Something strange is happening to the worlds in our galaxy, something that makes them look alike. They all share similar important events. They all have similar races. Many even have similar gods and religions. These shared features can at first appear to be quite different, but usually they share the same base characteristics. This phenomenon is referred to as "convergence" and is one of the greatest unexplained mysteries in the galaxy.
Convergence is caused by something that we refer to as the Convergent Force. We do not currently know the cause of this force. It seems to act on two main areas, the first area being that each world has a limited set of intelligent races, as well as a limited set of gods with their portfolios. In addition, while details of the world's geography are not shared, each world seems to share the same rough continental outline. We refer to these mostly static features as convergent phenomena.
The other area the convergent force affects is events. Certain events always seem to happen around the same time, regardless of culture, race or at times even geography. We have found worlds that lack any form of technological development, yet still the same events happen, though at times it is hard to recognise them. We refer to these events as Convergent Events. These events form a timeline for a world that we refer to as a convergent timeline. Worlds following a certain convergent timeline are referred to as convergent worlds.
Most of the things happening on a world are not convergent events. Instead, they push the world away from the convergent timeline. These events are referred to as divergent events. The convergent force acts to make sure these events do not cause the world to deviate too far from the convergent timeline. This means that most events do not really affect the timeline, looking at it from a galactic perspective. However, some worlds have had divergent events happen - either one massive event or several large events after each other - that cause the convergent force to fail and the world to no longer follow a convergent timeline. These worlds are referred to as divergent worlds.
There seems to be a third major class of events, which are called discordant events. Discordant events are events that share similar characteristics but happen only on some worlds, instead of all worlds. They are a topic of ongoing research as they are harder to find and identify.
Finally, some events are simply similar things that happen on multiple worlds due to random chance or other factors. These are recurring events and inevitable events and are classified mostly to make it easier to identify them when looking at a world's timeline.
Convergent events are events that happen in almost all convergent timelines on convergent worlds. They always seem to happen at a specific time and sometimes happen at a specific place as well. However, they are never linked to a specific culture, god, person or other more ephemeral feature. Instead, if a convergent event happens to require such a feature, something or someone will come along and take the proper place for that event to happen. Some examples of convergent events include the invention of Primordial Magic, the gods departing the world to create their Divine realms, the Spirit War or the creation of one or more Trading Portals.
One important class of convergent events is those that relate to the founding of certain organisations. Some organisations seem to have the same primary goal across many convergent worlds. While their effectiveness and how widespread and well-known these organisations are varies and is decidedly not convergent, their founding always happens. These organisations are referred to as convergent organisations and some of them are amongst the most powerful entities in parts of the galaxy.
Divergent events are events that happen regardless of the convergent force. They happen on just one world in that specific manner on that specific location in that specific time. They always deviate from a world's convergent timeline, though the extent differs per event. We have categorised them into three classes, critical divergent events, major divergent events and minor divergent events. Note that there are no real hard divisions between these classes, especially between major and minor divergent events.
Critical Divergent Events
Some divergent events are so big that they push the world far away from the world's normal convergent timeline. The convergent force then pushes against this divergence but seems to fail at this, creating a divergent world. These massive divergent events that are too much for the convergent force to correct are called critical divergent events. Some examples of critical divergent events include: A jungle that creeps across the entire world, the invention of interstellar travel, achieving world peace, destroying one of the gods, completely eradicating one of the races or the opposite - an extra race that appears.
The most common example of a critical divergent event is however: getting contacted by an interstellar faction and getting exposed to other divergent worlds that way.
Major Divergent Events
Not all divergent events are big enough to cause the convergent force to fail. Sometimes the divergent event is very large and the convergent force takes decades or even centuries to push the world back onto its convergent timeline. After that the divergent event is incorporated into the world's timeline, which will now be slightly altered from the convergent timelines of other convergent worlds. These events that take a large push from the convergent force are called major divergent events. Some examples of major divergent events include: The destruction of a large capital, the upheaval of a large part of the climate of the world, a temporary regression of magic and technology or even a reshuffling of the ages within the convergent line of time.
In some cases, while a single major divergent event would not be enough to cause a convergent world to become a divergent world, a chain of major divergent events happening in rapid succession may instead be enough. Similarly, while a single critical divergent event usually causes the world to diverge, in some cases the convergent force seems to be able to correct things just enough that it ends up not diverging. For example, the genocide of one of the races does not need to cause a divergent world if the events that need to happen on the convergent timeline can easily be divided among the remaining races.
Minor Divergent Events
Most events are so small that they do not or just barely register as important historical events. These events seem to need very little if any push from the convergent force to keep the world on its convergent timeline. These minor divergent events are typically not named when a mortal answers the question: "So, what is different about your world?". These events are called minor divergent events. Some examples include: A specific individual is born, Somebody writes a book that has little political influence or a good pub exists next to some specific road. Basically, anything that happens on a world that does not reach the history books and also several things that do reach the history books.
These events happen on multiple worlds, far more then coincidence would suggest but not nearly enough to be part of the convergent timeline. Many worlds will only encounter a few of these, if any. These events are quite puzzling to us, as they cannot be the result of statistical chance alone, as they are too similar to one another, usually occurring at the same, the same place and with the same results. They do not fit any of our current theories regarding the convergent force and thus we refer to them as Discordant Events.
Discordant events can happen in different times, places and be small or large, but always share some characteristics. Because of this variance, it may sometimes be hard to identify them. One example is a plague that occurs somewhere around the centre of the largest continent. This plague has been found on several worlds and always involves beings being transformed into horrifying monsters that attack and spread the plague. 1
Discordant events are a focus of ongoing research, as we currently do not know why these events happen in the manner that they do. Additionally, we are trying to identify other things relating to these events, such as some organizations. Organizations that do not appear in every convergent timeline, but that do seem to crop up around discordant events.
With a large enough sample size, even the most unlikely coincidence can happen multiple times. This is especially true when dealing with something as large as a galaxy. Therefore, we sometimes see the same events happen across several worlds that seem otherwise unrelated. Even though they are purely the result of random chance, we refer to these events as recurring events to make it easy to identify them.
These events include small things like the discovery of a certain specific natural resource up to large events like the forming of an alliance between nations and its eventual betrayal.
Like recurring events, given enough time, some things are bound to happen, regardless of chance or other factors. With a convergent timeline, some things are bound to happen on all convergent worlds. Some examples of these things include someone climbing the tallest mountain on the world for the first time, a certain nation making contact with all other nations for the first time or someone collecting an enormous sum of money. We call these types of events inevitable events.
Most of these events are more of a curiosity rather than anything significant. Many of them also refer to "the first time" this happens, as the next time these things happen tends to be a lot less significant. A lot of them are viewed as achievements by individuals, as being the first to achieve something is a badge of honour is many cultures.
In fact, this plague was the first discordant event clearly recognised as such and is the cause that they are sometimes referred to as "plague-like events". ↩