In the beginning they were one, the remnants of a forgotten civilization.
Loaded onto ships of an advanced, and ultimately lost technology, they fled their dying world in search of new homes, and a safe place to settle and raise their families, far away from whatever tragedy set them on this path.
In time, the ships found a singular star, surrounded by four hospitable planets. While far from ideal, and a significant departure from the world they’d abandoned, these worlds could sustain them.
Life would be hard, and sacrifices would be required, but the alternative was extinction. Discussions were held as to which planet would be most suitable for their people, and while it got heated in parts, the decision to split the survivors between the four Goldilocks planets was cordial enough. It was to be the last group decision they ever made, for their paths took them farther and farther apart from each other.
As years turned into centuries, and centuries turned into millennia, the people of what became known as the Four Worlds adapted to their new environments, made new discoveries, and experienced new hardships. The advanced technology responsible for their arrival faded into memory, with other “advancements” taking precedence. Bit by bit, the culture from which they all sprung was lost to the vagaries of time. Then the shared history and peaceful accords failed as one refused to support the other during times of extreme hardship. Communications became increasingly fraught between the Four Worlds, until any semblance of peace snapped. One by one, they turned their backs on each other, accusing their former allies of denying them aid, sabotaging their way of life, and actively stealing resources. For what was once a single people united in their dreams of a new life, now only bitterness remained.
The loss of spacefaring technology was the only thing preventing all out war between the Four Worlds, so instead a battle of propaganda began on each planet, their leaders teaching the young only about the many betrayals and refusals perpetrated by their neighbors. Distrust became bitterness, and with no outlet for their anger, it festered into hatred.
For all their losses, something was discovered by each of the Four Worlds, something they came to treasure above all else: the Six Aspects. Sitting neatly between the space between religion, science, and magic, the Aspects proved to be a driving force in the development (or regression) of each of the Four Worlds. Representing binary elements of existence, the Aspects provided not just safety but hope on the otherwise hostile planets. By balancing the dueling Aspects, they managed to ensure their survival, even began to thrive. The Aspects are the reason the people of the Four Worlds survived those first, harsh years, and their reverence for them never went away.
THE FOUR WORLDS
The first of the Four Worlds to host a human colony, Eth was once a pristine paradise, settled by people fleeing their dying homeworld. These first colonists brought with them the fears and superstitions that, over millions of years, evolved into the Six Aspects. Eth still considers itself the center of human civilization, and sees Sol, Algo, and Flow as merely colonies—rebellious upstarts to be brought back in line.
The original settlers of Sol escaped what they saw as the stifling monoculture of Eth. Ancient legends tell of their utopian ideals—ideals that were quickly traded away for the planet’s rich deposits of minerals. Now, generation after greed-addled generation later, the mines of Sol are played out, and its people look to their neighboring worlds for power, money, and elbow room.
Settled only a few generations after Sol, Algo was once a dead world, made livable, even beautiful, by a thousand-year project of terraforming known as the Great Travail that stretched the possibilities of the magic of all Six Aspects. Though people have lived on Flow almost as long as they’ve lived on Sol, it’s still a smaller colony, but one that wields the pride of its Great Travail as both a shield and a spear. Though Algo is the least expansionist of the Four Worlds, it has vowed to conquer before it is conquered.
The youngest of the Four Worlds, Flow is another social experiment gone terribly wrong. First settled by practitioners of Chaos, smaller pockets of followers of the other Six Aspects trickled in from the other worlds triggering, at first, minor skirmishes and the occasional attempt at unification, then a series of world wars that has left Flow the least populated, but most heavily armed of the Four Worlds. Now operating under a loose federation that has tenuously united the Six Aspects, Flow, like Sol, is looking to spread onto a world less scarred by war.
In time, the Aspects attracted the attention of the greatest threat the people of the Four Worlds had yet faced…
Who the Unrevealed are, what they want, and where they came from has been the source of many a campfire story since their arrival. And yet, despite all this discussion, no one on the Four Worlds is any the wiser. They can only report on what they’ve seen: the Unrevealed are a potent foe, draw their power from an unknown source, and they have a burning hatred for those with a strong grasp over the Aspects. The only time the Unrevealed make even an iota of their presence known is when they steal heroes of the Aspects from the Four Worlds for…
The Pixel War
To those left behind, the Unrevealed’s motives are unknown. For those taken, their fates become quickly apparent: gladiatorial combat. The heroes of the Aspects are taken off world, awakening to find themselves transformed into beings of harsh edges and blocky composition, though the landscapes of varied arenas and battlefields appear perfectly normal—some horrifying, some beautiful. The survivors call this world “Pixels” for how it makes them look—and feel. And for many, it’s the last home they’ll ever know.
Fighting is the only staple of life on Pixels, and as regular as clockwork. The combatants spend their days trying in vain to fathom a pattern, but the thought processes of their captors are as unknown to them as the source of the Aspects. Some fights are one-on-one, while others pit legions of fighters against each other. One world might be forced to fight another, or friends might be pitted against each other. It’s just as likely to see an Aspect battling its opposite element as it is to find them trying to survive in the face of the same source of power. If there's a pattern to the madness, no one has yet figured it out. The only thing a pixel hero knows is battle, and the only way to survive another day is to win.
And who knows, if they win enough, they might win their freedom, or at least a glimpse of the motives of the enigmatic Unrevealed.