Scissormen from Orqwith


“See, what we’ve been forgetting is that Orqwith is not real. It’s a fiction that’s somehow been boosted into reality. So it’s not as complex as the real world. Haven’t you noticed all the coincidences ?”
– Crazy Jane


Orqwith appears in the first arc of Grant Morrison’s Doom Patrol, back in 1989. For those of use who had missed his Animal Man (raises hand), this run was something of a shock.

Orqwith is about the interpenetration and retroactions between fiction and reality, which would be a Morrisonian theme for decades to come.



Type :
Transdimensional meta-concept.

Situation :
A plane of reality which intersects our own.

Area :
Potentially infinite.

Land Boundaries :

Climate :
Mostly temperate if any.

Terrain :

Elevation extremes :

Natural resources :

Natural hazard :
None as such.



Profile :
The only central (literally) power in Orqwith is a sort of theocracy. The extend of their temporal power is unknown, but they seem to act as gurus for the Scissormen.

Current Ruler :
The theocracy is headed by a priest in white and a priest in black. One is a liar, the other, an honest man.

Current Government :

Capital :
The Ossuary (the cathedral housing both priests).

Administrative divisions :

Legal system :
Apparently based on religious verses.

Executive branch :
Unknown, if any.

Legislative branch :
Unknown, if any.

Judicial branch :
Unknown, if any.

Internal political activity :
As far as is known, all Scissormen are united behind their religious leadership. Since this leadership is derived from the very intellectual principles behind Orqwith’s existence, the free will of Scissormen may be nonexistent or alien.

External policy :
The city grow by implanting parts of its own reality into that of other worlds. First in small ways, then in catastrophic fashion. Ultimately, it engulfs them and they become Orqwith. The process, from the moment it becomes visible to assimilation, seems to last mere weeks.

Kansas City invaded and transformed by Orqwith

Kansas City being invaded by Orqwith.


Overview :
There seems to be no concept of money or economy in Orqwith. In fact, it may even be one of the points of Orqwith’s existence.

Tech level :
Inapplicable. Although there exist many wonders in Orqwith, they are more based on the manipulation of the laws of reality (halfway between magic and Continuum Control) than tech.

Industries :
Unknown, if any.

Agriculture :
Unknown, if any.

Imports :
None (unless you count reality invasion…).

Exports :
None (unless you count reality invasion…).

Exchange partners :

Currency :


Orqwith was originally a 1980s exercise in memetic theory . Its source is the Black Book, a meta fiction (or self-referring text).

To simplify the book, written by a group of philosophers as an intellectual exercise, was about a group of philosophers writing a book which would radically alter human thought. The fictional philosophers filled their text with parasitic ideas (the original sense of memes) that would enter human consciousness and transform it.

The narrative basis for these viral ideas was Orqwith, a fictional city that exists on a plane of reality that intersects our own. This city was a symbolic alternative to our own materialistic society.

Orqiwth’s entire history and geography was outlined in a book with black pages using a tactile alphabet like Braille, based on the Feigenbaum sequence of imaginary numbers .

The Orqwith skyline

However, for some still unclear reason, the book became a gateway between the real and imaginary. Thus, Orqwith manifested itself, starting to invade our reality. It first struck at its creators, and started to trigger strange events in the world. The strangeness and amplitude of the events following a sharp crescendo.

Among the manifestations, that were at once real and imaginary, was Orqwith’s answer to the Inquisition : the Scissormen. According to Crazy Jane, these were a ripoff of Hoffman’s Struwwelpter .

One of the beachheads of the invasion was Kansas City (the Doom Patrol’s old HQ). But the US government had already called their expert on the strange : Niles Caulder, aka the Chief.

Thus, the Doom Patrol in its new incarnation (centred on Rebis, Crazy Jane and Cliff Steele) barged in. They deciphered the Orqwith enigma in about 20 minutes flat, went to Orqwith, and blew up the whole place by exploiting a fundamental logical inconsistency in this fictional/real construct.


Orqwith, the City of Bones, the City of Miracles, has neither suburbs or boundary. Walk a hundred, a thousand miles in any direction, and you will still be in Orqwith.

The city has spread like ripples in a pond from one central point. This is the Quadrivium, which is itself the “terrestrial” image of the God of the Crossroads. And in the center of the Quadrivium stands the Ossuary, the great cathedral of the theocracy that is Orqwith. The Ossuary maintains a devout silence, the very air worn thin by continuous prayer.

An overview of Orqwith

Beyond the Ossuary, the half-life of the city continues. Sleepwalkers drift among marvels wrought in the bones of unnumbered dead. Empty orbits contain electric bulbs that light and go dim in response to changes in air pressure or humidity. The skull of a consumptive child become part of a great machine for calculating the motion of the stars. A yellow bird frets within the rib cage of an unjust man.

Around every corner is some fresh wonder – the weeping clock, the water gardens, the hymning birds, the mechanical orchards.

Yet, no matter how strange, no matter how beautiful, everything in Orqwith is dulled by the taint of long familiarity. When you see it, you will know it. For Orqwith is a place humanity dream of often. It may be one of those “solid” places in the Dreaming.


Census :
An undetermined number of hollowed-out sleepwalker. These are either the spirit of those dreaming of Orqwith or, when Orqwith was real, those cut into Orqwith shapes by the Scissormen.
An undetermined number of Scissormen.
Many wonders.
Two priests in the Ossuary, one in white and one in black ; one a liar, one an honest man.

Religions :
The religious tenets of the Orqwith theocracy are unclear. It apparently rests on the fact that Orqwith is an higher, purer state of existence that must be defended, and which must conquer lesser realities.

Languages :
The Scissormen speak what appear to be random nonsense. There is thus a possibility that they are quoting religious verses.

Military data :
The Orqwith military is made of a large number of Scissormen. They apparently have some level of defensive hardware, notably around the Ossuary. But the only example seen was a sort of two-man searchlight with an Energy Blast powerful enough to shatter Rebis’ Negative Spirit.

Notable individuals :
The two priests.

An average Scissorman has the following stats :

Generic Scissorman – DCH Game Stats

“Narrate the armament !!”

“Mycelium for the unsuitable !”

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Religious fanatic
Int: 03 Wil: 05 Min: 05 Occupation: Soldier
Inf: 01 Aur: 01 Spi: 01 Resources {or Wealth}: 00
Init: 008

Claws: 14

Bonuses and Limitations:
If a victim’s BODY is brought to 0 by the Scissorman’s Claws, they’re not killed but become a random sleepwalker in Orqwith. As such they can be brought back to Earth with a headache and no memory if Orqwith again become purely imaginary.

Thief (stealth): 08

Scholar (Orqwith sacred texts).

CIA toward Upholding the Theocracy.

Scissormen on a white background


The Doom Patrol arc Crawling from the wreckage (Doom Patrol 19-22).

While Orqwith was shifted back to an imaginary status (or even possibly destroyed), some turn of events could again make it real. While the Doom Patrol indeed managed to destroy a concept, it probably can be brought back.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source: Doom Patrol comics.

Helper(s): Template based upon the CIA’s The World Factbook.