Welcome to Purgatory

Getting to know life after death

Welcome

This is it, your final moments. As you lay there, your eyelids heavy, you think about what awaits you. You think about how you got to this moment. Age, wounds, disease, accident; any one of them could've brought you to deaths door. You wonder if you'll see your mother, your sister, your best friend again. Maybe they're waiting for you on the other side. What will the afterlife be like? Will it be as the stories say, forever living in clouds of peace, green fields with a gentle breeze, or something else? These are the thoughts drifting through your mind, as you slowly close your eyes to your world forever.   And then you wake up.   A deep breath, warm sun on your face. "Ah, seems like it's green fields, and yes, there's that gentle breeze." You think to yourself. But before long, a small metal figure approaches. It rattles and clanks, the sound in harsh contrast to the peaceful landscape. A faint tick-tick-tick emanates from within the construct. A thought tickles the back of your mind. You've never heard the stories talk about metal beings, of brass and clockwork, existing in the afterlife. Did you do something wrong?   "Please follow me to processing."   A voice echoes from within the clockwork man, metallic and jarring. Those 5 words appear to be all it can say, as it repeats it over and over. You decide to finally comply. The clockwork leads you across the gentle green hills, the wind at your back. It feels like you've only been walking for a short time, when you reach a point where the sky meets the ground. In front of you, a massive blue wall that stretches upward at a curve -- is there really no sky in here? There's a door in this blue wall, and the clockwork being leads you straight towards it, and through it.   "Welcome to processing."   You look around at the metal walls, ceiling, floors. You look at the pipes running along the ceiling, like the veins of some monstrous being.   "Welcome to Synthacrosia."  
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by Stormbril
 

The Tower

Synthacrosia, the Tower of Souls, is an unimaginably tall tower. Built in a plane of existence where time and space mean nothing, Purgatory, it stretches upwards an unknowable distance. Incredibly strong magic has rendered it into being, and forced Purgatory to obey the new laws. The tower has infinite height, but finite floors -- being split into 8 different distinct levels. The complex machinery and magic is spread all throughout the tower interior, interlocking pieces that are all a part of the Soul Custodial System , required to keep the tower operating.  

Processing

At the very bottom of the tower, in the center of floor 1, is a place known as the Coalescent Dome . This is the spot where brand new souls first appear in Synthacrosia. Within the edge of the Coalescent Dome is the Processing Room ; first intended to be an acclimation stage, to get people used to the afterlife. During the Era of Accumulation, it was a near constant flow of new arrivals in this spot.

The Clockwork

In the early days, during the Era of Construction, the Clockwork were the work force; building every intricate piece of the tower, over thousands of years. When the end of the era came about, and the Tower was finally activated, the clockwork took on a more background role, as helpers and shepherds of new souls to Synthacrosia. However, when Locorin disappeared, the clockwork all went into standby.

The clockwork reawakened 500 years later, different, corrupted. They had a new plan for Processing . Here, every single soul is forced to be given a Crystalline Power Bracelet, a representation of your life -- or be slaughtered. These crystal bracelets have a main function of labeling souls.   Occasionally, a soul will exhibit extraordinary power, and be marked with a vibrant bracelet. The clockwork have a standing kill-directive against all Vibrant souls, and will attempt to immediately execute the target.  

Second Death

Should the clockwork manage to kill one of the so called Vibrants , their body, their soul, their belongings, everything that makes the person who they are is reduced down to a single point. Even regular folk, dying via accident or at the hands of their foes, undergo this process. Witnesses say it's a peaceful process to watch, despite the horror that precedes it. The entire being of the person fades, swirls, and condenses to that point, and all that is left is a small metal coin. Heavy and gold, it's lined with unknown runes, and strange glyphs. Left behind is a Soul Coin .   Shortly after the clockwork reawakened, terminals began popping up across Synthacrosia. These terminals affected body and soul, or even Crystalline Power Bracelets . They all had different effects and results, though all shared a single common feature; a terminal was only activated via insertion of a soul coin. From that point on, the view on sentient life within Synthacrosia changed. Those with a more nefarious heart saw their neighbours as currency, and plotted ways of gaining more.

Floors of the Tower

The 8 distinct floors of Synthacrosia were created with harmony in mind. The same way a person is not complete without all of their emotions; anger, sadness, happiness, the tower is not complete without her 8 floors. They exist in a disconnected state now, however. Whether separated by time, or war, travel between the floors has become a very rare occurrence.   The 8 floors of the tower are: The Floor of Strength, The Floor of Dexterity, The Floor of Health, The Floor of Study. The next three floor titles are currently hidden. The top floor of the tower is known as the Starstone Architrave  
Floors of the Tower.png
by Stormbril
 

The Rumours

Ever since the great machine of Synthacrosia was turned on, the people who reside within it have whispered to each other. Rumours fly; of how the tower was built, of why it exists. The most common thread in these rumours is a question; could Locorin really have built the entire tower himself? Is he a god, or did he just steal the power of a god? Who is Naeldreg , whispered about in stories of Locorin ? People in the current era, who remember time before Locorin vanished, often point to these rumours as the reason Locorin vanished. They say he felt unappreciated, and thus hid himself from the public eye.

The People

Purgatory is a realm that exists out of time, and without time; the passage of time only flows within the tower. As a result, all those souls who wind up in Synthacrosia wind up here when their time is right. People from many different ages and eras have come to live their afterdeath in the tower; strangely, the tower makes sure that arrivals are all from relatively similar eras. As time and technology progresses in Synthacrosia, the net it casts over death grows slightly more modern, catching those from more advanced eras who die. The tower does not discriminate; all those who die have a chance to be caught within Synthacrosia's grasp.

 
They say he had help... They say he wasn't originally a god, but these days has the power to be considered one. Ask yourself this: who ruled purgatory before Locorin got here? Could he, even with the power of a god, have cast them out? Or would he have needed help from other powerful beings?
— Unnamed Soul, 4th Floor, 478 BCE
 

Key Figures

Naeldreg

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Mentioned during Locorin's Final Words . Appears to have been some sort of partner, or accomplice, to Locorin. Locorin begged during his dying moments for Naeldregs forgiveness; though the reason behind such requests is unknown.

Jaxton Saleg

Jaxton 200x200.png
An ancient soul within Synthacrosia. His dissatisfaction with the tower opened a path for the Dark One, directly to him. Whether coerced or forced into it, Jaxton now fights for the Dark One's wishes. He has crossed paths with the party twice, and will likely do so again in the future.

The Dark One

DarkOne unknown 200x200.png
A being, or a god, fighting to take control of Synthacrosia. The Dark One has influenced Jaxton to do her bidding; Locorin warns the heros that Jaxton has been granted a boon from the Dark One. She apparently has power over the clockwork, and limited influence over the tower.

 

Pathfinder Campaign

This world's main reason for existence is for a pathfinder campaign taking place within it, titled The Tower of Souls. The story follows a rotating cast of 7 heroes, as they attempt to climb to the top of the tower. Along the way they've met Locorin, Jaxton, and many other characters. Their journey will see them visit every part of the tower, and explore it's deepest secrets.
Tower of Souls Campaign Header.png
by Stormbril

Authors Intent

The world

This world is being developed at a frantic pace; like laying track before a speeding train. I've done a once-over of the entire world, I at least have a plan of where the train is going... but the day to day tracks are missing!   Generally my world building process for Synthacrosia is to get a rough idea of each floor, a few weeks before the party reaches it. The week before the party enters the new floor, I create a layout, broad history, with some sprinklings of finer details. Then session by session, as the party explores the world, I design and create encounters and populate cities as need be. I've done up to floor 4 this way so far, and plan to do the rest in a similar way! I've already got ideas down for floors 5 through 8, so it should be relatively easy going from here on out.  

The Campaign

The runaway train careening towards unfinished tracks!   Here's where things get complicated -- I started this campaign with nothing more than "reach the top of the tower!" as the story. A few characters, namely Jaxton Saleg and Locorin were designed at the start. From there, we began playing the campaign, and I began worrying about how the hell I'd continue this.   Flash forward a few months, and I realize I really need to spruce up this story. I've started adding in mysterious backstory to Locorin. I've added some characters, like Naeldreg and "The Dark One", with big reveals coming up soon. As the campaign rolls on, I will be updating and changing the story as we go! A lot of the story gets changed to suit the interests of my 7 players; after all, they're the ones I'm writing this for right now.  

Post Campaign re-writing

Fast approaching, maybe? I can see the end, but it appears so far off, I'm worried I'll never reach it. However, I plan to maintain momentum, and reach the end of this story!   I'm quite proud of what I've written so far. I can tell my writing has come a long way in just a short year's time; going back to the first session reports I wrote shows a big difference in quality (in my opinion!). I'd really like to give the entire story a refresh and a rewrite, once the campaign is done! Hell, making it into a book would be amazing.   Seeing as this is a pathfinder campaign, a large portion of my world relates to the Pathfinder universe. In my rewrite plans, I will attempt to go through the entire world, and change or remove non-original ideas within Synthacrosia. I'll retcon some events, refresh some characters, and even change history in the process! The end product should look and feel like the Tower of Souls campaign, but it will be it's own unique thing. Something I can legally call my own.

Synthacrosia is a home-brew campaign and homemade world, written adjacent to the Pathfinder universe. It's an 8 floor tower, with a campaign to climb to the top. This introduction page serves to introduce new people to the world, and the quest to ascend.

Table of Contents

The Creator

Locorin

Click the portrait for a link to Locorin's character page   Locorin, the creator of Synthacrosia. An elusive Gnome , he went missing sometime around the 30th year of Synthacrosia's operation. It's rumoured he had help building Sythnacrosia, from two beings known as The Dark One, and Naeldreg. However, neither figure has ever been seen.   Locorin later resurfaced within Sanctuary , in a small shack in the middle of The Floor of Health.   Quote from the beginning of time in Synthacrosia
Finally! Finally, it's done. I... I can rest now... I can finally make up for the things I've done to get to this point.
— Locorin
 

Eras in Synthacrosia

(BCE = Before Current Era)   Era of Construction (EC) 1500 BCE - 500 BCE
Construction Begins
Time before time even existed in Purgatory. Locorin, with unknown aid, builds Synthacrosia out of the ash of all souls who had previously come to rest in Purgatory. Using the power of gods, he renders time into existence, bending the plane to his will.
  Era of Accumulation (EA) 500 BCE - 470 BCE
Souls Filter In
The tower activates, and new souls begin to filter in to Synthacrosia. They appear one after another, sometimes multiples at once, within the coalescent dome. From there, they're able to explore the rest of the tower.
  Era of Decline (ED) 470 BCE - 0 BCE
Locorin Disappears
Locorin, previously known for traveling the tower and visiting new arrivals, disappears. Upon his vanishing, the clockwork freeze, entering standby mode. The tower begins malfunctioning, and new arrivals become much much rarer.
  Current Era (CE) 0 CE - Present
Clockwork Awaken
At the beginning of the era, the clockwork awaken, with twisted intent. Serving some other purpose, the clockwork are no longer the allies of the people.
 
 

Becoming a Complete Soul

Whether it was a quirk of the tower, or intentional design, new souls to Synthacrosia have never been complete; parts of them have been locked away. When first entering the tower of souls, they are missing a lot of their memories. They don't fully remember their death, nor the events leading up to it. The new souls do not feel hunger, nor thirst. As they climb the tower, and learn more about themselves, they slowly regain these memories and desires, becoming a complete soul once again.  

Memories

Memories.png
by Stormbril
Sometimes discovered early on, though often times an event is needed to jar the mind and release the trapped memories. Quite often this happens on floor 3, as the Mindwalk Cacti there have strong psychoactive effects.  

Thirst

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A souls thirst reawakens in the harsh desert of The Floor of Health . The heat radiating down from the sky, the dry expanse of sand, the accursed fog that rises periodically from the ground, all of these together provide a catalyst to kick-start the feeling of thirst.  

Hunger

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An effect within the higher floors slowly brings this feeling back. It starts small, as a hunger for knowledge. Slowly as souls ascend the tower, it becomes larger, a hunger for all things in life. It goes hand in hand with ambition; it's one of the reasons the souls who choose to remain on the higher floors are seen as the more ambitious, hearty folk. Eventually, should one climb high enough, the desire to eat returns, and the body once again requires full nutrition.  
  Quote from before the beginning of time in Synthacrosia
So that's the plan? We just... take it? There's nothing she can do?
 
What the hell can she do, we're fucking gods. You got the power same as me, same as her. We outnumber her, and we will take what we need.
 
And then, you promise I can use all the time I want, right?
— Meeting between the creators

Comments

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30 Aug, 2019 09:37

I love that this is a setting with influences/similarities to the Tower of Babel. As someone who finds that story absolutely fascinating, I really enjoy seeing what other people do with it.   The concept of the separated eight floors, as well as the difficulty to traverse between them, amps up the tension and mystery a lot, something I think you've also done really well.   Just reading this page, I'm very curious about Locorin and how he created the tower, as well as the ways in which it went wrong and how to fix those things and get to the top. What will happen when a person gets to the top? Do they pass onto the afterlife? This is Purgatory, after all. Purgatory implies that there is something beyond this tower, something else. That makes me curious as to where this story is going.   The unnamed soul brings up a good point - who controlled Purgatory before Locorin? How did he get rid of them? If he DID get rid of them, at all! Fascinating stuff.   The concept of eating and drinking in Purgatory, and how it stretches out its return through the tower itself is a really cool way to delve into the depths of what the tower does to people. If you climb to the top, do you get resurrected? Can you reach the top? It is endless, after all.   The final quote, on the sidebar with the creators, really got me thinking. Very spooky. Looking forward to seeing what it looks like when the campaign is over, as well as what I can already read!

15 Sep, 2019 23:24

Apologies for the insanely late response to this comment!   I'm really truly glad you enjoyed this article! I've got a lot to work on, and it's wonderful to see what parts catch people's attention -- helps me to know what I should focus on!   There's definitely something that happens at the top, and I'm excited to eventually get to write about it in detail :)   Thanks again, and I'm glad you enjoyed!