Entities of a higher dimension than ours, perceived only by those in a state of supreme ecstasy achieved with the chemical XS6.
The Tradesmen are capricious beings, curious to understand the ways of human existence, but not particularly interested in influencing it. Their realm is understood to be the complete opposite of ours: where ours is finite and definite, theirs is infinite and immaterial. Emotions have substance, and there exists little that separates the individual from the universe as a whole. Tradesmen themselves have no definite form, and may assume different shapes so as to better interact with humans who have somehow been able to perceive them.
Interaction with Tradesmen is inherently dangerous, as attempting to completely comprehend what or how a tradesman is, is a sure path to madness for many. Tradesmen, if contacted properly, will occasionally trades bits of information about the nature of the universe for what would otherwise be an impossible exchange in our own reality. Often, the Tradesmen will ask for the concept of an emotion, or memory, or belief, or even an entire timeline existing within the realm of possibility for the human initiating the exchange. If the human surrenders any of these, they will be imbued with a “secret lexicon” which if used in a natural state of consciousness will grant the user a “power.” More than likely, this will be control over a particular Universal Force, such as electromagnetism, gravity, and strong and weak nuclear force, however other powers have been reported. Others powers that have been identified include various forms of precognition and even purported time travel.
Interaction with Tradesmen is nearly universal for those experiencing heavy doses of XS6, but “successful” exchanges with Tradesmen is what produces Manipulators. This essential trade is what gave rise to the popular question among Manipulators: “What did you give?” Many Manipulators, however, are often reluctant to answer.