C : Introduction : Setting : Characters : Special Rules : Storytelling

One of the only certainties of life is that it will end. Religion and philosophy have struggled for ages to decide what that ending means, and what comes after. For the Reborn, death was not the end, but it was a deeply transformative experience. One that still provides more questions than answers. When a mortal dies, most often their soul simply disappears. Occasionally one will appear in the lands of the dead, holding onto old goals and passions as a ghost. More rare still are the Deva, who’s souls pass beyond the shrouded world, and then somehow return. A Deva was never a ghost in the realm of the dead, their memories never appear among the ancestor spirits. Do the souls of the Reborn return from whatever place souls are meant to go? Were they waylaid somehow, their journey disrupted and cut short? No one truly knows, for no Deva can remember the time they spent between their death and rebirth. This time, referred to as Bardo, is the greatest mystery of the Reborn. Some believe that rebirth is a blessing, an intervention by divine forces allowing a second chance at life. Most however, think of the return as somewhat less benign, for the soul that returns is stained and torn.

Those hints the Deva have of the Bardo are not encouraging. Vague hints of familiarity often strike the Reborn when they encounter horrors in the Shrouded world. They are subjected to visions of torment and loss when their physical forms are destroyed. Even when undergoing a Seeking, a vision for greater wisdom, they are haunted and opposed by devilish beings and symbols. Not only that, but every Deva feels a sense of familiarity, or even kinship with the Naraki. Terrible beings who hunt in the shrouded world, inflicting suffering and despair on all they encounter.

Regardless of the why or how, when a Deva is reborn they appear as a spiritual being in the mortal world, usually in the place of their death. This may occur at any time from hours to years after they passed beyond, though normally the Bardo lasts a few days. Every Reborn creates a new body from raw materials lying around, sometimes even consuming their old corpse for the process. They wake, with the feeling of being disconnected from the world. During the first few hours or days, the Deva feels assaulted by sensation. Their body is foreign, their senses either dulled or painfully sharp, their surroundings harsh and unwelcoming. This alienation extends deeper than the surface however. Streets have different names, buildings are located in strange places. Family members do not recognize the Reborn, or the Deva does not recognize those claiming to be close friends. The fundamentals of their life, their perceived social status, race, or gender may not conform to what the newly returned being recalls. Over time the Deva adjust to the changes, but some things are so fundamentally wrong they cannot simply be accepted and adjusted to. That constant wrongness is Dysphoria, and it drives the Deva’s away from complacency.

Lesya, the Shadow, and Dharma


Deva: The Reborn elielo