These are core principles about this world and how games in it are played.
1. You are Special
Unbound by borders, unshackled from service.
You are a Council Cavalier, possessing a warrant of trade granted by the 60th Council of the Most Grave Crash at the Twain. The authority to conduct trade opens many doors, but it also drags you into a byzantine nightmare of politics.
You are also a member of the Meskellian, the renowned interplanar mercenary agency. It is the gold standard for freelancer organizations that can get any job done. Many members of the Meskellian were present when the 60th Council was formed, and you are one of them that were granted (burdened?) with a warrant.
While these privileges do not provide direct power per se, they set you apart; they grant you freedom, access, and more importantly potential. Potential is in many ways what sets your character apart. Not a seat at the table, but a foot in the door of the halls of power… and the tapestry of fate.
2. Change is Imminent
Everything, big and small, sits on a razor’s edge.
The once stable Dodekapolis is now teetering on seemingly countless edges. The planes themselves are unanchored from their moorings and are starting to drift in the astral and mash into or come apart from one another. Formerly safe and secure trade routes are now treacherous. Confidence in the solidarity of the Arches, absolute rulers of their planes, is now being questioned in whispers. So many institutions, rules, and loyalties hang in a precarious balance.
This scales up and down and applies to situations, people, places… everything. These are interesting times and the right nudge can have a big effect.
3. Morality is Fluid
Everyone has regrets.
What your character does is by definition “what your character would do”. Hearts and minds are mush, and even given the exact same scenario most people don’t make the same decisions every time. You are your character’s writer; you are in charge of them, not vice versa. Sometimes you may deeply regret your actions, wanting to take them back or feeling a conflict between who you think you are and who you demonstrated yourself to be.
Welcome to the club. This is normal.
4. You are not a Hero… Yet
4. Magic is Ubiquitous
Everyone uses magic, few are good at it.
In the cities of the Dodekapolis pretty much everyone knows some sort of magic, even if it’s just a minor spell that can help clean the dishes. More powerful magic becomes rarer by orders of magnitude.
And since the vast majority of skilled magic users are academics, this magical knowledge trends towards divination and other utilitarian magic. Spells like fireball and lightning bolt are a hundred times rarer than non-combat spells.
The same is true for magical items. Herbal potions, glowing rings, flavored tongue studs, and other minor magical trinkets are incredibly common and cheap, but prices get exponentially higher for more powerful items.
5. Players have the Helm
Have some initiative!
Many people (somewhat understandably) assume the referee (sometimes called the GM, storyteller, etc. in other RPGs) is the one in charge of the game but the players are by definition the writers, directors, and actors of the main characters; plus they almost always control the “camera”… how can they not be in charge? The referee’s job is to play the role of NPCs, describe the world, adjudicate rules, and once in a while toss a wrench into the players’ plans.
The players should be developing ambitions for their characters and pursuing those ambitions. Life has a way of presenting you with unexpected forks on the way, but if you’re resourceful you can leverage that chaos to your benefit.
6. Death is Not the End
Nothing ever ends.
In the multiverse, the afterlife is not inaccessible or distant. Most souls after journeying through the deep ethereal end up in the cities of Dis or Gehesti, but even the few who don’t end up there show up in one city or another of the Dodekapolis. Conditions in the afterlife can vary greatly from city to city, and discerning citizens may sign their soul over to an Arch of a plane they wish to spend their afterlife in.
Once dead, souls are trapped in their new home and often bound into one form of servitude or another. They become tied to that plane and lose most of their will to leave. Some rare specimens are promoted to positions of power, but even they are a shadow of their former selves.
Travelling to the city, finding their spirit, and securing their release can be harrowing, but it is by no means unheard of. Arches rely heavily on souls for their power and to maintain precedent are loathe to give up even the lowliest dead.