Survive and Conquer
“Technology did not fail man. Man failed
Like many alliances in the Gamma Age, the
Archivists are dedicated to finding, restoring and
maintaining as much Final Wars era technology as
possible. Unlike others, the Archivists have no
interest in using the technology they gather. Instead,
they place these items in libraries, and maintain and
preserve them without making any use of them. The
Archivists never use anything more advanced than
muscle-powered machines, despite having access to
vast collections of complex technology.
Many other groups find this behavior bizarre in
the extreme, and assume the Archivists are ignorant
fools who don’t realize the use of the things they gather.
In many cases this is true, as the Archivists include
numerous poor, uneducated members who simply need
something to believe in. The core movement of the
Archivists, however, is an educated, reasoning council
that is well aware of the value of the things they gather,
and believe it is necessary they preserve them without
ever using them.
To the Archivists, their duty is to make up for
the hubris of their forefathers. Humanity was given
the power to act as gods, and used it to create toys,
fulfill fantasies, and ultimately destroy itself. The
Archivists are aware that many of the tools of the
Final Wars were self-aware, and that they were not
treated with respect by their creators. Archivists
make the leap that technology itself became aware,
forming a kind of superconsciousness spread across
all devices of advanced function, and that it was
this technology-as-awareness that both destroyed
the old civilization and prevented the world from
being totally unraveled.
In this act, the Archivists believe, the technology
superconsciousness destroyed itself, breaking into its
component parts. However, if enough technology were
to be restored or rebuilt, the superconsciousness would
return, and in that moment judge biological life in all
its forms. The Archivists believe that by having
working technology that they don’t use, they are both
making amends for the excesses of their distant
ancestors and proving that living creatures can refrain
from abusing technology. They hope this will be
sufficient to convince the superconsciousness not to
destroy all life when it returns.
Typical Archivist libraries contain only a few
broken bits of tech placed on desks and in alcovelike
niches called cubicles. Nothing of value is ever
kept in these small buildings, and raiders are free to
enter and ransack the buildings in a useless search
for working machines. The true treasures of the
Archivists are kept in secure bunker museums, the
locations of which are closely guarded secrets.
Wandering Archivist monks called Heuretics visit
the public libraries regularly, removing anything of
true value and replacing it with useless junk.
Though even Heuretics are forbidden from using
most technologies, many are Nanosmiths, and are
permitted to use their gifts to defend themselves
and the treasures they carry. Heuretics also search
for lost tech in ruins or battlefields, and even steal
it from other communities (though such agents
always conceal their intents and allegiances, often
taking the role of wandering madmen).
Archivists do best in communities with
population levels 6–7. Such communities are large
enough to protect their libraries and small enough to
avoid difficulties from their low-tech lifestyle. Larger
Archivist groups also suffer from internal dissent, as it
is difficult to control very large fanatic groups without
very strong leaders. Only one or two Archivist
fortresses have populations over population level 8.
Smaller Archivist groups must depend on secrecy to
protect their stockpiles of technology, often concealing
themselves as groups of Seekers or poor, uneducated
communities with nothing of value.
Archivists make useful contacts and allies, as
they are willing to buy broken tech for food, rare
gems, or simple weapons. Very trusted allies may
even be able to convince Archivists to repair broken
devices in payment for other working technology,
though some Archivists are never willing to
encourage tech use. Because they are fanatical about
their beliefs, Archivists make dangerous foes. Most
large Archivist communities have a few high-tech
weapons they will use in emergencies, and one or
more Heuretic warrior-monks.
Splinter groups of Archivists, called Servants of
the Eye, also exist. These groups have lost sight of the
core mission of the Archivists, and instead see
themselves as agents of the technological
superconsciousness — which they believe exists now.
Unlike typical Archivists, who see their actions as
pragmatic gestures to defend the world, Servants are
religious believers who see technology itself as magical.
They also keep any tech they come across, but place it
in shrines and temples covered with wires and gears to
worship. These Servants of the Eye often fall under the
control of Programmers, AIs or the Created, accepting
them as saints in the service of the superconsciousness.
Characters may take an organizational allegiance
to the Archivists after hearing a Heuretic preach, or
after being exposed to particularly powerful ancient
technology. Trade goods given to such characters
are often simple things taken from defunct machines,
such as wire, gears and bits of unbreakable synthetic
material for use in simple tools.