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 :D
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 :P
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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