Conditional immortality is a term used to describe the rules governing the life and death of Sburb players who have ascended to the god tiers. The basic principles are first described by Doc Scratch in with Rose Lalonde. He states that a god tier player is immortal, but that this immortality is conditional. A god tier player "will live forever, unless killed". When a god tier player is killed, they will revive unless their death is judged either "Heroic" or "Just".
The revival process is not instantaneous, but it is unclear exactly how long the delay is, whether it varies, or why there is a delay at all, given that the judgment appears to be made almost as soon as the death occurs.
In the A1 trolls' session, Meenah Peixes made intentional use of the delay to avert revival, by right before the session was scratched. This was timed such that the god tier players among them (Meenah included) would not have time to revive before the scratch activated, thus allowing them to persist as ghosts in the dream bubbles rather than being erased with the session.
The Heroic and Just judgments are defined "[b]roadly, mysteriously, and according to the case of the individual." Generally speaking, a Heroic death will result if the player was killed while opposing a corrupt adversary, or in an act of self-sacrifice for the greater good. By contrast, a Just death results if the individual is directly responsible for terrible actions, or if they have been subject to corruption by a villainous influence. Scratch stresses that these labels only apply to god tier players; when Rose asks him what sort of death he would have, he responds that he will not have either, as he is not a god.
The exact rules governing whether a death is Heroic, Just, or neither are not known, and Andrew Hussie has noted in a news post that he never intends to codify a complete list of rules. He does, however, indicate that they are closer to being hardcoded rules of the game than moral judgments, by pragmatic necessity in enforcing them.
On the subject of "close calls" in the judgment, Hussie remarks that:
- There's reason to think there is a nuanced scale ranging from Heroic to Just inside the clock. There may be many shades of justice and heroism, some forms just barely qualifying to seal one's fate. But there's nothing nuanced about Alive vs. Dead. The result of a coin flip is absolute, even though there may be many subtle factors contributing to which side it lands on. Such as whether the coin is pure of heart, and whether the table it lands on has ever killed a man.
He then goes on to discuss some close calls, and what factors affected the results of those cases. In addition, he goes into detail on the difference between John Egbert's intent to avenge Dad and Mom's murders by Jack Noir (which was judged neutral), and Rose's intent to avenge Kanaya Maryam's disintegration by the Condesce (which was judged Heroic).
One of the determining factors for a Heroic death involves taking an actual step of action (no matter whether it succeeds) against such a corrupt adversary. Heroic intent alone isn't enough, which is why John's Jane Crocker and Aranea Serket, respectively killed by Aranea and the Condesce, proved this was not the case. Similarly, sacrificing one's own life to save an arguably villainous person can count as Heroic, as shown when Jake English sacrificed himself for Jane.didn't permanently kill him. Presumably, the same applies to earning a Just death: villainous action must be taken. Although it was that a Just death must occur at the hands of a hero, the subsequent deaths of
Hussie specifically clarifies that revenge-driven action is not disqualified from being judged as Heroic, as that would simply be too big of a loophole to exploit. This is because it would lead to any vengeful hero – which villains' atrocities have a habit of producing – being completely impossible to permanently kill as long as the villain remains alive.
Receiving mortal injuries under Heroic or Just conditions is enough to make the judgment count, even if the player survives for a short while before succumbing to them.
Scratch keeps a grandfather clock, with a pendulum the Heroic (in Prospit colors) and Just (in Derse colors) halves of the clock, while displaying the aspect symbol of the player in question. This clock is later confirmed to influence the outcome of god tier deaths, although there is uncertainty over whether Spades Slick's use of a juju breaker on the clock Vriska Serket's death had any influence on the result.
There have so far only been seven permanent deaths of god tier players shown in-comic. In addition, numerous doomed timeline ghosts of players have been seen as gods, but how they received their permanent deaths is still unknown. However it is possible that the cessation of their timelines is enough to ensure their deaths beyond the two normal criteria for permanent death, or that even remaining in the doomed timeline counts as Heroic, as it allows the alpha timeline to continue. However, in contrast to that, a doomed version of Calliope before becoming a ghost, rather than waiting for the timeline to fade away.
Otherwise appropriately termed "revivals", these deaths were neither Heroic nor Just, and thus the god tier player revived shortly afterwards.
- John Egbert was by Jack Noir while facing him down with Rose. Despite facing a villainous adversary, John did not have the chance to take any step of action. Therefore, the death was judged Neutral, and he a short while later.
- Jake English was Hope aura dissipated. Due to a lack of any conscious action on his part, this death was judged as Neutral, and he shortly afterwards. by Jane after his involuntary and impenetrable
- Vriska Serket died when Terezi Pyrope. Terezi did this to prevent Vriska from accidentally tipping off Jack Noir to the trolls' location, which would have resulted in him killing all of them. According to the clock, Vriska's death was Just. However, Hussie stated that the ruling was meant to be ambiguous, due to Spades Slick's interference. by
- Jade Harley was When the clock was ticking, it very nearly stopped in the middle, but ultimately ruled the death as Just. This is due to Aranea manipulating the clock into a “Lucky 8r8k!!!!!!!!”. Hussie explains that Jade's corruption was not typical mind control: rather, the Condesce had "turned off her ethical filter", allowing her to act on more evil impulses that she would normally suppress. This alone does not condemn her, as her behavior was still compromised, so the death would have been a close call, possibly sparing her. However, Aranea's luck allows close calls to break in her favor, ultimately being the deciding factor.
- Jane Crocker was also Brain Ghost Dirk's katana (with Jake impaled on it). Aside from the clock visual and Aranea's manipulation not being shown, the circumstances surrounding Jane's death were essentially the same as Jade's. who stabbed her through the chest with
- Aranea Serket died when the Condesce Ring of Life from her finger, immediately and threw her into a wall of fire, where she faded Despite the Condesce's status as a villain, the death was because Aranea was committing a number of villainous actions: she intentionally doomed a timeline by essentially destroying the session, which she initially accomplished by corrupting Jake, whom she later killed along with Jane, as well as killing Jade and fatally injuring Terezi. the
- Jake English in an attempt to save Jane, by jumping in front of the katana Aranea was throwing at her. Although Jane had acted as a villain (her death was ruled Just, confirming this), Jake's act was nevertheless Heroic, because he'd sacrificed himself to save someone he cared about.
- Dave Strider was by Jack Noir and the Prospitian Monarch. Because he was facing them in an attempt to "save" Jade – although the two carapacians were not directly threatening her, they were obstructing Dave's intention of taking Jade's body back to Jane for revival – he died Heroically.
- Rose Lalonde was by the Condesce after she attempted to avenge Kanaya's death, and thus was judged Heroic.
- Roxy Lalonde was “surely heroic”. by Jane as she was saving Rose, and Jane says that her death was
- John Egbert, along with Davesprite, died shortly into the three year Prospitian battleship trip in the post-retcon timeline when LOWAS , leaving Jade alone. Jade later that the death must have been Heroic, although she couldn't fathom how. It is that this death is a result of with Typheus.
- Alternate Calliope was after she found herself in an unbeatable dead session; her death's judgment is unknown, but she did not revive, so it must have been either Heroic or Just.
- It has been theorized that her death may have been ruled unconsciously Heroic, since her death (through her ghost in the Furthest Ring) eventually took part in saving the session.
- Rose, Jake and Dirk were killed during their battles in ; presumably, all three were Heroic deaths, but no judgments were shown. They were each resurrected by Jane very shortly after their deaths.
It has been implied that most if not all of the various forms of invulnerability or immortality offered by paradox space are fundamentally connected, though very few details on this subject have been explored so far in canon. When cherubs undergo their transformation for mating, they tap into their and become completely invulnerable to everything except one another. Aranea states that these forces “perme8t[e] all those [who are] endowed with immortality”, i.e. god tier players, Lord English, and his servants.
The power exhibited by mating cherubs look like English's minions' "clockwork majyyks", manifesting in
Scratch the nature of English's curse on those who serve him as "conditional mortality", to contrast with conditional immortality. The terms of the curse are that his servant cannot die until English no longer has use for them. In short, where conditional immortality has resurrection as the desired outcome, contingent on the judgment falling in the middle, conditional mortality has death as the desired outcome, contingent on completing service to English.
So far, two servants of English have been seen. The first was the Handmaid, who was permitted to die in the course of completing her final act of service: the Condesce. As of [S] Collide, the Condesce appears to have been killed, implying that English no longer has need of her service at this endgame stage; thus, her curse has been lifted, allowing her to die. No apparent replacement has been recruited.
Aranea describes English as having This is part of the 'reward' Caliborn receives for choosing the path of the destroyer in the Choice offered to him by Yaldabaoth, along with “a limitless supply of power. Enough to destroy anything he wanted, for as long as he wanted.”
Scratch's clock is tied to Caliborn's conditional immortality. This clock was after killing Yaldabaoth, and was destroyed by Caliborn using the crowbar. Because the clock could no longer judge his death Just or Heroic, he attained unconditional immortality.
It should be noted that the pendulum of Caliborn's clock resembles the Magic Cue Ball, which may explain the source of English's only known weakness: weapons like Caledfwlch may function as a Just/Heroic judgement without the clock Caliborn destroyed, making his immortality strictly conditional.
Inability to keep down the clownEdit
It's worth noting, however, that of all the clown themed characters in Homestuck (and other comics by Hussie), Gamzee Makara is the only one actually portrayed as difficult to kill. Even then, Gamzee has actually been vertically bisected twice in two different timelines , which is enough to kill most sentient beings.
One probable explanation for Gamzee's invincibility is that the alpha timeline – and English's will, enforced through his power as the Lord of Time to cause events to conspire in his favour – required Gamzee to survive until the point at which he fulfilled his role in the creation of Lord English, as seen in Caliborn's masterpiece. His death in [S] GAME OVER, therefore, was possible only because it was subsequently retconned.
- Vriska Tavros Nitram reached the god tiers, he would be completely indestructible, implying that he's too lame to die a Heroic death or a Just one. However, during , a god tier ghost Tavros was seen, meaning some version of him must have died after achieving god tier. that if
- Likewise, Nicolas Cage as a god tier will never die either,