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A being known as Dea is the creator of all things in the multiverse. It created human beings as living batteries in order to fuel him and give him power. Dea feeds off of human worship, which he uses to get stronger, gaining power any time humans pay homage to him.

Eventually, Dea conducts a rapture-like event which ends a world within the multiverse. During this rapture, it consumes the souls of human beings, both living and dead. All humans ascend to this being and become a part of it, existing everywhere at once in a form of omnipresence. The world then resets itself and Dea re-seeds that particular planet with life. This process occurs with other planets within the multiverse, continuously supplying Dea with new energy.

Now, outside the multiverse there exist creatures called demons which seek to destroy the worlds and take their energy for themselves, and occasionally find ways to invade these planets. As time passes on a planet, humans develop technology that is better at fighting these creatures off. For example, in 5000 B.C, humans used iron swords and arrows to fight off demonic invasions. 4000 years later, they have developed bullets, rail guns, and so on. The demons, for their part, also increase their tech level to match the human world that they are invading.

The problem is that when the world starts over, it sets the technology level back to the beginning. Logically, demons would still have their technology and be able to overwhelm the newly formed world's with ease. I need for humans and demons to be on the same tech level on each reset so that demons don't surpass them immediately. This is to give the human side a fair shot. How can this be made possible?

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    $\begingroup$ Railguns by 1000BC, huh? Civ on easy mode, it sounds like. $\endgroup$ – Starfish Prime Oct 4 at 13:07

16 Answers 16

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Message from Dea

My Dear Tasty Morsels,

You misunderstand the origin and nature of the recipe-ingredient that you call "demons". They are not creatures from beyond my domain. I am all powerful! There is nothing beyond my domain. Anything you have heard to the contrary is just demon propaganda; meant to nurture your delicious fear.

The demons are a part of the Grand Recipe, just as you are. They are like the yeast which human bakers add to dough to make it rise. I prefer the taste of Lions to that of Lambs. The demons are added to help you grow brave and strong.

That is why they are always added in appropriate measure and at various points during the cook time. In the beginning, a light sprinkling of weak demons, just to get the legends started. Later, stronger. Then just before dinner time, a massive, almost-overpowering dose to wring every ounce of goodness out of your delectable souls.

Fight Well my Tasty Morsels!

For only through your struggles can you become truly ambrosial!

And as always, Thank you for your contribution to my meal!

- Dea

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    $\begingroup$ Well someone's been reading the Screwtape Letters. +1 $\endgroup$ – Qami Oct 4 at 21:13
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    $\begingroup$ @Qami, Absolutely correct! Lewis is an incredible resource and I steal ideas from all the best. Though to keep some credit for myself, Screwtape's dark master isn't an instrument of "The Enemy" as all the demons are in my offering above. $\endgroup$ – Henry Taylor Oct 4 at 21:59
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Since deamons are not creators at first place, they may be completely uncreative. And their weapons are just salvaged and corrupted versions of human weapons (or ideas of this weapons). Demons just have no idea of "innovation" and "development". They just take, steal what exist now.

Reseting process may last long enough to advanced weapons to stop working and/or be forgot by deamons surviving without human powers.

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    $\begingroup$ Those quartermasters whose entire stock "went missing" were not lying after all. $\endgroup$ – Borgh Oct 7 at 13:18
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When the world resets, the demons must conserve their strength to survive the long soulless winter. A demon lord from the last world may have consumed a million mortal souls, but then must wait eons before a new world is ready to feast on again. Like a bear in hibernation, his "fat" is depleted, and when humans return to the world, the demons are starving and weak.

Many demons will be too hungry to be interested in a long-game; so, they run madly into human camps looking for "scraps". These starved demons will be too weak to muster any magical abilities at all and the human settlements too small to create a meaningful supply of souls; so, until the human populations begin to grow, the demons will live like wolves just barely surviving off of field mice. Without the excess power to muster magic, the fighting will be spear vs claw.

At this point, the demons don't need technology, they need more people; so, those with more self-control will re-teach the humans about farming and animal husbandry to move things along. These human flocks will grow as their food sources become more stable. Now these more patient demons have hundreds or even thousands of humans in their flock. They can now muster minor magical abilities, but as the humans learn to make a plow, they also learn to make weapons. Now when fighting happens, it is between increasingly large armies of human with iron weapons and armor vs fewer but increasingly powerful demons armed with flaming claws and lighting bolts.

Soon, urbanization and industrialization will set in. Humans will form cities in the hundreds of thousands or even millions. The few demons that are left over from reset will now be becoming very powerful, their cults are massive, but they are outnumbered by a LOT! These demons begin to muster more magic than they know what to do with, and their herds become to vast to oversee alone; so, they use their excess of power to begin reproducing. The originals become demon lords, and their children serve them. Humans begin to develop muskets and cannons making a battlefield too dangerous for the demon lords; so, they just spawn hoards of minor demons to go to war for them. These demons may have minor magical powers of their own to contend with the improving human tech, but are never given enough power to challenge the lord who made them.

As the info age sets in, human technology explodes. Suddenly, they can make huge technological strides in a single generation, but all that ebb and flow of knowledge also gives the demons many new outlets into the human psyche. No longer needing to stand before a crowd in glory, a demon need only become an internet meme to go from a lowly peon, to a powerful lord. Whereas before, a it took centuries for a demon to become known enough to wield great power, now it can happen in weeks. At this point humans are wielding all manor of modern weapons, but greater demons with enough power to face a fighter jet or tank now number in the 1000s, and they add to their numbers every day has humans become more and more preoccupied with thoughts of the demons.

Then, all at once, Dea reaps his harvest and the humans are gone. Millions of demons with horrifying powers are left over without a single soul to consume. Many will flee to the deep places of the world to hibernate, others will begin to cannibalize each other trying feutilly to retain some shadow of their former glory. In the end, only a small handful will endure until the humans return to start the cycle all over again.

While the demons learn to use human technology to spread their presence, they have magic; so, they never bother themselves with learning how to build a railgun or a guided missile because they can just point their fingers and do just as much damage; so, when the world resets, there will be no "technology" to bring back other than the basics of what they plan to teach humans to help them become numerous again.

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  • $\begingroup$ This is an awesome idea, definitely the best. $\endgroup$ – Redwolf Programs Oct 6 at 0:40
  • $\begingroup$ I think this along with @HenryTaylor 's is awsome. All part of a grand, grand cook book $\endgroup$ – Nahshon paz Oct 7 at 12:36
  • $\begingroup$ An interesting idea. Alternatively, instead of hibernating, perhaps they just very slowly starve and die off en masse... with very few surviving to the next genesis. Technology tends to fail and get lost when population is low. $\endgroup$ – cowlinator Nov 2 at 0:59
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Humans conquer the Demons before they get raptured in each cycle.

Dea's condition for being able to safely rapture her harvest is to have them conquer the Demons. This causes Demon population, tech level, and invasion capability to completely regress to the initial levels in preparation for Dea to rapture and reset.

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Sharks are not interested in plankton or algae.

Create different classes of demons and make the development of civilization a phenomenon that attracts demons of increasing power. Perhaps the usage of technology creates supernatural emanations through the void, drawing the attention of these hungry creatures. Planets of low tech will not attract enough interest from the big demons for them to bother coming to check things out; maybe eating low tech worlds can no longer satisfy their cravings. The greatest demons can only be sated by the most advanced societies.

In this rendition, the demons have no tech level. People just meet different and increasingly powerful types as tech advances.

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They exist outside the multiverse

This is a golden ticket to impose whatever arbitrary conditions you'd like. A few possibilities:

  • Going from Outside into the Multiverse is easier than going the other way. Demons developing technology (during or immediately preceding an invasion) can't transmit knowledge of those technologies back to the Outside very easily, so each invasion is "fresh", more or less, since it's generally a one-way trip
  • Physical matter, as we think of it, can't persist Outside very well or for very long. They can bring the tools back to the Outside, but it won't last until the next invasion
  • Properties of the Outside make it impossible to construct intermediate tools (such as, there is no iron or equivalent material there), so they can't make anything between invasions. Knowing how to make a computer != being able to manufacture one from absolute scratch (that's a popular question on SE), and it takes time to ramp up industry. For all their knowledge, they have to rebuild their industry from nothing for each invasion
  • "Harvesting" people that don't understand what's going on doesn't work. For metaphysical reasons, which don't necessarily need to be explained very well, blasting medieval knight with a railgun produces nothing the demons want
  • A lot of memory is annihilated when crossing the barrier between Outside and the Multiverse. Knowledge of technologies loses too much detail in the transition
  • There is little consistency in physical properties of different regions of the Multiverse at different times. Tech A might have worked well during the last invasion, but might be literally impossible in the next
  • It is in some way expensive to translate resources across the barrier between Outside and the Multiverse. Sending more resources than are necessary is undesirable (too expensive, etc.), and so they bring the "minimum" technology needed to successfully invade, which is whatever is on par with the targets' technological development

They're different from humans

Other possibilities include properties of the demons themselves, and their society:

  • The demons are petty and secretive, and so knowledge of better technologies doesn't spread much. Possibly, demons are cagey about allowing others to even see (or otherwise perceive) a better weapon in action, so they mostly stick with the "basic" ones
  • The demons have some sort of moral or civil code which requires them to best the humans on technologically even footing
  • Demons are observant and adaptable, but not smart in the ways needed to develop, produce, or maintain higher technologies. Seeing humans using something, they might be able to use a stolen item quickly and well through empirical observation alone, but can't grasp the underlying theories that make things work or create their own
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    $\begingroup$ Excellent examples for meta-reasons. For the "demons are different", you can add that their tech (magic, really) is metaphysically dependent on some factor of human civilization roughly correlating to human tech levels (population size, total amount of dead mortals since last reset, percentage of atheists/cynical religious ministers in the general populace, active secret cults etc. etc.) $\endgroup$ – G0BLiN Oct 6 at 20:36
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TL DR
Your demons are playing a survival crafting game. After each rapture their knowledge and technology may remain unaffected but they must gather the resources they need from the newly raptured world once again and rebuild their bases and production means.

long version
Demon technology doesn't have to reset with each rapture to allow humans to stay competitive with them. If the resources required for demon technology isn't available after each rapture the demons would have to spend time developing and creating the resources needed for their technology each time.

For example, say a demon needs high quality steel for much of their technology then following a rapture the invading demons would have to spend time digging mines to extract ores and then spend time again to build a metals forge. Given that using primitive resources tends to only yield primitive results there may even be some time spent reiterating their mining and forging techniques until the demons can produce high quality steel. Repeat this for any other resources their technology may need.

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    $\begingroup$ A slight variation on this that would make it work is that the demons who were alive before the rapture were too many levels of complexity removed from primitive tech to reinvent the whole tree. You could send the top 1000 weapons developers form across the world back to the stone age, and still not see a single guided missile before they all die of old age because they need the tools that only exist in the modern age to find and refine the materials they need to get there. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Oct 7 at 17:30
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The demons naturally create faulty devices.

The demons are evil beings, and they enjoy causing pain, suffering and generally making sure everyone has a bad time. They do this not because they choose to, but because it is their nature and divine purpose.

What gives a craftsman more pleasure than perfection of his craft? What matches the joy of observing perfection? Things which were built to be truly excellent we not only cherish and value, but display in our biggest museums. Works of art, technology, crafts which are constructed with great skill can be rewarding to just see or read about.

Clearly, this positive feeling is not something the demons can be going around fostering. If demons create a bunch of exquisite high-tech gear that is a beauty to behold, how is that making everyone have a bad time? Besides, what if demon soldiers start taking pleasure in the quality of the demon weaponsmith's work? No no no, we can't have that.

Everything the demons make, no matter how advanced, is shoddy. Their computers are unreliable. Their tools are unergonomic. Their software is ridden with bugs and undefined behavior. Their guns explode, vent heat in the user's face, and shoot inaccurately. Their grenades explode in your hand. Their tanks give you neck pain. Their couches are uncomfortable no matter how you sit on them.

Think of the worst, most infuriating, POS, low quality product you ever used. Technological advancement is irrelevant to this - we now live in a time of fabulous technological advancement, yet arguably the gadgets we have are the worst quality products in history. The demons wouldn't make things that work right, no. They would make the worst, most infuriating, evil crap possible.

All the demon troops are constantly pissed off at the shitty equipment they carry, the godawful MREs, the trash bag uniforms, the pig-headed careerist commanders with no knowledge of tactics or strat- wait, I think I'm thinking of a real world army, not a fictional one. Anyway, you get the idea. The demon craftsmen are pissed off too, because their tools and materials suck. The demon scientists are pissed off because their offices are hell (heh) and the bureaucracy is crushing their ability to do work. Even the demon leaders are fed up with godawful systems of government and constant infighting among their underlings. They are "this is why we can't have nice things", the society. But they themselves continue doing this, because it is their nature - it's like the scorpion and the frog.

While it is not hard to find inspirations for this in real life, I also think the Warhammer 40k universe has some interesting concepts. For instance, the Imperium has incredibly advanced technology, but due to bureaucracy, superstition, dysfunctional organization and supernatural elements, none of it is working right and nobody can understand how to use it to its full capacity. It has the potential to produce almost boundless power as per the requirements of the arc, but at the same time does not break the universe because none of these feats are reproducible.

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Demon resources thin; high tech worlds more valuable

Advanced technology is expensive and requires infrastructure and resources. Demons simply can't make enough to equip everybody with the latest and greatest gear.

So sure, maybe they have a thousand advanced industrial complexes equipping a billion-strong army with futuristic weapons. Having spent so much, it would be wasteful to send these troops anywhere except to conquer the juiciest high-tech worlds in the multiverse.

But what do the other quadrillion demons do? A trillion of them are industrious enough to cobble together swords and arrows and arm up their buddies, and these irregulars go and search out the juiciest worlds they think they can conquer with such limited arms.


So the key worldbuilding feature is that the higher tech worlds are also the worlds with the most energy — the demon forces match their level of advancement to the human armies simply because each legion of demons seeks out the most profitable worlds they think they can conquer.

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Time in the demonic realm runs differently.

What is to us a series of wars between man and demons, separated by spans of years and centuries, is to the demons a single war in many, many different locations happening at the same time. They have to divide their forces up among these different wars, and they have to bring the same technology to each war.

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The outer non-Dea universe is another universe (Edge Universe or EU?), things work differently there... most importantly thinking processes.

While the Demons live in their EU they are more of an animalistic essence that tries to strengthen itself. They act more like a natural phenomenon like the oxygenization process of fire binding oxygen to other substances. Once inside a universe they adapt to function in the physical laws of that universe and create their demonic bodies.

They then have to advance themselves alongside the humans, as often stealing technology as they create it themselves in an effort to gain more souls. Then the rapture comes and the demons flee back to their incorporeal forms in the EU, carrying the power of reaped souls with them but losing the knowledge that they used to pocess as the physics in their universe dont support it.

Even if a Demon finds a way to connect two invaded universes to use superior technology in a younger universe, Dea can have universes arrayed in such a way that tech levels arent wildly different. On top of that Dea could also create a connection and send a troupe of similar tech humans to deal with the Demons. Sending humans and tech from another universe messes with Dea's unknowable plans so (s)he prefers to send about the same number and techology as the Demons to cause as small a disturbance as possible instead of sending the godlike Kardeshev III terminator squads to whoop Demon ass but cause a massive disruption.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the idea about universes being near similar tech universes alone could be a good answer. If demons come from the "outside", then these demons have no tech to start with. The inner worlds would be the strongest, but such demons could only flee from one high-tech world to the next so quickly trying to stay ahead of Dea who consumes all from the inside outward. $\endgroup$ – Nosajimiki Oct 7 at 17:49
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If the demons don't rely on technology but superior bodies to wage battle, there there is nothing to improve. If they are also resistant to higher forms of energy (including kinetic) it may lead to even high tech worlds using swords and crossbows (which are tuned to be just under the kinetic energy that triggers the immunity).

This means that the high tech worlds would be better at fighting demons (better metals and edges on swords) but not dramatically so.

thus you have a situation where the demons don't improve (like sharks, their form works for them) and the humans don't improve much.

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Demons are like ants

Ants leave pheromone trails when they find food. Another ant which finds the trail will follow it, and if there's still food to gather, it will pick it up (and leave it's own trail). The more trails, the better is the food source and the more ants will follow it, until food source runs out/is taken away by disgusted human.

Same principle can be utilized by demon hive:

  1. They send scouts, who are looking for fresh worlds to gather from.
  2. If they find one, progressively more and more demons will come to the world because of magical trace all demons leave behind.
  3. Eventually, demon warrior class gets engaged, because food source doesn't want to be food source and strikes back.
  4. More demons get engaged and more demons follow the traces to the freshly created world, until eventually
  5. Disgusted humanCreator picks up the appleworld and throws it awayconsumes it.
  6. Demons will arrive at the end of the trails and notice the world is empty, so they will be forced to start scouting for another one, which will have just enough time to get some humans on it.

It's the Circle of Life!

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What if the technology of the demons is mostly implemented in the planet/world where the humans live ? This way, when Dea devours the world, a significant part of the demons also go, and their knowledge go with them. This way, the demons progress, but very very slowly, since they suffer a huge setback at each world consumption.

Another possibility is to give each world different physical laws, so that the demons keep their knowledge, but it is useless in the new world, or even detrimental ?

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Many possibilities, though simplest hard limit I can come up with is your god tweaks the rules of a given world to their particular technology level. If the people living there only has swords and shields, there is no reason to allow electricity to work, nor for gunpowder to explode. Therefore no guns, no fancy computers, nothing the demons could bring with them to give them an unfair advantage.

An interesting aspect of this, is god would control tech progression. After all if god "unlocks" gunpowder and somebody says they already tried mixing that and it did nothing. well then everyone will think they surely mixed it wrong, or maybe it was wet or the mixture wrong etc. After all it works every time now :)

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My take on this:

Demons surviving the raptures isn't an upside for them.

If these cycles of rapture/regrowth of human population has gone on for long enough, then the demon population would be absolutely massive. Demons are often depicted as chaotic and rebellious in media, so it's not unreasonable for this massive number of demons to be living in pseudo-anarchy. There'll probably be some organisations rising above the rest, probably led by some powerful demon lord that's a cut above the rest, but that organisation will soon attract the envy and wrath of the masses of other demons and could quickly curmble.

So although in theory the demons should have developped technology over generations and generations, they lack the cohesion and wisdom to devlop this technology on the scale at which their society, or lack thereof, operates. They will often steal Human technology, but that'll mostly be from the current iteration of humans and so it'll match the tech they have. Even if they do manage to keep some tech from one iteration to the next, it'll probably be faulty and have a higher chance of backfiring the more advanced the tech.

A band of humans with crossbows will have a hard time fighting off a band of demons with a railgun, but maybe they won't need to because the railgun will malfunction and blow the demons up before the humans need to fire any bolts.

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protected by Monty Wild Oct 7 at 7:47

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