Shadowrun General > The Secret History

The Timeline of the Ages

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Updates to the Horrors and the Invae

GMs should ignore the canon depictions for the Horrors and the Invae and be prepared to make revisions across the board.  None of the Horrors should be depicted as anthropomorphic or reptilian as neither of those were their ancestors.  All of them look at least somewhat insectoid and their alien nature and “otherness” should be constantly stressed as they’re all effectively Lovecraftian abominations.  The Invae are least closer to recognizable terrestrial insects, but even that resemblance is fairly superficial.  When metahumanity calls them “Ant,” “Wasp,” or “Roach” those are more useful as labels to differentiate them.

The Horrors and the Invae in this version of the Earthdawn/Shadowrun universe are effectively the descendants of Paleozoic and Mesozoic arthropods.  Nearly unrecognizable descendants at this point, but they still owe their genesis to the life forms of those periods.  At present, they’re the oldest spirits in the metaplanes.  This is more evident with the Invae, but if you were to study the Horrors in detail (not a good idea) and you knew their origin, you’d see hints of it here and there.  Humans are descended from apes, but they’re all fundamentally bugs, and their outlook was already completely alien to us before they underwent hundreds of millions of years of evolution in a bizarre alternate universe.  They think of us like we think of mayflies.  Though to them we’re tasty mayflies.

In short, the bugs are out to get us.  They’re the actual biggest threat to the world.  The dragons may get more press but they’re really just a side show at best.  The bugs were here before us and they plan to be here after us.  Prepare accordingly.

Design Notes

Dates Calculation
I used this website to calculate the dates according to the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar for the 13th to 16th Ages.  For the dates before that, I used this website (but had to add a year to the dates as it computes according to astronomical years (see the reference in the section above).

Earth and the Metaplanes – The Chicken or the Egg?
This was a big decision I needed to make fairly early on.  Did the metaplanes influence the development of life on Earth, rather like the Monoliths in Arthur C. Clarke’s Space Odyssey universe?  As I was trying to stick as closely as possible to the best scientific knowledge about Earth’s history that we currently have available and then work the ED/SR history into that, I decided against it.  Instead, this is like a reverse version of the Space Odyssey universe, with Earth’s evolution driving the evolution of the metaplanes.  And I think that works out better, as all of the “closer” metaplanes we see in canon seem to reflect Earthly life forms, society, and mythology.

The Metaplanes and the Astral Plane
The Deep Metaplanes are the oldest metaplanes because planes are “pushed back” away from Earth the more out of sync they are with the current biosphere of Earth.  So, by this point they’ve been pushed further back again and again for millions of years.  The Horrors’ metaplanes are the deepest in the metaplanar structure.

The Astral Plane is really just a “pseudo-plane” as it only exists during mana cycles.  It is effectively the “shadow” that the metaplanes cast upon Earth while in close dimensional proximity.

Pseudoscientific Magic
To a certain extent, this approach is Doing In The Wizard, as what people call “magic” is really the alien physical laws of another universe intruding onto ours.  This was inspired by the Gatecrasher RPG, which delves more into this idea.

The Ancestors of the Horrors (Arthropods from the Paleozoic Era – 538.8 mya to 251.9 mya)
Notable Sea Creatures:
•   Anomalocaris (A scary sea bug about 1.25’ long.  It looks like a sort of shrimp / praying mantis combination and was considered the shark of the Cambrian ocean.)
•   Aquilonifer Spinosus (Arguably a Lovecraftian monster, but it was only 1 cm long.)
•   Hallucigenia (A small worm that looks kind of like a lizard with a ring of teeth and long spines on its back.)
•   Isotelus Rex (A giant trilobite, over a foot long.)
•   Jaekelopterus (An arthropod with pincer arms that was about 8’ long.  It was the scorpion of the shallow coastal areas and a top predator there.)
•   Omnidens (It resembles the Anomalocaris, but was much larger at about 5’ long.)
•   Opabinia (Clearly a Yithian’s pet shrimp, this was a freaky sea bug with a single tentacle-like claw arm, but was only 7 cm long.)
Notable Land Creatures:
•   Arthropleura (A huge flat centipede about 8’ long.)
•   Brontoscorpio Anglicus (A giant scorpion, it was 2.5’ long.)
•   Meganeura (A giant dragonfly, it was 15” long with a 2.5’ wingspan.)
•   Pulmonoscorpius (A giant scorpion, it was 2.5’ long.)
•   Trigonotarbid (An early proto-spider about 5 cm long.)

The Ancestors of the Invae (Arthropods from the Mesozoic Era – 251.9 mya to 66 mya)
Notable Land Creatures:
•   Aptenoperissus Burmanicus (A wingless grasshopper-wasp about an inch long.)
•   Beetles (These are actually the most diverse species on the planet and date back to the late Paleozoic; those early ones would have ended up as Horrors.  The later ones in this era begin to look more like beetles as we know them today.)
•   Dictyoptera (The ancestors of what would become termites and cockroaches as we know them now appeared in this era.)
•   Diptera (The first true flies also appeared in this era.)
•   Haidomyrmecinae (Also known as Hell Ants, these were up to 1.5 cm long.)
•   Manipulator Modificaputis (A praying mantis-like cockroach, about 1 cm long.)
•   Mongolarachne (These were large spiders, up to about 3” long.)
•   Pseudopulex (Some of these prehistoric fleas were over an inch long; those poor dinosaurs.)
•   Santanmantis (An early mantid about an inch long.)
•   Titanomyrma (These giant ants were about as big as a hummingbird.)
•   Ypresiosirex Orthosemos (These giant wasps were about 3” long.)

The Ancestors of the Shedim (Scyphozoa from the Mesozoic Era – 251.9 mya to 66 mya)
•   Cnidarian Medusae (These jellyfish actually date back to the Paleozoic Era, but none of the spirits that were inspired by those “early models” survived the dark evolution of the Paleozoic arthropod spirits that eventually became the Horrors.  Millions of years later, once those early metaplanes sank deeper away from Earth, their descendants slowly evolved into the Shedim.)

The # of years the Horrors have to wait to come back to Earth
The Scourge = 400 years  (this doesn’t count the century or so before and after where it’s more just the Invae)
Remaining Up Cycle = 2362.69 years
Down Cycle = 5125.37 years
Beginning Up Cycle = 2362.69 years

So, after the Scourge ends they have to wait 9,851 years for their next all-you-can-eat-for-400-years buffet.

Quick Reference Guide – Divisions of Geologic Time (Eons, Eras, Periods, and Epochs)

--- Code: ---Hadean Eon 4,567 to 4,031 million years ago
Archean Eon 4,031 to 2,500 million years ago
Proterozoic Eon 2,500 to 538.8 million years ago
Paleoproterozoic Era 2,500 to 1,600 million years ago
Siderian Period 2,500 to 2,300 million years ago
Rhyacian Period 2,300 to 2,050 million years ago
Orosirian Period 2,050 to 1,800 million years ago
Statherian Period 1,800 to 1,600 million years ago
Mesoproterozoic Era 1,600 to 1,000 million years ago
Calymmian Period 1,600 to 1,400 million years ago
Ectasian Period 1,400 to 1,200 million years ago
Stenian Period 1,200 to 1,000 million years ago
Neoproterozoic Era 1,000 to 538.8 million years ago
Tonian Period 1,000 to 720 million years ago
Cryogenian Period 720 to 635 million years ago
Ediacaran Period 635 to 538.8 million years ago
Phanerozoic Eon 538.8 million years ago to Present
Paleozoic Era 538.8 to 251.9 million years ago
Cambrian Period 538.8 to 485.4 million years ago
Early Cambrian Epoch 538.8 to 509 million years ago
Middle Cambrian Epoch 509 to 497 million years ago
Late Cambrian Epoch 497 to 485.4 million years ago
Ordovician Period 485.4 to 443.8 million years ago
Early Ordovician Epoch 485.4 to 470 million years ago
Middle Ordovician Epoch 470 to 458.4 million years ago
Late Ordovician Epoch 458.4 to 443.8 million years ago
Silurian Period 443.8 to 419.2 million years ago
Llandovery Epoch 443.8 to 433.4 million years ago
Wenlock Epoch 433.4 to 427.4 million years ago
Ludlow Epoch 427.4 to 423 million years ago
P&#345;ídolí Epoch 423 and 419.2 million years ago
Devonian Period 419.2 to 358.9 million years ago
Early Devonian Epoch 419.2 to 393.3 million years ago
Middle Devonian Epoch 393.3 to 382.7 million years ago
Late Devonian Epoch 382.7 to 358.9 million years ago
Carboniferous Period 358.9 to 298.9 million years ago
Mississippian Epoch 358.9 to 323.2 million years ago
Pennsylvanian Epoch 323.2 to 298.9 million years ago
Permian Period 298.9 to 251.9 million years ago
Cisuralian Epoch 298.9 to 273 million years ago
Guadalupian Epoch 273 to 259.5 million years ago
Lopingian Epoch 259.5 to 251.9 million years ago
Mesozoic Era 251.9 to 66 million years ago
Triassic Period 251.9 to 201.4 million years ago
Early Triassic Epoch 251.9 to 247.2 million years ago
Middle Triassic Epoch 247.2 to 237 million years ago
Late Triassic Epoch 237 to 201.4 million years ago
Jurassic Period 201.4 to 145 million years ago
Early Jurassic Epoch 201.3 to 174.7 million years ago
Middle Jurassic Epoch 174.7 to 161.5 million years ago
Late Jurassic Epoch 161.5 to 145 million years ago
Cretaceous Period 145 to 66 million years ago
Early Cretaceous Epoch 145 to 100.5 million years ago
Late Cretaceous Epoch 100.5 to 66 million years ago
Cenozoic Era 66 million years ago to Present
Paleogene Period 66 to 23 million years ago
Paleocene Epoch 66 to 56 million years ago
Eocene Epoch 56 to 33.9 million years ago
Oligocene Epoch 33.9 to 23 million years ago
Neogene Period 23 to 2.59 million years ago
Miocene Epoch 23 to 5.33 million years ago
Pliocene Epoch 5.33 to 2.58 million years ago
Quaternary Period 2.58 million years ago to Present
Pleistocene Epoch 2.58 to 0.0117 million years ago
Holocene Epoch 0.0117 million years ago to Present

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I like it!


--- Quote from: FastJack on ---I like it!

--- End quote ---
Thank you.  I spent hundreds of hours of research and several months working on this.  I watched many documentaries and even purchased some of them.  This is the end result of a lot of time and effort.

Have you considered putting it together into a PDF on Holostreets?


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