The Sciror timeline starts in the near future, and is based on a separate project called ‘Visions of the Near Future‘. VotNF is separated out from the rest of Sciror, even through it is a component part, as it deals with real world issues. It presents serious solutions to current issues, such as the housing crisis in England, and the development of ECORR. From this speculative foundation we jump into ‘The Supremacy’, which is where Sciror kicks into gear. Using VotNF as a springboard for the imagination when designing the rest of the game universe.
The Psidemic creates alternate pocket-universes, and these are covered under Twistasy. These are all fantasy settings where reality is broken. As such, they are separate from the rest of the timeline, and each has there own timeline.
Visions of the Near Future
The bulk of this era deals with the changes to urban living, coming technologies, how we live, and changes to the Earth. Pretty straightforward.
In the latter parts of VotNF, we start to transition over into Sciror, when mankind takes to the stars using sub-light engines. Here we cross-over into extreme speculation, but we’ll still try to keep it ‘real’. As Sciror is a twisted Sci-fi Horror setting, we have to start the twisting early. From the get-go!
A common idea for Sci-fi is the idea of the generational ship. Our nearest stars are so far way it would take generations to reach them, assuming we cannot find a way to suspend life.
Unlike other Sci-fi these ‘generational ships’ 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 (bio-photonic enhancer (BPE) implant, 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.
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. Humans have nothing to do with inventing anything, but we make use of it. Those within the Supremacy have all their needs met, and live an massive hives, connected with internet, and spend their time trying to amuse themselves. An economy based of celebrity cults of personality, YouTube culture, Twitter rage between warring fandoms, and gaming. All humans are bound to the Mars Accords and cannot harm others, else they are sanctioned by the machines through the withdrawal of technology. Ever been without the internet for a week? You get the idea: life is effectively, literally, over! First world problems :P
The Psidemic is 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 the ‘vanilla’ timeline of Sciror, the Dante System, is transformed into something approximating Norse mythology. At the centre of the system is the star named ‘Dante’s Inferno’, orbited by 9 habitable planets. 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 transform into dragons (the onboard bio-photonic 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.
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.
Stare into the Abyss
SitA (Stare into the Abyss), or simply ‘The Abyss’, is a class British grimdark setting, with a touch of Germanic ‘Brother’s Grimm’ flavour. Elements of Twistasy are within this setting, escaping the psidemic zones. All the aliens are results of psidemic events, twisted imaginings of humans (well, me, but in the setting it’s everyone!). SitA, is tongue in cheek, as humans do not know they are ‘staring into an abyss’, though many feel it, see below.
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?