Disconnect: A Uranium Butterfly
Vastland Vignettes 1
One can’t help it, can one, sitting pretty, a heavy metal butterfly sauropod taking a break on a rusting girder on the edge of all existence. One can’t help it, can one, losing the thread of a story, and going all wobbly, and coming back with something else?
The butterfly sauropod should apologise, but it took me aside and hasn’t let me finish my tale of the Thin Man and the Komdt. I’ll finish it, soon enough, but for now it rests.
You see, behind the veil, I’m compiling and contriving a roleplaying tome, a book of words and art. The Seacat book Uranium Butterflies, and it’s a tome. 320 pages now. I wish I could split my mind, to do some story in the morning, some setting in the evening, some game design in the midnight, some art in the afternoon, some timeloss in the 25th hour, but I can’t, see? I just can’t. Not for lack of trying, but the mind just won’t split. Give it coffee, give it tea, it stays grounded, can’t you see, like a butterfly human reading a newspaper about a war in far of Miscellané, where a bone-faced prince with red eyes screams their golden sword Plumdrink made them go mad. All folly, I say, all folly.
Swerve, stop, verve.
Instead of the story, some vignettes from the Vastlands, to say hello, to remind you that the game goes on.
I hope you’ll enjoy these excerpts from the Lexicon of the Vastlands.
Era of Second Soil
Mythical era, creation cycle.
After First Soil was lost, orphan humanity wandered for forty generations in the shadow carcass of their dead sun. They fed on the manna built by the gods’ machines from the broken stuff of their old homes. Nutrition for the body, but not the spirit, many faded and became shells. Loops of cognition in bodies without soul or motive.
Second humanity was born when a dandelion seed landed on Second Soil. The seed germinated, rooted, grew, blossomed and seeded again and again, until the fields of Second Soil encompassed a myriad of myriads of golden flower-suns.
New gods were born, Wörms to dig new tunnels, Builders to create new fields, and angels to tend them for the children of second humanity.
Mythical era, corruption cycle.
After Ill Nano, the corruption dwarf, fell from the sky, after the sun lost it’s second eye, the creatures that kill and destroy were reborn from the mud and the dust. Ill Nano’s broken dreams crawled like worms into the parks and fields of the peaceful homanders and awakened the curses of the untamed times. Many shambled broken and malformed, not long for this world, beyond even Ill Nano’s ability to awaken them.
Some remained. The lasters who outlived the homanders, who went feral like their dogs and deer, cats and cattle, called Ill Nano's creations that survived the vlights.
Typical are the viguolves. Bear-sized omnivorous after-dogs, transformed by the strange dreams of Ill Nano. Some bear the handprints of their maker in the flashes of prophecy that glitter in their eyes.
The rarest, most accursed viguolves give birth to novelopes, intelligent creatures at first glance human but deeply alien. Novelopes develop as a tumour within the belly of a viguolf, ripping their way free when fully grown and in full monstrous vigour.
In Cathedral Town the jimjays offer a soul’s bounty on every viguolf and a twenty-soul’s bounty on every novelope.
Root Tunnels of Reality
prof. Nihil Overlook, Ancient Cosmoplasmic Mythologies, 2nd ed.
see also: The Dull [REDACTED]
Many traditionals call the passages connecting the natural and artificial gates dotting the cosmoplasm the ‘root levels’. This is obviously an agrarian mythological convergence linking the sowing and growing plants with burial and the journey to a mythic chthonic afterlife. In this way roots symbolize the passage between the worlds of the dead and the living.
It is unclear why so many quarterling-derived labor castes sing doggerel about reality system administrators* manipulating the Given World by accessing the ‘root levels’. Surprisingly, these tales are incredibly old, with confirmed variants recorded in the third and second archaeological stratums of the Bell Abacus Arcology.
Unexpectedly lucid work by mister professor S. Quaffley suggests ‘system administrator’ is a relic synonym for the magical ‘Builders’ of many pre-fog cultures. If the mister professor did more such work, rather than trying to manipulate the grant committee, perhaps they would have retained tenure.
The Venerable Passages
Heroic era, ethnogenesis folk tale.
[FINALLY, A STORY -ED]
An epic cycle of heroic poetry from the subterranean epoch. It tells the story of three peoples, the Archaeans, the Mutilii, and the Radiantes.
Every generation the Archaeans offered half their children to the Mutilii in the deep places, and their most beautiful youth to the Radiantes in the high places. One year, the youth to be offered, one Heloi, is so lovely that the chosen pick-warriors refuse to see him uplifted into ash. This breach of the gift-law provokes the lord Pripiat of the Radiantes to scourge the Oldest City with invisible fire and steal Heloi. The Archaeans under their twin-kings Lock and Molock take up their leaden shields and voyage up to hell in their haulworm ships. There, they find the empire of the Radiantes crumbled and hell burned out. They besiege the great fire-city of Try, where Pripiat keeps the beautiful Heloi. For seven years the war rages, until at last, by a ruse, the Archaeans sneak an atom-heart mother into the city of Try and destroy its invisible walls. However, the gods punish the pride of the Archaeans, and they return to their many-chambered cities to find their homes raided by the Mutilii, their spouses broken, their pure-childs stolen into the deep places, and their life-support temples devastated. The surviving Archaeans abandon the hulks of their safe-shielded towns and journey up, into the ashes of hell, where they make their new homes.
Several other epic cycles later built on these stories. Perhaps the most famous is the fragmentary [text redacted].
False tales about the homesteading of hell are forbidden by decree 74,234-bh against anti-civilizational propaganda.
Inspired by the Dictionary of the Khazars, but much
sillier more fantascientific, I wish I knew where Lexicon was bound. All I do know is that I’ve got some 30 more pages of existing lore to transcribe into it. Stay tuned and find out how I fail to write it!
Meanwhile, the One Link to Rue Them All.
There is now a stratometashop. And it has one item. A timelost mug. Welcome!
Yeah, and there you thought I’d just be spammin’ the stratometaship patreon. Ha!
Good cheer unto all,