Sep
04
2019

GURPS In Nomine Revisited: Swedenborg-1

Swedenborg-1 [Quantum 7]

If this parallel could have a ranking higher than Z-10, it would — which, given the apparently unremarkable nature of the alternate, might seem odd to the casual researcher. When originally surveyed, Swedenborg-1 got misclassified as a (relatively common) alternate where parachronics had not been invented: its lack of mana was likewise not particularly noteworthy. What research was done mostly hoped to determine whether it was what echoes turn into when they hit 1998.

This fortunately meant that there were relatively few people on Homeline present on Swedenborg-1 when it became apparent that the alternate in fact was dominated by two factions of supernatural entities that not only resembled traditional “angels” and “demons:” they referred to themselves as angels and demons, and had the raw power and supposed history to back up their claims. This in itself might not have made Infinity panic, but the demonstrated proof of an afterlife (on Swedenborg-1, at least) did. Fortunately for the Secret, no-one from Homeline had actually died yet on the timeline; and a full retreat and quarantine has given the I-Cops the hope that the inhabitants remain ignorant of the universes outside their own.

At least, that’s what the I-Cops hope.

Swedenborg-1, 2008

Current Affairs

An epic war between “Heaven” and “Hell” rages beyond the notice of the mundane world.

Divergence Point

Officially: 1998, with the non-invention of parachronics. Unofficially, arguably anywhere from 14,000 BC to the Big Bang.

Major Civilizations

Western (Empire with rivals), Chinese (empire), Orthodox (Empire with rivals), Indic (Empire)

Great Powers

People’s Republic of China (Ogliarchy, CR5), Republic of India (representative democracy, CR4), Russian Republic (Dictatorship, CR3), United Kingdom (representative democracy, CR3), United States of America (representative democracy, CR3)

Worldline Data

TL: 8

Quantum: 7

Mana Level: none (standard); normal (nonstandard)

Centrum Zone: Red

Infinity Level: Z10

On the surface, the world seems normal enough; like many timelines that apparently had the lack of parachronics as its divergence point, it suffered from terrorist attacks in the beginning of the new millennium and is still dealing with the consequences of the same, over half a decade later. The USA remains the most powerful nation on the planet, although — again as usual — both the PRC and the ROI are gearing up to be rivals (in this particular alternate, the USA appears likely to eventually ally with the latter against the former). No world wars appear to be looming, but the usual brushfire conflicts over poor resource allocation show no sign of disappearing.

This is all a façade.

Infinity does not know whether or not the supernatural inhabitants of Swedenborg-1 are in fact “angels” and “demons” who serve either “the Seraphim Council” or “Lucifer;” while the theologies of the various religions remain the same in both this timeline’s and Homeline’s, the mythologies are only superficially similar. What evidence has been gathered from either of the two factions (plus a third, much weaker one, which mostly seems made up of supernatural entities usually associated with various polytheistic religions) suggests that Heaven and Hell are largely content to ignore human religions and institutions except where they might impact their own private War. While there are profound philosophical and ethical differences between the two factions, apparently members of one are capable of moving to the other — and do so on a regular basis.

The most common supernatural entities to be found on Swedenborg-1 are angels and demons. There seem to be various “breeds” of both, complete with common supernatural abilities. The verified examples of same include: lie detection, mental domination, the ability to track anyone anywhere, hyper-reflexes, entropy control, perfect empathy, emotional domination, detection of moral transgressions, forced loyalty, body possession, mind control, perfect awareness of relationships, and psychic vampirism. Sub-faction leaders (called “Archangels” and “Demon Princes” by locals; Infinity simply refers to them as “gods”) also offer a large number of specialized abilities of varying power. There are also numerous human servants, including post-mortem ones. The mortals’ (and Undeads’) abilities are usually much weaker, but still formidable.

Outworld Involvement

Normally, Infinity would simply ban all contact with Swedenborg-1 and be done with it. Unfortunately, the timeline is a place where literal miracles occur on a regular basis. If the resources there could be tapped, the payoff could be nigh-unlimited. The I-Cops thus compromise by allowing a bare trickle of researchers (as in, one at a time) to visit the timeline precisely long enough to set up particular experiments, then return. The current (indeed, only) research focus is on developing a reliable method of detecting supernatural entities; once that happens, Infinity hopes to be able to risk more missions on Swedenborg-1. Whether or not the Cabal is active on this timeline is a question of some interest to Infinity, and particularly I-SWAT (who is not so much rumored to recruit from this timeline as it is simply been assumed that such recruiting is happening).

While Centrum knows about Swedenborg-1 it apparently fears it: once its nature was discovered, Centrum immediately abandoned all of its non-portable equipment and evacuated on the spot. Infinity is worried that at least one Centran has died on Swedenborg-1, which might mean that Homeline’s own information quarantine was doomed before it started.

Other Swedenborgs

There are currently five Swedenborg-type timelines found and identified as such.  All are Q7, and the other four known are paired interestingly. On Swedenborg-2 and -3, the difference between the Heaven and Hell factions is much more sharply defined; Heaven seems to be winning their War in Swedenborg-2, while Hell is steadily more powerful in Swedenborg-3. In contrast, in Swedenborg-4 and -5 the difference between the two factions is much blurrier. On Swedenborg-4, this has resulted in a fairly run-down alternate world; but in Swedenborg-5 the general mood is much brighter.

What Infinity does not know yet is that there are at least two more worlds that should be designated as Swedenborg. One is misfiled as Reality Taiping-3 (Q7), due to the existence and survival of a Taiping kingdom.  In reality, it is a timeline where the faction leader “Lucifer” was victorious: Infinity knows it mostly as an inexplicably degrading alternate where entropy keeps increasing in bizarre ways. The second is a world where one particular faction sub-leader was destroyed in 1008 AD instead of another: unknown to Infinity, Centrum has misfiled it as Minus One/Y/2000.12.21, and thinks of it as merely being a steampunk alternate with an odd amount of not-precisely-recognizable technology.

The material presented here is my original creation, intended for use with the In Nomine and GURPS systems from Steve Jackson Games. This material is not official and is not endorsed by Steve Jackson Games.

In Nomine and GURPS are registered trademarks of Steve Jackson Games, and the art here is copyrighted by Steve Jackson Games. All rights are reserved by SJ Games. This material is used here in accordance with the SJ Games online policy.

4 Comments

  • Luke says:

    OK, for those of us less steeped in the lore, what happened in 1008 AD?

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Legion War. Lucifer made the wrong demon (Legion) a Demon Prince, who promptly started taking over more and more bodies pretty much like a Grey Goo event. Sh*t got so messed up that Heaven and Hell had to put a pin in the War for a bit in order to concentrate on killing Legion permanently, and doing so cost Heaven Raphael, Archangel of Knowledge.

      • MichaelN21209 says:

        Now just find a way to link this up with “Day After Ragnarok”, and the Circle will be complete. 🙂

  • junior says:

    I can see it now…

    The latest solitary researcher doesn’t make his check-up time. A team of PCs is sent to investigate. They discover that he’s comatose in the hospital, and not expected to last through the end of the week. So now the PCs have to steal an unconscious body out of the hospital and smuggle it back home without the body expiring until they arrive. AND they need to figure out who has the researcher’s notes and destroy any references in those notes to alternate timelines.

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