Magnum Opus' Muse Arcane

Magnum Opus Herself

The Quintessentials

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 "Quintessential" is a term not often used on the Outer Planes -- it refers most often to the fifth Elemental Province (see my exhibition on the Ancient Planes in this very mezzanine for more information on that). However, sages and philosophers also use the word to signify the embodied essence of an entire race. The best known Quintessential is Primus, the symbol of all Law and the ruler of the modrons. But what of the other planeborne races?

Well, only the "pure" races have Quintessential leaders. True, the baatezu have their Lords of the Nine, the tanar'ri have Abyssal Lords, the archons their Thrones and the eladrin the Fairy Queen. But powerful though these being may be, they are not the essences of philosophy that leaders of the other planeborne races represent.

See, there are five quintessential planeborne races: the modrons are all that is Law, the slaad embody Chaos, the guardinals are pure Good, and the hearts of the yugoloths are utter Evil. Between them all, the rilmani represent total Neutrality. Of all these races, only the modrons have an obvious leader, but delving deeper, we find that all five races have more in common than first meets the casual gaze.

Though the rest of the Multiverse knows of Primus the Modron King, it seems the modrons themselves do not. In the bizarre hierarchy of the barmy boxes, each rank is only aware of the caste immediately above and below itself. Thus of all the modrons, only the secundi know of Primus himself. The rest of the race merely assumes that there is a leader, and through their belief in natural superiority the Quintessential ruler is sustained.

The chant goes that the rilmani also have a ruler figure in their mythology, though they have never confirmed nor denied this to the outside world. It's rumoured that the leader of their race is none other than the Lady of Pain. Consider the evidence: she dwells at the Spire as do they, she remains as aloof and uncaring as the rilmani themselves, she too is metallic in colour, and her powers are unknown and mysterious. It's reckoned the reason the rilmani keep so quiet about it, aside from their customary enigmatic nature, is that the Lady herself does not know she is their figurehead, and nor must she know. Why not? Who can say, cutter. Perhaps the rilmani are worried that she'd flay the lot of them for worshipping her, even though by rights they ought to!

As for the chaotic slaad; these creatures would at first seem to be too disorganised to have a unifying leader, and indeed, none is present in their religious or social structure. They do, however obey a rigid caste system of colour and strength. Weaker slaad are deferential to their stronger brothers, and this hierarchy continues right to the top. It seems that slaad assume their have a ruler, though they seem to have no idea what it might be. Or do they? Planewalkers have often commented upon the slaad's curious tendency to congregate around their Spawning Stone. Could this apparently innocent rock in fact be some sort of racial leader? It's a theory, at least.

What of the yugoloths? While these fiends are at least as secretive as the rilmani, more is known of their beliefs. Maybe that's because you just can't bribe a rilmani like you can a yugoloth! These most fiendish of fiends apparently believe in and fear their leader, who may or may not be the legendary General of Gehenna. If not, the leader may be of the rarely mentioned "Clan Baern". While the ultroloths appear to rule the race, I have it on good authority that only the ultroloths know there are creatures of more pure and dangerous evil than themselves. I'd dread to meet one of those bloods!

Finally, the good Quintessential. There seems to be no single answer here; depending upon who you ask, you'll be fed different chant. A yugoloth source of mine steadfastly swears that there used to be a leader of Good, only the tanar'ri slew it thousands of years ago. The guardinals, who you might expect would sneer at this and refute it wholeheartedly in fact do not. Privately, they seem divided on the issue. Some guardinals believe their oft-prophesied Great Leader has not yet arrived, and wait patiently for signs and omens of its appearance. Planologists predict its arrival almost yearly, though nothing has yet come of the flam they seem to talk. Other guardinals reckon that their saviour has already arisen (pointing to countless obscure harbingers to back up their claims), and maybe there's a sect of them out there actively seeking it out, in whatever guise it may have adopted. Detractors argue that when the saviour emerges (returns?) good-kind will surely know about it! A final bunch claim they don't have a leader, and that it doesn't matter a fig, because evil is its own worst enemy and don't need anything to oppose it.

Alas, I cannot prove a word.

Magnum Opus

Special thanks to Ken Lipka who prodded and prompted most helpfully :-)
This is an area I'll probably return to expand upon in the future.
Any comments or suggestions'd be gratefully received.

 Consult the Mimir Again