“The human mind delights in grand conceptions of supernatural beings.”
— Jules Verne
IIIt is a known fact that across the planes, most life will be a lot like what we find here on Earth: the products of evolutionary pressure making them the best they can be. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t alien life out there… evolution in different environments will create creatures we would find odd or captivating.
However, this is not the only way.
TTTo Biosophists and Natural Philosophers in the Planar Council, life can be categorized and taxonomized in several ways. One of the simplest rulings is to define a living thing as either econatural or supernatural.
The thought behind econatural life is since they are shaped entirely by their physical surroundings and other organisms for competition with no outside influences, these creatures are tied to their environment and thus econatural (from eco-, meaning having to do with ecology or the environment; and -natural, meaning one’s “nature”; that which we are born with).
Econatural creatures are those who develop and adapt to challenges in their environment without outside influence. Polar Bears can survive in the cold because of several traits they evolved: a thick layer of fat beneath a double fur coat goes a long way to ensure they can thrive in this climate to the best of their ability.
KKKnowing what an econatural creature is then, should make the supernatural easier to understand. Where an econatural creature survives because of natural evolutionary processes with its environment, a supernatural creature will gain some sort of advantage beyond its surroundings to survive. It is that additional component that makes a creature supernatural (from super-, meaning above; in addition; and -natural, meaning one’s “nature”; that which we are born with). People will often also use the term paranatural (from para-, meaning beside; beyond; altered) interchangeably, though supernatural is the preferred term in academic circles.
Supernatural creatures can come in any form because of this external influence. If we were to continue the example above with a Polar Bear, their supernatural equivalent could survive the cold because of being covered in scales of magical ice, having fire flowing through their veins, or projecting some sort of field that nullifies cold altogether.
The Argument for the Pseudonatural
SSSome individuals have argued that there should be a third class of beings added to the taxonomic classification of their origin, with the third classification being pseudonatural creatures. While creatures developing without external influence beyond their surroundings are econatural and those developing with an external influence are supernatural, a being that is pseudonatural (from pseudo-, meaning false; lying; an imitation; and -natural, meaning one’s “nature”; that which we are born with) is created and thus has no inherent natural place in the world.
These pseudonatural creatures could either be the product of forced evolution or tampering with supernatural forces, so the primary argument against this classification is that it would be unnecessary because of the other two existing.
A large part of the Trigate setting is the contrasts between two ideas and how it manifests on various planes and in cultures, species, and whatnot. Traditional Ideals vs. Progressive Ideals, Nativism vs. Multiculturalism, and Natural vs. Supernatural are some examples of these.
There are worlds that have no supernatural creatures and others are filled with them. Some cultures view all supernatural creatures as anathema and yet some decide to worship them instead. It is these differences in those spectrums that I feel make the world of Trigate an interesting place.
“I am not supernatural. I’m just myself.”
— André the Giant