This article has been rendered obsolete by the presence of the 'Read World Meta' option on the front page, but I am preserving it for refference purposes. Feel free to look around, but do remember that this is older and may not reflect the current state of the Manifold Sky project.
My intent with building the Manifold Sky is to create a setting for written stories knit together with tabletop role-playing modules.
The Manifold Sky is speculative fiction, specifically dieselpunk
with elements of adventure, surrealism, and mathematical fiction.
There is no magic in the Manifold, though the geometries of the Manifold Sky
are unusual and many phenomena have yet to be explained through direct evidence. The physical laws of the Manifold obey the correspondence principle
The world of the Manifold Sky setting is mostly confined to the Manifold
but may also deal with questions involving the region of the universe immediately surrounding it (known as the Celestial Realms
). The Manifold Sky setting would be ideal for a "west marches" style of campaign, though individual adventures centered around exploration, political intrigue, or warfare are also viable.
This is a generalized map of the Manifold Sky
, with cubes
shown based on their relative connections to one another. Tesseract labels are based on Navigator's Guild nomenclature
. Cube topology and geopolitical boundaries are excluded. Additional layers show various points of interest and the comfortable habitatats of the various sentient species within the Manifold. Note that the compass rose shows the progression of day and night
through the tesseracts, as well as the relative position of magnetic north (green arrow).
The Manifold Sky is mostly meant to be taken seriously. It is moderately 'noblebright' (or 'knightglow') in the sense that, while dark tidings are on the near horizon, concerted effort and the advancement of human understanding provide glimmers of hope for the future. In such a small, confined world, every individual is capable of meaningfully shaping the world with their actions. Surreal locales
are meant to evoke a sense of wonder in the reader.
— WA user icastbolt (Bræd
) article on Tone & Setting Alignment
Just as the physical spaces within the Manifold are interconnected in bizarre and difficult to predict ways, the peoples and cultures of the Manifold are also interconnected with one another. People feel strong connections to each other, to their societies
, to the natural world
, and to the cosmos
. Broken connections lead to a grasping desire for new connections - sometimes with dire consequences.
Because resources are limited and the world of the Manifold is a confined space, excess, waste, and imprecise force are to be avoided at all costs. Heroes are moderate and farsighted, while villains are indiscriminate.
While few are outright villains, everyone in the Manifold carries a burden of sin for which they must seek some form of closure. Some sins
stretch all the way back to The Curved Time
; Innocence was never lost because it never followed people into the Manifold in the first place. Characters in the Manifold strive towards atonement for the sins of the past while others remain unable to rise above their base, degenerate natures.
The ongoing conflict of the Manifold Sky setting is Man vs. Man, as different factions vie for control of limited resources.
In the case of the Garbage Man arc, the primary conflict is Man vs. Society, as The Garbage Man
rebels against the social strife which saw his home and family destroyed while operatives from societies across the Manifold seek to stop him from destroying the Manifold with them in it.