One device on being activated began a countdown, and released an entity called a kernelsprite. The countdown ticked down to the moment John's house would be struck by a meteor, destroying his neighborhood. To escape this demise, John had to use the devicesto manufacture a special item that looked like a blue apple, and take a bite of it, in order to transport his entire house just before impact to the safety of a mysterious dark realm, where his house would situate itself atop a tall rock column high above a blanket of clouds. This realm is called the Medium.
Before he entered the Medium though, John and Rose prototyped his kernelsprite with the large harlequin doll his dad got him for his birthday, transforming the sprite to bear its likeness, including the ways the doll was disfigured via earlier hijinks. It had a slashed eye and one arm, and so too did the sprite. When John entered the Medium, the sprite's kernel hatched, thus imbuing all the enemies John and his friends would face with properties of the sprite. The lesser adversaries John faced first, Shale Imps, all wore harlequin garbs. They became more powerful and more radically mutated with each successive pre-Medium prototyping.
She attempted to appearify Jaspers from a moment in her early childhood, before he whispered a secret to her. But doing so would have caused a paradox, so it appearified (paradoxified) a pile of slime instead. The machine used the slime to create a fetal paradox clone of Jaspers in a glass tube. On the monitor, Jaspers then told young Rose the secret, then vanished, only to show up dead weeks later and put in the mausoleum for years until the present. Rose left the laboratory moments before it was destroyed by a meteor impact. She transportalized back to her mom's room, proceeded to her room to wait for Dave to connect with her and rescue her from the next imminent impact.
Dave used the copies to connect with Rose, and quickly deployed the devices while her house was on fire, surrounded by flaming tornadoes, and minutes away from being destroyed by a meteor. Rose prototyped her kernelsprite with Jaspers, specifically to understand the meaning of the secret he whispered to her years ago. She was advised to do this by Jade, who told her about the game in the first place. Dave then prototyped the kernelsprite again with the tentacled princess doll given to Rose on her birthday by her mom. Both of these prototypings would have an effect on the enemies once Rose entered the Medium and the kernel hatched. Rose used the alchemiter to create the special item - for her, a purple wine bottle - which she needed to break to enter. She eventually did, transporting her house just before the meteor collided.
He also activated a countdown in the station which caused it to blast out of the crater and fly to designated "home" coordinates. Along the way, it passed over the sand-filled crater that was the impact site for John's meteor, on the other side of the continent. John's meteor had caused a giant white tree to grow in the crater. The tree grew an apple-like station from a branch, which fell to the sand. The Peregrine Mendicant found this station. After WV flew overhead, PM activated her station's homing feature as well, which caused it to fly to the same destination. Along the way, she used her terminal to attempt to command Jade, who from the perspective of the terminal, had just arrived in the Medium. This caused the terminal to explode for unknown reasons, leaving a hole in the station. One of the station's robotic worms recovered one of PM's falling mailboxes, and she befriended it, after earlier slaying another one with her black regisword.
WV landed at the site of the ancient frog ruins across the now dried up Pacific Ocean. The site was once the island where Jade lived, but nothing of the island remained except for the ruins. The mountain her house was on, and the volcano next to it, were replaced by a large empty chasm. PM landed shortly after WV, and they met. They were confronted by the Aimless Renegade, who fired at them from the frog ruins with old weaponry he'd been hoarding, once belonging to Jade's grandpa. Millions of years ago, the frog ruins grew from a crater, struck by a meteor that emerged from a Sburb portal in space. Jade's radioactive, omnipotent, space-warping dog named Becquerel emerged from this crater as well.
She falls asleep frequently and spontaneously. When she sleeps, her dream self is awake, and living on the moon that orbits the light planet, Prospit. Prospit very closely orbits Skaia, a huge sphere of blue sky and clouds, which nanna describes as a "dormant crucible of unlimited creative potential." When Prospit's moon eclipses Skaia, it drifts into Skaia for a time, mingling with the clouds. Dream Jade then witnesses many past and future events in the clouds. While asleep, she is often confused about what is real and what isn't. When she wakes up, she pieces together future events from her memory of the cloud visions, and from logs recorded by her dreambot. Her dreambot is a robotic surrogate that activates while she sleeps in her bed. It mimics in the real world the movement and actions of her dream self on the moon, and records a video log of what she sees while dreaming.
Prospit's moon has two towers of identical design, and similar design to Jade's house. Dream Jade lives in one tower. Dream John lives in the other. Dream John is still asleep, and John has no knowledge of the dream world, which is to say, the entire game session he would initiate on his 13th birthday. When he goes to sleep, instead of waking up on the moon as Jade does, he remains slumbering in his dream room, tormented by his subconscious. This torment is expressed when he sleepwalks, and draws troubling scribbles on the walls of his room. When awake, he cannot see the scribbles, as is subconscious suppresses his awareness of them. It is not until he has a perception-altering revelation about his dad does he begin to see them. He initially believed they were new additions to his room, perhaps scrawled by imps. However they were present long before, visible in his room while he prepared Jade's birthday package months ago.
John prepared a package for each of his three friends, whose 13th birthdays were December 1st (Jade), 3rd (Dave), and 4th (Rose). He gave Rose a knitting set, and she then took an intense interest knitting. He gave Dave the pair of shades Ben Stiller wore in Starsky and Hutch, which he wore from then on, replacing the shades in the style his bro wore. He gave Jade a blue version of his own ghost shirt, and some pumpkin seeds to help her replace the pumpkins that kept disappearing from her garden. But she did not receive this on the birthday John intended. She received it in the past, on her birthday when she was very young, causing her to take an interest in gardening in the first place, to take a liking to blue apparel, and to eventually befriend John over the internet and lead him, Rose, and Dave down a path where they would ultimately play this game together.
Jade did retrieve his package in the present as planned, but immediately took it to another location where it disappeared. WV in the far future appearified it from that location on accident. The package contained further instructions for him. He was to bring it to PM, and she was to use her station's sendificator to send it to another place and time. After she did this, the package appeared in front of young Jade on her birthday. Jade orchestrated the sequence of events through knowledge of them by her cloud visions.
She orchestrated similar events for the package she sent to John, plotting the circuitous route through time and space it was meant to follow. She again utilized the exiles for help, while they were still in the Medium. The exiles, WV, PM, and AR, were all formerly agents of the kingdoms, before they were exiled by some means to post-apocalyptic Earth. AR, as an Authority Regulator in the Land of Wind and Shade, discovered the package and the beta copy in John's wrecked car as he gave it a parking ticket. PM, working as a Parcel Mistress, recognized the package from a correspondence she had with Jade on Prospit some time ago, and recalled it must be delivered to John. AR would not relinquish the package, though he did give her the beta, which she delivered into a pyxis to satisfy the carved request of a minitablet. John carved this tablet at the request of PM through the command terminal in the future.
AR brought the package to Derse, where it ultimately wound up on the desk of Jack Noir. Jack is the archagent of the dark kingdom, charged with overseeing affairs through his office's fenestrated wall portals, and processing paperwork. He is forced to wear a silly garment in keeping with prototyping themes by the Black Queen, an order he resentfully complies with. He oversaw the imprisonment of John's dad, who broke loose on multiple occasions. When Jack went to handle it personally, John's dad set Jack's hat on fire. In a surly act of gratitude, he released the prisoner. John's dad fled to the Land of Wind and Shade, fought large monsters, got his hat dirty and lost a shoe. He then carved tablet requests for new ones, which John filled via pyxis, unaware of who requested them.
PM followed AR to Derse in hopes of retrieving the package. After wandering around, she encountered the Black Queen on her throne. Both the light and dark kingdoms each have a king and a queen. The queens sit on a throne, on Prospit and Derse respectively, ruling the planet. The kings command armies on the Battlefield, located at the center of Skaia. The queen takes on the attributes supplied by the prototypings due to the four-orbed ring she wears. When the ring is removed, the queen is restored to normal. PM showed the BQ a parking ticket she was pretending to deliver. The BQ directed her to Jack's office, where the ticket should be filed.
PM met Jack and asked for the package. Jack proposed a deal, and gave her a black regisword. If she would kill the White Queen and White King and bring him their crowns, he would give her the package. She accepted with little alternative. She then visited the WQ on Prospit and explained the situation, with no intention of carrying out Jack's mission. The WQ, understanding the futility of their situation and the need to recover the package, abdicated, and gave PM her crown and her ring. PM was instructed to go find the White King, retrieve his crown, and receive further instruction on what to do with the ring to protect it. WQ would then eventually exile herself to post-apocalypse Earth.
Each planet has a sleeping denizen, which the players must first wake, and then kill, in the course of their journey through the seven gates. Rose's planet, the Land of Light and Rain (LOLAR) is a multicolored ocean planet with white sandy islands and pink ruins, and has a denizen responsible for killing all life in the water. Dave's planet, the Land of Heat and Clockwork (LOHAC) is a lava planet, covered in industrial steel frame structures and turning gears, and has a denizen of yet unknown qualities.
Killing the denizen releases a huge grist hoard buried at the core of the planet, which is then used to fuel a process known as The Ultimate Alchemy. Along the way, the kids are meant to learn about their destined roles in this quest as the Heir of Breath (John), Seer of Light (Rose), Knight of Time (Dave), and Witch of space (Jade). Over the course of their quest, the dark kingdom will inevitably defeat the light kingdom. The Black Queen and King will take control, and initiate The Reckoning. This affects a belt of meteors, called The Veil, which orbits far from Skaia, between the four planets and Derse, and is host to various lab facilities used by the kingdoms. The Reckoning causes the meteors to descend on Skaia, ultimately destroying it, unless the Black Queen and King can be defeated in time. Skaia however buys time by opening defense portals to catch many of the meteors, redirecting them elsewhere in space and time.
This is the generic template for the way the game is supposed to proceed. It can deviate from this model however, depending on the actions of the players, and the details of the game mythology presented is unique to each group of players and their session.
Long before John and his friends started playing the game, another group of players had been persistentlytrollingthem, particularly Jade. They are furious about an action she will take that will cause major problems in the four kids' game session, and inevitably lead to their defeat. Specifically, Jade will send a package to John, apparently containing a powerful weapon he will need later. But the package winds up in the hands of Jack Noir, leading to dire consequences. They allude to other things she will do that will lead to not only trouble for the four kids, but the troll players as well.
The trolls consist of 12 kids from an alien planet, who went through the same process as John and his friends, escaping from the annihilation of their planet via meteors, and into the Medium to play the game. Their game session is entirely separate from that of the four kids. It has the same basic template, with its own Skaia, Prospit, Derse, Veil, and a planet for each troll, but separate game instances of these. They also have different instances of the same character templates, such as the kings and queens, and agents like Jack Noir.
The trolls have completed their game session with yet unknown results. They now reside on a meteor in their Veil, sitting at terminals trolling John and co. From their terminals they can choose any point in the past or future of the kids to troll, and observe what they're doing at that moment. As a group, their only stated objective is to harass the kids, which they do so haphazardly throughout different points in the kids' timeline. Though they can choose any point on the kids' timeline to talk, they are mostly resigned to the understanding that no matter what they do, they can't change the outcome of the kids' actions.
carcinoGeneticist (CG) appears to have spearheaded the group's trolling campaign. While he was in the thick of his game session, the exile commanding him from a terminal in the apocalyptic future was Spades Slick. This is one difference between his game session and John's, who had WV as an exile commanding him. In CG's session, his version of Jack Noir became exiled along the way, and took on the name Spades Slick. Three otheragents were exiled, and the four of them formed a gang called the Midnight Crew, and spent years building up a dark city in the future wasteland of the trolls' dead planet. Another difference in the trolls' session is that at some point along the way, the Black Queen was also exiled, later joined a rival gang called The Felt, assumed special powers that make her highly inadvisable to kill, and came to be known as Snowman. It was not until Slick confronted The Felt in their mansion that he discovered the station terminal to command CG, and not before Snowman blinded him in one eye, severed his arm, and locked him in a vault.
Each troll has a different trolling strategy, and a different rhythm by which they hop around the kids' timelines to chat with them. CG's strategy, for the most part, was to begin trolling them at the very end of their adventure, the moment at which he was most angry with their actions, and then gradually work backwards, mostly talking to John. This proves to be mutually frustrating though, as John knows less and less about the situation the further into the past CG goes. Similarly, the further into the future John progresses, the more he has the advantage over CG by knowledge of his future conversations with him, and vice versa. Over the course of the opposing directions of the two sides of the conversation, John learns more about the nature of the game and why they're being trolled, and in spite of hostility, they gradually befriend each other through an inevitability alluded to on both sides of the conversation.
Early in the correspondence between John and CG, which is to say late for CG, CG discovers he needs to get in touch with Jade, who refuses to talk to him in that time period. So he delivers a message to her much earlier, months in her past, telling her she needs to contact him when she's in trouble. She will know to do this when her dreambot explodes in the future, an outcome that has not yet happened.
Two other trolls, grimAuxiliatrix and adiosToreador (GA and AT) have targeted only Rose and Dave thus far. GA has hopped arbitrarily back and forward in Rose's timeline to talk to her, and is attempting to cultivate a friendship with her that now seems rigged through a series of conversational time loops, while seeking counsel from Dave on how to befriend her. AT sought counsel from Rose on how to troll Dave more effectively, after getting severely counter-trolled by him. He is under the impression he rebounded nicely though.
gallowsCalibrator (GC) has stayed mostly linear in her trolling patterns, and has done so under the guise of helping the kids on their quest. She convinces John to take a shortcut through his land, shows him the denizen's palace, leads him to warp back to his house, then shows him how to fix the faulty rocket pack he made earlier through an alchemy mishap. She tells him to use the rocket pack to fly up to the seventh gate, enter the denizen's palace, and kill it in its sleep. He complied with this, and flew through the seventh gate, in spite of reservations from Dave, who'd just entered the Medium the moment before John took off.
GC also assisted Rose, just after she bested an ogre with ease. She counseled her on understanding her role as the Seer of Light, and the meaning of the voice in her head as an exile issuing commands from a terminal. In her case, it was the exiled White Queen issuing commands from the egg shaped station in the future. Since Dave is Rose's server player, the terminal station from Dave's impact site issues commands to Rose. Just as the station at Rose's site, which WV found, issues commands to John, her client player.
After conversing with GA, Rose found Jaspersprite and interrogated him about the secret which she found so maddeningly mysterious years ago. He explained elements of the mythos of her land, and how she'd need to learn to play the rain to produce the musical analogue of a genetic code to reintroduce life into the ocean. In response to her question about his secret, he simply replied "Meow." She mistook this for more nonsense, but it was in fact the secret he told her years ago. The four letter sequence MEOW unlocked a genetic code in her subconscious, which she would spend years scrawling on her wall using those letters in place of the typically used GCAT letters, while completely oblivious to the scrawlings and their meaning just as John was. As Jaspers said, she would understand their meaning when her dream self wakes up.
Rose's dream self lives in a tower on the moon of Derse. Dave's dream self lives on the same moon in the other tower. It was suggested by Rose's future self, who is fully awake in the tower, that Dave had already been awake in his tower all along without realizing it. This was suggested in a conversation she had in the future with Dave. It was an alternative future timeline not meant to be.
This future timeline came about by this series of events.
Dave prototyped the sprite with Cal. John entered the palace, presumably found the denizen, and was easily killed by it, as was the intent of GC's trick on him. This meant John could not establish a connection with Jade to rescue her from the looming meteor, and Dave and Rose lost contact with her, presuming her dead. Dave and Rose then spent the next four months in the Medium, advancing as far as they could to collect information before Dave decided to travel back in time to change events.
Before going back in time, Future Dave convinced Future Rose to go to sleep. He suggested her dream self would be unaltered by the timeline shift, and in her dream state she would remember the events from the future. When Dave went back, Rose's future dream self assumed the position of Rose's present dream self. Rose fell asleep, and on Derse's moon, she instantly woke up. She then saw all the genetic scrawlings she did in MEOW letters, and understood their meaning.
Meanwhile on Derse below, the Black Queen again insisted that Jack Noir abide by the dress code. He refused, and the queen threatened him. He picked up Jade's package to John, removed what was inside, and used it to slice her ring finger off. He then killed the Black Queen, put on the ring, and donned the full upgrade supplied by thethreeprototypings.
He then became Jackspers Noirlecrow, which is a name I just made up now.