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The Outlands

The Spire
Scholarly Opinions

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Verdax Perrillon, a Tiefling Mage who's Living Proof that Immortality can do Strange Things to a Berk's Mind... (by Ian Watson)

If you were to use Guvner mathematics (I've worked it out myself, the numbers seem to be right), if you take a piece of infinity, no matter how small, it's still infinity. And I've seen many renditions of the Spire by bloods who'd know, and all signs seem to say it's hollow. Therefore, since the inside would take up some space, it must be infinite. I believe that there's another plane hidden on the inside of the Spire, which I'll call the Inlands.

Because the Spire obviously collects magical energy, the berks living on the Inlands would be insanely powerful. The equivalent of your average mortal Inside might be able to best some of our Powers in a fair fight (not that any fight between Powers is fair). Maybe this is where the Spire butterflies came from. One day I'll hire someone, maybe Tarsheva or Voilà, to see if there's a way In.

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Yutil, a Guvner of Mechanus (by Mike Hachey)The Outlands Giant

Well, after great study, I have found where the Spire goes! Not only does this solve the problem of where the Spire leads up to, but it also solves many other questions. The answer is quite simple, really: The Spire's tip goes through a portal known as the 'Ether-Gate' that leads straight to the Deep Ethereal.

This, of course, means Sigil is in the Deep Ethereal, which explains why it is cut off from the Astral Plane. It also explains how the Lady makes the mazes in the Deep Ethereal, and lastly it solves what happens when some barmy jumps off the side. He goes to an Outer Plane, which one depending on where in Sigil they jumped.

So, if someone jumped from the most northern point, they would be in Elysium. The southernmost point, they would end up in the Abyss. The western point: Mechanus. Eastern point: Limbo. North by north-eastern point: Beastlands North-eastern point: Arborea, etc., etc., and if they jump off extremely close to the Spire, they end up in the Outlands.

If y'have any more questions, just ask.

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Flabio, a Prime Guvner (by Flabio The Mage)

You know of the Rule of Threes, don't ya? You don't? *Berks* Well I'll spill you a little, but I'll keep it brief.

Everything comes in threes, see. Everybody knows, it, and everybody lives by it. Even clueless Primes know that everything comes in threes (I should know, I'm Prime, and no, I'm not Clueless!) For example, there is Japanese proverb that reads: "Nido alu kotto wa, sando alu", which roughly translates to:" Things that happen twice, shall happen thrice". This kind of philosophy is sprinkled all over the Prime worlds, probably spilled by some Prime Power.

Don't be mistaken, though, Primes aren't the only ones that conform to this philosophy, everybody does, even the planes themselves. Look at the Outer and Inner Planes, there are twenty-seven of each (three cubed, see?), and there are three transitory planes ( Astral, Ethereal, Ordial). Nigh everything follows this law, but one object in the Multiverse seems to go against this, the Spire.

One single Spire, with a spinning barmy doughnut. This certainly may not seem to be three, but it is three, or rather, it is divided into three sections. These sections are Base, Sigil, and The Tower, all of which are subdivided into three more groupings( which are further divided into three groups, some say).

The Base is the bottom portion of the Spire, both above and below the Outlands. This area is said to be inhabited by the rilmani, a claim which has recently been confirmed. The rilmani are said to live within the Spire, and live within the Base. What lies without the Base, is unknown to us, at the time. The exact size of the Base is also unknown (infinity divided by three, hmmm...) but, it takes up roughly one third of the Spire.

The next section of the Spire is Sigil. Sigil should be pretty obvious to you (unless you are that clueless). Sigil is divided into three groups, or rather Wards, which you should be familiar with. Although it is said that Sigil is built and destroyed haphazardly, this simply ain't true. There is a certain three-ishness that just escapes the grasp of us mortals, that control the happenings of Sigil.

The final section of the Spire, is the Tower. We don't know much about the Tower, or how it has to do with three-ishness of things, but we do know one thing of it, its location. It starts roughly where the Spire ends, and Sigil begins. Now I'm sure you've seen many drawings of the Planes, with the Spire in the middle of 'em. Some of 'em might have the Spire poking right though the doughnut hole, while others have the Spire ending just before Sigil begins. Both are correct. You see, the Tower is that section that disappears around Sigil. You can't see the Tower, and you can't even feel it (many travellers in Sigil fly right through it, without ever noticing) but it's there nonetheless. The Rule of Threes should tell you that much. What it does, and why its there is as unknown as the rest of the Spire. Some speculate that it has something to do with the Lady, or perhaps even the Ordial, but the real dark is one of the most closely guarded secrets of the Multiverse.

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Rola Cello, Guvner explaining the "Belief Cycle" (by Simson Leigh)

Popular opinion states that the Spire is infinite.

This belief is fairly widespread and that is a very good thing indeed, or else the Outlands may one day cease to exist. You see although a lot of cutters believe that the Spire rises out of the Outlands, in fact it pours into the Outlands. That's right, the Spire is a representation or visualisation of pure belief energy that pours down from the city known as Sigil and into the Outlands. In fact Sigil acts as a funnel (by means of holes in the time/space/belief continuum, also known as "portals") that draws belief energy from all planes that it's connected to including the inner, prime and outer planes.

This belief energy pours down through the central lower "hole" of the city. The reason that one can see nothing over the "edge" of Sigil is because pure belief is not visible to mortal senses.

It is not until the energy reaches the bottom of the spire and cascades in to different directions of alignment that the energy becomes imbued into the planes. Because the belief energy is in such a pure form, it interferes with magical frequencies and emanations and this explains why magic grows weaker closer to the spire. In fact the Outlands is the plane with the most belief because it contains the font of belief energy that streams down in to it. But only towards the gate-towns is this energy noticeable. Because the changes to the Outlands as one approaches a gate-town are caused by the energy slowly being absorbed into the planes. In fact, the Gate-towns are ever-open portals that feed each of the planes with belief energy. And sometimes, when mortals add too much of their own belief to the energy pouring in to the adjacent plane, the town itself is swept along in to the plane (and a new portal-town appears on the Outlands).

This flow of belief energy from all the planes, through Sigil and into the Outlands and beyond is called the "Belief Cycle" (much like a "water cycle" on some prime worlds). I started off by stating that the belief that the Spire is infinite was very important, in point of fact it's crucial. A few grey beards of the Guvners have speculated that if this belief where to disappear or diminish greatly, the belief energy would stop flowing and over time the Outlands would be drained into the different Outer Planes.

There are a few other details that I have not mentioned, but Sigil is a great centre for beliefs and factions because of the belief energy swirling around and many mortals are absorb some of this belief, which they feel a desire to make "more concrete" and explain. In the same way that water swirls around a funnel as it pours through, belief energy swirls around the Cage before pouring "down the Spire".

At the present time I do not have enough free time to discuss the role of The Lady and the Rilmani, but if you wish to hear more about these, please contact me.

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Rola Cello, on the Outlands Rings and Razorvine (by Simson Leigh)

[Last known entry in the diary of Rola Cello, Fraternity of Order, Planewalker and Botanist]

The phenomena of magic loss as one travels towards the spire over the Outlands is caused by a magical fungus.

Any botanist worth her salt will tell you that the majority of plants have a symbiotic relationship with fungi living in the soil. The plants provide nutrients from gathering sunlight and the fungus provides minerals and water to the roots of the plants. In fact, some fungi have such a large underground network of connections to trees and other plants that they can cover the entire forest. And the fungus usually lives just a few inches or feet below the surface.

It is a well documented fact (see Planar FAQs subsection 34a chapter XXI) that the planes are a place with high levels of magic. I have determined that the fungus that inhabits the Outlands originated on the Prime but has changed in since being accidentally introduced in to the Outlands. In fact, the fungus has been here a very long time.

How long, you ask? Well, as long as the Spire. You see... the Spire is the fruiting body of this fungus and as long as the fungus continues to spread and grow, so too will the Spire grow taller. The presence of the fungus (which lives predominantly underground) has a dampening effect on magic. By this I mean all documented forms of magic, including divine powers. The degree of dampening of magic depends on the amount of fungus present and it spreads out from the spire in a circular pattern. Most scholars mistake the rings of magic loss as being phenomena by themselves, they are in fact caused by the above mentioned fungus.

The previously mentioned symbiosis of plant and fungus was difficult (and painful) to determine in this case. The magical nature of the planes has allowed a special form of symbiosis between the fungus and a plant commonly known as razorvine (sharpuss entanglofolia). It seems that the two species provide each other with nutrients across planar boundaries. I have not been able to pursue this research very far to date because I sensed a 'presence' associated with large formations of razorvine. (My apologies to my distinguished readers for the lack of correct vocabulary, but I sensed something malevolent when working with razorvine.)

My work to date has determined that the two species act together to spread as far across he planes as possible. The razorvine grows extensively in Sigil and many seeds and plant parts are carried though portals to other locations. I speculate that one of the reasons that razorvine is able to grow in such inhospitable environments is due to the nutrients provided by its fungal symbiote.

My travels and research has provided anecdotal evidence that razorvine is less common in the Upper planes than the Lower planes. A researcher had better watch her step when visiting the Lower planes and thus my data is rather limited. But my questioning of natives of Upper planes upon observing them clear away razorvine usually resulted in a vague answer that it was a tainted weed that should be destroyed.

Although I have attempted to question the Dabus about clearing of razorvine, I have not been able to get any understandable answer.

I have been approached by an elderly Githzerai who claims to know more about the razorvine's ecology and will show me a special clump found at the corner of a wizards tower. Tomorrow I hope to travel to Automata, where a new infestation of razorvine seems to be affecting the local modron population."

[Author's note: many plants do exchange nutrients for minerals and water with fungi. These fungi are called mycorhizal fungi. It is claimed that some of these mycorhizal fungi form fungal nets that cover entire forests in parts of America and other large forests. Is it possible that a fungal network on the Outlands has gained sentience and is spreading via razorvine across the planes ? It's probably just a pile of screed, but the Yugoloth are keeping unusually silent on the matter.]

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Giles Frumpendor, elven Mathematician (by Joshua Wolfe)

Although there is much debate on the nature of the Spire's existence, I believe I can clear the whole matter up with planar calculus.

It is agreed upon that the postulate "The Outlands is the plane of Neutrality." Examining the orientation of the Spire & applying the Planar Neutrality Limit function, or Outlands function, one would recognise the Spire as being at the origin from the Outlands extends equidistantly. Or another way to look at it, the Spire is at the median of the conceptual distance between all diametrically opposed planes. Considering these points, allow me to interject the definition of absolute neutrality. Absolute neutrality is the function of belief which equals both no belief and the sum of all belief. From the Infinite Probability postulate, everyone recognises that there is an infinite amount of beliefs in the multiverse. Of course, the end of infinity can never be reached within conceptual reality due to the limitations of belief.

So, what can be concluded from this data? Well, the Spire is conceptual reality of the Outlands as it approaches absolute neutrality. Of course, the Spire is infinitely tall, absolute neutrality is a vertical asymptote to the conceptual reality in the Outlands. It can also be concluded that the Spire is hollow. Absolute reality serves as the axis about which the Outlands never touches, although running infinitely close.

How is this supported in metaphysical data? Well, the rilmani live about the base of the Spire. They are a race that holds to as few ethics & morals as a society could possibly have. They represent the no belief end of the spectrum. However, note that the rilmani don't have absolute neutrality because they still hold to ethics & morals of maintaining balance in all things. As one looks up the Spire, one can see Sigil. It too approaches infinity sitting at the narrow most point of the Spire. Yet, it too cannot touch absolute neutrality, its torus shape avoiding absolute neutral axis. It is very obvious that the Cage is the other end of the spectrum of absolute neutrality. Every ideology and philosophy from every part of the multiverse, enters Sigil at one time or another. Of course, almost all travellers are only there for a short time soon leaving, taking their beliefs with them. Sigil may represent a multitude of beliefs, but never an infinite amount.

There you have it. Once again, even the most foolish berk can find answers of the multiverse, if he simply thinks rationally and mathematically.

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Maxis, a githzerai historian (by Simson Leigh)

Sigil is called the Cage and the reason for that is pretty obvious... it's a prison. Rumour has it that when the Multiverse was still young and the Gods were stirring in the Outer Planes, there was a group of powers who had a plot to do away with one of their fellow powers who belonged to a Pantheon in conflict with theirs. These Powers lacked the strength to actually kill a fellow power. And thus it was conceived by one of them to imprison their Divine Sister. It was in the Outlands that the 'Ring of Binding' was cast around their quarry and they build a pillar upon which to proclaim their victory.

As the powers grew, so did the pillar upon which their imprisoned victim was held. Over time the powers who had build the pillar faded and departed to the Astral, but still the pillar remained and grew.

At first the power imprisoned weakened within her prison; lack of contact with her worshippers should have led to her "death". It didn't. Instead she languished in her prison and began to shape the inside to her liking. It distressed her greatly that she was in a state of 'nonliving' and over time she lost parts of her memories which makes all powers divine (hence their "bodies" on the Astral).

By now, the pillar had grown to an immense size. It could be seen from tens of miles around. And then one day something unexpected happened. The pillar had grown to such a size that it pierced reality as a spear piercing through the ice. To where the pillar pierced into is not known, but the cracks touched the edge of the prison and soon creatures began to appear through the cracks and holes. The ex-power soon learned to control where the holes appeared and with the last of her power transformed some of these visiting creatures in to likeness of the memory her servants, and thus the dabus where born.

Time passed and more creatures arrived and built residences within the ring/prison. But the imprisoned ex-power found that she could not leave through any of the holes that led to other planes, for to do so would mean her destruction. She found that she was in a unique state where faith was not sustaining her and only in this prison could she survive. At first she attempted to influence the visiting races to worship her, but soon learned that this weakened her and thus she destroyed her few worshippers.

The powers learned of the prison through their worshippers and sent one of their brethren to watch over this place. Aoskar resided in the new city, but the Lady (as she was now called) learned to what lay on the other side of reality, in other words to where the Spire-pillar had pierced. Aoskar almost discovered this same truth, but the Lady destroyed him before he found out the truth.

And thus the Lady now acts as both prisoner and guardian. She is a prisoner because she cannot regain her former powers or leave and she cannot allow any Powers to come to her prison. In all the time that she has been a prisoner, she has learned to fashion her own prisons. Any in the city who threaten the safety of the city are imprisoned by the Lady (the locals call them the mazes).

What anchors the city to the Outlands is belief. People believe that the city rests atop the Spire and thus it remains "tethered" to the Spire-pillar. However, this places the city under certain (unknown) strains and it is the duty of the dabus to restructure the Lady's prison so that it does not tear itself apart. Their secondary duty is to act as caretakers to the mazes.

Is the Spire infinite? Yes.

Does Sigil rest atop the Spire and if so how? Yes, by the power of belief. Else it would drift off into the Great Unknown...

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Kuy Lmari, a rilmari cartographer (by Simson Leigh)The Outlands Giant

Some of the maps of the Outlands I've seen show the Spire to be hollow. This may just be an artist's impression of the Spire. But if it is indeed hollow, then this could serve as a tunnel for planar energy to travel upwards. Not only towards Sigil, but past it as well.

Sigil looks like a huge doughnut suspended above the Spire, with a great round hole pierced through the middle. Perhaps this energy travels from the Planes, through the Outlands and up and past Sigil.

In fact, by the time that it reaches Sigil, the power is so concentrated that all laws of time and space and reality no longer matter and holes (or portals) are found throughout Sigil. Could Sigil itself be a portal to this other dimension? So a question to ask is: Where does the energy go? Perhaps to another dimension?

If the above is true, then Sigil is the last stop before another reality. One could theorise that people would be attracted to Sigil in order to discover how to ascend to that reality. These people formed like minded groups and the Factions were born. These Factions each have their own anwser as to how to ascend and some cutters may even have tumbled on to the dark of it, eg. Cipher Factols who have ascended. However, to ensure that only those worthy ascend, The Lady watches over Sigil, exactly how is another good question....

One role that The Lady plays that all know is that she prevents Powers from entering Sigil (at least ones that she knows about). Most have reasoned that this is to prevent powers abusing Sigil's portals or taking control. But, the reason could be that the Lady blocks the Powers to prevent them using Sigil as a protal to ascend.

Many question remain in my mind, such as: Is the Lady a being from this other dimension sent to guard the portal that is Sigil? Why are the powers prevented from ascending? Are Spire Butterflies the spirits of being that attempted to ascend who failed and thus cluster near the base of the Spire in the futile hope that they will be swept up and past Sigil?

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Kuy Lmari, some time later (by Simson Leigh)

Another idea has just occured to me. Perhaps the planar energy does not travel up the Spire, but instead down it. Energy derived from primes beliefs enters Sigil when portals are used and then travels down the Spire and into the Outlands and then through the Gate-towns on the Planes. This theory therefore holds that Belief has to make use of portals to get to the Planes.

So if a powers where ever to control Sigil then he/he could influence and possible direct the focus of primers beliefs when the enter the Planes, the ultimate weapon.

From the above reasoning, one possile reason for reduction of magic near to the Spire could be due to high concentration of primer Belief energy that has a dampenig effect on magic in general. And because this belief energy has not yet travelled in a particular alignment direction... Powers cannot benefit from this high concentration of primer Belief.

Could this 'explanation' account for the fact that when a cutter steps off the edge of Sigil he/she is flung off to one of the planes by this vortex of planar Belief hanneling down the Spire and in to the Planes?

Do the Spire Butterflies feed on this primer Belief energy in some way?

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Guy Plathers, a prime astronomer and spacer (by Michael Franz)

Because the Prime Material Plane, like any other plane, is infinite, there must be an infinite number of worlds in it, and therefore an infinite number of inhabitants. Since Sigil is finite, this would pose a bit of a problem for everyone who wanted to go there. However, I have a theory that solves this problem nicely. The Prime Material is divided up into galaxies, similar to the real universe. These galaxies are separated by dark voids. Each galaxy is composed of millions of crystal spheres, but only thousands are inhabited, and only a few hundred have access to Sigil.

Here's the interesting part, though: the Outlands, and every other Outer Plane, are also divided into "galaxies" that correspond to the Prime Material galaxies. For each galaxy in the Outlands, there is a Spire and a set of gate towns near its edge. If you travel beyond the gate towns, you will eventually cross into another galaxy. The planes themselves are still infinite, but the galaxies are finite and could be considered to be separate "universes" of their own from a certain point of view. This also avoids the problem of the "center" of the multiverse. If there was only one Spire and only one Sigil, then it would be the center, no matter how many times Planescape insists that it isn't.

However, if there were an infinite number of Spires, then there is no centre just like it should be. The planes are infinite, but most travelers stay within one finite galaxy of the planes. If you entered another galaxy, you might find totally different laws of magic and physics.

You might find beings there that are totally incomphrensible. In short, Planescape as we know it is mainly concerned with our own galaxy. Travel to other galaxies at your own risk!

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Thlorr, a second spacer responding to the above (by Paul MacKenzie)

This could be true, unless there are a finite number of portals from Sigil to these Prime worlds, directly or indirectly, in which case everyone who wanted to go there might not be able to. Perhaps it is the Lady's duty to move a finite but large number of portals around from here to there, making sure that no one plane gets them all at once.
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The Origins of the Entire Multiverse (by Samuel J. Theil)

[Here's some incredible chant I picked up from a Mathematican-Philosopher I met on a jaunt through Automata. He had some pretty far-flung theories on the Multiverse, all tied up with the Outlands themselves. If you can follow him all the way through, you're a better blood than I!]

In the beginning of all that is, there was nothing. Not an empty void, for a void to exist the idea of infinite space must exist. This was not the case. This was a time in the multiverse in which utter nothing was all there was (or was not). Now here is where it gets a little beyond the scope of human perception (or dwarf, or elf, or tanar'ri, etc.. etc.. etc...) That is the idea of how nothing came to be something. What brought something from nothing is that the duality of nothing but the possibility of something, in an state of infinite potential, creates as a reaction the simplest perfect form of existence for non-existence to sustain itself from the paradox of nothing but needing to exist.

Needing to exist because in nothing there is only potential with not a thing to hold it back from being. Now, it needs to be the "simplest perfect" form of existence, because true non-existence cannot be imperfect since there is nothing there to be, nothing cannot not be perfect. So if something is emanating from nothing it must be perfect; it cannot take from what is not there, even though there is nothing there, nothing is also the idea of nothing which is perfect, so it can only take perfection.

This "perfect form" which comes into existence is in itself still nothing. Being that nothing is what is perfect, and there is nothing else that could be taken from nothing. Like a chemical reaction nothing makes itself as one thing (nothing itself is one thing right?) yet it itself stays nothing. Nothing relative to itself is two things and so forth, everything is number. Number is truly nothing relative to itself again and again. So the Multiverse started as idea, the concept of itself being the number one.

This means the priests of number are of the true faith of the Multiverse, an idea usually scoffed at (worshiping number) is the truth! Now, about why the Multiverse formed the way it did. It is simple if you think about it, the Outlands are the final form of the number one which is also zero (remember one is simply zero aware of itself) also zero and infinite are the same. They are both not truly numbers but ideas (It is ironic that zero is both an idea to us who exist. Yet to it which does not exist, it cannot be an idea to itself or that would make it the number one. Maybe this gives more insight to how nothing came to be something?) so one is the ultimate unity (Nirvana?) being that there is no other.

Now, two is the first non-archetypal (but existent) duality (By-topia?). Now I myself do not know enough about the planes to give all the correct attributions, but I can tell you since there is no end to numbers (you can count on forever) the Abyss seems to be the last made plane of all the planes (seeing that it is infinite, symbolising the endless nature of number). At first I thought Limbo being that it is opposite Mechanus and being pure chaos which is nothing more than many contending forces was the last of the planes, but it would take both a master of planar lore and the greatest mathematician to find out that arcane wisdom.

Seeing that I am neither of these, but a seeker of the knowledge of which I have found and already disclosed. Now for the second part with the former known I must say this about conduct of the living races in respect to the perfection of the Multiverse in its entirety: Anything known of the Multiverse is known by some being which has a mind and can store information and is only a individual part of the Multiverse. All beings are an incomplete part of that whole which you received that information from, to express something is for you to force it unto the Multiverse.

Thus denying everything which is opposed to that idea (any idea which must be taught denies something else) denying the perfection of the Multiverse itself. For there is nothing that can be done by the individual that in no way denies another individual thing which is part of the overall complete and utter perfection which is the Multiverse, for every action there is a reaction and that must do something to be an action and to do something is to change something, is to destroy something, is to deny something, and to deny anything is to deny the perfection of the Multiverse. For you to have a stance on anything is for you to say the Multiverse is not perfect as it is. So you are wrong, it is you that is imperfect. But just you as being a multiverse in yourself. You make the Multiverse perfect by being imperfect.

The multiverse is not pure perfection on every level into the microcosms (parts of the Macrocosm or Multiverse). It must be absolute perfection running through all the levels of imperfection unto the most imperfect thing. That way it is all encompassing only then is it true perfection. So you cannot deny the perfection of the multiverse or that which denies the perfection of the universe. For that which exists makes the Multiverse perfect. This does not mean it is the Macrocosms destiny to have all the Microcosms within itself to always be imperfect within themselves (in denying anything in the Multiverse). There could be a time when all is purely perfect, but that is only if it is perfect to be so. For every action there is a reaction, all things existent follow the path of least resistance, is the only law of the Multiverse.

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The Spire

* Main Spire Page * Main Outlands Page *

Faction Musings

Factionneers lann some chant on their own beliefs and disbeliefs concerning the Great Spire.

Planewalker Tales

Myriad opinions from as many cutters who're planewalkers, Outlands natives, or just like to stick in their oar when asked.

The Spire's Effect on Psionics

Optional rules to simulate the draining effect of proximity to the Spire on psionic abilities.

Further Questions

How can you see Sigil if the Spire's infinitely tall? What happens if you jump off the Cage?
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Copyright 1998 by Jon Winter and respective authors,
art by Jeremiah Golden and Zak Arntson

Consult the Mimir Again