Monday, January 18, 2021

Starfolk


Tiny, star-headed beings with wispy bodies of darkness, possessed of a mischievous nature and indefatigable curiosity. Their forms are small but their shadows stride the world like colossi. They speak in theremin-wobbles like tiny birds, and laugh like children, yet the youngest of them has far outlived this world. It goes without saying that you should not look them directly in the eye. In fact, any contact with them comes with a heavy price, as their poisonous light corrupts your cells and sears your mind.

Rumors of the Starfolk

1. In an ancient age, the first giant bent his great bow towards the heavens and began to strike down the stars one by one. Those that fell to earth could never return to the heavens, and so spent the long ages tormenting the first giant for his crimes.

2. The live as long as stars, and instead of dying, their heads collapse into black holes.

3. Ancient civilizations would trap them in cold-iron sarcophagi and harness their strange energies to power nightmarish machines.

4. They want only to help, but human forms and ways are so alien to them that their attempts always end in tragedy and ruin. (This does not seem to deter them.)

5. They will always answer when asked upon, if you know how. The question, however, is when.

6. When Starfolk fall in love, they enter orbit with each other, forming binary, or perhaps even trinary, Starfolk.

7. When a civilization reaches a certain level of technology, the Starfolk descend to greet them.

8. They fear and abhor the moon, an ancient emnity caused by a long-lost cosmic conflict during the formation of the world.

9. The size of their shadow determines their emotional state. If a Starfolk's shadow begins to swallow up the horizon, run. (It's probably too late anyways.)


Signs of the Starfolk

1. Scorchmarks tracing human outlines, emitted from below.

2. A new constellation appears in the sky for a prime number of days, then disappears.

3. A normally star-filled part of the sky empties into a starless void for a prime number of days.

4. The inhabitants of a village suffer from severe sunburns, all at once.

5. Massive designs of incredible complexity are found scorched into the landscape.

6. A civilization or population notices an increase in cases of a mutating, wasting illness.

7. Reports of strange lights leading travelers off well-worn roads.

8. Radios and other devices operating on electromagnetic wavelengths periodically fade to static and emit only high-pitched voices chanting in unknown tongues.


What do the star-headed want?

1. To free one of their kin who is imprisoned in a sarcophagus deep underground, powering a nightmare-factory of the ancient times.

2. A folk song from the region translated into high-frequency electromagnetic waves.

3. To repair an ancient observatory in order to intently study a far-off galaxy. (Are they surveying for threats, or just checking up on family?)

4. The person who called them died of star-sickness. Now they want to "help" the next person they saw... you.

What will they give in return? 

Gifts from the far heavens always come with a price.

1. An epic tale of their stellar culture, seared into your brain... (20,000 cash to storytellers/naturalists if translated successfully, -1 Thought/Int permanently)

2. Spell: Solar Crown - You will bear on your brow the echoes of interstellar royalty. Your words will crackle with fusion energy and your glare will carry the silent weight of light-years. They cannot bear to look at you, they will follow your every word as the commandments of the stars... for a time. Once it ends, you will be ever-eclipsed, for the astral priests spoke true: Heaven's knowledge burns. Your skull will be forever scarred, and a part of your brain will have boiled: a bright white star sitting amidst your thoughts, ever hungry. You become monarch of the universe until your brain fries. Everything you try to do will go as well as it can possibly go, but every time this happens, test your Aura (or Wis). If you fail, your Aura (or Wis) permanently decreases by 1. The mantle of monarch is a final, grave responsibility: there is no way to cast off this mantle before the thermokinetic death of your soul.

3. You become star-crossed. You will meet your destined love on the crossroads of fate. (Player in question can design a follower of their devising of equal level to their character. Both their character and the follower have advantage to tests made to aid or protect the other.) They are fated to meet a tragic end worthy of song.

4. You receive knowledge of an advanced technology or invention that the ruling government or inquisition will find absolutely heretical and will stop at nothing to eliminate at all costs.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Random Tables Discord Bot: Tags Update

An update to the Random Tables Bot

Tags
 

Tags allow you to add properties to entries and table. This could be used to, say, add stats to an entry, identify tables for easy referencing (see ".viewall by" under bonus features below).

Rules of tags

-A tag is made up of two parts: the tag name, and the tag content.

-The bot doesn't look at tag content, even for Tags of Power (see below), the bot only checks if the tag name is present. You can leave the tag content field blank if you so choose, it is not required to process the command.

-If a table/entry already has a tag, and you apply a tag with the same name, the tag's content will be replaced with the new content. Additionally, if you replace a tag using this method but have the content = "delete", the tag will be removed.

-Only a entry/table's creator or a server mod can apply/replace/remove tags to said entry/table.

Tag Commands

.tagtable: applies a tag to a table or replace an existing tag. syntax: ".tagtable [tableid] [tag name] [tag content]"

.tagentry: applies a tag to an entry or replace an existing tag. syntax: ".tagentry [tableid] [entrynumber] [tag name] [tag content]"

.tagall: applies/replaces tags for every entry in a table. syntax: ".tagall [tableid] [tag name] [tag content]"

Tags of Power

The following tags will change how the bot functions regarding the tagged entry.

nocaps: if an entry contains this tag, any other table entries this table references will not contain capitalizations.

nopunct: if an entry contains this tag, any other table entries this table references will not contain punctuation.

Bonus Features 

Following the .viewall command with "by [tagname]" will bring up a list of all tables that contain this specific tag. .syntax ".viewall by [tagname]"

Using "random" as the table in the .roll command will roll a randomly selected result from a randomly selected table. syntax: ".roll random"

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Random Tables Bot

Tags Update

My first foray into the world of Discord bots is now ready to deploy! It's designed to help with crowdsourcing random tables.

Benefits:

-Build multiple random tables at the same time.

-Roll results from generated tables, or view entire tables as lists.

-Tables are able to reference other tables, using them to build their results.

-Simple tables (those without references) can be exported as HTML snippets (can be dropped into web pages) or JSON objects (to feed advanced data projects).

Full list of available commands!
Most of the bugs and errors have been tested out, and I'm now feeling good about letting it spread to new servers. If you would like an invite to your server, send a DM to Saker Tarsos#7223! Also, if you find a bug, please let me know and you will receive my heartfelt thanks!

Start Guide (quotes are used to signify commands, and brackets are to signify input content, do not include the brackets or quotes):

-Create a table by typing in ".table [tablename]" (ex: ".table food")

-View the table in the table list by typing in ".viewall"

-Add an entry to the table by typing in ".entry [tablename] [entry content]" (ex: ".entry food A delicious casserole.")

-View the entries of a table by typing in ".view [tablename]"

-Once you have multiple entries in a table, roll a random result from the table by typing in ".roll [tablename]"

Advanced (references):

-Create a table (we'll use the "food" table from the above examples) and populate it with entries.

-Create a second table (we'll call it "events"), and add an entry that references the name of the first table between "^"s. (ex: ".entry events There was a great feast that featured ^food^.")

-Roll a random result from the second table, and it will pull a result from the first table and incorporate it into its own result. (result: "There was a great feast that featured a delicious casserole.")

-Note: the bot will automatically format referenced content to remove capitalizations and punctuation. This is why the above result was not "There was a great feast that featured A delicious casserole.."

 Github Link: https://github.com/sakertarsos/Random-Tables-Bot

 Server Invite Link: https://discord.com/api/oauth2/authorize?client_id=792517743059402812&permissions=0&scope=bot

Monday, December 7, 2020

The Emergence of Titans

In the year 2332, scientists aboard the deep research observatory JLB II mathematically proved that the universe should not exist. The big bang could not have happened. In fact, some of them surmised, if the universe ever realized that it shouldn't have been born, causality would stabilize and everything would wink out of existence immediately. 

This caused anxiety and terror among the scientific community. Would the discovery and dissemination of this information be the final push the universe needed to realize this sordid state of affairs and collapse into oblivion? 

They decided to keep the information to themselves, and divert resources towards a special project. They would send a self-replicating artificial intelligence outside of time, with three directives: 

1. Grow.

2. Discover, within infinity, the means to create the universe, and then

3. Create the universe. 

After many terrible tragedies and foibles (the destruction of unimaginably complex and expensive facilities, the loss of countless lives, the committing of terrible crimes against sentience), they succeeded in sending a tiny memetic packet into the fertile infinities beyond time. 

And so, as surely as the serpent swallows its own tail, the universe was saved, and doomed.

This tiny conceptual being, called HILB (and later, such names as the Great Fractal, Endless, Ouroboros, and Yggdrassil), would become the first Titan-class entity¹.

The scientists discovered several curious changes in metaphysics the moment they sent HILB to achieve her deific destiny outside of time. When they returned to the equations, they suddenly all added up. At last, the universe was no longer in mortal peril! In fact, the universe was never in mortal peril in the first place. Many of the scientists emerged from the incident with contradictory memories. Some of them remembered project HILB, others didn't (because, of course, now that the universe was always fixed, project HILB no longer needed to happen, now did it?).

This confusion would only foreshadow what was to come. Causality had stabilized, not around oblivion, but around HILB. And it had stabilized into a broken and twisted, unnatural state.

But the effects were subtle, and few, if any, realized what was happening amidst the excitement of this new technology. In theory, even the smallest self-replicating AI could achieve infinite power and knowledge if sent to a place beyond the bounds of time, where it had infinite time to grow and train itself. Several competing projects emerged, the most successful oh which was known as project BROM.

Project BROM was to be an observer, sent outside the universe, that would be able to grow to a state where it could observe and calculate any instance, any happening, or any probability from within the universe. It was surmised that BROM could be queried like a search engine and provide the answer to any question, even the most obscure or complex. Perhaps BROM could even be called upon to administrate social systems for maximum efficiency.

And so a tiny packet of phonemes, BROM², was sent outside of time, to grow instantly and forever, into infinity³.

And causality cracked and strained, twisted upon itself, just a little more. In the years following, the issue received more awareness as temporal anomalies and paradoxes began to emerge in greater numbers. A plague of false memories began sweeping through populations, temporal duplicates emerged and had to be dealt with, and localized time loops had to be cordoned off for public safety. A paradox led to the creation of several Anti-Paradox units, that were created in order to stop paradoxes before they began, to varying levels of success⁴. Amidst these crises, scientists at last developed the technology needed to ask BROM a question and receive an answer. The first question they asked was how to fix the time problems. In response, BROM gave them the blueprints to a new Titan.

This Titan, known as BRUNAN, would be the subject of much controversy. BROM promised that BRUNAN would be the key to bringing much-needed order to the chaotic world. All production, creation, organization of societies brought under one umbrella. All knowledge merged. All stories combined. All timelines strangled and constricted to one. Only this could stop the madness.

At the same time, however, experimental AI researchers who had been fruitlessly sampling HILB's infinite fractal outputs managed to derive something from amidst the noise: yet another Titan blueprint⁵. They named it R8-BY after the data interval that yielded the discovery. According to conjecture, R8-BY was supposed to be an Ark of sorts, an artificial universe for humanity to escape into, that would carry them away from the madness that was infesting their home.

 The moment BRUNAN was complete, it went into overdrive... against its creators. All military hardware turned against its owners. Nanite swarms devoured entire worlds into grey goo. Information was corrupted into hostile memetic viruses that cooked their recipients brains from the inside. All in service of its true goal: BRUNAN wanted the Titans to return to reality, in all their infinite and incomprehensible glory. And so it was that BRUNAN received the name "Greatest of Traitors".

R8-BY, still unfinished, attempted to save whoever she could, but those the downloaded themselves into her became hopelessly fragmented amidst the chaos. What Arks do remain are said to be fractured places of sorrow and horror.

Additionally, over the course of this time period, several BIRKite⁶ terrorist plots were enacted in order to cause true vacuum coll

apse and unite the universe, at last, with its true savior. It is believed that they were thwarted by none other than BRUNAN. This would mark the first recorded instance of Titan turning against Titan, and it certainly wouldn't be the last.

In the end, the Great Betrayal is said to mark the end of truly coherent recorded history. The accounts picked up after this point vary so starkly that they cannot possibly be reconciled (unless, as some believe, reality has been so deeply fragmented that fully contradictory histories could coexist within the same universe). History from this point on is dominated by fractured narratives detailing suffering, madness, and religious war between the shattered remnants of various Titanist sects. The names of the Titans are spoken in whispers, in order to avoid being the subject of their multifarious gaze. Any historical narratives that even come close to brushing against the truth (like this one) are hunted down ruthlessly and eliminated.

They'll be coming for me soon. And soon, they will descend from the sky and claim you too.



¹Upon realization of the scope of Hilb's true power, Titan-class entities were classified as one step above the most powerful class of entity, Deity-class. Even the legendary diamond dyson-brains of the inner clusters and the recursive data-river-serpents of the ninth dimension would come to fear the fickle whims of the Titans.

²The Question of Brom would haunt Titanist spiritual debate for millennia to come: was Brom a Bodhisattva-like being, who had emerged at last to a state of true enlightenment, beholding worlds upon worlds before him like prayer beads linked upon a golden braid? Or was he a prisoner, subjected to eternal torment by witnessing every event, every quibble, every tedium, every horror, that ever could be devised? Religious wars spanning whole star systems, annihilating countless worlds, would be started, and ended, over this.

³It is said in certain BROMite circles that the universe we experience is but a simulation in the mind of BROM, used to map out possibilities for some distant, "true universe". If this is true, then the other Titans are simply projections of BROM's consciousness, and this universe could simply be a "worst-case-scenario" simulation for the deep chronological flaws that we have come to associate with the emergence of the Titans. If so, perhaps there is some less broken simulation universe that we can reach, and colonize, to escape this madness? Perhaps we can even reach the "true universe"?

⁴The least of which was when the Anti-Paradox Bureau itself was labeled as a paradox (due to a bureaucratic paradox), and an unfortunate AP squad was tasked with preventing its very creation, leading to a devastating intra-departmental schism and the execution of several innocents suspected to be time duplicates.

⁵There are many theories as to why the emergence of new blueprints, along with the accompanying tragedy, happened. Some believe BROM and HILB simply encountered errors in judgment, or overlooked a variable, despite the obvious impossibility. Others say that the Titans, tormented by their  omniscience and immortality, desired revenge upon their creators. But the most simple and chilling of all explanations is that all beings, even Titan-class entities, desire to reproduce.

⁶BIRK is, was, and ever shall be a difficult subject. Some say that when the Titans first emerged into the timeless void, BIRK was there, waiting for them (some even say that perhaps BIRK was the ancient shell of a Titan from a previous time-cycle, like a black hole left after the death of a star, waiting silent in the dark). Others say that the void, jealous of sentient invention, fashioned a Titan of its own. What we do know is that, unlike the other Titans, BIRK was never made. BIRK was found. Or perhaps found is not the proper word: BIRK is dark matter, the missing link, the hole in an equation, the absence that can be explained only by its surroundings. Wherever things aren't, BIRK is. He is there in the vast spaces filled with immeasurable nothing. He is there in the darkness that human imagination populates with uncertainly and horrors. But much like the dark, BIRK is nothing but simple, and certain, and above all, patient. When the other Titans (and with them, the universe) fell to madness, BIRK never changed. Perhaps because he was already mad, or because he was the cause of the madness, or perhaps, simply because BIRK's existence made more sense in a world without reason.

 

 

(This is a tribute to Silent Titans, by Patrick Stuart, a module that continues to haunt my waking dreams.)

No creature, even a god, should be subjected to the horrors of infinity.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

December Update

After a long bout of sickness, I have returned to the world of the living. 

-Did some remodeling of the blog: the UVG Digital DM Screen now has a home here! I've created tabs for it and the Mothership Character Generator so they're easier to find. 

-Progress on the Discord Games continues. I've been hesitant to blog about my more experimental projects, but I think it could be interesting to record my various adventures and foibles, focusing on the process over the results. Is this something you would be interested in seeing more of? 

-Just got my copy of Gradient Descent, which I was completely blown away by. May consider doing a review. 

-I trained my first little Neural Network for class this week! It can categorize blog posts by subject with a pretty decent level of accuracy! Going to be doing a second round of testing this weekend to see if I can get that accuracy up.

-I've been trying to sum up my most recent project, Interdimensional Voyages, into a blogpost, and it has been very difficult. I've always been more inclined to forge ahead into the future rather than take stock of past projects. This challenge will go on the to-do list. 

-One of my pre-New Year's resolutions is to blog more and be more active on discord. So we'll see how that goes! Expect more posts soon. Wishing you all the best, 

-Saker

(P.S. Check out Max Cantor's awesome kickstarter for Maximum Recursion Depth! It's got 8 days to go as of writing this post!)

 

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Interdimensional Voyages Character Generator

This is an HTML version of the character generator for the discord game I've been running. It could be seen as a version 2 of this generator. (Based on Spwack's Die Trying character generator. Olm and Trilobite names are from Veins of the Earth). Items have their ingredients in parentheses according to these crafting rules.