Sunday, 11 June 2017

A Cosmology for The Last Day Dawned: Part 1: The Infant Demiurge

I have mixed feelings about cosmology in games. Most of the time, I think its irrelevant (your world was birthed from the skull of the dragon that ate the last universe? Pretty cool, but will it ever be relevant in a game session?) and a little self-indulgent. It is useful, I think, for establishing the tone of a setting. I also prefer that there be essentially conflicting verdicts in the world about how, why, and by whom the world was created.

Here is one such verdict.

The Infant Demiurge

For infinite kalpas, there was only Void and The Infant Demiurge. Both infinite. Demiurge dreamed of every dream that can be conceived, and was content with the majesty of this purpose. Void continued, unthinking, wrapping Demiurge like a blanket.

When Demiurge had dreamed every dream that could be conceived, he was dissatisfied.  Demiurge looked around Void, and her brow furrowed and her feet stamped and she struck at Void in a most unbecoming display. Demiurge howled and roared at empty Void; and was greeted with silence untainted by causation. The Infant Demiurge looked to her dreams and looked to Void, and began to ponder.

Thus Demiurge spent ten thousand kalpas erecting a palace for his imagination: a perfect labyrinth of inspiration: gardens and artworks and landmarks, all finely carved from the bones of the Void. The Void, uncaring, receded from this point of light. Demiurge grinned the madly satisfied grin of a toddler and called his new palace The Hundred Thousand Heavens. Licking her lips, she lay down to dream.

And found she could not.

Demiurge tossed and turned. Demiurge bit her lip. Demiurge ruefully stared at her ceiling of boundless and impossible beauty with a knowing, guilty frustration. Demiurge kicked the tiniest vase self-consciously, and shattered it. Emboldened, Demiurge kicked and shouted and punched and screeched so loud that even unfeeling Void felt the first feeling of concern. Thus was born EMPATHY.  Void fretted. Void frittered. Newly cognizant Void turned an infinite intelligence to the dilemma and found it wanting. For one kalpa, Demiurge shattered The Hundred Thousand Heavens, kicking down her palace with a bull’s abandon, and Void glumly whirred with ideas.

To dream a new dream, Void concluded, there be must new things. Frantically, she shared this wisdom with The Infant Demiurge,

The Infant Demiurge, eyes wide with wonder, picked a shattered fragment of Heaven, and breathed life into it, and set down her creation: The First Titan.  Demiurge watched with an appraising eye as The First Titan wandered the ruins of Heaven: inspecting a balustrade here; a shattered armoire there, a broken staircase further. Curiously, The First Titan started to build and produce and learn and be. With immense glee, Demiurge leapt across the ruins of Heaven and created a vast legion of Titans, who wandered the ruins of Heaven in an orgy of fecund creation. Demiurge’s eyelids fluttered, and she slept for ten thousand kalpas of blissful dreaming right there on the floor.

When she awoke, Void had receded too far to see, and Demiurge felt a pang of loneliness and panic. All around her were the creations of the Titans: worlds of fire and ice and rock and salt and dreams and terror and amber; and each teemed with the multiplicity of their inhabitants. Demiurge looked on the chaos that had unfolded in the ruins of heaven with a grim determination. Feeling into the void, she erected a new Heaven, with a mighty throne to appraise this confusing multiverse that had grown up like lichen on her perfect creation. As it teemed and roiled and grew, endlessly consuming Void to further its limitless creativity, Demiurge knew she must impose order somehow.

Thus Demiurge spoke the First Law, and its name was DEATH.
The thronging multitude was thus limited, as the older mortals were now age and die. Content, Demiurge nodded to herself.

But the Titans looked up at Demiurge on her mighty throne in her new heaven, and wept.

Demiurge beadily appraised the mortals who now feared the First Law. Eager to avoid DEATH, many turned to theft or murder or savagery and most unbecoming behaviour in the ruins of heaven. Demiurge’s eyes narrowed with purpose, and she spoke the Second Law, which is JUDGEMENT.

She raised up two tribes from the ruins of heaven, and set to them oversee the Laws.

The Titans saw the infinite cruelties of Hell. The Titans saw everywhere the erection of temples; the shackles of priesthood; the tyranny of the soul, and they were greatly angered. They whispered a few syllables of their song, Demiurge’s song, into the ears of ambitious mortals. These mortals, singing with the voice of god, tinkered with the foundations of all the worlds; and goaded each other endlessly to greater sacrilege and blasphemy, as they turned magic – the song of Demiurge – to their own purposes.

Some even looked at Demiurge dreaming on her mighty throne, and conceived of that most sovereign of sins.


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