Monday, April 22, 2013

The Architects: Silent Builders Of Refuge

Paolo Soleri's Asteromo

The Architects, or Silent Builders, should not be confused with The Engineers; they have nothing in common with those blundering celestial giants. Far from being engineers of bio-terror and death, The Architects are builders of refuges and sanctuaries for those whose lives have been endangered by others. Their species is at least 250 million years old, if one judges by the Silent Builders' artifacts: the great arcologies they reveal to those fleeing war, genocide, and persecution. Because of their antiquity, and the active role they play in preserving the weakest among the younger races, The Silent Builders are properly understood as a Forerunner-class species with a Preserver ethos.

The Empire first discovered the work of The Architects immediately after the legendary Anti-Annexation Campaign in which the Joyful Brigade laid waste to the numerous hive worlds of The Assembled Totality. Journeying far past the dead worlds of the Totality, the Imperial Dreadnought Brief Exposure and its seven escorts discovered something interesting - an impregnable orbital arcology of extremely advanced design - in a resource-rich but supposedly uninhabited system of the Dying Swan Cluster.

The Cluster's systems had long been mapped by the far-ranging agents of the RUR. As the Imperial vessels began new sensor sweeps of the system, they were suddenly displaced a hundred light years' distance coreward, their drives damaged beyond repair. The next mission the Empire sent to that system  was diplomatic; it negotiated a successful non-aggression and trade pact with the Enclosed Totality, the refugee state that controlled the orbital.

A dozen arcologies are known to have been built by The Architects within the Imperial Extents. They exist peacefully within the Empire as independent states; most are extremely ancient habitations which long preceded the Empire's rise.

Three of these arcologies are space habitats; the remainder are arcologies built on planets or moons. Ten of the Silent Builders' arcologies are home to refugee populations from one or more worlds; two house refugees from the Empire's own Wars of Expansion. Another of the dozen hosts no refugees; it is located in thhe poorly defended Interstitial Region of the Empire and has been taken over by pirates. The twelfth, known as The Unheralded Habitation, is a black hexahedral arcology that has been uninhabited for centuries. It is regarded with superstitious dread by the hillfolk who inhabit the distant mountain villages overlooking the great structure on the Plains.

Soleri's Hexahedron (pop. 170,000)

Hundreds of the Silent Builders' arcologies are known to exist beyond the Empire. The largest number that have been mapped exist in a halo of systems surrounding the RUR Workers-State. From the RUR, a "tail" of arcologies extends further coreward from RURspace towards the galactic center. New arcologies continue to be discovered near current zones of galactic conflict. The Silent Builders place these refuges just far enough away from epicenters of conflict to ensure that opposing parties of belligerents do not discover them.

Refugees from current and recent wars rarely discuss how they found these sanctuaries. But the historical records of long-established refuges contain vague yet tantalizing hints. The Architects' constructs are almost never discovered; they are almost always revealed in a previously uninhabited or disused star system. The Record Halls of these ancient arcologies often contain references to a "Herald" who appeared to their war-torn ancestors and led them to safety.

Where these arcologies actually come from, and where and how they are built, continue to be mysteries.   One day a system is entirely barren, empty of built structures and habitations; the next day a city-building is already there in-system, ready and waiting.  For this reason, if no others, many seek out the Silent Builders to learn and master their techniques.


The Architects, a galactic organization

  • High Concept: Builders of refuge-arcologies 
  • Trouble: Long-sought by the curious 
  • Aspect: Drawn to places of great conflict
  • Aspect: The weak must be saved
  • Aspect: From among the weak we find our Heralds
  • Careful: +3
  • Clever: +4
  • Flashy: +1
  • Forceful: +2
  • Quick: +2
  • Sneaky: +3
  • Sudden Revelation - Once per scenario, the Silent Builders may reveal one of their refuge-arcologies in previously uninhabited system. This puts a new location into the game.
  • A Herald Shall Lead Them - Once per scenario, the Silent Builders may uplift as their Herald someone from a species that is threatened with extinction. The Herald's body will be suffused nanomachines that render it nearly invulnerable, and their mind will know the words and the way to bring their people to a hidden refuge. After leading their people to safety, they will simply fade from sight and memory, joining the Silent Builders in their Greater Refuge.



  1. Very intriquing. Any grand space opera setting needs it's mysterious precursor species.

    1. Thanks, Trey! We'll have another one a bit later this week.

  2. Oh man. You just cannot make too much use of Soleri for my tastes. Love it.

    1. Thanks, Mrigashirsha! Writing up the retrospective on Soleri on Friday was very generative for me. Today's post just came upon me all of a sudden in an epiphany yesterday. It had something to do with +Trey Causey's post yesterday In the Cards. I can't exactly put my finger on why, although I am sure it has something to do with the first image.