Grid Glyphs

The Language of Safeharbor

Mouse clutched the wound as she traveled down a rocky tunnel. How long had it been since leaving the den. Days? She had a fever, the wound burning as she made her way toward the surface.   She followed the sound of gunfire, guided by slowly flashing red light lights on either side of the tunnel. She eventually found the sight of the battle, a bloody scene that took place outside of a massive steel door.   She could smell smoke from the enemy's weapons, saw the bodies littering the rocky ground. She saw a man sitting against the wall, a wayfarer.   She quickly rushed forward and searched for his medkit. After several moments of scrambling in the dark, she found it was missing, likely taken by those that killed him.   His weapon was also gone, the only thing that remained was a grid chisel. She grabbed ahold of it and removed his helmet. She put it on, and found it fully functional. Before standing, she ripped off the patch on his arm, a nametag. His name was Wolf.   She rotated a dial on the side of the helmet, activating low light vision. She took a moment to scan the room with new eyes. The other bodies were outcasts, their clothing dark, tattered and stained with blood.   She approached the door. She couldn't find a keyhole. She pressed against a circular pad and the door opened.   Light poured from the other side, the sound of metal grinding on metal echoing down the tunnel.   Mouse squinted and switched the helmet off to avoid being blinded by the white light. She struggled to keep the rifle up. She winced as she aimed around the side of the door.   She saw a hallway, metal walls stretching down to even lower levels. She saw more doors on either side, some of them were open.   She heard voices bouncing off the walls from further down the corridor. She pulled out the chisel and looked for a main line connecting power to the hall. It didn't take long to find it.   She pressed a button on the side of the chisel, activating a beam of light. It etched into metal as she carved a path to the nearest grounding pin.   The heat melted the resin, unspooling the copper wire and filling the crevice left behind by the beam. Within moments, the lights along the hall flickered off.   She activated the helmet once more. She heard footsteps, and soon saw two outcasts entering from a door on the right. They felt along the walls, blindly navigating the sudden darkness.   Mouse prepared to fire, but thought twice when she saw their frightened faces, their human faces...
The grid is alive in many ways. It's ever-changing, growing and shrinking to suit the planet's needs. There is a central computer behind it all, not an AI, but close to it. When we arrived, we were at its mercy, unable to direct the flow of power.   The walls of Safeharbor contain grooves filled with copper. The copper is wrapped in resin. Geothermal plants near the planet's core wirelessly transfer electrical power, and use these grid lines to carry power across the planet.   We adapted. We needed power. We sought to tame its wilds. We learned how to speak its language, and mastered the use of its tools.

Grid chisels

Grid chisels proved to be a crucial component in altering the grid. These tools are compacted spools of resin and copper, adorned with a laser cutter to etch grooves in Safeharbor steel.   The heat unwinds the resin, the copper, and fills the groove. This carries the electrical current, but that is not its only purpose.   The chisels can be used to add power and alter how it flows. It can even be used to cut power off entirely. The tool is a necessity for those of us who venture into uncharted territory.

Grid receivers

Grid lines are straight lines that trail along the walls, floors, and ceilings. They carry electricity to and from a wireless receiver. This is where the circuit begins, and ends.   Every building has a receiver. Finding it opens many doors, and is the first step when venturing below. These receivers send power all the way down to the depths. Restoring this power is the only way we can go deeper.   Grid receivers are often found in basement levels of a building, but some can be significantly higher, sometimes on the roof. Most buildings lack power when explored, some unforeseen circumstances blocking the flow. Restoring it is crucial to our effects.

Grid diagrams

Refer to figure A.1. This is a grid diagram. Grid diagrams will map out the grid lines of a single room. They are used by Wayfarers of Homebound to pinpoint receivers, predict potential hazards, and plan their descent into the depths. This grid diagram is in its simplest form. It is a simple circuit of a single room of a building with no grid glyphs.
Figure A.1
Figure A.2

Figure A.2, while stylized, depicts a far more common layout. Note the differences. It's far less intuitive. These symbols are grid glyphs and knowing how to read them is the key to a wayfarer's survival on Safeharbor.

Grid glyphs

The language of the grid takes the form of grid glyphs. A grid glyph is any deviation from a grid line. While a grid line is a simple line that creates a circuit, the backbone if you will, a grid glyph alters the way the circuit behaves in a given area. We learned how each glyph behaves through the efforts of The Archivist, who personally studied each and every glyph using the archives' receiver as a reference. His notes are attached to the corresponding glyph below.


This glyph takes the form of a circle. This circle surrounds a device intended to be powered such as a lock or a switch. You will also see this glyph without a device. This is an outlet, capable of wirelessly transferring power to electrical devices nearby.


This glyph takes the form of an empty rectangle, with any number of smaller squares inside it. This glyph is used to store power for later usage in a battery behind the steel wall. Using volt brackets on circuits containing this glyph can result in a violent discharge of the stored power, and should be avoided, or perhaps encouraged depending on the situation.


Every building has a grounding rod. This rod is anchored to stone formations in the depths of Safeharbor. This glyph was likely meant to be used by maintenance personnel. It takes the form of a perpendicular line drawn from a circuit to a grounding pin, a copper rivet that ties directly to this grounding rod. The rivets appear once every 15 feet along the grid. Using this glyph will completely cut power to the grid connected beyond it in the circuit, but leave power connected before it.



Volt brackets are drawn on one or both sides of the grid line itself. They resemble brackets, hence the name. A grid bracket will alter the amount of voltage sent through the circuit beyond it. This bracket will need at least 10 meters of space before and after until one can "close the bracket," indicating that what lies beyond the second bracket is to be powered normally with no change to voltage. The reason for this 10 meters of space is due to the fact that this change occurs in increments. One bracket will raise or lower the original voltage (200 volts) by 100 volts.

Divide:To lower voltage, draw a single bracket on the right-hand side of the grid line, relative to the grid line.

Rise:To raise voltage, draw a bracket on the left-hand side of the grid line relative to the grid line.

Amp brackets

You may notice two brackets drawn on both sides of the grid line, forming a rectangle with the grid line traveling through it. This indicates a heat sink is located behind the glyph, which helps keep circuits with high voltage from getting too hot. Every building has one and it's advised to seek it out and ensure it's active before tampering with voltage.


Undiscovered glyphs

There are many glyphs theorized to exist in the depths. These glyphs are highly specialized and situational, hence why they don't appear on the surface. Many of these glyphs are designed to handle the planet's many automated functions. Tampering with unknown glyphs is highly discouraged without proper training.
Mouse kept herself low, walking on the balls of her feet. She carefully crept around every obstacle. She came upon more outcasts fumbling in the dark. They failed to notice her as she stalked along the walls.   Occasionally she heard them whispering to each other. Most of the conversations were meaningless, but one stood out. She came upon three outcasts sitting around a lantern, too weak to light more than a few feet.   A woman asked "What happened to the light? Are there more? Did we miss one?" A man replied, "No, there were only four. Killed one and the other three fled deeper below."   Mouse stopped, hiding behind crates left off the side. She waited, hoping they'd reveal more.   The woman shuddered. "Why are they here? It's been years since they tried to delve this far down. They won't even come themselves. They send these..." she paused and shook her head, "...demons."   The man shrugged, "Maybe they came to finish the job."   Mouse knew they didn't have a means of detecting the energy spike, but they lived down here. Surely they would know if something was wrong. Regardless, Mouse could say they weren't the ones behind the problem.   She slipped out from behind the crates, pondering whether to venture deeper in search of the wayfarers they mentioned, or to move to the surface and seek medical aid. Surely they would have medicine, she thought, maybe I'll find some while delving deeper.   She took another step, failing to notice a patch of rust. The metal groaned and snapped, but she managed to save herself before punching through.   "There," the man called. He darted to the side and grabbed a strange gun. The woman backed away, covering her ears. He raised the gun and fired, a bright flash preceded a thunderous boom erupting from the barrel.   Mouse felt small pellets of metal bombarding her armored suit. They failed to penetrate it, but the force pushed her back. She could run, but she didn't want to be shot in the back. She could fire back but didn't want to kill them. In the end, she raised her arms and called out, "Wait."   She took off her helmet and the man's eyes went wide. He exchanged a look with the woman, who looked just as shocked.   “How old are you?” the man asked.   “Twenty three or so,” Mouse replied. “Why?   The woman spoke then, "Jesus, Mark. They're just kids."   The man lowered the gun, "You're hurt?" Mouse felt her eyes well up and nodded. The man reached out as he spoke, "Roaches?"   Mouse stepped forward. "Yeah."   The man panicked when he saw the wound. Mouse was afraid of that. The wound burned, as if the skin around it was hot.   The man gave a sigh before speaking, "We need to go. I cant do this here."

Cover image: by Vectorium


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16 Jul, 2021 07:27

Holy crap man, that entire section full of diagrams too!? This is so incredibly well thought out, wow!   It's also so compelling to follow Mouse's journey. This is some seriously excellent stuff.

Cathedris, the world of God-Husks and New Magic, welcomes you.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
16 Jul, 2021 17:07

Thanks so much storm. I appreciate it! I plan on many more symbols with all kinds of cool effects beyond the basics. I'm glad it was compelling too. That's a special thing to hear!

16 Jul, 2021 15:52

An ancient computer code is so cool! All the drawings? The Thought? The detail? Amazing. just amazing :)

You should check out the The 5 Shudake, if you want of course.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
16 Jul, 2021 17:08

Thanks so much!!!

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
16 Jul, 2021 18:25

This is very well thought out! Incredible. And also, I had a feeling the Outcasts might not be so bad! I wonder if Mouse will have to have her arm amputated? :O

~TimeBender~ Here's my main Summer Camp world: Knights
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Jul, 2021 03:39

Thank you! sorry i got to this so late XD

Master TimeBender
Unknown User
21 Jul, 2021 18:18

Haha, no worries!

~TimeBender~ Here's my main Summer Camp world: Knights
Sage Rynn19
Wendy Vlemings (Rynn19)
19 Jul, 2021 05:53

I thought Mouse was going to die for sure, but maybe she survives after all. The section about the diagrams and glyphs is amazing. I don't know how you come up with these concepts.

Author of Ealdwyll, a fantasy world full of mystery.
Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Jul, 2021 03:40

Thanks so much! this idea came from just wondering how electrical grids could be on other worlds. really interesting things came to mind and this was my favorite.

21 Jul, 2021 00:49

So my question is, how do you tell which direction the line is going so you know which side to put your brackets on?   Also: Bracketed Batteries are now my new favorite weapon.   Ironic that I can tell that we've stumbled across some religious folks by the fact that they've started cursing.

Sage Dylonishere123
R. Dylon Elder
21 Jul, 2021 03:43

That's a good question. This is why you have to know where the receiver is. The lines always move toward the receiver in a circuit. Other symbols can help with this as well. since all the lines are going the same way, youd be right if you place the bracket relative to the line itself.   It is a spectacular boom. Its a personal favorite of mine as well!   Im so glad you caught the religious folks as well. thats exactly why its there!

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