As newcomers to this surreal, mystical otherworld, much of the lore of the Neverafter must be discovered by asking the right people, reading the right books, or simply surviving long enough to figure things out. However, there are certain strange qualities about your new home that will be easy enough to figure out. The following knowledge is common enough that anyone who has spent even a few hours in the Neverafter could reasonably know.
The World You Know
Earth, in the setting of Neverafter, is very similar to its Out-Of-Game counterpart. The same pop culture exists as do the same history, the same technology, and the same attitude about and prevalence of the supernatural. If magic exists in the “real” world, it does so in ways that are so subtle, infrequent, or hidden as to be far easier to deny than prove. The only real ways that the Earth of our game differs from the Earth we live in is in the small details necessary to accommodate the player characters.
UPDATE: In order to prevent a detrimental level of real-life stress from interfering with or damaging the game experience of both players and staff, the COVID-19 pandemic did not occur in the canon of Neverafter and should not be referenced in-game.
In the Neverafter, communication transcends language barriers. Regardless of whether you speak French, English, Japanese, or any other spoken language, you perceive verbal communication in the language with which you are most comfortable. Similarly, you perceive written communication in the language you are most adept at reading.
There are, however, exceptions to this. Names or people or places retain their original linguistic nature. It is also possible to sing or recite poetry in another language. The key to this is intent. If your only intention is to perform, then your performance will be heard in the language you intended it. If, however, you wished to use the lyrics of a song to attempt to convey a coded message, all present would hear your performance in their preferred language.
The Neverafter is a vast world containing every imaginable environment, often in arrangements that make no sense. The reason for this is largely a mystery, but is rooted in the inherent magic of this strange world. What is known, however, is that the geography of the Neverafter changes. At unpredictable times, places in the Neverafter will change their relative positions, making cartography impossible for all practical purposes. These shifts can be rapid or gradual, obvious or subtle. Sometimes they will occur in plain view of a crowd of people, disorienting all of them, other times the changes will happen only while no one is watching. While it is impossible to predict the results of these changes, there are observable patterns in what will shift. Defined places tend to stay together. Buildings in the boundaries of a town may shift positions, but will still remain in close enough proximity to one another to be considered a town. Likewise, the towns, cities, and landmarks of a kingdom may move about but will always remain within the definable border of that kingdom.
In the Neverafter, metallic iron acts by different properties than it does in the world we know. It is also a great deal more rare. For reasons unknown, anyone who crosses from our world to the Neverafter does not retain any item with iron content. In their place are often similar items made of other metals, most commonly copper, zinc, or aluminum. Occasionally, iron or steel objects are replaced with wooden or stone facsimiles instead.
It’s difficult to draw an exact parallel between the technological level of the Neverafter and an analogous period in human history. In part, this is due to the prevalence of magic in the Neverafter; why invent a steamboat when a Stormcaller can merely conjure wind into a sail? Also, different areas of the Neverafter have different levels of resources, facilities, and necessity for the creation of new technology. That being said, there are a few rules that seem to hold true across the Neverafter: no territory has technology developed during or after the Industrial Revolution, any sort of artillery or firearm is either non-existent or extremely rare, and certain older advanced technologies, such as clockwork devices, are very uncommon. Furthermore, modern technology brought into the Neverafter such as cell phones, flashlights, or pistols cease to function.
Magic vs Supernatural
It’s easy to make the mistake of thinking that only those who walk Via Arcanum can exceed human capabilities. While it’s true that only arcanists can use magic, everyone, or at least all of the survivors in your settlement, have supernatural abilities. Doctors may not magically heal people, but wounds they treat heal remarkably fast. Duelists don’t cast spells, but their precision with weapons approaches the preternatural. Chefs can prepare food that notably enhance the capabilities of those who eat it, Thieves can escape practically any situation, no matter how impossible, Gamblers are unbelievably lucky, and so on. While the mages of Via Arcanum have the most direct way to demonstrate their supernatural powers, all of the newcomers can channel some form of supernatural power through their abilities, sometimes even applying normally mundane skills such as Finesse, Prowess, or Innovation to esoteric concepts.