Mechanus: Plane of Law

Cutters of the Cogs

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The Gear Thieves
(by Belarius)

Most people look at Mechanus and think of clocks, of order and law, or of modrons. What few people realise is that, more than anything else, Mechanus represents on thing: raw ore.

An organisation has recently formed to literally steal entire gears from Mechanus. Each gear, even a small one, represents many, many months, if not years, of extensive mining, and can be had in one fell swoop for a fraction of the total price. The Gear Thieves, as they have become known, must simply do three things:

1. Drive away the gear spirits of an isolated gear.

2. Quickly magically bind slaadi to the targeted gear, infusing it with chaos.

3. Sit and wait while the gear is thrown off of Mechanus into the Outlands, as its alignment shifts to neutral.

Incredible though it may sound, the modrons have not yet adapted to this ingenious method of theft. The Mediators simply replace the gear the instant it is lost, and the gear spirit moves into its new home. Mechanus, in all its infinity, is none the worse for wear. Nevertheless, the modrons are very upset about this blatant spreading of chaos on their home plane, and have sent military parties to the Outlands to find the missing gears.

Thus far, three gears have been stolen. Each gear has been quickly reduced to huge quantities of metal objects, including weapons, armour, and miscellaneous goods, with a highly advanced version of the 'Fabricate' spell (which has a much larger area of effect) cast many, many times. The quality of the steel in a Mechanus gear is, of course, excellent, so the produced items are also of top quality.

The following people want the gear thieves shut down:

The Modrons: As blatant lawbreakers and spreaders of chaos, they must be stopped from threatening the order of Mechanus

The Believers in the Source: As the primary metalsmiths in Sigil, the Godsmen have felt the squeeze of competition with Gear Thief goods.

The Guvners, Harmonium, and Mercykillers: These factions wish to protect the interests of the lawful planes and catch criminals. The first two, especially, are eager to stop the thieves, since the first are based on Mechanus and the second feel responsible for the recent loss of Nemausus and believe they are the inspiration for this theft.

The Gear Thieves are lead by three enterprising wizards: Heltemal (Planar / male lich / W19 / NE), Cietnau (Prime / female human / W15 / LE), and Ephemer (Planar / male aasimar / W16 / Merkhants / N). These three, who bind the slaadi and are most responsible for breaking up the gears, lead a small group of skilled fighters and mid-level mages who assist in their work.

The Dancer of the Cogs
(by Monte Lin)

A strange being that wanders Mechanus is usually called the Dancer of the Cogs, or simply the Dancer. It is an androgynous being, wearing an old red frock coat and a white shirt with frills. Otherwise, it looks to be wearing a black fabric or some sort. It never speaks. There are no facial features, simply a round head. It wears one of two masks of a white material, one smiling, one frowning. Lastly, it carries a finely made wooden staff.

Some think it to be a creation of some mage, let loose after the magician died. Some think it to be a guide, since it knows its way about the Labyrinthine Portal, just that time by itself has made it a little barmy. Finally, some believe it to be a mortal, just attempting to follow the Law the best it can.

To conjure or summon Dancer, one must place candles on a small cog in a perfect circle large enough for a crowd of people, and light them all. After an hour, Dancer appears. It then dances within the circle in a complex but perfect pattern. Once someone figures out the pattern (INT checks), and especially if someone can dance the pattern, Dancer will perform one service. It can take them anywhere via the Labyrinthine Portal and back, and serve as a bodyguard for a short while. There are those who believe that Dancer may hold more that that, only if they can figure out how to ask it.

Shafi Bin Ahmad Zin
(by Jim Barrett)
An explorer mimir was once trampled under the hooves of a small herd of Armanite Tanar-ri during a trip to the Abyss. The mimir suffered many dents to its pate, and ceased functioning. Its owner at the time (lucky to have survived the Abyss herself) searched the streets of the Market Ward for an artificer skilled in magical construct repair. She found, sitting on a rug between two stalls, a handsome, dark skinned half-elf who claimed to be both a barber and a specialist with clockwork.

His name was Shafi Bin Ahmad Zin (Prime / male half-elf / W7 T7 / Fated / NG). He wore a white cotton turban, sandals, and an elegant silken robe of golds and greens. Accompanying him on the rug was a tiny green-blue woman and a small construct resembling a flying monodrone modron. Also on the rug were tools for repair (or possibly thieving picks), bowls, combs, razors and scissors for grooming customers.

The conversation between Shafi and the mimir's former owner was exhausting, as the dusky half-elf was long-winded indeed. The mimir was unable to record the exchange until its dents were repaired, at which point it was able to record the following monologue:

"...Nirvana? No, good woman, no such plane exists! You may be thinking of Mechanus, which fits your description. Yes, I was there in search of spiritual perfection, but found that their brand of perfection did not suit me. Some would say it is an insightful plane, but those who speak such nonsense are mainly the Guvners. I found more perfection in the inner planes, but that is another story to be told at another time.

"If you do go there, my sweet date-palm, be prepared for one of the most alien of planes. I survived by watching and aping the ways of its inhabitants, and by strictly following their laws. This my is free planewalking advice to you, oh Maiden Who Rivals the Beauty of Devas.

"I came upon many new spells for my gen to fetch at a later time, most of which reflected the nature of Mechanus. Most are specific to that plane, but some can be adapted for use anywhere in the multiverse. One can even put common spells to good use, by either reversing their effect or casting in the right place at the right time. Here are a few I 'borrowed' from the natives of Mechanus:

  • Tick-Tock: intensifies the sounds made by the gears of Mechanus, driving non-lawful creatures barmy
  • Cogstorm: summons a swirling swarm of small cogs, which strike those within the storm with great force
  • Contact Gear Spirit: allows the diviner to determine the workings of any machinery in question, or to find her way through the Labyrinthine Portal
  • De-Grease: a simple reversal of the grease spell, which creates a horrible racket when cast on the oiled gears of Mechanus
  • Find Pi: forces a creature to obsess over the mathematical value of pi, usually immobilising the poor soul

    "I can tell you much more, but I see you have to go, Shining Lady of the Glittering Sands. Don't forget that the plane is your resource if you can master it. For example, I found that the spare, tiny cogs laying about Mechanus, much like pebbles in the wastes, made effective sling missiles. They seemed to do damage equal to that of a sling bullet, and could even injure hierarch modrons. Gather those stray cogs and throw them behind you when pursued, and it can effectively slow those non-modrons that follow in the manner of caltrops. You must go so soon? Good day, Brilliant Butterfly Who Graces the Desert Flowers of Spring! Please come again to grace my presence with your unrivalled beauty!"

The Dark

Shafi is from Zakhara, the Land of Fate. Although he belongs to the faction with the namesake of his prime land, his affiliation as a namer is loose at best. It is his belief that the Hand of Fate can be guided to suit his needs, but he has had his moments of charity.

He makes an honourable living repairing clockwork, dispensing information and grooming bloods of all races in the Great Bazaar. He is a multiclass Barber (rogue) and Sha'ir clockwork mage. His gen Faridah (Planar / female gen / AC 5 / MV 9, SW 12 / hp 12 / HD 3 / THAC0 17 / CG) is a tiny version of a Marid, and can fetch him almost any priest or mage spell that Shafi has seen or heard of. She enjoys searching for unique spells, and is terribly apologetic if she fails to find her master's spells.

The balsa and copper construct always seen near Shafi is one of his clockwork creations, modelled after a monodrone modron. It is capable of weak flight (FL 6, hp 6) and can fetch things for him in much the same manner as an unseen servant spell would. Unbeknownst to Shafi, while he visited Mechanus a rouge gear spirit housed itself within the gears of the clockwork servant. The gear spirit's intent to was to stowaway from the tyrannic order of Mechanus under the guise of the clockwork, and no one seems to be the wiser. Now the clockwork also has the abilities of the gear spirit, and has lately shown a will of its own.

Shafi is highly intelligent and terribly charismatic. His lithe fingers are at ease repairing the most minute construct, and he can deftly groom and style anything from a Barnstable halfling's furry feet to an erinyes' coiffure. Since he has chatted while grooming almost anything with horns, nails, hair or hide, Shafi is an excellent font of information, both correct and misleading. His prices for grooming, basic medicinal tasks, clockwork repair or planar knowledge are reasonable by Market Ward standards.

Shafi Bin Ahmad Zin (Prime / male half-elf / W7 T7 / NG)

Str 13, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 16, W 15, Ch 18.

AC 5 (Dex, Armour); MV 12; hp 25; THAC0 17; #AT 1; Dmg 1d4+2; SA spells; SD Stoneskin; SZ M (5' 11" tall); ML steady (12); XP 1,500.

Notes: 60' infravision, 30% resist sleep/charm spells, backstab x 3, 21% to know general purpose and use of a magic item, +2 vs. elemental attacks, +4 vs. water-based attacks.

Rogue Abilities: PP: 54%, OL: 70%, F/RT: 40%, MS: 29%, HS: 24%, DN: 29%, CW: 79%, RL: 90%

Special Equipment: Clockwork modron/gear spirit, Jambiya +2 Spells: Sha'irs request spells from their gens (see the Al-Qadim handbook for more details), which then go to fetch the spells. Shafi can only request a spell which he knows exists, has seen cast, or has researched. If a mage of Shafi's same level could cast the spell, Faridah takes 1d6+1 rounds per level of the spell. If a mage of the same level could not normally cast the spell, she takes 1d6+1 turns per level of the spell. If the spell is a priest spell, or not native to Zakhara, the gen takes 1d6 hours +1 hour per spell level.

Faridah has a base 50% chance of finding a spell, a roll of 90% or more is a failed search. Chance of success is modified by +35% due to Shafi's level, -10% per level of the spell sought, +10% if it a universal spell from Zakhara, -30% if it is a priest or unique and unfamiliar spell, and -10% for each repeated search.

Once Faridah has successfully found a spell, she assists Shafi with the verbal and somatic components. Shafi must supply the material components of the spell, and must cast the spell within three turns, or the magic is lost. He casts the spell as a 7th level mage. Faridah cannot go to fetch another spell until the previous spell has been cast or has expired.

Weapon Proficiencies (3): Jambiya (1d4+2), razor (d2), staff

Non-Weapon Proficiencies (12 slots-Fated Benefit): Planar Survival (Mechanus, Elemental Planes) Int/-2; languages (Zakharan, Marid, Planar Common) Int/0; Genie Lore Int/0; Haggling Wis/+4; healing Wis/-2; herbalism Int/-2; spellcraft Int/0; Metalworking Dex/0; Grooming Dex/0; Clockwork Mechanics Int/-3.

 Copyright 1998 by Jon Winter and credited authors,
gearwork by Belarius, gear spirit by Jeremiah Golden

Consult the Mimir Again