Chronicles of Neverael
Archetypes are, to use the “textbook” definition, astral manifestations of the absolute, ideal embodiment of the very idea of a given “thing.” In this case, “thing” can mean anything from a chair or a sword to a park or a turtle. Any of these things can be expressed via an archetype. An archetype actually embodies all of the qualities that define a thing for what it is.
Archetypes, after a while, take on a personality of their own – they gain intrinsic qualities and self-awareness. Even normally inanimate, non-sentient objects can – in due time – gain personality and self-awareness. This is somewhat rarer than in archetypes of living beings.
Certain types of summoning involve the manifestation of Archetypes on the material plane. Outside of the use of summoning magicks, there are few instances in which these beings visit the material plane. But their effects upon the material plane are profound, nonetheless.
Archetypes literally govern the qualities which manifest in objects of their like. No single, physical instance of any Archetype’s domain ever embodies all of those qualities which it’s Archetype governs – each is somehow flawed or incomplete. Archetypes, however, also possess qualities that are inherently metaphysical – for instance, popular belief holds that Lions are courageous creatures. Thus the Lion Archetype embodies this trait as well. Archetypes change as cultures and beliefs change – they are inventions of belief as much as anything. Their relationship to the material plane is poorly understood at best.
There appear to be some links between Archetypes and the Beast Gods. The Beast Gods seem to be some sort of incarnated aspect of their respective Archetypes – sort of like an avatar is to a God. This is, of course, only theoretical but it’s the best explanation that anyone has come up with thus far.
Archetypes tend to appear in a variety of types, but most fall under one of the following categories: High Archetypes, Beast Archetypes, Locii Archetypes, and Materia Archetypes.
High Archetypes are comprised of philosophical concepts and mythological figures – much of the imagery employed by the Tarot seems drawn from these Archetypes. These Archetypes are amongst the most difficult to call forth and control. Most summoners can only form a link with one or two High Archetypes. This Archetype category is a bit broader than others as it contains many Archetypes of dubious taxonomy and of significant mythological or occult importance. An example of a High Archetype is The Hunter or The Fool.
Beast Archetypes are exactly what they sound like – each is the perfect specimen of the kind of Beast which it represents. These Archetypes, categorically, have personalities – though many of them are slaves to raw instinct in most instances. Beast Archetypes are primal and relatively easy to control and coax into one’s service. An example of the Beast Archetype would be Bast – The Cat Queen or Gokuu – The Monkey King.
Locii Archetypes are places. These are some of the rarer, harder to understand of the Archetypes – places of legend that don’t exist, places that call out to something primal in the hearts of sapient beings – these are Locii Archetypes. Locii Archetypes can be drawn down by skilled summoners and be forced to overlay the normal landscape of the material plane temporarily. There are various reasons to do so. Locii Archetypes often have minds of their own. An example of the Locii Archetype would be Eden or Shangri-La.
Finally, the Materia Archetype embodies all those Archetypes which are objects. These Archetypes range in form from chairs to swords to handlooms to lances. Virtually anything can exist as a Materia Archetype. These Archetypes embody the perfected qualities of that thing, as envisioned by the collective imaginings of the culture from which the specific Archetype sprang. An example would be Excalibur or the Spear of Destiny.