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Planar Renovation Project: Arcadia

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Center of All's picture
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Planar Renovation Project: Arcadia

Copied from my post in Tequila Sunrise's thread

Concept: Law and order for the benefit of the people.

Arcadia is law tempered by goodness, so it's not necessarily the Harmonium philosophy of "good for everyone." 

When my friend and I talked about this, we envisioned Arcadia as sort of "anti-Acheron," a land of magnificent kingdoms, each running under their own benevolent codes of law.  The kingdoms fought and wrangled politically, but the fighting was always noble and dignified and followed the rules of war.  Political wrangling happened, but it was neither vicious nor brutal and always stayed close to the law.  Chivalry was held in extremely high esteem and fighting for one's nation, one's king, one's people or even the plane itself was considered the greatest deed achievable on the battlefield.  It became a place where philosophers from all nations debated what laws were best for their societies and for other societies, too.  It was society first, certainly, but it was different views of what "society first" meant, and all with goodness at heart.  Treaties are made, remade, broken, and established once more as the kingdoms and nations constantly shift.  People that flaunt the law are expected to face punishment -- not out of spite but because these realms are all founded on the basis of law and they believe that benevolent order -- in whatever flavor -- is the most "good" thing that a person can have.

Of course, "the most good for society" is hotly debated today in the real world, so you can see where a good source of conflict comes from.  Some leaders might be more strict than others and while none are cruel (save that for Acheron and Baator), very few nations agree 100% on what it means to govern in a way that is in the people's best interests.  One nation might be fascist, another might be communist.  One kingdom could be socialist while another is capitalist.  One nation could have a hereditary petitioner monarchy that goes back generations while another nation is ruled by an elected Senate.  It allows room for all flavors and national styles and each one should have representation.  It allows both hot and cold wars.  It also opens up a bit more for planar adventures within Arcadia as PCs could get caught up in a war between two Arcadian realms.

Despite the differences, though, it's important to remember that the Arcadians are good people.  Rulers are generally LG, and they are LN at worst.  The plane's nature makes it impossible or extremely difficult for an evil creature to rise to prominent power similar to how Elysium naturally inhibits evil creatures trying to travel through it.  Perhaps Arcadian petitioners have a way of detecting falsehoods and deception that evil creatures perpetrate.  Regardless, the leaders are good folk and when evil strikes, the kingdoms are more than capable of uniting and standing as a solid front against the fiendish incursions.  This opens up ideas, too, for a war between Arcadia and Acheron.  Nothing so prolific as the Blood War, but you have two heavily militaristic planes standing a (figurative) hop, skip, and jump from each other.  On the occasions that an army on either plane can break off from its internal struggles long enough to look outward, I think they'd see each other as the next target.  Arcadians would see Acheronians as cruel tyrants who use the law to oppress their people instead of protect them (and they'd be mostly right), while Acheronians see Arcadians as weak, simpering pansies too hindered by their own laws to become the fighting force they could be.

Arcadia is not pure LG.  It's slightly more lawful than good.  Ultimately, my intent is to create an Arcadia that's defined as "Law for the benefit of the people."  Mechanus would be "Law for Law's sake."  Acheron would be "Law for control of the people."  In my Arcadia, the laws governing kingdoms would be more flexible than Mechanus's or Acheron's because the Arcadian laws are designed to help the people flourish, not oppress them.  Like I said above, the exact flavor of various Arcadian rulers would vary from realm to realm.  One realm might have a benevolent dictatorship while another realm will have an absolute democracy.  Ultimately, I think Arcadian rulers would have the willingness to change their rules if it turns out a law is definitively better or worse for the people they rule.

I place emphasis on generally virtuous rulers, but not absolute virtue.  To me, Celestia represents the "Seven Virtues" concept while Arcadia is a study in benevolent structure.

In any case, while that idea introduces conflict, to a plane I feel is otherwise one of the duller ones, I think it may fall a bit short of being "planar."  Warring kingdoms is nothing new and is quite a common feature on Primes.  The fact that the Arcadian kingdoms are universally good and have their own interests as well as their opponents' interests in mind (no burning/pillaging/sacking occurs on Arcadia, for example) may not be enough to define it as a "planar" world.  Establishing conflict with Acheron helps (reinforces benevolent law and warfare vs. tyrannical law and warfare), but would those two things really set this idea of Arcadia apart from a "vanilla medieval Prime?"

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What I was saying is that

What I was saying is that emigration/inmigration should be a conflict source in the "life is good" planes, ;P. I don't know, if I have problems where I live, I'd try to go to those "perfect" places and stablish there, on Courage or wathever. But Arcadia doesn't welcome everyone, so I think there is strugle between their Lawfulness and their Goodness. Should an outcast ask for asylum in Arcadia? If not accepted, would it cause reaction against Arcadia? If accepted, I'm sure that planars living there with their not pure souls would cause problems. In my opinion people in Arcadia is stubborn and proud, fanatics in their way. Otherwise, a lot of people would like to go to live there.

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I disagree with you

I disagree with you there.  The Outer Planes represent overarching themes and beliefs.  Immigration/emigration issues are a small aspect of various beliefs, but don't have enough weight to create an entire Outer Plane.  I don't believe immigration concerns alone are enough to make a fully defining intraplanar conflict.  In the grand scheme of Planescape, I think immigration as we know it in the modern world is really not a major concern.

Whatever issues the Outer Planes might have with immigration are generally solved by the planes' natures.  The Outer Planes each represent different attitudes and outlooks.  When people choose to reside on a certain plane, they're more likely to choose a plane that's comfortable.  Most people that do not follow Arcadia's inherent philosophy won't go there volulntarily simply because they find the plane's very nature uncomfortable at best and untenable at worst.  Most folks in Arcadia that are inclined against the plane's nature are either there in the short-term (planewalkers and adventurers), are there because their god's realm is there (not all that give homage to Clangeddin are going to be Lawful Good), or were forced there (Harmonium "retraining" camps).  A Chaotic Good "outcast" probably wouldn't find Arcadia any more of a pleasant home than whatever realm he was cast out of -- unless he's willing to conform.

On my Arcadia, immigration would be handled differently from realm to realm, kingdom to kingdom.  Since each kingdom represents a different method of governing for the people, each would have different ways of dealing with outsiders wanting to come inside.  Some might welcome outsiders with little restriction, others would have lots of red tape.  Still, the way each kingdom handles immigration is not what defines the kingdom's Lawful-with-a-bit-of-Good governing philosophy.  

Consider too that the bulk of the Arcadian domains' population will be petitioners.  After dying in life, an Arcadian petitioner will arrive at and become a citizen of whichever nation most closely matches his own desires in government.  Those planar mortals that dwell in these domains usually live there either choice or because they always have.  If they are immigrants, then presumably they've passed whatever requirements their nation of choice has for immigrants.  If they haven't, then they risk the punishment encoded in that realm's own law system.

It's important to remember that even Arcadians aren't perfect, however much they think they are.  If they were perfect, my Arcadia would have one universal law system that governs the whole plane -- and that makes for a boring plane.  Also, if there was one perfect governing system that really did universally benefit the people, then there wouldn't be so many different ways to govern.  Basically, the Arcadians all agree on one point: Law should be used for the benefit of people and nation.  It should never be used to oppress and it should never be used strictly for personal gain -- that's what the Acheronians and Baatorians respectively do.  How you use law for people and country...well, different people will give you different answers.

Crime does exist on Arcadia.  If it didn't, there'd be no need for the law.  Disputes arise, some people (mortals moreso than petitioners) become discontent, and sometimes an interloper breaks the rules. Someone from one nation on a visit to another might unwittingly do something illegal in his current location that's perfectly okay back home.  Or someone might really be trying to strike a rebellion because he believes his system of law is better than the current regime's.  Even when there's a benevolent system in place, and even when the plane is inclined toward goodness, people are people and sometimes people break the rules.  So each country has its own punitive code on how to handle criminals.  Some might be more strict than others, though on Arcadia, none are cruel.  Executions, if deemed necessary, are usually swift and painless and other punishments are as close to fitting the crime as the nation's code allows.

Of course, this doesn't prevent canny Guvners and other sorts from working the system -- something many Arcadian leaders and philosophers would probably spend years debating how to handle.  Remember that to the Arcadians in my rendition, working the law for personal benefit is frowned on.  The law exists to protect, aid, and serve the whole people, not just you.

I've got a site for this version of Arcadia that I'll write up a little later.  Hopefully it'll help portray a bit more flavor of my ideas of the plane.

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What about issues arising

What about issues arising from folks on Arcadia purposefully going to other planes and trying to steal away bits for the "benefit" of that plane's petitioners?  I could see a bunch of zealots (who focus a bit too much on law and not so much on the good) going forth to do just that, and a potential source of conflict comes from the petitioners who are stolen away in this manner.  Likewise, how do the other groups on Arcadia feel about this one group forcibly abducting sections of other planes?

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I'd say that depends again

I'd say that depends again on a case-by-case basis with each nation.  It would also depend on the petitioner-to-living population ratio in a given realm.  I certainly agree and if we start doing individual realm write-ups, then we can certainly determine which realms attempt to forcibly absorb outsiders into the fold and which ones oppose this practice.  Those nations that lean less adamantly lawful will probably eschew or abhor the idea, while those that have more Harmonium-like mindsets would attempt reconditioning.

If people have realm/nation ideas for this version of Arcadia, I'm certainly open to seeing what you can come up with.  If the interest seems relatively consistent, I might petition Clueless to give us a Section, or I might run some kind of "contest" to get entries for realms, sites, and domains for renovated planes.

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Was thinking about this

Was thinking about this today.  Arcadia holds to Law moreso than Good.  The roads are all laid out in straight lines.  City streets are orderly and precise.  Farm fields are the same way.  Probably the trees on the plane are kept so that they're all perfectly shaped spheres.  Nothing is out of place.  Civil engineers methodically plot out expansions for the cities, new roads and canals, just about everything.  A common sight on Arcadia might be ubiquitous survey crews and work gangs.  A plane-wide census is taken every 90 days (just an arbitrary number; could be anything) to figure out how many new petitioners there are and expansions are planned out based on those numbers.  Adventurers in Arcadia are frowned upon as they upset their count, and lead to extra houses/roads/whatever being built.

I'd also imagine that somewhere on the plane would be the offices of the Chinese pantheonic bureaucracy.  A place where a cutter could go to find out the dark on just about anybody (or at least they might, if they could work their way through the red tape).  Heck, I could see an entire layer being devoted to just the bureaurcratic upkeep of the multiverse (there are a lot of folks out there), with the occasional good act on the part of the clerks to keep the layer from slipping into Mechanus.  Imagine going to one layer of Arcadia and finding it filled with nothing but long halls of records, individual offices of the various clerks and civil servants, waiting rooms, meeting rooms, etc.  With this change, I see Arcadia being key to keeping the gears of planar society oiled and orderly, as opposed to Mechanus, which keeps the multiverse itself in order.  

I'll keep tossing ideas out as they come to me.  If any headway is going to be made in renovating the idea behind the different planes, then we're really going to need to think different and Planar.  Somebody used the word Wonderland to describe how the Planes should feel.  It think it's quite apt.

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Ooh!  A stray thought!

Ooh!  A stray thought! Going with my idea of one layer being devoted to offices and such, you could totally have scene wherein there's a Tanar'ri waiting outside an office door doing it's very best to relax and it's being guarded by two very anxious looking celestials.  Normally, the demon would've been killed outright but his paperwork checks out.

Possibly there's a bureaucratic center, wherein requests for an audience are sent out to different people/creatures/entities across the planes.  Upon going to this location, one encounters an entire cross-section of the populace of the Great Wheel, all being audited (or worse).  Imagine being an adventurer tooling around in Sigil and having a courier deliver a message requesting their presence in Arcadia to help clear up a clerical error.

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Quote:Was thinking about

Quote:
Was thinking about this today.  Arcadia holds to Law moreso than Good.  The roads are all laid out in straight lines.  City streets are orderly and precise.  Farm fields are the same way.  Probably the trees on the plane are kept so that they're all perfectly shaped spheres.  Nothing is out of place.  Civil engineers methodically plot out expansions for the cities, new roads and canals, just about everything.  A common sight on Arcadia might be ubiquitous survey crews and work gangs.  A plane-wide census is taken every 90 days (just an arbitrary number; could be anything) to figure out how many new petitioners there are and expansions are planned out based on those numbers.  Adventurers in Arcadia are frowned upon as they upset their count, and lead to extra houses/roads/whatever being built.

I want to preface any arguments I make by saying that I like many of your ideas.  So I hope I don't come across as discouraging or harsh when I critique some of your concepts and points. :)  If anything, I am trying to spur argument and get a clearer understanding of your views through explaining my own.

I think it's important to keep in mind that while Arcadia is more toward Law than Good, it is still more Good than Mechanus.  It is an extremely lawful Upper Plane but it is still an Upper Plane, so I feel it should maintain very distinct features that reflect "goodness."  So to me, it speaks more of all-for-the-community and the community-for-all.  I'm not necessarily communism or fascism, or even socialism, though these ideas can certainly exist on Arcadia.  Rather, I'm looking at it as "the benevolent order" to contrast the dispassionate structures of Mechanus and the tyrannical structures in Acheron.  Remember, the Harmonium has its base on Arcadia because the plane neatly reflects its ideals of governing for the good of the people.  Thus, I feel like the bureaucratic system as you portray it belongs in Mechanus or Automata. 

That being said, I agree that Arcadia should be heavy on the bureaucracy.  I think folks dealing with Arcadia should have to handle the red tape.  However, I think the "benevolent" aspect needs to be emphasized when dealing with Arcadia.  Compare to Rigus, Acheron's gate-town.  Rigus is full of red tape and bureaucracy, too, but it's not the benevolent sort.  Much of the Rigus bureaucracy revolves around a merciless caste system enforced by tyrannical rule, military or otherwise, depending on who's in charge.  Arcadia and its gate town should stand as contrast to that tyranny and show that law and bureaucracy can indeed be good things.  Law for law's sake and bureaucracy for bureaucracy's sake belongs on Mechanus, not Arcadia.  However, bureaucracy is bureaucracy and there will be lots of rules and laws that need to be dealt with in any system, even a benevolent one.  The idea of a tremendous realm or layer full of offices and filing shelves certainly has an appeal!

On the other hand, I don't think it's fair to the Multiverse in general to put Arcadia as the "key to keeping planar society oiled and orderly."  First, there is no actual evidence that Mechanus does power the entire Multiverse.  It's certainly rumored but in a Multiverse built as much on planes-spanning conflicts (Mechanus vs. Limbo being one of many) as much as anything, saying that one single plane powers it all is pretty tough to justify -- especially when there's so much that diametrically opposes Mechanus. 

Secondly, I don't think there is "a" planar society that we can justifiably make Arcadia "the" bureaucracy of.  That smacks a little too much of "the Harmonium wins, everyone can go home now" to me.  Each of the planes in the Multiverse represents an ideal and many of these ideals conflict, often very starkly.  As a result, we cannot actually put something down as "the" place for the whole multiverse unless we are talking in pure absolutes.  For example, we can say that Mechanus is the plane of law.  There are 5-7 (depending on which ones you count) other planes that are law-influenced, but Mechanus is the plane where law exists as an absolute.  We cannot, however, say that Mechanus is the law for the entire Multiverse.  An Arborean or an Abyssal would disagree vocally (or violently).  You also have other places all over the Multiverse with their own bureaucracies that make it virtually impossible for Arcadia to be "the" bureaucracy.  The yugoloths and the baatezu both have their own systems laid out, just to name a few.  Even within Mechanus, the law differs depending on what you look at (modrons as clockwork, indifferent, self-absorbed law vs. formians as methodical, expansionist law, vs. even Guvners as law to be studied). 

This does provide a nice segue for me to go into a bit of explanation of how I developed my ideas.  For the sake of the Multiverse, we have to assume a certain definition of the word "good."  That definition isn't good as in competent or good as in enjoyable.  It is good in the moral sense: virtuous and benevolent.  All planes "goodward" of the law-chaos axis should reflect this "goodness" in some form, and it should be a major theme of the plane, no matter how close to that axis it is.  Even Acheron and Pandemonium are significantly more "evil" than Mechanus or Limbo. Thus, even "borderline" planes like Arcadia and Ysgard should strongly reflect the fact that they are good planes even if they're closer to the law-chaos axis than others.

Now, Acheron and Rigus in canon already reflect an ideal of harsh, tyrannical law and bureaucracy.  Mechanus and Automata represent absolute law without regard for morality or deviousness.  The law simply is.  It makes sense to me, then, to have Arcadia be the bastion of benevolent law, of law for the "good" to stand against law for "evil."  Why not Celestia?  Because Celestia seems to speak more of virtue and honor than actual law, government and order.  So, if Arcadia stands as the "good" analog of Acheron and Mechanus, it brings up a very important question:

Assuming the planar definition of "good," what is "good" government?

Ask anyone in the real world and you'll get a different answer each time.  Why?  Because there simply is no consensus on what the most benevolent type of government is.  One person will tell you he believes capitalism and democracy is the best.  Another will say socialism or communism is the most benevolent structure.  It all depends on each person's individual beliefs.  And that is the key.  The Outer Planes are all shaped by belief.  Thus, if Arcadia represents benevolent law, it should possess elements of all different ideas of what "good" law is.  That is where I derived the idea of different "nations" from.  And though it's admittedly not all that different from a Prime world, consider that the two biggest things that separate Acheron from a prime world are that wars are fought on giant metal cubes and are usually fought by goblinkin and the like. 

And that, I think, is the most important aspect of how the Planar Renovation Project should go.  Belief is the ultimate foundation of the entire Great Wheel.  Can we boil each plane's internal conflict down to a simple question of belief?  If so, I think we can create planar ideas that are much more interesting and build planes that have more adventuring appeal.  That, to me, is more "thinking planar" than coming up with fantastic sites.  The fantastic sites can come later, once the question of belief is determined. 

I'd also like to mention that I wasn't really intending to do a major facelift on the planes with the PRP.  Initially, my intent was to keep each plane familiar enough that anyone will recognize it, but change key aspects to create a newer and more exciting place that's more attractive to DMs to run adventures in.  That's why it's renovation, not reconstruction.  It's like leaving the house intact, but putting in new counters, cabinets, and flooring.  That being said, I'm definitely not opposed to the idea of adding layers (would prefer not to subtract if it can be avoided) to convey a plane's point better.

In light of the above, I think many of your concepts have merit, though the overarching theme you present would probably be better-suited to Mechanus.  The "office building from hell" idea definitely has a place in the Multiverse, though again, I might stress Mechanus for it.  Or a planar path with links to Arcadia.  The Chinese Celestial Bureaucracy certainly has a place in Arcadia.  I believe they exist elsewhere in canon, but I don't see a problem with moving them to a more conveneint location.  I know they visted the Bureaucracy in Finder's Bane and I think it was on the Outlands, but I can't be completely sure.  I also like the idea of a fiend getting in because he has proper paperwork.  It lends a good image to the idea that you can get in and through the system if everything checks out.  There will definitely be officials that work to keep the cities built "according to code," if you will.  Natural phenomena like trees and so on, I think would grow in neat rows and blocks on their own simply because of the plane's influence. 

Time for me to head out for a bit, but I'll come and revisit this later Smiling

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Don't worry too much about

Don't worry too much about the criticisms.  They're mostly par for the course when it comes to these kinds of conversations Smile (and they were legitimate criticisms too, rather than just saying "Eh...I don't like that" and leaving it at that).  I'm gonna keep tossing out ideas though, so don't expect them to be extraordinarily well thought out.  I don't particularly care if they're torn to shreds, I just want to generate ideas and see if they head anywhere interesting.

 Ok, putting aside the bureaucracy stuff for the time being (I do want to explore the concept further because I think there's quite a bit more meat there still), what are we looking at as far as Arcadia goes?  Prime philosophers create new and idealized forms of society and government all the time.  Arcadia is the Plane where those thoughts are made manifest.  The merits of each and every one are tested out against each other all across the plane.

Hmmm...The two layers have mostly the same feel and look by all the descriptions I've read.  One's more pastoral, the other is more militaristically inclined.  Sadly, I don't have access to the Planes of Law, so I don't know if the third layer is canonical to 2nd Ed. or if it was an invention of 3e (it seems to be the latter). 

I see Abellio as being peaceful, organized and well kept.  This is the layer that shows the inherent goodness of each kind of social arrangements.  Philosopher-Kings justly ruling over their lands, Athenian-styled democracies that work seamlessly.  That sort of thing.  War never sees this place.  Conflicts between kingdoms are handled with lavish gifts, diplomacy and good economic relationships.

Buxenus, on the other hand, delves into idealized warfare.  Towns are captured against the Enemy.  It could be that the plane itself manifests an idealized enemy to war against (in the same kind of way that trees and other plants grow perfectly), rather than pit society against society.  Or maybe instead, gates from Acheron open up from time to time and invading armies of goblins or orcs enter.  (Hmm...that might be a bit much)

This second layer could possibly be filled with countless ruins from past conquests.  Or maybe instead, as an area is conquered, teams of engineers go in and rebuild.  As an area is rebuilt, it's pulled into the first layer and becomes a part of the conquering kingdom's realm.  This would require a sort of dual-presence on each layer for each kingdom.  One for the kingdoms themselves (safe homelands), and another for the kingdom's armies (wherein one could send news back home from the front lines). 

How about this: Occasionally, sections of kingdoms on the first layer find themselves on the second layer.  The reason for the shift is that the ideals symbolized by the inhabitents are found to be wanting or weak, and the shift is made to test the convictions of their believers.  Maybe the whole of Buxenus is filled with the "also rans" of the multiverse, societies that didn't quite make it, but are being given a chance to prove themselves on the field of honorable battle.  Those societies that find coherence and manage some sort of field negotiations with a conquering army find themselves being given their own lands on the first layer.

I think having a strong interplay between territories on both layers could lend itself to a very interesting dynamic for the plane.

Ok, I think I'm tapped out for the time being.  Hope this sparks something!

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Wicke wrote:Ok, putting

"Wicke" wrote:
Ok, putting aside the bureaucracy stuff for the time being (I do want to explore the concept further because I think there's quite a bit more meat there still), what are we looking at as far as Arcadia goes?  Prime philosophers create new and idealized forms of society and government all the time.  Arcadia is the Plane where those thoughts are made manifest.  The merits of each and every one are tested out against each other all across the plane.
 

Agreed on the bureaucracy.  I think it's definitely worth revisiting once we get the plane's new basics down.  And yes, that sums up pretty nicely how I see Arcadia working.

I do have Planes of Law, but I can't read it right now so I'll re-read its Arcadia section when I can and get back with my thoughts on what sites/realms should definitely stay and what we might stand to live without. 

Your ideas for the differences between the two layers are excellent.  I'd been trying to devise a way to differentiate the two layers, but I think one layer devoted to different "utopias" and another devoted to noble warfare is an excellent way to separate the two. 

A part of me wants to switch the layers and make Abellio the war layer and Buxenos the peace layer.  This is because I like the idea of Arcadia being in a small off-and-on war with Acheron, which to Arcadians represents an abuse of law's might.  On the other hand, Arcadia is a good plane, so walking into the middle of a battlefield on Abellio may not be a very good depiction of the "goodness." 

The fluidity is good, too.  I might take it a step further and say that the diplomatic relations extend not only between nations on Abellio, but also between Abellio and Buxenos.  A nation on Buxenos might look to someone on Abellio to arrange diplomatic relations with a potential war ally or supply ally and so on.  An Abellio community could send an envoy into Buxenos to request permission to excavate a ruin or somehow be involved with the warfare as advisors or somesuch.

Definitely liking this new stuff.  I'll posit some more of my own thoughts in addition a bit later.

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I fanagled my hands onto a

I fanagled my hands onto a copy of the Planes of Law set (temporarily).  Woot!  After reading through the Arcadia book, I can't say I'm all that impressed with the description of the place, which borders on the fanatic, xenophobic and seems a bit too severe overall.  And I'm not overly fond of the "Harmonium accidentally shifts the third layer of Arcadia into Mechanus" plot as it also seems a bit heavyhanded and blunt.  I like the direction we're going currently much more.

Center of All wrote:
On the other hand, Arcadia is a good plane, so walking into the middle of a battlefield on Abellio may not be a very good depiction of the "goodness."

Oh, I don't know.  The idea of arriving in Arcadia in the middle of a pitched battle between two warring kingdoms could be interesting, especially if, upon entering, both sides immediatly stopped fighting and cordially escorted the uninvolved off the field before picking the battle back up.  I think it would reflect quite well on the nature of the plane.  Of course, all bets would be off if there was an attack came from Acheron (or elsewhere).  Anyway...

Ok, I'm going going with the idea of Arcadia being based on the historical Arcadia (which, as I understand it, was kind of a refuge), switching Abellio and Buxenos around might make some sense.  The entrance to Arcadia is hilly and hard to traverse, and it's filled with soldiers whose duties include fighting against incursions from other Planes and honorably testing themselves against other nations.  As the place is supposed to be one of safety and peace (at least at the heart of it), having the entrace guarded to prevent unwanted intrusions makes a great deal of sense.  Abellio would then become the peaceful refuge it's supposed to be, protected from the outside and it's own relative remoteness.  I'm not sure what Nemausus was suppose be that would've put it even deeper inside the "refuge".  Really, it could be turned into anything that's lacking on the other two layers (or scrapped altogether as it seems mostly to be yet another means of showing how bad the Harmonium is).

 Stray thought (and going with the idea of Abellio being the second layer): Maybe, in an effort to maintain the peace on the inner layer, groups of more than 10 individuals who find themselves in a fight of any sort find themselves shunted back out to the first layer as a matter of Arcadian Planar law.  Thus, groups of 10 Einheriar act in a police-type capacity and if it looks like some berk is going to be trouble, they forcibly restrain him and either escort him out peacefully, or they're shunted out, quite possibly into a military camp full of bloods who wouldn't be all too pleased that somebody's trying to cause trouble in their corner of perfection.  There would be ways around this for actual invasions, but it could make for some interesting situations on a smaller scale.

 Again, I'll put up more as it occurs to me.

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Wicke wrote:   Center of

Wicke wrote:

 

Center of All wrote:
On the other hand, Arcadia is a good plane, so walking into the middle of a battlefield on Abellio may not be a very good depiction of the "goodness."

Oh, I don't know.  The idea of arriving in Arcadia in the middle of a pitched battle between two warring kingdoms could be interesting, especially if, upon entering, both sides immediatly stopped fighting and cordially escorted the uninvolved off the field before picking the battle back up.  I think it would reflect quite well on the nature of the plane.  Of course, all bets would be off if there was an attack came from Acheron (or elsewhere).  Anyway...

This reminds me of how combat within the Society for Creative Anachronism works. Basically, people fight, but then stop to clear the wounded and "dead" off the field periodically. So the wars within Arcadia could be fought similarly, with (normally) non-lethal rules of engagement.

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BlackDaggr wrote:This

BlackDaggr wrote:
This reminds me of how combat within the Society for Creative Anachronism works. Basically, people fight, but then stop to clear the wounded and "dead" off the field periodically. So the wars within Arcadia could be fought similarly, with (normally) non-lethal rules of engagement.

Yeah, I like that.  Taking frequent breaks from the combat to take away the deadand wounded.  It could also be that, in the spirit of fairness, a third party to the two combatants might be the ones to take folks away. 

In terms of petitioners fighting petitioners, I wonder if there'd be much concern over lethality.  Killed combatants would either be born again on the plane or join with it.  I doubt there'd be anything resembling Final Death for the people fighting.  I also imagine that two warring kingdoms would take great pains to avoid drawing in people not involved in the fighting. However just a war between two different ideologies might be, pulling in innocents to the battle would be dishonorable and to be avoided.

Other thoughts:  It's already in canon that the dwarves of Mount Clangeddin occasionally march forth out of Arcadia and into Acheron (and elsewhere).  I have this vision of seeing a miles-long stretch of dwarves geared up for battle marching in unison, chanting battle chants, out of the heart of their mountain and into to the first layer of whichever lower plane they have their sights set on (usually Acheron).  I then imagine that, when they arrive, the dwarves are occasionally so filled with their conviction and sense of righteousness against evil, that the location they're fighting in actually shifts back to Arcadia.  Chant has it the dwarves actually shifted an entire cube one time.

 I imagine that similar shifts occur when different sects of paladins do similar ventures into the planes.  There's a description in the Planes of Conflict that tells of a group of paladins in the Gray Waste performing concecration rites on a location in an effort to grab some territory away from the place, so this is wholly within the realm of possibility.

The upshot of this is that the first layer of Arcadia would be this place that's kinda littered with a scattershot picture of landscapes and archeitecture from across the planes.  Not a *ton* of places, but there's the potential for some interesting adventures sites.  And maybe control over the rights to converting the different sites could be a reason why the kingdoms in Buxenus fight. (I also have this image in my mind of the Harmonium being in control of a converted profane temple from the Abyss. A shining beacon to the righteousness of the faction.)

Also, it means that one might encounter the occasional gang of goblins or orcs in Buxenus, escapees from a fight that obviously went really bad.  A number of them have probably been influenced by the nature of Arcadia and have settled down into somewhat normalized societies, but there are probably still bands of renegades in hiding and trying to figure out a way to get back to their home plane.

Hehe...this is what I think about while I'm at work during the day.

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Wicke wrote: The upshot of

Wicke wrote:

The upshot of this is that the first layer of Arcadia would be this place that's kinda littered with a scattershot picture of landscapes and archeitecture from across the planes.  Not a *ton* of places, but there's the potential for some interesting adventures sites.  And maybe control over the rights to converting the different sites could be a reason why the kingdoms in Buxenus fight. (I also have this image in my mind of the Harmonium being in control of a converted profane temple from the Abyss. A shining beacon to the righteousness of the faction.)

Also, it means that one might encounter the occasional gang of goblins or orcs in Buxenus, escapees from a fight that obviously went really bad.  A number of them have probably been influenced by the nature of Arcadia and have settled down into somewhat normalized societies, but there are probably still bands of renegades in hiding and trying to figure out a way to get back to their home plane.

Hehe...this is what I think about while I'm at work during the day.

 

I like the idea that the inhabitants have had notable successes in converting pieces of other planes. The ex-abyssal temple is a great touch. This idea could really lend itself to characterizing Arcadia. Organized good can sucessfully conquer and convert lower planar areas to a better place. The Arcadians see themselves as the 'front-line defenders' against the evil planes, giving another reason for militarism. At the same time, some elements of the Harmonium have let their successes go to their heads, and think they can convert everything - thus leading to their current bad reputation. Furthermore, the loss of Arcadia's 3rd layer becomes an even bigger failure

 

There was a branch of orcs in one of the 2nd ed montrous appendices, called Undonti (or something like that) who were good-aligned, and lived a pastoral life. These might make great additions to Arcadia as petitioners.

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[quote=BlackDaggr]I like the

BlackDaggr wrote:
I like the idea that the inhabitants have had notable successes in converting pieces of other planes. The ex-abyssal temple is a great touch. This idea could really lend itself to characterizing Arcadia. Organized good can sucessfully conquer and convert lower planar areas to a better place. The Arcadians see themselves as the 'front-line defenders' against the evil planes, giving another reason for militarism. At the same time, some elements of the Harmonium have let their successes go to their heads, and think they can convert everything - thus leading to their current bad reputation. Furthermore, the loss of Arcadia's 3rd layer becomes an even bigger failure

I like the idea of drawing a line between locations shifted back to Arcadia as an unintended consequence of a righteous war (or something similar) and locations that were purposefully wrenched away (such as any plans the Harmonium might develop to start wholesale claiming of lands outside of Arcadia).  One is a natural consequence of how the Planes operate.  The other is more like a slap in the face of the Powers of the Lower Planes (or any of the other planes for that matter).  The dwarves marching off to Acheron aren't doing it to claim land, they're doing it because the place is filled with evil and they need to fight against it.  That their convictions are so strong while they're fighting that chunks of the plane blip back to Arcadia is mostly beside the point, as I see them just up and marching back to their mountain home after the battle is finished, leaving whatever they captured whereever it ended up.

I'm really starting to think of Arcadia as being the Plane of Righteousness.  Out of all the Upper Planes, I see the folks of Arcadia as being the most likely to be mobilized against the various Lower Planes.  Tthe other planes probably have their own organized efforts, but nowhere to the scale or degree of the armies of Arcadia (they don't just have the same degree of conviction).  And it could be that, as a result of the Blood War, these strikes are becoming more frequent. That just leads to the question of, what happens if too many armies are out there fighting the good fight against Evil? Might Arcadia be left defenseless?  *ponders thoughtfully*

 

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Wow, haha, I disappear for

Wow, haha, I disappear for a day or two and come back to quite a bit of discussion!  Let me go back through and touch on some of the main points of the discussion.

Nonlethal or Benevolent Battles -- What about something akin to Ysgard, where the dead come back to life to fight again?   I'm not really envisioning much "play-fighting" among the Arcadians.  It's probably very serious stuff, but something about the plane might keep Arcadians killed by Arcadians from dying permanently.

Planar Site Conversions --  I think these should be rare because it is extremely difficult to convert a section of one plane into a part of another.  It's actually funny you guys mention an Abyssal temple.  In canon (will find the reference as soon as I can), there's a layer of the Abyss that the tanar'ri regularly allow paladins and other good sorts to conquer it.  Then, the Abyss's own nature latches its claws into the good forces.  The evil plane perverts whatever righteous intentions the paladins have and drags them down into a complete fall.  So while there can be a few sites, I think this should be something extremely rare, even for Arcadia.  On the other hand, I'd agree that the loss of the third layer to Mechanus would be a serious slap in the face to Arcadia.  I think, if anything, it'd make them reconsider how lawful they are compared to good.

Arcadia as "Plane of Righteousness" --  I'd gravitate away from this idea.  I think it cuts into Celestia too much.  Celestia is the native planes of archons and nobody in the Multiverse does "righteousness" like the archons.  Simply put, if we make Arcadia too much of a crusading plane, then Celestia loses its importance.  I think we should focus on the governmental aspects for Arcadia and make Celestia the main staging ground for good incursions into the Lower Planes beyond Acheron (and possibly Baator).  Celestial has the paladins, the archons, the Order of Planes-Militant, the ideas of goodness and honor and fighting against evil.  Arcadia focuses more on pure law. I think Arcadia as a rule (Clangeddin notwithstanding) should be more introverted and concerned with trying to define the most "correct" and "good" way to govern than crusading to overcome all evil.  Leave the crusades to the archons.

The War with Acheron -- I think this is a worthwhile concept to keep, but I think it should be focused more on differences in lawfulness (good law vs. evil law) than strictly good vs. evil.  Arcadian, as a rule, despises tyranny and abhors despotism.  Likely, Arcadia hates slavery, stands against pointless forced servitude, and is angered by conquest for conquest's sake.  In other words, Acheron's (and its gate town Rigus) existence idealizes everything Arcadia despises in a system of law.  So I think Acheron should be the focus of Arcadia's outward-reaching war.  To Arcadia, Acheron abuses its authority and unfairly oppresses its people.  Arcadia would seek to liberate the people of Acheron from their oppressors and bring them under safer, "fairer" rule.  The war could be extended into Baator, but I think Acheron would remain the primary focus, both because of its proximity and because it fits as a very nice balance to Arcadia.

All of this said, I think we're pretty close to getting a solid foundation for a newer and more interesting Arcadia.  Over the next while, I'll start compiling these ideas into a sort of report that I can submit as an article for the front page.  Then, I'll bug Clueless about possibly getting a section for this and we can a) start talking specific sites; and/or b) move on to another plane.

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Expect me to keep tossing

Expect me to keep tossing out every neat idea that crosses my mind and don't be afraid to rein me in if I start going too far afield.  I really want these Planes to come alive. Laughing out loud

Center of All wrote:
Nonlethal or Benevolent Battles -- What about something akin to Ysgard, where the dead come back to life to fight again?   I'm not really envisioning much "play-fighting" among the Arcadians.  It's probably very serious stuff, but something about the plane might keep Arcadians killed by Arcadians from dying permanently.

Didn't mean to imply that the Arcadians were play fighting.  Whatever point the dispute is over is deadly serious to both sides.  Just that, I'd expect that they'd be very aware of not drawing innocents into their disputes as refugees tend to cause a lot of chaos in their wake.

In any case, I really see the wars only being fought on one of the layers.  Wars are far too chaotic and disruptive to subject the deeper/higher layers of Arcadia to.  So, I'm quite keen on the idea of flipping around Abellio and Buxenus.

Quote:
Planar Site Conversions --  I think these should be rare because it is extremely difficult to convert a section of one plane into a part of another. It's actually funny you guys mention an Abyssal temple.  In canon (will find the reference as soon as I can), there's a layer of the Abyss that the tanar'ri regularly allow paladins and other good sorts to conquer it.  Then, the Abyss's own nature latches its claws into the good forces.  The evil plane perverts whatever righteous intentions the paladins have and drags them down into a complete fall.  So while there can be a few sites, I think this should be something extremely rare, even for Arcadia.  On the other hand, I'd agree that the loss of the third layer to Mechanus would be a serious slap in the face to Arcadia.  I think, if anything, it'd make them reconsider how lawful they are compared to good.

Hehe...yeah, I kinda figured that was the case.

Maybe there's a specific site that both Arcadia and Acheron both claim as their own, and that there have been many long and bloody wars fought over it.  Heck, maybe Mechanus also claims the site and sometimes you have three way battles for control, with the place sliding between the three Planes during the course of even just one battle.  Modrons vs. Arcadian Dwarves vs. the Goblin Hordes of Acheron. 

I do like the idea of there actually being a whole cube from Acheron somewhere in Arcadia. Maybe not a big one, but it's there all the same.  Anyway, we can flesh out these ideas later.

Re: the third plane.  I think I'd be more comfortable with the whole concept if I had a better sense of how the place fit into the whole of Arcadia.  Right now, it feels...I don't know.  Unpopulated and kinda tacked on.  The only thing that's really known about it is that it reflects the pastoral nature of Arcadia, that it's currently residing in Mechanus and the Harmonium is trying to get it back.  It could be that I'm just forgetting something somewhere that talks about this in greater detail.  As it stands though, I'm uncomfortable with it.

Quote:
Arcadia as "Plane of Righteousness" --  I'd gravitate away from this idea. ... I think Arcadia as a rule (Clangeddin notwithstanding) should be more introverted and concerned with trying to define the most "correct" and "good" way to govern than crusading to overcome all evil.  Leave the crusades to the archons.

Fair point.  Right now, I'm trying out all sorts of ideas when it comes to envisioning Arcadia and trying to get a sense of it's character. I'll hit on the right frame of mind eventually!  Laughing out loud

Quote:
The War with Acheron -- I think this is a worthwhile concept to keep, but I think it should be focused more on differences in lawfulness (good law vs. evil law) than strictly good vs. evil. ... The war could be extended into Baator, but I think Acheron would remain the primary focus, both because of its proximity and because it fits as a very nice balance to Arcadia.

Hmm...thinking on it, I could see a whole "Cold War" going on between the two planes.  The conflict itself could be a war of ideas that occasionally heats up into open conflict.

It might be that there are a number of petitioners from both planes acting as subversives and spies in the other plane.  They could be freeing (or abducting) petitioners, or putting effort into swaying the minds of the communities they belong to. Likewise, there could be an underground railroad of sorts, which funnels slaves and others from the opression of Acheron to Arcadia (or at least the Outlands).

Quote:
All of this said, I think we're pretty close to getting a solid foundation for a newer and more interesting Arcadia.  Over the next while, I'll start compiling these ideas into a sort of report that I can submit as an article for the front page.  Then, I'll bug Clueless about possibly getting a section for this and we can a) start talking specific sites; and/or b) move on to another plane.

I look forward to playing around with the ther planes concepts.  I already have a number of ideas for Bytopia.

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Quote: Didn't mean to imply

Quote:

Didn't mean to imply that the Arcadians were play fighting.  Whatever point the dispute is over is deadly serious to both sides.  Just that, I'd expect that they'd be very aware of not drawing innocents into their disputes as refugees tend to cause a lot of chaos in their wake.

In any case, I really see the wars only being fought on one of the layers.  Wars are far too chaotic and disruptive to subject the deeper/higher layers of Arcadia to.  So, I'm quite keen on the idea of flipping around Abellio and Buxenus.

Sorry Smiling In my post, I used "play-fighting" to dispute any ideas that these wars are less deadly than real wars.  It looks like we're on the same page, though.  Wars are fought according to rules, and among those rules are no pillaging, no involving innocents, etc.  After all, even a place like Arcadia needs its farmers and normal townsfolk.

Quote:

Maybe there's a specific site that both Arcadia and Acheron both claim as their own, and that there have been many long and bloody wars fought over it.  Heck, maybe Mechanus also claims the site and sometimes you have three way battles for control, with the place sliding between the three Planes during the course of even just one battle.  Modrons vs. Arcadian Dwarves vs. the Goblin Hordes of Acheron. 

I do like the idea of there actually being a whole cube from Acheron somewhere in Arcadia. Maybe not a big one, but it's there all the same.  Anyway, we can flesh out these ideas later.

Agreed on both counts.  And the first is something not entirely unprecedented.  Several different planar sites move around whether by a power's will or by the ebb and flow of planar competition (the Seelie Court comes to mind most immediately but there are others).  So it's definitely something we can add in.  And a converted cube would be great and could rest on Abellio somewhere as a symbol of victory to all Arcadians.  There could be temples, pilgrimages...and I'm getting ahead of myself a little bit Smiling

Quote:

Hmm...thinking on it, I could see a whole "Cold War" going on between the two planes.  The conflict itself could be a war of ideas that occasionally heats up into open conflict.

It might be that there are a number of petitioners from both planes acting as subversives and spies in the other plane.  They could be freeing (or abducting) petitioners, or putting effort into swaying the minds of the communities they belong to. Likewise, there could be an underground railroad of sorts, which funnels slaves and others from the opression of Acheron to Arcadia (or at least the Outlands).

Definitely to the Cold War idea!  Even though the two planes are close on the Great Wheel, it still takes an awful lot of effort to raise an army and lead it into battle.  And interplanar battle, especially, is not just gearing up and marching five miles to the battlefield. 

We'd have to make some kind of special exception for petitioners.  With notably few exceptions (larvae and I believe lantern archons), petitioners can't leave the plane they form on.  I'm loath to change this restriction very much, and not without severe limits to where a petitioner can go.  So perhaps they can go straight to Mechanus or Acheron, but nowhere else?

Quote:

 I look forward to playing around with the ther planes concepts.  I already have a number of ideas for Bytopia.

Awesome Smiling I'm hoping to tackle Bytopia next since it's the other Majorly Boring Plane.

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Ok, so how I'm currently

Ok, so how I'm currently envisioning the layout of Arcadia:

 Buxenus becomes the first layer of Arcadia.  It has the more militinant bent, which works well given the occasional incursion from Acheron.  The landscape is more slightly rugged, and the people here live somewhat harder lives than on Abellio.  The kingdoms and societies that exist on Buxenus tend to have ideological wars over the full spectrum of conflicts.  Everything from whether civilizations should be ruled by a single philosopher-king or ruled by the people, down to what the correct shade of blue is most appropriate is properly venerate a particular Power (wars of the former sort happen far more often than the latter). 

Generally, when wars occur, great pains are taken by both sides to not involve non-combatants (though if there's a rumor that a town in the way sympathizes with the "Enemy", all bets are off).  In some cases, Arcadia itself might physically move a town out of harms way (maybe, maybe not).

Abellio becomes the new second layer of Arcadia, and basically remains unchanged. Personally, I'd probably want to drop the xenophobia of the place, and the strictness of the law enforcement - being arrested for minor offenses seems pretty steep, so I'd probably just change it to being fined or issued warnings.  This would, of course, be dependant on the nature of the kingdom/society you're in.

 Stray thought: In canon, the people in Arcadia reach higher layers of the plane by attuning their minds and themselves to the nature of the layer they're residing on.  Maybe the progression is such that on this new Buxenus, fresh petitioners are the ones who are willing to go to war and die for whatever particular cause they hold. 

As awareness dawns, they realize that they're essentially fighting against their comrades and brothers and realizing that despite the importance of the issue they're fighting for (and it is important), there are larger and more dangerous ideological concerns elsewhere on the Planes. Only after a petitioner has stopped taking up arms against his fellow Arcadian and instead tries to find common ground that they both can believe in, is that petitioner able to travel to Abellio.  Sure, folks might get into heated arguments over this point or that on Abellio, but open warfare is practically unheard of (of course, there are probably a few cases where this would be untrue).  Also, this lack of open warfare would make the Harmonium training camps on the second layer stick out like sore thumbs. Might lead to some uncomfortable questions... 

This arrangement also holds with the canon about how, as an Arcadian petitioner becomes more attuned to the plane, they gradually appear older and older.  The wars are being fought by the youngest and fittest, while the people who argue and debate over the finer points of civilized life are the older appearing individuals.

Beyon that...I don't know how to handle the third layer.  I personally would like to address it's nature and how it showed the unification of Law and Good in Arcadia before it became a part of Mechanus. Obviously something about it made it an ideal location for the Harmonium to perform their forced conversions.  Given how the other two planes work in the new arrangement, I'm almost inclined to drop the need for the third and turn whatever it is that the Harmonium lost into just a realm/domain rather than an entire layer. It would highlight the growing Lawful Neutral mindset of the Harmonium without disrupting Arcadia, and by extension, the Great Wheel.

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Wicke wrote: As awareness

Wicke wrote:

As awareness dawns, they realize that they're essentially fighting against their comrades and brothers and realizing that despite the importance of the issue they're fighting for (and it is important), there are larger and more dangerous ideological concerns elsewhere on the Planes. Only after a petitioner has stopped taking up arms against his fellow Arcadian and instead tries to find common ground that they both can believe in, is that petitioner able to travel to Abellio.  Sure, folks might get into heated arguments over this point or that on Abellio, but open warfare is practically unheard of (of course, there are probably a few cases where this would be untrue).  Also, this lack of open warfare would make the Harmonium training camps on the second layer stick out like sore thumbs. Might lead to some uncomfortable questions... 

This arrangement also holds with the canon about how, as an Arcadian petitioner becomes more attuned to the plane, they gradually appear older and older.  The wars are being fought by the youngest and fittest, while the people who argue and debate over the finer points of civilized life are the older appearing individuals.

This part I like alot, as I feel it introduces a true 'Swords to Plowshares' event that is very traditional of fantasy literature but seemed to be missing from the Planes as a whole.

I've been following this conversation for a little while and I just wanted to say that I wholeheartedly agree with the changes that have been proposed.  One idea I have for how the third plane could be organized is the loss of individual kingdoms.  There is only one kingdom, whose name is the same as the plane, and every individual knows their place and is content within that position.  There is a great deal of formality involved as well.  not so much beuracracy, but more traditional and harmless in nature.  Arranged marriages, family lines performing the same job for generations.  There are no true castes or classes, merely different positions, all with equal importance.  What I like about this view is you can take it a step further, where an individual's entire life ends up becoming their position in society.  This is where you would start to fall over into Mechanus, where the individual is lost.

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Welcome, Jared! Give me

Welcome, Jared! Laughing out loud

Give me a moment to go back and revisit the earlier points.

Layer Names -- I think for the sake of simplicity that we should leave the layer names intact.  That is, the first layer's still called "Abellio" but it's the warzone.  Less confusing overall to folks newly arriving in our little project Smiling

Crime & Punishment should definitely depend on where you are on the plane.  One kingdom would give you a slap on the wrist where another might imprison you.  Xenophobic attitudes, too, differ from realm to realm.

Layer-Traveling: Are you sure that it's Arcadia and not Celestia?  I know in Celestia the "correct" way to climb layers is to attain a certain level of inner purity.

Harmonium Training Camps: Every plane has its "dirty little secrets" Eye-wink Though the Harmonium definitely needs to have a pronounced presence on the plane, either with their own major realm or something of that sort. 

Petitioner "aging:" Love the tie-in here.  Not all the petitioners on Buxenos should be old, nor Abellio young, but certainly works.  After all, they need seasoned generals on the battlefield and hale and healthy laborers in the villages. And the movement from Abellio down to Buxenos would really only limit petitioners, not the living.  Most portals to a given plane drop folks on the first layer, but there are always those few portals that directly take you deeper into the plane.

Third Layer: Jared, your idea for it is really solid.  It also helps tie into the canon Harmonium influence there (which I definitely want to keep around).  They mostly want everyone kept under their own ideas of order and society, so maybe they did a little too well, overcompensated, and watched in horror as the layer slid into Mechanus. 

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jareddm wrote:One idea I

jareddm wrote:
One idea I have for how the third plane could be organized is the loss of individual kingdoms.  There is only one kingdom, whose name is the same as the plane, and every individual knows their place and is content within that position.  There is a great deal of formality involved as well.  not so much beuracracy, but more traditional and harmless in nature.  Arranged marriages, family lines performing the same job for generations.  There are no true castes or classes, merely different positions, all with equal importance.  What I like about this view is you can take it a step further, where an individual's entire life ends up becoming their position in society.  This is where you would start to fall over into Mechanus, where the individual is lost.

Center of All wrote:
Third Layer: Jared, your idea for it is really solid.  It also helps tie into the canon Harmonium influence there (which I definitely want to keep around).  They mostly want everyone kept under their own ideas of order and society, so maybe they did a little too well, overcompensated, and watched in horror as the layer slid into Mechanus.

I like this a lot, and it quells a number of the concerns I had about the third layer.  It feels much more appropriate and fitting than having the third layer consist of so many Harmonium re-education camps (and apparently nothing else strong enough to keep it anchored) that the whole thing slid into Mechanus.

So, lots of small to mid-sized kingdoms in Abellio who war one another over ideology.  A goodly number of mid to large-sized kingdoms in Buxenus who might play political games and fight wars of propaganda, but mostly get along.  And on Nemausus, there's essentially one overaching, unified kingdom, as per what Jared describes.  Plus, given that description, it's little wonder why the Harmonium would've chose Arcadia - everybody living in harmony without strife?  That's Heaven!. 

Ooh!  Ooh!  And, since the Harmonium is originally from a Prime, you set up a sort of Garden of Eden, fall from grace story undercurrent with the sliding of Nemausus into Mechanus: The touch of mortal hands on the purity of perfection causes it to become corrupted. (Ok, maybe this is a stretch, but it sounds cool!)

 

Center of All wrote:
Crime & Punishment should definitely depend on where you are on the plane.  One kingdom would give you a slap on the wrist where another might imprison you.  Xenophobic attitudes, too, differ from realm to realm.

This change alone frees up the plane to be much more approachable for adventuring.  The omni-present xenophobia in Arcadia never sat well with me.

Quote:
Layer-Traveling: Are you sure that it's Arcadia and not Celestia?  I know in Celestia the "correct" way to climb layers is to attain a certain level of inner purity.

Page 10 of the Arcadia book in Planes of Law, believe it or not.  They both have paths to join with the plane.  Just different ideas of what path to take.  Smiling

Quote:
Harmonium Training Camps: Every plane has its "dirty little secrets" Eye-wink Though the Harmonium definitely needs to have a pronounced presence on the plane, either with their own major realm or something of that sort. 

I've been toying with the idea of there being "training camps" on the different layers of Arcadia, and that a small but growing number of these camps have been slipping into Mechanus. In Harmonium controlled lands (the Harmonium heartland in Arcadia or in the various camps themselves), the paranoia is starting to mount as they suspect foul play on the part of the Anarchists or Indeps.

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Petitioner "aging:" Love the tie-in here.  Not all the petitioners on Buxenos should be old, nor Abellio young, but certainly works.  After all, they need seasoned generals on the battlefield and hale and healthy laborers in the villages. And the movement from Abellio down to Buxenos would really only limit petitioners, not the living.  Most portals to a given plane drop folks on the first layer, but there are always those few portals that directly take you deeper into the plane.

Yeah, no hard fast rules on how old a person appears, more of a general guideline.  And there's probably a good number of liaisons between the two layers, asking for help in arms or for mediation between warring kingdoms.

Ok, I got to get to bed.  I really enjoying what's been outlined here and I finally think I have a decent grasp on what Arcadia is.

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Center of All wrote:Third

Center of All wrote:
Third Layer: Jared, your idea for it is really solid.  It also helps tie into the canon Harmonium influence there (which I definitely want to keep around).  They mostly want everyone kept under their own ideas of order and society, so maybe they did a little too well, overcompensated, and watched in horror as the layer slid into Mechanus.

Wicke wrote:
I like this a lot, and it quells a number of the concerns I had about the third layer.  It feels much more appropriate and fitting than having the third layer consist of so many Harmonium re-education camps (and apparently nothing else strong enough to keep it anchored) that the whole thing slid into Mechanus.

So, lots of small to mid-sized kingdoms in Abellio who war one another over ideology.  A goodly number of mid to large-sized kingdoms in Buxenus who might play political games and fight wars of propaganda, but mostly get along.  And on Nemausus, there's essentially one overaching, unified kingdom, as per what Jared describes.  Plus, given that description, it's little wonder why the Harmonium would've chose Arcadia - everybody living in harmony without strife?  That's Heaven!.

Thank you both!  It just seemed to be the next logical step in the search for a perfect, lawful, and unified form of government.  One idea I have for representing this is that no one actually knows how the government works the way it does.  Where on Abellio and Buxenus you can clearly tell one kingdom from another as well as which ones are republics, which are monarchies, and which are socialist. On Nemausus, there's nothing to compare the government to because it is the only government.  I picture Guvners working for years trying to work out the exact method that Nemausus uses to remain stable, without much success.  One thing I'd like to differentiate between the first two layers, would be that Nemausus would be much harder for petitioners to reach.  As you mentioned before, petioner kingdoms on Abellio and Buxenus would communicate back and forth to occassionally assist each other.  Nemausus does not need any assistances beyond the simplest trade.

Wicke wrote:
Ooh!  Ooh!  And, since the Harmonium is originally from a Prime, you set up a sort of Garden of Eden, fall from grace story undercurrent with the sliding of Nemausus into Mechanus: The touch of mortal hands on the purity of perfection causes it to become corrupted. (Ok, maybe this is a stretch, but it sounds cool!)

Exactly!  If we're sticking to the canon about  Nemausus falling to Mechanus, I was thinking that the Harmonium might have proclaimed that they have discovered the method that Nemausus functions, seeing it as just an extension of their own system, and immedietely began attempting to force their system into the plane.  In actuality, the Harmonium were wrong, and were actually forcing the plane into Mechanus.

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Okay, I think we've

Okay, I think we've hammered this out pretty well now and I like the new look Arcadia has. 

I've got a paper I need to finish, so I'm not going to launch the next plane until the end of next week.  However, I'll be keeping an eye on this thread for updates and any further discussion. 

Next thing I think we'll need are the sites, realms, locations, and personalities.  I have some ideas, but before we do any of that, let me direct you to the main PRP thread.  To keep the project easy to follow, I'd like to build some templates for sites/realms/locations.  Once we figure out templates, then we can work on sites in the long term. 

But enough of that!  More in the main PRP thread!

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I've just finished reading

I've just finished reading the posts and I should say that you've developped the main ideas very successfully. I was skeptical towards first layer=>war deal first but it sounds good now. Here's what I liked:

1. The "Pyramid Structure" of planes. I have some elaborations on the subject will leave them for later. 2. Different kingdoms, diferent laws. 3. Nemausus as a single government. Jareddm's idea.

Now for my take:

1. I think that the warring armies in the 1st layer should each represent a nation from the 2nd layer. By keeping their destructive conflicts to an entirely different layer of the plane, they are keeping the more advanced petitioners from any of the harmful pyhsical or psychological effects of war. Life on the second layer is all about social sciences. War is considered, at least by some of the states on the 2nd, as a useful tool (Much like in the reneissance.). (more on that later)

2. Just like in the 2nd, perhaps 3rd plane's government includes a "supreme court" where politicians from the 2nd represent their countries. It is the interaction between these people that decides the future of the plane, where the elected or inherited leaders of the second are more concerned about the welfare of their citizens.

3. Some of the rules of engagement for 1st layer: - New petitioners are considered "Neutral" and are not to be harmed under any circumstances until such a time as they choose to join an army of their own free will and without pressure. - Wars are to be fought until the condition of victory, which should be precise and absolute. -  Peace should be made when defeat is imminent. 

4. Most battles are fought between armies of about equal strength.  Philosopher-generals, equals of such renowned primes as Sun Tzu, command vast armies of the most disciplined and loyal soldiers in the multiverse. Every order is carefully planned, obeyed without question, and executed with perfection. In the end, tactics and strategies win the day. which would mean: Whereas in blood war the battles are law vs chaos, and in Abyss they are chaos vs chaos, and in Acheron law vs whatever comes your way, in Arcadia they are law vs law.

 5. Symmetry increases with each layer every georaphical feature has a purpose. First layer has less defined edges. To the keen eye, the whole place is an ensmble of sandboxes. Every hill, mountain passage, valley, river, bridge, even towns seem to be a strategic battleground. Fortification of all kinds, architectures and sizes dot the layer with a few towns set up by neutrals. Other then the occasional, insistent harmonium recruitment agencies, no one will bother you unless you bother them. -On the second, plains are perfefctly plain, mountains perfectly angular, cold places are just cold enough to freeze you if you are not protected, and warmplaces are just the opposite. Every society, has found the perfect place to prosper, just how far they can prosper is the question. Beware; the place is nearly entirely devoid of violence, so don't go toting your weapons around. - 3rd layer is a vast, breathtaking capital city that stretches on as far as the eye can see. This is what Archdevil Triel was said to aspire to when he had so many cities built and then destroyed. Streets are clean, people are nice and orderly, and they are always about their business; as you should be. If you don't have a business to attend to, you shouldn't be here.

That's all I have for now, even this much took me so long I forgot half of what I was going to write Laughing out loud . To sum up:

1st is military; 2nd layer is social conflict, 3rd is political. In each case every move is planned. So, whereas the feel of the "old" Arcadia was a not-so-well-implemented "common good", in this new version it is the plane of "Planned thought"( a major change, to be sure).

What do you think?

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Evil, I've been trying for

Evil, I've been trying for two days now to come up with some serious constructive response, but I've failed miserably.  This is because what you wrote is essentially what I had in mind, only you are capable of verbalizing what has been some half-formed imagery in my head.  A couple minor points.

The second layer's "supreme court" isn't entirely supreme.  The second layer has different forms of ideal lawful and good society manifested in the various realms, kingdoms, and nations.  As a result, an entity that has complete jurisdiction over all these lands can't really exist.  The natural conflict prevents a wholly unifying body.

I do, however, envision a central, completely neutral location.  This location serves as the ultimate location to discuss philosophy of law and mediate disputes between the nations.  It is the ultimate neutral ground and its neutrality is considered absolute by Arcadians.

Philosopher-generals and the rules of engagement sound great, especially the rules.

By third layer, do you mean a layer that hasn't slid into Mechanus?  I'd like see that remain a point of contention for Arcadia -- a reminder that their ideas can go too far into lawfulness.

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I too have also been trying

I too have also been trying for some time to make a response, though certainly not because of lack of thoughts, only a lack of internet connection.

 I feel that it would be best not to tie the armies of the first plane with the kingdoms of the second.  By keeping them as seperate entities, you allow them to communicate individually.  In addition, I feel that some forms of government might not be suited to have a standing army, and some armies might not be capable of creating a long-lasting stable government.  While there could certainly be cooperation between armies and kingdoms, I feel binding them together makes it seem too forced.

Additionally, I'd like to stress my feelings that the highest levels of government on the third plane remain a great dark of the multiverse.  It makes a great goal for wannabe rulers and guvners alike.  If the form of government for the most perfect kingdom were known, than every lord and king from across the planes would be comming to copy their exact system.  Also, i like the idea of even greater beings not knowing the truth.  If the Archduke Triel attempted to copy it, but was incapable of getting it just right, it makes for a worthy goal for even the highest of beings.

Furthermore, I do feel the 3rd plane should be lost to Mechanus.  It gives the feeling that the Harmonium thought they had finally figured out how the plane is run, forcing it upon all others and in the process, destroying that which they found most holy. (I say destroyed only because I'm not quite sure what happens to it once it has merged with Mechanus.  I feel it should get broken down and turned into gears, never again recognizable of the great city they once formed.)

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Quote:Furthermore, I do

Quote:
Furthermore, I do feel the 3rd plane should be lost to Mechanus.  It gives the feeling that the Harmonium thought they had finally figured out how the plane is run, forcing it upon all others and in the process, destroying that which they found most holy. (I say destroyed only because I'm not quite sure what happens to it once it has merged with Mechanus.  I feel it should get broken down and turned into gears, never again recognizable of the great city they once formed.)

Quick post on my way to bed.

Planes of Law has Nemausus listed as a realm in Mechanus.  According to the book, Nemausus physically is much the same as it was on Arborea, only it is now on a gear.  It's become a point of contention for several people because it offers one of the few places where you can find natural anything on Mechanus.

I prefer to keep some layer of Arcadia lost to Mechanus.  Whether it's the giant city or a layer the Harmonium once controlled, I think it sends an extremely powerful message to Arcadians.  It reminds the people of Arcadia that whatever their government system, they cannot become so caught up in the intricacies of law that they completely lose sight of what is good and virtuous.  This is a dangerous trap many Arcadian states are likely to succumb to, so they need the testament to past failures.  That seems to me to be the whole point of Nemausus sliding in basic canon.

I'll likely comment more later!  I'm off to bed!

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Center of All wrote: The

Center of All wrote:

The second layer's "supreme court" isn't entirely supreme.  The second layer has different forms of ideal lawful and good society manifested in the various realms, kingdoms, and nations.  As a result, an entity that has complete jurisdiction over all these lands can't really exist.  The natural conflict prevents a wholly unifying body.

I do, however, envision a central, completely neutral location.  This location serves as the ultimate location to discuss philosophy of law and mediate disputes between the nations.  It is the ultimate neutral ground and its neutrality is considered absolute by Arcadians....

By third layer, do you mean a layer that hasn't slid into Mechanus?  I'd like see that remain a point of contention for Arcadia -- a reminder that their ideas can go too far into lawfulness.

No , I certainly don't have any intention to add a layer to Arcadia.  Personally, I also like to think that in the Great Fheel such things as the sliding of entire layers is possible. 3rd plane I described was the layer that joined Mechanus. I explained it as it once was; how it exists now is anybody's guess. Before the planes-shaking event, it certainly was the highest form of order in Arcadia - which is probably why it was lost anyway.

I was thinking that the Supreme Court, something like UN Security Council (not a direct legislative arm), would be held in the 3rd layer, but not necessarily in control of that layer. The Government there, as previously mentioned, is an inexplicable beurocracy. As in any beurocratic model, it is possible to use The Government to your own ends if you figure out how it ticks, but the puzzle is impossible to solve without trial and error methods. The Harmonium, with study, care, a good amount of luck and a long, long time, thought they have figured it out. As it turned out, they failed miserably.

As of today that Government is lost. Not that it directly effected any of the petitioners in the other two layers. But that Neutral Zone that Center of All mentioned (which I consider was on the 3rd layer) was lost. This created shock, trauma and turmoil. Harmonium is trying to shake off the blame. It is quite possible that even the weather and day-night cycle of Arcadia was controlled by some branch of The Government via the Storm Kings and the Orb of Day and Night. (imagine a government that could control the basic nature of its lands, like in "The Giver"). Now that The Government is gone, the harmonius workings of the Storm Kings , and even the Orb of Day and Night is asynchronous and conflicting.

The armies on the first can be tied to or separate from the 2nd layer states, and I did mention that not all of them keep standing armies, anyway. Most of them has already left behind such things. Perhaps some aries are backed up by 2nd's states, others are entirely freelance. But it should be noted that each army should be united around a goal, or perhaps an approach to warfare.

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Instead of putting the

Instead of putting the "Supreme Court" on Nemausus, I'd move it to Abellio. I have this vision of something like the Galactic Senate from Star Wars, with each kingdom/nation present in Arcadia having a seat somewhere.  The representation would be across layers, so kingdoms from Buxenos would have a voice along side the kingdoms from Abellio (though the representative from Nemausus has been oddly absent as of late).  Plus, the second layer would make more sense as a neutral ground for this sort of senate.  Buxenos would be a place too easily disrupted by conflict, and Nemausus holds too much to the ideal (besides, you know, no longer being there).

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Firstly, these ideas are

Firstly, these ideas are certainly very good, taken for itself. Smiling

  But I see the problem that Arcadia is supposed to be a friendly place without much inner conflicts, or outside endeavours. Hence the name Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia. After all, the Harmonium chose it as its planar homebase because it's a harmonic place.

Further, expanding these wars to other planes creates the problem that every fighting petitioner who dies outside Arcadia vanishes completely. You probably don't want an afterlife on a good plane when that means you're going to get slaughtered in some war on even another plane (well, the dwarves of Arcadia do, anyways).

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Calmar wrote: Firstly,

Calmar wrote:

Firstly, these ideas are certainly very good, taken for itself. Smiling

But I see the problem that Arcadia is supposed to be a friendly place without much inner conflicts, or outside endeavours. Hence the name Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia. After all, the Harmonium chose it as its planar homebase because it's a harmonic place.

The intent behind the renovation is to make Arcadia (as well as a host of other planes) more approachable as a place to adventure in.  Prior to the talk in this thread, Arcadia was scarcely more than - Layer one: peaceable kingdoms and a lot of xenophobia and an over reactive police force; Layer 2 - re-established Harmonium re-education camps and dwarves; Layer 3 - slipped into Mechanus, but it also had Harmonium re-education camps.  Hehe...Ok, maybe I'm overstating things a touch, but still, there's not really a whole lot of adventuring meat there, and there really wasn't much difference in feel between the layers.

Now?  We have a first layer that's filled with people who passionately believe in their cause/society/whatever who fight other people who are equally filled with that same passion.  The second layer feels very much like how Arcadia felt initally, sans the rampant xenophobia (or at least in my head the xenophobia is absent).  The third layer, while still not completely defined, has at least been identified as being filled with a harmonius city, rather than just being more idyllic fields and kingdoms. We're still keeping the Harmonium fueled disappearance of the place (which makes far more sense to me now).

Outside of expanding on the concept, I don't think too much has really been changed.  I expect that there are still Harmonium re-education camps (but they're probably not as widespread, and probably don't put the entire plane at risk).  And there is a conceptually pyramidal feel to the place now, which fits nicely into the idea that Arcadia resides on the Lawful side of the Wheel.  Though, I suppose with the missing third layer, it's more like a trapezoid now...

Quote:
Further, expanding these wars to other planes creates the problem that every fighting petitioner who dies outside Arcadia vanishes completely. You probably don't want an afterlife on a good plane when that means you're going to get slaughtered in some war on even another plane (well, the dwarves of Arcadia do, anyways).

The off-plane wars don't happen that often (despite my earlier enthusiasm for the idea...hehe) and I imagine that it really only occurs when the people are whipped up into a frenzy or there is some specific cause. Otherwise, folks in Arcadia are more than happy to let other people deal with the planar war stuff.

The dwarves who die off plane, iirc, are actually reclaimed by their god. They're unaware of this fact though, so they still march off to war knowing full well that when they die, they're gone. They're also admired by the rest of the inhabitents of Arcadia for their apparent sacrifice.

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Wicke wrote: Now?  We have

Wicke wrote:

Now?  We have a first layer that's filled with people who passionately believe in their cause/society/whatever who fight other people who are equally filled with that same passion.  The second layer feels very much like how Arcadia felt initally, sans the rampant xenophobia (or at least in my head the xenophobia is absent).  The third layer, while still not completely defined, has at least been identified as being filled with a harmonius city, rather than just being more idyllic fields and kingdoms. We're still keeping the Harmonium fueled disappearance of the place (which makes far more sense to me now).

I actually like the idea of keeping a little xenophobia  on the third layer only.  In a place where everyone knows their role in life and there is an established harmony in the government, any outsiders, whether they enter for good or for ill, will be seen as a disrupting factor, at least until proven otherwise.  Even if there's no full blown hate-crimes against foreigners, I imagine visitors being constantly peppered with questions of, "What are you doing here?"  "How long are you staying?"  "What are you bringing with you?"  Well meaning questions, but ones which could become quite irritating in repetition.

I just came back from a 3 week trip to europe, so if there's one thing I'm familiar with at the moment, it's going through customs.

I'm also opposed to the "Supreme Court" concept.  Arcadia is supposed to represent a heaven of government and beuracracy.  A perfect (or near perfect) system that mortals have dreamed into existance the same way the heavens and the hells have been created.  Now think to our own systems of government, or any other form of government you've ever heard of.  I doubt any one of them would even come within a mile of being called perfect or near-perfect.  While a grand council as seen in starwars would certainly fit the plane, look how it crumbled and grew corrupt.  If the third layer is to be lost, I personally would like it to be lost with it's beliefs and honor still intact, not as a bloated, hateful harmonium recruitment camp.

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Whew, more discussion to

Whew, more discussion to catch up on! Laughing out loud Awesome, I am excited!  Working from the bottom up to address comments.

"jareddm" wrote:
I'm also opposed to the "Supreme Court" concept.  Arcadia is supposed to represent a heaven of government and beuracracy.  A perfect (or near perfect) system that mortals have dreamed into existance the same way the heavens and the hells have been created.  Now think to our own systems of government, or any other form of government you've ever heard of.  I doubt any one of them would even come within a mile of being called perfect or near-perfect.  While a grand council as seen in starwars would certainly fit the plane, look how it crumbled and grew corrupt.  If the third layer is to be lost, I personally would like it to be lost with it's beliefs and honor still intact, not as a bloated, hateful harmonium recruitment camp.

I personally envisioned the "Supreme Court" not so much as a governing body, but as a location -- absolutely neutral territory where kingdoms can come settle disputes peacefully and diplomatically.  Combat is forbidden in this place.  It also serves as a location for great debates on the ideas of law and goodness.  Maybe it has a prominent university?  Think a "good" version of Grenpoli.  The location may have some kind of arbiters -- maybe people that train their entire lives to be such?  Maybe some kind of exemplar or "outsider?"  There's certainly more to go with here.

The idea behind the loss of the third layer is it lost sight of being good.  Too much law, not enough good and it slides right into Mechanus.  I can't emphasize enough that whatever Arcadia's law and order, it has to maintain its laws with a mind toward goodness.  Otherwise there's no reason for the plane to exist outside Mechanus.  That is a requirement, it cannot be avoided.  Mechanus has plenty of places where there's law and government for the sake of law and government (Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment, Automata).  Arcadia must be law and government for the sake of goodness

The "bloated, hateful" Harmonium recruitment camps need to remain on Arcadia in some form.  Arcadia is the Harmonium's home on the planes, and I think we should keep that -- remember, this project intends to preserve canon where possible.  The Harmonium can certainly control several nations on Arcadia, but the recruitment camps provide a "darker" side to Lawful Good that fits the plane.  Whether it's the cause (or part of the cause) of Nemausus sliding I'm willing to debate.  But we do need to keep strong Harmonium presence on the plane regardless.

Come to think of it, the Guvners could've had a hand in causing the Great City on Nemausus to slide.  Such a place would have Guvners flocking to it, and thanks to them, it'd get so bogged down in bureaucracy and red tape that it just pops next door.

jareddm wrote:
I actually like the idea of keeping a little xenophobia  on the third layer only.  In a place where everyone knows their role in life and there is an established harmony in the government, any outsiders, whether they enter for good or for ill, will be seen as a disrupting factor, at least until proven otherwise.  Even if there's no full blown hate-crimes against foreigners, I imagine visitors being constantly peppered with questions of, "What are you doing here?"  "How long are you staying?"  "What are you bringing with you?"  Well meaning questions, but ones which could become quite irritating in repetition.

Definitely a good plan.  Also certain kingdoms would be more suspicious of outsiders than others.

Calmar wrote:
But I see the problem that Arcadia is supposed to be a friendly place without much inner conflicts, or outside endeavours. Hence the name Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia. After all, the Harmonium chose it as its planar homebase because it's a harmonic place.

Further, expanding these wars to other planes creates the problem that every fighting petitioner who dies outside Arcadia vanishes completely. You probably don't want an afterlife on a good plane when that means you're going to get slaughtered in some war on even another plane (well, the dwarves of Arcadia do, anyways).

Wicke tackled most of the points you bring up and I agree with his statements, so I'm just going to briefly retouch here.

Arcadia as a peaceful place without much inner conflict really makes the plane pretty pointless from a gaming perspective.  Without some kind of inherent conflict in a given realm or plane, there is no real reason to run an adventure there.  Conflict produces stories and a perfectly harmonius plane has no story to tell.

Also, as Wicke said, interplanar wars happen rarely.  Acheron is a bone of contention with Arcadians but the archons would take a stronger stance against Acheron.  Most Arcadians are busy with affairs on their own plane.

Evil, I like your ideas for the story of Nemausus sliding.  I would probably leave the Orb and the Storm Kings still working mostly as normal, but the idea of folks like Harmonium and Guvners getting too far ahead of themselves is a good one.

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Center of All wrote: I

Center of All wrote:

I personally envisioned the "Supreme Court" not so much as a governing body, but as a location -- absolutely neutral territory where kingdoms can come settle disputes peacefully and diplomatically.  Combat is forbidden in this place.  It also serves as a location for great debates on the ideas of law and goodness.  Maybe it has a prominent university?  Think a "good" version of Grenpoli.  The location may have some kind of arbiters -- maybe people that train their entire lives to be such?  Maybe some kind of exemplar or "outsider?"  There's certainly more to go with here.

 Ahh, now I understand what was meant.  If it's designed to be a neutral territory to settle disputes, than I am certainly for it.  i thought that it was supposed to be a governing body for Nemaunsus.  In this case, I feel there are strong arguments for it to exist on either the second or the third layer.  The second because of its proximity to the small to medium size kingdoms that would have the most use for it.  The third because it would present an environment as a goal for those who use it to look towards.  i personally would prefer it to exist on the third layer.  To be surrounded by Nemaunsus and its harmony shows what the participants are attempting to achieve.  Is it not the responsibility of a well-meaning government to help those less fortunate to achieve stability?  But in a non-obtrusive way.  The Harmonium forgot that last statement. 

Center of All wrote:
The idea behind the loss of the third layer is it lost sight of being good.  Too much law, not enough good and it slides right into Mechanus.  I can't emphasize enough that whatever Arcadia's law and order, it has to maintain its laws with a mind toward goodness.  Otherwise there's no reason for the plane to exist outside Mechanus.  That is a requirement, it cannot be avoided.  Mechanus has plenty of places where there's law and government for the sake of law and government (Fortress of Disciplined Enlightenment, Automata).  Arcadia must be law and government for the sake of goodness

The "bloated, hateful" Harmonium recruitment camps need to remain on Arcadia in some form.  Arcadia is the Harmonium's home on the planes, and I think we should keep that -- remember, this project intends to preserve canon where possible.  The Harmonium can certainly control several nations on Arcadia, but the recruitment camps provide a "darker" side to Lawful Good that fits the plane.  Whether it's the cause (or part of the cause) of Nemausus sliding I'm willing to debate.  But we do need to keep strong Harmonium presence on the plane regardless.

Come to think of it, the Guvners could've had a hand in causing the Great City on Nemausus to slide.  Such a place would have Guvners flocking to it, and thanks to them, it'd get so bogged down in bureaucracy and red tape that it just pops next door.

I don't deny that Arcadia exists as government for the sake of goodness.  I only mean that Arcadia and it's inhabitants are the victims in the fall of Nemausus, not the culprits.  That it was the influx of Guvners and Harmonium, disguising their more Lawful teachings as being in the name of Good.  I like the idea of the people themselves being the cause of the layer shifting, not the inhabitants and the petitioners growing more lawful.

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jareddm wrote:I don't deny

jareddm wrote:
I don't deny that Arcadia exists as government for the sake of goodness.  I only mean that Arcadia and it's inhabitants are the victims in the fall of Nemausus, not the culprits.  That it was the influx of Guvners and Harmonium, disguising their more Lawful teachings as being in the name of Good.  I like the idea of the people themselves being the cause of the layer shifting, not the inhabitants and the petitioners growing more lawful.

Ah, okay Smiling I misunderstood what you were saying.

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Hi. Okay, so this is

Hi.

Okay, so this is looking interesting: I honestly think that Nemaunsus is too neat a setting to toss completly over to Mechanus. As an alternative, what if the plane is only half lost? The Great Capital is currently the ground of a spiritual guriella war between the inhabitants of Mechanus and Arcadia, who are struggling for the soul of the great city. How this actually plays out can vary from game to game, from a full fledged guriella war to preachers shouting their creeds on the street, fighting for political position within the Capital's buearucracy(VOTE MODRON: For Alderman!), or what have you. Gives the plane a little more spice and keeps a neat part of it partially intact. 

As for the other layers, a lot of the conflict speaks about these kingdoms without discussing what sort of kingdoms there are. I think a few examples would make things a little less, 'Well, you make it up DM!', without overly restricting things. Here are a few ideas; 

Seveneye Mining Company: Reflective of the 'corporations' that have become popular on some developing Prime worlds, the Company espouses that the best system is enlightened self interest. By having an economic incentive, the Company is free of the pride and vanity that has led otherwise sterling kingdoms into regretful decisions; it's about the bottom line, and there's nothing wrong with that, because everyone prospers when the Company prospers. Of course, there is no perfect harmony; workers struggle with management for rights and pay, innovators struggle with traditionalists over the direction the Company should develop towards, and everyone struggles with that most reviled of foes, the competition. While the core of the Seveneye's industry is in mining rights of valuable minerals such as coal, iron, adamant, quicksilver, and the dreams of men petrified in amber, and the refinement and crafting of these materials, there is a lot of talk about expanding into everything from publishing to food production to the burgeoning entertainment industry. 

Leaders: Thane Yani Seveneye, founder and owner(Male dwarf, Fraternity of Order, LG), Steady Darla, conservitive executive(Female ogre, Harmonium, LN), Willy Paulo, innovative young turk(Male human, Fraternity of Order, LG), Gremmiel, popular worker and philosopher(Male Angel of Labor, Harmonium, LG). 

The Kingdom of Lost Veterans: More a mobile army than a kingdom, this up and coming organization was carved from the petitioners of an army contingent that was sacraficed by the cold hearted Emperor who needed to slow an enemy with the blood of green soldiers. When the leader of the troops realized his master's plan, he could not betray the will of the Emperor, and so protested the only way he could, by dieing with his troops instead of moving away with other high ranking officers as he was origionally ordered to do. Li Danyu wandered the Upper Planes for years, trying to resolve the conflicting tenants of his morality and decide if he was a good man or a wicked one; the answer came to him when an Arcadian villaige came under attack by a band of Archoni slavers. Li Danyu's military background allowed him to train the villaigers into a group of skilled defenders, and together they repelled the band of slavers; Li felt at peace with his life as a warrior for the first time, and taking the title the Duke of Old Soldiers, pledged to aid other lost souls in coming to peace with themselves after a martial life. Currently, the soldiers of Danyu struggle internally and externally to perfect their leader's 'tao of the moral soldier', detaching from West Wind Villaige to help defend other threatened border towns, help repair damaged public works, oppose bandits or rampaging monsters, and otherwise use their military training to do something decent in the world. While many scorn Danyu's unabashed martiality, no one has yet to refuse the aid of his soldiers when it is offered. 

Leaders: Li Danyu, Duke of Old Soldiers(Male Human(Petitioner), Harmonium, LG), Grovinder, the Elephant Man(Male Baku, Sign of One, NG), Maria Theresa, mayor of West Wind Villaige(Female Human(Planar), Harmonium, LG), Lazzik Ha, pentient warlord(Male Hobgoblin, Fated, LE).

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Feel free to help develop

Feel free to help develop the different kingdoms and locations!  We're sorta lacking on that front as yet.  If you do develop it, Center of All has a template that you might want to follow.  It's mostly to ensure that everything maintains that Planescape feel.

 I should get cracking on a few locations myself...

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I have this: Ujan, an

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I have this:

Ujan, an undergraduate at the Institute of Leadership and a representative of the Student Council, volunteered for the "orientation" of our readers. 

Arcadian United Cities of Learning (University for short)

Character:  Teach everything you know, learn everything you can; spread the knowledge. In the battle against ignorance, the pen is mightier than the sword.

Ruler: Head of the Administration/Government of the University is entitled "Rector". He is elected by the senate of Deans for 10 years up to 5 terms. Current one is Ordinarius Professor Soran Alim (Axiomatic Celestial/Pe/M/very high level) The Senate of Deans consists of the Deans of all the Faculties.

Behind The Throne: Student Council is influential among those on the beginning stages of their academic careers. A full three quarters of population are our members. We have no official power yet, so while our opinions do carry some weight, they are often dismissed. That's why we are currently vying for representation on the Senate.

Description: The United Cities of Learning, or the University, started up as a single town for lonely scholars and petitioners to share knowledge and educate others. It mostly drew petitioners who were teachers or professors while they were alive. As its name got heard among the planes, more and more people came to visit. The town became a city, then expanded to other towns until each was essentially the center for a single discipline, like social studies, natural sciences, engineering, even fine arts and magic. We call these cities “faculties”, but some faculties have different names like “Institute”, “Academy” or “Madrasa”, so don't be confused, they all serve the same purpose: Provide a healthy, productive environment for study and learning. One thing to know about is that a number of Powers “sponsor” the faculties matching their portfolios, and the University itself has the backing of many Righteous Powers who have an interest for knowledge and learning.

The Campus, meaning University lands, are an area about that of a middle sized kingdom geographically no different than the rest of Abellio. First thing you have to know that resident population are all students of varying degrees. A merchant could be an economics major, a bartender a human relations master working on his doctorate. Guards are graduates from the Academy of Peace, and they are promoted as they move up the academic ladder. The Academic career starts with preschool and goes on first school, second school, third school up to the faculties. Many majors feature cross-class elements so teachers, and sometimes students move between faculties. Anyone from the outside who is willing to make the effort can apply for the education of his choice and become a student as well. Just pass a few entry exams. They are not that hard, really.

There are more than 20 cities in edition to tens of other smaller towns in the Campus, which means there are just as many Faculties in the University. I neither have the knowledge or the space to explain them in detail, so I’ll just mention a few that you should know about.

Principle Towns: “capital city” of the University is the Faculty of Leadership, where the Rectorate is located and the Senate of Deans is held. Main interest of the faculty is the Sociology, Social Psychology and Political sciences. It is truly a splendid city with many gardens and parks, mansions and palaces that serve as both classrooms and residences for students and teachers. Embassies from about every other state in Abellio can be found, as well as those from many prime worlds that look up to the Heavens for leadership. These embassies hold portals to their home worlds as well. You can find most anything you can find on another city here, but you can’t find this many nobles anywhere. The Central Library is also here, but many of the more prized items are borrowed and reserved until the next century.

Arcadian Law School teaches all the intricacies of law inside and outside the courtroom, but a body may never graduate unless she learns to serve justice before her client. Buildings are massive and imposing, but in a graceful way. The streets are free of any kind of dirt, because it's forbidden to litter, and if there was any of the other kind of dirt, the surprising number of knightly orders and temples would take care of it.

Academy of Peace is entrusted to raise responsible man for armies and law enforcement agencies in the University and other planes. Students are regularly shipped to the first layer for internship in the University Army. The huge portal to the first layer is the Arch of Triumph (of Knowledge Over Ignorance) a day’s march from the city. The Faculty itself is a fortress with no scientifically proven weaknesses.

The Madrasa is the Faculty of Magic, and it is the best place for the talented to learn magic without spending the family fortune. Not if you have angered one of the Powers of Magic though; they have a strong presence here. The Madrasa is built around 101 towers, each home to an archmage of a different specialization. These towers, called minarets, are where apprentices study their chosen school of magic under their guidance.

Institute of Life is the place to come if you'r interested in living (or dead) things. Besides the labs and theatres of medicine and biology studies, the largest zoo, the largest botanic garden, the largest paleontology museum and the only micro organism exhibition on the great wheel can be found here. Folks are always searching for new creatures to add to their collection. If your visit to Abellio is a one time event, be sure not to miss the Institute.

Special Conditions: I’m not very familiar with the exact mechanics of it, but my Statistics Professor once said that it was slightly easier to “learn” in the University than the Multiverse average. Perhaps it’s just because there is very little distraction here.

Principal NPCs: Each Faculty has their own Dean, so there are too many of them to count here. Student’s Council President is Dr. Aman Siz, and he is the most popular person in the University. Even the Rector likes him.

Militia: Not that there is much need for a militia in Abellio, but the Academy of Peace is more than enough for whatever trouble might come up Their leader is also the Dean of that Faculty, Proffesor Arn.

Services: What services you can find change according to the faculty you are in, though all cities have the same basic services you might need.  If you become a student in a faculty, you are provided with a place to stay and some extra jink to cover your expanses. You can find temples to a great variety of powers in Faculties, not all of them lawful or good. Each faculty has its own library with literally hundreds of thousands of thesis’, case studies, academic papers, magazines and journals, in edition to, regular library items. Other than those, you won’t find a lot of things to distract you from your studies.

Local News: There is always the buzz of the latest breakthrough, and you might think suddenly the layer turned upside down. Next day there will be other news and older one simply forgotten. Those aside, The University Fest is coming up – a week before finals!

This took me a week to write down, but the idea was very old. I was thinking of including an "Insitute of Leadership for the Chosen" (Chosen One's are very prevalent in the fantasy literature) in Arcadia, a funny place with possible long adventures. However, Center-Of-All wrote he "envisioned Arcadia as a land of magnificent kingdoms", so why not devote an entire kingdom to the concept of public education? Education is good, and it is mostly lawful, isn't it Sticking out tongue I hope you liked it!

Edit: A few minor things, addition of militia. If you haven't noticed already, I'm not an expert with the rules, and I'm not good at making up names. Soran Alim means "Asking Sage" in Turkish Smiling

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As a student living in a

As a student living in a university town essentially built around education I wholeheartedly approve. It might be a bit modern as far as education goes, but I really can't see any other way to handle the amount of students a university of this size must have. The Faculty of Leadership should be the main seat of education in rhetoric too though, and it should be mentioned in the text. Rhetoric was very important for all education pre-19th century, and leaders perhaps more than others (except maybe lawyers) need rhetoric. It's also a fascinating subject, and the picture of leadership students from all over the planes gathering in an amphitheatre to watch two highly regarded teachers debate is just too god to not use somehow. Plus it would be the main way the student's counsil works.

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Finally a reply after

Finally a reply after waiting for days Laughing out loud I really neded some opinion since it took me so long to write. What I've written about the university is definitely not the final draft. However it already ended up to be too long so I didn't get into much detail. I tried to conform to the Planescape template. What you mention about rhetoric is absolutely true. I can see that as being a major part of a Student's daily life in the Faculty of Leadership, whether it be class work or student's council duty. In the last edit I expanded on it by saying it is interested in Social Sciences. School of Life, for example, should be the place where the food comes from. By using advanced farming methods they have increased crop yield to rival some realms. Same with foodstock. But a last thing I'm toying with right now is the addition of a Tarrasque. It is displayed in an aquarium full of isotonic water, its regeneration balanced by drowning damage. Many visitors from planes come just to see the Undying Tarrasque. Other than touristic income, tarrasque is an endless source of meat and raw materials. I stole this idea from another, admittedly, but The Institute of Life is the best place for this.

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Re: Planar Renovation Project: Arcadia

In coming up with ideas for Palomides' Arcadia mini-campaign thread, it struck me that Arcadia is the plane of massive engineering projects. We have ancient Egyptian cultures and the pyramids. It wouldn't surprise me to see the plane dotted with other World Wonders (the Great Wall, the Colossus of Rhodes, the Lighthouse and Library of Alexandria, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, etc).

While other planes would have their own Wonders of course, Arcadia would be the plane where we would see the reflections of Wonders across the Prime worlds. Massive construction feats like a Wonder are only possible when the will of the people comes together to create something lasting. Cathedrals were built with the understanding that somebody alive when construction first started wouldn't be alive to see the building finished. It wasn't built for them, but for everybody who came after them.

I'd imagine that Arcadia would be dotted with different immense projects each in various states of completion. This would also give a reason why a off-plane caravan would even bother visiting Arcadia: feeding a project's insatiable appetite for building materials and food. It would also give a good excuse for other people to visit: sightseeing! And it would give a good reason why the Arcadian's would be so testy towards off-worlders: their holy sites are overrun with tourists and interlopers wanting to take in the sights!

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Re: Planar Renovation Project: Arcadia

Wicke wrote:
Sightseeing! And it would give a good reason why the Arcadian's would be so testy towards off-worlders: their holy sites are overrun with tourists and interlopers wanting to take in the sights!
Don't you just hate it when a tour bus of modrons drives up and start taking pictures of everything with their cameras [Not meant as an insult to your post, Wicke - it just tickled my funny bone to think of the Great Modron March in terms of obnoxious tourists]

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