A dualistic world caught between two sources of power, an aetheric energy whose source is the sun and a cthonic energy whose source is the earth. Each energy source is antithecal to the other and yet also capable of interacting with it – the surface of the world is the point of interaction.
Each energy is associated with a major and a minor element. The major aetheric element is Fire, the minor element is Air. The major cthonic element is Earth, the minor is Water. The two major elements cannot interact with each other, but they can influence the opposing minor elements. The two minor elements can combine, but the result depends on which is the dominant element in the combination. Air and Water with Air dominant is Foam, with Water dominant is mist or miasma.
The cthonic power is served by the cthonic beings. These are cold blooded, from the lore-wise dragons down through various orders of lizards and lizardmen. The aetheric power is served by its own range of creatures, from angelic faeries down to men. The higher creatures of each power are pure, the lower creatures are alloyed and impure, which makes them less powerful but more tolerant of the power of the other. For example the faerie are pure creatures of light, they are filled with aetheric energy but find the touch of metal deadly since it is cthonic in origin. Dragons are pure cthonic creatures – they cannot fly or breathe fire but can shake the foundations of the earth. They find the very touch of light hard to bear though.
The middle races, men and lizardmen, have no such power and suffer few such problems. They can feed upon both sources of power, the earthpower the flows from the ground beneath their feet and the lightpower than shines down, although they find their preferred power easier to comprehend. For all of them though, power is something that they are blind to and need to scrabble for.