People of the Ninth World
In the youth of an age, the people use the resources they have on hand, coupled with whatever understanding of their world they can master, to carve out a life for themselves. In the Ninth World,the resources available are the numenera—the detritus of the prior eras—and the people’s understanding if these resources is crude and incomplete. The Aeon Priests possess just enough discernment and knowledge to suggest possible uses for things, but so much remains to be discovered. Even the creatures and plants of the Ninth World are strange by-products of the prior ages; the past left behind flora, fauna, and machines, some designed by lore or nature, others transplanted from distant stars or dimensions. The Ninth Worlders clothe themselves in newly spun fabrics but weave the relics of the past into each garment. They forge armor, weapons, and tools from materials recovered from ancient structures and devices. Some of these materials are metals, but others are (or appear to be) glass, stone, bone, flesh, or substances that defy categorization and understanding. Those who risk the mysterious dangers to recover the relics of the past provide a valuable service. typically these brave souls bring their findings to the Aeon Priests, who use the artifacts to fashion tools, weapons, and other boons for the growing civilization.
As time passes, more individuals learn to use the numenera, but it remains a mystery to most people. But who or what are the people of the Ninth World? Most are humans, although not all that call themselves human truly are. Is an engineered 8-foot-tall (2.4 m tall) person with mechanical limbs and biocrafted brain implants still human? In the Ninth World, the answer is very likely yes, but some people will eagerly debate the point. Perhaps an even better question is: After a billion years, why does the earth still have humans at all, in shapes and forms that we—the people of the 21st century—can recognize? This might seem particularly curious once you consider the fact that many of the prior worlds were distinctly nonhuman.
Ninth Worlders not have the specific perspective, but they do wonder where they came from. They have a sense that Earth was once theirs, and then it wasn’t, and now it is again. How can this be? Perhaps one day they’ll find the answer.
Beyond the humans are the abhumans: mutants,crossbreeds, genetically engineered, and theiroffspring. How is it that some engineered or mutated beings remain “human” while others become “abhuman”? It has more to do with mindset than physical form. Abhumans are once-human creatures that rejected humanity to become bestial, murderous, and degenerate. In other words, they (or their forebears) chose to be abhuman. And then there are the visitants, who are not native to the earth but who now call the Ninth World home. They have no more understanding of the past (even their own) than anyone else.