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Friday, January 8, 2021

Worlds Without Number and the Sine Nomine Shared Universe: The Nine Immortals

A short(?) sequel post to this one, which discussed how the various Sine Nomine games could actually be a form of shared universe. This idea was one I used (in an earlier, cruder form) when running my old Godbound game, where Red Tide was made into a distant Realm to the custom one I was using.

The Nine Immortals

Art by M-Ing.
First described in Red Tide, a Labyrinth Lords supplement (and as far as I'm aware, one of the earlier Sine Nomine products), the Nine Immortals are the main deities of the Ninefold Celestial Empire and are described as nine semi-abstract beings (each tied a color and key domain) which appear to be the result of a composite of a centuries-old, if not a millennia-old ever evolving empire constantly syncretizing various beliefs into key archetypes.

In truth, the Nine Immortals (under this version of a shared 'verse) are not simply an accumulation of beliefs, although this does describe them perfectly at the same time. The Immortals began as part of a subsystem or alteration to the Legacy by ancient posthumans seeking to achieve a perfect system which would encompass all aspect of human nature and society, perfectly organized and maintained and they share many common roots with the ancestors of the Ren people found in Godbound. These systems for a perfect and virtuous society began as disturbing totalitarian systems which counted various aspects of people's very lives and nature and while there were indeed malicious roots to it, in time this system would break and reform. Ancient space colony algorithm which calculated the ideal way of life, ideal routine and more of people aggregated into more complex systems of artificial intelligence. Yet as much as these systems were cold, callous artifices which sought to control every single aspect of near posthuman life they also began to subtly change. The exact history and trajectory of these ancient systems are quite unclear and lost to time but some rare sages of Latter Earth believe that these social systems became so all-encompassing in their attempt to simply measure human lives and souls that these very concepts it sought to regulate in turn contaminated the system. From revolution to bloody coup to attempt at peace to more totalitarian rules to more bloody coup, the leftover of these all encompassing systems became more human-like. Human imperfections, archetypes and beliefs infected what was once mere synthetic thought control.

The next evolution of the system came from the concept of Made Gods and Arrayed Godbound, which became icons and eidolon, representing various concepts and social ideals. Great thinker, philosopher kings and also horrific tyrants emerged from this era but they too tapped into the same leftover synthetic systems which had connected society and evolved from a purely electronic form to something more complex as what would become the Legacy truly developed. The Nine Immortals are born of the synthetic patterns combined with human belief. They themselves aren't really self-aware beings but rather exist as thought-form or massive Iterum-spanning idea-spheres as egregores. They are recurring archetypes combined with a broken social control system which has evolved into myth-made-reality. Anywhere that has the influence of these proto-Ren people often tap into this system of archetypes and ideas, which has real power. Generations of Godbound, Legate and Imperator have subsumed themselves (often accidentally) into these 'power grids', which empower Clerics of the Nine Immortals across many worlds. What began as a cold system to crush human will and subordinate it has been taken over by human thoughts, emotions and ideas. It rules over them as God(s), but it is a set of Gods which are entirely controlled by humans. This create a rich tapestry of belief, ideas, heroes and gods which is ever-living and evolving.

1 comment:

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