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Swarmstar.jpg

The Swarmstar is an enormous mass of planet-sized creatures clustered around a red-orange giant.

Background[]

The Mantles[]

The so-called "Mantles" of the Swarmstar are actually manta ray-like creatures of unimaginable size, whose wingspans are the diameter of entire worlds. Their backs or undersides, which face away from the star's light, are colored black while their bellies or upper sides are are blue, though the red-orange light of the star which which they cover causes it to appear more violet. The mantle's upper sides also contain long filaments which reach toward the star's light and are used to absorb and consume the star's energy. They also use this energy to keep from falling into the star due to gravity and to move around in their formation, whenever needed. Able to survive in the vacuum of space, mantles don't require food for sustenance and seem to age at extremely slow paces, if at all. The energy they consume from a star is so efficiently stored, that even if one were to be removed from its star, it would still be able to thrive off of the energy it had absorbed for millennia.

The distance at which the mantles orbit their star is such that the surface temperature on their upper sides is not unlike that of a typical autumn day on Earth. An atmosphere is born through the expulsion of gas that results as a byproduct of its energy absorption. Overall, this combination combined with formation of the mantles around their star results in something similar to a dyson sphere, with the upper sides supporting life and shielding it with an atmosphere that extends approximately 200 miles from the surface. Gravity is another story, however, as despite the mantles being far denser than any known terrestrial creature, they're apparently thin enough to not hold a lot of mass, consequently not offering up much gravitational attraction for the creatures to the upper sides of the mantles. Luckily, the mantles are at a good enough distance from their star to where its pull on the surface of the mantle's is very low, though still stronger than that on the Earth. Even this, though, is slightly negated by the mantles' own gravity field.

Interestingly, the people who live along the mantle's treat the ground or the mantle's themselves as upward and the star opposite of it as downward, ultimately living in an upside down world. Furthermore, nighttime as well as the usual seasons are absent for those who live there. Unfortunately, that doesn't mean they don't also experience deadly weather such as wind or electrical storms. But otherwise, rain will fall towards the star and evaporate to create clouds, while the flora growing upon the upper sides gets its moisture from heavy condensation which will sometimes run up the filaments towards the ground. [1]

Mantle Flutters[]

Whenever a mantle starts shifting, every once in a while, the creatures residing along it move with it. As creatures and places slowly move to different positions relative to one another, most inhabitants will simply stick to one mantle, lest they be separated completely from one another after a decade or so. For reasons known only to the mantles themselves, however, they will sometimes start to shake or "flutter" during a shift, resulting in violent quakes for those living on the upper sides. Luckily, however, these quakes are preceded by slight tremors that give enough warning to the experienced people below. These "flutters" are a might 8 task for those unrestrained and victim to the shaking. But even for those prepared, people and even possessions tend to get knocked off their feet and at the very worst case scenario entire hanging cities and settlements might fall to star below and their doom. Fortunately, these kinds of fluttering shifts happen only once every decade or so. [2]

The Hanging Cities[]

Hanging city.jpg

People that live within the swarmstar tend to hang from the filaments of the mantle's upper sides in what appear to be hanging cities. Though some can be quite large in size, most are small and only hold about several hundred residents, appearing more like villages rather than actual cities. Those that are large enough to host thousands of people usually will possess multiple tiers and a somewhat labyrinthine layout, while the much smaller variants are rarely more than a gathering of homes and buildings on only 1-2 platforms, suspended by the filaments. Regardless of their size, however, all hanging settlements tend to be made out materials taken directly from the mantles. The filaments, themselves, are usually being woven into net-like platforms upon which to build homes and facilities also out of filaments, while the more brazen folk are like to actually try and acquire the incredibly strong flesh of their mantle. By digging into a mantle's flesh, one could produce thin yet dense sheets or spars of carapace-like flesh to use as they please. Referred to as "bone" the inhabitants of the swarmstar understand that acquiring bone takes much needed skill and the proper equipment, with so-called "bone miners" being sent out to collect more of this material, using metal and synth scavenged from ancient ruins for their finest tools of the trade. Bone itself ends up being used for making a wide variety of tools, weapons, implements, and building material.

Each hanging city or settlement has about 1 or more leaders overseeing it, each drawn from within the swarmstar's hierarchy. Alongside these leaders are a large amount of hunters, gatherers, guards, and craftspeople. Those cities that are found to be near ancient ruins are more likely than others to possess a few numenera objects or innovations and even people knowledgeable enough in them. Residents will usually tend to platform gardens, on which food and livestock are cultivated, with large-scale agriculture unfortunately not being possible. Fortunately, however, the edible plants and animals they have are plentiful enough to not make this an issue. The societies of hanging cities are generally communal in nature, with all inhabitants sharing in some general bounty, though barter is sometimes involved, as well. Despite some differences between the cities, each one features the same unique language that's spoken throughout the swarmstar as well as utilizing similar technology to one another, regarding their construction and maintenance.[3]

Hierarchy[]

Regardless of how far apart people are within the swarmstar, settlements tend to have more similarities, culturally, rather than differences. One such example is the hierarchy of humanity, where those involved each wear special tattoos that run from their necks down to their shoulders, thus allowing one member to indicate the position of another.. There are about 36 different ranks within the hierarchy, with the 36th being the highest. It should be noted that those rank 36 are very rare in human societies throughout the swarmstar, with most people living out their whole lives without ever meeting one. No matter where one goes throughout the swarmstar, the ranks follow with them, allowing them respect and command of those who are ranked below them from other settlements. People can move up through the ranks via various ways, such as through extraordinary deeds, a long line of service, or even by virtue of wealth. However, an individual can only be promoted by one who is of higher rank than them and this is not to mention that communities tend to limit how far one can get promoted, depending on those who live there. [4]

The Plague of Will[]

The plagued.jpg

A mysterious virus has plagued the human inhabitants of the Swarmstar, with those infected slowly losing their personalities. Because of this strange deterioration, and eventual transformation of will, the disease has been commonly referred to as the "Plague of Will". The afflicted seem to hold their own agenda, perhaps driven by the virus that they each possess. They keep their affliction a secret, all the while carrying out the plague's task without the will to defy it. While those infected might look the same and still hold their memories, they're an entirely different person altogether.

The plagued seclude themselves from the society of the hanging cities and, more often than not, band together to form communities. Within these so-called plagued enclaves, they work to sow seeds of dissent and conflict for the other human residents. For one reason or another, their disease dislikes the presence of humanity within the Swarmstar, and while it doesn't want to kill everyone, it for some reason refuses to have humanity to flourish.

The Plague of Will spreads whenever a carrier comes into direct contact with someone and makes a conscious, intentional act to do so. Every plagued person's goal is to create at least one new member of their number before they go, and the virus doesn't even care who should be infected or not. Surprisingly, the virus's duty of increasing its legion of afflicted takes a backburner to its overall goal. While not life-threatening in nature, there's currently no known cure or remedy for it.[5]

Flora and Fauna[]

· Hoovras: - Mammalian cretures whose heads are located in the middle of the their torsos. They each have four grasping arms with which to brachiate throughout the hanging filaments of the mantles.

· Varanag Bugs: - Insects the size of a human fist who spend their entire lives within the filaments of the mantles.

· Ikarikans: - Large, segmented arthropods which crawl around the flesh of the mantles.

· Vine Serpents: - snakes that lurk amid mantle filaments, in particular, the plant-based ones.

· Dearth Spiders: - human-sized arachnids which live in swarms of hundreds and which create vast webs that span hundreds of yards across the mantle filaments.

· Red Gunters: - Creatures which nest in puff trees and which also fly in large flocks. they feed mostly on insects but will occasionally hunt larger prey.

· Navaracs

[6]

Points of Interest[]

· Guralason

· Swarmstar Ruins

· Rogue Mantles

· Abandoned Towers of Bone

Hearsay[]

Miner Minders:[]

More and more of the bone miners are being attacked by mysterious amorphous creatures thriving along the mantle's flesh, begging for protection. Some say that these things are coming directly out of the wounds that hide the miners can make it into the mantle's hides.

Going Rogue:[]

A mantle in particular that's home to a number of hanging cities has recently been experiencing far more flutters and quakes than normal. Some learned folk believe that the mantle is preparing to leave Swarmstar and fly off on its own. Among those that believe this, reactions tend to be split. Some choose to leave the creature before it departs, but others see it as a blessing - religious experience that will "carry them to heaven."

Fighting the Plague:[]

Out of desperation, the leader of Guralason is willing to pay almost any price for some miracle (probably a numenera device from within one of the ruins) that will help her detect or combat the plagued.

Weird[]

The Grey Woman:[]

A woman who seems to be made from ash has emerged rom one of the ancient ruins and now wanders about the vicinity. If she encounters any living creature, half the time she'll attack it savagely, but other times she might gently touch it and imbue it with health and sustenance.

The Others:[]

Exploring the mantles is an intelligent species of flying creatures - a cross between avian and insect - that's only recently encountered humanity. Since there hasn't been any success thus far in establishing communication, not much of a relationship has developed between the 2 races, despite their shared home.

Intelligent Growth:[]

A special type of lichen grows within certain parts of the mantles. Under the right circumstances, it will communicate telepathically with any nearby humans and explain complex mathematical formulae that no one had ever understood. Any attempts at responding will be met with different expressions of math.[7]

Miscellaneous[]

Some scholars believe that the mantles which compose the Swarmstar are actually massive, bioengineered creatures.[8]

The Swarmstar holds about 600 million mantles within its form. Since a mantle's upper side offers roughly the surface area of the entire earth, the habitable zone area of Swarmstar is equivalent to about 12 times the size of the gloaming.[9]

A sage living within a hanging city named Tequali believes that the plagued around his location are intent on using the super-tough flesh of the mantles to construct craft. This would then allow them to explore space beyond the Swarmstar.[10]

The mantles of the Swarmstar don't seem to notice whenever a piece of their "flesh or bone" is cut off. But then again, the size of such alterations would be too insignificant when considering the size of their inhabitants.[11]

References[]

  1. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 97-98. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  2. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 100. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  3. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 101-102. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  4. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 100. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  5. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 100-101. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  6. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 98-99. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  7. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 105. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  8. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 97. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  9. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 97. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  10. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 97. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
  11. Cook, Monte, et al. “The Swarmstar.” Into the Night, Monte Cook Games, LLP, 2018, pp. 102. Numenera. ISBN 978-1-939979-40-7
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