Exanima Lore Thread

bobchaos

Member
Some of you read my journal, in which I wrote all my musings and reasoning about the lore (shameless plug: http://www.baremettle.com/forums/index.php?threads/journal-of-an-adventurer.6323/ ) but I'll try to summarize all of it here. I'll keep the highly speculative stuff for the end, but the first parts I'm pretty confident about.

We have 3 major sources of information: the environment, which tells us pretty profound visual stories if we pay attention, recent scrolls, that I all attribute to the necromancer, and ancient scrolls, which come from various sources that date back to what I dub 'the garrison days', for lack of a proper terminology. This would b the period when both lvl 1-3 and the underworld were inhabited by the living.

Back then, Thaumaturges excavated the portal facility, possibly in defiance of authority as it would become cause for war, and found the portal. They built up an expedition force (as evidenced by all the workshops building heavy barricades and machinery at the bottom of their facility, instead of, say, near the entrance!) and crossed the portal, and either occupied an existing fortress (lvl 4 and 5 (well, 6, but you all know the one I mean :p)), or excavated it themselves, it's unclear. Those people founded the spider-demon-thing worshiping cult, and found great powers that allowed them to shape the fancy materials found only in the Underworld. Some small bits of that power made it's way back into the overworld facility, like the lamps and healing salve. They dabbled in, and eventually mastered, some really dark stuff, like the soul magic powering the golems, but overall seemed to have their shit under control, and it seems the spider-demons were keeping the Guardian at bay.

They setup 2 locations (that we can visit as of now I mean) in the underworld, the archives, and the temple. The archive was used to transcribe and distribute both their weird religion and their new findings in Thaumaturgy. It appeared to have also been the seat of power of a council of 12 that ruled in the Underworld facilities. The temple (I call it that, but it's exact purpose is up for debate), seemed to have been a place where rituals, crafts, Thaumaturgy and martial arts all met under one roof. It appears to have fallen sometime before Sir busted the archives to a more mundane threat, infiltration agents form the overworld authority, or perhaps another faction within the Underworld denizens. Either way they clearly had spies among them and it fostered paranoia, leading people to the arenas to learn combat, which in turn seemed to offend the arena managers on idealogical grounds, which all suggests the fighting pits was just one aspect of their religion.

They were eventually betrayed by someone who slew their idols, and then things went to shit for them. Their temple was infiltrated by (presumably) the conservers, a group of unknown origin or affiliation, who slowly murdered them all in their sleep over a period of weeks until there were so few left they were able to finish the job in a proper attack. The archives near the portal was assaulted by Sir, sent by the now unrestricted Guardian to rid the Underworld of the human invaders. They retreated back to the portal facility, sealed the gates, and abandoned the place in a hurry.

Probably centuries later (long enough for even the booze to turn to dust!), a new group of Thaumaturges, descended from the Underworld expedition (is thaumaturgy hereditary?) and led by Thaven, sends one of their own to the portal facility to look into their past. These guys are all under the growing influence of the awakened Guardian, who's power extends right through the portal, and whom they worship like a life-giving god despite plenty of evidence to the contrary. The guy they send, who I'll just call 'the necromancer', rapidly stumbles on all sorts of new soul magic (well, really old, but new to him), and due to Thaven and the Guardian's influence, becomes consumed by his research. They get Hamon to send him people to experiment on, which he turns into zombies, probably in an attempt to fully restore their lives.

Clearly they are once more acting in defiance of authority, since said authority sends a proctor after the necromancer not long before the PC wakes up in the storeroom. It is unclear who the 'unknown' PC was sent to help, he was likely a pawn of Hamon's, but it's also possible he was sent to assist the Proctor. Either way, the necromancer kills her and raises her right before crossing the portal with zombie-papin. Once through the portal, he has his encounter with Sir, and retreats into the temple, where he gets into even more trouble with the golems. It seems during his entire time in the Underworld, he was still collecting information and performing research however he could, and reporting his findings back to Thaven, presumably through some magical mean or other. The whole time he's down there, he makes it clear the Guardian is messing with his mind and the only thing saving him is his magical spell-dampening helmet. Last we hear from him in the temple, he seems so traumatized by his discoveries he actually wants to stop Thaven, a conclusion he is probably only capable of reaching thanks to the helmet.

Here's the highly speculative part: the unknown PC is the only one who will have Thaumaturgic abilities according to the devs, and he's conveniently amnesiac. I suspect he's the necromancer. It goes like this: Something went super-wrong down in the Underworld and he tried to escape, but failed and ended up waking up in that storeroom with no recollection of what he's doing there. How does the letter fit in all this? Easy: It's what's left of your original orders from Thaven, and you're missing parts of it because you dragged that piece of parchment all over the Underworld! It's unlikely to be right, but it would be a great plot twist.

While I'm pretty confident in my interpretation, it remains just that: an interpretation. I can't wait for new story content, I really want to find out more, the story so far is REALLY cleverly told largely through the env, but it's also still pretty vague in some regards.
 

bobchaos

Member
Seems lvl 1-3 were used as both a staging ground for the Underworld expedition and as a defense against threats coming from the outside. While the facility was manned, it seems they were attempting to occupy the Underworld while defending themselves from the authorities or perhaps another faction with an interest in the portal. The necromancer does mention his ancestors fought a war and won, and there's every reason to believe he and Thaven have a connection to the Underworld expedition. You'll note the workshops on lvl3 were producing paper for the archives (among other things), so the Overworld outpost was actively supporting the Underworld settlement at some point in time, lvl 1 was all about war provisions, because the main threat was coming from above. A lot of you seem to think lvl 1-3 were inhabited by different people than the Underworld, but lvl 3 is full of evidence that they prepared for a while, then had some of their members cross the portal while the rest stayed behind to mind external threats.

I think we should think of the overworld facility as just an extension of the Underworld facilities. Anyone seen a plant anywhere in the Underworld? They probably still needed to bring in supplies through the portal to sustain their little colony, and it's not like it's a month's journey: you just step through the portal and voila! You're there.
 

Peasant135

Member
I'll leave it here:
...
I've discussed the matter with some of the other fans and I've changed my mind: the person we are following into the Underworld is not Thaven. Suprised? Me too. The writers like to throw red herrings, often mentioning his name, but between all the scrolls we see the only people that are addressed are Thaven, Papin and the subjects of the experiments. It is heavily implied that Papin died sometime before the author of the scroll was writing it. We can also see a scroll mentioning "sending word to Thaven" but if he was there, with the author, why would there be a need to do so? So we have to conclude that Thaven was and probably is outside this dungeon. This leaves us with this unnamed person, who is such because he is the only one writing the scrolls here. Seriously, how often do you refer to yourself in 3rd person in writing?
...
 

Peasant135

Member
I feel stupid for not noticing until now but oh well, let me post my thoughts anyway:

There are two types of undead enemies on lvl 6: skeletons and those preserved zombies(Ancient Undead as Madoc calls them). When we find that guy with the mask, the scroll on the table mentions "them" raiding the armouries and we see that all of the skeletons are using a more random set of equipment compared to the zombie guys, like they just grabbed whatever they found first and charged fighting. I think they are "them" while the undead raised from the sarcophaguses were part of the group the mask guy was with. I think in addition to the unknown evil that was "let through"(I doubt it was just some undead) there was kind of a civil war amongst people living here.

This might clear a few things in the future.
 
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Boltersam

Member
I hate to potentially derail the conversation, but seeing how long it's gone without any further contribution. Spoilers ahead for those who haven't gotten to level 5.

Has anyone thought about the golems? Not quite about how they're made, or particularly how they function the way they do, but two main things. How they fight, and how they remain powered, even though they're clearly using the inferior, smaller blue crystals, unlike the
boss.

Well, we know from how they fight that they have no concept of self preservation. Case in point, they don't block. Why is this? After all, all of the undead we've fought so far possess this, and obviously there's one exception to the rule. But clearly, this is a more advanced form of soul magic. Something that, from the lore bits we've read, is completely unknown to Exanima's overworld, perhaps lost to the ages or perhaps developed in secret. If it's so much more advanced than normal undead, why is the mind not as wholly transferred over in the same manner?

Well, I think it's to do with the vessel. We know that the crystals possess, or at least represent, different facets of thaumaturgic power. We know that the mind, at least, has a dormant potential to be a thaumaturge, and this is how the undead bodies, at least in part, are controlled by the transcended mind. So, why can a fleshy, inferior body, have a superior acceptability to a humanoid suit of armour in roughly the same shape? I think it's because some part of the human body, at least in the world of Exanima/SG, generates whatever thaumaturges use to fuel their powers. And because of this, undead retain most but their higher functions, which are likely sacrificed in order for their body to function.

But clearly, golems don't have this part of the body that generates this power. Funny I should say that, because they do have a power source. The crystals. These supplement the part of the human body that I've theorised about. But they're not perfect. Why not, as they're bits of the refined energy that makes it all tick? Well, let's take a small jump in logic, and say that when a mind is transferred into a body, parts of their intelligence are sacrificed to fuel the magic. In a human body, it has everything in place already, and all that's needed is the removal of higher reasoning, and perhaps a little more (Likely memory, as undead don't need it), to be constantly focused towards keeping the power system running, getting that power flowing around the body.

I think the issue is size. Whatever generates thaumaturgic power in humans, it's perfectly proportioned to support the entire body. The golems? Most of them have but a rather small crystal to power their entire body. A crystal that can fit inside of a mace, or a mask, or a small slot on the back of prototype armour. Therefore, more of their returned mind is devoted to pumping out energy, removing self preservation, and god knows what else, leaving the bare necessities for their duty.

And then there's that one exception. If you've completed level 5, you know who I'm talking about. He displays all of the things that the normal golems miss. Why? Well, that's quite clear. Because he has a bigger core. He doesn't need to sacrifice as much of his mind as the normal golems do. You get the idea. Minds controlling bodies, or at least non-living ones, need thaumaturgic energy to function. They can sacrifice parts of themselves to generate more energy, but will function the best when they have a natural source of this power that's suited for the body they control.

What does this mean?

I have absolutely no idea, it's just how I think necromancy, or the soul magic in general, works. We know that whoever built the golems wasn't able to grasp this concept, or at least wasn't able to gather enough crystals to create a large enough core until he already had a large standing guard force.

And that's my theory on the subject. Probably wrong, but it's nice to get it out there after it's been stewing for a while.

I also have two side notes, as well.

1.
Have you ever thought of how the golems have remained powered after so long, or after animating in order to fight you off? I think their pedestals recharge them somehow.

2.
The tokens and symbols are likely used to signify rank, the three ribbons likely representing high command or at least officers, judging by their larger, private rooms, and because their golems tend to guard the important things.
 

Boltersam

Member
What about the missing Proctor in level 3?
The missing proctor is special in that they're very recent undead, compared to all of the others. It's likely that either being a trained warrior in life, being newly risen, or both, contributed to her being more skilled than the other zombies, who've been there for quite some time and are simply kidnapped "patients", most of whom probably aren't trained to fight, and those who did probably degraded.

Besides that, it's likely that since raising the patients, the necromancer has become more skilled. Besides not being fighters before death, they're also the necromancer's earlier work, far inferior to, for example, the skeleton guards. The proctor could be a more advanced version of a zombie as the necromancer has gained thaumaturgic power. I believe being trained and not having time to rot likely affected her skills in undeath more, but this is also certainly possible, as the devs have explained that thaumaturgic power is gained from slaying others, especially other thaumaturges.
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
The missing proctor is special in that they're very recent undead, compared to all of the others. It's likely that either being a trained warrior in life, being newly risen, or both, contributed to her being more skilled than the other zombies, who've been there for quite some time and are simply kidnapped "patients", most of whom probably aren't trained to fight, and those who did probably degraded.
A good and simi-common theory but I suspect its more likely the the risen undead(AKA proctor/skellys) and subjects/patients are fundamentally different.

Example A:
ProctorDeathlv3.jpg

The necromancer states killing her prevented him from creating a subject, while subject most likely refers to the passive undead in this context. Subject has been used before when writing about an escaped "subject", so its might mean before they're used for a experiment etc.

Example B:
BindingDeadlv1.jpg

This along with several other scrolls and books note that experiments were underway on living subjects, and the aim was something besides simply raising the undead. One of the books is a surgical guide to the brain, and well skeletons don't have brains.

Other:

I think your right that her skilll is partially due to her recent death and training, but a few differnces stand out; none of the subjects block and all of the risen undead attempt to, fighting to the death and the biggest, always attacking on sight.

I figure its more likey the subjects are just the results of experimentation and not truly fully undead. Which explans their different behaviours and the Proctor, skeletons and level 4/5 undead are all created/risen via a more traditional thaumaturgy method.
 

Boltersam

Member
The necromancer states killing her prevented him from creating a subject, while subject most likely refers to the passive undead in this context. Subject has been used before when writing about an escaped "subject", so its might mean before they're used for a experiment etc.
Example B:
View attachment 1817

This along with several other scrolls and books note that experiments were underway on living subjects, and the aim was something besides simply raising the undead. One of the books is a surgical guide to the brain, and well skeletons don't have brains.
The thing about the skeletons is, they aren't part of the necromancer's lab work. They were purely a distraction meant to keep Sir from violently murdering the necromancer while he made his escape.

I think your right that her skilll is partially due to her recent death and training, but a few differnces stand out; none of the subjects block and all of the risen undead attempt to, fighting to the death and the biggest, always attacking on sight.

I figure its more likey the subjects are just the results of experimentation and not truly fully undead. Which explans their different behaviours and the Proctor, skeletons and level 4/5 undead are all created/risen via a more traditional thaumaturgy method.
I'm fairly sure the subjects do block; I'll play later and double check.

But you do raise a good point. The subjects aren't immediately hostile. They still cling to their sanity, some of them being completely passive unless you attack them. As you mentioned they may be somewhere between undead and alive, which points to what the necromancer's goal may have been.

Immortality. Or at least, as close as he could get to it, by being half dead. Retaining his mind, but gaining all the advantages of being undead, such as not aging.
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
The thing about the skeletons is, they aren't part of the necromancer's lab work. They were purely a distraction meant to keep Sir from violently murdering the necromancer while he made his escape.

<snip>


Immortality. Or at least, as close as he could get to it, by being half dead. Retaining his mind, but gaining all the advantages of being undead, such as not aging.
Well there are skeletons on levels 3, 4, and 6. So thats partly what lead me to the conculsion that they and the subjects are created differently.

On your last point, I agree, or something to that effect. We know that he is illl and has several books on immortiailty / undeath. But like most of it, we don't have quite enough to make a more accurate guess.

On an ending note, I liked your musing on the golems, don't quite agree but it was an interesting read.
 
What if these places just anomalously raise the dead the nercomancer came there to study the effects?

there's a scroll that can be found in level 2 in the pub where some traveler states that everyone there seems rather odd, as if they were zombie-like
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
What if these places just anomalously raise the dead the nercomancer came there to study the effects?

there's a scroll that can be found in level 2 in the pub where some traveler states that everyone there seems rather odd, as if they were zombie-like
TavernLv2.jpg

Might be a possibility for levels after the portal but I think the lore points to the necromancer finding this place abandoned, then setting up some thugs to kidnap people for him to experiment on.

Maybe after the portal the guardian can do something to that effect, after all we don't know how the golem level undead got to their respective states, or places.
 

Boltersam

Member
Well there are skeletons on levels 3, 4, and 6. So thats partly what lead me to the conculsion that they and the subjects are created differently.
I believe the skeletons on level 3 may have accidentally wandered through the portal, and the ones on level 6 may have been the necromancer's guards.

On your last point, I agree, or something to that effect. We know that he is illl and has several books on immortiailty / undeath. But like most of it, we don't have quite enough to make a more accurate guess.
He may be looking to become a lich, or Sui Generis' version of one. That, or a vampire. There aren't that many reliably sentient and sane undead throughout our mediums, and it may also be an entirely new form of undead devised by Baremettle, so it's up to speculation.

-As for you disagreeing on the golem musings (Couldn't quote, it appears there's a limit)
Thank you very much. Would you mind elaborating a bit on what you didn't agree with, in order to keep the discussion going and perhaps ground the theories better?
 
I really don't think this necromancer guy came here with some thugs considering there are no places that could plausibly be his base of operations. it also seems as if there are no places in which you can find anything seemingly written by his thugs if he had some.
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
I really don't think this necromancer guy came here with some thugs considering there are no places that could plausibly be his base of operations. it also seems as if there are no places in which you can find anything seemingly written by his thugs if he had some.
I didn't mean to imply the thugs were living down there, I was just refering to Hamon and the bandits above ground throwing people into this place. Which I gather from these notes:Hamonlv1.jpg ProctorAttackLv2.JPG

And also the whole Elara/Mathis deal were it seems someone came looking for one of the missing:

MathisLv1.jpg
 
what I want to know is why the place seems partially looted in some places and other just untouched even though it contains valuables
 

Boltersam

Member
what I want to know is why the place seems partially looted in some places and other just untouched even though it contains valuables
In the earlier levels, probably panicked attempts by the inhabitants of the fortress to escape with their belongings and acquire weapons. In the later ones, there's some lore about murders in the night, and then an eventual full on assault, that lead to those (separate) inhabitants grabbing whatever they could to defend themselves.

There's a lot that we don't know, though. It could've been because of the undead, or it could have been what was mentioned in the notes (Probably Sir), a large beast attacking people in the area.
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
I believe the skeletons on level 3 may have accidentally wandered through the portal, and the ones on level 6 may have been the necromancer's guards.
I kinda doubt it, they're wearing rusted armour, not the brass sets of the 4th level. I imagine there just there to help the undead proctor in her orders. Makes sense to leave more than just the proctor when theres already skeletons around (There is one in the first level chillin in a bathtub)

As for the level 6 undead, prehaps, he could have raised those from the crypts found there, however that doesnt really explain how both mumified and skeletons got behind the "electricity" trap etc.

-As for you disagreeing on the golem musings (Couldn't quote, it appears there's a limit)
Thank you very much. Would you mind elaborating a bit on what you didn't agree with, in order to keep the discussion going and perhaps ground the theories better?
Theres just not a lot of info to draw upon about the golems besides a few short scrolls on them. The special one doesn't really act that different from what I can see, and the lore just basically states that the crystals might be soul powered.

The color coding for the crystals is an interesting idea and probably right to some degree. Energy for blue, body for green, etc. The only thing I can think of is the health salves are blue, but thats a different medium.

The whole charging is an interesting concept, might be related to the red vases, or prehaps its nothing at all. As it seems the golems don't actually use any of the crystals power when fighting.

Overall just not much to go on from the game so I don't think one can really draw any grounded conculsions except for the contemporary story.
(Aslo worth noting level 6 aka the golem level is not finished in some respects)
 

Boltersam

Member
I kinda doubt it, they're wearing rusted armour, not the brass sets of the 4th level. I imagine there just there to help the undead proctor in her orders. Makes sense to leave more than just the proctor when theres already skeletons around (There is one in the first level chillin in a bathtub)

As for the level 6 undead, prehaps, he could have raised those from the crypts found there, however that doesnt really explain how both mumified and skeletons got behind the "electricity" trap etc.
Oh, by "Necromancer's guards" I meant corpses he raised to defend him, not people who'd come with him. For the level 6 undead, it's actually rather confusing. It could be one of two things. One, the necromancer raised all of those corpses, and simply had a way past the lightning trap that wasn't turning it off. For example, if he had a shield spell, or used undead meat shields.

The other, the necromancer isn't the only one down there who can raise the dead, and that brings a myriad of other questions.

Theres just not a lot of info to draw upon about the golems besides a few short scrolls on them. The special one doesn't really act that different from what I can see, and the lore just basically states that the crystals might be soul powered.

The color coding for the crystals is an interesting idea and probably right to some degree. Energy for blue, body for green, etc. The only thing I can think of is the health salves are blue, but thats a different medium.

The whole charging is an interesting concept, might be related to the red vases, or prehaps its nothing at all. As it seems the golems don't actually use any of the crystals power when fighting.

Overall just not much to go on from the game so I don't think one can really draw any grounded conculsions except for the contemporary story.
(Aslo worth noting level 6 aka the golem level is not finished in some respects)
Well, the special one does actually act a lot different. While more aggressive, he does actually block your attacks, unlike regular golems who are unrelenting in their pursuit and happily ignore blows.

I think the reason golem crystals aren't used up by fighting is more gameplay purposes than anything else, which is an odd turn, for the mostly realistic "There's a reason for everything ingame" approach that's taken usually. You wouldn't want to defeat such a difficult enemy (At least, initially) and then get a drained, unusable black crystal, would you?
 

HopeDIV

Moderator
. One, the necromancer raised all of those corpses, and simply had a way past the lightning trap that wasn't turning it off. For example, if he had a shield spell, or used undead meat shields.
It looks likely from the scrolls we find that the necromancer didn't venture far into level 6 at all but instead left to one of the currently unfinished areas. After all he was unable to figure out the golems activation and no more scrolls are found beyond the start. So, its hard to tell, undead can probably be raised from afar, but that doesnt explain everything.

Well, the special one does actually act a lot different. While more aggressive, he does actually block your attacks, unlike regular golems who are unrelenting in their pursuit and happily ignore blows.
More agressive? I never noticed the golems being anything but super agressive, haha. The blocking aspect is new to me, but lends credence to your theory.

I think the reason golem crystals aren't used up by fighting is more gameplay purposes than anything else, which is an odd turn, for the mostly realistic "There's a reason for everything ingame" approach that's taken usually. You wouldn't want to defeat such a difficult enemy (At least, initially) and then get a drained, unusable black crystal, would you?
This is part of a bigger disscusion of how much the player and player convenience is valued verses the World/Lore.
BM has stated they want to create that "realistic reason" so I figure its better to era on that world first side, even if a number of things have been added to the game for the sake of the player experience they're usually not lore related (That we know of).

So that said, and due to the amount of golems, finding a simi-depleted crystal would seem fair. It seems more likely there is a lore reason behind it. If we go with that assumption one could consider many different theories, all probably more wrong than the last, say for example:

The crystals are just batteries, the golem are generators. That the "soul"/ Thaumatugric Mind is imprinted on the metal armour itself and the crystal is just a way to store and use that power. Thusly the metal portions of the encased small and large crystals are the generation portion and crystals themselves are just storage and usage. Doesn't explain the lowered storage of the encased crystal, but we are already guessing a ton.

There is always going to be that question of how deep does the lore go and in which ways, its going to be difficult to tell until the games more complete I imagine.
 
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