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The Chiming Halls
(by Belarius)

CHARACTER: The fifth chime rings, I rise from my slumber. I take up my robe and walk to my post. As I do, the ninth chime rings, and two of my old men die of old age. I reach my post, the eighteenth chime, which I heave with all my force. It rings, and a child is born. I return to my bed, I resume my slumber.

POWER: Sonolex, a little known Power of music and fate. To understand Sonolex is to give up the concept of self, to become one with the passage of time. As he and his petitioners ring the chimes suspended in the confined of the Halls, the moments of life and death are ordained on the Prime worlds worshipping Sonolex.

DESCRIPTION: Sonolex is among a minority of gods who have changed over the aeons, and his realm has changed to match. Originally a more despotic Power, Sonolex and his Chiming Halls were once located in Tintibulus, the third layer of Acheron. Now, the 'cube' containing Sonolex's realm has shifted to Mechanus, and become slightly metallic. From a distance, the Halls look like a geometrical figure skewered on one of Mechanus' shafts.

The Halls are, from the outside, a ten-sided polyhedron of volcanic rock. Along the widest section runs a balcony, allowing individuals to leave and enter the realm, if they can climb the rock to get there. This is a dangerous trip, where the climber risks falling thousands of feet before hitting another gear.

The vast 'cube' is hollow, a shell of rock containing a seemingly infinite number of tall ceramic chimes. The chimes are hundreds of feet tall, and there are many, many layers of chimes. Each chime is assigned to a petitioner, who sleeps in a room nearby until the chime needs to be rung, to signify the birth or death of a worshipper. There are always the distant tones of chimes in the background of a visit to the Chiming Halls.

PRINCIPAL TOWNS: There is only one burg in the Chiming Halls: the small town of Bellchord. Lying at the exact centre of the Halls, it caters to the newly arrived. Each person who dies in the service of Sonolex awakens in one of the many inns here, where they await assignment at the chimes. During their wait, they work serving others waiting and guests. Thus, the entire town seems to constantly providing service for itself. Food and water are furnished by Sonolex himself, so all services are aesthetic in nature, very often musical.

SPECIAL CONDITIONS: Musicians love the Chiming Halls. No musician who has trained in an instrument can ever give a bad performance here. After all, the chimes themselves are sacred, so it would be sacrilegious to allow other music to be bad. this is conversely bad for those who are not proficient in an instrument (for every advantage in Mechanus there's a disadvantage). If you never learned how to play it, you can never play it here. A body just can't will himself to do it.

Silence spells function normally here, except that they can never silence the constant distant sounds of the chimes. In fact, you can hear them even if you're deaf, or if you've got your ears covered. There's no avoiding the chiming (which is soft enough not to be a hassle anyway). Travellers claim they can even heard the chimes in their dreams when they sleep.

Certain necromantic spells are heavily augmented here, but only under the right conditions. All spells that either slay or bring back to life an individual instantly are cast as if the caster were four levels higher, but only if they ring a ceramic bell during the casting. Other necromancy, including animation of undead, draining of Strength, and healing, are not affected.

Finally, all spells belonging to the school of Song magic are cast as if the caster were a level high than is actually the case, but, again, only if actual music is used to cast the spells.

To get anything in the Chiming Halls, a service of equal value must be provided. Those who refuse find themselves wandering the Chimes, and have a good chance of getting lost. Anyone expelled from Bellchord for not performing a service must make an INT check to find their way out of the chiming Halls. Those who do not wander for five days before they can make another check.

PRINCIPAL NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS: Sonolex himself is never seen by visitors, though petitioners assigned a chime swear they've spoken with him about it. The visitors themselves can, however, meet Sonolex's chief proxy, a spellslinger named Eckoringe (Proxy / male human / ? 16 / LN). What Eckoringe is, exactly, is not clear, but he casts spells as a song mage AND a necromancer, as well as having the full abilities of a speciality priest of Sonolex. He can be found in Bellchord enjoying the entertainment or wandering the chimes watching for slackers in the ranks (which he almost never finds).

Possibly the strangest local in Bellchord is Ailemalida (Planar / female eladrin [firre] / Society of Sensation / CG). Starkly contrasting with the fairly sedate scene in Bellchord, she's move in permanently, and has lived here for just under a century. She does her part, not to fit in, but to remain in Bellchord. she has a secret shame,though, which keeps her in Bellchord: she was nearly deafened by a vrock before she moved here, and she is totally tone-deaf. She remains here because the can't sing beautifully anywhere else.

SERVICES: Bellchord has a number of services to interest a body. First of all, half the town is composed of inns of all qualities, and they only cost a service (bussing the restaurant for a meal, delivering goods, etc.). The same goes for everything else in town. Money is worth nothing here, and everything must be traded for a service. Since many of the petitioners are skilled at nothing else, they perform music for their fellows as payment. Thus, this is a great place to hear all manner of song. In fact, Ailemalida isn't the only sensate who lives here.

Also, Bellchord is a great place to get ceramics (especially ceramic bells). Ceramics cast in the Chiming Halls all get a +4 to all saving throws, making them a popular item exchanged for service here.

Finally, there are a number of 'life and death' clinics here. People seeking their last rest or trying to revive a friend could do worse than coming to these places, where the natural necromantic augmentation of life and death magic is used to its full advantage. Fortunately, the city has strict laws about using magic to convince someone to commit suicide here.

As mentioned above, those who refuse to perform a service of equal measure in Bellchord are automatically expelled by the city's force, and risk getting lost among the chimes.

The Hall of Judgement and Realm of Creation
Martin Bourassa)
This is the realm of many Egyptian deities: Ptah, Ma'at and Anubis, as Heliopolis is the realm of Ra, Isis and Osiris.

The realms consist of three cogs, one built on the other. The one on the top is the realm of Ptah, the god of art and creation. This realm isn't on Arcadia because there is evil as well as good, in equal proportion. This is a place of sublime beauty, and all of Ptah's creation are put in an orderly way. Here everywhere in the multiverse can be found: tree's, rocks, water, fire, palaces. It differs from limbo in the way that everything is put in order: everything as it place.

Considered heaven by some, this place as it's flaws: since Ptah only built the bodies in which the souls were put, everything here is mindless objects. Even then, Ptah created lifeless husks of animals and humans, even better than the firsts in form, but who lack souls. At the centre of the realm is Ptah's workshop, where the god continues to create things of magnificent beauty. There is at this place a pool of chaos-stuff, and a gate to limbo, from where Ptah draws the matter that he shapes in permanent forms. This is the place where he invents order born from chaos. Still, most of the other gods of Mechanus blame him for the gate, even if he keeps it under control.

The second cog, the one at the middle, and also the smallest, is the realm known as the Hall of Judgement. There comes the spirits of the mortals who falls under the influence of the Egyptian Pantheon. When they die, they first go in the outlands, where they are guided by Anubis from there to here. They are then judge by Ma'at, goddess of truth and order, who is assisted by Anubis and sometimes by Thoth. The heart of the petitioner is weighed against the feather of Ma'at. If the heart is heavier than the feather, the petitioner is unworthy of eternal life and is devoured by Ammut the beast who stands aside. If the feather is heavier than the heart, the petitioner is worthy and is sent to Heliopolis, in Arcadia. Followers of set and evil are sent to Baator. Ma'at as a similar portfolio than Thoth except that she is not really concerned with magic and more with order, she possess a divine feather which is used during judgement.

The Hall itself is an ancient looking, magnificent structure with four titanic gates. A road comes in each gate and reaches at the centre of the hall, where stands the balance which is used to judge and Ammut the devourer of souls.

The lowest cog is the almost forgotten Duät, the ancient land of the dead. This place is a cause of much sorrows to Anubis, the jackal-headed protector of the dead. The chant is, he was long ago not only the guide of the petitioners but also the lord of the dead, and Duät was his realm. This duty is now Osiris'. And the dead now go to the realm of Osiris in Heliopolis Anubis lost much power over the centuries and he lost many followers. Duät is now an empty realm, empty of it's former glory, where petitioners lived their afterlife. When the lordship of the dead passed to Osiris, almost all the petitioner went to his realm in Heliopolis. A few remained, those that were wary of changes and who loved tradition as order.

One of those is Aleth-Setna the third (Proxy / male human / F10 W8 / LN) who was a king in his former life. He is an old monarch who stayed loyal to Anubis and was rewarded with the status of a proxy and knowledge of his old life.

He his more than just senile and outright hostile to priests of Osiris. Anubis spends less and less time here, brooding over his loss, and more in his new realm in the outland and in the Hall of Judgement. Then, some wonder, what maintains the realm now? Some still are getting worried of the growing evil in Duät. The realm is getting really gloomy and frightening and Aleth-Setna himself can't do anything. It's true that Anubis has no liking for Osiris, but he got is new task to accomplish, and that's surely not the cause of the changes. It's more the resentment of the petitioners themselves and Anubis disinterest that's feeding the evil.

Ptah's realm is the only cog who seems to have a light source. It's a globe of light that the god created that float in concentric circles over the realm. The beautiful spiritless husks created by Ptah seem attracted by it like moths to a candle. The globe casts mild continuous light over his creations.

The other too are barely lighted, but the inside of the Hall glows softly, creating flickering shadows. The land itself seems to glow like pleasant moonlight elsewhere.

The lighting in Duät is similar, or was, because the darkness is getting deeper, and the shadows threatening. Things are plotting beyond the petitioners' sight, and they now light fires to keep them away.

Rumours are true, Duät will soon slip in Baator or the grey waste, and fiends infiltrator are making sure it will be in their turf. Some thinks Set has something to do with it...

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The Giant Sphere
A Sleeping Power
Monte Lin)
On a far off cog, lies a sleeping lesser power, a giant golden bronze metallic sphere. Every month, or a full cycle of the gear, the 36 smaller (2' diameter) spheres emerge and fly out in a perfect circle away from the Giant Sphere. The smaller spheres emerge each time at a different tilt, sometimes (nearly) perpendicular to the cog, sometimes (nearly) level, and so on, such that the spheres will never encounter another one. These spheres, apparently, seek out chaotic life within Mechanus, and attempts to neutralise it (rogue modrons on Mechanus be warned!). The smaller spheres emit a beam of energy, that slowly turns the target into the same golden bronze metal. If successful, it then absorbs the metal, and returns to the Giant Sphere.

Rumours include that the Giant Sphere is a new lesser power, just recently emerged or arrived, though its worshippers are not known. Others believe that it is a creation, perhaps of the modrons, to patrol Mechanus in a systematic way and eliminate chaos. Of course, this implies that Mechanus has become more chaotic than in the past. Lastly, for those who are in the know about Nemausus, some Harmonium patrols have captured these spheres, and have named them Avowan. In addition, a few have discovered that these creatures a trainable, and wish to capture more to create Lawful watch dogs.

Avowan: No. Appearing: 1; Int: High (14); Alignment: LN; AC: 3; Move: Fl 18 (A); HD: 3; THAC0: 16; #Att: 1; Dmg: 1d6; SA: Metallicize; SD: Metal weapons cause -1 point less damage; MR: 20%; Size: S (2' diameter); ML: 13; XP: 420;

Metallicize: The target must make a save vs. paralysis or become stiff and less agile, the target's skin will turn a metallic lustre, and suffer a -4 on all rolls, stats, and AC for 1d6 turns. A second attack, and failed save, will completely turn the target into the golden bronze metal. Fortunately in 1d6 turns, they will revert back to normal, considerably less chaotic than before (DM's judgement how this takes effect, but rogue modrons are "converted" back to the modron rank they were previously).

Avowan are vulnerable to spells that affect metal, cause double damage, and to rust monsters, which acts as a level draining affect when hit. Also, an Avowan that absorbs a highly chaotic creature (slaadi for example) sometimes suffer a behaviour change into True Neutral for 1d8 days.

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Snake's Patterns
(by Martin Bourassa)

Anasgard is the only Norse power (except Loki) who doesn't make his home in Ysgard. He is mostly concerned with the prime and he is very lawful. Anasgard is called Midgard (the same name given to the Norse prime worlds) by primes. He is the legendary snake who supposedly guards the confine of the prime. He dislikes Ysgard and the Aesir (and the Vanir for that matter) and his lawful nature as often puts him in conflict with them. His primary home is in Mechanus. Prime myths tells that he devours all that try to leave Midgard. Dark is that it's just that: myths. They're tales to frighten all the fools who'd want get a trip to the outer planes. In fact, Anasgard is more than just a gigantic watchdog, is power is equal to that of some powers. He doesn't devour all that want to pass; he judges them and lets pass those he deigns worthy. His body, much like Yggdrasil, reaches to Ysgard, Mechanus and the Prime and serve as a planar bridge between them.

His realm in Mechanus is called Anaheim and consist of two cog revolving on a gigantic axle. His body (very big indeed) coils around it and circles both cogs completely. His head can be somehow found on the upper cog, on the prime and in Ysgard (sometimes). the surface of the cogs isn't made of metal, but of rocky hills and ice cold water. On the upper cog, however, the stone is warm to the touch, thus keeping the waters from freezing. This one is mostly inhabited by snakes (very orderly behavioured), but the other has some human and demi-human inhabitant. The underside of the upper cog is burning (very much like the earthbergs of Ysgard), providing light for both. both side of the lower cog are inhabitable, even if it's cold. The head of Anasgard usually rests in a cavern in a great flat mountain...on the upper side of the lower cog is a large town called Midheim, built by the devious follower of Anasgard and Guvners, who doesn't seem to care that Midgard favours the snakes more than them. Both cogs are as orderly as Mechanus goes.

Beyond the second cog, Anasgard no longer coils around the axle, and everyone in the realm wonder what's up there. The upper cog is called by UPPER ANAHEIM and the other LOWER ANAHEIM. It's as simple as that, berk.

THE DARK: The way Midgard twists in the realm seems to defy all logic but he (apparently) follow some lawful patterns. Like all other law of Mechanus, no one truly understands them (the Guvners hope to prove otherwise).

As noted before, Midgard act as a planar pathway as Yggdrasil does, though his serpentine body only reaches the prime and Ysgard. It usually takes Midgard consent to go to one plane from another, and an unauthorised use wont go unnoticed (thought maybe he wont kill the offender out right and punish him in a more subtle way).

It is as ridiculous to try to kill Anasgard with weapons or spells as to cut Yggdrasil with an axe or to kill the lady of pain. His scaly body is impervious to all attacks and he would probably warn or devour the fools who tried it.

Even though they aren't fond of this creature, the Norse deities would be angry if someone, or some god, destroyed him.

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(by Belarius)
CHARACTER: We are all part of a hierarchy. The higher you ascend, the more people are left below you. The lower you fall, the more remain above you. Each step up the hierarchy is like a rung on a ladder. The baatezu believe their underlings are the rungs, but this is false. The archons believe you must reach down and pull those below you up, but this is wrong. Each level of the hierarchy is a position, now a person. Each rung must be ascended by your own hard work, not the generosity of others. And at the top is the greatest reward: the reward of having no further to climb.

POWER: Geifesil, a force of hierarchy. Followers of the genderless Geifesil believe in rising through the hierarchies of life (and death) by following the letter of the law, and rising for the sake of rising. This sort of greedless ambition is fairly rare, however, and Geifesil is only a lesser power.

DESCRIPTION: Located in a bottomless cog, Vertiginous is an odd burg. The city's diameter is fairly small, when one considers it's nigh-infinite size (about 150 feet), but it descends into a seemingly normal cog for an immeasurable distance. The gear itself is mostly composed of a huge dimensional distortion, allowing the city to descend an infinite distance without making the gear infinitely thick. In any case, it is an odd sight, even for the petitioners.

Crossing this gulf at all angles are thin, street-width buildings that span the entire gulf. Each building is a mere 10 feet tall, just enough to allow a person to move about inside. Each building, in turn, serves a specific purpose. Some buildings are kitchens, where food is made for the petitioners. Others are forges, or carpentry shops, or some other sort of important practice. Each building connects with another building at one and only one point, allowing the petitioner inhabiting the building to climb to the next level when the time is right. Once there, they must often learn a new skill from scratch. Visitors, fortunately, are allowed free use of these passages.

The entire structure of Vertiginous is a strict hierarchy. All people within a building are of the same rank, and outrank all people in lower buildings. In turn, all those who dwell in buildings higher up outrank those in said building. A petitioner can travel as far down as he wishes, but may never travel upwards farther than his spiritual purity allows. Those who most completely understand the teachings of Geifesil reach the top of Vertiginous, where they find that the roof of their building simply leads onto the surface of the cog. From there, petitioners walk out of Vertiginous and disappear, presumably reincarnated on their Prime worlds.

It is said that the deeper one goes, the more and more chaotic the realm becomes, reflecting the undisciplined outlook of those doomed to begin their journeys here. Here, the buildings are less and less reliable, and only through caution and devotion can petitioners escape this region, which is as much a punishment for the petitioner's actions in life as anything else.

PRINCIPAL TOWNS: Because Vertiginous is a single 'city,' it doesn't have towns in the standard sense, but it does have certain regions that can be identified. For example, the Balconies is a stretch of buildings which have extensive overhanging balconies. This area is commonly used by visitors, as the spectacular views it provides are not to be missed. Fliers are common here (see below).

Another interesting region is the Tightropes, a dangerous area where the buildings loose their enclosing walls and thin to a mere five feet in width. Here, visitors and petitioners must be very wary or fall off the edge with an incautious motion. If the petitioners were bent on assassinating one another to ascend, they would certainly use the Tightropes as a good region.

A third region of note for travellers is the Smithies. This entire area is devoted to blacksmithing goods to be used throughout the realm. The multitude of forges has made this area as smoky as the worst of the Lower Ward of Sigil, and the buildings are stained black from the soot. Nevertheless, the air within the buildings seems only slightly dirty, kept clean by the will of Geifesil.

SPECIAL CONDITIONS: The most dangerous of Vertiginous is it's vertical nature. Anyone falling off the side of a building fall 5d100 feet before they hit another building. This is almost always lethal, unless magic is used to slow down or fly away.

Interestingly, the entire shaft of Vertiginous has an upward current of warm air (perhaps produced by the thousands of warm bodies below any one point). This makes primitive mechanical flight using hand-gliders or simple gliding wings possible. Petitioners skilled in this art are called 'fliers' and use broad-winged devices to glide from one building to another. Fliers are especially common in the Balconies. As always, a petitioner cannot rise higher than his post with this skill, but visitors taught the skill find it to be a much faster way to travel up or down Vertiginous. Intrepid explorers in the city are frequently fliers who use their wings to try to find the bottom of the realm, stopping along the way to get food from those who they outrank. These petitioners show more personality than most, and a fair number never rise higher than that rank, intoxicated by the infinite exploration of their power's realm.

Each building is provided enough raw materials to do its job properly. All kitchens have enough food to cook all day, all forges have enough iron to work all day, etc. Since most petitioners can't work with perfect efficiency, there is very often a surplus of material.

PRINCIPAL NON-PLAYER CHARACTERS: Geifesil, not having a human form, does not have humanoid proxies. However, to enforce its will, Geifesil uses a special force to speak to its petitioners. Essentially, it sends creatures very much like an aleax, with certain major differences. These creatures, called 'mirrors,' look exactly like their target to all who look on. They always have a LN neutral. The come not only for revenge, but also for council, requests, and other business with Geifesil. Thus, they are simply extensions of the power.

Archei Fenlin is possibly the most famous flier, having made extensive notes on the depths of Vertiginous, is thought to know the most about the Realm save for Geifesil itself. Dwelling in the third building from the top of the Realm, Archei is surprisingly reluctant to advance any further. With over a thousand years of exploration under his belt, he doesn't want to give up his extensive memories for new life. Mirrors visit him regularly, berating him for his reluctance, but he is implacable. Geifesil has been known to offer rewards to to outsiders who can convince him to go to his final fate.

SERVICES: Like many realms, Vertiginous is well stocked with all manner of basic services, including food and lodging. Most notably, however, one can learn the Hangliding proficiency here, and buy the necessary equipment to execute the skill. Master craftsmen in Vertiginous are capable of making a reliable glider that can support up to 500 lbs and folds up into a 2 foot by 5 foot rectangle. Such devices cost 75 gp.

Anywhere there are reliable upcurrents, the glider can be used to travel, and a few explorers have taken to using gliders to explore the warmer Upper and Lower planes. Let the user beware, however! Places like Gehenna seem to malevolently cut out their winds at all the wrong times.  

The Vigilant Eye
(by Jachyras)

CHARACTER: There is order in the Multiverse. One only has to look deeply into the darkness to find it. In times of chaos, only those with foresight can solve the problem.

POWER: Varuna, the Intermediate Indian power of Cosmic Order makes this place his home. Here, he keeps his ever-vigilant sight on all the Crystal Spheres and Planes where the pantheon has a presence. In times of need, Varuna acts as a mediator, sage and sometimes judge for the other Powers and their disputes. His responsibilities are to make sure that Order is kept across all the Multiverse in regards to the Indian Pantheon.

DESCRIPTION: The streets of this Realm are laid out in perfect circles that grow ever smaller. At the centre of the enormous cog that this Realm sits on, a huge domed structure covered in eyes that move across its surface, rises into the darkness of Mechanus. Here, Varuna holds court and watches the Multiverse. Each circle of streets represents a different Power in the Indian Pantheon. The streets furthest from the centre are for the Demi and Lesser Powers followed by the Intermediates, the Greaters and finally Varuna's followers closest to the Dome. Each street represents that particular Power's portfolio in building structure, street construction, petitioners and alignment. When visitors arrive they begin at the furthest point and must travel in by foot. (See Special Conditions) Once they reach the centre of the Realm they have achieved Order and insight into the Indian mind set. Now they are ready to hold vigil over the many aspects of Indian life.

PRINCIPAL TOWNS: None. The Domed Structure in the centre of the Realm is the only major building. Only after enlightenment into the Indian mind is achieved can a visitor reach here. The Dome has no visible entrances except to those that have found Order. The inside of the dome works similar to the "Modron Cathedral" in Regulus. (The Rule of Threes begs the question, of course, where's the third?) There are runes engraved into the walls of the inner dome that represent the numerous places where the Indian Pantheon has influence. If you concentrate on the rune, an image of the night sky over that world appears on the ceiling of the dome. Here, a blood can study the cosmic signs to make sure all is well on that particular world. Many astrologers come here to learn their trade and discover some of the mysteries of the Multiverse.

SPECIAL CONDITIONS: When you arrive in this Realm, you find yourself on the outer edge of the cog. You must travel by foot, experiencing all the many aspects of Indian life before you can reach the Dome. It is like the caste system. You start out as a vermin and work your way up to the enlightened state of Order. Once this inner order has been achieved, then you can enter into the dome. Only walking to the dome will allow a berk to arrive there. Any use of spells or psionic ability will only transport the character to a random place on Mechanus. All petitioners, regardless of which Power they serve, have a third eye in the middle of their forehead. This eye allows the petitioners to see into their inner beings and help them move to the next level of existence before they are reincarnated.


SERVICES: Astrologers and sages from around the Multiverse seek the opportunity to use the Dome's unique ability to view the stars and skies of numerous Planes and Spheres in relative safety.

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

Consult the Mimir Again