The Noetic Alchemists were a clade of digital lifeforms that formed part of the Triune alliance that first colonized Chunky Space. They were “ring minds”, group intelligences made of interchangeable sub minds.
The great work - The alchemists had a singular obsession during the reign of their empire. They sought to create the perfect mind, in an endeavor that has been compared to the modern Sophonic Advent’s quest for universal sapiance. The key difference is that the Alchemists conceived of the perfect being as existing in the universe, while the Advent believe their perfect being will encompass the universe.
Astral Technology - To achieve their goal, the Noetic Alchemists created a self replicating machine ecology, cribbing their work from the ancient Gnomic machine ecologies. The key difference is that their designs were capable of harvesting and using astral energy. When astral energy is added to a virtual world the result is something very similar to a standard dreamscape. This allowed for simulationed worlds with properties that would be impossible in normal reality emulations. The most prominent example being the hyper-technic worlds, realms where technology worked better than in reality. Each Noetic world had a single hyper-technic core realm that served as an advanced nerve center for the planetary system. The whole empire was connected through an artificial astral current known as the Great Web.
Digital Genocide - Once a machine ecology was well established, it would begin growing large numbers of world frames. These worlds would be populated with emulated beings which would be subjected to tests and trials to determine their mental fitness. Failures would be deleted while success would be destructively processed, their astral/digital essences distilled and refined. This process was iterated on a massive scale; a single fully colonized planet could have tens of thousands of world frames, each hosting billions of sapients.
Avengers from the Dross - The great work produced a great amount of astral waste. The impure and unwanted parts of processed minds were channeled into digital cisterns before being sent to reprocessing facilities. It was in one of those cisterns that the first digital devils arose; gestalt consciousnesses made of bad thoughts. This would be the start of a long and horrible war that would last until the collapse of Alchemist civilization at the start of the Plague Aeon.
The Ruined Present - Even after the fall of Noetic Alchemists and the cessation of the great work, their machine ecology kept working. The difference is that the cullings and harvesting stopped and the world frames were left fallow. Some evolved new and novel realties while some devolved into hell realms under the influence of the Digital Devils. They were able to access these worlds through the remains of the Great Web, which has become the debased devil’s nest known as the Digital Abyss.
Hellbloom- This sweltering hot house world has a specialized machine ecology adapted to the high heat. Thermal energy powers the massive wolfram that hosts the Hellbloom digital world. Florid Maskforms run the cleansing cities where digital devils go to be rejuvenated. Rumored to be the resting place of the archdevil of Compassion.
Deep Hole - The machine ecology here is damaged and demented, barely able to mantain itself. In a mountain bunker there is a long mirror lined shaft. This is a permanent portal to the digital abyss.
Alembic - This world is thought to be the most well preserved cognitive distillation plant still in existence. Strange machines process astral fluids into multicolored glass holding tanks. The astral distillates are valuable but fiercely protected by the machine ecology.
Frozen Battle - A Noetic Alchemist world that was fighting off an invasion of primitive Black Rainbow Destroyers when it was frozen in time.Popular cursed tourist destination.
Antenna Reef- branching metal poles. They condense astral energy into astral metal they use to grow. When disturbed they fire manifestation rays that cause sentient beings to leak psychic energy in the form of astral phantoms, which the reefs then absorb. Reefs in low astral environments become “carnivorous”, using their rays aggressively to harvest energy.
Mandible drone - These hexapod worker droids are the labor backbone of the machine ecology. Their chief job is harvesting antenna reefs. Their astral alloy jaws can adapt to eventually be able to cut through any material.
Tank drone - This drone has a long multi chambered glass abdomen. It serves as a living refinery, turning astral matter into astral distaltes. When the hive is threatened, they mobilize as heavy weapons platforms; the astral fluids they spray have a variety of effects.
World drone - These droids carry spherical world frames in a specialized socket. They form dense nests within the heart of the ecology. When threatened they flair astral energy into the real world, creating psychic vortexes that draw intruders into the world frames.
Lurker drone - These lanky, elusive drones only appear when the ecology needs serious repair and troubleshooting. In particular they are activated to deal with invaders. They don’t fight directly, rather they control the environment and other drones. Their favorite tactic is luring intruders into a death trap, then sealing the doors.
Cyber wretch - Swarms of microbots that form together into a sheet. Said to be fragments of old Noetic Alchemists, ripped apart by digital devils and imprisoned in these forms. These creatures mostly just moan in pain but sometimes they speak of their old lives or utter memetic pathogens.