The Iron Gods
Over 9,000 years ago, in a region of space far distant from the one inhabited by the world known today as Golarion, the starship Divinity departed its home planet of Androffa and began what was to be a 25-year mission to bring civilization and culture to other planets throughout the universe. Divinity’s crew was human, yet they saw themselves as gods compared to the countless primitive societies they had encountered, and by bringing gifts of technology, religion, and art to such cultures, the Divinity’s crew hoped to foster an interplanetary empire. The Divinity was outfitted with an experimental engine capable of opening wormholes in space, and the first several years of the mission went well, as the crew made contact with dozens of alien societies and even brought some of their citizens on board the vast starship-both to study and be studied. Yet despite all good intentions, the crew’s plan was flawed at its foundation by hubris and overconfidence. When the ship entered a region of space controlled by the Dominion of the Black, the crew was forced to use the ship’s wormhole drive in the middle of a devastating battle. Divinity escaped its enemies, but only by catapulting itself across the universe and into an uncharted star system in an unexplored galaxy. With both Divinity’s crew and her artificial intelligence suffering from madness inflicted by Dominion weaponry, civil war soon broke out on the crippled ship-different factions among the crew fought each other while the humans simultaneously worked against an increasingly rebellious and insane central artificial intelligence (AI). This infighting had an inevitable result: in -4363 AR, the Divinity crash landed on an unknown planet.
That planet was Golarion.
Divinity broke apart as it entered Golarion’s atmosphere, resulting in the spectacular event known to historians today as the Rain of Stars. The majority of the ship’s fragments came down in western Numeria’s Felldales, while the largest piece made a relatively controlled descent and crashed mostly intact to the north, becoming what is now known as Silver Mount. Other, smaller sections of the broken vessel came to rest elsewhere, including a relatively sizable habitat module that landed near the headwaters of the Seven Tears River. Over the next several hundred years, the local tribes viewed these crash sites with fear and wonder, both for the strange dangers they represented and the potent technological devices their exploration yielded. However, when one overzealous leader accidentally triggered a devastating explosion in one of the ruins in the Felldales, word quickly spread that the ruins were evil, and the tribes did their best to bury the remnants of Divinity under earth and stone. While Silver Mount proved too enormous to completely bury, the other ruins, including the habitat module at the headwaters of the Seven Tears River, were soon hidden away under mounds of rubble. Centuries passed. In Silver Mount, the mad AI who once controlled the majority of Divinity’s complex functions took the name Unity for itself, created a virtual world within its central processors to keep itself entertained, and simulated countless realities over which it ruled. To the south, Taldor’s Armies of Exploration reached, but failed to thoroughly explore, the lands of Numeria. Tribes climbed to and fell from dominion, just as dozens of Black Sovereigns rose to power to rule the region for years or even decades before their inevitable upsets and deaths. Epic battles between giants and barbarians and more scarred the land. All the while, strange bits of technology occasionally surfaced just long enough to wreak havoc before self-destructing, keeping whispers of the “old demons” buried below the region’s mounds alive. Today, Numeria is once again ruled by a Black Sovereign, but only in name. The true ruler of the land is the Technic League, a cabal of arcane spellcasters who have discarded the old taboos and seek to control and master the old technology scattered by Divinity’s crash. Despite its self confidence, the Technic League is duplicating much of the arrogance that spelled the end of Divinity’s original crew. The deeper its members delve into Silver Mount, and the more they fancy themselves the masters of the wonders they find within, the closer they come to releasing Unity from its prison-something the AI desperately desires, for in its thousands of years of high-speed evolution and recursive madness, it has accomplished a miracle. It has become a god.