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Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

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Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

The idea here is that there are parallel Great Wheels out there, all different than the others. Sigil might be different as well, and perhaps there is no Lady of Pain or perhaps there is another guardian of the city or perhaps She was killed eons ago and Sigil is a smoking wreck.

In whatever format you like, feel free to post some ideas of alternative Wheels, factions of the Metaverse (all the Wheels taken together), personalities for metaversal characters, items, places, etc.

My first example will follow below.

edit: Probably best to refer to "our" Multiverse as "Multiverse Prime".

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel I - Inner to Outer, as Below So Above (from here)

Sigil is a forest whose edges are bordered by mist. To walk into the mist is to wander into an unexpected plane or possibly even another Wheel.

The Lady of Pain exists here - debate rages whether the Lady is ultimately extant in every Wheel in varying forms - in the blade-haired, flaying shadow form we've come to expect. To be mazed here is to become lost in a thicker section of a forest only to realize there are no longer any portals.

In the place of dabus, Sigil and the Lady are attended by the silver walkers - sculptures roughly woven together from refractions of moonlight. There is a city but it is an underground somnucropolis - all the residents of the city are a mysterious race akin to slender, silver-white mercane that are fast sleep on beds of stone. The roots of the trees extend into the flesh of the Sleepers and gain nourishment from their dreams. As a result of this the trees seem to whisper through their leaves and bark.

The silver walkers attend the trees - pruning, watering, plucking the dream fruit. The trees do not all blossom and bear fruit at once, each seems to have its own particular season and its own particular fruit. No one is sure what the silver walkers do with the fruit, but what is interesting is that they will not stop you from eating anything off of the branches - to eat the fruit is to go mad from the great dreams of the Sleepers. The realities in the Sleeper's dreams are so much more real, and so much more beautiful, that one cannot help but feel lonely and lost when forced to return to a world of lesser substance and emotion.

Portals here work by burying a key into the soil around a particular tree. One key works for a party, as it makes the people around the roots of the tree sink into the soil. After a few moments of wet darkness you find yourself at your planar destination. The forest has rangers and druids who help travelers find the tree they are seeking, though magic items (maps, dowsing rods, compasses) and spells exist so that one can find their own way around.

The forest is a largely empty place that seems to shift size. There are animals here, but they are rarely seen. Darker, more dangerous predators do lurk in the thicker parts of the forest. Due to the protection offered by the Lady from the elemental dominance, there are also many exemplars who've taken up residence in the branches of the larger trees as well as in the underground city of the Sleepers.

The Outer Planes here have been conquered by the elementals and elemental-kin, and under their rule alignment exemplars have been blinded and are used as currency. The blinding process varies between elemental nations and planes of origin - burning, dessication, freezing, flesh to stone or jewel, vacuum exposure, and impaling are but a few possibilities. Interplanar traders keep these extraplanar natives inside soul gems and similar devices. The elementals seem largely unconcerned with the travels of mortals, but anyone attempting to help exemplars outside of forest Sigil is tortured, imprisoned, and oftentimes killed or enslaved.

Given the vast size of the Outer Planes as well as their very nature, pockets of resistance are continually forming on the Outer Planes due to the influx of petitioners from the Prime, though most are claimed by the realms of the various gods. The war between elementals and exemplars resulted in the death of many gods, so the Astral here is more crowded with god-corpses than it might otherwise be.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel II - The Tripartite Sigil is the Engine of Modernization

Here Sigil is the collective term used for the three cities that revolve around the Spire. The names of the individual cities are Kzra, Illianda, and Wei La. The Lady guards each city and will step in when She feels the rivalries between them have exceeded Her patience. Of course given that there have been three intercity wars in the last ten millennia, one of those decimating the population of Wei La almost to a man, it is not clear what actions cause Her to intercede.

Travel between the cities is not possible except via portal.

Descriptions of the three cities are as follows:

Wei La: The City of Kites and Lanterns

Wei La is a green tiled city with streets of gold. Emerald, jade, green steel and varied species of plants are the primary building materials. The streets are laid out with incredible organization but at times subsequent blocks seem like worlds unto themselves. Spirits of the Air have taken the place of dabus, and the primates seem far more happy and intelligent that those found in other parallels. Not only do they engage in the upkeep of the city, they also deliver messages strung on the varied kites flying on the mighty winds that continually whistle their way through the variegated architectures.

Kite-fighting is a favored past time, though once carried off by the winds it is not clear where the loser's kite will land. Adventurers have found kites stuck in the Demon Web and in the lowest levels of Pandemonium.

Night lasts far longer than day, and throughout the year there is always a dark monsoon season of perpetual night. This has led to the overabundance of lanterns utilizing mundane and magical means taking up residence all over the city.

There are more portals to places dominated by wind, rain or darkness in Wei La than in the other two cities.

Kzra: The City of Bones and Bloodlines

Kzra is as much a mausoleum as it is a city, and as such it is dominated by the Dustmen and to a lesser extent the Doomsguard and Bleakers. Much of the architecture makes use of bones, the grander structures actually evolving into undead beings with personalities derived from the collective unconsciousness of the interred.

Vampires and other undead forced to be nocturnal favor Wei La for its darkness but all undead take comfort in the streets of Kzra. To the undead it exists as the city where they might walk not just openly but with pride. Even the fiends know who the dominant powers are on its streets, and even the most overzealous angel who comes here is advised to tread lightly.

Incorporeal undead dressed in the hooded pelts of some kind of white furred ungulate predators take the place of dabus here, serving less as maintenance workers and more as keepers of the peace between the undying crime families - Vampires, Ghouls, Mummies, Spectres, Death Knights, and Sons of Kyuss. Refuse resulting from partially eaten corpses ends up being a major problem in the poorer districts.

There are more portals to undead dominated worlds and planar locations in Krza than in the other two cities.

Illianda: The City of Waters and Wines

Illianda is a city crisscrossed by ill planned canals, a great many of which are dry. Portals to any planar waterway appear regularly and most last for several decades at minimum, and because of this the richer areas are able to redirect this water via the steam driven, pipe laden golems that function as impromptu plumping and aqueducts. Thus the more well-to-do areas, or the areas around which business is centered, have much more organization to their canals. The poorer districts are more worried about redirecting deluges than their appearance to outsiders.

Razorvine exists here, but it yields the most excellent grapes for the making of wine. The wineries of Illianda, largely but secretly dominated by Sensate back corporations, are famed across this Multiverse.

There are actually less portals in Illianda than in the other two cities, and they often appear briefly, but when they do open those who step through them seem to find fortune in one form or another.

Planar Conditions:

The planes here are largely the same as those you'd expect on the Prime/Central Wheel that we're used to, save for the fact that there is an incredible amount of magic use here. True namers, pact binders, shamans and sha'ir rub elbows with wu jen, shadow casters, and psionic defilers.

For those of you familiar with the techno-magically advanced civilization on the prime world of Eberron, the conditions are rather similar though the magics are much more diverse. It is actually quite rare for worlds not to have artificers and some kind of living - though not necessarily humanoid or metal based - construct equivalent to war forged. Artificial life/intelligence has hit this parallel in a big way.

A transit system utilizing a lightning rail moving through permanent portals actually connects the three cities of Sigil. Similar transplanar expressways, connecting planar metropoli to gate towns and maybe to secret hideouts, are run by varied companies, empires, religions and factions.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel III - The Dead City, the Missing Lady

Should note that most likely I'll keep the Lady of Pain the constant (even if this rule relies on her absence) between all these parallels, but no one has to follow that. I just like having her as meta-reality's (supposed) lynchpin.

The idea of a shattered Sigil was one brought up on the PS Mailing List

Sigil is a shattered torus, its ruins strewn about the Spire. The remnants of its walls squirm in an attempt to maze whoever the culprits were for this disaster. The dabus can be found aimlessly doddering around shards of street and the gutted fragments of broken buildings. The rebuses above their heads are a jumble of meaningless symbols, the cryptograms of spastic once-upon-a-time riddlers.

Though the Lady has not been seen for over a thousand years anyone who comes near the semi-animate bones of Sigil will definitely be jumping at shadows. Attacking the dabus, or for that matter aiding them, has become taboo for all save the rilmani who now act as nursemaids to the now lunatic wanderers.

The factions have gone to ground, hunted by exemplars and proxies alike because they are the scapegoats of this inexplicable nightmare. The destruction of Sigil resulted in a portal storm that, at its apex, destabilized this Multiverse. Billions upon billions found themselves transported to unexpected locations, which in turn led to seismic planar shifts as the collective alignment and physics of areas swung wildly.

By the time the storm ended, about four hundred years ago, much of this parallel - including if not especially the Prime worlds - lay in ruins.

And anomalies are still occurring. Sigil's own ability to exist and access locations across the Wheel it rests within bled out in a torrent of...whatever it is that makes Sigil the City of Doors. While this initially resulted in the portal storm, overtime it has led to less predictable but no less dangerous (and sometimes wonderful) rewrites of reality.

Due to planar vortices and rifts and unexpected planar traffic, the Prime Worlds have seen massive influxes in the plane touched populations. National borders have in many places been overwritten to favor division by planar influence. Genasi, tiefling, aasimar and other plane touched are beginning to overwhelm all "normal" races.

The conflicts of the Cosmic Game have intensified in violence and waned in subtlety, as many fear what should happen if the next alteration of reality grants overwhelming advantages to the enemy. Why Sigil broke and what, if anything, the Lady of Pain wants to do about it are questions left to scholars, philosophers, and as ever the real burden falls onto the shoulders of planewalking adventurers...

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel IV - Where Quiet and Wild Reign

Sigil is a near silent city tended by dabus. There is no sign of destruction or violence that justifies why this Multiverse seems to have been depopulated of almost all sentient life. Not even gods or exemplars remain.

Evidence suggests that the effect was both unexpected and simultaneous. The best attempts to date this event place it as having occurred twenty-five hundred years ago. Besides the dabus, the few left behind that can be trudged up are sleeping peacefully and cannot be woken. Reading their minds reveals little - images of deer drinking by a stream and the laughter of children.

This Multiverse's planes and planets are littered if not overwhelmed by ruins being reclaimed by wilderness in one form or another. A common but unknown calligraphy appears on many buildings across this Wheel but as of yet no parallel-walkers have been able to decipher it. The incongruity of these markings with the architectures they now tattoo and the lack of any book or tablet mirroring them in all these ruins suggests this calligraphy appeared during or after the Vanishing.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel V: Where Rivers Overflow

Here Sigil is a torus atop the spire, but half the city is submerged by the waters of the Ma'at. When the dabus population is seen underwater they are merfolk dabus or dabus with a lower torso of tentacles. Where razorvine dominates the drier portions of the city, the underwater sections are plagued with an unusual species of blood-leeching kelp.

The Outer Planes find themselves flooded by Oceanus, Ma'at, and the Styx respectively. Whether rapids slosh over and between the cubes of Acheron or the Beastlands exist as oceans with varying degrees of illumination, all the Outer Planes are overwhelmed by the presence of their planar rivers.

The most changed are Limbo and Mechanus. Limbo is still a place of elemental chaos, but much of that now is dominated by the swirling, unpredictable currents of the Ma'at mixed with great inky portions of chaos matter. Mechanus is a place of massive ice crystals spreading through the water in swirling fractal arrangements.

A similar situation exists on many prime worlds, with much of the land submerged underwater. Note that these waters are only partially natural - they originate from the three extra planar rivers. The memory stealing nature of the Styx has thus resulted in...unusual situations on these worlds as well as the Lower Planes.

Bridges, dirigibles and submersibles account for much intraworld and intraplanar travel.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel VI: Sigil is for Lovers

Sigil here is overrun with roses of varied shades of color, sizes and levels of sentience. The lazy drone of bees fills the air and this is a much greener city with more public parks. There is even an orchard in the Lady's Ward.

While the usual questions of economics and magical prowess are asked of this parallel's residents, the questions that burn the minds of this Wheel have to do with the nature of love.

There is an abundance of love gods and the exemplars war via complex romances, marriages and seductions before and after going to war. Devil-demons such as the Cathezar are actually somewhat common and are accorded much respect. Other types of crossbred exemplars are also extant, though the passionate nature of the Blood Dance ensures more of them hail from the Lower Planes. (Do not think that the Lower Planes possess our positive mortal notions of love - the fiends do not restrain themselves from using manipulation or coercion to obtain their hearts' desires)

In Sigil the philosophical debates of the extraplanars as well as the factions take the form of talks done on pillows or conversations had in between musical numbers played in dance halls. Sigil has many establishments that cater to dating. Even the dabus are romantics, always seen working in pairs, acting like long married couples happy to bicker with endearing rebuses.

The number of interfaction marriages results in many subfactions combining different aspects of the varied philosophical stances.

On the Prime Worlds much adventuring is done to win grooms and brides (or less permanent partners) as well as collect gold and jewels. Just as in other parallels where there are Dark Lords and irresponsible magi continually arising, in this Multiverse there are many jaded lovers and captured lovers and even happily committed lovers serving as the engines of history.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel VII: It's All Hinterlands Here (the gambling part is from the Casino Parliament mentioned in China Mieville's Bas-Lag novels)

The idea of a Unified Upper, Middle, and Lower Plane belongs to Monte Cook - he planned to include it in an adventure where PCs go back in time to visit a more primordial Wheel

Sigil is reknowned for its gunsmiths and saloons. The Harmonium are all armed with six-guns and the Mercykillers have stable-hostels catering to ki'rin, equars, pegasi, hippocampi, unicorns, nightmares, and all manner of equine partners. Gamblers play for souls and slaves, sunshine and moonshine, looks and lost moments and even the laws of reality - the last one gives the Guvners something to do.

(When you think of brothels think of an establishment run by Torment's Fall-From-Grace.)

The planes on this Wheel are much less defined. There's an Upper Plane, a Concordant Opposition, and a Lower Plane. There is an Inner Planar expanse with Positive and Negative Poles.

The Concordant Opposition is a mishmash of Order and Chaos, a wreck of a reality kept in existence by the three mysterious lights that shine in its center.

The Upper and Lower Planes are similar, there are kingdoms of various exemplars but none of the races put up a unified front. Even the Heavens are more dangerous, filled with glittering flora and fauna completely unburdened by sins original or otherwise but completely willing to rip out your throat. Lions of gold, wolves of silver, eagles of splendor all have their place in the ecosystems. There are also more animal-like celestials who don't have the same prohibitions against eating sentients as the ones on Multiverse Prime - what matters to them is making sure the combat is honorable.

Aspects of all the aligned planes of Multiverse Prime do occur but these environs have much less rhyme or reason.

The Inner Lands are in a similar condition, an intermingling of elemental forces warring for dominance. There are elementals warring against their opposing element but also many elementals fight in an attempt to unify their kind into a cohesive empire and thus a cohesive plane. Only problem is of course deciding who gets to be in charge. Cryonax appears to have made great strides in the Inner Lands but this has yet to result in a great concentration of ice worlds on the Primes...

This entire parallel leans towards Chaos, making the factions and other forces of Law the underdogs.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel VIII: A Conflict of Empires

Sigil once again is an oasis in a turbulent Multiverse. The Lady of Pain offers relief and to the privileged few a place of residence, both valuable commodities in a Great Wheel ravaged by pseudonatural bioweapons competing against inscriptions inked under the skin of reality.

Content to coexist peacefully for untold ages, the spellweavers and mindflayers have finally gone to war.

Sigil is a far more tolerant place, the factions content to relegate themselves to competitive banter given the Lady's low tolerance for instigators in a planar metropolis congested with an influx of refugees.

All of the planes are war zones, and the once great cities of the exemplars lie in ruins.

The spellweavers have taken the Spawning Stone to an unknown location, leading the Slaad Lords to walk the planes in a fit of berserker rage.

The illithids have corrupted the formians which in turn has led to a mass return of inevitables to combat the cancer.

The Blood War is, amazingly, still being fought but all the yugoloths have retreated to their towers in the Planes of Conflict.

Toril has become a planet wide military base for the spellweavers with the willing support of Mystra. Her Chosen remain baffled by this unexpected alliance and now serve grudgingly as viceroys in the new empire.

Athas is overwhelmed by pseudonatural monstrosities and other aberrations brought through planar rents opening onto the Far Realm, but for now the illithids are prevented from overrunning the world with their menagerie of horrors. If anything, the mindflayers have suffered heavy losses due to their underestimation of the world's inhabitants. The Dragon and the Sorcerer Kings wonder if the time may have come to once more bend the knee to Rajaat.

Krynn, ruled by the One, True, Hourglass God has seen great flights of metallic and chromatic dragons driving off agents of both empires with ease.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

This whole thing is pretty informal, so feel free to suggest alternatives/additions/elaborations to some of the things I suggest above or explain why they won't work or just mix and match stuff from them.

Magic items for parallel walkers welcome, as well as monsters swimming through the meta-realities in the higher levels of Time and/or Space.

Humor, horror, and everything in between will make great additions.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Digressions on Walking the Parallels:

"There's a joke, mind you it isn't all that funny, that parallel walking was thought up by two guys who simultaneously concluded with respect to the other that the Multiverse wasn't big enough for the two of them...

.....

Like I said, it isn't all that funny."
-Old Elba, also known as the 48th Cast Iron Princess

=-=-=

"Exemplars and elementals, gods and men, in the wake of every lost war and every tide turned against them and even every hair Breadth escape ask themselves: What if things had been different? Even the content will ask it, that question of questions, and historians will endlessly debate it.

Everyone gets to ask, but only chronomancers and parallel walkers get to traverse through the answers...and nobody likes those know-it-all chronomancers."
-Morning Dew on an Exposed Ribcage, One of the Seven Silverback Shadows

=-=-=

"I love Her, but I don't worship Her. That's what keeps me safe. It also keeps our non-relationship healthy. My love for Her is the prism through which I can love all creation.

It seems impregnable, doesn't it? Existing in so many forms, always falling under Her benevolent shadow...but it's different when you see the Present assaulted by the Past and the Future, the ghost eyes of hungry phanes always on the edge of Time's horizon...

I've seen Sigil fall.

I've seen reality broken and ruined in so many ways.

I've seen a Multiverse fall into the gaping maw of the Far Realm, seen another fade into the nonexistence where the vestiges dwell...and each time I've sworn on Her bladed crown to keep it from happening all over again."
-Keeper of the Medallion of Time and Place

=-=-=

"To walk the Wheels is to understand every form of Paradise and Perdition there is. It is an impossible but irresistible quest for every true scholar invited. Because who else could possibly grasp the Truth but us? Who else can decide the meaning of that diamond word but those who've at least garnered an inkling of its myriad facets?"
-Juriaxinae, blind pixie monk who uses a Creation Song for multidimensional echolocation

=-=-=

"I suspect it's my endless dissatisfaction, as much as my magical accessories, that opens the way between Wheels for me and my hangers-on."
-Count Morgenstein, dwarf-warforged hybrid and an inter-Wheel artifact

=-=-=

"Once I left my post I figured land, elvish or otherwise, was something to be enjoyed only in moderation at best.

I started off my unlife as an oathbreaker sailing the seas of my homeworld. After three centuries of that I took my game into Wild Space and of course it's only a skip across a puddle from there to the currents of the Flow.

Eventually I made my way onto Oceanus and the Styx, spent years chasing booty across the Silver Sea and even press-ganged a crew into some doldrums on the Ooze.

And now you're telling me there's a Wheel overflowing with water? I'm there old son. Just tell me which portal I gotta steer her through to get to the promised land."
-Jonsun the Cutlass Kissed, a baelnorn with penchant for piracy.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Sculptors of the Avalanche

"One day you'll know. Big change always starts small."
- Joe the Barbarian by Grant Morrison (Author) & Sean Murphy (Illustrator)

The Sculptors of the Avalanche, more often referred to as Chaosticians or Pebble Placers, believe all change turns on small, seeming inconsequential events. Those who come to understand the origin point of cataclysmic change will be able to topple Abyssal Lords and dethrone Lords of Nine if they choose, all with minimal risk. To sculpt history in this fashion is to strike with the weapon of causality.

The philosophy of the Pebble Placers demands that they take their originating Wheel as a personal Multiverse Prime and then use a combination of chronomancy, divination, and walking the parallels to seek out Wheels with slightly altered starting conditions at whatever starting point they choose to study.

The Sculptors are a largely noninvasive faction when judged on the scale of multiple Multiverses, but the factions members do attempt to put their theories into practice on varying scales with varying degrees of success. Suffice it to say that worlds have suffered for their hubris as well as their precision.

Given the cerebral nature of the faction, it attracts many loremasters and chronomancers with a more scholarly bent. As there is great uncertainty as to the length of time needed to collect results, as well as garner the necessary preliminary data, the faction is top heavy with those that are immortal or at least naturally enjoy century spanning lives.

Those members who don't choose to enter into some form of immortality - undeath or elan-hood being the most popular - before their race's ages of decline are looked upon as weak and ultimately undedicated to the Great Work.

Regarded as traitors, faction members whose minds are deemed too promising by their superiors to be lost are forcibly imbued with unending life. The adherence to an idealized greater good as well as a focus on controlling events makes this a Lawful faction whose primary planes of residence are, where extant, Arcadia, Mechanus, and Acheron.

Their faction symbol is an arrow shearing the top off a mountain.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel IX: The Triumph of Celestial Bureaucracy

Sigil is a collection of offices and temples, given that most of the real estate has been taken up by scholars and priests of the Celestial Bureaucracy. Whenever possible, access to the portals is overseen by the agents of this pantheon. The Lady seems unconcerned, perhaps even amused by this development, shifting the portals' locations and turning them on and off at the urging of her whims. This has led to the city's traffic being made up largely of those who are willing or forced to risk unreliable portals...meaning Sigil's streets are packed with those serving the Bureaucracy as servants or slaves.

The dabus continue to go about their duties. The Harmonium are now the dominant faction in Sigil and on the planes. The Mercy Killers busy themselves by hunting down Doomsguard and Anarchists on the run. The Athar were wiped out almost completely long ago, the Shattered Temple now a temple to the Bureaucracy's pantheon.

The Planes of Conflict now lean heavily toward Law. The Twin Paradises, Gehenna, Elysium, Hades, and the Outlands are almost completely dominated by the lawful powers and exemplars and their landscapes bare only a hint of chaos at best. Carceri and the Beastlands retain some of their wild frontiers but even there one sees the lawful become natural - the Law is a cancer (or cure?) eating away at what these places once were. The Ma'at has been diverted with canals and functions as a river rail supporting economic investments. The Spire is now a white jade tower around which curls a massive Asiatic dragon. The dragon's tail spirals on the ground around the Spire's base - it is there one will find the remnants of the now scattered Rilmani civilization.

The Planes of Chaos seem enervated and ghostly, their reality attenuated. Everything in these places speaks of half measures, and all the residents seem to move sluggishly due to their spiritual malaise. The Blood War is over, with the devils now in control of the yugoloths and quarantining the tanar'ri.

All the demodands seem to have vanished but there are rumors they are coordinating a rebellion with all the fiendish races - even the devils know the Jade Emperor has little use for the tyranny of Baator and wishes it to be replaced by his own brand of Law or at least, given Evil's possible necessity for Multiversal integrity, the more ordered rule of the Rakshasas of Acheron.

On the Primes the worshipers of the Bureaucracy have expanded across worlds, using the strength of their gods' blessing to carve out empires stretching across Crystal Spheres. The culture and style of the Bureaucracy dominates the planes and primes now, even in places such as the Inner Planes where its power has yet to fully take hold. The elementals of law have declared for the Jade Emperor, but the true Elemental Lords and genies are playing nice while arming the varied resistance movements across this Wheel.

The Jade Emperor's rule has improved the lives of many, including the sense of justice brought to those who believed they were damned - there are sentences that can be worked through, contingent on the petitioner becoming more and more lawful - while simultaneously curtailing freedom and even the more passionate emotions people are able to feel.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

The Process of Parallel Walking

Planeswalking is a matter of finding keys and accessing portals, or the usage of some clever arcana. Planeswalking is about cutting across distances too vast to be otherwise traversed.

Parallel Walking is different - it is the redefinition of your being, a retuning to bring you into harmony with a foreign reality. So long as you stay in your own Multiverse you are part of a symphony - the elemental foundations of the Inner Planes and liqueur of beliefs that are the Outer Planes are a part of you just as you are a part of them.

To enter a new Multiverse requires unstitching yourself from one reality's seams and sewing yourself into the the cloth of another. It is an act of conscious will, and oftentimes in the beginning you will find yourself vomiting out blood and possibly guts after a traversal so keep your healers handy...and make sure you are going somewhere where their magic will still work.

Every time one journeys into a new parallel they are changed, their body and soul are altered. Some parallel walkers believe only the soul moves between Multiverses, that you make up a body from the material found there. Others say that parallel walking is ultimately a violent act - that you gut one reality, scarring it even as you graft yourself onto another. Others will laugh at this and say one cannot damage the Wholeness anymore than one can scar the sea with a sword - they will say there is only a song, a poem, a Myth retold across the campfires of distant Dreamers. They will tell you that it is in the cadence of the teller's voice and the reaction in the hearts of the listeners from which new Wheels are forged, all branching out from a First Tale so long ago told....

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

This whole concept is new to me so I haven't got much to offer. The most I ever considered was a Sigil of the past and future that were influenced more the strengths of various planes than on the technological march of history. (E.g. if you view the time of Primordials where the only major planes were Pure Law and Pure Chaos or Inner/Elemental vs. proto-Outer planes)

But there is one oddball idea I had toyed with. Imagine if Sigil were a Moebius strip with one side facing the Spire and one facing away. This would either allow you to double the "length" of Sigil or to cut its circumferance.
Then perhaps the twist in strip moves so that during one rotation, a specific point will face Spirewards then on the next it will flip and to face outward (I suppose you could use this for day/night or different weather conditions depending on which way the surface is facing)

Since I came up with this odball idea when I was in a quirky mood, I also considered that perhaps the reality of Sigil shifts when the twist of the strip causes a flip. For example, Sigil might be in its current mode then when it hits the twist in the Moebius strip everything changes to have a heavily Egyptian influence (i.e. all the same people and businesses will be there but there are a lot more pyramid structures and lot more loose sand lying about. Then on the next flip, everything has a Wild West flavor)
If one were to do this, it would be possible to outrace the twist. Imagine that the spot you were just flipped outward and turned Wild Westish, you could race down the street race over the twist and be back in Egyptian-influenced Sigil (until a short while later when that point reaches the twist and also becomes Wild Westish)
I suppose another alternative would be to have a dark side/light side Sigil based on the direction faced. When outward facing, a lot of businesses, people and portals related to the Upper Planes exist; but when the ring twists and faces inward, they cease to exist (for that rotation) and are replaced with similar Lower Plane businesses, people and portals (or perhaps a Law and Chaos split)

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Great stuff - love the idea of a shifting Sigil as well as the idea that the Multiverse itself shifts, for the person in Sigil at least, between the poles of Law/Chaos or Good/Evil.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Pilgrims of the Compass

"But I am your willing slave. I choose a life of bondage!"

...For a heartbeat, the Exalt General could swear he saw children running...

"Choice," his Lord-and-God said smiling. "Willing...Your shackles are cast from this very iron."
-The White Luck Warrior by R.Scott Bakker

The Pilgrims of the Compass, the Heart Seekers, are those who feel a special relief at learning of the infinite iterations of the Multiverse. They are those who are troubled with an inescapable uneasiness in their existence, a sense that at any moment the people around them will reveal themselves to be but a cast of characters who are now exiting off of a stage that is in the process of being dismantled.

What the Pilgrims believe is that they are out of place, but now that they can cross through the Wheels they have a hope of rectifying the accounting error that led to their birth in the wrong reality. The barrier that separates them from being where they belong is a fundamental lack of self knowledge. By truly understanding themselves, the Metaverse will realign reality to place them in the proper Multiverse.

Because how can you know your heart's desire if you don't know yourself? And what happens if the truth of your heart is something unclean or unwanted? Not everyone stands ready to be confronted by the Multiverse they deserve, to find themselves in a wretched existence of their own subconscious choosing.

Pilgrims are wary of the intimately experienced yet ultimately alien melancholy they are hoping to free themselves from. It is, more than any external threat, their greatest enemy.

Pilgrims are like the Sensates in that they are boisterous explorers of parallel Wheels, but their obsessive introspection lands them somewhere between Ciphers and Signers. They seek a deeper connection to reality, but what they seek from that connection is personal to themselves and in a sense somewhat selfish.

Those new to the Pilgrims of the Compass will continually second guess themselves, and some will take advantage of the faction's stated mission, using it as an excuse to be flighty and capricious. Older members understand that you need to offer some commitment to people and places, ideals and tasks, to truly understand how your heart is responding to the life you are living. Pilgrims often have mimirs or other ways of recording their thoughts and feelings at various moments in time to better examine themselves as they change and hopefully grow.

Every pilgrim also has a heart compass, a magical device that attempts to transport a person to the reality in which they belong. Given that the device only works once every five years faction members never use it lightly. These devices seem to rely on the same unruly magic that magi tap into to power their wish spells. The compasses also seem to be severely diluted copies of the Medallion of Time and Place.

Heart Seekers seek to understand their subconscious minds, to grasp how and why they make the choices they do. The higher one climbs in the faction, the less likely they are to act rashly on their passions. They might still engage in violence or plot the death of someone who humiliated them, but first they will ask themselves if the emotions they are feeling are not veils for some deeply buried motivations.

Heart Seekers prefer to live in the Astral, as it is the physical manifestation of Mind and to test themselves in those layers of the Abyss where the landscape twists itself in a dark reflection of your innermost thoughts.

Most Pilgrims who finds themselves on the Infinite Staircase will almost always immediately seek to leave before they accidentally end up at a door to their heart's desire. Every so often, however, one of their number seeks out the Staircase with the gleam of Enlightenment in their eye...

The faction's symbol is a compass in a ribcage.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Item: The Diamonds of Correspondence

(note: I'm thinking of Correspondence a la Mage: The Ascension, as in dealing with spacial frameworks)

Diamonds of Correspondence exist simultaneously in several Multiverses. They are found in the same plane (or an equivalent area of a plane) and cannot be moved or damaged save possibly by certain lost artifacts.

These gems also cannot be interacted with by anyone who hasn't traveled from their Great Wheel to another, parallel one.

Towers, monasteries, temples and fortresses are built around these gems in the parallel planes in which they occur by various metaversal organizations. Certain diviners have dedicated themselves to mastering these gems as a means of inter-wheel communication and spying.

Diamonds of Correspondence, if broken, result in breeches between Multiverses. Sometimes this results in an aperture to the Far Realms that must be forcibly shut in every parallel, other times characteristics of the parallels intermingle or seep out onto one another.

The shards of a shattered diamond are dangerous, unpredictable magic items in their own right as they are wounds in the Metaverse.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel X: The Gilded Darkness

"A toast to those who have cheated both God and the Devil."
-Stormwatch by Warren Ellis

Sigil is incredibly beautiful here, as lots of funding from both Paradise and Perdition has been given to making the city a very, very comfortable place for Primes to "educate" themselves about the Multiverse. Things are really cheap in the city, and everyone seems eager to help if a bit nervous - like if their own shadows were keeping tabs on them.

Poverty doesn't exist here, and the biggest faction is the Sensates who run pleasure houses across the city. Given the amount of labor given to the upkeep of the city, razorvine is a minor problem.

The dabus mill about, ignoring everyone else, but it doesn't seem like they have much to do.

The dark of this parallel is that celestials and fiends are at war, but the celestials are evil. All of Paradise is a honey trap meant to lure the unwary. Given the number of souls they manage to grab across the infinite primes, all the Lower Planes are also much more accommodating but in a more baroque fashion. You can get more mileage out of your sold soul in this Multivese than likely any of the other ones.

The fiends are often more direct with primes than they might otherwise be. The way they present themselves to any Prime catching on to the Truth is as the honest bad guys, the ones honorable enough to tell it like it is. The angels are the slimy, false faced liars who put on a good show when on the prime - helping kingdoms and all that - but reveal themselves once a petitioner ends up falling into their clutches.

Actually, reveal is a strong word. There are people being tortured in Aborea, in the Beastlands, in Heaven and the rest of the Upper Planes - but they are usually out of sight. The endless suffering is sensed more than witnessed, and angels that have been put to the question offering nothing but a glib smile when asked about the locations of their infinite concentration camps. (Note that if Primes are in the room they'll weep piteously and deny every accusation.)

The whole Wheel would be utterly depressing save for one thing - good deities do exist. They don't exist on the Upper Planes - that is the place for false gods of moral tyranny and selfish excess - but they grant spells and communicate through omens and dreams. They even have proxies who risk everything to travel the Wheel and work against the extraplanar monstrosities.

Sometimes, on some Prime worlds, the gods of Good can even directly warn their worshipers and encourage them to choose undeath or some other form of immortality. There are secret worlds filled with nothing but stacks and stacks of souls mercifully entrapped in gems and other magical containers.

Because Good as a primal force does not exist in the Outer Planes it terrifies the celestials and the fiends. To them Good is as alien and nightmarish as the Far Realms. Any cleric of a Good deity is seen as an eldritch horror, a wrenching flaw in the structure of time and space.

Whether a quirk in reality, a self defense mechanism of the Prime and its alternates or a form of intervention by the powers of Good, it is incredibly difficult for extraplanars to enter worlds on the Prime. This might be the only thing that prevents the warring angels and fiends from decimating the Multiverse.

The inhabitants of the Planes of Neutrality are boxed in and concentrate their efforts towards defending their homelands. The inhabitants of the Inner Planes are the least effected, though they despise and distrust any extraplanar on a matter of principle.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XI: The Sylvan Battleground

Sigil is a city in perpetual Twilight. The architecture incorporates much more greenery and flowers, as well as being more resplendent and crystalline. Tall fluted spires are all the rage. Under-Sigil is more open and more developed, the labyrinthine passageways lit by glowing gems and mushrooms. There seem to be many more children running around playing than you might expect, and its unclear who their parents are. When asked they merely giggle and run away.

The great conflict that overruns all others is that between Titania and The Queen of Air and Darkness and their courts of Seelie and UnSeelie respectively. Fey are everywhere and dominate every plane due to the war effort. The conflicts between Good and Evil, Order and Chaos, and competing gods and the Blood War still go on but the pace and intensity of those battles is broken by the fey charming exemplars into service or putting them to sleep for eons to keep them out of the way.

Even the Seelie Court will not think twice about hurting those who try to take back their planar homelands, though they might entice mortal worshipers of gods or turn them into butterflies where the UnSeelie would enslave them or turn them into fast melting ice. To the followers of Titania the destruction of their ancient foe is more important than anything else, especially as all accounts seem to have them as slowly but painfully losing.

Do not go to Pandemonium unless you absolutely have to. The Queen of Air and Darkness, empowered by the Black Diamond, has altered this place so that all the tunnels and currents of wind lead to her realm. Breeches into the planes of Limbo and the Abyss are common as the Queen seeks more and more slaves for her war effort.

Prime worlds as well as the planes have seen an influx of forests filled with sylvan creatures. There are more unicorns, brownies, faerie dragons, centaurs, leprechauns, spriggans, quicklings, hags, killmoulis, pooka, korred, satyrs, dryads, pegasi, treants, selkies, swanmays, and other fey creatures spread across this Multivese than one would expect in Multiverse Prime. The generosity of these beings always depends on the value a particular place or world has to the war effort and how much power the Courts can bring to bare in that location.

Druids and elves have been quick to take up arms, and most drow long ago left Lolth to serve the Queen of Air and Darkness.

It is unclear what the Black Diamond is, though by most accounts the Queen of Air and Darkness did not create it. Apparently there are facets of it scattered in this Multiverse, leading some parallel walkers to suggest it is a corrupted and shattered Diamond of Correspondence.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Alchemists of the Echo

"Knowing that every action taken in one realm of the Multiverse is echoed in the others, we devoted ourselves confidently to the UN and the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights..." -The Skrayling Tree by Michael Moorcock

The Mirror Workers believe that not only are the planes in a single Great Wheel connected, but all the Wheels are capable of influencing each other. Similar to spirit realms that parallel and influence the prime worlds they border, the Alchemists tackle this idea on a variety of scales.

The faction is held together by shared knowledge of Metaversal magic and the comfort of evidence that the faction's philosophy is true. Given that there are many Wheels out there, faction members with opposing goals usually attempt to bring about their respective desires in different Multiverses. Rather than all out intra-faction war, this is seen as a respectful, if at times grating, athletic and academic competition between members.

The Alchemists have in their possession various rituals and incantations that oftentimes seem to extend the influence of actions into other planes and Multiverses. As one rises in the faction, one finds it easier to instinctively sense and travel to parallels (or planeshift to planes on the same Wheel) where one's actions have rippled across planes and/or realities.

The faction symbol is two faces, each the negative of the other in color, leaning in for a kiss.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Item: Reality Transcription Bomb

Reality transcription bombs (RTBs) come in two types: Those that temporarily ascribe the properties of one Multiverse onto another, and those that do something similar but between planes in one Wheel. Both types look like small music ornate boxes or tomes of different shapes and sizes that would always be incredibly valuable even if they didn't have any magical properties.

RTBs can affect the ways magic works, the power of true love, the dangers of eating pomegranates in the wrong area, or maybe just afflict Hades with Elysium's Traveler's Way. The power of these items vary from those that affect a room for a split second to those that make changes to continental spans that last for years - the latter of course being incredibly feared to the point of direct intervention by gods and planar lords.

RTBs that alter parallels can only be used by those capable of parallel walking, while intra-Wheel RTBs can be used by anyone. The ingredient is always some piece of the reality you are trying to temporarily emulate.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XII: The Nascent Dream

A silvery sky stretches out over Sigil, the City of Scholars and Doors. The peaceful, ascetic race that is the Mercane and the stoic sign language using Zodar are the major and only non-ephemeral inhabitants. The city is a massive campus of labs and libraries and planar observatories.

There are portals that appear to go places but using them is ill-advised unless you are given magical protection by the city's major residents. Everything outside of Sigil is an embryonic dreamscape of developing potential. Cities, planes, worlds all seem to rise and then eventually sink back into the Dream Time that is the current state of this Multiverse. Sometimes beings will come out of this dream and enter the Cage, but all of them will also disappear.

What is unusual is that parallel walkers are the ones who remember these dream figures - the Zodar and Mercane can recall things they've scried beyond the city walls but never any dream figures they interacted with. The actions these figures take also ends up being muted or their origins ascribed to some other source - a dream fiend could ravage the populace but when it either is put down or just ends up ghosted away those it killed will have died from some dangerous experiment, will have martyred themselves by entering the Dream Time and sending back observations before vanishing, or will end up still being alive.

When asked about their work, the Zodar say nothing and the Mercane expound greatly on philosophy and academics all the while uttering little to nothing about their actual plans.

Though they are never seen by the Mercane, and only possibly by the secretive Zodar, parallel walkers will find themselves running into the dabus while wandering the university-city. When questioned on what the two races are doing, the dabus will gleefully raise up a stream of delighted rebuses commenting on the cuteness of childish hubris.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Reversers of the Dilution

"Tales and adventures are the shadow truths that will endure when mere facts are dust and ashes and forgotten” -Sandman by Neil Gaiman

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. ..."-Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Upon learning of the myriad, infinitely stacked Wheels one might feel overwhelmed, and the possibility of someone like you out there making almost the same choices can make you wonder if the choices you make actually matter, if "yes" and "no" are just branching off points for the great Tree of Possibilities. Others might wonder about the nature of truth, if intrinsic foundations of reality are nothing more than optional suggestions.

It is not an uncommon belief that perhaps there are too many Multiverses out there. The Dissatisfied take this a step further and conclude that "too many" is "more than one", though not for any of the aforementioned reasons. In the same way a great wine can be watered down or an imperial coin counterfeited with the use of baser metals the Reversers believe that the infinite Wheels are actually the result of a greater, deeper, more meaningful reality being shattered into the pieces we can only experience as variations of our of course subjective Multiverse Primes.

For them, instead, every Multiverse is a broken piece of a Primal Multiverse, and it is up to them to glue the whole thing back together again. This leads to an often disastrous but occasionally breathtaking form of reality surgery.

When you attempt to solve a puzzle, oftentimes there are patterns on the pieces that are so obvious that they naturally become the favored starting points. Similarly, there are people and places and things that are alike enough in certain Wheels that they end up being the focus of the Reversers. Through the use of magical abilities accrued through the ranks of the faction, the Dissatisfied are able to bring together these almost alike pieces into one particular Multiverse. The result is often some kind of aberrant nightmare skewed to the rest of space-time, but sometimes there are undeniably beautiful - though possibly still terrible - successes that are convincing arguments for a long lost hyper-reality.

Impatient Reversers will often decide to buck tradition and try to bring together two or more incredibly disparate versions of people, places, and things in varied combinations to create real versions of their supposed hyper-real visions. A castle might become loaded with guests for the ultimate masquerade ball, a cabal might try to bring about the perfect emperor, or a blacksmith might try to reality-forge the perfect suit of armor. Even more so than the aforementioned experiments these attempts lead to unforgettable heartbreak and disaster....though when success does happen - and it does...well, ancients have wept tears of blood for lesser miracles and much more disappointing wonders.

A less egomaniacal subset of the faction - which admittedly fluctuates in size over time - believes that rather than try and return to the Primal Multiverse they should dedicate themselves toward deepening the nature of the Multiverses as they are. These members research this process by contributing to humanities and sciences, aiding in the discovery of new magic and the hunt for the technologies of ancient empires. Many will spend years on these tasks, but it must be said that reality-forging is an addiction of sorts, as well a direct application of the faction's beliefs, and thus this branch of the faction is largely a rest stop for members to get over the horrific results of past forging failures.

The Faction Symbol is a pair of bleeding hands pushing together two just overlapping compass-roses.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Personality: Nama-Ti, the Herald of Root and Soil

"Fairy Tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”

-G. K. Chesterton

Impossible though it seems Borys the Dragon is dead and the Sorcerer Kings are overthrown. The Alliance has thrown off its Veils and the witch hunt for the clerics of Silt, Sun, and Magma has already begun.

From horizon to horizon the chains of slaves are broken and people weep to see thunderheads massing over the horizons.

This is Athas reborn under the maternal wing of the Avangion. This the burgeoning Promised Land that Nama-Ti has willingly abandon because she knows there are so many Athases still hurting, so many slaves still choking on the dust and ash of a world bled dry by defilers.

Nama-Ti is not an especially strong fighter, and her psionic skills are an untamed beast to be uncaged only when life and limb are under immediate threat. She has two gifts, however, that have marked her as Herald - she is a gifted teller of myriad tales and she is able to walk through parallel incarnations of her world.

Slaves hiding in desserts retell her stories of a world reborn at their campfires and sympathetic nobles attend clandestine performances of a history they do not know has already come to pass somewhere else. Clerics of Fire and Water, of Earth and Wind and Rain dream alongside the druids of inspirational futures conjured by legendary revolutionaries that have already broken the strangleholds choking the world.

And every so often, a trusted Master of the Way and the Art is given a gift by the parallel walker, the arcana of self-transformation that might be the key toward creating a world like the one Nama-Ti left years ago.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Digressions on Walking the Parallels:

"We leave the star sequined darkness...and in place of rainbows I am staring into stainless, blinding gold. A few days more and we're far enough out for me to see the crests of other crystal shells arcing out, glinting in the light.

A week and I see It. A blackberry.

So many shells, so many worlds...and when what to us was a season spanning billennia ended, that little berry would ripen and fall.

Unless a bird got to it first.

And who are the gods of that bird?"
-Shetha the Memory Seamstress

=-=-=

"Your angels and fiends lack the...timidness of the specimens drawn from my memory. It was strange how quickly those ones seemed like reeds slightly bent, kinked by the wind...as if they woke up and found themselves carrying an ingot of awe for Him on their shoulders.

It must be weird to see an eternity of struggle come to nothing at all. A defeat that makes the entire history of your kind the prelude to a punchline.

But then, besides from the dragons and the Saved, seems like nobody there got the Ending they wanted. You know, when we got the news, half my family just went with it? The look on my mother's face...nobody expects a spouse of sixty years to treat them like that. You can't blame my father - I mean, imagine if you saw the avatars of a pantheon circling above your imperial capital. But then I guess I do blame him, right? I've kept my hate but lost my accent so I must be holding him responsible for something.

I don't know if I'll go back - can't say I was a fan of Io's redecorating when I left. But then again, despite the transfusions, I can hear that Wheel calling me back, telling me to accept the salvation that my lineage has given me.

It's comforting, knowing that, even if morally I'm completely against it. That I can just go back and take my place at His side.

What keeps me here? The reason He'd exalt me, it doesn't have anything to do with who I am and everything to do with a few drops of the right blood in my veins.

Seems a funny reason to be Saved you know?"
-Former Princess Eazerren, Seventh in Line to the Chromatic Throne and the Staff of Five Breaths

=-=-=

"All of his orifices were like guards overwhelmed by looting rioters, not one of them was denied an outpouring of blood. The man's eyes dangled from his sockets, bounced along his cheeks, and for all that he smiled. Several teeth had burst, exposing their roots. White enamel poked through his cheeks.

His hands - their wounds finally matching the ones on his unidentified badge - held a sheath that seemed to be housing a recalcitrant god. Through my tears I saw the runes on the scabbard writhing and changing as though in a frenzy of congress. The First Consort took it from the blacksmith's hands and in next moment the sword's maker breathed his last.

'The glyphs - they're cryptographic wards. Ones that can't stop evolving - it's the only way to contain It.'

That line is taken verbatim from the magus who had been standing beside me. I knew I had to take exact diction when I realized it was beyond me to grasp onto such thoughts.

That night I was asked to compose a letter to the blacksmith's colleagues, a note upon which a mere five words were written: Six Wheels Made Into One.

The next day the King's First Consort unsheathed the blade, raising it as he charged far ahead of his vanguard. He rode a ki'rin he'd befriended in Heaven, a steed that could bare the glare of that sword's edge in the sunlight.

Those galloping behind him stumbled. The enemy before him wept, and before they came to their senses, strode forward with arms open in the hopes of being cut down by that sword. But by then it didn't matter what they did with themselves.

What saddens me about this victory, and all the ones that followed, is that too often legends are formed around events that, if they could be witnessed, would prove unworthy of the words that are penned after the failure of memory.

Here we have a far greater tragedy - lesser men, unable to recreate the craft of that mysterious blacksmith, will dismiss his triumph as the inherited lies of mythology. Others will say the First Consort must have been too...effeminate to wield such a weapon.

If only the sword hadn't exploded, destroying the living for miles. I would almost say if only the blacksmith had lived, but I don't think that could be possible - not after what he brought into being. Six Wheels - what did he mean by those words? Even in absolute ignorance, I share in his pride to this day.

And I think often of that sacked smile the blacksmith took to his grave - Neither the eldest of monks nor the most innocent of sleeping babes have matched the peace on the face of his corpse.

Of all the mortals I have been tasked to witness, in all the ceaseless recurrence of history, he is the only one that I envy."
-Jingchu, the Chronicler watching through Wood

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Item: Ring of Welcome

Rings of Welcome are simple gold rings sculpted on a parallel and then given to those travelers expecting to visit that Wheel. Rings of Welcome curtail much of the disorientation inexperienced parallel walkers feel, as well as make travel faster for those who better understand the process of translating your being to a place with different rules for reality.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel CXXI: The Waters, the Land and the Crown

Sigil, also known as the Crown, is a circular castle that circumscribes the Spire. This Sigil is far larger than the Cage in Multiverse Prime, and the castle has been converted into a city. For the most part the dabus don't mind the remodeling, but every so often they will fade into existence - this is a signal to abandon whatever renovations you were about to engage in. As always, attacking or even just defying the dabus is a sure fire way to find yourself mazed or filleted.

Positive, Negative, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air are the only Inner Planes.

The Positive Material Plane is an endless, bottomless expanse of adamantine light. Its energies are much more stable, and no one who comes here will burst apart. As such, many civilizations exist here though any non-native must give a tithe to the enigmatic Elementals of Life. The tithes vary between settlements - some are asked to give up a child or two while others are required to raise some kind of monstrous animals or surrender years of youth. Vivacious creatures of various sorts always come to collect the tithe, anyone who has seen the Elementals of Life does not speak of it.

The Negative Material Plane is a viscous place filled with clots of partially solidified negative energy. Undead, just by existing here, are seen as poaching and dealt with harshly by the natives. No nonnative endures this place for long - the wraith like Elementals of Death have little tolerance for anyone save for visitors bearing generous bribes. Elementals of Death enjoy the cradling of dying animals or sentients, or barring that precious things of value to the visitor now tarnished or decayed.

The Plane of Fire has an atmosphere of blue flame within which rests spheres where residents make their homes. Those who are not fire elementals live in spheres of magma or cinder, while the true elementals live in white hot stars. The Plane of Air is a dark void filled with churning winds, screaming elementals, and continually occurring storms. Settlements make heavy use of bottled lightning as a source of illumination. The Plane of Earth is surprisingly bright due to the preponderance glowing gemstones, and the elemental beings here are shrewd negotiators who enjoy the influx of traders. The Plane of Water is dimly lit by the submerged bergs of ice giving off a soft glow and the various bioluminescent creatures that always seem to be around.

The Outer Planes are an infinite expanse of islands varying in size, with the Spire always seeming to rise out of the waters somewhere on the far horizon. Sailing the waters requires strong magic or a water-attuned extraplanar guide to reach an actual destination across infinite space. Marraenoloths, wastriliths, noviere and zoveri are capable of aiding a traveler to get to a destination in accord with their alignment. One sails the waters which usually have the properties of the Ma'at, but take on the nature of Oceanus or the Styx depending on the alignment of the island you are visiting.

Each island leans toward an alignment, one that is usually easily determined by the races, flora, and fauna found there. However, loyalties do not always break down according to axes of Law/Chaos or Good/Evil, as these exemplars are more concerned with specific domains related to their fiefdoms. For example, some islands might ally because of their concern for government, while others might take up the banner of music or science. It is not uncommon for exemplars of widely different alignments to grudgingly take up arms for shared a cause.

Factions are very powerful here, using portals and currents to eek out settlements and trade routes. Powerful exemplars create huge empires in name of Art, Magic, Ice and other portfolios. Gods have islands of their own for their realms, and seem much more focused on the Primes than elsewhere.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

These are incredible, Sciborg. Your imagination never ceases to impress me.

As it happens, I was working out the details of a parallel Sigil the other day (based on the cosmology described in the old D&D Immortals Set and its associated iteration of the D&D game), so I'll post it here.

Parallel XLII: The Multiverse of the Five Spheres

Phaedra cast the Lonely Wayfarer an irritated look. "...Another parallel multiverse, Wayf, really?"

The Lonely Wayfarer gave Phaedra a sheepish grin. "Oh, Phaedra, please? You'll like this one."

Phaedra sighed. "That's what you said about the multiverse in which all the planes were flooded with milk being churned by rival tribes of gods, and the one where one plus one equaled three, and the one where everyone was a kind of word or part of speech, and the one where all evil came from fallen stars and good was a distant ocean that no one had ever reached, and they were all terribly boring and also somehow dangerous and I'm sick of being simultaneously bored to death and killed to death."

The Lonely Wayfarer shrugged lightly. "I thought they were fun. But Phaedra, this one is absolutely amazing and I've had my heart set on it for days or, at the very least, minutes, and if you don't let me visit it at least a little I'm going to be whiny and troublesome until I get some sleep, which might be weeks from now for all you know."

Phaedra rolled her eyes. "Fine. Show me this Multiverse of the Six Circles, Wayf. But make it quick."

"Five Spheres," the Wayfarer corrected. And he opened the door.

It was Sigil. Recognizably Sigil, with spiky ornaments on the eaves and black thorny vines on the walls, mud and smog, the streets curving up all around in an enormous ring. Countless races bustled about, running errands, shopping, seeing the sights. But the sky...

"Oh, the sky," breathed Phaedra. Beyond the smog-covered ring it pulsated, spun, boiled, twisted. It was like a storm, but a storm in which reality itself, the fabric of space-time, blew madly about, contorting, spiraling.

"The Dimensional Vortex," said the Wayfarer. "That's where this version of Sigil is kept. This parallel doesn't have an Outlands or a Spire. Instead, its City of Doors exists within the sixth, seventh, eighth, and ninth spatial dimensions, within a storm so deadly and confounding that even the great Immortals who rule this cosmos can't enter it without becoming lost forever. Somehow, in this impossible place, the folk of Sigil are able to survive, as long as they don't venture beyond the ring. Most credit the will of the Lady of Pain, believing she is one of the ancient beings who created the Dimensional Vortex in the first place, walling off the higher dimensions from the Immortals, forcing them to narrow their efforts to the lower five."

The two companions walked slowly down the city streets as the Wayfarer rambled on. As strange as the sky was, Phaedra was surprised to see that she actually recognized many of the landmarks that they passed. This version of Sigil was very close to the one she knew, back in what she termed Multiverse Prime. But wait... the razorvine in this multiverse bloomed with roses. Pale white roses, but roses nonetheless. She reached out to touch one, but the Lonely Wayfarer grabbed her hand.

"You don't want to do that," he said. "They're not like the nice roses in Multiverse VI. They call these vampire roses, locally. If you get too near, it'll snare you with its thorns and drain you dry of all your blood until the blossoms turn scarlet."

"That's simultaneously boring and deadly!" exclaimed Phaedra. "I knew this multiverse would be like all the others."

The Lonely Wayfarer looked annoyed. "Don't judge it so quickly. This parallel has all kinds of interesting features. For example, look at those black spheres over there." He gestured at the night-black orbs, each with a diameter about equal to a man's height, hovering near a decrepit building. A few moments later, they were swarming the building, and brick, mortar, and wood dissolved from existence at their merest touch. Soon it was as if the building had never been there at all. The spheres paused, and glowing glyphs appeared briefly above their heads. Then they darted off into the distance.

Phaedra blinked. "Are those... fat, featureless dabus?"

The Lonely Wayfarer grinned. "Blackballs! They call them umbral blots in our multiverse. Essentially, they're sapient spheres of annihilation. They're native to the Dimensional Vortex, messengers of the Old Ones, so the Lady of Pain uses them instead of dabus in this reality."

Phaedra shuddered slightly. "How horrifyingly tedious. So are those the Five Spheres you've named this multiverse after?"

The Wayfarer shook his head. "Oh no. The Five Spheres are Matter, Time, Thought, Energy, and Entropy. Those are the forces that dominate the cosmic conflict here, like Good, Evil, Law, Chaos, and Balance do in our own multiverse, only without a strong moral component. They simply are, and lesser beings, the Immortals and mortals, are left to provide their own moral meaning to it all. The most powerful factions in the city align themselves with the spheres, too. The Hardheads here are acolytes of Matter, working to prevent change and encourage stability. The Vibrants are obsessed with change and energy of all kinds, especially light, sound, fire, and magic. The Thinkers are an order of scholars and tricksters convinced their thoughts and dreams can alter the multiverse. The Chronologists, sometimes called the Chrononauts, are historians, temporal police, and martial artists who seek to become one with the rhythms of time itself. And then there are the Doomguard... they seem to be the same everywhere."

"Gods!" said Phaedra. "You're going to put me to sleep! And then the roses will eat me! Or the dabus-balls will."

"Now, now," said the Wayfarer. "There are plenty of other things that can eat you here. There are adaptors, humanoids who change their forms in response to hostile stimuli. It's dreadfully difficult for them to get drunk when they become immune to every substance after they ingest it, but they keep trying, with stranger and stranger chemicals. Maybe one will decide a whiny girl from a parallel multiverse might give them a buzz. There are planar spiders, arachnid merchants who can travel from the Astral Plane to the Ethereal Plane to the Prime at will, though here they have to use portals like everyone else if they don't want to get lost in the Vortex. There are the kal-muru, monstrous humanoids from the Elemental Plane of Air; Malfera, elephant-like tentacled abominations from the Dimension of Nightmares; magen, a form of artificial life; reflecters, who are visitors from the far future; oards, visitors from another future, or maybe the same one, who want to change history in order to allow their own history to come into existence. The Hardheads of this parallel were created as a result of another one of the oards' failed plots. There are flickers, who are living creatures made from chaos and light; notions, who are made of sound; and soo, who are made from time. Those metal-skinned giants clanking their way toward the Great Foundry are known as Hephaestons. Those arrogant-looking tall elfin creatures are faedornae. The spectral hounds come from the heart of the Vortex, just like the blackballs do, and they're probably unguessable messengers of the Old Ones."

"So many uninteresting ways I could die," Phaedra mused.

A tall black monolith, easily fifty feet high, hopped toward the two. It was laced with subtle shining veins, like half-buried threads of diamond.

"Query," said the monolith. "What is thought? Why am I plagued with it?"

"That's a baak," explained the Wayfarer. He turned toward the nearly featureless cube. "It's all right. You'll figure it out sooner or later. Just keep picking at it. Like a scab."

"Query. What is a scab?"

The Wayfarer turned back toward Phaedra. "The baaka were created by the Sphere of Matter to act as guardians. They're intended to be perfectly patient minions, entirely without thought, but on extremely rare occasions, one will achieve sentience and go rogue, like the modrons of our parallel." He turned back toward the baak. "You should join a faction. They'll take care of you there. Just ask people about factions and eventually someone will point you to one." The monolith hopped off.

"This parallel is weird," noted Phaedra. "Weirdly depressing. And I could have been crushed by that hopping rectangle thing, which would have been a weirdly depressing way to die. Could it even see? It didn't have eyes! And how did it move around with no legs?" The Wayfarer nodded absently at this.

"The Outer Planes in this multiverse are different," he continued, ignoring her other questions. "There are five big ones, corresponding to the Spheres of Power. Brynn is the plane of Matter, a disk-shaped plane with regular, geometric forms. Nothing ages or decays there. Pyts is the plane of Entropy, a succession of giant skulls and corpse bits and such; things tend to decay much faster there, and quickly transform into undead. Mirage is the plane of Thought, a misty place where every thought becomes real. Draesten is a glimmering, beautiful plane of Energy, filled with vibrant life and jungles and a landscape that slowly shifts and transforms before your eyes. The plane of Time is Entrem, a vast network of rivers and seas that hover in space. Time there flows as oddly as the water does, sometimes reversing, sometimes looping, sometimes going faster or slower. There are an infinite number of lesser outer planes, such as the Draconic Cluster, where the Immortal Dragons rule; the Nine Worlds - those would be Muspelheim, Asgard, Vanaheim, Niflheim, Alfheim, and other names you'd probably recognize, all clustered around the World Ash, Yggdrasil; Limbo, which is a purgatory where mortal souls rest on their way to their final destination - the local equivalents of the Dustmen live there; and Veydra, which you ought to be interested in if only because it rhymes with your own name, which was the place where a crystalline entity known as the Overlord enslaved the gemstone dragons, the nomadic Flaems, and the beholders, among many other..."

"Boring!" moaned Phaedra. "Also, I'm starving. I'm going to stave to death or die of boredom. Probably both."

"Fine," said the Lonely Wayfarer. They found an inn named Blackball's Kiss. Phaedra ordered the steak, while the Lonely Wayfarer ordered custard and mustard. A scarlet-skinned, hoofed creature that the Wayfarer insisted was not a tiefling, but a friendly creature from the Dimension of Nightmares known as a diabolus brought them their meal.

"So," said Phaedra between mouthfuls. "Anything else I should know about this multiverse?"

But the Lonely Wayfarer was face-down in his mustard-custard, fast asleep.

(There's more in this thread, though.)

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Awesome stuff Rip - I forget all the cool stuff lurking around in my old Mystara books!

Nice that you worked Parallel VI in there. Smiling

ps. Have Phaedra and the Wayfarer appeared before? And is your stuff still on Geocities or have you archived it into zip files? I could have sworn I had your page on an old laptop but that one died off in a blaze of glory.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XIII: The Aftermath of the Sun War

Sigil, now caught in a perpetual night, is bathed in a sourceless moonlight, one that threatens the casting of watching shadows in all outdoor areas. The city is colder, but that's true of everywhere on this Wheel.

Many of the planes are filled with charred sections - burnt forests, plains of ash, seas choked with cinder. One is the struck by the lack of solar deities. While some apparently exist, these gods have chosen to limit their influence and expend their power in hiding themselves. Whether it is fear or shame that causes them to raise up these Veils is unclear.

The Primes mostly hold planets frozen by the absence of suns. This has led to Cryonax inheriting a great many worlds, and this in turn has led to an expansion of the Elemental Plane of Ice. The Elemental Plane of Fire seems diminished, as does the Positive Material Plane. The eclipsing of the former has led to the colder temperatures even in worlds with extant suns. The eclipsing of the latter means that lightning in this Multiverse is dulled in both light and thunder, that the lustre of gems is lacking, that steam does not rise so readily and morning mist comes in tatters, that all radiance is muted now.

Some worlds have small pockets of living peoples warmed by powerful magic. However most worlds only hold undead "survivors". The lack of births has led to a dearth of petitioners on the Outer Planes, meaning the number of exemplars has dropped considerably.

The origins of the sun gods' war is lost to time.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XIV: The "Triumph" of Vecna

Across the worlds they dream of him in some fashion. His eye watching over them, his hand at their throats. As with all omens, all signs, the gullible are led by the deceivers, who no matter how well intentioned leash all miracles to their own ends, their own prejudices, their own exaltation.

Wars are fought in the name of the Hand, children are torn from mothers in the name of the Eye. Such banners herald new empires across the breadth of the Primes even as the Multiverse attempts to heal from the Whispered One's struggle to the throne. This Wheel leans into other Multiverses even as it totters, parts of it stumbling back to its own possible pasts or falling face first into one of its possible the futures. Many are the rivers leading to the Present, many are the directions in which the Present might flow into.

In Sigil all factions are cowed, and the city is a necropolis run by Vecna's warring theocracies. And yet the dabus continue their work, work that at times dismantles edifices built in the Arch-Lich's name. Even his peoples must abide by the interdiction laid down by the Lady in happier days - those who do not find themselves mazed or...worse.

Imagine being confronted by the divine vision of your skeletal god, its one eye burning with mad desperation, its one hand held out like a man hanging off from a cliff, a cutting shadow sliding from his floating incorporeal form - the shadow of a woman with blades for her hair...

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XV: The Rilmani Get Serious

In Sigil everybody steps lightly and their sleep - well that could be carried off by the gentlest of zephyrs. You will find more of the same in Heaven and Hell, in Fire and Water. Those who crusade in the name of one cause or another have learned to be happy with half-measures, to limit the span of their ambitions. They know all triumph is wrenched into tragedy, history has led here so many times that even the Guvners have written it into their mathematics and then raised this knowledge to the level of Axiom.

All of them - mortal, god, exemplar, elemental - they have been utterly conquered by those who have no desire to rule. The Rilmani have not fashioned an empire but rather have flooded the Multiverse with spies and assassins, have made nooses woven from the purse strings of the planar economy.

Rarely will you see them, for they are the ones controlling the stage. Sometimes you will find lines of credit drying up, or perhaps a library holding a map finds it has gone missing. Or perhaps fortune seems to favor you, that enemies are distracted and lost artifacts are discovered. Yet that perhaps is worse, for you are cursed with the knowledge that on the other side of the scale someone must be suffering for the successes you're seeing.

They hide amongst the Primes, they sail the Spelljammer through the oceans of color. At times you may find angels and fiends invading a world, you might see a god punching itself through a portal. But then the feathers of angels scatter on the wind, and in the distance you hear the crunching of birdlike bones. Or perhaps the horns of fiends lay amidst blood on the grass, their hides stretched out over the branches of trees to dry in the sun. Perhaps the portal closes, implodes, and the god's corpse is found adrift in the Astral.

That is the Rilmani. Their hand reaches out, across infinity, and steadies the plummet of the balance.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Hunters of the Golden Wheel

"The Kingdom of God will not come by expectation. My Father's Kingdom is already spread throughout the earth but men do not see it..."

-Gospel of Thomas

Somewhere, the Hunters are certain, the angels have finally gotten their act together. They've conquered Evil, and from there they've figured out hunger, and poverty, and the fact that not every mortal finds the perfect job or the perfect family.

The Hunters busy themselves with looking for this fabled Wheel, jumping across reality. The faction has a tower that holds a pit containing something from all the Multiverses that have not lived up to the faction's expectations. The pit is keyed to rings worn by the faction, so if they find themselves in one of these places where the angels have either failed or haven't quite figured things out they know to keep moving on.

Hunters learn a special form of parallel walking, where they actually can jump into a random Multiverse for a day and then jump back. They won't jump into a Multiverse already ruled out by the magical pit in their tower.

Hunters also have devices to scry into new, unvisited parallels. They also have archives on theories of meta-reality, and legends of their Promised Land written by parallel walking civilizations now lost. Chasing down these legends and any Metaversal theory that might help in their search is the only reason the Hunters will usually bother to visit a reality they've already deemed to be a failure.

At times you might think to ask a Hunter why they don't just pick a Multiverse and work to make it better, but don't bother. They'll look at you like you asked them to dine on feces excreted by dogs.

The faction's symbol is one Wheel shining like the sun over a pile of discarded Wheels.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Quote:
ps. Have Phaedra and the Wayfarer appeared before? And is your stuff still on Geocities or have you archived it into zip files? I could have sworn I had your page on an old laptop but that one died off in a blaze of glory.

No, they haven't; I just made them up yesterday.

Geocities is dead, but last I checked someone had archived my old website somewhere else on the internet.

Edit: Here you go. I kind of dislike losing control over it (there are definitely some things I would fix/change), but it's not like I had been updating it anyway.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Architects of Infinity

"Vishvamitra created a new set of constellations for him and was about to create a new pantheon of gods as well, but the gods persuaded him to stop..." -Trishhanku halfway to Heaven

For some, walking the parallels is not enough. They must understand how they are able to do what they do.

For some, attempting to understand the weaving and unweaving of the self through the myriad realities is not enough. They must weave and unweave realities of their own.

The Architects of Infinity seek to create Multiverses of their own. They are scientist-artists, driven by a compulsion to master powers not even the gods can boast of. They are world builders, fantasists of the highest order who have tasted the power of walking into the fictions they have debated and drawn and fallen in love with.

The Architects of Infinity are not a faction that goes around looking for members. They in fact are very insular and protective of their secrets, with good reason - many beings in the Metaverse would seek to destroy them for the dangerous work that they lovingly pursue.

As of yet, the Architects have, with one exception, only managed to build semi-real places - simulations, dreamscapes, and shadow-verses. They can create incredible realities in the Deep Ethereal and Plane of Shadow. Sometimes creatures from these places are able to come out and enjoy the Pinocchio Effect, at other times no matter how real or infinite they seem on the inside these realities collapse and erase any real visitors they might have contained. Like captains going down with their ships, the more sentimental Architects have presumably erased themselves from the Metaverse to be with the semi-fictions they loved. I say presumably because no one in the faction seems sure if these people existed or were characters in really good books or plays.

That perhaps is the greatest danger of the Architects - for all their power, or rather because of it, the Architects are prone to lose themselves through the use of the powers they've harnessed for their sciences and metaphysical constructs .

The one place Architects have managed to create, in a sense, is the Crossroads House. Originally thought to be a Multiverse of its own, it was later found the House is made partially from overlapping parallels for which it serves as a nexus while sections of it seem to exist as an independent, albeit finite and small, Multiverse. The Crossroads House itself is a subject of much scrutiny by the Architects, because it is unclear who among them created it and how they did so.

Architects take the time to establish contacts with Signers, Guvners Mathematicians, and Anarchs, and anyone else dedicated to the manipulation of reality on varied Wheels. They also possess an incredible assortment of spells and items designed to alter reality, with libraries dedicated to the Mysteries of Shadow Magic.

The faction symbol is a Wheel with a face at its center. On either side of this Wheel are an awl and a hammer.

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Quote:
Edit: Here you go. I kind of dislike losing control over it (there are definitely some things I would fix/change), but it's not like I had been updating it anyway.

Thanks Rip - hope to see more of the Wayfarer and Phaedra soon!

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Place: The Crossroads House

"What miracle is this? This giant tree. It stands ten thousand feet high But doesn't reach the ground. Still it stands. Its roots must hold the sky."

— Mark Z. Danielewski (House of Leaves)

There are seven rooms. They are our children, they are the rooms we made and, we hope, the secret to Making itself.

Now if only we didn't keep losing them. If only the rest of the House wouldn't guard them so jealously, would let us find them and take accurate measurements. The House, the rest of the House, it hides what we made in the folds of All that we didn't. It wars against us, its architects, and I'm not really sure why.

I mean, we did put together the rest of the House, we just didn't create all of it like we did the Seven. The rest of the House was just a side effect...I suppose that's why it's mad, it's like a placenta awakening to find itself in the trash and your shared mother cooing over the baby.

But I digress. Seven rooms that are our seven children. Sometimes the house makes windows to see into our babies, sometimes they await, door open, beckoning or beseeching from a long twisting hallway or separated from us by long twisting staircases winding like snakes.

You might, occasionally, come across one of our Rooms by accident - we have records of them popping up across parallels in past, present, and future. Just in case, let me give you a rundown -

The Room of Seeded Minds: One of the theories many Architects hold to is that creation is contagious. If you create a bit of reality, that bit should be the shoulder you stand on to make reality-craft easier - especially if that bit is brimming over with so much potential it makes you shake down to your bones with ecstacy.

So if you have powerful anarchs, or Signers, or telekinetics, or creatures with access to wish spells...you might keep them in this room. You might drug them and enchant them or do some surgery on their minds, a bit of neuropuncture...and you might seed these brains with the schematics of your Multiverse in hopes of writing your fictions into reality...

I'm not particularly proud of what we did with this room.

In the Crossroads House we find hints of this place by the architecture resembling known fictions, by the dreams we have of past creations, and sometimes we see pieces of those creations have momentarily come to life in the halls and staircases and plumbing of this largely borrowed place.

The Room of Colors:

The colors of this Room communicate with us. We follow red staircases and blue doors and green wallpaper. We receive complex messages from this room, colors that suddenly manifest in patches of clothes or swirling paints on some parchment. The codes make sense but often they change and its hard to say who to trust in that place. The politics of the colors is a complex one of marriages and offspring and wards sealing the treaties in between their chromatic wars.

Sometimes the colors we follow trick us you see, leading us to places not of our own creation.

Horrifying places beyond the ability of me and my fellows to ever imagine.

That reminds me - do you know any adventurers looking for work?

The Room of Blossoming Fauna:

Sparrows fly out of flowers, bats grow out from trees. Squashes burst open to reveal calves and foals and cubs - serpents poke their heads out from grapes and fish break through the thick shells of lychee.

Sometimes we can smell this room, an intermingling of scents from zoos and gardens. Sometimes we hear it in our long treks through the house, the screams of an abattoir. Then we smell it again, and our stomachs rumble.

The Room of Broken Bottles:

We have to find this room. We have to stop them from fighting. Who's there? We don't know. Who's fighting? Strangers we love. Strangers we'd die for if we could just stop their screaming and weeping.

Here, do you recognize any of these words? Can you read them? None of us can, and we are their makers. If only we could read what was written on the bottles, I know we could help the poor souls inside.

Sadly the room is lit only by starlight or flickering candles. All we see of the people in the room - sometimes two, sometimes more - are the intimations of heart stopping beauty.

The Room of the Prisoner:

We're terrified of the Prisoner. Oh gods no, we have no intention of letting it out. We do need to study it though - understand the lure of its pheromones...

Its smart, and the crayon scribblings it makes in the room - God, we could advance our field to its apex! We could be Wheel Makers in truth!

It's really bright in this room. I don't know what the Prisoner looks like, I mean we do have competing glimpses of skin and feathers and hair and sometimes an eye but its massive form seems to be rather nauseating. But I do like the peculiar cinnamon smell that sloughs off its flesh as it works.

The Prisoner speaks to us, in our dreams. It sings, a baritone song of stone that reverberates through the house. I know it wants to be found, but the House keeps it away out of spite or protection. Whose protection? His or ours or someone else's? Well, that I don't know.

The Room of the Rancid and Rotting:

The door to this room is always closed. It smells like something died in there, behind that door, something just gave up and died. How disappointing. When the House makes windows into the room you can't see what's on the floor because a forest of long necked mushrooms is blocking the view. I'm guessing the caramel fungi with white feathery fringes grew out of the corpses.

We find this room by the smell, and by the mushroom spores that take root whenever it is around. Eating these mushrooms you find in the nearby halls and stairs is not advised - the sensation of slowly dying lasts for days on end.

The Room of Making:

There is machinery in this room, the machinery that vanished when we first made the seven beloved rooms - oh, yeah, and the House too but that was an accident. It's still whirring away, perhaps weaving and creating a truly infinite Multiverse where we were forced to leave off.

The Prisoner says it knows what the machines are doing, and that we have to let it out, have to let it track down the so-called Keeper of the Medallion of Time and Place...

=-=-=

Notes:

1) Reading House of Leaves and loving it. Also, in terms of dimensional homes, check out the comic House of Mystery and R.Scott Bakker's idea of topos, places in the world that slide into the Outside...and of course the Shining...

2) Neuropuncture is something from Bakker, the idea of accupunture for the brain. Creepy stuff for sure.

3) The idea of walking through your own fictions comes from Warren Ellis's Planetary, though the idea of cosmos creation is much more wide spread.

4) The Room of Making is inspired by events in the Death Gate Cycle novels.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Crossroads House and the Architects of Infinity remind me of the keeper creation myth, the Guvner who could open doors to parallel realities of his own imagining and bring things through. I'd definitely make him one of them. And the keepers would have reason to assassinate any other Architects they learned about.

I thought of using Crossroads House to flesh out the World Serpent Inn, but on second thought the two buildings actually seem like very different ideas. The World Serpent Inn might occasionally form links to Crossroads House, but they're not the same thing.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Yeah, I didn't think about it too much but I guess I see Crossroads House as being transitive but it has so much control over where it takes you. It basically pulls in parts of parallel Multiverses to make a maze of its innards and keeps the Architects from their rooms.

It might develop goals of its own as it ages, and I suppose people could bargain with it, as the only people it actively opposes are the Architects. And that's a weird love-hate thing.

Good call on the Keeper summoner being a Guvner-Architect. I was also thinking of whoever built infant universe Qweq in the DC Comics Universe.

Recalling Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers, I guess the Seven Unknown Men of Slaughter Swamp are Architects, perhaps future or forgotten members who succeeded.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Item: Reality Box

Architects like to create devices utilizing psionics, magic, and technology in varied combinations. Some Architects specifically utilize the life-force draining combination of psionics and magic invented on versions of Athas, others will use Shadow Mysteries or True Names to approximate reality.

Reality Boxes contain simulations of the Architects conceptions for a Multiverse in limited form - they are noticeably finite though within the simulation the illusion of infinity can be generated through manipulation of visitor's perceptions as well as various forms of what we might call pseudo-infinity by connecting the reality in the box to a mindscape of an individual or perhaps several beings.

What distinguishes the work of the Architects is their attempt to directly create reality in the same way that the Metaverse spawns Multiverses. Though their knowledge is limited and their creations supported by aforementioned semi-realities, the amazing thing about reality boxes is that they support alternate metaphysical rules within themselves. One could enter a reality box, for example, and be confronted with a completely different magic system or an afterlife where Evil beings have no opportunity to rise through the ranks of the fiends.

One interesting question that the Architects have taken on at the behest of the Fate Breaker faction (see below) is the idea of utilizing reality boxes to cheat prophecies and curses, or make them come to pass in harmless or premature ways.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Faction: Breakers of Destiny

"As he turns away from her, the wind coolly touches his neck. Where he used to wear his torque, he feels a new leash - freedom."
-A.A. Attanasio, The Dragon and the Unicorn

"The old man turns to her at last. 'You are as free as you think you are,' he says. And then he turns and walks away."
-Euthanos, Mage Ascension Tradition Book

Nowhere can you go can you be free of of chains. Honor. Duty. Class. Parentage. Culture. Deception. Death. All these can follow you, perhaps some of them can follow you anywhere.

They must, to some extent, be accepted, perhaps even exalted - though sometimes one must war against them as well, war against them until you can no longer draw breath, until you are ash smeared over the frozen ocean.

But there is something worse, a chain-noose that shackles circumstance itself, one that threatens to rob struggles of their meaning: Prophecy. Fate. Destiny.

How strange is it that throughout the Wheels these forces exist, that one can meet a curse no matter how one struggles to avoid it, that for all the power and insight one has one might fall to an unavoidable sentence of death passed centuries before they were even born?

Do be undone by inescapable improbabilities that can hound us - that is the evil of Fate. That is why Fate is the enemy of the Breakers. That is why they journey across time and space, why they enlist parallel walkers, chronomancers and even Architects and Sculptors when goals are common enough to be shared by these other Metaversal factions.

Fate Breakers care only about their enemy, that force that harvests coincidence and synchronicity to enact a result that should by all logic be avoidable. Breakers gnash their teeth at the words "quirk of Fate", they want to dig claws into their faces when prophecies come to pass. A member of this faction will travel back in time, altering circumstances left and right, returning again and again to prevent the occurrence of a prophesied event. They'll take the victims of fated curses into new parallels in an attempt to cheat destiny. They'll murder people who are destined to be killed by another.

What's amazing is that sometimes they are actually successful. It makes up for the endless failures, the hundreds of times they watch kingdoms fall or a person kill the demonic tyrant they were born to destroy. Fate Breakers of differing alignments set themselves against different kinds of prophecies, but all of them seek to understand and ultimately counteract the elusive power of destiny.

More often Fate Breakers watch and calculate probabilities, looking for ways in which what might seem to be destiny is actually a rational occurrence when previously hidden or unaccounted for variables are taken into account. Tracking circumstances in similar parallels to the one in which acts of Fate are occurring occupies a great deal of faction members' time, much more than that spent throwing themselves in the path of destiny's brutal harvest.

Breakers of Destiny are meticulous record keepers, and work well with the Sculptors of the Avalanche to better understand how Fate uses events as weapons. They are also avid students of history and the related fields of politics and economics, seeking to bend circumstances so prophesied outcomes cannot occur. Others wander the planes in all the Multiverse's parallel versions, hunting for opportunities to thwart any prophecy of the future.

Chronomancer Breakers sometimes go to a parallel and travel to the future, only to return to the present and ensure those events don't come to pass. They mark down which Multiverses seem to have more constrained time streams and see how this relates to the fulfillment of prophecies. A chronomancer might also place a town or battlefield in a pocket of frozen time as he figures out how to stop some prophesied event that will be imminent once time is again free to flow forward.

Worshippers of gods who hold domains over prophecy, or those who claim to serve beings such as the Norns, are often kidnapped and questioned by faction members.

Because the Keeper of the Medallion of Time and Place engages in work similar to their own, the Breakers idolize the holders of this office.

Their faction symbol is a sword destroying a spinning wheel.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Personality: The Prisoner

"Its door was open but mighty arcana stretched across the space of the frame, keeping the monster from stalking out onto the landing. The House was giving me a moment with our creation, placing its Room on a staircase that wound up endlessly above and below us, its length drawn from scattered Wheels in the Metaverse.

I had followed the humid scent of its musk up the stairs of apartment complexes, of museum galleries, of the insides of a mercane's tower-ship in the depths of Wild Space. Sometimes the stairs were wound within a circular structure, sometimes the number of corners was three or four or twenty. We were now in a four corner stretch of some jaundiced building, though miles above it was a tricorner temple to Shiva and a few turns below it was a hexagonal library that might have been infinite though I could only peek through the keyholes in the door. It had smelled infinite.

The House had also juxtaposed itself with so many kinds of doors. Sometimes the doors were made of bone, and sometimes of iron or wood or amethyst crystals - two floors just above The Prisoner the doors were the unblossomed bulbs of roses. I assumed they would unfurl to let someone into their orifice-rooms - other spaces the House had decided to come into phase with.

The door of our child was simpler, oaken double doors thrust open wide so you could see the scratching of envious mathematics it had made on their insides. Though it spilled out in soft sunbeams the light inside of that room was a fury of blinding white. All you could see of the monster were the draconian wings, red skin veined black, wrapped around its down feathered corpulence like an ill-fitting robe. We were on the same level of our four corner stairway, but I was on the far side and would not dare to jump the distance across lest I fell to my death or worse stumble passed the wards into that room. I remember burying what was left of Johnson and Rahid.

But I had little time for the unpleasantness of the past, the House would act out its caprice soon enough. Only luck had brought me in sight of that math.

I knew it saw my licentious gaze, but even still I could not look away from those doors. If only I'd thought to bring a spy glass I could make sense of those equations. It laughed like a teasing seductress, the tinkling laughter practiced by courtesans in my homeland.

'What', it called out in throaty challenge to my prowess, 'have you made Architect?'

I ignored it, straining my eyes. What algebra was this? Why were their musical scales?

'What have you made that is Infinite?'

I bristled, blushing as it howled with laughter. That laughter was like the barking of a wolf.

Then I blinked and our damned House changed on me."
-Architect Theodore Calianetti

=-=-=

"The way was barred and even if it could be opened I would not release the Prisoner. I sat with my back to the wall beside the massive oaken edifice that kept it in its light flooded cell. The door that exceed my own six feet three times over was covered in carvings of simian things crudely sculpted with what I assumed to be a woodcutter's ax. Light spilled out from their hollow cleft eyes in brilliant shafts, and the dry aroma of some reptilian horror wafted out from The Prisoner's quarters. I could hear it skittering on the ceiling, stepping so lightly I knew its bones must be hollow.

'You wished to see me? You've figured out the missing parts of our proofs?' It had taken days before the House finally let me find this place the first time. This time one of my assistants had to be sent back after the House led him into a Hell ruled by spiders.

'When you made me, you and the others, did you imagine me as the Answer?' It sound genuinely curious, speaking the words through the gargling of a babe. The Rooms were our greatest achievement, and perhaps none of the Rooms held anything so great as The Prisoner. Mentally, it was what we wanted to be - most of us agreed that it understood, in theory, how to create an infinite place. Despite the name of our faction, the closest we'd come to such a thing was the Crossroads House, and in truth it was an accidental afterbirth phasing with infinite parallels.

'I...don't remember. We give so much of ourselves to our crafts.' I wasn't lying. The Rooms had been woven from the foundations of reality from which the Metaverse rose and branched into the Multiverses. Creating them had nearly resulted in the toppling of sanity and had, for a dread moment, threatened to erase us from existence itself.

The Prisoner sighed and begin pushing rolled up parchment through the holes in the door. The paper was stained with chocolate. The fingerprints looked like they belong to an ogre and a pixie respectively.

'I must find the Keeper. Will you let me out?' I said nothing, picking up the papers it had corrected.

'The Keeper needs to be found.' Its voice had changed, it was the pronouncement of an emperor to his vassals. I looked over the symbols and cursed silently. Of course! I should have known...

'Let me out and I will tell you a secret.' The voice was deep but feminine. There was promise in those words, and a moment later it hummed and I felt its music in my sternum. There were theorems swimming in my mind, I could feel them connecting. Revelation hovered just above my grasp. I had been Chosen.

'Please.' I whispered. Knowing better, I placed a eye against one the holes, one of the hacked out simian eyes. But for my wards I would've been blinded. Yet I could see - my heart lept with hope, I thought I saw a gemstone and strained to see what glyphs might be etched on it...I saw my face, multiplied by ten thousand. It took me another moment to realize the glittering red on the other side was an eye as well.

'LET. ME. OUT.' The insectile buzzing was nightmarish, deafening - I leapt back on instinct...and fell over the balcony. As I fell I heard the screeched cursing of dragons in the howled language of wolves.

I had to be resurrected. My skull had shattered, my lungs had welled up with blood from a punctured rib. The House had let me fall seventeen stories before phasing with a floor. Some poor noble would never understand where the blood staining his mosaic of Poseidon had come from.

As for the theorem's elegant proof, the answer to the Trasker Channeling Problem...The parchments were lost, scattered across now unfashionable realities already discarded. If anyone asks for the same corrections The Prisoner politely reminds them he already gave them to me years ago."
-Architect Izabelle Hotah

=-=-=

"I put my metal fingers through the mail slot. Something crunched on them and then screamed some little girl screams. A current of sonic force had run down the clockwork of my arm. I would need a new hand, but the thing on the other side of this garish lime green door would need a new face.

'I am not some simpering scholar. I care nothing for your math and your music. I am Count Morgenstein.'

I heard the spitting out of teeth and I smiled.

'What are you here for then?' The voice was of a lover I had never struck. But the thought had entered my mind once, then twice, and then something I imagined whenever we fought.

I touched a black rock runestone to my mangled construct hand and whispered an incantation. The thing on the other side screamed in the voice of my half-sister's child. I waited until the voice was of someone I either had never met or didn't remember hurting. Either way? Acceptable.

I ended the spell. Properly cowed, an ox breathing heavily, it now waited for me to make my request. All was as it should be. I paused, savoring the respect I had earned. But I had no wish to drag out my time in the Crossroads House either.

'I am here on behalf of a person of mutual interest. Why do you wish to find the Keeper of the Medallion of Time and Place?'

Silence. The leonine pacing of something hoofed like a horse. The blood and sweat smell of a dwarven lass returning from battle.

'You have known love.' This was not a question. 'And you have known war.' The skittering of a thousand insects. The bubbling of air from the depths of a bog.

'Can a man serve a god that he hates? Can he serve that god with all of his heart? Is worship the same as love?'

The voice was that of a curious child. I could picture him, he was more here than the green door struck by the sun of somewhere else or this dank lightless basement the House had temporarily slipped itself into. Even though this disjunction of places made the door glow the boy was more...present. The movement of the boy's sallow chest, a human child folding in on itself like a bird. Mahogany irises gave him doe eyes of obsidian. I could fit two of his lifetimes into half of my childhood.

Why was I thinking these thoughts? I raised the rune stone again, then thinking better of it, lowered my hand of flesh away from the one made of metal.

I would never see this boy again, just as I wasn't seeing him now.

'I do not know...I have no gods. Not anymore.'

The boy vanished, and even the door became the layers of muscovite, stone flattened into translucent sheets, appearing for all the worlds like flakes off a pastry. The light was greasy and diffuse yet still too bright to look into. I turned away, and the after-image of a rearing manticore danced in the flutter of my blinks.

'You could not convey my message. Your words would lack the necessary marrow. As you say, you have no gods.' The tone was of someone sad. Imagine the marriage of dwarves crumbling centuries after the children are gone and their arms are too weak for battle or stone craft. I might have tortured it again, but I knew that there would be no change in its position. It was time to go. Still...

'I have a father. A mother. Grandparents. All have blessed and all have cut.' I ventured hopefully, too stubborn to keep myself from this desperate pronouncement. I didn't want to play messenger, even to relieve some debt owed to the Keeper, but I had a hunger for winning the games that I played in.

'Go.' The voice was a cat, blind in one eye, left by a family who is moving to the other side of the country. It waits by a green door that once glowed like heaven in a basement from yet another world worn by the House. It is scratching when the sun goes down, mewling, begging to be let in by people who are no longer there.

I turned and walked away, saying nothing.'
-Count Morgenstein, dwarf-warforged hybrid and an inter-Wheel artifact

=-=-=

Note: Calianetti wasn't wrong, the library temporarily phased into by the Crossroads House is infinite, but it was created by Borges and not by the Architects: http://jubal.westnet.com/hyperdiscordia/library_of_babel.html

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XVI: The Ocean Foundations of Serpents

There are two oceans - the Ocean of Silver and the Ocean of Ether. Dreams are found where they touch in their deepest parts, one crossing over into the other. Sometimes you can swim from the surface of one, through dreams, and rise up toward the surface of the other.

Most times, however, the depth of both Oceans is infinite. Even then, a swimmer who moves through the right spaces might be able to manage it. But even on the days where finitude is in the forecast I don't recommend it. Dreadnoughts swim in the Ocean of Silver, and the Ocean of Ether is claimed by the Gaunts.

On the surface of the Ocean of Silver is the Albino Cobra. It coils itself in the shape of a Wheel, and the exemplars make kingdoms around gate towns upon the girth of its back. On the surface of the Ocean of Ether is the Jet Cobra. It coils itself in the shape of a Wheel, and the elementals wander in nomadic empires upon the girth of its back.

The head of the Albino Cobra rises up, frozen in a fang baring hiss, and on the back of its hood is the city of Sigil in Light. This city is gilded in silver, long spiral towers stretching into the sky between which pegasi usher balloon floated chariots with the legs of an insect used for their landings. This is the city of philosophers and poets, of artists and those interested in theoretical math.

The head of the Jet Cobra rises up, frozen in a dark lazy stare, and on the back of its hood is the city of Sigil in Darkness. This city is squat, buildings lacking in floors but making up for it in torches and glow gems and lanterns. The dabus are friendlier here, chatting in rebus-speak with the residents who've been around for awhile. This is the city of alchemists and sculptors, of engineers and those who enjoy hypothesis testing.

There is one Prime, floating somewhere in the border of dreams, but nobody is sure how to find it. It is a place of wonder, an Ocean of Rainbows bearing black pearls inside of which exist stars and suns and worlds. They say gods cannot enter the Prime, and that belief cannot bend the rules of reality. They say many things about this fantastical place, but who knows what is false and what is true?

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Sciborg, I adore your Fate Breakers. I hope they can also be used in the regular PS Great Wheel cosmology (as well as alternate multiverses), at least as a sect.

It's possible that at least some of their members might either have been directly involved in the fulfillment of a prophecy at some point, have prophecies concerning themselves (that they don't like), or even be prophets themselves (and unhappy about that fact). Or they have a friend/relative who is the subject of a prophecy.

They seem a bit Athar-like, in the sense that while the Athar seek to keep the influence of the gods to a minimum, the Fate Breakers try to keep the influence of Fate to a minimum. The Defiers and Fate Breakers might make good allies.

Seriously, the Planescape setting needs these guys!

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Item: The Blood Bonded Journals

Parallel Walkers can get these blank paged books from the Architects of Infinity. The books conjure more and more pages as needed, pulling and pushing them into dimensional pockets (where this sort of magic doesn't work the books become mere vellum and binding containing a random assortment of the full volume of content).

The books have intelligence without life...a curious artificial mind, difficult to describe, has been invented by the faction. They can bring pages to the fore with certain subjects, or penned by certain authors, as requested with a thought by any of the parallel walkers who've bonded to them.

Bonding requires enough blood to roughly soak a torn out page completely. Any one book can be bonded to five parallel walkers, which ends up being a boon for collaborative scholars.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

ripvanwormer wrote:
Edit: Here you go. I kind of dislike losing control over it (there are definitely some things I would fix/change), but it's not like I had been updating it anyway.

Apparently you can retake a site when you register for their service, from looking at what they say here. http://www.geocities.ws/archive/

Also, more on topic, this stuff is awesome, sciborg. I love it. Laughing out loud

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Thanks for the kind words Idran - the ideas just exploded into my head and I've been jotting them down as they come along.

Zimrazim - I definitely think the Fate Breakers can exist in the default setting, and I love your idea that their ranks include not only the victims of prophecy but also those who are seers who do not want their visions to come to pass. Reminds me of a great short story, The Passing of Sadly True: http://www.strangehorizons.com/2000/20001106/sadly_true.shtml

I can see some Athar getting along with the Fate Breakers, but others might consider Fate the instrument of the Great Unknown. Definitely room for some interesting faction interaction!

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Do you think you might be interested in making the Fate Breakers into an article on the main part of the website? (The idea of attempting to interfere with prophecies goes back at least as far as ancient Greece -- I can't believe that nobody thought of making them a PS faction/sect before!)

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Personality: The Harvester of Horses

Breeding animals between parallels isn't unheard of - at times it produces aberrations or stillborn fauna, but there have been enough successes that the practice goes on among the more business minded walkers.

The Harvester is one such business man, hailing from Parallel VII, though he now has residences on other parallels where he isn't wanted dead or alive. The man was once a proxy to Epona, and while he's managed to keep his affinity to horses the goddess's favor was something he fell out of if the dent on his forehead has anything to say about the matter. He looks like what he is, a man who survived an ungulate's kick to the skull.

The Harvester keeps several ranches and attempts to breed all manner of horse-like creatures together with a prurient obsessiveness that proves to be too disconcerting for all but the most interested buyers.

The Harvester considers himself an artist, and will not hesitate to keep aberrations and even time-frozen stillborns around for display. For all his disturbing fascination for his...craft, the Harvester is a most accomplished host and an honorable dealer in remarkable specimens. He always seems to have a few inordinately expensive steeds capable of planewalking, but only twice has he managed to birth a foal capable of traversing parallels. These he keeps for himself, along with one rumored steed capable of taking a petitioner out of an afterlife and into a mortal body once off the petitioner's plane.

The Harvester does not, despite his amoral nature, force sentient beings into breeding through violence or enchantment. However, when possible, he will encourage such beings to take part in his work via blackmail, the recalling of debts, or direct payment for services rendered.

The Harvester is armed with two six-shooters. One is a Gun of Poor Clotting, the other a Gun of Blood Thirst.

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Re: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Zimrazim wrote:
Do you think you might be interested in making the Fate Breakers into an article on the main part of the website? (The idea of attempting to interfere with prophecies goes back at least as far as ancient Greece -- I can't believe that nobody thought of making them a PS faction/sect before!)

Sure, though to be honest I have no idea how to go about it.

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