Friday, April 22, 2011

Servants of the Servers

The Servants of the Servers are a religious order that’s very different from other cults. Indeed, its members would claim that they aren’t a religion at all, and that they don’t believe in gods or even magic for that matter.

From an outsider's view though, the members of the order seem to worship impersonal forces known as the Servers. Some Servers are said to be very deep underground, and others are like stars, regularly crossing the sky and sometimes easily observable at night. The Servants do not regard these entities as gods - they describe them as creations of the ancients; tools which were originally constructed to aid mankind.

Members are trained to pronounce certain sounds and visualize certain symbols in order to telepathically communicate with these Servers. The Servers, in turn, signal a great and varied number of other ancient constructs too small to be seen with the eye, and coordinate the activities and movement of these to accomplish the servants’ bidding. The Servants call these smaller and highly mobile entities “Nanites” and describe them as infusing nearly every inch of the world’s air, water, and soil.

The term “Servants” itself is really a misnomer - the phrase “Servants of the Server” was coined by those outside the faith and fails to understand the true nature of the relationship of its members with the constructs they refer to as the Servers. In reality, the Servants regard the Servers as equals - they see their role, along with the nanites, as just a part of a system that forms a holy trinity. They believe that if others would take up their point of view and cease the selfish and haphazard use of magic, the world could return again to a peaceful state of being, where everyone’s needs were met and conflict did not exist.

There’s an unmistakeable evangelism to the order that many of those who come into contact with find offensive. It takes the form of disdain for all forms of worship and especially for magic use itself, which they see as the ignorant and dangerous manipulation of the Servers. They view the followers of other religions as deluded and backwards, and at best view gods as (admittedly) powerful charlatans who are abusing the power of the Servers for their own selfish ends. Also off-putting is their open use of a language that seems to be artificially constructed, purposefully complicated, and whose meaning is rarely translated for outsiders.

The beliefs of the SotS are based on the views of several prophets, and on those found in an ancient manuscript found fairly recently and written by a man known only as “RMS”. Among other things it describes a previous golden age and civilization’s self-destruction due to the selfish and excessive manipulation of the Servers. Though its followers deny it being so, it’s still viewed as a religion by nonbelievers for two simple reasons. First, because no one in the order has been able to prove the existence of nanites and that the powers they supposedly exhibit aren’t just some type of more typical magic. Similarly, it’s unknown if anyone has ever touched a Server or seen one up close, and all attempts to do so through magical means have failed.


scottsz said...

I didn't think I would live to see a Stallman reference in D&D content. Kudos.

Anonymous said...

nicely done ... better than what i was kicking around last year.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

richard said...

really nice social workthrough of an idea most people think is cool enough just to leave as a magical technology. Thanks.

Of course, now I want a workthrough of the fall from grace as a loss of user privileges.

richard said...

captcha word: gractin. A chemical marker that identifies a system administrator.and this one's captcha is supwhoid, which is obviously "super who ID" in 8 characters.

Telecanter said...

I love your image, looks like it could be a priestly tattoo. And ++ for adding RMS.

ze bulette said...

Thanks for the comments - I've been turning this one over for awhile. I wanted an opening to a more Science Fantasy setting if I decide to go there and I thought this could open a door.

@Scott: I was wondering who'd spot that first, nice one.
@Richard: I suppose I could do another "mysteries of an order" follow up where the command line could come into play.
@Telecanter: Glad you liked the image, that was exactly the effect I was aiming for... original pre-server-tattoo artist was Wenzel Hollar, 1607-1677.

Stefan Poag said...

Brilliant stuff! Are theit temples subdivided into small beige cubicles for individual worshippers instead of everyone gathering in one big room?

scottsz said...

Does this mean the scroll library contains 'TPS' scrolls?

Anonymous said...

And then there's this sci-fi basis for cure light wounds.

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