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Rules to live by, if you’re twinborn

The twinborn are those who see another world instead of dreaming. Their lives are fraught with peril, but with that peril comes advantages as well. By understanding both the pitfalls and privileges of being twinborn, you can gain power and influence in two worlds.

What works in one world, works in the other

In each world, the laws of physics and magic apply equally. If the uses of these differs, it is only because of the knowledge of the inhabitants of that world. By bringing that knowledge between worlds, you may exceed the abilities of the natives.

You are not your twin; by environment and experience, you differ

Each twinborn gains awareness of their condition at different stages of their life. The older a twinborn realizes the connection to their twin, the more their environment and experiences will shape them differently from that twin. Once the connection is realized, personalities will begin to merge, but there will still be differences that have become too ingrained beforehand.

You are your twin; by character and shared memories, you merge

The earlier the twinborn becomes aware of their connection (or “awakens”), the more similar the two twins will be. At the core, all twinborn are identical, sharing the same predispositions of character. As shared memories build, the similarities will as well, to the point where many twinborn who awaken in childhood scarcely differentiate between their two selves.

This world is not the other world

Law and custom vary widely between worlds. It is the burden of a twinborn to keep the two worlds separated in their heads. Mistakes in this area can be costly, and many twinborn learn through hard experience how to extract themselves from troubles of their own making.

Contracts do not carry between worlds

While twinborn may engage in specific deals that include both worlds, this is not the common understanding. Most often, twinborn must guard against assumptions among themselves. A vow of pacifism, a mining claim, a pledge of service or protection, none are assumed to carry between worlds. Even marriage vows are binding only within the world in which they are recited.

Keep knowledge of the other world to yourself

This rule serves two purposes. Firstly, it saves the twinborn the trouble of explaining where such knowledge originates. A hired blade with knowledge of advanced chemistry and metallurgy raises eyebrows. A scribe who can work magics his world has never seen is liable to find himself accused of dark crimes.

The second purpose is to keep the worlds free of pollution. Each world has its own unique character, which is special. Twinborn circumvent the differences in knowledge to their own advantage, but by cross-pollinating they dilute that advantage over time. This not only weakens all twinborn, but it twists and reshapes what made the worlds unique.

In preparing for sleep, be vigilant

Twinborn are, as a rule, heavy sleepers. The fascination of the other world draws attention away from the slumbering senses. Thus, a twinborn is more vulnerable than most when sleeping. Doors ought to be locked. Magical wards should be in place (if you have enough magical expertise). Sleeping companions ought to be carefully vetted.

Trust instinct over blood, blood over words

Being able to work schemes in another world makes twinborn capable of great treachery. One can work against another while they sit in the same room, sharing tea and a pleasant conversation. Humans are creatures with little instinct, as compared to animals. What we call “instinct” is really subconscious calculation based on life experience. By accruing life experience at twice the typical rate, a twinborn will develop above average instincts. If you suspect that your brother has betrayed you, don’t shrug it off as paranoia.

By the same token, when dealing with other twinborn, a lot must be left to guesswork. When looking for allies, trust first to those you know best, whether it is a blood relative or a lifelong friend; those are your natural allies.

Gratitude earned in one world pays off in two

Twinborn have more reason than most to act with generosity. Privilege in one world may mirror poverty or hardship in the other. The maimed former soldier begging in taverns may be a mercenary leader or knight in the other world. Casual kindness has two routes to repayment, and a twinborn who cultivates good will may find it invaluable in the long term. Allies are the twinborn’s greatest asset.

Vengeance must be pursued in both worlds to be effective

There is nothing quite like being killed to motivate someone to vengeance. While friends and relatives may eventually grow weary of pursuing vengeance, a twinborn who has been killed in one world (or “one-worlded”) will never be able to forget. Half their life has been stolen, and they will become an implacable adversary. Thus, if looking to kill a twinborn, both twins must be killed to do the job cleanly. A twinborn who ignores this advice may find their own twin hunted down by a band of vengeful, one-worlded twinborn.

One Twinborn’s Opinion

This is the advice of one wise twinborn. Bear in mind that for every rule, someone has found an exception. Twinborn specialize in slipping between rules and creating those exceptions.

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