In 436, a law against the playing of a "real" game of Surreal was passed by every village that existed at the time. It was assumed that the law also existed in any subsequently founded villages, and in 899, the court system officially made the law universal. In 913, the newly established governments of the United Villages of the Chaos, Sorret, and West Ocean also adopted the law.

Surreal is a game which falls into a category of interplanetary phenomena referred to as "framework glitches" or "framework loopholes." What this means is that, unbeknownst to the people of most worlds, every world in the Universe has its own particular potential for something seemingly impossible, built into the natural laws that govern that world. When God created the Universe, He did so with a complex set of scientific laws that determine how everything works. Some of these laws are relatively simple, and observable with the naked eye, while others are more subtle, and may require technology that takes centuries or even millennia for a planet's intelligent race{s) to develop, before an understanding can be gained of these more complicated laws. Many things may seem impossible early on in a planet's development, and if such things are done, they may seem like magic, but nevertheless, actually fall within the bounds of science, even if it may be a very long time before a world's scientists believe that. However, each world has its own glitch which allows for something that truly is impossible, that is, completely at odds with the scientific laws of the Universe. This goes beyond magic; it is something that is only made possible because of the glitch's intentional inclusion in a planet's framework by God, whose own power obviously is not limited by the scientific laws He created. Every planet's glitch is different, and the people of many worlds may never even know that such a glitch exists, let alone discover what it is or how to use it. (Though they may use the glitch without even realizing they're doing so.)

However, at some point early in the history of The Land, people were given the knowledge of the existence of such glitches, and the Land's was explained in detail. There are some who say this knowledge was imparted by God Himself, while others maintain it was more likely Lucifer who did so. Some say it was a lesser spirit, and again, there is disagreement as to whether such a spirit would have been a follower of God, of Lucifer, or possibly independent. In any event, there is no mention of the existence of framework glitches in the O'Gas. Whatever the origins of the knowledge may be, the Land's glitch works as follows:

A group of people sit together cross-legged and form a circle by each person holding hands with the people on either side of them. They then invoke the game by saying simultaneously, "Let the game Surreal commence." Each player takes a turn suggesting something strange, ridiculous, or impossible. (Most commonly, turns begin by a player saying "What if..." before making a suggestion of something impossible happening.) Where the glitch comes in is that whatever impossibility is suggested actually happens, in reality. It may be something that the players don't even witness happening, or it may be something that only the players witness. It may be something that affects the entire world, or even beyond the planet, up to and including the entire Universe. It may alter history retroactively. It may alter the future at some point long after the game ends (though this has not been proven, but is merely conjectured). The effects of these impossibilities may be negligible or profound. However, once the game is over, all effects produced by the game are undone, everything goes back to how it was before the game began. The game may be ended at any time by any or all of the players saying "The game Surreal is ended." However, it is generally considered bad form to do this before a winner can be determined. A player may abandon the game at any point without actually ending it; they merely leave the circle, and the two people on either side now join their hands, thus shrinking the circle. The game is eventually won by the last player to remain active; when it is down to one player, the game is automatically nullified, it cannot continue. Typically, players decide to quit the game because they get scared or "weirded out" by the suggestions. It is even rumored that some players specifically attempt such intense games that the point is for the winner to be the last one left sane at the end, and that losers didn't choose to quit, but were disqualified for going mad.

One might question why anyone would become too scared, let alone go mad, if they knew the effects would all be undone in the end. Such a person has probably never played the game, even in fun. (It is possible to play the game for pretend, without actually invoking it, in which case the suggestions do not become reality, the players merely try to imagine that they do.) While it's possible some players may lack the imagination necessary to come up with sufficiently outrageous suggestions to actually win the game, there are those who are quite skilled, and their suggestions may become progressively crazier as the game continues. But aside from the point that some people can't handle such concepts as well as others, there's a fact about the game which is rarely taken into consideration by those who choose to play it for real: If the effects of the game cause all the players to die or otherwise become incapable of ending the game, then in essence the game will remain active indefinitely, and the effects will never be nullified. (One might also question why God would allow such a loophole in the fabric of reality in the first place; there are any number of theories, but it's not something God Himself has ever addressed, to anyone's knowledge.)

In the year 436, a group of children invoked a game of Surreal, and one turn led to the Land being invaded by alien sorcerers who were far more powerful than any Sorreters at the time, and all the Land's Sorreters' attempts to defeat the invaders, as well as the efforts of non-magic users from every village, utterly failed. It was, however, guessed early on that the invasion might have been caused by a game of Surreal, and so Sorreters scried every village to find anyone who might be playing. They located the children, though there was nothing they could do to stop the game at the time. Eventually, one of the players made himself into a so-called "super hero" (as one might see in graphic novels), and defeated the aliens all by himself. After that, the players declared him the winner, and ended the game. It was then as if the invasion had never happened. However, the Sorreters knew who he was, and sent a messenger to the village of Monab, where the game had been played, and the authorities took strong action to reprimand all the children.

This incident led to the first inter-village law, in which every village officially banned the invocation of Surreal. The law did not, however, prohibit playing the game for pretend. Autoscries were then set up by Sorreters to become instantly aware if a game was invoked, and immediately alert Sorreters, who could then take action to break up the game before the first turn could be taken. The incident also played a part in inspiring the establishment of the World Science Council, by demonstrating the possibility of villages working together.

There was a minor controversy in 900, when the M.C. of the first World Fair proclaimed "Let the games commence!" Many felt this was too close to the words used to invoke Surreal, though others thought it was silly to worry about something like that. "Too close" is irrelevant, of course, for something that cannot be invoked without absolute precision.

Another controversy arose in 913, when Ginger Protestant made a submission for her book of the O'Gas at that year's Pilgrimage to Monab. In this entry, she told of a game of Surreal which she and other members of The Chaos had played the previous year. In spite of not having actually invoked it themselves, the game somehow became real. It is not known how this happened, though no autoscry was tripped, and God Himself assured The Order that it was not their doing. Therefore, no action was taken against the participants. However, the game led to Ginger learning something highly shocking about the origins of the human race on the Land, though there remain some who refuse to accept this revelation.


The year 436 is the only year in recorded history to have not a single birth or death. In fact, many people died during the infamous game of Surreal, but they all retroactively ceased to have died, after the game was nullified. Some people claim the game somehow affected the year's population growth, making it exactly zero, though most people consider the peculiar fact to be a random coincidence, in no way related to the game.

See alsoEdit

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