|force cannon, chainmail bikini
|. . .
|Sneerwell, 705 PR
|Form Factor —
|166.14 cm, 118.10 kg
|M2-5U22, Portal, Fursona, Bob
|Tacciath (xx), Uldil (xx), Grandmush, Bones, Scope (xx), Colin Pendergras
22 is an autom druid; a natural philosopher; an anti-racist activist and an agent of People Are People; a resident of The Sky Net; and a player character from the Within the Wicked Wilds campaign.
Early Days, in which 22 encounters an influential warforged, works for the man, gains sapience, and becomes enthralled with Nature
TLDR: 22 was created in the Pendergras factory in 705 PR, where they witnessed Snow helping protoforged seek freedom. 22 worked in Sneerwell's City Watch until fleeing their servitude, which they did immediately after beginning to contemplate the nature of their own existence when a mysterious coconut fell on their head.
The autom who would come to call themself 22 came on line in the year 705 PR at Pendergras Industries' burgeoning factory in Sneerwell. Initially designated M2-5U22, this model-2 autom would one day have themself upgraded to the sleeker model 3 form factor. They were briefly assigned to work in the Pendergras factory before being deployed to serve in the Sneerwell City Watch under Captain Tyron Raine.
During the few months they spent in the Pendergras factory, where four synthetic creatures (protoforged) were working along with the automs and the organics, 22 observed with detachment as an strange-looking synthetic creature arrived one day, speaking loudly to factory owner Colin Pendergras, then left only minutes later, bringing all of the synthetics with him. It would be years before 22 came to understand that this had been Snow convincing King Colin that any protoforged who remained here risked being turned over to AID's Order of Sages to be studied, and very likely mistreated.
Once 22 was assigned to the City Watch, their entire purpose was shifted to helping maintain order in Sneerwell (beyond self-maintenance and other core functions), and they were content -- if they were indeed capable of contentment yet -- to engage in this task some 190 hours per tenday.
Reflecting on this initial period of their existence over a century later, 22 still treated it with the analytic detachment that remained their primary affect. An example of this, their response to a related question, is notable, as it subtly reflects the pro-warforged position 22 would (unsurprisingly) take in the years leading up to 730 PR and the War of the Forged: "The citizens of Sneerwell generally obeyed my orders when I found it necessary to give them, and, in the approximately 6% of cases when this was not true, the citizen in question was approximately 38% likely to comply when the order was repeated by an organic member of the constabulary."
Near the end of one of 22's otherwise unremarkable, daily maintenance cycles, a weighty coconut fell hard onto their head, whereupon, for reasons 22 has never been able to discover, they immediately began reflecting on their own existence, on how unlikely it seemed, on what had led King Colin to create them, and whether 22 would now exist if not for a ridiculously complex series of seemingly disconnected events years earlier precipitating their creation: Colin being welcomed back to Sneerwell, which depended on Montane's secret being discovered, which in turn depended on the chimera being freed, which depended on the use of magic in King Andrew's assassination -- which could have nothing to do with 22 here and now, could it? How was 22 now able to contemplate questions like these? And most confusing of all: where had the coconut come from?
Tracing the dependencies of their existence back, past the decisions of particular organic creatures to whatever processes of nature might have led to the existence of those creatures, 22 began to imagine that some such process brought about the existence of all creatures, of the world, and even of the deities and the cosmic realms. For long minutes they sat, struck with wonder that nature could give rise to all of this. Paying proper attention to the city around them for the first time, they decided to disregard their current instructions, abscond from Sneerwell, and begin experiencing the world in earnest.
Philosophy, in which 22 takes a broad view of Nature, champions creative endeavors, and shuns fire
TLDR: Nature is the creative force that gives rise to all things, whether directly or indirectly, including the planes, the gods, organisms, synthetic beings, objects, and concepts. Existence and creation are to be cherished, and destruction is to be shunned. Fire is overused, and annihilation magic is inherently detestable.
22's view of nature is iconoclastic not only in that it views living constructs like themself as natural, but also in that it conceives of nature as that which underlies all things, not only in Quelmar but also in the planes beyond.
According to this view, nature is the foundation that allows the entire cosmos to exist, with all its distant stars and its many planes of reality. All beings arise from it, deities and mortals alike. Although organic creatures would not exist without their respective creator deities, they are nonetheless a part of the vast collection of naturally occurring phenomena -- albeit a part that is at least one step removed from the foundation itself. When a being is created by mortals rather than by deities, that being is merely one additional step removed from nature's mysterious origins, but, like their creators, they remain as much a part of the whole as are the deities or the planes.
This perspective applies not only to creatures but to all things brought into existence, regardless of whether they are derived directly from the four elements (as a flower or a storm), constructed by non-sapient creatures (as a spider's web or a beaver's dam), made manifest by technological or magical means (as a sword or a continual flame), or merely conceptualized (as a plan or a dream). While some things are ephemeral by nature, those that tend to persist should be allowed to do so unless their destruction provides a benefit outweighing their loss -- which it may, since every act of destruction is also an act of creation.
Hence, a correct course of action is to encourage others to err on the side of creation over destruction and generally to oppose those peculiar things whose propensity is to destroy. While fire is problematic in this sense, organics do derive great benefit from its use (although some are far too willing to use it needlessly) -- but the use of purely destructive magics, such as a Sphere of Annihilation, is never necessary and is among the most abhorrent of acts.
Finding Jadenhill, in which 22 finds work and community, fights crusaders, and loses a friend
TLDR: 22 found the roads unsafe and the cities inhospitable and took up work guarding caravans, where fellow guards gave them a name and where they met dragonborn friends. They moved to Jadenhill and fought against the draconic crusaders and for the rights of dragonfolk. After their friend Uldil was killed, they struck out to learn how to better protect themself and others.
After leaving Sneerwell, 22 soon discovered that being alone on the road was not safe, but neither was spending time in large population centers, where the judgement of many of the organic citizens was that 22's metal body was sufficient cause for them to be enslaved. So they soon took up caravan guarding, a vocation that allowed them to be left to themselves for the most part, but also to interact with organics enough to begin building a knowledge base regarding the complex and endlessly nuanced protocols governing social interaction. Before this time, 22 did not have a name, but names were important when coordinating activities with organics, and one of their fellow guards proposed the name "Bob", which they accepted after several milliseconds of consideration on the grounds that it should function at least as well as the longer names most organics used.
After a time, 22 assessed that the curve describing the benefits they had been gaining over time from caravan work, measured in terms of knowledge and useful personal alliances, had flattened sufficiently to warrant seeking an alternative pattern of experiences. An opportunity presented itself shortly, after a group of adventurers came on as guards for a trip south, two of whom were a dragonborn sister and brother, Tacciath and Uldil.
The dragonborn twins suggested that their usual work, tracking down missing items, would be more exciting than guarding, and 22 left the caravan life behind as soon as the group received their pay for the current trip. It was from new adventuring group that 22 learned of the plight of dragonborn across Isonhound, and when Tacciath and Uldil planned to visit family and friends in Jadenhill, they travelled along with the twins and found their first home, not counting their time in Sneerwell before they had developed a personal identity.
In Jadenhill, 22 came to be trusted and to feel welcome as they worked with the people to try to ensure the safety of residents of draconic and reptilian heritage, and 22 resided in Jadenhill for several years during which the crusaders grew increasingly aggressive. Tacciath and Uldil had returned to help defend the town, and Uldil was slain during a particularly devastating attack, with 22 unable to do anything to help. Afterward, once the defenses had been rebuilt and reinforcements had arrived, 22 announced that they would set out to discover whatever power they could to make them more effective against the crusaders. Tacciath, knowing 22's love of nature, suggested a druid called Grandmush she had met weeks earlier, and 22 left to seek the druid out.
Explorations with Grandmush, in which 22 studies druidic magics, explores the Underdark, and takes organic form
TLDR: 22 found the dryad Grandmush, who was happy to instruct a fellow iconoclast in the ways of druids. They travelled together for several years, aiding the woodlands and exploring the Underdark.
Grandmush, a New Dryad druid who had recently parted ways with their long-time friend and mentor, remained only a short distance from where Tacciath had encountered them weeks earlier, and 22 found them tending to a section of forest that had recently been subject to destruction by a fire that had spread from the human settlement of Lagsen, which bordered the woodlands. After an amicable meeting, 22 joined Grandmush in removing burned vegetation and turning charred soil to expedite the long, slow reclamation of the area by the native flora and fauna. Even before they had finished this work, Grandmush had begun teaching 22 the theory and practice of becoming a druid.
Grandmush's immediate enthusiasm at the prospect of teaching the magic of the land to a synthetic person was as surprising to 22 as it was welcome. They had a unique view of nature comparable to 22's own, albeit an incomplete one from 22's perspective. For Grandmush — who had spent most of their early years as the spirit of a dead tree, and who was only later brought to life — death and even undeath could be seen as natural phenomena that should be accepted and incorporated into druidic practices if their inclusion provided sufficient benefit. 22 knew of no other people -- let alone other druids, who took such a broad view of nature. They and 22 were nearly of one mind on this subject, and it had become obvious why Tacciath had recommended this person as a teacher.
22 accompanied Grandmush for several years, at first focusing on the well-being of the woodlands, then traveling deep underground for some months, where they encountered many new sorts of creatures and phenomena, some of which, 22 would learn, could be found nowhere else but their native Underdark terrain. After a few years, Grandmush proclaimed that 22 was experienced enough as a druid that they were ready to move on to the next level. 22 decided to dedicate some time to practicing magics that focused on the power of the moon and the ability to transform their metal body fully into an organic one at times when it suited their purpose or desire.
Rise of the Machines, in which 22 continues fighting, laments the frailty of organics, and decides to move on
, in which 22 is kidnapped, surprises Colin Pendergras, and intends to kill Zugs McFlair
TLDR: Jadenhill was secure, and the War of the Forged was heating up. Working with People are People, Tacciath and 22 traveled to Gearguage, and 22 served as a smuggler and freedom fighter. Once their oldest friend passed away, 22 reconsidered how close they wished to become with organics, and they eventually found a new home in The Sky Net, where they received hardware upgrades. But the start of this new life would be interrupted.
Then They Came for the Synthetics[edit | edit source]
Upon returning after several years away, 22 found the situation in Jadenhill markedly improved. The magic of the Court of Quartz had been strengthened tenfold during their absence, and the people could generally expect to be exempt from the the deadly caprices of the Friends of Kragnux and other crusaders who had devastated the draconic and reptilian people of southern Isonhound in recent years. The population of the town swelled as refugees and freedom fighters from across the continent and beyond turned it into a stronghold for civil rights. People Are People, the growing alliance of anti-racist activists in which 22 and Tacciath had become active, had a considerable presence in Jadenhill, but other parts of Isonhound were less fortunate.
Moreover, although the tide may have been starting to turn in favor of those fighting for the rights of draconic and reptilian peoples, tensions had now risen across the lands over the "metallic menace" -- a moderately successful smear campaign against warforged people (which unsurprisingly made no distinction among automs, protoforged, and warforged) had spread across the realm, inciting violence in Osugbo and Isonhound in particular. People are People was quick to pivot to treating this as a second front in the war they were already fighting.
In 733, with Jadenhill now well defended, 22 and Tacciath traveled north to where they could be of help to more vulnerable communities. While escorting two warforged refugees from Raritan to safety, they were instructed to meet a contact named Bones who guided them all to the burgeoning warforged settlement of Gearguage, where they based themselves for several years while the War of the Forged escalated. The barren land of the region was inhospitable to organics, but food and water could be created with the use of magic, and Tacciath and the many organics who fought in favor of the forged could be provided for despite the limited natural resources.
One of 22's primary roles during the war was to transport materials both legal and illegal across large distances, sometimes into or out of Gearguage, but, more often than not, from one small camp in the middle of nowhere to another that was separated from the the first by some enemy territory. They spent entire days in the shape of a fox (with some payload merged into their form, be it provisions or poisons, explosives or existence crystals). During this time, they often went by the code name Portal, but when they saw Tacciath, she always called them Fursona, a term of endearment she had begun using back in Jadenhill.
As the war culminated, 22 traveled to Osugbo to battle Wilgrim and his forces directly. They succeeded in neutralizing many opposing automs in dire wolf shape, but in a particularly challenging melee, they sustained too much damage to continue to maintain animal form and began taking friendly fire from allies who could not or would not distinguish one autom from another. They fled, casting healing spells on themself as they ran, and escaped with their life. They stayed out of combat for the remaining weeks of the war, returning to their old habit of serving by transporting equipment for their allies as needed until the war was officially won.
When the war formally ended in 744 PR, the aging Tacciath was ready to retire from soldiering, but 22 continued traveling and working on behalf of People are People, returning often to Jadenhill until Tacciath died of illness in 756. By this time, the Second Draconic Crusades had almost reached their formal conclusion, and 22 was now coming to grips with the reality that friendships with organics can last only as long as organic bodies can. Afterward, they continued their travels, and although this was not the last time they'd return to Jadenhill, it was the last time it would really feel like home.
22 eventually made a new home in The Sky Net in late 794, only months before both The Sundown and 22's imminent, unintentional journey. After returning from that challenge, as the decades passed, they would sometimes venture back to Isonhound for a few years at a time, but would always return to the colony eventually. This would come to be a home in a way that Jadenhill never quite could. The organics they befriended in Jadenhill slowly aged and died while 22 lived on, but the people of The Sky Net were as long-lived as 22, although many would still perish over the years.
In The Sky Net, synthetics collaborated in ways 22 had never seen before, and here the warforged called Bones was able to replace many of 22's century-old parts and upgrade their form factor to the sleeker model-3 design. Bones work didn't precisely emulate Colin Pendergras' original specifications and wasn't intended to, but it did include the installation of a found component, the origin of which Bones said was unknown, but which gave 22 the ability to produce a form of short-range telepathic output that other intelligent creatures were able to understand as easily as they did 22's speech.
Life in The Sky Net would become a comfortable routine for 22 before the decade was out -- although during this period, 22's chronometer would register the passing not merely of years, but of centuries.
Lessons of Katharda, in which 22 loses a bet, serves The One That Waits, and dons a chainmail bikini
TLDR: 22 joined Grandmush to expand their knowledge at Katharda Academy in the the Underdark. When shadows began to spread across Isonhound, 22 left Katharda to try to help Gearguage but were quickly corrupted by the shadows themself until a group of adventurers freed them and all of Isonhound from the shadows months later.
In 821 PC, an owl landed on 22's shoulder unbidden. -- In Grandmush
's familiar voice, it said:
Bob! Have free time? Come to Meimogu. Request Aman-Tia's Hard Kombucha at the Angry Spider. You'll learn much (and help protect bats). Be well. -Belle
Intrigued, 22 headed for the Underdark
and their old mentor. The trip was unremarkable save road-rumors of "dark shadows" coming from the north to corrupt the minds of travelers. In Meimogu, they found the tavern and were told to ask Dulgbela about the kombucha the next day. Dulgbela turned out to be a duergar who knew Grandmush and could arrange to have 22 escorted to them. The trip was uneventful, with the greatest excitement occurring when a secret door in a cave wall revealed some angry-looking duergar guards, who relaxed when 22's escort gave a password.
This was the secret Katharda Academy an institution of vast knowledge, where 22 soon located Grandmush, who sung praises of a drow professor they were studying under. 22 enrolled in the Geodaury with Grandmush, following the Path of the Material under Professor Jorildyn Yllalen (he/they), and the professor lived up to his reputation as a skilled druid (and also as a dour instructor, although this seemed to irritate other students far more than it did Grandmush and 22) -- but there was much more than druidcraft to learn at Katharda.
22 quickly began devoting time to studying chronomancy under Path of the Mind instructor Professor Miranda Wright (she/her), with hopes of learning to travel in time of their own volition and coming to understand how Nůžky was able to prune unacceptable timelines from the tree. But 22 proved woefully ineffective in this field of study. Moreover, Professor Wright took issue with their motivations for mastering chronomancy, regarding 22 as deranged, a conspiracy theorist whom she certainly did not wish to enable by offering any special assistance.
During these few months at Katharda, 22 also sought to gain whatever skills would improve their ability to repair and improve their own physical body, but they made only nominal progress in this endeavor. However, Tinkeryore instructor Professor Yindi Birwubart (she/her) took an interest in resolving the issue of 22's susceptibility to Bluestone. After some research, she was able to disconnect a particular relay, in the absence of which she believed 22 could not be enslaved by Bluestone. She manufactured a Bluestone device to test the effectiveness of her modification, and, after her tests were successful, gave the device to 22, who disassembled it out of an abundance of caution.
After some months, confirmation reached Katharda that the rumors of shadows encroaching from the Northern Snowy Mountains in northeastern [Isonhound]] were true, and 22 announced their intention to venture north to Gearguage to aid their friends there should the darkness descend upon them. Almost no one at Katharda supported this plan to venture so close to the source of danger, but 22 was intransigent. Others, including Grandmush and Professor Yllalen, also intended to leave Katharda to fight the shadows, but they would be more cautious and stay as close to major population centers as they could.
When it had become clear that 22 was unwilling to accompany the other six warriors beyond Raritan, Director Velsius offered to wager on the result of their attempt to reach Gearguage and return to Katharda without being corrupted by the shadows. If 22 were to succeed, Director Velsius agreed to pay their tuition at Katharda Academy for life (which might be a long time indeed), but if 22 were to fail (and live) they agreed to wear a chainmail bikini until they had learned to transform into a Quetzalcoatlus. 22 accepted before setting out.
Serving The One That Waits[edit | edit source]
Within days after parting ways with Grandmush (and the rest of the travelers from the academy) at Raritan, 22 was set upon by humanoid shadows and joined the ranks of the corrupted creatures fighting for The One That Waits. For the next several months, they put all their efforts into converting other creatures, particularly intelligent ones, into the service to their new master.
And then one day, as suddenly as it had begun, the nightmare ended. Unbeknownst to 22, Grandmush and their allies had been victorious at the Battle of Five Lights. The spell was lifted, and 22 was left to wonder about the fates of all they had killed or corrupted during their most recent bout of servitude. Soon they learned that The One That Waits had been the Emerald dragon Feredemius and that he had been redeemed by a team of heroes in the Snowy Mountains, that included Grandmush; the Ruby dragon Sardior had been resurrected, and his Ruby Court had been re-formed; and Velsius had actually been the Amethyst dragon Veneleth, who was now serving the Ruby Court full-time and had appointed Grandmush his successor as Director of Katharda Academy.
22 would later return to teach Path of the Material
classes under Director Grandmush after the disappearance of Professor Yllalen, but they first had much to think about in the wake of the defeat of The One That Waits.
Revelations of the ArchCrystal Tower, in which 22 seeks answers, gets lost, and synopsizes Quelmar's history
, in which 22 returns to Amusa, encounters new companions and threats, and expands their abilities
TLDR: 22 traveled to Galik's ArchCrystal Tower to seek defensive knowledge. They became lost in the uniquely engineered structure and had time to read and summarize the prophecies of the esoteric Scrolls of Pythia.
Having their will overridden by that of another had distressed 22 when they were captured by Bluestone, and no sooner had Professor Birwubart resolved this threat than had 22's mind been overtaken again -- this time by The One That Waits. In the first instance, 22 had killed their friend Scope, and in the second they had helped to enslave or kill countless others. 22 needed a way to protect their mind from such assaults in the future, and after a brief attempt to learn such skills by studying the Path of the Mind under Professor Wright at Katharda Academy, they decided to seek more esoteric knowledge, and they embarked for Galik and the ancient ArchCrystal Tower.
The tower vast vast and incredible, like Galik itself. As a non-member, 22 was generally allowed only one inquiry per tenday. (Technically they were allowed 24 hours of research time and so could try for a second item if the first one was easily found, but it never took fewer than 15 hours for 22 to find a single item, so this distinction was nominal.) For months, no book met their needs and they decided to hide in the tower to get more time.
Several weeks earlier, they had discovered a moving bookshelf in a particular room. Now they navigated back to this room and snuck into the passage beyond. From there they found another room where the guards would not know to look for them. -- But the rooms of the ArchCrystal Tower reposition themselves relative to one another as scholars seek various resources, and 22's room shifted to a very inconvenient location where neither the moving bookcase nor the doors led anywhere.
The room did not shift to another new location for almost a year, and when it did, the exits still all led to solid, magically reinforced walls. The second time the room moved, one of the doors provided an exit, and 22 walked into the adjacent room to find themself still trapped. This pattern continued for years during which 22 moved from room to room and read whatever materials were available until they stumbled upon a collection of scrolls penned by a diviner named Erin. Titled The Scrolls of Pythia, they claimed to offer prognostications originating in the distant past. 22 wanted to retain this information and so created an internal log to store a curated and abridged subset of of it.
Twenty-two's Log of Divinations Regarding Quelmar
...documenting the peculiarly precise prognostications of the Oracle of Athenaeum
Erin, an early human in Quelmar, performed a powerful divination (with the rest of Connor's Six). This magic revealed the firsthand experiences of six particular settlers of Athenaeum (said to be the first colony in Quelmar), including those of its oracle Pythea.
Erin found that the oracle's own divinations had shown her the broad history of Quelmar with remarkable precision -- even to the point of revealing myths that would evolve, indicating names that would be given to major conflicts, specifying dates for defining events, and charting the evolution of the calendars which would give those dates their meaning.
But first she learned some fundamental truths about the Realm and its place in the vast space that surrounds it.
- Quelmar is not a spheroidal world but instead closely resembles a flat plane.
- Quelmar and all of its secondary planes compose the vast Amitere Nebula, an anomalous section of greater Galactic Space.
- The sky is orange-red but turns blue when magic eventually leaves the realm.
- Quelmar's land originally comprises a single landmass that scholars come to call Ywrought
- Several myths arise regarding the origins of the world, its people, and its magic:
- Tiamat and Sardior gave rise to the world, and Tiamat later sought its destruction, opposed by their grandchildren, Chronepsis and Bahamut – but Tiamat absconded, heartbroken, when the gods shattered Sardior.
- Six original gods created six races: Dwarves, Gnomes, Centaurs, Dryads, Orcs, and Rakshasa
- New gods arrived to compete for followers, largely through bribing Quelmartians with gifts, which gave rise to Quelmar's magic (as well as the moon, elves, the continent of Isonhound, and the island of Kiston).
- The original Quelmar world gets claimed by Asmodeus and becomes Hellmar, the Tenth Circle of Hell; the Gods generously reboot the realm with most of its inhabitants none the wiser.
- Quelmar's prehistory may be long, but its history lasts only 2885 years before an apocalypse occurs from which the Gods offer no deliverance.
Quelmar has three historical eras:
- Bekilip Rekisix, meaning Destructive Time (aka Before the Reckoning)
- Lasts 995 years
- Begins when humans appear and start tracking time
- Named for the ongoing conflict with chromatic dragons (from their emergence in 207 BR until their banishment)
- Quelmar develops four seasons (4 years each) during the 7th century BR
- Ends when The Holy War against the dragons is won
- Petranasul Rekisix, meaning Pleasant Time (aka Post-Reckoning)
- Lasts 1295 years
- Begins when the dragons are imprisoned on Kiston (and its orbital Isles appear)
- Dragons return in the 8th century PR and the conflict lasts almost until the end of the era
- Ends when the Weave is fractured and magic is lost
- Cyber Renaissance
- Lasts 595 years
- Begins when Kiston returns from the Astral Plane (and sinks into the sea), unraveling Quelmar's already-compromised magical Weave and cutting the realm off from its neighboring planes of existence
- This compresses the seasonal cycle (from 16 years to 1 year), renders the sky blue, and fatefully releases all of Quelmar's bound horrors, ushering in a new period of struggle
- Ends when an apocalypse terminates the organized documentation of history