Destiny for dummies: Every important name, term, and concept explained, from ancient history to Destiny 2

Supporting characters, hidden influences, and secret stories 

Engram - A weapon or piece of armour in the form of encoded data. Data encryption of this fashion turns any object into a moderately sized gem, its original form accessible only via decryption. The colour of the engram will vary depending on the rarity and value of the item encrypted inside. 

Cryptarch - A crypto-archeologist, trained in the art of deciphering and decrypting engrams. Legendary and Exotic engrams can only be decrypted by a Cryptarch. 

The Nine - A mysterious faction of beings purported to dwell (and rule) beyond the giant, Jovian planets on the outer edge of our solar system. Known to the Tower, but hitherto unseen, their true nature is shrouded in rumour and mistruth. All that is known for sure is that the Nine are powerful, and use emissaries in their thrall (such as Xur, and the host of Trials of the Nine) to conduct their ambiguous dealings with Humanity. 

Xur - A servant of the Nine. He appears in our solar system every weekend, to sell Exotic gear. He visits at the behest of the Nine, and while there is purpose in his actions, he himself has little control over them, and cannot remember why the Nine send him. 

Trials of the Nine - A hardcore PvP tournament that exists outside of the Crucible. Run by the Nine, its purpose is unclear, but it seems to exist for the purpose of judging which Guardians are worthy of the Nine’s attention. The Nine’s ultimate goal in this respect, of course, remains unknown. 

The Awoken - A once-human race that stands somewhere between the boundaries of Light and Darkness. Originally refugees from the Collapse, they survived a run-in with the Darkness while fleeing the initially calamity, but were left changed. Recognisable by their blue skin and glowing eyes, many Awoken now live, entirely accepted, in the Tower as Guardians. But the moral and factional ambiguity of those native to the Reef asteroid belt - who have a close relationship with the Nine - has led to notable mistrust, despite previous shared victories. 

Exo - A race of sentient, humanoid robots, some of whom are Guardians. Once human, the Exos were converted by a Golden Age process, and have limited access to their previous memories. The number at the end of each Exo’s name denotes the number of times they’ve been rebooted, losing their previous recollections in the process. 

Toland the Shattered - A brilliant Warlock eventually thought mad for his growing obsession with studying the Hive, and his apparent openness to the Darkness, in contradiction to traditional Vanguard doctrine. Lost and long-thought dead, Toland actually survives in the Ascendant Realm. 

Osiris - Osiris was Ikora Rey’s mentor, and one of the most respected Warlocks in history. Once the Speaker’s apprentice, the two ultimately fell out over ideological matters when Osiris sought to transcend the traditional, simplistic teachings in order to understand the true nature of Light and Darkness, while also exploring a potential afterlife and the capabilities of the Vex’s reality-shaping space-time network. Eventually exiled, Osiris still finds strong support in the Tower, and although seemingly lost, has recently been detected within the Vex network. 

Eris Morn - A Guardian, and colleague of Toland, who embarked on an ill-fated mission to attack Crota in the Hive underworld. Lost and trapped for years, she was fundamentally changed by her time in the shadows - both psychologically and physically - and after a period of assisting the Vanguard against the Hive and the Taken, has now gone missing, apparently on a mission to resolve the Hive threat once and for all.   

The Black Garden - A Darkness-linked location outside of space and time, but accessible from Mars. Believed to have come into being as some kind of response to the Traveler, it was eventually adopted and protected by the Vex. 

The Black Heart - An amorphous, Darkness-aligned entity of immense power, which resided in the centre of the Black Garden, and was worshipped as a god by the Vex, who sought to imbue their network with its power and knowledge. We killed it at the end of the first game’s vanilla campaign, and several enemy attempts to revive it have failed. 

Frame - The generic term for a non-Exo robot. Generally of low, possibly non-sentient, intelligence, Frames tend to be programmed with a specific function, such as cleaning, security detail, or combat. 

The Red Jacks - A set of custom battle Frames owned and maintained by Shaxx. He often laments that despite his best efforts to improve their skills, they are not as good as the Guardians in the Crucible. 

The Iron Banner - A limited-time Crucible event run by Lord Saladin, the last surviving member of the Iron Lords. 

The Iron Lords - An early, elite faction of Guardians. Powerful and chivalric, the Lords were nevertheless all but wiped out when their hubris led them to try to harness SIVA, a force they could not contend with. 

SIVA - An ancient, Golden Age nanotechnology. Designed as a building material to aid with fast colonisation, SIVA is seemingly sentient and self-perpetuating, and was eventually banned for the danger its rampant, corrupting influence posed. The Iron Lords’ demise came when they tried to secure a hidden cache of it, and were destroyed by both SIVA itself, and Rasputin, who guarded it. The Fallen tried to take control of SIVA in the first game’s Rise of Iron expansion, but that plan went wrong, and then we killed them. 

Clovis Bray - A powerful, but somewhat shady, science and technology company from the Golden Age, and also the name of its founder. Responsible for some of the biggest technological advancements of the era, Clovis Bray was also susceptible to reckless and dangerous research practices. It created SIVA, and at least had a hand in the creation of the Exos as well. 

Ana Bray - A descendant of the Bray family, and also a now deceased (as in, properly dead) Hunter Guardian. Her journal can be found in the Tower, though the majority of it is redacted, possibly hinting at major revelations to come regarding the company.