The Cosmic Vault, an Endless Dungeon for Uru Ulan

Previous posts about Uru Ulan


The Ylem and the Pleroma

In the highest dimension there is endless chaos, full of unrealized possibilities. Here and there, there are Cosmoses, universes, floating like bubbles. Together, the known and realized universes are the Pleroma. Outside and far from the Pleroma, in the Ylem, float the Genesis Seeds, mathematical and mystical spikes of possibility, of universes that may be actualized and come to be.

The Genesis Seeds

Left alone, each Genesis Seed will eventually blossom into a universe on its own, but a powerful mage or a god can actualize that Seed. The actualizer becomes the “creator” of that universe, and may guide it how they will.

Curious Parallels

Mathematically, each universe may resemble other universes, with a similar timeline to others.

The Lesser Gods, the Greater Gods, and the Titans

The gods that wander the Pleroma and the Ylem are the Greater Gods, and they are the ruling intelligences of multiple universes. Each universe may have powerful entities of its own, that draw directly on that universe’s energies, and these are the Lesser Gods.

Sometimes, an entire universe gains sentience, and other times, some Lesser God manages to consume all matter and energy in that universe, becoming one with it. This being becomes a Titan, and many of them seek more power, by consuming other universes and Genesis Seeds. In theory, a being that consumed every universe and Genesis Seed would become the ultimate being imaginable, all power and potential incarnate. What would happen then? No one knows.

The Cosmoses and the Malcosmoses

In a potentially infinite number of universes, some are heavenly, and some are hellish for their inhabitants, giving rise to beings that will do nothing but invade and destroy. Some are clearly more likely to become Titans, even worse. The Greater Gods have always known of this danger, and many pledged to find and sequester away the most dangerous of these Malcosms.

The Structure of a Cosmos

Most universes have multiple “layers,” and sentient beings can possess bodies on multiple layers simultaneously. The reason why this happens is, many universes divide themselves early in their existence into sub-universes, each nested one within another. A psychic or spiritual universe surrounds a physical universe, in most cases.

Cosmic Travel

Most of the time, when someone is talking about the “real” person, they’re referring to the psyche, not the body. Characters can travel outside of their universe in their psychic body only, or they can travel with their physical and psychic forms both. In the later case, extra steps must be taken to prevent the instant annihilation of the physical body in the immense potential energies of the Pleroma.

Dimensional Conduits

Conduits or tunnels between universes may lessen this danger, but there’s no guarantee that the destination universe will possess physical laws that are compatible with the traveler’s original body, either, so many dimension travelers prefer to generate a new body for themselves at their destination.

Cosmic Sentience

Each Cosmos is, in its own right, a sentient being. Each being in a universe is actually simply a self-directed unit of that universe itself. Leaving one’s universe behind often entails intense psychic pain, because it’s not at all different from being born. Surviving the death of one’s home universe is similarly painful.

The Cosmic Vault

A single universe serves as a Vault to store the Malcosms, a prison for universes too dangerous to ever be allowed to actualize. This is the Cosmic Vault, an endless dungeon and storehouse, created and controlled by hundreds of Greater Gods powerful in magic and technology.

The Many Faces of the Prison of Possibilities

Some levels of the Cosmic Vault are vast technological laboratories, monitoring these “potential spikes” and “energy anomalies”, patrolled by robots and genetically engineered guardians. Some are vast mazes of stone, filled with wandering monsters.

The Vault Seekers

Every underground maze, every cave system, every scientific bunker, and every monstrous burrow links somewhere, somehow, to the Cosmic Vault. This isn’t intentional, but the power concentrated in the Vault resonates throughout the Pleroma, and the linkages form themselves automatically. The Greater Gods seek to sever these links, but it requires a powerful magical ritual to complete.

Sending Seekers to Verify

The Gods don’t trust each other, so they continually send adventurers to one another’s mazes, to make sure none are touching the Genesis Seeds themselves. A small number of seasoned, magic-using Vault Seekers have formed within the Damocletian Order of the Ordo Custodes Noctis, but they aren’t universally trusted either, being seen as the tools of Ensi Abgal or Mithras.

Seeing the Dimensional Doors

The entrances to the Vaults are hidden, but some few learn somehow to sense them. This seems to be a special magical or psychic talent common in adventurers’ families. Vault Seekers can find entrances to the Cosmic Vault everywhere they go. More naive power brokers in Uru Ulan sometimes look for Vault Seekers, knowing these individuals can get into and out of Uru Ulan relatively easy, unaware of the danger and potential of the Vault itself.

The Vault and Uru Ulan

There are many entrances from Uru Ulan to the Vault. Strangely, although the Portalwrights’ Guild seeks to close them when and how they can, the Servitors themselves seem to build more all the time.

Secretly, Ensi Abgal’s major project has always been to become a Titan, and then, to consume all other universes and Genesis Seeds, unifying all of existence in himself. He’s been away more and more, seeking the keys to his ultimate goal, and this last time, he’s been away for quite awhile.

He Must Be Stopped … Gently

Abigail Enzo just learned of her father’s goal, and she knows he can’t be allowed to succeed. She doesn’t want him to be harmed, though, only stopped. And she needs to find adventurers, trustworthy ones (or at least, short-sighted and predictable ones) to find him and … persuade him to stop. Of course, it will almost certainly not be that easy.

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