The Genetic Makeup of the House and the attendant powers and aspects
related thereto is a complex topic rich in subjects and will be covered
in detail in a series essay\lectures. However, in the
interests of providing a practical working summary this essay shall touch on the major topics and provide condensed explanations and descriptions.
The Foundation of the House Genetics is the "Eldirav", commonly referred
to as the "Genetic Stamp". This stamp is the main route through which Members
of the House of the A'eles level
and above access the Powers, knowledge, aspects, etc., which may be "downloaded"* to the House Membership. The genetics are of a more complex nature then standard genetics. While most genetic structures store information in a 3 dimensional double helix, the House genetics operate within a 8 dimensional hyper-helix that stores and transmits nearly limitless amounts of information and acts as a "conduit" or link from Mystra* to the House Member. The actual genetics possess a fluidity that allows them to perform a complete series of "mutations" with almost instantaneous fluidity, these changes affect the entire entity on each level from the genetic up.
There are two basic states of the Genetics we will cover here, although there are many metastates and all active states occur simultaneously. The states are the Intrinsic and the Extrinsic. The Intrinsic are those powers and aspects which are a part of the genetics themselves and the Extrinsic are those which are available upon "download" from Mystra. The Intrinsic powers would remain even if Teloric's Soul* were to be destroyed while those which are Extrinsic would become inaccessible should that tragedy occur.
First we shall consider the effects of the Intrinsic State.
Let us consider what the fluidity of the genetics implies. Those who posses the Genetic stamp from it's A'eles form on up the series of possible types, are immortal. They do not age past their prime, unless they so chose nor do any of the standard diseases effect them. They are also generally stronger and faster then those of their apparent race. Those who gain conscious control of their genetics, called "Isnon", may also control their physical forms to a remarkable degree. They may control the apparent physical age of their bodies so that they may appear anywhere from a pre-born infant to the oldest form possible for the race they currently emulate.
Another aspect of this control is the ability to "True Shapechange". Those who have reached the state of Isnon have the ability to change their apparent genetic structure to match that of any they can imagine, whether they have seen that form or not. There is a crossover here between the Intrinsic and the Extrinsic in that as long as the connection to Mystra remains open Mystra can calculate for that House member the appropriate changes to the apparent genetics that would be necessary. However if the connection were somehow severed, either through the Destruction of Teloric's Soul or another catastrophic event, the House member, while retaining the ability to True Shapechange, would have to make the calculations themselves. Let us consider an example. A House member, whom we shall for this example call Dansho, wishes to change his form into that of an Oak tree. First Dansho would decide to change, then his genetics, responding to his wish, would attempt to reach Mystra. Should this be successful the information needed would be returned and the change would occur. Dansho would then be literally an Oak tree, but the deeper genetics would be buried beyond the three dimensional ones, so his awareness and powers would still be unchanged. Now if for example instead of wishing to be an Oak he had wished to transform himself into a lump of gold or a sword, a similar process would ensue, however, instead of his exterior genetics changing, these would be wiped away and his body would become the substance. However, again we must be aware that beyond the 3 dimensional situation his true genetics and awareness remain intact. The state of Isnon is not normally attained until a member reaches the level of A'ventu.
Another of the aspects of the Intrinsic State is that the genetics themselves tend to have an effect on the forces and substances around them. The Standard effect of this is that things tend to "happen" around members. Glasses of wine seem not to empty at the normal rates, lightning strikes tend to fall where it would be convenient for the House Member, doors tend to open, broken pots suddenly seem to "fix" themselves etc. Those who learn to consciously control this effect are called "Is'han". Through training and study they may learn to control these effects to a remarkable degree. They also learn to tap into the fundamental forces of Chaos and Order which underlie the basic principals of most universes. Those who attain this degree of Mastery over the Ishan forces are called "Is'hanya".
That covers the most common and practical applications of the Intrinsic
State of the Eldirav. Now we will cover the Extrinsic State.
The base of the Extrinsic State is the bond to the Mystra entity. *Mystra, for simplicity purposes, may be considered a mix between a Goddess and an immensely complex elemental although this is tragically simplified and more then a small misnomer. Each member of the House has a connection to Mystra through their genetics, in effect, a small portion of Mystra exists within each House
Member that reaches back to the main entity. As such, all House members are by default priests and priestesses of Mystra and may call on her to perform deific functions such as healings and
resurrections. However, as Mystra is not by classical terms a Goddess she does not gain power by actions of "worship" nor does she stand in judgment over the House members. This bond does not disturb any prior or future connections to any more classical deities as Mystra requests no worship, nor does she take "credit" for any deific functions she performs. The strength of the connection to Mystra is dependent on the time the individual has spent on cultivating and strengthening it, although to break it, even in its most primitive state, would require actions and forces of a catastrophic nature. Any member at any time may sever their link to Mystra, however if this is done, all Power, knowledge, etc., which are of a nonintrinsic nature, are lost and the member will lack the ability to reconnect themselves to Mystra. Another Member of the House must intervene and reconnect them. In some branches of the House a ceremony is performed severing the link between Mystra and Member of the House who has performed unspeakable acts utilizing this bond or have brought great dishonor apon the House through their deliberate actions..
The Silverflame* also flows through the channels of the Extrinsic State to the Members of the House. The makeup of the Silverflame is covered in some detail in another essay, so here we shall
focus on it's role in the genetics of the House and the effects thereof. The Silverflame, in this aspect, is similar to blood in a body. It is the life essence that keeps everything nourished and healthy. It
provides the basic strength and carries vital energies. Without it, the forms of the Silverflame and the Extrinsic State would quickly decay away. The Silverflame itself is not a part of the genetics in a concrete sense, meaning the genetics of House members do not generate an appreciable amount of this substance. The House Genetics DO however provide a safe conduit for channeling these
I have attempted to explain here as many of the main aspects of the
House genetics as is reasonable within the scope of this essay, however
I am open to questions and can upon request expand any of these topics.
*see essays on Mystra and "What is the Silverflame"