Irkalla, the world of dust and ash. Barren, gray, foggy, cold, and decaying - even the living appear corpse-like here. If there existed a reason for its being, it would be the equivalent of a netherworld for the multiverse: a labyrinthine graveyard of dead worlds, a plane of death.
Beneath the skies of falling ashes in ancient ruins, occult grimoires contain the secrets of the Qliphoth: eleven gateways in the mind that can be opened to unlock psychic powers. Those who master the Qliphoth are able to become powerful sorcerers known as Architects.
The Architects meditate on their Thrones, perpetually dreaming of other universes. They cannot wake from their meditation, else their bodies will be ripped apart to become portals to the chaos beyond reality. So they exist between worlds, acting as demiurges for their own paradise dimensions while resting like entombed royals, their physical forms trapped and vulnerable in Irkalla.
The wretched people of Irkalla become servants to the Architects, protecting their comatose bodies out of fear or wonder. The Architects use psychic abilities to manipulate thousands by either rewarding the loyal with beautiful illusions or punishing the disobedient with visions of terror. The populations worship the Architects like gods, and it is this theocratic structure that forms the Archaic civilizations of Irkalla.
Tensions between the Architects inevitably leads to psychic warfare in which they impart nightmares into each other's dreams. As a counter to this, they seek out natural born psychics to serve as slaves that will absorb the nightmares. Some Architects use selective breeding among their servants to fill this need, while others take the young from the wasteland tribes. Eventually, sometimes after years of torment, one side is weakened and armies are sent to destroy the sleeping Architect. When this happens, the world is changed forever...
Upon the death of an Architect, reality is torn apart at the site of regicide. The visions of the Architect and their slaves are fused into reality, creating a maze of intersecting universes. This is where the player characters begin, as spawn of the dead psychics' dream dimensions.