Friday, April 26, 2019

A Psi-Wars Historical Timeline V: The Eldothic Era

This is the final post of the history series: these are the earliest events of "Recorded history" in Psi-Wars.

The Primordial Era (100,000+ years BD)

The official history of the Psi-Wars Galaxy begins with the Eldoth and their first Galactic Empire, but civilization in the Galaxy did not begin with them. Something built the Hammer of Caliban and hollowed out the Labyrinthine worlds. Something built Azrael and the Adversary that the Eldoth would later fight are, themselves, ancient beyond even Eldothic description. Little is known about the Primordial Era, and it is left to GMs who wish to tackle the era to fill in the blanks. Possibilities include:
  • A civilization of the Skairos that spanned Sylvan Spiral, the Glorian Rim and the galactic core that meddled with human evolution and mostly perished in some great war against some terrible enemy (perhaps the Adversary or the Anacridian Scourge), but not before arranging to bequeath their civilization to humanity as a successor species and warning them of a coming calamity.

  • An elder cybernetic civilization that came from beyond the Galaxy and created Azrael (or was a civilization of enormous, world-sized “robots”) that once held all the galaxy in sway, or threatened to destroy it, before first being defeated by some civilization and then, later (in a much weaker state) by the Eldoth. They may have some connection with the Anacridian Scourge.

  • The Shapeshifter race has forgotten its origins or its purpose, but most evidence points to their being an artificial race created for some purpose by some impossibly ancient race. They may date from this era.

  • Communion is probably a completely natural phenomenon, but some fringe Communion theories speculate that Communion might be an artificial construct, a sacred psyshic engine similar in function to its more diabolical twin, the Deep Engine. If so, its lynchpins were created in this era, likely in the Sylvan Spiral or the Umbral Rim.

  • The Morass and its Leviathans are probably natural evolutions, but the Sylvan Spiral was not always infested with both. In the Primordial Era, the Sylvan Spiral was clear of both, and in this era, something may have made them or some events may have transpired that allowed for their rapid infestation of this galactic arm.

The Eldothic Union

~6000 BD The Eldoth Awaken (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~5150 BDC Lithian; ~-25gc U Eldothic)

The Eldoth begin to explore the space of the Arkhaian Spiral. They have very primitive forms of FLT travel, so this takes a very long time by modern standards. During this phase, they mostly set up colonies

~5500 BD The First Age of Chaos (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~4650 BDC Lithian; ~-10gc U Eldothic)

Once Eldothic colonies have been established and they begin to more regularly interact with one another thanks to slowly improving FTL travel, they find their civilizations have sufficiently diverged that they no longer have any sense of unity. The small “star states” begin to raid one another for technology and resources. They also regularly come across other aliens that they can experiment on and incorporate into their small empires. Their movements into the core and fringes begin to give them their first encounters with what their archives will later describe as “the Adversary.”

~5300 BD The Deadzone and the Corruption (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~4450 BDC Lithian; ~-2gc U Eldothic)

The first experiments with the Deep Engine go horribly awry, creating an monstrous, planetary-scale Broken Communion zone and an entity within it referred to as the “Deep Corruption.” The Eldoth are able to contain the planet as the core of the Deep Engine and contain the entity within the Deep Engine itself, locked away behind layers of security, but it still moves within the pan-galactic network, lurking behind safeguards, seeking a way to get out and express itself.
This naturally results in the total extinction of a species.

5251 BD Eldothic Universal Time (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(4384 BDC Lithian; 0gc U Eldothic)

The Deep Engine experiments conclude with the successful creation of the Deep Engine and its initiation on multiple worlds, thus networking them together. This moment is chosen as the arbitrary “cycle zero” of “universal time”

~5200 BD The First Eldothic Union (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~4300 BDC Lithian; 1gc U Eldothic)

Increasingly concerned by alien threats and united by the Deep Engine, the Eldoth set aside their differences and form a “Union,” governed by “the Convocation of Exarchs” representing each major state and faction within the Union, and administrating their own local portion of the Deep Engine. This council is physically located on their homeworld of Sepulcher.

~4700 to ~4500 BD The Great War with the Adversary (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~3800 to ~3600 BDC Lithian; 17gc to 23gc U Eldothic)

The coordination afforded by the Convocation of Exarchs allows for a deep push into the troubled Galactic Core and into the Fringe (the Anaciridian Cloud), where they definitively encounter and catalog what their archives refer to as “the Adversary.” The Adversary is associated with Azrael, locked away in the Core in the present day, and its dangerous minions located in the Anacridician Cloud on the Fringe of the Arkahaian Spiral trying to reconnect with it.

The Adversary initiates a war with the Eldothic Union, who are forced to defend themselves. This Adversary War lasts two hundred years, during which Deep Engine cores are broken, leading to more Broken Communion “Dead Gods” and more Deep Engine corruption. Entire Eldoth worlds are shattered during the war The Eldoth create their servitor race and their engines of war, such as the Titans, to defeat the Adversary, and even then, they are only able to force Azrael into a “slumber” state.

~4400 BD Eldothic Empire (The Arkhaian Spiral)
(~3500 BDC Lithian; ~25gc U Eldothic)

Once the Adversary War completes, all of Eldothic culture is rocked by the aftermath. They pick up the pieces, repair what they can, seal away Broken Communion corruption and rebuild their society. Their culture has been deeply affected by the war and their near extinction, and slowly becomes deeply militaristic and paranoid. While still called the “Union,” the culture changes enough to mark a new epoch in the government and most human and Ranathim histories of the Eldothic Union begin to refer to it as the Eldothic Empire around this point.

~4400 to 3200 BD The Eldothic Conquest (The whole Galaxy)
(~3500 to 2300 BDC Lithian; ~25 to 65gc U Eldothic)

With an overriding goal of ensuring the safety of the Galaxy from the inevitable return of “the Adversary,” the Convocation of Exarchs set about bringing the entire Galaxy to heel. This required the creation of new Dark Engine nexuses, bringing new alien populations in line, scouring the universe for Adverserial taint, and ensuring that none posed a threat to the new Eldothic order.
The conquest took time, as the Eldoth were methodical, and because their form of hyperspatial travel was far slower. Worse, they ran into serious problems when attempting to conquer the Glorian Rim and the Sylvan Spiral. In the former, they encountered the Maelstrom and, according to Deep Engine archives, a manned Hammer of Caliban which fired upon their vessels and destroyed them, forcing them to retreat. Similarly, the Morass proved too difficult for the Eldothic Empire to conquer and this forced them to retreat.

~4000 to 3500 BD Ranathim Colonization (The Umbral Rim)
(~3100 to 2600 BDC Lithian; ~40 to 55gc U Eldothic)

The Ranathim, like most early star-faring species, colonize the local regions around them using slower, more primitive forms of hyperspatial travel. These colonies begin highly independent of one another, prone to raiding one another for slaves, and developing independent cults.

~3600 to 3200 BD Keleni Colonization (The Umbral Rim)
(~2700 to 2270 BDC Lithian; ~50 to 60gc U Eldothic)

The Keleni begin their colonization of the Hydrus Constellation, bringing their temples and True Communion with them. Their colonization efforts use primitive forms of hyperspatial travel, but they also move slowly to maintain close ties to one another, creating a unified Keleni star-nation named “The Temple Worlds,” focused on their homeworld of Temjara and the dominance of the “royal” Kihita Tribe.

~3500 to 3400 BD The Blood War (The Umbral Rim)
(~2600 to 2500 BDC Lithian; ~55 to 57 gc U Eldothic)

The disparate Ranathim colonies have bloomed into full star-nations and begin to wage outright war upon one another during this era. The war begins to spiral beyond pirate raids and into full conquest and total destruction of populations, much to the horror of other Ranathim who all agree that the war should stop, but do not want to be the one to surrender to make it happen.

~3400 BD The First Tyranny (The Umbral Rim)
(~2475 BDC Lithian; ~57 gc U Eldothic)

The homeworld of the Ranathim, Ranagant, rises supreme over its colonies, and establishes the first Tyranny. The Cult of the Mystical Tyrant claims its lineage begins with this Tyranny, and claims Ozamanthim founded this first dynasty. However, this may be revisionist history, as evidence from this era suggests the first founder was “Anthara” or “Mythamar,” and the character of the Mystical Tyrant cult of this era was much closer to a typical Divine Masks cult (though the Divine Masks, as a unifying concept, did not yet exist), with the Tyrant channeling the power of a divine “Mystical Tyrant” while in an ecstatic state as a means of making policy with “divine” assistance. This ends the Blood War.

~3300 BC Keleni-Ranathim Contact (The Umbral Rim)
(~2400 BDC Lithian; ~60gc U Eldothic)

The growing influence of the first Ranathim Tyranny ran into the growing power of the Keleni temple worlds. For the first time, the practitioners of True Communion encountered practitioners of Dark Communion. In these heightened tensions, Ranathim pirate raiders fought skirmishes with Keleni temple guards, Keleni merchants swapped relics with Ranathim cultists while offering new ideas. The two sides cautiously appraised one another: the Keleni horrified but not yet willing to commit to a full military response, and the Ranathim fascinated by the beautiful and strange Keleni.
This era also saw the first contact between the Ranathim and the Trades of the core, who carried with them the stories of Eldothic horrors.

~3200 BD The Keleni Apocalypse (The Umbral Rim)
(~2270 BDC Lithian; ~65gc U Eldothic)

When the Eldothic Empire reached the Keleni Temple worlds of the Hydrus constellation, they came across a force they did not understand or know how to combat: True Communion. Or, more specifically, the holy sites of their temples. Those who followed True Commonunion had a knack for cleansing the regions of “twisted psionic energy” that the Deep Engine needed to function. This threatened the whole of the network that the Eldoth had created and, despite their obvious technological inferiority, this power gave them the ability to resist the Eldothic advance. Horrified by what they found, the Eldoth turned their attention from the rest of the Galaxy and poured their firepower down upon the Keleni worlds and overcame them. They flattened temple complexes and enslaved and moved entire populations to the Arkhaian spiral to study, so they could better understand the phenomenon. This shattered whatever nominal power the Keleni had in the Galaxy, which they would never truly regain.

This era sees the first creation of “psi-blades,” used by Keleni insurgents to channel their psionic rage against the Eldoth and strike back to defend their people, a controversial move by the generally pacifistic species.

~3100 to 3000 BD The Great Monolith War (The Galaxy)
(~2200 to 2060 BDC Lithian; ~66 to 70gc U Eldothic)

The Keleni Apocalypse woke the Ranathim Tyranny up to the true danger posed by the advancing Eldoth war machine. From nowhere, a great power descended and destroyed a rival like they were nothing. The Ranathim hardened their defenses and prepared to resist. They used spies to subvert conquered populations and convince them to rebel, and they stole secrets from the Eldoth. With stolen Eldoth secrets, they created the Gaunt, and most True Tarvathim date from this era. Their cultists and priests used Dark Communion to send Deep Engine sites spiraling out of control and unleashing and even controlling the Deep Engine.

Despite great losses, the Ranathim marshaled their new technologies, their dark powers, and the discontent of the galaxy to drive the Eldoth all the way back to their homeworld and achieve something the Adversary hadn’t been able to do: defeat the Eldoth. Nothing remained of their empire by the end of the Monolith War.

(The Eldoth may have been fighting a two front war at this point. Constantly vigilant against the return of the Adversary, it seems a second wave from beyond the Fringe of the galaxy had struck and the Eldoth had been forced to split its forces and were thus unable to prevent their own destruction at the hands of the Ranathim).

~3155 BD The First Mug Incursion (Speculative) (The Sylvan Spiral)
(~2221 BDC Lithian; ~65gc U Eldothic)

According to the Lithian calendar, this would be a moment when the Draco Cluster was “open” and the Mug could have entered the Galaxy. Some records from the first Tyranny, during the chaos of the Monolith War, report raids by pirates and the use of mercenaries that might match either the Sathran or the Mug.

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