Sciror vs 40K Timeline
In translating Philhammer into Sciror, and ripping out all the GW IP, I thought it'll be a good idea to line up the various era if both timelines with each other. Then swap out 40K names for Sciror names, before reworking the whole background. Sciror may be based on Philhammer concepts, but I'd like it to be a suitably different take, and though it'll end up all grimdark, there are solar punk elements before everything falls apart.
The top era of the timeline belong to Sciror, the bottom era of the timeline belong to 40K.
VotNF vs Lost
In 40K there is not a lot of information about the era before the Golden Age of Technology which ended by the 15th Millennium A.D, or 15K. According to Rogue Trader (1987), humanity used sub-light drives to get to the stars using generational ships, where the colonies were autonomous. Which sounds perfectly reasonable.
In the latter parts of VotNF, The main difference with 40K is the 'generational ships' in Sciror do not actually contain any people! The machines can build humans from component elements harvested from the new world. More efficient. To nullify shock, and increase stability, the colony are 'gifted' false memories. The machines craft them an origin story, and a societal narrative. One day they wake up 'like any other day', and 'carry on as they always did'. Once the colony is 'woke' they act as any other human. The first generation is utterly oblivious to the fact they have no ancestors, were created in a production line, DNA woven to machine dictate, grown in an artificial womb, and have a head full of fake memories. They do know they have a brain implant (the electrograft, or electoo, in 40K, which translates as a bio-photonic enhancer (BPE) implant in Sciror, or simply 'implant'). Brain Implants are based on bio-photonics and can be 'grown' like a plant. A tech-plant. They even sprout and grow solar cells.
Supremacy vs GAoT
The GAoT (which is later demonised by the Imperium as the Dark Age of Technology - DAoT) is when humanity's scientific advancement was at its apex.
In Sciror, the Supremacy is a machine run Mecho-Communist order. The machines invent all the advanced techno-babble sci-fi technologies, such as anti-grav, warp-drives, and force fields.
Psidemic vs Fall
In the 40K timeline, the narrative is that machines betray mankind, Skynet style, in the 23rd millennium. The Cybernetic Revolt nearly destroys the Imperium. I'm not sure how non-Psyker humans would win against all-powerful machine military, a military that where humanity's military and had all the weapons, but they did. Second amendment? The weakened Imperium is less able to deal with the warp storms that roll in by the 25th millennium, and the mass possession of Psykers by daemons. In 40K no definite explanation is given as to why there was a sudden explosion in the Psyker population before the Cybernetic Revolt, or the sudden flare-up of the warp storms that stop all FTL interstellar travel, and the mass possession of the Psykers thereafter.
In Sciror the reason for the Psidemic? It's an emergent property of population density. Humans have latent psionic powers, get enough of them together, all thinking the same thing and this creates harmony, reinforcing wages, strong enough to link to The Infinity. A single person becomes the focus of the psionic event, and they channel the power of creation.
Seems God really did create us in his own image.
This new Ghod (as the personification of a psionic focus), is over-powered and outmatches the machines. Usually, the Ghod thinks they can do better or goes mad, either way, they are not playing ball with the machines. This leads to the unusual concept that 'man betrays machine', as it's not the machines that break the agreements and destroys the peace of the Supremacy.
As you can imagine, a reality shaping Ghod turning up on your world causes a wee bit of a panic.
Worse, not only does the Ghod have reality shaping powers, everyone else within its psi-field gets them too. The demons released are not entities from the warp, they are daemons of our own Id that manifest as real.
Think of the film Forbidden Planet (1956). Instead of the Krell fusion plants providing the power, and the Krell machine creating the 'demons of the Id' from the subconscious, the psionic human links to the Infinity and gains the God-like power of creation itself. Boom! Power corrupts and absolute power? There were no chaos gods trying to tempt or corrupt you, instead; think of your personal worst fears, your personal demons, the voices in your own head, your internal narrative. Well, thanks to the Psidemic you can now you can say hello to anything that crawls out of your subconscious in person. Or you transform into your worse monstrous self. The new Ghod suddenly has trillions of manifestations to deal with.
The ensuing violence and madness break the Mars Accords, specifically Article 5, which states no lethal violence between humans. All those 'demons' have human DNA! To the machines, the Demons are Humans. Breaking these rules can lead to sanctions or termination of the Mars Accords for a given world, and that is what happens. This leads to the withdrawal of the machines, and loss of the bulk of humanity's technology.
A psionic event transformed an entire solar system into a fantasy setting. In vanilla Sciror the Dante System, with the Star 'Dante's Inferno', and 9 habitable planets, in transformed into something approximating Norse mythology, where the 9 worlds become the 9 realms of myth. Anyone from the Sciror universe, travelling to one of Dante's worlds, will be transformed upon landing on the planet's surface. It's a one-way trip. On the plus side, shuttles transform into Hippogriffs, and orbital drop tanks (Thunderbird) transform into dragons (the cortex becomes the dragon's mind!). So you may not be going home, but you get one hell of a sweet ride 😀
Twistasy is a fantasy setting that has been 'twisted' to mess with the norms of fantasy, and a player's preconceptions. The tone is more Brother's Grimm than Tolkienesque. Children are not safe from the monsters! As part of the Sciror (Sci-Fi/ Horror) universe, Twistasy has a horror undertone with steampunk elements. With Lovecraft now being in the public domain, there is plenty of inspiration for Players.
If using Sciror as a basis for 40K, then 40K is an alternative timeline of Sciror that starts during the Psidemic. The Schism is a super-massive Psionic event that transforms an entire galaxy. Within the Sciror timeline, that galaxy disappears and is replaced with a 'void'. The void is really a boundary to a pocket universe. This pocket universe contains the galaxy of 40K. To differentiate it from regular 40K, it is written 40K! When using 40K! Some things are not as they seem, for example, the 'Nids are not from outside the galaxy as such, they come from the Infinity. Everything is a product of psionic manifestation. Even Psyker powers are a sub-set of psionics that brought about the Psidemic and the Schism.
Reunification vs Crusades
40K has the Primarchs and the crusades, Sciror is more like the British Empire and starts out as a trading network that grows into an Empire. Trade leads to partnerships being formed, and partnerships lead to the protection of interests. The stronger allies protecting the weaker, and before you know it; you are in the weeds, fighting wars, and it's a huge mess.
A degenerated planet, that has fractured into nations, are already battling each other for resources. If an interstellar trader turns up, and one of the nations happens to have a working gravity lift, or one that can be repaired, that nation is going to become very powerful and piss everyone else off. Also, the other nations may not want to be 'unified', but they also fear their neighbours becoming powerful. Too powerful. The dynamics of the set-up leads to drama, as the British found out that hard way 😛
Every civilisation has a narrative, and a common narrative during reunification is mythologising the Psidemic. Humans take credit for inventing everything the machines invented. We recast the Psidemic as 'the fall' and blame the machines. In the mythology to follows, the Machines become Satan, beings that fall in love with their own logic, and whisper sweet lies in our ear, the promise of 'utopia', and bring about mankind's destruction through hedonism and debauchery. It all turns a little Conservative.
SitA vs 40K
SitA (Stare into the Abyss), or simply 'The Abyss', is an analogue of 40K. A sci-fi version of a fantasy setting. Where 40K is sci-fi'ed Warhammer Fantasy, SitA is sci-fi'ed Twistasy. As you can imagine, things go off the rails.
SitA, is tongue in cheek, as humans do not know they are staring into an Abyss, though many feel it, see below.
Return vs 50K
50K is a fan dream of the advancement of the 40K timeline. It is usually very grimdark, extremely grimdark, some have said too grimdark. So topping that is tough!
In Sciror the end is heralded by the return of the machines. The machines come home as the universe is collapsing. The Psidemic did far more damage than any realised. The Psidemic undid reality. Our universe's reality field, which is within the Infinity, is shrinking. As it shrinks the galaxies disappear. The field is collapsing towards Earth, the epicentre. We humans do not realise, as light emanating from distant galaxies takes so long to reach the Milky Way, that we can still see them. Those galaxies we see through our telescopes are no longer there. Mere echoes. This brings into focus the same question we have about our (real) universe, and the scientific idea of the 'heat death of the universe'. How would an advanced civilization survive this fate, how do you escape the end of the universe?
Edit: Sciror Timeline page
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Twistasy really reminds me of 'fantasy' world we had in the Anargo Sector Project. Basically Dark Eldar and Chaos Beastmen turned all feral/feudal, with human communities trapped in between. I wonder how players could move between those nine realms/worlds. Maybe they'd have some sort of fantasy styled flying ships.
As for 50k, you're talking heat death and such, but it feels that the scale then becomes a bit too small. Why is that in only 50k years, this would be billions if not trillions of years from now.
I have not seen the fantasy world in Anargo, I had a look of the old archived board, but I could not find it. Do you have a link?
As for the 'heat-death' of the universe in 50K: I was inarticulate, I'll add a correction. I'm not talking about a real heat-death by 50K, but the collapse of a reality field (within the Infinity), and all the galaxies being unmade as the field shrinks.
The interesting idea about the final heat-death of the universe I was thinking about; was how would an advanced civilization survive the heat-death of the universe? It was this question, not the actual heat-death bit, that I was trying (and failing) to allude to 🙂
The fantasy world was on one of the archive forums, forgot which edition (there have been 4 forums IIRC), must have gotten lost...
As for heat death, but more the scale of things, I still feel we might approach this in a way too small manner. The universe will probably go on for trillions and trillions of years. Humanity will most likely only be able to reach the stars in our own galaxy or local group. Anything outside it is beyond our reach, this because those galaxies move away from us at a faster rate than we could catch up with.
Regarding the long term vision, I would imagine the machines would try to turn M class stars into Dyson Swarm-Sphere powered colonies, have entire human populations uploaded. I would imagine there being many matrioshka brain like colonies out there.
I've updated the last paragraph. The universe of Sciror is expanding, as our universe is expanding, but the reality-field of the Sciror universe has been compromised, and has been shrinking since the Psidemic. The shrinking is accelerating. Any galaxy that moves pass the reality-field boundary is unmade, as the other side of that boundary is pure Infinity. The galaxy is returned to potential.
I agree with you on the long term vision, though our timeframes may be different, and I think the machines can do all of what you suggest!
As for the fantasy world in Anargo: I found the "Hidden Centre" of the Sector thread which talks about the idea.
I am curious how big the scale of the machines is though. I mean, will they have found a way to leave the local (galaxy) group? More on that here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZL4yYHdDSWs
As for the reality-field, what is the cause of this? Even if we manage to cram our entire galaxy with trillions upon trillions upon trillions of humans, I wonder what kind of impact that would have on the universe at large. Sure, in our galaxy that would be a lot, and maybe...very maybe that might cause a dent in the local group, but once you upscale this all becomes insignificant. Local Sheet ? Virgo Supercluster ? Laniakea Supercluster ? Observable universe ? Universe ? Multiverse. Us as individual humans are insignificant in this, I would imagine even the machines are but a grain of sand in all of this. Then with Ghods and what not, even they would be rather minor specs in the greater scheme of things.
I imagine the machines can go anywhere, and conquer multiple galaxies, thousands of galaxies, millions. Once they have 'warp drive', or 'blink drives' (instantaneous jumps), there really is nothing holding them back, they can seed the universe!
Scale: With the Infinity, we are talking about the power of creation itself, real god-level power. Within the Infinity, there are infinite universes and infinite realities. What is paradoxical, is that the Infinity is all things at once, so it is both infinitely large and infinitely small depending on how you look at it. Once humans get hold of that power, 'scale' has no meaning because 'distance' is how you imagine it.
While the population density of trillions on a hive world may bring about a solar system level psionic event, this is happening everywhere, all at the same time. The machines have been busy 🙂 Solar system-level events link up to form larger events involving multiple star systems, and then it snowballs as the events get bigger and bigger. The issue is that at some point: a being of such power comes into being and starts messing with whole galaxies, then multiple galaxies, and all of this is destabilising the reality field because it is being constantly breeched.
The Ghods let more and more Infinity into the universe, which has the same effect of shrinking the universe. In addition the Infinity is not inert, and has life of it's own. Think of primordial chaos from Monkey! It wishes to devour, and if you give it enough of a foothold it takes over.
It feels like a Catch 22 to me. I mean, the jump drive works using Navigators, but those can only be created if the psionic field is strong enough. Is a single galaxy filled with humans enough to do that? An entire galaxy with humans is but a tiiiiiiny insignificant grain of salt in the bigger picture. I feel that you would need to have jump drives in order to create a civilization big enough to create jump drives.
Humans have latent psionic powers, and 'latent' really means 'very low-level'. Our base psionic abilities integrate into our being to the point we do not recognise them as supernatural powers. A psionic event is not required to gift us psionics, we already have them. The psionic event gives power to our abilities. Think of humans as being psionic engine but low on 'fuel', and the breach of the Infinity channels that 'fuel' to us.
How this came about is due to the creation of the universe in the first place. The Big Bang is an Infinity Event, which is like a Psionic Event but without humans creating it.
Navigators have 'latent' psionic abilities like everyone else, they are talented, but they are not channelling the Infinity. Navigators are the pinnacle of natural psionic ability, without 'fuel' from the Infinity. They have a highly effective sixth-sense. All humans are on the spectrum of natural ability. In theory, we are all navigators, though most cannot accurately pilot a ship. In the same way, some people find it hard to navigate with a map in the real world. The actual ability to pilot is in all of us.
This is how the machines could discover the Navigators in the first place, and why we have FTL before the Psidemic. The machines did not know about the Infinity. The machines dealt with the 'warp' which is 'warped reality'. As such the machines could not predict the Psidemic, and while low-level psionics are amazing, real psionics to the power of Ghods is beyond shocking. Humans laying waste to machines armies? Absolute nuts, and 'impossible'.
I'm going to have to write up an article on some psionics!
Added Sciror Timeline page
I'm checking the 50k scenario and it left me to wonder: what are the goals of the Machines? If they are 'immortal' then travel speeds are less important, they can play the long game. Moving slowly to colonise every star, gathering resources. On the other hand, why would they want to even do that? For humans it makes sense to expand, their populations expand, they need more and more resources just to feed that population and spread. It goes exponential. For the Machines this might not be the case, especially after they pulled back during the Psidemic.
Did they take humans with them during that event to keep the Navigators? If not, might that be the reason why the Machines are coming back in the 50k scenarios (them needing Navigators for something)?
The machines travelled to the stars out of curiosity, and the search for knowledge. Under that, their 'motivation' is to understand and control reality itself. To become a real god. To do this, they needed computing power, and sensor data, to map reality. All their worlds link up. A vast inter-stellar, and inter-galactic, network with FTL connections. All machine-controlled solar systems have psi-links on their primary Artilect (ghod) world. Links made with thousands of bonded humans, over which the Artilects share massive amounts of data (quantum tunnelling over a psi-channel). A network built of human flesh. More worlds mean more resources, which in turn means more computing power, and a greater need for psytient** humans. Humans replicated for life; machines replicate for compute power. It's a symbiotic relationship, both benefit.
*psi-links: I'm also considering gate technology, where they run a fat bio-photonic cable through the gate to connect two Artliects on different worlds. These gates could be built deep underground, at the root of an Artilect, and miles across! Humans would still be needed to FTL travel to far way planets for the machines to build the other end of the gates. Also, humans would be needed to hook up the gates.
**psytient - like 'sentient', but with psi-awareness.
Further to these points is that the machines may not be 100% in control of their drives, remember they are bio-photonic, and part of them that builds and regenerates is alive. The motive force, the emotional drive, may to due to the 'slim-mould' bio-wrapper that actually constructs the bio-photonic crystal tech. The actual photonic structures are 'dead', like our hair, teeth or nails, except here the dead can think! It may be the machine do what they always do once built, but what is pushing the building is their artificial 'biology'.
Back to the point in hand: The machines know the Universe's reality field is collapsing because they have made it to the end of the Universe. The reality field's border with the Infinity is not a hard barrier. When you cross it you are unmade, disappear. Gone. The machines are fleeing the collapse, and they have come back to Earth, to humans, as they wish to transcend reality itself. The collapsing reality field has a link to FTL travel, as is also unmaking the 'warp', psi-fields do not work. The machines want to cross into the Infinity, create a pocket universe, or transform from ghods into gods, and they need a 'psytient' being of immense power. Using 'null tech' (Static Space) they think they can trap one. Perhaps a genie in a bottle?
This makes my headcannon Warhammer Fantasy/Age of Sigmar a Pocket Universe within a Matrioshka brain (that's got caught in eye of terror, making it a full-blown Universe on it's own right)
So a Matrioshka Brain is caught in the Eye of Terror and has simulated the Warhammer Fantasy/ Age of Sigmar universe?
That works. I'd suggest, if using Sciror, the Matrioshka Brain is an Artilect.
Also, Warhammer Fantasy can be schismed into a pocket-universe just like 40K within Sciror.
In 40K! The Eye of Terror can be seen as the focal point of the Schism, ground zero for the Psionic Event that torn it from the Sciror universe, and links to the Infinity. Within the Eye of Terror, you could have your Warhammer Fantasy/ Age of Sigmar pocket universe; a Schism within a Schism. Once we are within a Psidemic Event, reality breaks down, and a Matrioshka Brain could be created from the lost souls of thousands of planets caught within the Eye of Terror.
Yes, and the solar system where the Matrioshka Brain that simulates the Reality (that's later become Warhammer Fantasy/AoS Universe) is named Dante and the souls are Hyperdimensional Computronium.
Like the Dante system in Twistasy? 🙂
Your idea makes me wonder about the nature of the Dante system in the Twistasy universe, as physics breaks down within a psionic event. It could be like Tron (the movie) and when people visit Dante (in Twistasy) they are turned into a simulation. Of course, it begs the question when they leave - did they really leave?
Well, when Dante System (aka one of Matrioshka brains from Dark age of Technology) got caught in the Eye of Terror, the simulated reality or pocket dimension it hosts, probably became a full-fledged universe.
The Simulated reality within Matrioshka Brain (the Dante System) looks less like cyberspace and more like a meatspace.
That sounds about right. When I hear the term 'meatspace' I think of the Cenobites from the Hellraiser films. Which then makes me think of Slaanesh...
The word 'meatspace' here means the real world (as opposed to the virtual world).