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What is Temporal Instability? (spoiler alert)


Maelstrom
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I've heard many streamers (or other content providers) and posters say that temporal stability is a measure of sanity.  But is it?

Low levels of temporal instability lead to application of physical damage, unlike perceived manifestations due to physical or mental disfunction of the brain (aka insanity).  Nor does insanity create phenomena that others can perceive or interact with; such as spawning of drifters due to low temporal stability regardless of local rifts or storms.  The wiki indicates temporal stability is an indicator of how close one is to the rust world while the home page gives no indication other than it exists.

VS has Lovecraftian story themes to it.  Lovecraft wrote from a scientific and technological perspective and the main character typically became insane as a result of their experience dealing with supranatural events or beings; but the story itself isn't a portrayal of their insanity.  The game's homepage supports this "it is up to you to piece together who you are and what has happened from the little evidence that remains."  Part of that evidence is the temporal instability of the world.

Spoiler

To me temporal stability (or instability) is an indicator of the shattered world the seraph visits.  Current in-game lore indicates some kind phenomena happened that caused some kind of apocalypse (rot) in the previous civilization.  Apparently, their attempts to avert their coming destruction resulted in the shattered world we encounter.  It seems to me that their civilization was connected to the rust world and the drifters are the corrupted citizens of that civilization come back to their home through the rifts we see.

What's your thoughts on what this is?

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/15/2022 at 10:10 PM, Maelstrom said:

lead to application of physical damage

Yes, but only if you are close to walls (at least in the versions I played), which might be an indication that the character harms themself.

On 3/15/2022 at 10:10 PM, Maelstrom said:

Nor does insanity create phenomena that others can perceive or interact with; such as spawning of drifters due to low temporal stability regardless of local rifts or storms.

The player character is in constant contact with other player characters obviously communicating via telepathy (chat) as there is no limit on the same world for the communication. And apart of player characters nothing reacts to the monsters, no animal panics no trader attacks them, and the monsters don't react to anything but player characters either. the same is true for temporal storms nothing else seems to notice it.
Sure there are lore pieces (stories and tapestries) in which there are fights between drifters and wolves or other animals and persons, but those are from the ruins and as such most likely date back to the time of the cataclysm and hence are not saying anything about the present or may be even more evidence that the monsters are not real as the same animals and persons do not react to them anymore.

My take is: seraphs do suffer from a collective form of PTSD from having escaped the cataclysm and being connected telepathically. I still haven't seen much evidence against it, but would love to as that way I could refine or disprove my theory. (more can be found in the story subforum)

Edited by Hal13
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On 3/26/2022 at 3:50 PM, Streetwind said:

There's a "Story" subforum here, which is suitable for this kind of discussion and/or fan-writing :)

I was intending this to be more of a discussion of the game mechanic in context of the game setting.

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  • 2 months later...

As far as I see it, temporal stability being referred as sanity-meter is just a very rough generalization.

Since many videogames and even tabletops use sanity mechanics for roughly similar gameplay effects, it's a faster blanket term to throw in without going on a huge tangent on intentionally vaguely defined lore.

So while technically incorrect, very quick to grasp the general use case.

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