it can be manipulate through this magic. Primordial of Metal - A source of magic that is often considered to be a modern counterpart of the Primordial of Earth, with their magic focused on manipulation of artificial materials - this includes metal and, in newer times, plastic and other solid materials of similar origin, like concrete. Primordial of Wood - A source of magic allowing one to manipulate plantlife and, especially, wood and similar materials. It is considered to have stronger than usual ties with the Archon of Life's domain, leading to some confusing overlap.
If you dig deep enough into the more esoteric lore connected to the Dawn War, you discover that there were more Powers at some point of time - before they left. No one knows why, no one knows how. Most of their domains ended up inherited by other Powers whose domains were conceptually adjacent to them as Aspects. This isn't however a rule, as there are certain cases that are more or less hypothethical, and some that are downright questionable. Archon of Truth - Archon whose domain was focused on telling truth from lies - and making your words into truth by warping reality. Their domain appears to be in the hands of the Archon of Transfiguration. Ancient of Famine - Deity of pests (locusts, rats and so on), plant diseases, drought etc. Most of their domain has been inherited by the Ancient of Filth as the Aspect of Famine (without drought and similar elements). Ancient of Blood - Deity of blood and lifeforce, their domain now resting in the hands of the Ancient of Flesh. Ancient of Ecstasy - Deity of ecstasy, trances and altered state of mind (including drugs and hallucinogens). Their domain was inherited by the Ancient of Desire. Ancient of Fate - Deity of fate and manipulation of probability into certainty. It's suspected of being inherited by either Ancient of Death (before it went missing too) or Archon of Transfiguration directly. Ancient of Fertility - Deity of fertility, overseeing pregnancy but also the rebirth of nature and to a degree architecture. It's domain is now in the hands of the Ancient of Desire. Ancient of Dreams - Deity of sleep, dreams and nightmares. Gone, bits of their spells were assimilated by the Ancients of Secrets and Control, but neither of them having a whole separate Aspect of those. Ancient of Pestilence - Deity of disease. Gone, their magic inherited by the Ancient of Filth. Ancient of Lies - Deity of illusions, deceit and lies. Their domain was reduced to the Aspect of Illusion of the Ancient of Reflections. Ancient of Wilderness - Deity of nature, believed by some scholars to be the origin of all folklore tales about cruel nature spirits. Their domain appears to have been shared between Primordial of Wood and Archon of Life, although some claim that Silent Forest Elsewhere is a part of its corpse or perhaps a shard of its shattered domain. Ancient of Death - Deity of death and other fates at the end of one's lifespan. It's unknown what happened to it or if it truly existed, but some suspect it to be the origin of the undead (or perhaps their existence being caused by some sort of damage or malfunction to its domain). Ancient of Conquest - The original war god. Some suspect that it was the previous name of the Ancient of Strife.
Powers and Religion
Many Powers appear to be carrying a certain degree of connection with some of the present or past religions. Scholars are divided as to why is that. Some believe those religions to have been established to venerate Powers in question. Others suspect them to be inspired by various early cults of said Powers, without direct connection (but with Powers still hijacking what they believe to be theirs). You'll also find many thinking that such religions are overgrown cults of the Powers, with their directly eldritch elements severed by the Censor. A similar thing can be said about many urban legends and folklore. They are often highly distorted (be it through the Censor's acts, or more mundane reasons), but often carry grains of truth. For example, any legend about a man-eating things pretending to be humans might be a result of the ghoul attacks. There is an urban legend about some phone number being haunted? Well, it's probably best to not phone it. It is believed that the Censor lets such messages slip past the Veil as a form of providing Non-Initiates with basic self-defence knowledge. Such tales tend to be more or less correct when it comes to describing vulnerabilities or counter-rituals to creatures and rituals in question, but the exact extent varies and it's best to filter those tales through actual magical knowledge. There is also the fact that religious rituals and items that carried no significant meaning for Non-Initiates start being both useful and dangerous for Initiates. For example, a Catholic exorcism will begin to repair damaged sanity and improve your corporeal stability, but it WILL expose you to the influences of the Archons (the Powers who 'claimed' that particular religion).