Inside the vertical world will be a semi-regular collumn here at Greymatter which will examine themes and features of Lith.
To keep Lith from being a restrictive background, much of what I will be offering will be non-storyline specific. That said, I want with this feature to give Lith more of the feel I had when I created it.
Lith is an unusual setting for me since the characters I made came first and dictated the world they lived in. At the moment, I am resisting the urge to list these characters and the generic stats for things like Dragoons and The Creepies. The reason is a simple; every Lith used by GMs, if I may so bold to think any one would use it, should be different. I am walking the fine line between metaplot and setting, and want to keep that way.
Well that's enough of that kind of talk. Let's move onto three basic elements for Lith.
The Shift is the orbital displacement of the planet that Lith is on which has made the exterior world dangerous to enter. The world outside is called Furnace and is a raging inferno all the time. The Shift is what makes Lith a contained environment. This containment gives you two types of residents. Those who want out despite the inhospitable environment,(There has to be another place like Lith! We have to get out of Furnace!) and those who want to stay.(The Chimeras will save us! OR We'll all die before Lith is destroyed, let's make what we can of this.)
Another aspect of this orbital displacement is that few Orfans understand what the heck an orbit is. The Shift is a disaster of a magnitude that makes it like the Great Flood and doomsday rolled into one. It's a punishment on the Syndics brought down by The Chimaras. Chimaras are gods to The Orfans. These deities of the otherworld have taken The Shift and worked it into the cosmology that they have presented to The Orfans. Due to the adversarial nature of the Chimara, it is quite possible that different packs think differently about The Shift. Perhaps some have turned Furnace into Hell itself with E.N. being the master of it.
The Shift can be used to represent the forces of isolation and destruction which have made Lith what it is.
After the fall of The Syndic Lineage, a lost race of Superhumans if there ever was one, The Silence came. The Silence was a Lith wide reduction of technological functions. During this time, there was no humanoid race. It is a time when The cultures which would become The Creepies and The Crawlies fell from their advanced state. Also it is during this time, that The Chimaras learned about the nature of their virtual world, Otherworld, and pondered the enigmatic nature of The Print. The combined action of these two groups also lead to the denigration of Lith's high-tech past. Without The Silence, Lith may have perserved at the level that The Syndic Lineage had set.
The Silence as an age is fresher in the minds of The Chimaras who now oversee The Orfans. They use it to make the time before into a distant somewhat hazy era of the past. It is known as The Age of Syndics. The Chimaras have to a certain degree characterized The Syndics as a cruel and indulgent race. And with the current effects of The Calamity, it doesn't seem incorrect to the packs. The Silence is the retribution for the evils of The Syndic Lineage.
Lastly the intermittent dark age before the birth of the genetical denegrated Orfans is a crucible of change. Whatever you are or what you believe, it is the time when Lith moved on. Things occured during The Silence which are stil not fully grasped. Some unknown corner was turned which has left Lith as a technologically decayed society.
The Silence can be used as the source of many an enigma and obscured event. It is a time of creation: the end of one sequence and the beginning of another. All mysteries in Lith can be linked back to The Silence, the key moment in The Calamity.
In the Lith Glossary, the definition of the Malady is brief which may lead some to underestimate it's importance as an event and what it represents. The Malady is the viral strain that infected the birthing chambers which then in turn cease to create The Syndics. So you can say Oh that's what killed them but that's not the whole deal.
The Malady is the harbinger of the orfans as well. Without it Orfans wold be syndics. The Malady is the proof that the Print is somehow sentient, an indifferent possibly mad creator of life that is between E.N. and The Chimaras. The Malady is proof that Otherworld exists since that is where The Print originated the command. The Malady is also evidence that all the occured during The Silence is not known.
Since The Malady is of The Print it is only logical to discuss this biomechanical prescence. The Print is a breeding program which has for some reason gone rogue. It's mysteries are inpenetrable to all the AI prescences
in the virtual Otherworld. It is a wild card which allows the conflicts of Lith to continue and may hold the answer of how to reverse them. It is a living glitch.
This glitch is useful in allowing unique characters to come into existence. It can also be used to explore the genetic complexities of Lith. Also it be used to represent the will of an unknowable god which yields to none of the Otherwordly factions which seek to control Lith. While E.N. wants to return to the throne as it were and The Chimaras want to institute a new wolrd where they are in supremacy for no other reason beyond a interior imperative, The Print works for nothing but it's own whim to create and evolve. The Malady is the many faceted viral directive of The Print which brought about deep changes during The Silence and brought about the existence of the resilient but flawed Orfans. Without Orfans, the Otherworld would not have a human stock to carry out those tasks that damaged, compromised, and imperfect technology can not.
Well there's what I got for now. As always this is suggestions not rules.
Next time I'll examine the Culture of The Orfans and the relation between them and the Otherworld.- April 12 2000
Lith, an open source setting, was created George Pletz for public use in 2000.All rights reserved, all wrongs reversed.