Cry Wolf: a HERO Television Special
… a place where even the sun refuses to shine … cannot escape … the mists … and from the darkness … they come …
- From pieces of documents saved from the Great Library after its destruction
The term given to the demi-plane created by the presence of Starspawn. The Miasma begins by corrupting real space with signs of alien activity slowly increasing until a location is fully covered in a thick poisonous fog. Also known as the Mist and the Night Air, it takes the form of pocket dimensions of varying sizes and swallows up whole areas of the real world, dragging everything, including its hapless inhabitants, into a plane of existence governed by the power of sadistic otherworldly predators.
Aside from being a source of dimensional shifts due to chaotic Warp energies, the Miasma is also the foremost carrier of the Insania Virus, making the very domain a biologically hazardous zone where few are able to enter, and almost no one ever comes out with their bodies whole and their sanity intact.
In the Miasma, one does not fathom the depths of their predicament until it is too late.
The Three Stages of Ruin
Stage 01: The Corruption. The True Death of Life.
The formation of a Miasma starts in the prime material plane, or the physical dimension inhabited by the intelligent creatures of the universe, and also known as the Real World. Aside from the activities of the commonly seen empowered individuals, there is little or no outside interference from the mysterious race known as Starspawn. The alien abominations and their minions very rarely make their presence known in this level of reality. However, the powerful of these Starspawn, usually with the aid of native human followers, are able to extend their influence into the Real World.
When enough power is exerted, a Miasma takes shape in the form of dark tinge of fog or ash-filled smog. This very same filthy air spreads the Insania Virus, infecting any living being caught within its confines. The time it takes for the chosen section of the Real World to be completely engulfed by the Miasma varies between the Starspawn involved. Nevertheless, once the Miasma forms in the Real World, it is slowly taken to another level of existence called the Fog World. At present, there is no known way to reverse the effects of the Miasma other than the destruction of the Starspawn involved but this solution may only be carried out once the transition of all three stages have been completed.
Stage 02: The Doom of the Living. The Fog World Comes Fourth
“I hear that it’s almost never sunny in that town. And people say that when the fog comes out, strange things happen.”
-- Quote from an unnamed tourist before his visit to the town of Innsmouth
The Fog World (or sometimes called the Misty World or the Dream World) is the pocket dimension that lies between the Real World and the nightmarish Otherworld. The Fog World also is the second stage of the Miasma’s corruptive sway upon the prime material plane and takes the form of a sickly and dense smog before gradually transitioning into the hellish third stage known as the Otherworld.
Those living victims caught within the boundaries of the Fog World frequently do not notice anything peculiar about the change in their surroundings except for the sudden appearance of the thick fog. They only realize that something is truly amiss when they find their ways out of their present locations blocked and when they encounter otherworldly creatures and objects.
The Fog world is nearly an exact replica of the locale’s Real World counterpart. It is significantly less ghastly than the Otherworld but is still comparatively just as dangerous due to the entry of monsters and other similar abominations, as well as residents who have been mutated and driven insane by the airborne Insania Virus.
In the aftermath of the ensuing mayhem, the various sites caught in the Fog World mostly consist of petrified forests and dilapidated man-made structures. Entire towns and cities appear completely deserted and in constant state of decay. Rusted, wrecked and abandoned vehicles, garbage and in most scenarios, corpses in different stages of decomposition litter the pocket dimension. Escape is virtually impossible since most roads drop off into deep (some say bottomless) abysses while other paths through the Miasma always lead escaping inhabitants back to where they began.
Stage 03: The End of All Creation. The Otherworld.
This dimension goes by other names such as the Alternate World, the Dark World, the Realm of Eternal Night or the Nightmare World. By all accounts, it is indeed a dark, macabre and nightmarish pocket universe that emerges as the third stage in the evolution of a Miasma. It may be likened to a form of cancer that eats away at reality and the result of the ancient debasing powers of Starspawn. This series of parallel dimensions are on the border where the Real World and unreality interconnect.
The Otherworld is the third and final stage of the Miasma’s evolution and by then the very area has been torn away from the Real World and has been re-shaped into the terrifying version suited to the Starspawn’s tastes. It is not a part of reality, and yet it is indeed real on a separate plane of existence that is difficult for outsiders to understand or analyze.
Whereas the Fog World still has some remnants of light outdoors, the Otherworld is totally pitch black, whether indoors or outside. This pocket dimension has an air of foreboding doom and portrays more disturbing reflections of locations in the Real World. They always keep the similar physical outlines, but show obvious signs of decay. Most of the Otherworld’s environments are composed of rusted and blood-stained metal floors and walls. Entire sections may take the form of grating, fencing, and coils of barbed wire and even flesh and other forms of organic matter. Other horrific elements such as chains, hooks, industrial fans, cages, slabs of meat and rotting corpses are scattered throughout the dimension.
Should one try to peer down the grated floors, one would only see an endless chasm leading into the darkness. This, as well as the creatures that roam the Otherworld, are more than enough to drive the weaker of wills to immense levels of dementia even before the Insania Virus takes full effect.
The light at the end of the corridor is not always salvation.
The Things That Go Bump In the Miasma
The workings and very appearance of the locality within the Miasma, most particularly its final stage known as the Otherworld, is constructed by the whims of the present Starspawn. However, in certain cases, the Miasma is able to echo the accumulated psyche of those trapped within and to distort the surroundings into (literally) their worst nightmares.
While monstrous creatures appear in the second stage Fog World, they are significantly more numerous in the Otherworld. These monsters are technically the “natives” of this dimension and come in two types. The first set of monsters is minions of the Starspawn that brought the Miasma. The second, and perhaps the most inscrutable, are creatures born from the personal fears and vices of the intelligent beings trapped within the Otherworld. In many instances, the environs are also changed to befit the subconscious of the victims which in turn manifests as miniature worlds within the pocket dimension.
Just some of the critters that like to hunt in the dark.
Checking In and Checking Out.
Aside from encompassing entire portions of the map, the Miasma may also extend its supernatural influence by plucking random individuals from other places. These unfortunate people are usually engulfed by an obscuring mist, causing them to lapse into a dream-like state, and then wake up to find themselves in a completely new location (and sometimes in a different time!)
-- namely an area claimed by a Miasma. In either situation, very few livings beings could ever boast as to having been “abducted” by the Miasma and later escaped the dimensional prison. These include Kill Team Edelweiss members Anemone, Blackthorn, Gentian and Marigold.
By far, very few entities (besides the Starspawn) are able to enter and leave the Miasma at will. These include Marzanna Kriegvogel, better known as Nightshade of the Edelweiss who discovered her ability to travel to and from the dimensions at an early age, and more notably her mentor Shroud.
A church desecrated by the influence of the Miasma.