Space. It doesn’t change, doesn’t shift with the winds, or fall under a heavy torrent of snow. It sits unchangeable; an eternal void. And it has stood, a vast eternal plain, for over 150 Billion years. During its birth, it created something out of nothing, and brought with it the Ultimate Gods, the Great Beings. And during this time, Spherus Magna was created, explored, and shattered. The planet came into being already in a habitable state, almost as if it was handcrafted to be the spark that ignited both life, and the Plan that would follow. 15 Billion Years passed until the Shattering, and after that, the Great Beings started to work on their Plan. This would be known as the Prime Cycle. From the Dark Cycle between the end of the Prime Cycle to the beginning of the First Cycle, experiments were conducted in separate systems from one corner of the universe to another. During this time, the planet Tharu was constructed.
By all expectations, it should have been the Ultimate Experiment, the Magnum Opus of the Great Beings. With all the technology and planning that went into it, you’d think that the system itself was supposed to be the finished product, not merely a prototype. In any event, it was supposed to be the precursor to the Matoran Universe, designed as a physiologic experiment to see if an isolated system could support itself for a Cycle without resulting in a cataclysmic failure, or the utter devastation of the planet. It was a fully synthetic planet, one of the first things the Great Beings ever truly “created.” The planet was built from the inside out, with the “Axis Mundi,” or World Core created first, to act as a control hub where the success or failure of the project could be measured. It was eventually decided to kill two Kahu with one Kohlii ball, and to test multiple projects simultaneously. So, a prototype AI was constructed, and given control of the Center. The rest of the “planet” was built thereafter, and everything from the weather to the night sky surrounding the planet was synthetic, and controlled by the AI.
Finally, the Crown Jewel of the Experiment was put in. To ensure that all evidence of the test was erased, a Purge Cycle was built into the base coding so that not only would the project be kept a secret, but so that the system could be kept on standby for future test trials, and that the buildup of errors would be purged away from the system after the time limit expired. After all, 15 Billion years is a long time, especially for a computer. You’d have to be idiotic to expect to go that long and not run into any errors. What the Purges would do is erase every memory everyone had about the last cycle, except for things like languages, motor skills, and the like, create a transparent “layer” of ground for buildings and inhabitants to live on during the purge, and then delete and reload the synthetic planet tiles underneath the temporary layer, reverting them to how they were after the Great Beings left the planet. Man-made creations would be untouched, due to the potential consequences that an accidental purge would have on a civilization if it went off before the scheduled time. A protosteel box was constructed and placed into the World Core by the Great Beings, which held a leather-bound journal that was to be updated with information telling future Cycles about previous ones, and what to do and be prepared for once a Purge occurred.
I'll put it bluntly for you. The Great Beings are not infallible, contrary to popular belief. Most of their mistakes were made in the First Cycle, but to be fair, you can't blame them. A cycle is a long time, and one can only remember so much information at any given time. Officially, the experiment was listed as "Successful, Completed, and Shut Down." This was true, to an extent. The First Cycle was successful, and since it was meant to only go on for one cycle, it was completed, but it was never shut down. The honest, blunt truth? The Great Beings lost the system. Yes, the results were transmitted every year as successful and the risk of cataclysmic failure was "Slim to none," but I know we were never shut down. Contact was lost with Bara Magna around 13.7 Billion years in, and eventually everyone just...forgot about us. Life continued on.
A civilization grew out of the initial experiment, and nations formed, lived, and died out. All of the present day Metrus grew out of absorption of neighboring nations, and it was eventually decided to unite the Metrus under one banner. Civilization evolved to begin using the feudal system due to the Middle Age level technology, and thus, the Tharuan Kingdom was created 30,000 years into the Second Cycle. Because it was the first area that the Matoran settled, the Valley of Lights was named the capitol of the Kingdom, and society continued on for the next couple billion years as normal. From a historian’s standpoint, the Valley and the Metrus evolved very differently. The Valley quickly grew to become a jewel of the Kingdom, where the nobility would reside. Everything related to the Metrus was shunned, and wealth and power became the traits that everyone looked up to. Meanwhile, the Metrus faced an entirely different story. Citizens here became the peasant class, and had to work themselves to death to scrape out a mediocre living. This culture difference split the regions, and some theorize it was one of the reasons that the “peasants” were so willing to go to take up arms against the valley later on.
But, even the well-polished systems can fail. One drawback of the Purge Cycles was that it had to erase massive amounts of data from the Core, as fast and efficiently as possible. This was not the safest idea they thought of. As it turned out, errors began to appear towards the end of the Second Cycle. Imagine waking up in the morning, walking outside to go catch some fish, and instead of seeing a calm blue rippling ocean, seeing a gaping hole in the earth, filled with wires crisscrossing the entire planet. The Kingdom quickly moved to damage control, and tried to placate the Metrus. Logically though, people are prone to extreme fits of panic when they step into a puddle and go falling into the wired guts of a planet.
Citizens in the Valley tried desperately to both solve the problem without needing to start a Purge Cycle, and keep the Metrus placated as well. But, we all fear that which we don’t understand, and when the world crumbles around you, you start to lose rationality fast. In the end, the Metrus gathered up their weapons, fought their way to the Valley, convinced the King to let the Cycle end, and descended to the Axis to initiate a Purge. It wasn’t our ancestor’s smartest idea, but it was our only option. Plus, there was always the hope that maybe the base code could be fixed through a system purge. So our ancestors descended to the Core, and began issuing a wipe, erasing everyone’s memories of the awful tribulations the planet was forced to go through. Fortunately, the brave heroes’ deeds would not be in vain, as a young scribe had the foresight to write down a record of the events that occurred, so that future generations would remember the “heroes” of the Second Cycle. So, the Third Cycle began and with the knowledge that a select group of individuals saved everyone, a Tournament was set up by the King in remembrance of the “Purge Wars.” (Matoran are notoriously bad namers.) Each Metru would send two Gladiators to compete for the honor of being named the Tharuan Champion.
So it went through the years until the beginning of the Fourth Cycle. You see, during the Third Cycle, the previous Queen had been a bitter, insane old Makuta, who had been cheated by a Vortixx peasant in the Tenth Metru, and began to plan for her eventual revenge, even if she wouldn’t be alive to see it. Being the Queen, she had access to the World Core, and replaced the Historic Journal with something of her own design. In this book, she wrote that the Arena Isle was used to punish specially chosen Metru Gladiators for their crimes against the “empire that I so lovingly ruled over for the Third Cycle.” The book attempted to delude the next “Emperor” into believing that the Metrus were responsible for the system errors, and that the Tournament could instead be used as a Massacre to hold off the errors until the next year. The next time the Queen’s journal was found was after the Purge, far too late for anyone to do anything to stop her influence from spreading. And thus, the Fourth Cycle began with a transition from Kingdom to Empire, and Tournament to Massacre.
As of the present day, Four Cycles have passed, and the Fifth Cycle is the current era. But nothing is right anymore. The Purge from Fourth to Fifth Cycles was terrible. In written records, it's said that the very core of the planet shook, the continents trembled, and the skies blacked out as a sound like a mashing of gears rang out through the planet. After the purge, the site where the entrance to the Axis Mundi should have been was gone. Even after miners were brought in from the Metrus to dig deep into the earth, nothing was found. Some believe the Axis simply vanished from the planet. During the Cataclysm, it’s theorized that something related to the Purge cycle messed up the base coding horribly. So now, the Fifth Cycle has gone uninterrupted for 45 Billion years, when we should be on the Eighth Cycle. All this time, massive errors continue to pile up, but the location of the Axis Entrance has been lost to us. Some people think that the Core might be on Ascension Isle. Each day, the errors get worse and worse. System flashes will randomly occur. Things so simple like the "sun" will periodically fizzle out, or shift colors. And occasionally, the land and sky will disappear, and be replaced with a wireframe instead of a cloud, or mountain.
From what I’ve gathered, the Empress is so concerned with keeping her power, that he’d rather watch the world around her crumble then initiate a purge and lose all of it. I've heard the stories. Legends talk about the Old Times, before the Massacre, and Ascension Isle remains the only unexplored place left on the system, and I'll bet that's where the Axis Entrance can be found. What really bugs me though, is, with what should be the Ninth Cycle coming up, and the Isle so close to the Valley of Lights, why hasn't there been a purge yet?
Oh well, I'll write more later. I have to get back to work, after all.
-Azibo, Scribe, Valley of Lights.
After the Shattering, a prototype for the Matoran Universe was built, to see if an isolated system would actually work, or fail miserably. This planet was called Tharu. It was fully synthetic, and had a prototype AI which controlled the entire planet from the World Core. To erase all evidence of the planet at the end of the experiment, a purge cycle was built into the “code” of the planet, which would occur every 15 billion years. The experiment was only supposed to last for one cycle, or 15 billion years. The Purge would make sure that nothing the inhabitants built got destroyed, and the Great Beings left a “non-permeable” box behind that they used to hold basically a big history book that got passed on from cycle to cycle. But, the Great Beings lost contact with Tharu, and so the experiment was called off, and the Second Cycle began. Eventually, the present day system of “Metrus” grew out of mass accumulation of other nation-states, and they all banded together to act as regions in a Tharuan Kingdom. Civilization evolved similar to Feudal Europe, and the Valley of Lights was named the capitol. Valley citizens were the nobility, while Metruans were peasants. One flaw in the Purges was that a “git-r-done” approach was used to make them happen quickly and effectively. Think of it like going through massive amounts of coding, being lazy, and just deleting entire sections to get done with it. This caused errors in the code, which freaked Metruans out, and made them storm the Valley and force another Purge to hopefully fix the problems. And it did, which started the Third Cycle. Plus, because of some writer’s great foresight, all of this was written down, and a tournament was started to honor the “brave heroes.” For this tournament, the Metrus would send Gladiators to fight and see who would come out on top and be named Tharuan Champion. Towards the last days of the Third Cycle, this peasant Vortixx scammed the insane Makutan Queen, so she plotted to use the Purges to get revenge on the metrus. She replaced the history journal with something of her own writing that said that she was the Empress of the “Tharuan Empire” and that the Tournament was really a Massacre designed to punish the Metrus for creating the system errors. Gladiators would be forced to fight to serve as a sacrifice to ward off the errors for a year. The next time the Queen’s journal was found was after the Purge, far too late for anyone to do anything to stop her influence from spreading. In the present day, it’s the Fifth Cycle, except there’s a problem. The Great Cataclysm occurred during the Fourth-Fifth Purge, and this one was really bad. It messed up the planet code, and caused the World Core to be lost. An even bigger problem was that shortly after the Cataclysm, Purges stopped happening, and so now the Fifth Cycle’s been going on for 45 Billion years, when we should really be on the Eighth Cycle. Right now, the errors keep building up, but there's nothing we can do to stop it. And even if the Empress could, I think she'd rather doom the planet then give up even a percent of her absolute power.
"But why do I care?" You ask. Because it’s your job to fix the problems if you so choose. Or if you don’t, you get to represent your Metru, aka: try and stay alive for one more day. But, between you and me, I'd rather pick having to save the world over serving in the Massacre. On the bright side, only 24 people at the most can be Gladiators. On the downside, Gladiator selection is usually random, and it's a Last-Man-Standing competition. "Ok, so what can I do in both cases?" Man, with all these questions, you could be an interrogator. Alright, so. If you get chosen for the Massacre, you get to fight for the grand prize of...living one more day while the world collapses around you. But, it'll be hard. You have to pour all of your being into them if you even stand a chance to win. The terrain is brutal, and so are the enemies. On the other hand, if you choose to start a rebellion like your forefathers in the Second Cycle did, you'll have to start it under absolute secrecy. The Empress will execute any conspirators with no hesitation if she finds any resistance to her rule. After you get that started, you have to go find the World Center. Your best bet would probably be snooping around on Ascension Isle. Good luck getting there, though. All passage east of the Valley of Lights or west of the Edge is forbidden, not to mention it'd be quite the challenge, whichever way you go. The Edge is supposed to be holding the most dangerous weather on the entire planet, and the Isle is the most heavily guarded area on the whole planet. After you've gotten there, you just need to find the Axis, and you'll be home free. Probably.
The main villains of this saga, the Empress rules over the Metrus with an iron fist. Any hint of rebellion is crushed without hesitation. You'll have to get past them if you want to get to Ascension. People over here, they’re dangerous. Some of them have grown up despising the Metru citizens; others empathize with the Metruans plight. If you manage to get here, be careful, even just walking around. You can’t trust anyone here. Many of them have grown up in the sheltered life of the Valley, and so they don’t know a thing about the real value of work, or how hard the life outside the Valley actually is. Don’t rely on them for any physical work, let’s just say that. There used to be a Grand University in the Valley, but it was torn down around the Third Cycle, and the effects have shown. Intelligence is viewed as unnecessary and material things are the only things necessary in most of the nobility’s minds.
• The Imperial Military, while once the strongest during the Makutan Queen’s reign, has now been tasked with guard duty by Empress Karora. Many officers feel that this is a waste of their time, and General Rasal himself stated that they had much better jobs to do then “playing babysitter for a bunch of painters, miners, and fishermen.”
The Metruans make up the other 99% of the entire population. Everyone here, they’re looked at as peasantry, unworthy of the Noble’s time or resources. The situation here is the opposite of the Valley, oddly enough. Material things are viewed as nice, but somewhat unneeded, and the value of hard work and cooperation are at the forefront in most people’s thoughts. Sadly though, intelligence is still viewed as unnecessary, something that “you’d only need in the Valley. And you’re never getting there, that’s for sure.”
You poor souls. You are the ones fighting not only to the death, but for your life. Theoretically, you could all band together against the gruesome Massacre to save all of your lives. But, the thirst for blood taints the arena, and honor, reason, and morality are hard traits to come by in the Arena.
Keep in mind, being a Gladiator is both volunteer-able, and a punishment. If I feel you've been a bad citizen of the Empire, to the Massacre you'll go. But more on that later.
Big maps, just a warning.
Bare Map (For Less Clutter.)
Valley of Lights
• The Capitol sits in a lush, fertile valley, which is strange, considering the valley rarely sees the light of day ever since the "sun" shrank. Due to near-continuous darkness, the city relies upon artificial lighting and bioluminescent plants to light up the city. It is from here that the entire empire is run, as well as the Massacre.
• The Arena lies on the isle below the Capitol, but the land bridge between the two isles is heavily fortified by a large protosteel barrier called the Wall.
• The Metrus make up 99% of the known, populated area. They’re all pretty similar, being how the continent isn't really that diverse in terms of environment. Their total area extends from the Capitol to the Edge, not counting the Archipelago.
• While not related to the continent per say, the Archipelago is still part of the metrus. The Twelfth Metru lies just before the Chain of Storms, and so the main island that makes up the archipelago has only been colonized up to the middle of the island, not that you could safely go any further.
Ah, the wilderness. Hope you're ready for a fight. Imperial Guards surround the Expanse, guarding against intrusion. Ascension Isle is the most important feature here. Everything else is just a small islet, rock outcropping, or ocean. The Expanse is defined as everything that’s not marked by a metru or Valley border. It stretches from the Eastern edge of the Continent, to the Western edge of the Archipelago, or the Chain of Storms.
• The Chain of Storms makes up the entirety of the Archipelago’s waterways. It’s named because violent storms often stretch from East to West, snaking through the skies.
• The Twin Rivers surround the main continent that most of the metrus are on. Most of the time, they rush fast to empty out into the Ascension Basin, but sometimes waterways can be found where the waters are calm, and inter-metru transportation harnesses these pathways. Another thing, if you’re ever navigating down the Twin Rivers, be sure to get off before you reach the Basin. If you can’t find a suitable place to disembark, ride the North River down to Metru 12. It was colonized this way, and you can usually find transport back to the mainland if you need it.
• Ascension Isle is the last place that can claim the title of untouched. The entire island remains as unmarked as the day it came into being, and is heavily patrolled by Imperial Guards.
Name: As always, no real world names and the like. You should all know this by now.
Gender: Male, Female, Genderless.
Species: All the usual Spherus Magna+Matoran Universe species are allowed. In addition, I will be allowing custom species, but if it gets too out of hand with powers and the like, you can consider that little gift taken away.
Appearance: What your player’s going to look like. Feel free to put as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with. Here’s a note though, Metruans look different then people from the Valley residents. If I had to take a guess, I’d say that Capitol citizens look like nobility, or upper class citizens whereas Metruans look almost like peasants, due to the harsh treatment they all receive from the capitol.
Tools: How do you stay safe in the world? Tools can mean anything. Kanohi, Weapons, Supplies, whatever.
Powers: What are you capable of? Elemental, Vision, whatever. They all apply here.
Personality: A short summary of how your character acts, why he is that way, what makes them tick, etc. Short, mind you.
Allegiance: Who do you support? Do you agree with the Empress, that the Metruans are to blame? Or do you support the Metrus, who say that it’s the Empress’ fault for not trying to initiate a Purge?
Occupation: What is your purpose in the world? If you intend to volunteer for the Arena, state that here. Otherwise, just put regular jobs and such.
Biography: What was your life like? Explain what happened to make you get here. Feel free to be as creative as you want. It is another world, after all.
Name: Empress Karora
Appearance: Karora takes her Emperorship in stride. She wears sleek, shining bronze protodermic armor underneath an elegant coat, along with the Crown that crown that adorns her head. The armor was specially designed under the design of a hundred Nynrah Ghosts, and is supposedly capable of taking massive amounts of damage without shattering.
Tools: Rhotuka Battle Axe, and a Black Fire Sword.
Powers: Iron, Gravity (Reports Unconfirmed.)
Personality: Karora is cold, calculating, and subtle, commanding her Empire through a combination of fear, natural manipulation, and subtle bribing, while also using any methods she can to keep her subjects in line.
Allegiance: The Empire
Biography: Karora has been the Empress for almost the entirety of the Fifth Cycle. Under her reign, some of the most brutal, dishonorable Massacres have passed. Metruans are "encouraged" to help out their Gladiators to keep the sport going, and drag out their deaths. Born in the Third Metru near the Inhospitable Plains, Karora started from humble beginnings, and used her brilliant stratagems to rank up in the Imperial Military, where she got close enough to kill the former Emperor just before the Fifth Cycle started. Her enemies claim that in not starting a search for the Axis Mundi, she feels comfortable ruling over the world, even as it collapses around her. The Empress is notably paranoid, and never lets anyone into her personal chambers, preferring to meet with her advisors in a formal meeting hall. While she knows no one would be foolish enough to poison her, she still takes her meals alone when she can. The Empress is a highly intelligent individual, and some reason that her disgust with both the Metruans and the Nobility stems from the fact that she views them all as uneducated, and finds that society has stagnated too much for anything to change. She’s rumored to keep an expansive library in her personal chambers, and keeps a private observatory in pristine condition.
Name: General Rasal
Appearance: The general takes a utilitarian approach to his armor, and only wears what is necessary. A simple cloak hides his metallic silver armor, and any needed supplies are carried on a military belt.
Tools: Warhammer, and a Cordak Blaster
Powers: Fragmentation and Sonics
Personality: Rasal is a hot-tempered General, preferring to use military might to crush his opposition quickly, rather than to adopt the Empresses’ “wait and strike” approach to dealing with enemies.
Allegience: The Empire
Occupation: General of the Imperial Military
Bio: Rasal has been the General ever since the Empress herself started out as a low ranking officer. Because of his immense knowledge about Karora’s upbringing, he is kept under constant watch, to ensure that he doesn’t spill any of her secrets, or worse, use them against her in a military coup. In addition, Rasal is one of the only members of the Imperial Government who openly backtalks the Empress and Karora seems to either be indifferent to this, or understanding of it, for she lets it continue. The General refuses to take any part in personally guarding Ascension Isle, and spends his time mostly between his personal fortress in the Arte Mountains, and the Valley of Lights.
Appearance: Krym wears specially designed obsidian armor, and easily towers over everyone, not with his height, but with his presence. His armor is unique, in that it features smoke like strands of white that shift around on the armor. He wears a silver Huna in the Hordika style, and his calm blue eyes shine from behind it.
Tools: A Magnetic Pulse Rifle, and Electrified Chains.
Powers: Twin elements, Lightning and Magnetism, but both are halved in their power.
Personality: While mostly cynical and dark-humored, Krym takes his job seriously, and puts defense of the World as his first priority.
Allegiance: The Metruans
Occupation: Game Champion/Shipwright
Bio: Krym was the champion of the 15 Billionth Massacre when the Sixth Cycle should have started. When four million years passed and the cycle never started, Krym became disillusioned with life, and started to hire himself out as a worker, doing whatever jobs he could. Eventually, he overcame his long bout of depression, and realized just how distorted and immoral the concept of the Massacre were, with the stench of bloodlust expanding over the entire arena, not to mention all the souls that must have died on Arena Isle. Talk has been secretly spreading, and those who know him say that he’d be a prime candidate for leader of a revolution, similar to how his ancestors ignited the Rebellion in the Second Cycle.
Warnings and Rules
1. All BZP rules apply, obviously.
2. No God-Mods. It’s no fun, and it ticks off other people.
3. Three characters is the limit. I seriously doubt you’ll need more than this. That’s one character for each “faction,” so you should be fine. I might adjust this later if I need to.
4. Have fun! If you can’t think of something to do, go invent something. It’s a big world, the possibilities are endless.
5. The World is crumbling around you. It’s the end of the world, so why not go out with a bang?
6. Silliness is ok, in light doses. You all should know what I’m talking about. The line between funny and annoying is a thin one.
7. Rule-breaking is frowned upon, and has consequences. If you can’t play by the rules, you don’t get to play at all.
8. One more thing, don’t control other people’s characters without their permission. Letting another character land a damaging hit on you is one thing, but straight up control falls under god-modding.
9. Profiles, Discussion, and the Game each have their own topic. Try to keep it that way, mmkai?
10. One last thing. With custom species, if you intend to join the Massacre, you must let the staff know in your species biography so we can decide if it’s fair to the Arena.
First Time- Warning
It was probably an accident, so this time you get a slap on the wrist. Metaphorically. I'm not going to walk all the way to your house to slap you on the wrist.
Second Time- One Exclusive Trip to the Capitol
This time we're giving you a getaway to the capitol, but not to be pampered. You get to be thrown into the Arena for a punishment. Because it's your second time, you get a ration of supplies so you don't die. But, that's your final chance.
Third Time- Serious Injuries in the Arena
You will be in the Arena, seriously injured. You might be able to find medicine, but only if you really start playing by the rules. Chances for escape on this time are slim to none.
Fourth Time- Death in the Arena
And not in the honorable way. You will be shot by a firing squad, and tossed into the arena, where your corpse will serve as a warning by the Empire to coerce the Gladiators into behaving. Harsh? No. I gave you *four* chances to play nice. You deserve this.
Just to make this clear, the main focus of the RPG isn’t going to be the Massacres at all; it’s going to be about the need for a Purge Cycle. The Massacres are still a pretty important part of the game; they’re just not going to be the center point of the RPG. If there’s a big enough demand for it, I guess the Empress can maybe demand for more Gladiators to fight in the arena to settle her thirst for blood.