< Back to writing

Chronicles of Calelira: Entry Six

Narrators and the Greater Somnolescent Multiverse

(May 18, 2019)

(This entry is semi-canon and utterly ridiculous; you certainly don't need to know most of it, especially the multiverse stuff, but I wanted to write about it anyway because narrators play a big role in getting the ball rolling in Calelira. Enjoy me turning my own worlds into crossover fic because I can.)

I had planned to come to you this week with a followup to the last, on some of the developments to the spellcasting system, but it's not quite ready for prime time yet. Instead, I come with something a bit more fun: gods, the gods above them, and how Calelira fits into a big culty multiverse.

While I haven't yet codified any of the traditional gods, folklore, and religion of any part of Calelira, I can safely assure you that it's all bunk. Sort of. Calelira's true origins lie not with the gods those in the churches speak of, but the gods those in the guilds speak of. That is, to say, narrators created Calelira.

A narrator is a shadowy, eternal figure that defines the constraints and events of the world of Calelira. They exist on the top plane of existence, where those among the living can't reach. They can manifest in any form, appearing as earthy and mortal as any other, though they can't die. Most are oblivious to their existence, with the exception of diviners, who can maintain contact with one with enough focus. They are the unmoved mover.

Yes, this is literally a way to self insert myself into any story if I so desired. Promise you, there's more to it than that though.

So the traditional notion of a god or gods is certainly followed in Calelira, but no gods aside from the narrators, who are unseen but very much felt, actually exist. How many narrators there are honestly depends on how many people are writing for Calelira at that point. So far, there's been two narrators, and one is long gone.

(The day I get the world tight enough for someone else to step up as narrator will be a happy one.)

Narrators are really the bridge between the events of the world, the meta events surrounding the world, and other worlds in what I've come to refer to as the "Greater Somnolescent Multiverse".

The Greater Somnolescent Multiverse is an infinite void of noise between which worlds exist parallel to each other in relative stability. The best way for me to describe the Multiverse is as an FM dial. Stations are strong, well-defined signals, but can crosstalk if they share the same frequency. You get static in places where there's no clear signal, and the rest is just atmospheric noise.

Think of Multiverse worlds as being on that FM dial, with each world being a "station". The closer you are to the world, the more its rules apply to you. Stability. The further away you get, the more noise and instability you get instead.

Whether something can exist in the Multiverse depends on its definition, or how well it can exist on its own without the stability of its origin world. A well-defined character is far less likely to be eaten away at the noise if it happens to get separated from its origin world. A narrator is a well-defined character. A narrator doesn't need Calelira to exist. A bit character, however, does. Without Calelira, that character is lost to the void.

Definition mostly matters when a character transfers from one world to another by way of a bleed zone. A bleed zone is a space of chaos between two worlds where elements of both crosstalk. In essence, the rules of both worlds apply at the same time. On the edges of a zone, things grow unstable, but stay mostly normal, mostly a mixture of the two worlds. Towards the "center" of the bleed zone, there's simply too much general noise for anything specific to be perceived.

And speaking of perception, bleed zones look different depending on the character perceiving them. A character from one world will see more of theirs reflected in the zone, while two characters from the same world (or one from neither of the guest universes) will see it differently still.

Going back to definition, a well-defined character can pass from one universe to another by way of braving the trek across a bleed zone. While no one is necessarily safe from getting eaten by the general Multiverse noise, definition helps. The further out you get, the less any stable region's laws and rules apply to you, and the more likely you are to blip out of existence altogether.

Bleed zones, by the way, can occasionally form their own life. It's rare, and even more rarely stable enough to sustain themselves, but it does happen. Pennyverse's Kevin is a good example of a character literally born from a bleed zone, and a good example of a character often hopping the void (in his case, to get bleed zone nachos, which are apparently delicious).

So how do you get into a bleed zone? Certain parts of a world can have rules poorly defined enough that they lead into chaos, and by proxy, a bleed zone. Calelira's bottomless satchels are a way; crawl inside one and see where ya go. To get back into a universe, you have to rely on the glitchy (think floating point errors) "fizzle" of the bleed zone to blink you back in. It's a mess, and not all guest universes can sustain all life, depending on form.

Okay, so what's this mess all about, and why? Honestly, it's just a bit of fun that lets me connect my various projects together in the most ridiculous way possible, and let the other Somnolians plug into it as well. It's also something of a tribute to game glitches and going out of bounds and seeing what strange things happen, seeing as Calelira was originally heavily based on Skyrim.

Narrators essentially make everything happening around Calelira canon in Calelira itself. It gives me a way to insert myself into things for funsies, to solve the "canon" Calelira origin story, and to tie the real world to the fantasy world, which is oddly satisfying to me.

As for how narrators affects stories and quests? Not as much. A player character can summon their narrator with a simple command, and you can do as much as you could with any other roleplay with that, but it mostly goes unused. It really doesn't affect lore all that much unless you're getting into the world's beginning or the meta components of storytelling; narrators aren't supposed to be seen much, remember.

And in case you hadn't noticed, I happen to be that other narrator. Perhaps, if you're lucky and find yourself out on the hills outside Blackrose, a little voice a bit like my own will pop into your head and start laying out a story for you to follow. Just don't get cute and try to hop outside the world, or I might let you drift and die out there.

Your humble narrator,