So, we know that Storm Knights has many cosms, and each cosm has a unique Reality. There’s the cosm of High Fantasy, the cosm of Pulp Supers, the Technohorror cosm, and so forth.
But how do we describe and define these Realities? What concrete terms can we use to differentiate between the real world, Pulp Supers, and High Fantasy?
Paradigm, Axioms, and World Laws.
A paradigm is the core worldview of a Reality, and everything else in the Reality derives from it.
The High Fantasy paradigm implies magicians, dragons, knights, dwarves, elves, noble Houses, and many other aspects of Fantasy fiction. It implies an epic struggle between Good and Evil (or, in this case, Honor and Corruption). All of these things are part of Aysle, the High Fantasy cosm, because its paradigm allows for them and, in a certain sense, demands them, or elements much like them.
Reality is an imperative, and what Reality creates and enforces is the cosm’s paradigm.
Axioms are more specific than the paradigm. In Storm Knights, there are five: Magic, Social, Spirit, Tech, and Psi.
The Tech axiom is the easiest to explain: it measures what technological advancements are allowed by the Reality, from 0 (pre-Stone age) to 21 (Technology capable of nearly anything). The development of agriculture (Tech 2), gunpowder (Tech 7), computers (Tech 13), and many other advances all appear on the Tech chart.
Magic, Social, Spirit, and Psi serve a similar purpose, with regards to other areas of development. Magic is the development of spellcasting, Social the advances of scholarship, social organizations, language, and other such tools, Spirit measures the ability of people to call upon the Gods to work miracles, and Psi measures advancements in psychic abilities (like telepathy and telekinesis).
Each cosm has axiom measurements appropriate to its paradigm. The Cyber-Religious cosm, for example, has a Tech of 17, allowing for cyberware. Aysle, the High Fantasy cosm, has a Magic axiom of 16, representing its highly developed system of spellcasting. Core Earth, the real world, has a Tech of 15, matching the modern day. And the Nile Empire has a Tech of 12, pre-WWII technology.
Axioms match the paradigm. Core Earth doesn’t have a Tech of 21, because that level of super-technology doesn’t exist in the real world. Aysle doesn’t have a Magic of 0, because it is a Fantasy cosm and a substantial level of magic is required.
Last are World Laws. World Laws are even more specific than axioms. They detail unique facets of the local Reality, elements that are unique to that cosm.
The Nile Empire has three World Laws, which implement the feel of its Pulp Supers paradigm:
Stalwart Heroes and Diabolical Villains!
Thrilling Tales of Action and Adventure!
Fantastic Inventions and Incredible Powers!
The first allows for the amplified morality of the pulps, the second for the high-speed, physical action typical of those stories, and the third allows for mysteries of the unknown, including the powers of costumed heroes, Weird Science inventions, and lost religious artifacts (including, as a random example, the Ark of the Covenant).
All of these World Laws introduce mechanics unique to the Nile, such as Inclination (are you a Hero or a Villain?), obstacle piling, and Pulp Powers. (In fact, all World Laws introduce unique mechanics.) These mechanics are concrete manifestations of the World Laws, and the World Laws exist to implement the paradigm.
Everything in a cosm descends from its paradigm. Everything exists to support and implement the paradigm. Its paradigm is what makes a cosm unique. It’s what makes it colorful, and colorful cosms are what makes the game fun to play.