My Games

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

A World of Many Elements (More Generated Elements)

Four more elements from the Elements Generator. Intentionally avoiding redundancies with the elements in the first post, otherwise fully randomized. I wrote these and the previous four as if they were all part of the same micro-setting, but they don't depend on each other or the setting.

Element 5: Memoria
Color: Green
State: Vaporizing
Additional Quality 1: Iridescent
Additional Quality 2: Fibrous

An elusive pattern in a pea soup fog, reflecting yesterday's light. Thick enough to be cut with a machete, but beware, snapped fibers don't repair easily. The source of the oracles' visions and the wisdom of elders; the species now believes it to be a dilation of cultural consciousness as it evolves; a magnified moment of complexity between an enthalpic and entropic state of awareness. The first generalized artificial intelligence was trained on a data stream of memoria.

Element 6: Liminalium
Color: Rainbow
State: Gas
Additional Quality 1: Incandescent
Additional Quality 2: Semi-translucent

A common origin myth of the species is that all of space and time has always existed all at once, undifferentiated, until the world sneezed into existence. Globular gaseous particles permeate, hot waves slicing reality into holographic categories of Truth. All things have a spectral signature under liminalium, and many unfortunate deeds have been committed upon those based on their visible liminalium signature. Scientists now know that what liminalium reflects visibly only loosely correlates with the spectroscopy. Nonetheless, it was crucial for the development of the natural sciences, and continues to be a source of scientific and philosophical inquiry today.

Element 7: Heartstar
Color: Magenta
State: Plasma
Additional Quality 1: Metallic
Additional Quality 2: Splash of Pale

A silky, oily magma of a metal never seen in solid state, brilliant, yet marred with pale flecks. Painfully hot to the touch, yet provocative like a blister, or a sexual taboo. The oldest novel of the species and the majority since have been tales of romance and conquest, inspired by or in pursuit of heartstar. The most popular commercial formulation today is sold under the brand name Mineral Love.

Element 8: Paradoxicon
Color: Electromagnetic (X-Ray)
State: Solid
Additional Quality 1: Gelatinous
Additional Quality 2: Splash of Teal

Vessels of impossible shapes like borromean rings and penrose triangles, no two exactly alike, barely visible except for a teal mesh, like an engineering schematic diagram. Something not quite life but life-like, like a macro-virus, a mystery of the universe even today. Each paradoxicon is like a complex puzzle, containing otherwise inconceivable wisdom. Those few in history who have cracked a paradoxicon are remembered as saints who went on to change the world with their well-earned wisdom. A common koan of the species is to ask: did civilization begin with the cracking of a paradoxicon, or with the solution that cracked it?


  1. It isn't clear to me what Liminalium principle is. "All things have a spectral signature under liminalium" - so is liminalium a light of sort and all things show a signature when it is shone upon them? The name suggested in-between state, but I am not seeing how it works.

    1. Yes that's correct! The idea is that there were these categorical measurements of the liminalium signature, the colors or other properties of the reflections from liminalium, which scientists and philosophers historically used to derive real and meaningful insights about the world. But when their technology advanced enough to do spectral analyses, they realized that the liminalium signatures are actually multivariate, caused by various chemical and physical factors, most of which are continuous measurements, so the categories of the reflections were actually overly reductive, only weakly correlated with what the liminalium signatures actually represent. So this reflection measurement, which was useful up to a point, but was also used to justify discrimination and that carries the baggage of various other historical views, has been outmoded; the categorical boundaries that their societies had previously subscribed to wholly have been challenged.

      It was actually loosely inspired by some conversations we've had on the server, among them for instance recently we were talking about the artificiality of categories of academic disciplines, speciation/genetics, and gender.

      So that's where the liminal part comes in, if that makes more sense now, but perhaps I could have explained it better or maybe the name is still not the most suitable.

  2. These are really well written. I enjoyed looking back to the original post as well, and I love the idea of a world constructed out of four alternate elements from your generator rather than the traditional fire, water, earth, and air. I think it might be a real challenge to see how they would come together to create all the things of this phenomenal world but it would be a wonderful exercise of the imagination.

    1. I tried with the first four to make them more primal or I guess physical in nature, like describing how the elements were a core part of the sustenance or survival of the species. These four are more about the metaphysics and epistemology, how they see the world and what themes are salient to them, or how they became that way. The hope is that a worldbuilder, or collaboratively an RPG group, could build out a setting fairly organically from there. I imagine any number of settings could be conceived from these in the same way that Golden Sun is distinct from Avatar The Last Airbender even though they both use the same traditional medieval fantasy four elements.