It is well known that demons, spirits, and other supernatural beings can travel to and from other worlds. In fact, many of the demons we are familiar with from different traditions are native to other worlds (which makes them alien to ours). Some supernatural beings can also carry messages across. For example, the word angel means exactly that (from the Greek ἄγγελος “messenger”). But angels are merely God’s official messengers, others can carry messages, too, and they often do, sometimes even trading in secrets and confidential information that were never meant to leak to the lower realms. These are double dealing agents. One example from the labyrinth is the anonymous corrupt psychopomp, who sells prohibited technology that allows anyone to move across restricted borders. In more familiar terms, these are hackers exploiting loopholes and creating backdoors and security vulnerabilities to insulated systems. When crossing borders in this way, however, clandestine travelers need also a camouflage to assume the look and bearing of demons proper. They need another face and identity, or what is known as an Initiation Mask.
Bifurcated Man Mask
Mask avatars are a major component of the Labyrinthine Unreal world. Their designs and meanings are informed by historical masks and their uses around the world, from African Guro dance and Dan tribal masks of the Ivory Coast to Japanese Samurai or Oni Demon masks to those used in the Day of the Dead rituals (Dia de los Muertos) in South America or the strikingly colorful and frisky Venetian carnival masks. Each of the masks holds a unique digital fingerprint to unlock specific areas of the Labyrinth.
Each mask is a unique item with its own rarity, lore, and in-game properties. Some areas of the Labyrinth will only be accessible to particular Initiation Masks, and some Masks will grant their owners unique powers and abilities within the world of Labyrinthine Unreal. Initiates will sometimes be forced to work together to unlock the vast potential of these genesis assets, discovering a multi-layered tapestry of rival factions, counter-counter-conspiracies and diabolical minigames of all kinds.
Through the use of 3D printing, initiates may also summon their virtual masks into physical reality. When the boundaries of Labyrinthine Unreal blur with our own, it might be necessary for players to equip an Initiation Mask and follow the Labyrinth’s mysteries into the world of flesh and concrete…
Initiation Masks are imprinted with one of sixteen possible sigil combinations. This unique branding will partially determine how the initiate wearing the mask can advance through the Labyrinth's central chambers and, most importantly, which sections will be more accessible from the start of the game. To gain full access to the Labyrinth’s passages while avoiding some of its most treacherous areas, an initiate would require a number of masks, thus collecting all possible sigil combinations. But there is one mysterious mask that does not bear any sigil: the ultra-rare Siena Jolly.
Bifurcated Man backside showing sigils
The Siena Jolly Mask is the only 1/1 production, wholly unique, with no variations. According to one legend, the mask of Siena Jolly was manufactured in a virtual Venice by the famed neurodivergent computer, 1XB7-1, for the ritual purpose of labyrinth-questing whilst firmly concealing its wearer's identity, biofeedback traces, and social status. The sigil-less Siena Jolly mask grants the wearer access to most of the Labyrinth’s pathways and starting sections, making it a valuable addition to any explorer’s arsenal.
Siena Jolly Mask
Variations of the Venetian Gatto (or “cat”) Masks are one of the rarer collections. However, for those still pining for a cat mask, our Mesoamerican Felino de la Muerte (or “Cat of Death”) Mask will be more abundant and, therefore, stands a better chance of finding its way into the initiates' possession. While there are many other eclectic guises in our Venetian and Mesoamerican categories, additional masks take inspiration from Native American, African, and Japanese traditions.
While the masks have their origins in real-life morphologies and cultural significances, they have undergone an occult process of de-and-re-identification under the influence of Labyrinthine Unreal—introducing a simultaneously dissociative and re-associative state of existence, altered by the maze’s weird symmetries. The symbol changes, and the symbol remains the same.
Descriptive, item-related lore is a major component to Labyrinthine Unreal’s approach to world-building – these masks contain secrets. While the particulars of the world's origin are just one of its many intricate mysteries, each mask will help attentive initiates to piece together the overall puzzle. What role will you, The Initiate, embrace and develop during this most curious of journeys? Your mask is talking. What can it tell you?
What is a masquerade without a mask? Every worthy initiate knows it may be wise to hide their true face – although in these strange times, who knows what is truly true, if truth exists at all?
Ask Yourself: Do We Wear The Masks, Or Do The Masks Wear Us?