Denizens are powerful Sburb characters who appear at first to the uninitiated Hero to be the final boss of their planet. In truth, however, they are mostly benevolent beings with a vast knowledge of the workings of reality and great power with which to change it.
Concept and creation
The known denizens are all inspired by characters from Ancient Greek mythology and philosophy - Yaldabaoth is unique in having a name derived from Aramaic, but has his origins in the writings of Greek thinker Plato.
In particular, most of the denizens are inspired by mythological beings with serpentine aspects; Typheus, Echidna and Abraxas are commonly depicted as anguipedes, or beings with snakes for legs, while Yaldabaoth is usually a chnoubis, a serpent with the head of a lion. Hephaestus, Hemera and Nix are exceptions to this, though the latter two are depicted as wrapped in winding shawls or robes resembling the serpents on a caduceus. A majority of the denizens are also primordial beings, with Hephaestus as the youngest, mythologically speaking: Typheus ranked among the pre-Olympic Titans and gave birth to many of Ancient Greek mythology's monsters with his mate Echidna; Hemera and Nix descend from the primordial Chaos, and Abraxas and Yaldabaoth are creator deities.
It is unclear whether the ancient cultures of Earth were somehow inspired by the denizens of the Incipisphere, or if Sburb manifests beings from the cultural lore of the Heroes. Vriska Serket's denizen being Cetus , however, (in addition to the name of Feferi Peixes' trident referencing the mythological Poseidon) may indicate that certain mythological figures are universal constants (see Plato). Importantly, huge prehistoric serpents featured prominently in the mythology of both Alternia and Beforus[[#cite_note-<span_class="plainlinks">[https://homestuck.com/story/5263_'"`UNIQ--nowiki-00000001-QINU`"'_ACT_6_INTERMISSION_3][[File:HS.svg|16x16px|link=https://homestuck.com/story/5263]]</span>[[Andrew_Hussie]]<span_class="mobileOnly">“</span><span_class="mspaQuote"_style="color:#000000">Again,_a_strange_thing_to_find._Who_here_would_have_a_memory_of_these?_Huge_prehistoric_green_serpents_have_always_played_a_major_role_in_your_people's_mythology,_both_before_and_after_your_session_scratched._Of_course,_only_people_with_an_interest_in_ancient_lore_and_dusty_old_bones_give_a_crap_about_that._You're_much_more_interested_in_their_monetary_value._Hopefully_you_can_find_a_sucker_to_pay_up_for_them_big_time.</span><span_class="mobileOnly">”</span>August_30th,_2012-1|]], doubly connecting to the mythical nature of cherubs.
Many of the denizens have mythological connections to each other within their original session groups; as mentioned, Typheus and Echidna were mated, while Mount Etna is said to be both Typheus' prison and the volcano where Hephaestus' forge is located. Hemera, a dawn goddess, is said to be the daughter of Nix, the night goddess, and Yaldabaoth and Abraxas both have their origins as opposing forces in the Gnostic cosmology. If Cetus is to be taken as a reference to the primordial sea monster goddess Ceto, she may also be sometimes considered the mother of Echidna.
Every one of the Heroes' planets in the Incipisphere has a denizen living deep beneath the ground, guarding a hoard of grist “8igger than [one] can imagine”. They act as the final boss of a given planet, and as such are incredibly difficult for early-level players to defeat. Each denizen's lair is attached to a palace on the planet's surface.
At least some denizens can also reward the Heroes with powerful endgame weapons, though these weapons are not necessarily suited to the specific Hero who acquires them; for example Dave Strider's denizen Hephaestus uses the powerful hammer Fear No Anvil, which is later used by John Egbert, and Echidna's quills act as needles or wands better suited for Damara Megido or Rose Lalonde.
In the fictional past of each planet, the denizen is contacted by Agents of Derse, who commission the denizen to begin “befouling [the] land” with pollutants and underlings, the living embodiments of these pollutants. After all this is done, the denizen goes to sleep in their underground lair[[#cite_note-<span_class="plainlinks">[https://homestuck.com/story/1358_'"`UNIQ--nowiki-00000008-QINU`"'_ACT_4_'"`UNIQ--nowiki-00000009-QINU`"'][[File:HS.svg|16x16px|link=https://homestuck.com/story/1358]]</span>[[Andrew_Hussie]]<span_class="mobileOnly">“</span><span_class="mspaQuote"_style="color:#000000">How_did_he_cast_a_spell_on_them_when_he_was_asleep?_Well,_he_wasn't_ALWAYS_asleep,_you_goofball!_When_he_was_awake_he_was_asked_by_some_really_terrible_guys_to_commission_a_whole_bunch_of_Underlings._He_then_went_about_befouling_our_land_with_all_this_sludge,_clogging_up_all_our_beautiful_Pipes,_and_now_it_can_barely_breathe._He_was_sort_of_a_huge_dick._Once_he_tuckered_himself_out_with_all_that_I_guess_he_decided_to_take_a_nap.</span><span_class="mobileOnly">”</span>September_2nd,_2010-2|]]. Here the denizen is supposed to remain asleep until their Hero has completed the important parts of their quest; however, should a Hero attempt to fight the denizen too early, they will find them already awake.
Upon encountering the denizen, the Hero is offered The Choice, which is . Killing the denizen, which releases the huge grist hoard , is an alternate to making The Choice: however, it is presumably possible to obtain the hoard, which is necessary to mature the Genesis Frog within Skaia, without violent conflict, with Vriska speculating that Tavros Nitram's denizen “just released the hoard for him out of pity”, while John Egbert suggests “he just talked to his denizen”.
Appearance and description
Fitting their role, the denizens appear to all be large monsters (though Karkat Vantas seems to believe his was ), superficially resembling their mythological namesakes; they are rarely In the case of most of the human Heroes, the denizens' physical coloration matched the color worn on the Hero's clothing, with Yaldabaoth appearing in parts both orange and red to suit both Dirk Strider and Caliborn: the twin exceptions to this are Hemera and Nix, who appear in purple and gold, respectively, fitting instead the colors of Jane Crocker and Roxy Lalonde's dream planets. In all known cases, the assumed gender of the denizen also matched that of their Hero.
Each denizen also gives its name and iconic appearance to a web browser used by their associated Hero, with these browser icons appearing as markers on the entrances to the denizens' lairsSkaianet, if the similarity between the two is merely symbolic coincidence (as Jade ), or indeed if a Hero's choice in browser software may impact the denizen assigned to them by Sburb.. It is not known if these browsers are developed by a party familiar with the denizens themselves, such as
In at least some cases, the Hero's aspect seems to play a part in the denizen that appears in their planet: in mythology, Typheus was thought of as a master of storms (his alternative name Typhon being possibly related to the word 'typhoon'), relating to the Breath aspect's association with wind, while Echidna, known to be the denizen to Jade Harley, Porrim and Kanaya Maryam, and Calliope, is called , connecting to the Hero of Space's reproductive duty. While Cetus is not necessarily connected to Light in mythology, she served as denizen to both Vriska and Rose Lalonde, who also both had watery planets where a sea monster would thrive. Hephaestus' connection with metalworking, as well as his association with the Hero of Space's Forge, may connect him to the clockwork and musical devices found on the planets of both Dave Strider and Aradia Megido.
Meanwhile, Yaldabaoth, who “"TRAINING DENIZEN”}}, leading to speculation that it may have been Yaldabaoth's mythological antithesis Abraxas., including both a Hero of Heart and a Hero of Time. Karkat believes that his denizen was and assigned instead to weaker warriors as some kind of
The form of the serpentine denizens is similar enough to that of a mating cherub that Caliborn and Calliope both consider them to be quite indecent, the former calling Yaldabaoth and his and the latter being “[un]comfortable rendering sUch imagery” as “a big green snake monster” like Typheus.
The denizens speak in a language that only their respective players can understand: Karkat was what Echidna said to Jade, Typheus spoke to John , and Yaldabaoth spoke to Caliborn in a way that only he understood. Every version of Echidna can speak to Kanaya, Jade, and Calliope, as they all have her as their denizen.
The dreams of a denizen “draw from the same well of potential from which every conceivable possibility arises” (“the same place skaia gets its power from”), and “if an agreement with a denizen is reached in one reality, that same denizen in another reality could become aware of it, and respond accordingly”. This, combined with their possible status as universal constants, may indicate a connection with the concept of the Ultimate Self.
When they realised their session was totally unwinnable, the Alpha trolls consulted with Echidna[[#cite_note-<span_class="plainlinks">[https://homestuck.com/story/5263_'"`UNIQ--nowiki-00000010-QINU`"'_ACT_6_INTERMISSION_3][[File:HS.svg|16x16px|link=https://homestuck.com/story/5263]]</span>[[Andrew_Hussie]]<span_class="mobileOnly">“</span><span_class="mspaQuote"_style="color:#000000">You_got_an_ECHIDNA_STATUE!_/_An_obviously_not-to-scale_depiction_of_the_denizen_Aranea_consulted_with_to_learn_how_to_scratch_your_session._The_decision_to_scratch_of_course_came_with_MAJOR_CONSEQUENCES,_and_you_guess_it's_only_now_that_the_true_extent_of_those_consequences_are_fully_apparent._Looks_like_it's_time_to_clean_up_her_mess.</span><span_class="mobileOnly">”</span>August_30th,_2012-3|]]. Choice she offered them was between admitting the total extinction of their race or performing the scratch with the promise that a more prepared group of trolls would be able to win the game, at the cost of “losing their memories of everything that had happened before the scratch” and instead “[becoming] the ancestors of the twelve [who] would be chosen for glory”. Doc Scratch's oversight of Alternia's development was apparently to fulfill this promise.
As a consequence of the deal with Echidna, the warriorlike Beta trolls seemed more interested in fighting and killing their denizens. Karkat believed that , while Vriska was under the impression that they all “pretty much” “[killed their] denizens as fast as possible, without listening to them”. In truth, however, Karkat may not have “got the whole story”, as Kanaya did in fact converse with Echidna - though the demands of her Choice were merely - and Vriska found it hard to believe Tavros, who had powerful animal communion and often looked for ways to “avoid a tough 8attle”, was actually capable of killing a monster as powerful as a denizen.
|NPCs||Sprites • Underlings • Denizens • Consorts • First guardians • Carapacians/Exiles • Leprechauns|
|Locations (starting planet)||Command stations • Forge • Frog Temple|
|Locations (Incipisphere)||The Medium • The Veil/Ectobiology labs • Skaia • Prospit/Derse • Planets • The Seven Gates|
|Concepts||Prototyping • Ectobiology • God tiering (Mythological roles) • Grist/Ultimate Alchemy • Boondollars • Fraymotifs • Dream selves • Phernalia • The Scratch • Null sessions • Internet|
|Related concepts||Sylladex • Skaianet • Crockercorp|