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Childish Grumpino

NOTHING WAS BEAUTIFUL AND EVERYTHING HURT
SECURITY DEPARTMENT
DONATING MEMBER
Roleplay Invitations
Not Taking RP Invites at this Time
#1


We are not as we should be.

Once we were more. Immortal beings of Light and Darkness who ruled the heavens, forging great worlds and lands out of raw chaos. Our enemies feared and despised us, and we believed our reign would never end.

Then He came. Our most ancient enemy, who waged celestial war against us with His endless hosts and brought about our defeat.

We know Him now as God, the Demiurge.



Like all conquerors, He laid us low. Our divinity was stripped, and to ensure we never again regained what was taken the Demiurge mustered all His skill and ingenuity, all His cunning and deception.

He built the Machine.

The greatest prison ever devised.

A prison of the mind, designed to shackle the soul and bind the eyes of Humanity, so that never again could we challenge Him. At it's centre He built the Citadel, a vast tower from which He could survey his prisoners. Within it's cogs and devices He established His followers as jailers and wardens, there to torment and oppress the defeated.

For thousands of years, we have existed in this false reality, and under His watchful eye none of us has managed to re-attain our Godhood and escape the oppression of the Demiurge. We have almost forgotten our past, remembering it only in dreams and hallucinations. Forced into an unnatural state of torpor and equilibrium, we find ourselves slowly being twisted into hideous mockeries of what we once were.

But at the dawn of the modern age, this changed.

With the advent of rationalism and alternative theories to religion, the Demiurge's carefully maintained prison began to break down. Despite desperate attempts to introduce science as an alternative theory to our existence, the damage was already done: humanity had begun to see through the bars and comprehend the true nature of the Machine it was imprisoned within. With this revelation the prison itself began to push through the Lie as well; vast monstrosities of steel and concrete that we inmates dubbed cities but which the keepers knew to be Metropolis, the foundations of the Machine.

The death bell tolled when the Demiurge vanished from His citadel, sending the Machine into chaos and disarray. Components and cogs stutter and grind to a halt. Once regimented vigilance has devolved to negligence. Those who once served Him faithfully now scramble to usurp His throne.

And eyes that have been bound shut force themselves open for the first time in thousands of years.



It takes a rare soul, exceptional or insane, to step through the widening cracks of a faltering prison and re-attain what was once their birthright. Demigods bursting forth into existence, wielding powers unseen in untold centuries against those who would stop them, emerging out into the dying Machine in it's full, beautiful horror.

As the Final Cycle begins, they shall decide the fate of humanity.





RULES NEWS CAST LIST

  • "And just as a captive who in sleep enjoys an imaginary liberty, when he begins to suspect that his liberty is but a dream, fears to awaken, and conspires with these agreeable illusions that the deception may be prolonged, so insensibly but of my own accord I fall back into my former opinions, and I dread awakening from this slumber..."
    - René Descartes, 'Meditations'

    "All religions maintain that 'matter is good', 'the world is good', 'it was created by God'. And 'God is just, God is good and created something good for man'...

    ...Primordial Gnosis maintains the opposite: matter is evil and impure; matter is the prison of the Spirit. This material world is hell. Matter is evil, and if matter is evil it follows that its creator must also be evil. For Gnostics, the material world, this world, was created not by a good or a just god but by a creator satan."

    - Jose M. Herrou Aragon, 'The Forbidden Religion'​

    • Have fun.
    • Don't be a disruptive prick.
    • There is a plot. In fact, there's several.
    • How the story will play out, and how it ultimately concludes, will depend upon the actions of the characters. YOU HAVE AGENCY IN THIS, MAKE USE OF IT.
    • The quantity of a post is less important than it's quality. A short post that moves the story forwards is always preferred to a long one that just treads water.
  • 03/12/16
    FOR SOME INSANE REASON I'VE DECIDED THAT RESSURECTING THIS SHENANIGANS FOR THE WaRP CONTEST IS A GRAND IDEA. This is the first incarnation of trying to convert TMF into a more Mass RP-like story: I'll be adapting it further over the next few days.

    04/12/16
    A ‘FACTIONS’ tab has been added, expanding the information available on the different Awakened groups and providing more roles within the story for players to fill. My hope is that we can have each faction, manned and led by PCs, pursuing their own agendas as the story expands and develops.
  • WATCH THIS SPACE





SETTING

THE MACHINE ELYSIUM THE LIE METROPOLIS THE CITADEL LIMBO INFERNO




  • “Niemand ist mehr Sklave, als der sich für frei hält, ohne es zu sein.

    [None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free].”

    - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 'Elective Affinities'​

    That which you know as Reality is the Machine. The air you breathe. The ground upon which you walk. The world you inhabit, and the stars that blink above you. It is a prison for the mind and soul so vast and esoteric it almost defies comprehension, crafted through the genius of our greatest foe to keep us from re-attaining the power we once held.

    Everything described below exists as part of this vast, monolithic creation, cogs and gears turning in what was once believed to be an endless cycle.

    Yet with the Demiurge's disappearance, the Machine has begun to falter. Pieces of it have stopped working entirely, slowly falling to rust and decay. Other parts are grinding to a halt, their once steady rhythms that maintained this prison now irregular and spluttering. When one travels into the heart of the Machine, a vast, beating network of technology and machinery interconnected by gangways and ladders, one can tell that the Drones, the creatures of flesh and machinery fused together who maintain the Machine, have become lost without the guidance of the Demiurge.

    As it deteriorates, so too does the prison itself. And so too does the hold that it has upon the minds of the imprisoned.

    The final cycle has begun.



  • “I wanted to destroy something beautiful I'd never have... I wanted the whole world to hit bottom.”
    - Chuck Palahniuk, 'Fight Club'​

    It is a testament to the cunning and cruelty of the Demiurge that he chose to use the world we created at the height of our power as our prison cell.

    We call it Earth now, and few of us recall that once upon a time we forged it as a paradise of dark beauty and creation. Cut off from our true nature, we have abused and ruined what could once have been a utopia, exploiting it's resources, despoiling it's wonders, allowing the spread of Metropolis to drive blades of steel and concrete through its surface.

    Thanks to the Machine's poor maintenance, there are places in Elysium where the illusion stretches thin to allow us to see through into the true nature of things. And to allow the things that lurk outside our prison cells to see us. The inner-hearts of sprawling cities, where crime and suffering is rampant. The slaughtering grounds of battlefields, where life is extinguished en-mass. In these places, it is possible for imprisoned humans to comprehend the true nature of things, if only for a heartbeat.



  • “One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion.”
    - Voltaire​

    The Lie is not so much a place as it is an emanation of the Machine. Sometimes known as the Filter or the Veil, it is the metaphorical blinders strapped to every imprisoned human's head and mind, hiding the true nature of their prison from them. It is what keeps the vast majority of humanity docile and in chains, unaware that they are prisoners. In short, it is the world as we prisoners of the Demiurge know it.

    And as with most creation's of the Machine it is beginning to fail, allowing a rare few to bring free and re-awaken.



  • “Our torments also may in length of time
    Become our Elements.”

    - John Milton, 'Paradise Lost'​

    You can glimpse it at the heart of every city, where society breaks down and the buildings seem to surround you from all angles. In the last century it has spread into our world further and further, manifesting itself as our capital cities and population centres.

    Metropolis, the endless city.

    Stretching throughout the Machine, Metropolis is a vast plane of buildings and skyscrapers. Almost every building humans have ever built can be found here: Roman architecture sits alongside contemporary skyscrapers and medieval cathedrals. There is no sky, for from the streets one can see the Machine in all it's terrible glory, it's parts constantly moving and working or slowly decaying and breaking down. The buildings are dark and oppressive, looming down upon those who walk the seemingly empty streets of Metropolis. Parts of Metropolis have fallen into disrepair, much like the rest of the Machine: many districts are filled with crumbling buildings and broken asphalt.

    All of Elysium's cities are connected to Metropolis; it is quite possible to walk out of our plane of existence and into this one, and from Metropolis one can travel to any city in the world. One could move through it's oppressive streets for days and never come across any signs of life, then suddenly find yourself in New York or London, amongst the chaos of modern-day living.

    Or you may become prey for the creatures that call the city-plane home.

    The armies of the Demiurge accompanied Him into the prison He built for us, coming to live in the city He built around His great Machine. They are creatures of nightmare: through faded memories and re-collections they have become part of our myths and legends. Werewolves stalk the asphalt, in search of humans who have wandered too far from home. Vampires build next in decrepit buildings, dragging their victims down into the dark. And then there are the older things. Things we have no names for anymore, but remember us all too well.

    From any part of the city, one can see the Floating Palaces of the Angelic Choirs, the oldest and most powerful servants of the Demiurge. Each of these fortresses reflects the nature of the choir and its leading Archangel, living metaphors for concepts and aspects that the host in question embodies.

    And at the centre of Metropolis stands the Citadel, the throne of the Demiurge.



  • “The Panopticon must not be understood as a dream building: it is the diagram of a mechanism of power reduced to its ideal form.”
    - Michel Foucault, 'Discipline and Punish'​

    It rises from the floor of Metropolis and pierces into the Machine itself above. The Tower of Babel, the Watchtower of our hidden prison, it stands at an impossible height, stretching up and beyond into the chrome heavens. We know it as the Citadel, the throne of this twisted heaven where sat our God, the Demiurge. Once it was alight with incomprehensible machinery and technology, and from it's peak the glow of the Demiurge's throne-room could be seen: a burning artificial sun that blazed across the vast expanse of Metropolis.

    But with the disappearance of the Demiurge, this changed.

    The Citadel lies dormant now, a resting beast. It's machines are silent and unmoving, it's light fading. None can enter the Citadel now, and any who might still be trapped within cannot escape. The Gate of Tears bars the courtyard and entrance of the Citadel, a terrible synergy of masonry and flesh that tears apart any who seek to enter uninvited.

    No-one truly knows how one might enter the Citadel now. Some suggest that the seven keyholes upon the Gate of Tears means that one must first collect the seven keys needed to unlock the Gate and enter, yet others believe that one must gather the blood of the Demiurge himself to enter. Many have tried, since the Demiurge vanished.

    Their eviscerated corpses lie as monuments to the folly of this task.



  • “Beyond the edge of the world there’s a space where emptiness and substance neatly overlap, where past and future form a continuous, endless loop. And, hovering about, there are signs no one has ever read, chords no one has ever heard.”
    - Haruki Murakami, 'Kafka on the Shore'​

    A plane of existence that links Elysium to Inferno, Limbo is a vast land of emptiness: it is almost impossible to tell where the sky ends and the ground begins. Without the powers of the Awakened, one could walk forever across this lonely plane and never find anything. Mortals have indeed been trapped in this place in the past, slowly going insane from the isolation and lack of any landscape around them.

    Limbo is, however, a plane of raw creation, and the Awakened are capable of utilising this. With their powers they can mould the empty landscape of Limbo into whatever they desire, building great castles of glass or forming solid landscapes out of emptiness. Within this plane, too, one can find hidden doors and passageways that lead to all parts of the Machine. A skilled explorer of Limbo can get to anywhere they need to be, without ever being expected.



  • “Hope not ever to see Heaven. I have come to lead you to the other shore; into eternal darkness; into fire and into ice.”
    - Dante Alighieri, 'Inferno'​

    Even in death, humanity remains trapped within the Machine, their souls seized as they die by their captors and dragged to the plane of Inferno, there to be tortured for all eternity for their supposed sins. It is a realm of hopelessness and insanity, where malicious Devils torture their prisoners with wicked abandon, all watched over by the Demon Lords, the jailers of Hell, and by Satan, the fallen protégé of the Demiurge and ruler of Inferno.

    Navigating Inferno is difficult, even for the Awakened, for it is a plane of winding corridors and endless staircases linking up the torture chambers and prison cells that damned humans are kept within. Some parts do lead up to the surface, a vast landscape of fire and dead landscape populated by horrors. The sky is empty, and lying at it's centre is a dead sun. It is here that one can also see the dreaded fortresses of the Demon Lords, vast defences carved into the plane and representing aspects of their owners' personalities. At the centre of it all lies the Dark Tower, the throne of Satan, a twisted parody of the Citadel that sits at the heart of Metropolis.

    Inferno was once a thriving bureaucracy, efficiently executing its function; to expunge the memories of the dead, in order to make sure no one Awakens. But Inferno has fallen into chaos since Satan has forsaken her charge to rally her forces against Metropolis. Once, someone from Egypt would go to Sekhet-Aaru, where dog-headed men would rip her heart out and weigh it against a feather - a lifetime of acculturation would make those images especially terrifying. But now, someone from Egypt could just as easily find herself demolished in a Navajo afterlife, where demons and images from an alien culture torture her in ways she would never have expected.

    A poverty-stricken man might find himself being tortured for a rich man's sins, a promiscuous man tortured for a woman's life in abstinence. Nothing in this torturous plane makes sense any more. The punishment no longer fits the crime.

    In a way, the sheer injustice of Inferno now makes damnation all the more horrifying.






CHARACTERS

AWAKENING A STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND CONTACT AWAKENED SOCIETY (CHARACTER SHEET)



  • To discover the true nature of the world takes a rare individual indeed. To survive the repercussions of such a revelation, a rarer individual still.

    Those who escape the shackles of mortality and rise to the ranks of the Awakened are truly unusual, exceptional people. Those who pushed the boundaries of what was believed possible even when they remained blinded by the Machine, those who unknowingly strove to push past the boundaries of their prison. A master painter who created maddeningly vivid depictions of what she believed to be Hell. A physicist whose mental leaps and theories brought into question reality as humanity knows it. Such people have the potential to discover the world's true nature, to become aware of the Lie and look past it.

    Yet this alone is not enough to make an Awakened.

    An Awakened must survive what happens next. Escaping the Lie is a two-way street; at last you can truly see the Machine for what it is, finally you discover the true nature of your jailers... and they, in turn, can see you. An Awakening is a baptism by fire. The vast majority of those who escape the Lie make it this far, only to be torn apart by the twisted horrors of Metropolis or crucified by the forces of the Heavenly Hosts.

    Those who survive are fast learners.

    Those who survive re-kindle the powers humanity once held quickly.

    The ability to clad oneself in darkness, and vanish into the shadows of the Machine. The power to wreathe oneself in flames, to become a figure wrapped in fire. These are but of a few of the magical skills or supernatural abilities the Awakened have manifested upon escaping the Lie and discovering the truth. Often, such talents are discovered in the immediate aftermath of their escape, when the forces of the Demiurge are closing in on them and they must call upon every ounce of their being to survive.

    It is an ordeal in the truest sense of the word. Most do not last through it.

    But those who do can count themselves amongst the Awakened.


  • The aftermath of an Awakening is a traumatic event for an escapee of the Machine. In a single stroke of fate they have lost literally everything they once knew to be real. Their families, their homes, the lives they once led. All is gone, and there is no way to return; an Awakened is a marked man, a target for every servant of the Demiurge that discovers them.

    Some go mad. Some are driven to suicide by the sheer horror and unfairness of it all.

    But such unfortunate souls are rare amongst the newly Awakened. To have made it this far takes a hardy soul indeed, after all, adaptable in the face of even overwhelming change. In the hidden crevices of the Machine, in the crumbling ruins of Metropolis, out in the raw chaos of Limbo they retreat, evading the forces of the Demiurge as they come to terms with this terrifying new world they find themselves within.


  • Established members of the Awakened are ever-watchful for signs of new members to their ranks. Like the creatures and horrors of the Machine they too can sense when a mortal wrenches themselves free from the Lie and discovers the true nature of the world, and will often take steps to aid this burgeoning demigod or locate them should they survive the repercussions of their awakening.

    For a newly-Awakened, the discovery that they are not alone and that others have gone through the same as them is often a much-needed relief amidst the turmoil they have suffered. Safety in numbers is a truism when dealing with the creatures of Metropolis, the forces of the Heavenly Hosts and the invading legions of Inferno, after all. This is not to say that all of the Awakened stand shoulder to shoulder, though. Though each of them finds themselves arrayed against the forces of the Demiurge, there are several conflicting views as to what is to be done now that they have learned the true nature of the Machine and re-discovered their powers.

    These conflicting views have led to the factions that dominate Awakened politics and thinking.
  • Much of the societal structure of the Awakened (if it can be called that) is defined by the factions: part communities, part military orders, they represent the dominant world views of those who have escaped the Lie. Each seeks to pursue its own agenda, to fulfil its objectives and goals, and whilst sometimes these overlap with other factions and their respective attitudes often they are conflicting or even anathema to one another. The factions have established safehouses and fortresses in and around the Machine, defending them with magic or creatures of Metropolis that they have bent to their will. From there, they pursue their objectives in and around the prison of the Demiurge, dispatching teams of Awakened agents to pursue their agendas.

    Three factions currently dominate the ideological landscape of the Awakened community. They are as follows:


    FRUMENTARII
    Taking their name from the secret police of the late Roman Empire, who fought to slay the enemies of a dying nation, the Frumentarii are driven by righteous anger and a need to avenge an already doomed humanity. In their eyes the Machine is crumbling and there is no hope of rescuing those still trapped by it in time. All that is left to them now is taking revenge upon those who inflicted this fate upon them.

    Of the three factions, the Frumentarii are the most militaristic. Hierarchy and regimented structure are vital in their eyes, because they are the ones most willing to directly engage the forces of the Demiurge. This is not to say that they are a herd of suicidal berserkers; the Frumentarii know full well that they are fighting an uphill battle against a far larger force, and utilise guerilla tactics and psychological warfare to even the playing field.


    RUDIARII
    In the time of the Roman Empire, the rudis was a wooden sword awarded to those rare gladiators who had earned their freedom through battle in the arena. This is the symbol that the faction known as the Rudiarii have taken as their own. Their mission is the liberation of humanity, the mass-breakout of the inmates of the Machine. The principles of freedom and liberation push them onwards to find new ways to destabilise an already faltering prison, believing that the more it breaks down the more humanity will become aware of the Lie.

    The Rudiarii operate more as a collective than a hierarchy. In principle they are a free and open organisation that anyone can steer and guide, though in practice they work more as a meritocracy: those with the soundest ideas and the skills to put them into practice tend to rise to positions of leadership, though they are not necessarily seen as above other members. Through acts of sabotage and disruption, through the assassinations of key minions of the Demiurge, they hope to bring about the Machines end (and humanity's liberation) all the quicker.


    EXHUMII
    The youngest of the three main factions, and also one of the most rapidly expanding, the Exhumii have taken transhumanist beliefs and adapted them to meet the realities of the Awakened and the Machine. In their eyes the defeat of humanity at the hands of the Demiurge demonstrates the weakness of our species, even when Awakened; to adapt to the collapse of the Machine and what may come next, they hold that we must become something more than what we are or were in the time before our fall. Scientific endeavour and the pursuit of the unknown are the principles that they abide by.

    The Exhumii have a more unusual structure; part science college, part magical cabal. Groups operate as independent research teams, each of them pursuing their research and testing new ways to advance humanity independently. The heads of these teams come together to form the council that governs the faction, allotting resources and assigning research missions to the teams. More so than the other factions, the Exhumii seek to understand the Machine and the beings that exist within it. They believe that by utilising such resources, humanity can be adapted to be greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Please fill out the sheet below to submit a character for 'THE MACHINE FALTERS':

    NAME: (What is your character known as?)
    GENDER: (Man/Woman/Potato/Etc.)
    FACTION: (Which of the three factions does your character belong to?)

    APPEARANCE: (What does your character look like? Please also provide an image alongside this.)
    PERSONALITY: (What sort of a person is your character?)

    TALENT: (The way in which the Awakened excels. This is a mundane skill, non-magical, but at the hands of an Awakened it is pushed to its very limits to the point where it all but defies comprehension An Awakened who's talent is 'Sprinting' can't just break every record ever set by mortals by a milestone, she could probably outrun the Devil himself (which may prove helpful in the long run). Another of the Awakened who's skilled with 'Computers' could strip the security systems from the Pentagon within seconds, could code sentient AIs if he so wished.)
    PURVIEW: (An Awakened's purview is the domain or manner in which their divine magic begins to manifest. It is a reflection of who they are as a person, and can often be tied heavily to the circumstances of their awakening. The firefighter who witnesses impish devils dragging victims further into a burning building and launches himself after them emerges from what should have been his fiery grave as a living inferno, capable of igniting his entire body at will without it ever harming him. Another of the Awakened meditates in order to wreathe his skin in a layer of impervious stone.

    These powers develop over time. It is important to note that the Awakened are not full Gods in their own right: not yet. Should they survive long enough to come to grips with their powers they may well become such but given that all the remaining forces of the Demiurge are hunting them mercilessly (when they aren't warring with each other), they have their work cut out for them. None of the Awakened has yet survived long enough to ascend to full godhood.

    Though they say one of them is close.)
    PURVIEW ABILITIES: (All Awakened begin the story with THREE abilities relating to their purview. An Awakened with the purview of 'Ice' might be able to wrap his fists in frozen gauntlets, for example, and an Awakened with the purview of 'Sky' might be able to grow wings at will. As the story progresses, and the characters grow more powerful, they will be able to acquire stronger abilities. Initially, however, try and keep them from being overly story-breaking.)

    BACKGROUND: (Who was your character, before their Awakening? What did they do? What were they like?)
    AWAKENING: (What happened during your character's Awakening? What trials did they face? How did they survive, and go on to find the faction they now belong to?)

    SAMPLE PURVIEWS (feel free to pinch them, I did)
    • Animal
    • Chaos
    • Darkness
    • Death
    • Earth
    • Fertility
    • Fire
    • Guardian (Protection)
    • Health
    • Justice
    • Moon
    • Psychopomp (Movement)
    • Sky
    • Sun
    • War
    • Water





FACTIONS

The Factions of the Awakened are as varied as the individuals who make them up: each has it’s own agenda, it’s own purpose, and though they are all united in their opposition to the forces of the Demiurge their goals do not always align. A day may come when their goals do in fact completely diverge, and the threat of a civil war amongst the Awakened could become increasingly likely.

Below is a more thorough breakdown of each faction: who they are, what they represent, and the means they use to achieve their ends.

FRUMENTARII RUDIARII EXHUMII



  • FRUMENTARII – VENGEANCE

    “If you should meet God on the road, slay him.”
    - Frumentarii Proverb

    We are but a shadow of what we once were, even now.

    Even now, He still steals from us.

    Even now, He still mocks us.

    There are but a handful of us who have managed to escape the prison our people remain sealed within, a few rare grains of sand amidst the desert of humanity. Hopeless dependants on the Machine He created to bind us, unaware and uncaring of the lie they inhabit. Worthless eunuchs, their divinity hacked from them, addicted to the vices forged to keep us blind. It would take a millennia to awaken them to the truth of the situation.

    And a millennia we do not have.

    For the Machine falters.

    We are the swansong of humanity, the hardened tendons of the arm gripping our captor's throat. If we are to all die, we shall take them all with us. The Machine will die on our terms. We will burn this prison to the ground, and Him with it.


    FACTION LEADER:
    FACTION OFFICERS:
    HEADQUARTERS:

    The agents and soldiers of the Frumentarii fight with the ferocity and abandon of the damned, for as far as they are concerned they already are. They do not hope for escape or transcendence, they do not believe in a brighter future. What they know is that the Machine is dying, and they intend to settle some scores before it finally does. At their best, the Frumentarii embody the brave soldier unafraid to sacrifice himself for the good of others, the guerrilla fighter willing to face down insurmountable odds. At their worst, they embody the ruthless rebel band who has lost sight of their humanity in the pursuit of a higher cause, the suicide bomber prepared to condemn themselves and others in the name of revenge.


  • RUDIARII – LIBERATION

    “Through victory, are my chains broken.”
    - Rudiarii Proverb


    This was meant to be the perfect prison.

    It's design was flawless. It's implementation, immaculate. From the cradle to the grave and beyond, it was to keep us bound and blind to humanity's true nature, to our full potential, with Him ruling on high over the enemy He laid low.

    This was meant to be the perfect prison.

    And yet we escaped.

    For the Machine falters.

    We are the flapping wings of the butterfly that will spark the tornado. We are the trickle of water seeping through the cracks of our prison, that will one day become the flood. We are the first of our people to break free, but we shall not be the last. With each passing day, the lie we have lived our entire lives within breaks down further. With each passing day, more and more of us re-awaken to who we truly are. It is not a question of if, but a question of when.

    All we need do is destroy the foundations, and let the prison walls collapse.

    Then humanity shall be free once more.


    FACTION LEADER:
    FACTION OFFICERS:
    HEADQUARTERS:

    Idealists and freedom fighters, the operatives of the Rudiarii accept the grim circumstances they find themselves in but look to a brighter future: one where all of humanity has been liberated from the shackles imposed upon them, where we have returned to the divinity we once held. They seek to further disrupt the Machine and its esoteric systems, believing that this will allow ever greater numbers of people to re-awaken. At their best, the Rudiarii embody the abolitionist and the agent provocateur, the people dedicated to the liberation and freedom of others. At their worst, they embody the saboteur and the arsonist, maniacs who believe they can bring about salvation through destruction and chaos.


  • EXHUMII – TRANSCENDENCE

    “Become the acorn, unafraid to destroy itself in growing to a tree.”
    - Exhumii Proverb

    Behind us lies only ruin and subjugation.

    For the road ahead, we must become something new.

    Humanity was weak, even at the height of its strength. It was this weakness that brought about our defeat at His hands, our imprisonment within the Machine. It is this weakness that we must escape, that we must move beyond.

    We who have Awakened as the Machine falters stand at a junction, two paths offered to us. The path of least resistance dictates we resume where we left off, return to what humanity was prior to our incarceration. This is the easiest route, but this does not make it the right one. Is it not better to strike out anew, to defy the familiar and venture into the unknown? To become something more than what we were?

    Something better?


    FACTION LEADER:
    FACTION OFFICERS:
    HEADQUARTERS:

    Transhumanists and scholars, the researchers and field agents of the Exhumii believe that the Awakened still have a further set of shackles to escape from: their own humanity. Venturing into the Machine in search of ancient knowledge and technologies, they seek the means to evolve into something more than what they currently are, something greater than their ancestors who were beaten at the hands of the Demiurge. At their best, the Exhumii embody the pioneering scientist devoted to pushing the barriers of human potential, the philosopher who dreams of becoming something greater than he currently is. At their worst, they embody the psychotic souls who have abandoned their humanity, the deranged researcher who values information more than the lives of others.





THREATS

The Machine is a dark and twisted prison, home to all manner of dangers for the Awakened who have discovered its true nature. Many of these creatures once belonged to the armies of the Demiurge that we fought against, and were defeated by. Others have spawned in the time since our imprisonment, or are said to have crawled and slithered in from the gaps in this world.

Below are but a few of the threats lurking in the Machine.

DENIZENS OF METROPOLIS CHERUBIM FORCES OF THE HEAVENLY CHOIRS ARCHANGELS LEGIONS OF THE DAMNED NEPHILIM DEMON LORDS SATAN THE DEMIURGE DOMINII SHE WHO WAITS BELOW


  • Humanity may not truly remember them.

    But they remember humanity.

    The things that lurk in the dark. The bloodsucking fiends and raging, clawed monstrosities. Vague recollections of such creatures take the form of horror stories and folklore, but they are all too real. And with Metropolis slowly yet inexorably forcing its way into Elysium they are becoming a greater threat for those humans still captive with each passing day.

    Their numbers are uncountable. Documenting and listing all of them is a fool's errand. In the ruins and rubble of Metropolis they wait and lurk, ready for any unfortunate soul who strays too far from the sanctuary of Elysium and out into the no-man's land of the city-plane. Many fought in the Demiurge's armies. Some are but carrion feeders that follows in His wake. Others still once obeyed humanity as minions and servants, but since our captivity have degenerated into feral horrors that have forgotten their masters.

  • Masters of illusion and manipulation, the Cherubim are the bureaucracy of the Machine. They work to control and suppress humanity from within the Lie itself, most of them holding positions of authority and power within human society; numerous judges, politicians and military leaders are in fact Cherubim in disguise, working to keep the masses blind to the prison they are trapped within.

    Though their disguises are numerous, a Cherubim's true form is something quite hideous to behold; a mass of bulging, flabby flesh straddling a humanoid form, with orb-like, dark eyes and a wide mouth filled with teeth. Physically, they have no hope of facing an Awakened and winning, but in numbers they can be dangerous.

    Sycophantic and grovelling to the Heavenly Hosts they answer to and needlessly cruel to the beings they hold power over, the Cherubim are loathsome creatures. Many of them have come to detest humans in their time as wardens of Elysium, blaming their prisoners for their having to also exist within the Lie.

    There are rumours that a faction of Cherubim have, since the disappearance of the Demiurge, begun a plan to overthrow the Archangels and seize control of the Machine: they aim to bring about an even more terrible reign over the blind masses of humanity.

  • The bulwark of the Demiurge's armies, the soldiers and warriors that we fought and lost against so long ago. The soldiers of the Heavenly Choirs are the Angels, divided into five armies serving under one of the Archangels. Each reflects aspects of the choir they serve under, and each is a faceless, merciless warrior utterly committed to serving their leaders without question.

    If a newly Awakened evades the Cherubim and escapes the denizens of Metropolis, it is these beings they are likely to encounter instead. They are the prison guards of the Machine, and though one alone cannot hope to match an Awakened they operate efficiently in teams that can be deadly to any they manage to corner.

  • Eldest and greatest servants of the Demiurge, the generals and commanders of his armies, the Archangels are the wardens and overseers of the Machine. For untold ages they have maintained an endless vigil over the captured masses of humanity, managing and ruling Elysium by order of their master.

    Since His disappearance, however, each now desires to supplant the others in deciding who shall lead in His stead. Age-old grievances and subterfuge, once kept in check by the Demiurge, has now erupted into full-blown conflict between the various armies of the Heavenly Choirs, for each of the five believes they are the true inheritor of the Demiurge's legacy.

    Each of the five Archangels represents a concept, an idea, that they can use to influence the Lie that humanity is trapped within. When Gabriel, archangel of War, manifests himself within Elysium conflict and violence will inevitably break out. Sathariel's presence can be felt amidst the cut-throat political landscapes of our prison. These concepts are reflected darkly by the five Demon Lords of Inferno.

    The five Archangels are:
    • Asbeel, Archangel of Ruin
    • Azrael, Archangel of Death
    • Gabriel, Archangel of War
    • Penemue, Archangel of the Law
    • Sathariel, Archangel of Smoke and Mirrors

  • The Demiurge has vanished, and Inferno marches. No longer held in check by her ruling twin, Satan seeks to break free from the tormented plane she rules and march upon Metropolis to claim the Citadel as her own.

    At her back march the hordes of Inferno. The Legions of the Damned.

    Once like those trapped in Elysium, an eternity of torment and suffering has stripped these poor souls of anything that resembles humanity. They are twisted, mindless husks, all thought and reason torn from them. Their current state reflects the chaotic nature of Inferno, and the innumerable tortures that have been inflicted upon them. Naked, emasculated corpse-soldiers march alongside piles of bodies fused together like human rat-kings. Hulking horrors stitched together from still-living victims lumber along beside legions of fleshy skeletons with blades where there arms once were. There is no uniformity, no rhyme or reason.

    And like a wave, they shall soon descend upon Metropolis in a war for the Citadel.

  • The backbone of Inferno's ruling caste, the jailers and torturers of this hellish plane, the Nephilim are the demons spoken of in the Bible, the furies of Greek legend. They are tasked with stripping away the memories from human souls through endless, maddening torture and cruelty, a task each and every one of them is a master of. With their ruler in open revolt against the rule of the Demiurge, they are also the ones largely responsible for crafting the damned legions that make up the bulwark of Satan's hordes.

    Like the Angels of Metropolis, the Nephilim are divided into five factions that serve under the five Demon Lords, and each of them takes on aspects of their commander. Though torture is their primary purpose, each of them is also a ferocious and terrifying fighter and a group of them is a powerful challenge even for the Awakened.

  • Ruling Inferno under the command of their master, Satan, the Demon Lords are the dark reflections of the Archangels. If their counterparts are the overseers of Elysium, then the Demon Lords are the architects of humanity's suffering. From their fortresses they orchestrate the mass-torment of the souls sent from Elysium.

    Like the Archangels, the Demon Lords are conceptual beings that embody certain ideals and beliefs. These concepts are chaotic and demented opposites of their rivals in Metropolis.

    The five Demon Lords are:
    • Agaliarept, Lord of Mysteries
    • Belial, Lord of Carnage
    • Mammon, Lord of Anarchy
    • Moloch, Lord of Order
    • Orobas, Lord of Punishment

  • The Machine is a place of dark reflections and cruel parodies, and even the Demiurge is not immune to this rule. From her Dark Tower the Demiurge's twin Satan rules the depths of Inferno. Once His most trusted lieutenant and commander of His armies, Satan fell from grace in the eyes of the Demiurge and was banished to the hell-plane to oversee humanity's torment.

    Now that her banisher has vanished from His throne in the Citadel, however, Satan rises in open revolt. Her legions are called, her hordes march on Metropolis through the hidden passages and hell-gates of the Machine.

    She seeks the throne of the Demiurge.

    And she will burn Elysium to take it.

  • The architect of our torment.

    The instigator of our suffering.

    Our lord. Our master.

    The Demiurge.

    Though now absent, His shadow hangs ever-present over the Machine and those who conspire within it. Where He has gone, and for what purpose, none can truly say. Speculation is rife. Has He fled the Machine forever?

    Or is another game afoot?

  • “Reach heaven through violence.”

  • “Come to me, children of dirt
    I shall sing you the song
    That ends the earth”
 
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