Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

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michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

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.

sciborg

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

1 - Inner to Outer, so Below so Above (sciborg2)
2 - The Tripartite Sigil is the Engine of Modernization (sciborg2)
3 - The Dead City, the Missing Lady (sciborg2)
4 - Where Quiet and Wild Reign (sciborg2)
5 - Where Rivers Overflow (sciborg2)
6 - Sigil is for Lovers (sciborg2)
7 - It's All Hinterlands Here: A Wild West (sciborg2)
8 - A Conflict of Empires (sciborg2)
9 - The Triumph of Celestial Bureaucracy (sciborg2)
10 - The Gilded Darkness (sciborg2)
11 - The Sylvan Battleground (sciborg2)
12 - The Nascent Dream (sciborg2)
13 - The Waters, the Land and the Crown (sciborg2)*
14 - The Aftermath of the Sun War (sciborg2)
15 - The "Triumph" of Vecna (sciborg2)
16 - The Rilmani Get Serious (sciborg2)
17 - The Ocean Foundations of Serpents (sciborg2)
18 - Unnamed (jem)
19 - Whispers On Your Shoulder (sciborg2)
20 - Spokes In The Cosmic Wheel (eldersphinx)
21 - Promise Of The Infinite (eldersphinx)
22 - The Lady is Made of Sugar and Spice...and knives (sciborg2)
23 - The World Tree and the Cosmic Web (sciborg2)
24 - The Roads through Stardust and Void (sciborg2)
25 - Spheres within Spheres (jem)
26 - Petitioner Perfection (atomicb)
27 - Where Nature Rules (wicke)
28 - The Alchemy of Virtue and Vice (sciborg2)
29 - Prime Time (atomicb)
30 - The Mysterious Stranger (jem)
31 - The Circle (sciborg2)
32 - Entropic Thunder (bahne)
33 - planar Refugee (bahne)
34 - The Grudging Truce (sciborg2)
35 - The Wind Swept Lands (sciborg2)
36 - The Center Cannot Hold (sciborg2)
37 - My Father's Mansion, The One of Many Rooms (sciborg2)
38 - The War of Parted Lovers (sciborg2)
39 - The Storms of Pandemonium (wicke)
40 - The Sundered Planes (sciborg2)
41 - The Spirit Ocean (sciborg2)
43 - The Contest (sciborg2)
44 - The Lady is Naked But Veiled By Stone (sciborg2)
45 - Blessed are the Liminal Messiahs (sciborg2)
46 - The Dreamer's Exchange (sciborg2)
47 - The Evolution of Evil (vikinglegion)
48 - The Near Realms (atomicb)
49 - The Luminous Dream (sciborg2)
50 - The Shadowverse (sciborg2)
51 - His Death Throes Echo in the Caverns of our Skulls (sciborg2)
52 - That's Why the Lady is a Swan (atomicb)
53 - The Ghost Chance of Memory (sciborg2)
54 - The Devil You Don't (sciborg2)
55 - Sigil in Your Shadow (sciborg2)
56 - The Bloodied Vineyard (sciborg2)
57 - Fetal Gensis (sciborg2)
58 - The Lady always has the Last Word (sciborg2)
59 - Keep Praying For a Golden Ticket (sciborg2)
60 - Dust in the Wind (sciborg2)
60 - The Wind Gasps, The Stones Weep (sciborg2)
61 - Pity the Land That Needs Them? (sciborg2)
62 - Saint George Throws Up His Hands (atomicb)
102 - The Duchess's Escape (rip)
103 - Mad Queen Morwel (rip)
121 - The Waters, the Land and the Crown (sciborg2)*

atomicb

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses
  • Parallel I - Inner to Outer, as Below So Above: A forest Sigil, cast in moonlight. The city is tended by Silver Walkers, who harvest the dream fruits of trees feeding on the city’s inhabitants. Beyond the city, the Outer Planes have been conquered by the elementals, with only pockets of resistance opposing them. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel II - The Tripartite Sigil is the Engine of Modernization: Sigil in three parts: Wei La - The City of Kites and Lanterns (emerald, jade and green steel); Kzra - The City of Bones and Bloodlines (mausoleums and undead); Illianda - The City of Waters and Wines (canals and steam and fortune). The planes beyond these three cities use an incredible amount of magic-technology. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel III - The Dead City, the Missing Lady: Sigil is shattered, though the now-mad dabus still try to attend the city. Following the city’s ruin, a portal storm scattered the races of the planes to the prime worlds. Factions are hunted as scapegoats for the destruction of Sigil by the exemplars of this parallel. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel IV - Where Quiet and Wild Reign: Sigil is vacant, though still attended to by the dabus. Virtually all sentient life here is absent. Those few who are left are asleep and cannot be awoken. Overgrown ruins dominate the landscape of both the Primes and Planes. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel V - Where Rivers Overflow: Ma’at floods Sigil in this Parallel, and the rest of the Outer Planes are mostly submerged by Oceanus, Ma’at and Styx. Many Prime worlds also reflect this flooding. Bridges, dirigibles and submersibles dominate the landscape. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel VI - Sigil is for Lovers: Roses bloom across a greener Sigil. There are an abundance of gods of Love across the Outer Planes, and romantic dramas play out between exemplars. Heroic quests on Prime worlds are done to win the hand of a potential mate. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel VII - It's All Hinterlands Here: A Wild West Sigil is filled with saloons and gunsmiths. Backed with six-shooters, Harmonium guards keep the peace throughout the city. The Outer Planes are divided into just the Upper, Lower and Concordant Opposition planes. The Inner Planes war amongst themselves for either unity or total domination. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel VIII - A Conflict of Empires: Sigil is home to refugees from across the planes, and would-be instigators are dealt with swiftly. All of the planes are war zones, and the once great cities of the exemplars lie in ruins. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel IX - The Triumph of Celestial Bureaucracy: Temples and offices dominate this parallel’s version of Sigil. The Harmonium is the dominant faction throughout the planes. The Planes of Conflict lean heavily towards Law, while the Planes of Chaos seem faded and ghostly. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel X - The Gilded Darkness: Though Sigil’s beauty and prosperity is funded by both Paradise and Perdition, the celestials of this parallel are as evil as their counterparts in the Lower Planes. Primes seek to escape an afterlife of torture by transferring their souls into gems, to be stored for eternity. The Inner Planes remain distant and neutral, though (understandably) distrustful of the goings on of the Outer. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XI - The Sylvan Battleground: Sigil, resplendent in green and crystal, sits in perpetual twilight. Spires dominate the city’s skyline. While other wars continue on, the Outer Planes are dominated by a conflict between Seelie and Unseelie courts. Prime worlds have seen an influx of forests and sylvan creatures. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XII - The Nascent Dream: Sigil is a city of scholars, dominated by the Mercane and Zodar. Outside the city, everything is a dreamscape, with cities and landscapes rising out of, and falling back into, Dream Time. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XIII CXXI - The Waters, the Land and the Crown: Known as The Crown, the Sigil of this parallel is a ring castle the circumscribes the entire spire. Positive, Negative, Fire, Water, Earth, and Air are the only Inner Planes. 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. Each island either leans towards an alignment or hosts a Power. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XIV - The Aftermath of the Sun War: This much colder Sigil is caught in an unending night, bathed in a sourceless moonlight. While many planes are home to charred landscapes, Solar Gods are, for the most part, absent from this parallel. The absence of a sun on many Prime worlds has led to their freezing and the expansion of Cryonax’s domain of Ice on the Inner Planes. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XV - The "Triumph" of Vecna: Visions of Vecna dominate the dreams of many across this parallel, and many wars are fought in his name. In Sigil, the factions take a back seat, Vecna’s followers have transformed the city into a necropolis, though all must still abide the rules set down by The Lady. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XVI - The Rilmani Get Serious: The Rilmani maintain Balance absolutely throughout all the planes – Outer, Inner and Prime - in this parallel. Each victory turns into a defeat. Good fortune for you is balanced by misfortune for others who may be innocent of any wrongdoing. None are safe from their actions, whether Prime or Power. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XLII - The Multiverse of the Five Spheres: Sigil exists here much as it does in the Multiverse Prime. Rather than the familiar concepts of Good, Evil, Law, Chaos and Balance, this parallel utilizes Matter, Time, Thought, Energy, and Entropy, leaving the sentients of this parallel to suss out their own moral compass. An infinite number of lesser Outer Planes extend outward from there. (ripvanwormer)
  • Parallel XVII - The Ocean Foundations of Serpents: A parallel dominated by a pair of oceans: the Ocean of Silver and the Ocean of Ether. Where they touch, dreams form and allow passage between the two. On the surface of either Ocean, lying coiled like great wheels, are the Albino and Jet Cobras, respectively. On the back of the Albino, exemplars build their kingdoms. On the back of the Jet, the elementals wander. On their hoods, lie this parallel’s version of Sigil. Where Albino’s Sigil is silver and Light, Jet’s Sigil is Darkness. A single Prime world is rumored to exist somewhere in the region of Dreams. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XVIII - Unnamed: The Powers of this parallel created no mortal followers. They pursue relationships, arguments and battles between themselves, apparently not needing mortal belief to sustain them. The Outer Planes boast no exemplar races as well. Sigil stands vacant, except for the Lady who wanders an untouched city. The first wheelwalkers to encounter this parallel were mistaken for gods and were later treated as mere curiosities when their mortal status was discovered. (Jem)
  • Parallel XIX - Whispers On Your Shoulder: Sigil exists as a jet crystal city flowing on the inside of a crystal shell. Spelljammers fly through the vastness of wildspace. There are only three planes in this parallel: Prime, with Paradise and Perdition echoing the conditions of each prime world. Whenever a mortal is born, they’re assigned one fiend and one celestial, who act as (unasked for) advisors and councilors. Those who align themselves with Order, Chaos or Balance and avoid any leanings towards Good or Evil, end up becoming elementals or are reincarnated. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XX - Spokes In The Cosmic Wheel: Sigil is not a torus in this parallel, but instead a multitude of spokes emanating out from a central point. The Lady stands at the center and watches all. Rather than directly connecting two points, portals here lead into extra-dimensional passages. The conditions of these passages is never the same between voyages, and records seem to indicate that using the passages has been getting riskier and riskier over the years. (Eldersphinx)
  • Parallel XXI - Promise Of The Infinite: Sigil is ever changing in this parallel, appearing as a shining city of marble one day and a dank and fetid warren the next. The Lady is as mutable as the city, potentially appearing as anyone or anything. All sapients of this parallel are born human and can gradually transform into any other form, including Powers, through any means one can conceive of. Death isn’t permanent here, though trauma can strip away memories, power and everything else that may matter. (Eldersphinx)
  • Parallel XXII - The Lady is Made of Sugar and Spice...and knives: Gingerbread houses and gumdrop architecture dominate this Sigil. Any insects or vermin that try to enter this version of Sigil are immediately flayed, though sapient versions are tolerated. The landscape of each Outer Plane reflects a candyland vision, while the Inner Planes reflect the ingredients used to create the candy. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XXIII - The World Tree and the Cosmic Web: Yggdrasil rises in place of the Spire in the Outlands. Sigil, rather than a city, exists as a great web in Ygg’s branches. Spiders, rather than dabuses, attend the web-city. Exemplars and planted trees exude matter from their home plane into foreign locales, which eventually “terraform” the landscape. This has left the Outer Planes in a state of disarray, where one can find patches of Heaven in the depths of Hell, and vice versa. The Inner Planes consist of the planes of Matter, Magic and Ether. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XXIV - The Roads through Stardust and Void: Sigil is a seven-sided band around the Spire, with a separate district corresponding to each band: Districts of the Dead, of Secrets, of Gold, of Ink, of Spit and Papyrus, of Steam and Gears, and of Whistled Symphony. Prime worlds here are separated by only Wildspace. Only one plane surrounds the Prime, a great void crossed by Roads of Good, Evil, Law, Chaos and Balance, joining together islands with fey, divine, fiendish, elemental or aberrant inhabitants. (Sciborg2)
  • Parallel XXV - Spheres within spheres: The city of Sigil turns within the outer shell of its torus underneath a glassed-in arc above. The Spire is the cable of a space elevator that connects it to the Prime below and the Outer Realms above. The Prime Material is the inner surface of a Dyson sphere. At the center of the sphere lies a heart of elemental Fire, while realms of Water and Air pass through the space above the inner surface. The Outer Realms are organized according to three axis: Good/Evil, Law/Chaos, Static/Dynamic. (Jem)

Wicke

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel I - Inner to Outer, as Below So Above

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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Reference Work: 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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Reference Work: 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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Reference Work: 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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Reference Work: 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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Reference Work: 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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Reference Work: 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Parallel XVIII - Unnamed:

The gods of this Wheel never created the mortal races, or even exemplar servants. They build their own temples and cities in which to dwell, and they shape the continents of their worlds to their pleasure. Where they disagree, they negotiate or fight, as they do in other Wheels. It seems clear that these deities do not require mortal belief to survive; where their portfolios include such concepts as love, war, or family, these things are expressed in the animal species of their worlds and the relationships of the gods themselves.

The full spread of planes is still here, though Baator lacks some of its features prominent on other Wheels (Malbolgia, in particular, is quiet, if precipitous). Carceri imprisons the Titans in lonely isolation; the Styx travels slowly and carries the memories of gods now floating on the Astral. Hades rules over the deaths of creatures, but his realm is one of stately marble halls and piles of treasure, guarded from thief-gods by Cerberus and other minor divinities. His halls of imaginative tortures are empty, perhaps a threat to the enemies of the pantheon. Primus, the One and the Prime, rules over a race of One, Prime, in a Mechanus that turns guided by his remote hands. The Olympian gods pursue their incestuous trysts and petty spats, building themselves cities on the Prime and arguing over territory with the Egyptians and the Hindu gods. There are no genies, but elemental Powers make war on each other, or make alliances, and exert their influences on the Prime. Strangely, there are such deities here as Hercules, Vecna, and Orcus, though Hercules claims to have been made recently by Zeus' will and the other two have not been reliably questioned on the matter of their origins.

The only creature in all the Planes that might not be a deity is the Lady of Pain. Without her dabus, she still floats silently across an empty Sigil -- a strikingly clean Sigil, without the belching smokestacks of the Factory or the denizens of the Hive or the outbreaks of Blood War sideshows. For some reason the Hive is still a tottering slum, though its apparently shoddy construction has stood untouched for longer than its reflection elsewhere.

The first wheelwalkers that arrived on this Wheel were taken by the locals to be gods, and then on closer examination were taken to be unusually clever apes, but shortly thereafter their true origins were understood. The deities appear not to care, except that permanent settlements (even nomadic settlements) are abruptly destroyed whenever attempted. The Lady permits wheelwalkers to use Sigil as they please, though they must take care not to damage the architecture they borrow.

There are a few gods more willing to let traffic run about on this Wheel. The first halfling to encounter Yondalla, the first centaur to find Skerrit, the first dwarf to meet Moradin, all told of deities who looked them over like a child discovering an unexpected treasure, and told too of a deep sensation of regret. Temporary settlements, with a thick leavening of racial leaders, are sometimes permitted within these gods' territories.

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Parallel XVIII: Whispers On Your Shoulder

"My little demon, making me choose. Making me an offer I can't refuse. Hard as a rock,dry as a bone... Big or little,know that I will take you home." -Fleetwood Mac, My Little Demon

Sigil exists as a jet crystal city flowing from the inside of a crystal shell, though what exists outside it is unknown. Anyone attempting to drive a spelljammer into the expected cosmic ocean gets flayed by the Lady's shadow. (Admittedly, seeing Her shadow cutting through or falling across an entire spelljammer would be an amazing sight - but this hasn't happened in the last seven thousand years.)

This might be the largest Sigil in the known parallels, lit perpetually by a soft sapphire star at the Shell's center. Spelljamming vessels exist to ferry bodies across the vastness of a rather tame wildspace filled with circular fortresses, gnomish satellites, comets, lunacropoli (cities covering the surface area of moons), great dreamers, and gonnlingdaah revolving around the sun. Portals between sections of the city exist though all of them are the property of some organization or another.

There are three planes in this Multiverse - Paradise, Perdition, and Prime. Paradise and Perdition shadow the composition of Prime to some degree, with their own versions of the cosmic ocean, crystal shells, and astrological bodies.

Paradise has crystal shells of nacre separated by a cosmic ocean of hallowed milk. Celestial races common to the Upper Planes live on worlds reflecting those of the Prime. Perdition is similar in its mirroring of the Prime, but here the crystal shells are opals colored in the dark blood of the vein. In place of the phlogiston there is a gray void that leeches both life and color. The Prime consists of the usual crystal spheres separated by an infinite elemental (Sonic, Acid, Fire, Cold, Electricity, Force, Negative, Positive) ocean similar to Limbo but without the same degree of chaotic fluctuation/destabilization.

On the Prime, every time a sentient is born they are mysteriously assigned one fiend and one celestial who stay with them their entire lives as unasked for councilors. The beings are undetectable by all but the most powerful, existing simultaneously on the Prime and their respective home plane. This means the exemplars have to traverse terrain to keep up with their prime, which is sometimes incredibly difficult as a flat plain on the Prime might be a giant chasm or mountain in the phase shifted planes.

Exemplars cannot abandon their assigned prime easily - the further away they are the more agony they feel. The reasoning behind this entire bonding process is known only to the highest ranking of exemplars on both sides and none have chosen to share that information.

The degree of influence these exemplars have varies depending on the individual, though it should be pointed out that insanity is rather common - as is the preponderance of neutrally aligned cultures evolving as a survival mechanism. As history progresses, many of these cultures align with Good or Evil and teach their children how to ignore or heed one or both voices on their shoulders.

Note that only those who are perfectly aligned to Chaos, Order, or Balance with no leanings toward Good or Evil are able to escape the pull of both Paradise and Perdition - the fate of such souls is to become elementals or enter the reincarnation cycle of this parallel's flora and fauna.

Prime born parallel Walkers from this Multiverse leave their exemplars behind when they travel to other Wheels.

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Parallel XIX: Spokes In The Cosmic Wheel

Sigil is not a torus in this parallel, but instead a multitude of spokes emanating out from a central point, each one controlled by a different faction, guild, family or other interested party. The number and size of spokes seems to slowly change over the course of centuries, as new blood comes to the Hive or turmoil thins the ranks of the city's population - the presence of new territory to colonize can lead to periods of protracted strife in the city, as can the imminent disappearance of a district (causing its residents to violently seek somewhere, anywhere else to call home). The Lady is a seemingly immobile being at the city's exact center - no matter which spoke you come from, though, it looks like you're facing her, and those that displease her find themselves somehow unable to step past her watchful gaze. Not a mazing, not a flaying, just eternal imprisonment in your own narrow sliver of reality.

In this parallel, portals are not a form of instantaneous transport - instead, entering a portal propels one into a strange, passage-like extradimensional space. No two portal excursions are ever exactly the same - some are short, others long; some are intensely boring, others all too exciting and stressful. Food, drink, sleep, even breath don't seem to be necessary while within portal-space, and traversing a portal can't kill you - but all sorts of less-than-fatal nastiness can potentially affect the underprepared and unwary. Records kept by the Fraternity of Order suggest that entering a portal has been gradually been getting ever-riskier over the last few thousand years - whether this is a natural cycle due to eventually reverse itself, or a permanent decline, no one can say. The Dustmen seem to think that the dangers of portal-space are a sign that existence itself is beginning to decay, while the Doomguard see it as a defensive reaction to mortal intrusion into the cosmic ylem beneath the multiverse - members of both factions have suggested that this is a process that should be hurried along, in order to remove mortalkind from the multiverse and move it into its next great cycle.

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Parallel XX: Promise Of The Infinite

Sigil is ever-changing, reshaping itself around the perceptions of those who inhabit and visit it - a shining city of pale marble one day, a dank and fetid warren of rotting wood and oozing tar the next. Its natives are those with the mental fortitude and flexibility to take such changes in stride, and not depend too closely on any external landmarks for stability. The Lady is as mutable as the city, potentially appearing as anyone or anything - you'll only recognize Her if you displease Her, and then (it's said) you'll find yourself all but invisible, unable to get the attention of anyone around you or affect the outside world in any way. How long this sentence lasts depends entirely on how badly the Lady wants to punish you.

Every sapient being in this parallel is born human, and can gradually change their physical form - to elf, orc, dragon, demon or angel - through magic, chance, effort, study or simple force of will. Death is never truly permanent here, though violent trauma can strip away memories, skill, sanity and much else of value. Everything is possible, but nothing is guaranteed - and nothing is forever. Even the gods can be challenged, overcome and cast down by those with enough determination, skill and the willingness to reshape their bodies into a form able to use the power they seek. Some fallen deities choose to accept their lot, taking on a less prominent lifestyle; others struggle to regain their former position, aided by their first-hand knowledge of the capabilities and weakness of their kind; a few seek indirect revenge by encouraging other mortals to challenge those responsible for their downfall. In a multiverse where nothing ever really ends, the only escape may be learning to Walk away.

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Parallel XXI: The Lady is Made of Sugar and Spice...and knives.

Sigil is a massive wafer torus, with internal architecture of gum drops, ginger bread, sheets of sugar glass and various other confectionery assortments. The city is tended to by dabus artificers specializing in sweets based construction and renovation, though pest control is accomplished by the fractal refractions angling out of the Lady's shadow. As yet, no one has found the origin of the shadow, they only see its darkness passing through the rotating prisms sculpted from sugar cane crystals. Because of the shadow, any pest (ants, flies) that enters Sigil are flayed - sentient versions are permitted so long as they don't try to deface property.

Alternative magics abound, meta-magic, artificing, and alchemy based on the Ingredients and Their planes of origin.

The endless stripes of shadow keeps players of the Cosmic Game a little on edge, as it is a continual reminder that the games of the Multiverse are literally overshadowed once you enter Her domain. Citizens enjoy the presence of the shadow rays, and Sigilian youth can be recognized in the Multiverse by the henna stripes they put on their bodies in respect - not worship - to the Lady. Their elders warn them this deference is but a step to the "sin" of worshiping Her, but of course teens don't listen.

Estevan runs the Great Confectionery, famous for its soul-trapping hard and gummy candies. Devouring a soul can lead, depending on the incantations, to a shared consciousness, absorption of memories and/or abilities, possession, ejection of the soul of the eater into wherever the candied soul would have ended up as a petitioner (often used to avoid the Lower Planes), and many other possibilities.

The Sensorium has found a way to create sensory lozenges. There is a great deal of wealth to be made in allowing memory-meals - remembering the taste of different pre-created foods in the heights and depths of the Multiverse.

The Athar's tree yields sugar plums as fruit and its leaves seem to spun from sugar while its bark is made from chocolate. Eating the leaves provides healing, eating the bark grants limited protection from undead. The Athar believe the Tree is proof of an Unknown Master Baker beyond the false gods overseeing creation in the Enlightened Kitchen.

The Guvners point out that the existence of pre-created goods shows that power of the Multiverse lies in understanding the Great Axiomatic Recipes.

The Doomsguard enjoy the ruin of ingredients and the spread of ants and flies. For all their talk of the Great Rot, they behave themselves better than most when the refracted shadows continuously slide across their bodies in Sigil.

The Inner Planes consist of the Positive Plane of Heat - a plane of white hot light - and the Negative Plane of Cold - a land of cold in shades of blue, indigo, and violet. The magic of ovens and cooking fires comes from the Plane of Heat, magic of ice boxes and other refrigeration magics come from the Negative.

Between them lie the Elemental Planes of Liquid, Solid, and Gas. Various pastry and candy ingredients in varied stages of preparation exist in these three planes and the Positive and Negative planes. The Plane of Liquid is largely melted sugar and chocolate, the Plane of Solid includes those two ingredients among myriad others including the substance of jelly beans and gummy bears. The Plane of Gas is a cornucopia of delicious scents, though candy lung - chocolate or sugar mist becoming solid or liquid in the body - is a serious danger. Elementals take on the substance of these planes.

The Prime material planes are crystal shells made of some unknown hard licorice based on smell and taste. Many prime worlds, littered with candy and sweets of various sizes and shapes, are infested with the vermin the Lady keeps out of Sigil, though less so in water and gas worlds. In fact, many advanced civilizations turned their worlds into gas giants or oceanic planets precisely to eliminate this problem.

The Rainbow Ocean is multicolored slush that must be crossed through with spelljammer submersibles. The cold and lack of air keeps insects from being too much of a problem.

The Outer Planes are briefly described as follows, though it should be noted that variations to the landscapes exist. The following landscapes were chosen because they span billions upon billions of crystal spheres in size.

More information - some possibly describing past or future versions of entire planes - exists in tomes published by others (hint, hint):

Mechanus: The Plane of Pure Law is a series of interlocked doughnuts. Each doughnut is perfectly round with fractal patterns bringing consistency to the internal and external structures. The Plane is tended to by the moignos - living recipes done in calligraphy that monitor the doughnuts - and the modrons - walking ovens, egg beaters, wisks, and other kitchen implements that guard and repair the doughtnuts. To eat a part of the doughnuts confers either an understanding of or a compulsion toward some aspect of Law. Guvner tastings are done in Sigil to search for metaphysical loopholes.

Arcadia: A lattice of sugar glass tunnels connecting nodules. The entire plane is a benevolent dictatorship overseen by the Formian Queen, a planar lord who ensures the greater good is enforced. Eating a part of a lattice makes you more willing to conform to the general good of the area you're in.

Celestia: Seven subterranean layers of cake, lit by the nuts, fruit, and other edible substances embedded into the material. The flavors of the first six layers are lemon, strawberry, cherry almond, ginger bread, spiced pumpkin, cheese, and red velvet. The final layer is believed to be tiramisu but no one has been able to bring any substance back from it. In fact, no one has ever returned at all. Eating any part of the layers calls to mind one virtue to engender and one sin to be cleansed of. However, the archons adjust which sins and virtues correspond to which layers every thousand years depending on the direction they see the Multiverse is heading and the course correction that is necessary.

Bytopia: Two graham crackers facing each other, connected by dollops of peanut butter. One layer is dominated by gnomes in the baking and confectioner professions, the other a gelato wasteland wracked by flavor storms. Eating any landscape here increases your desire to work hard.

Elysium: An infinite field of cereal grains, an endless swamp of fruit fillings, and an unceasing ocean of milk are the three layers of Elysium. Eating any landscape off this planes eventually imbues with a minor geas or two to help someone out.

Beastlands: Fruiting plants and edible flowers such as honey suckle dominate this layer, occurring in sizes ranging from the miniscule to world spanning. Eating anything from this plane imbues with some animal characteristics - physical, mental, or both. Here the Mortai are made from clouds of sweet water.

Aborea: The first layer is a temperate wilderness filled with rivers of rose water and wild growing apple trees. Eating an apple might make you immortal, an incredible beauty, or exile you from the Upper Planes until some redress is accomplished. Grape vines snare everything, with their fruit already fermented into delicious wines. The second layer is a turbulent ocean of wine, and the final layer a cold land of flour buffeted by blizzards of sugar. Eating anything here increases your existing passions.

Ysgard: Crags and mountains of frozen, flavored ice mark the Plane of Glory. Eating the ice sends you into an obsessive need to prove yourself against an equal or an obsessive need to hear a story that fundamentally changes you.

Limbo: Unpredictable shifts through varied landscapes, altering every moment. Anarchs can stabilize the area around them, though they caution you not to eat any part of this place lest you go temporarily mad.

Pandemonium: A plane with painfully bright silver white cloud cover, the ground consisting of shattered candy cane forests growing from the soil of packed sugar, the winds threatening to dig shards of the broken canes into your eyes...at which point you become like Kay in the Snow Queen. However the Queen here is the Queen of Air and Darkness, a malignant fey whose insane mind is carried on every breeze, egging on the bitter and spiteful fey that make this plane their home. To eat of this place is to lose yourself to the spite that inspires the worst practical jokes.

Abyss: A churning mess of food rotted and covered with mold, vermin bursting from every corner. The Doomguard make their home here. Chasme, abyssal ants, and other insectile demons thrive in this place. To eat of this place is to take on aspects of the demons that live here.

Carceri: Chocolate beads strung out, each bead nestled inside the prior layer's spheres. Carceri is a place of sickly sweetness, overripe fruit and cloying flowers that thicken the air to the point of stealing the breath and causing migraines. The varied perfumes can also lower one's inhibitions toward darker thoughts. Strangely enough, this brings a fair amount of paladins and monks into the more manageable cities, as these probably fools - with the aid of those immune to the scents - attempt to test and cleanse themselves of these vile predilections. To eat of this place is to lose yourself to bitterness.

Hades: The Flavorless Lands are long stretches of dried up, cracked frosting and stale brown-grey chocolate. Hades robs almost everyone save the 'loths of their sense of taste over time. To eat of this place is to lose yourself to apathy.

Gehenna: A bubbling series of dark chocolate canyons filled with boiling honey and wine. Gehenna is dominated by the General, who lives in a city created in the head of a giant ant, a city whose horrors are thankfully only partially glimpsed through the darkness of the ant's eyes. Gehenna exists in a feudal hierarchy of 'loths.

To eat of this place is to fill your heart with avarice and envy.

Hell: Nine layers of alcohol leading to the darkness of Nessus. The flavors of the drink are white wine, beer, mead, whiskey, brandy, red wine, gin, and vodka. Nessus is believed to be an ocean of absinthe, but none can be sure. To drink of this place is to seek the domination and manipulation of all around you. Nevertheless, in small quantities it is supposedly bearable with magical protection, and thus Hellish Wine Tastings are conducted lawfully in Sigil.

Acheron: Series of honeycombs floating in a golden lit void. The honeycombs are guarded by abeil legions led by advespa commanders. The advespa here are not part of Hell's baatezu, though whether they are native to Acheron is unknown. To eat of this place is to become more obsessed with conformity and an irritation with those outside the area's dominant culture.

The Plane of Concordant Opposition (the Maple Ocean of the Outlands): A thick ocean of maple sap, in whose dark depths are the exemplar and elemental champions the mysterious Lords of the Balance found troublesome and yet were unable or unwilling to kill. They exist here, eternally asphyxiated in prisons of delicious sap hardened into resin - a thin glaze forever trapping them. Parallel Walkers are likely familiar with some of these figures - Grazz't, the Queen of Chaos, the "Killer of Gods" Ma Yuan, the Storm Kings of Arcadia, Geryon, Ygorl, Primus, Erebus the Shadow Titan, Cryonax (a parallel walking version from elsewhere who tried to dominate the Negative Plane of Cold), Morwel, Zaphkiel, Talisid, the Wind Dukes, the Hassitor entombed in their now suspended hassitoriums, and many others who pushed too hard against the designs of Neutrality's Guardians.

The plans of the Lords of the Balance is unclear, as are their identities. It is believed that in a prior age, a magical catastrophe may have altered this Multiverse and the former planar exemplars and their lords who once fought in the War of Alignments saw their folly when the rewriting of reality prevented the rilmani from living. In fact, no rilmani from any Multiverse can survive here save as an unliving being. (Note that undead and deathless are weak to the point of near helplessness as Positive and Negative Material do not fuel the life cycle here, instead they are exuded by the living and dying in small amounts across the Multiverse.)

Rilmani corpses that long ago died instantly litter the Concordant Opposition, their faces showing their last emotions and their ruins can be found in the sap from time to time. If one could bring the rilmani back to life, it would likely give the Lords of the Balance the army they need to chain all to the Balance...which may or may not be their end goal, but it is the currently popular rumor...

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XXII: The World Tree and the Cosmic Web

Note: The idea of a living wish spell I believe goes to the ever creative Rip.

In place of the Spire Yggdrasil rises from the center of the Outlands. In place of a city Sigil is a great web in the midst of its branches. In theory one should be able to walk into Sigil, but the branches upon which it hangs all seem to attenuate into a featureless white void. To fall into the void is to land in some random plane on this Wheel.

In place of dabus Sigil is attended by black widow spiders who speak with glowing red rebuses on their shiny bodies, spiders who can weave webs of space and webs of time into the webs of Sigil's substance. Apertures in the web function as portals to other locations in time and space, leading to usually minor and often unnoticed chronomancy issues. Deja vu is the most likely feeling, though one might end up seeing oneself in the past or future if one continually goes back to one's homeworld or planar town of origin.

Sometimes one sees the spiders wrapping up or feeding on a presumably still living bloke - do not, under any circumstances, try to help these people unless you want to be flayed by the Lady's shadow...a shadow that never cuts through spider created webbing.

Buildings are built onto the webbing, usually out of material that is pliable due to the continual yet gradual rearrangement of the city by the spiders. There are structures made of chains or rope, but the most popular and long lasting are the various clockwork insect fortresses that stick and unstick themselves to get out of the way of the spiders.

Exemplars here appear as their mortal selves but with their plane's aura around them. When they leave their home plane, this aura exudes their plane's reality into foreign matter. This has resulted in many, many squatter wars, where each side attempts to terraform the other parts of the Great Wheel with their plane's reality. Even more powerful are the seeds of the planar trees they plant in these other planes. As the trees mature, they rewrite the reality of the other plane down to the metaphysical foundations. Even if these trees are destroyed - an epic quest to root out even one, it takes centuries to millennia for the plane to heal itself.

This has resulted in benighted lands in the Upper Planes and patches of paradise in the Lower spectrum of the Wheel, wild magic zones on Mechanus and fractal asteroids of Order on Limbo.

The plane linking the Outer Planes to the Inner and Prime is The Plane of Thought. It is a plane of breathable golden mist-fire. The plane is a cacophony forever echoing with the thoughts of the Multiverse's minds, and connecting the Inner Planes to the others there is an Elemental Plane of Time, akin to the Temporal Prime, linking the Inner Planes of Matter, Magic, and Ether.

The Plane of Matter resembles a combination of the Elemental Planes of Water, Earth, Air, and their respective quasi and para-elemental planes from Multiverse Prime.

The Plane of Magic reflects a Prime world in appearance but it is made entirely out of magical energies such as fire, force, cold, shadow, transfiguration, divination, to name a few. Elemental Magic serving as a major building block means magic exudes out of everything on the Prime Material Planes in wondrous ways - almost every living thing has some magical ability and most non-living things (mountains, rivers, storms) have magical properties or affects. Dead magic areas are shadowy wastelands, fading places that cling desperately to reality before eventually breaking up and collapsing into the Planes of Matter and Ether.

The Plane of Magic is dominated by what Primes from the world of Eberron would call Living Spells, who are in turn guided by the Living Wish, a mysterious spell the others regard as playful shepherd and shamanic savior.

The Plane of Ether is an ocean of incorporeal silvery mist that glows softly. It is the home of the incorporeal undead and islands playing host to varied Fey Courts.

It is believed every living thing on the Primes has a reflection who is a Living Spell, a reflection who is a ghost that never died, and a reflection who is made of from the substance of fleshless Matter. This is, for example(s), why there is wraith grass on the Etheral, stone wolves upon the Matter, and shadow drow on the Magic.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XXIII: The Roads through Stardust and Void

Sigil is a seven-sided band around the Spire, with the city built into the inner edges of the polygon. To look up is to see hints of the city angling above you, but at a much further distance. The city is divided into seven districts, moving past the corners where they meet gives the sensation of passing through a portal or planar vortex:

The District of the Dead
: This area of the city is a decaying necropolis, filled with the smoke of crematoriums and the stink of rot hiding just under the perpetual snowfall. The Dustmen rule here with their Doomguard allies. Neither group pays much attention to the maintenance of buildings, though the dabus make a half-hearted effort on their behalf. The overflow of ossuaries in the past has ensured a place for skulls, thighs, wing cases, exoskeletal husks, and other examples of bones and chitin in the architecture. Despite the Dustmen amassed here undead can feel the power that sustains them unraveling when they come and as such avoid the district as much as possible. No one whose remains are disposed of in this place can ever be raised from the dead or called to unlife, even by a wish. Only the act of a god might suffice.

The District of Secrets: This area is always under a perpetual cloud cover of thunderheads, buffeted often enough by gales, hail, and thunderous storms. There are many libraries here, each ruled by cults dedicated to one animal totem or another that depends on some bizarre form of payment for temporary entrance. Payment ranges from the shell of a robin's egg with the yoke sucked out from a circular hole to a still living ant with all the legs removed. The libraries boast ancient tablets, cave sections, and many more ancient pre-paper tomes from across not only their own Wheel but those of the other parallels...though only the head librarian-shamans are aware of this last bit o' chant.

The District of Gold: Eye-stinging sunshine comes from a golden star one does not see until one enters this district, at which point it seems to be a tiny but brilliant orb of fire at the center of the heptagonal metropolis. The District of Gold could also be called the District of Blood (this offends the inhabitants however), as sacrifices are common here given their efficacy when used in conjunction with incantations. The smell of varied liquids running through the veins of varied races tinges the air, but is battered by the cloying stink of overripe mangoes whose source seems to waft out of the sewers. The dabus seem very annoyed at having to wipe the outer faces of structures and rarely seem to bother with the cleaning of streets given that this blood magic is used for everything from curing hangovers to divining the birth of heroes to minutely (and for some, greatly) reversing the effects of aging. The trade of incantations is the major economy of this district.

The District of Ink: Above the water this district seems to be nothing more than a giant silver-gilded white marble pool of indigo water. Diving in, one sees that the pool seems impossibly deep and wide, the buildings woven from the ink clouds of magically altered squids and octopi flocks. Walking into these structures is like stepping onto soft mud that impossibly bears your weight - this can be rather unnerving in the taller buildings. This district is famous for its place in the drug trade, whether those substances are narcotics, addictive, medicinal panaceas, consciousness expanding, mildly stress-relieving, and many more possibilities and combinations. The Sensates spend much time here, and a few run their own apothecaries. Mulk-Szq is a crazed mindflayer Xaosiect determined to free his non-sentient brethren from their supposed enslavement. Given his strangely pacifist nature, he is seen more as a mascot than a threat to the district and actually protected by the Lady against mindflayers who wish to remove this "embarrassment" from creation.

The District of Spit and Papyrus: Dog-sized, communally owned wasps shape this sunny district, supposedly lit by the same star as the District of Gold but the same sized star is less glaring here. Orchards and gardens help provide food to the rest of the city. The wasps end up being responsible for the pollination of the numerous flowering flora and fruit bearing plants. This district has a strong central government ruled over by an elected council. Neighbors are naturally nosy, because the longer one stays here the longer one loses a sense of privacy. Residents are one big diversely tolerant family, even of those they perhaps should take more seriously. A good example is Gortaga, an aminzu battle sorcerer who has been on the council for years despite her being very open about snatching up non-residents (even those from other districts) and keeping them as toys for years. When other residents are asked about this, they smile ruefully and say "fiends will be fiends, but no one else can organize our festivals and pinics like Gortaga!" Don't bother trying to understand the moral laxity that can balance torture with centralized planning for public events and instead take possible "comfort" in the fact that residents taken out of this district often end up horrified and hang themselves.

The District of Steam and Gears: Steam powered mechanoids run rampant in the pot hole pocked, crooked streets of this perpetually cloud covered, overcrowded district. Some of these inventions are helpful towards the city's continued functioning and others are nothing better than clockwork vermin. The other districts get annoyed when the critters end up in their areas, but the Lady prevents them from taking drastic action even when deaths result from the carelessness of the constructs' owners. This area is heavily populated by retired spelljamming gnomes and several prominent rogue modrons. These three modrons are honored guests in the district's artificer universities, as they have allowed one of their faces to become transparent and thus reveal their inner workings. Other modrons, if they deign to speak of these traitors on the Roads, refer to them by the Mechanus words for "tramp" and "hussie". Note that these rogue modrons are also fascinating because they are the few exemplars to foster relationships and exist comfortably in the boundaries of this Multiverse's time-space.

The District of Whistled Symphony: The clouds above churn and spiral constantly, herded into anarchy by the chaotic winds that move through the stone outcroppings of this district. The sound of the air through apertures in the stone results in an ever changing series of miraculously synchronized overtures. Air genasi wind shapers have the power to use the winds to carve magic items from stone, a long process that few humans have the patience for as each item is customized to the recipient. Some of the longer lived races across the Multiverse, however, do partake of these services. The winds here whisper secrets about the residents of and visitors to the other districts, and its said that those wind shapers who have died here and known unlife for at least seven centuries can pluck this chant from the air. This district is also famous for the sheer number of its citizens who happen to be invisible stalkers, most of whom comprise the majority of the peace keeping forces.

The Prime worlds are separated only by Wildspace, there are no crystal spheres and no phlogiston here. While on the surface of a prime world one can see thickets of stars, no such celestial bodies exist in the dark, possibly alive Vacuum of space. There are suns however, that revolve around worlds or are the axis upon which worlds circle.

There is actually one plane that surrounds the Prime, a breathable void also brimming over with the mysterious stars in the distance. The stars do, however, seem closer here than on the Prime, and great nebula brighten the dark considerably. In this void there are islands made by or at least for elemental, fey, divine, ethereal, and aberrant forces connected by the Roads of Good, Evil, Balance, Chaos, Law, and Evil. The islands range from continents where the Tuatha De Naan battle the infestation of beholder-kin birthed by the evil hermaphrodite god Balor to the tiniest outcroppings of solid light holding a village of radiance mephits.

The Roads are made from nacre, wood, metals, minerals, fossils, chains, petitioners, interlocked crows connecting Chinese lovers, stones in a void spanning ocean river placed there by Hindu monkeys, giant army ants, webbing, and a whole host of other beings and materials.

Roads of Good might be subjected to the Traveler's Way, Roads of Chaos might alter the passage of time, Roads of Balance might force you to balance every good deed with an evil one, and so on. The roads also have exemplars, but here they are much less direct and more enigmatic and seem to have difficulty acting in the space-time of those traveling the bridges. These exemplars haunt one's dreams after encountering them, their prophecies and admonitions lingering long after the encounter with them is concluded.

Because of the very troublesome, meddling nature of these Roads the creation of portals is held in high regard, but the incredible amount of magic required ensures that the number of portals remains a rarity. Portals exist between the realms of a pantheon's gods, factions will go to the trouble of linking their major headquarters, allies with treaties of military assistance will set up portals to ensure they can come to each others' aid against respectively hostile neighbors.

Petitioners who don't worship gods end up in areas where the inhabitants are at least somewhat similar in outlook to them. This doesn't always mean, however, that they end up among those who share their alignment, and oftentimes the petitioner in question will either fall in with his new friends or see where the Roads might take him.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XXIV: Spheres within spheres

The city of Sigil turns within the outer shell of its torus, producing gravity underneath the glassed-in arc above. The Spire, the cables of the space elevator that connects it to the Prime below and the Outer Realms above, sparkle in the light of the distant divine realms.

The Prime Material is the inner surface of a Dyson sphere, the Great Shell, with room enough for worlds of humanoid civilizations to grow and develop. The systems that keep its ecology in rough balance, embedded in the maze of wires and pipes that define the boundary between man's world and the afterlife, were designed at the moment of Creation and have survived since. Within the darkness of the service tunnels, amid shafts of light piercing from within, they are maintained by the rilmani -- who must be incomprehensibly vast in number -- without fear or favor to any of the races of the world, without any regard for the virtue or vice to which the fruits of their labors are put.

Within the sphere, the heart of elemental Fire burns at the center of the universe, lighting the world of men. The genies of Air and Water absorb its light in floating oceans of cloud and sea, causing night to pass over the world regularly. They exhaust excess energy in lightning to the great Towers that keep the Shell fueled. Elemental Earth lies over the inner surface of the Shell like a skin, giving the world fertility and stability. It is also a haven for those races that brood in the dark but require sustenance that cannot be found within the latticework of the Shell far below.

An excursion through the Shell is a dangerous trip only to be undertaken by the greatest of mortal heroes or the spirits of the dead, for the raw energies coursing through here, driving machines the size of planets, were not designed for men to wander through safely. At the end of the trip, the film that seals in the atmosphere must be breached, only to be hurriedly sealed again by the rilmani, and the traveler had better be prepared to breathe on the other side.

The safest place to go here is the base of the Spire, the port of a space elevator on the celestial north pole of the Shell. Here the rilmani have their cities, and passage can be taken to Sigil, the halfway point between the world of men and the worlds of the afterlife. Spelljammers ply the vacuum here, taking passengers from one port-door to another in swift trips that can take someone from one nation of men to one so different as to be another world. Keep a watchful eye out for Shell-sharks lazing in magnetic eddies awaiting prey, or schools of void-fish that will consume a jammer's magic and leave its crew gasping in space. There are reasons that swathes of the Shell yet lack reliable maps.

For those who want to move past the Halfway City, if one lacks one's own transport, passage might be booked with the innumerable psychopomps who traverse the Spire continually ferrying souls: Charon's ferrymen, valkyries, ravens, and more. The Stream of Souls is constantly visible along Sigil's axis. All pass through here, it seems, though here the trips diverge.

Eighteen outer planes (not counting the Shell, wherein true neutral petitioners are found) are arranged on three axes here. Stand with your head beneath Mechanus, where the gears turn the infinite cables and run communications in a language known only to the inevitables down to the world. Feel the sea of Limbo far below your feet, lapping at the other wide of the world. Stretch your left hand out to Hades, the sinister pole of Evil, where three discs are visible within their haze, and give your right to Elysium, where three lands shine distantly under an even further starlit ocean at the pole of Good. Before you, then, lies the Active pole of the Dynamic axis, contrasting with the Static pole behind you.

Here Baator lists above the Shell, halfway between the poles of Law and Evil, mirrored above the world by Mount Celestia on the other side. Between Evil and Chaos lies the Abyss, reaching down into the soup of Limbo as well. Between Good and Chaos is the twilight realm of Arborea, where the fey and eladrin, the elven dead and the others beloved of their powers, dwell in shifting shadows and light.

Gehenna is Active in the service of Evil, while Carceri keeps its evil prisoners gripped in the unyielding clutches of a Static plane. Bytopia, world of labor, favors activity in the service of Good, while Eden rejects progress in favor of preserving the wild natural splendor that was once and, with hope and luck, could perhaps be again. To all of these planes, law and chaos are secondary concerns.

The plane Active of Mechanus is Acheron, which sends forth paladins of orders both noble and tyrannous, when they are not clashing in great wars of ideology in their own realms. Active of Limbo is Pandemonium, where madness reigns, and the winds whisper, though as often they whisper of inspiration as terror. Passive of Limbo is Ysgard, grim ice-locked realm of noble warriors -- pillagers, some might say -- with doom foretold as the reward for bravery. Good and evil are decided here by the sword, not by philosophy. Directly above it is Arcadia, locked still in pristine order, its gardens carefully cultivated, its orchards strait, its paths smooth, and its people rigorous. It is beautiful in its way, if stern and stiff.

And at the poles of the Dynamic axis? The Active pole, from outside, seems to be a dimensionless point of Yang, which throws forth a constant stream of energies, elements, and new souls to populate the Universe. The Believers of the Source, as well as many Prime religions, are certain that within this place exists the Creator, awaiting oneness with the souls in Creation. Perfect stillness is the ideal of those souls who seek Nirvana, where all struggle is foregone and all desire forsaken. They dwell inside a formless, placeless place somewhere in the black point of Yin, which here is not fear and pain -- those are the traits of the undead, who, they say, are so unfortunately entangled in the world that they cannot even escape it in death -- but a soft, all-embracing darkness that absorbs the steady flow of everything that rushes toward it.

And what lies beyond? Few can say... though nearly every god and pantheon in this Wheel claims to be defending mortal existence against untold horrors beyond the Outer Sphere.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XXVI - Petitioner Perfection

The mimir and monocle of remembering worked just fine, though the recorder stone turned out to be unusable. It works fine now - maybe it doesn't travel so well. In any case, I've got plenty of good stuff for you. Organizing it all currently, but here are some choice bits in the meantime.

"What's going on here? Primus lied. That's what's going on here. Not to say he isn't the divine embodiment of law and order and blah blah blah, but underneath it all...he wants. Just like the rest of us. And so he lied. Not even the greater powers suspected Primus would be anything but straight with them and all of a sudden everyone is on board with this crazy plan and I'm picking up shifts in a woodshop, supervising dolls who put together dolls. It's like a backwards cannibalism fairy tale. I swear, I hit my head on the ceiling at least four times an hour. This morning a half-dozen of the things hugged me on the street and told me that it was the most beautiful day since tomorrow. What? I don't know if I can take it anymore. Bartender, another one of these please! Hell, make it five since you're pouring."

- anonymous cervidal, the City of Stars (identify withheld upon request)

Odin: But mortal belief is the fount of our power! What use do we have for your mindless automata?

Primus: Mortal belief, of course! But on our planes and in our realms, wouldn't we be better served by petitioners who more perfectly embodied our ideals and philosophies? Nanoo nanoo.

Odin: Nanoo nanoo indeed! Well put, my friend!

.......

Primus: You are so talented. Those flesh bags out there must really chap your hide.
Hephaestus: They make me so crazy!

- Excerpts from Act I, Scene III of 'The Great Pretender' by Elax Ellwinder

Dear Nebu:

Please refer to the following regarding future exploratory assignments:

Is the oeuvre of Elax Ellwinder involved?

If yes, then I am afraid I have a previous engagement to make love to a yugoloth on the sun.

Kisses, Olmina

"True, there are those that question his motivations, but what Primus delivered was so much more than the powers had dared anticipate. Souls ascending from the prime provided the spark of animation to the constructs and merged with the plane immediately after! The powers were doubly enriched. It must have been intoxicating. I'm no fool, I won't look you in the face and deny that the new petitioners lack a certain amount of...depth in their personalities, but I challenge anyone to argue that it hasn't been a plum deal for all involved."

- Duke Lostgrove, ursinal author & construct apologist

"Of course that duke won't speak to me, but maybe you can go back and ask him a few more questions. One, has he noticed there are maruts everwhere? Just hanging out, making sure everything is running smoothly, right? Come on, these aren't modrons! Maybe Primus thought 'Hey, I've got all these ten-foot death machines just gathering dust, I bet they'd really take to customer service!' Yeah, that sounds like some logical Primus thinking, huh? Give me a break. Something is coming. I can't prove it, but if you ask me I think Primus has a switch. He's got a back door into the heads of every Petitioner 2.0 out there, and one day he's going to turn them all into pictures of perfect order and all of the outer planes are going to slide into Mechanus. No, I can't prove that last part is even possible, but do you want to find out?"

- Elax Ellwinder, conspiracy theorist and playwright

Parallel XXVI - continued

Olmina, those were your organized notes? We really must have a long talk soon about the proper conduct of research. I had assumed the notebooks were in some kind of madcap fey shorthand until my brownie groundskeeper opined that it looked like common to him. "A festive interpretation of the printed word," I believe he called it.

I've only slogged through several planes worth of documentation thus far, but my investors are already asking for some crisp and classy summaries. Hopefully the following do the place justice - please let me know.

Arcadia Long gone is the orderly agriculture of Arcadia, as the petitioners here do not mimic the old activities of the flesh as those on some other planes do, though first-time visitors are typically too absorbed by the skyline to comment on any missing orchards. Spires, impossibly thin for their height, soar up into the sky; some ascend straight upward while others blossom into perfectly ordered floral fractals. Closer inspection reveals that these towers are the petitioners of this plane. Countless thousands of featureless golden humanoids, climbing and balancing on one another, making a meditation on order and goodness from the struggle to maintain these elaborate formations. Their construction is so precarious that it would seem as if knocking them over should be child's play, though even considering such a thing seems to be a sure way to draw the attention of the local powers and their agents.

As on many of the lawful planes, constructs have found great favor with the deities here. Five gigantic glass lions with golden clockwork innards monitor Lu Hsing's realm, combining to form a gargantuan humanoid warrior on the rare occasions that the bureaucrat requires a particularly dramatic display of force. Schools of miniature sphinxes of bronze and stone patrol the skies of Heliopolis, exhausting travelers with questions and confounding riddles (though this is said to be far preferable to attracting the attention of an inquisitive obelisk).

Baator There are few planars more enthusiastic about this new order than the devils of Baator. Most Baatezu generals are tireless in their praise for the "new lemures," shambling assemblages of metal refuse, mechanical elements, and alchemical glassware bubbling with dark, noxious liquid. Few outsiders can discern any real distinction - to most they seem just as useless and wretched as before, but who is going to argue? Only recently have a select few begun ascending in the baatezu ranks, grotesquely transforming into ever more infernal machines. Many fiends have taken great issue with the promotion of these hellish constructs, but in light of the baatezu's (admittedly twisted) meritocracy it appears as if racial integration will win the day.

Baator is likely the most dramatically industrialized of the outer planes explored thus far - in addition to the sprawling lemure mills, the baatezu have invested mightily in facilities for research and development of new construct war machines, bizarrely cosmopolitan places where the sight of a gnome arguing with an amnizu while a pentadrone looks on curiously is not particularly unusual (for a talented and ambitious maker of flexible scruples, the baatezu labratories are said to be the jobs of dreams).

Ysgard Ysgardian petitioners are armored giants built for warfare, and a new petitioner could easily be mistaken for a warforged from the prime world of Eberron. Combat is their reason for being, and on some parts of the plane the distant racket of metal against metal is virtually constant. Each morning defeated petitioners rise from the piles of scrap to fight another day, though rarely in the form that they started. It's the odd Ysgardian that doesn't have a mismatched limb or two, and some older petitioners abandoned recognizable humanoid forms long ago. This resurrection appears to scramble what passes for the petitioners "minds" as well as their bodies - the sight of an iron giant berating a tree for its sniveling pacifism is not uncommon. Presumably these metal forms are as unfit for the water as they appear, as longships have taken to the skies, often featuring ranting, sword-waving petitioner figureheads.

Parallel XXVI - continued

You have questions, I have answers.

Like the duke said, souls merge with the planes immediately. What he didn't say was that the constructs never go anywhere. Obviously 500 years of this regime is basically yesterday for plenty of the planars, but that's a lot of dead mortals. I flew from the City of Stars into the countryside and never quit running into packs of the little bastards. I spied on a group of a dozen of them for two days - they played games and sang songs and talked about their feelings, never stopping to rest or eat. At night they tried to tell ghost stories, but the scariest thing they could come up with was a grumpy dwarf. I can see why the guardinals are so depressed. Lots of planars have relocated, cutting the petitioners a wide berth, but the guardinals have stuck around. I think it's because the constructs are so childlike and insufferably good, which ironically is what makes them so unbelievably creepy and unbearable.

Yes, they are actually making these things, with a few exceptions. Workshops and forges and factories are everywhere. For all the divinity and metaphysics involved, this is an insane financial operation. Lots of honest work for anyone who wants it, but it boggles the mind where all the raw materials are coming from, infinite planes or no. Thuldanin is thick with baatezu and assorted other lower planars, dragging home as much junk as they can carry. Proxies of Elysium are finding exciting second careers as lumberjacks and those Arcadians are made of gold, for crying out loud! I'm pretty sure I heard Karagoth mentioned at a meeting of scrap barons in Void's Edge, which sounds like a fast coach to doomtown to me.

And speaking of Void's Edge, it may go without saying that the constructs make terrible slaves and even worse fiend food. So that can't end well.

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Parallel XXVII - Where Nature Rules:

In this parallel, an enormous tree that stands in the place of the Spire. Sigil is divided up into a string of scattered settlements more or less surrounding the base of the tree, and each is reminiscent of Faunel back in Multiverse Prime. The few citizens who live in these settlements are rather reserved and clandestine, going about their public lives wearing animal masks of one kind or another, though behind closed doors and drapes, their masks come off.

On the surface, they seem rather barmy. With their masks on, they imitate the behavior of the animals they're wearing. However, after speaking at length with them, it seems that they wear their masks mostly to not draw attention to themselves from the native fauna, which seem to relentlessly attack all sentients they come across. When asked about the Lady, the natives made some sort of hand gesture, swept it across their chests and refused to speak.

There are apparently only nine Outer Planes in this Wheel. The names given are what the natives call them:

The Hive - Far from the squalor one might find in Sigil Prime, the Hive of this wheel seems to correspond to Mechanus. The entire plane is filled with the buzzing of wasps, bees and the mass efforts of countless ants and termites. Mounds and nests dominate the landscape, and what plants exist on this plane display flowers that this writer has never seen rivaled. What can be seen of the land itself seems to be rather arid.
Aerie - Similar to Mount Celestia, this place is filled with mountainous terrain, with soaring heights and play host to numerous cliff dwelling birds. The most majestic of these species are eagles, which local stories seem to cast in a similar light to celestials.

Elysian Fields - Gentle rolling hills and idyllic pastures dominate the landscape of this plane. Vast herds of grazing animals roam the plains, shepherded by guard dogs which seem to act in the same role as Guardinals.

Arborea - Sylvan glades and dark forests. Apparently home to unicorns and other mythical creatures. Oddly, there didn't seem to be an equivalent to the Eladrin, nor anything resembling the usual nature spirits one would expect. Warrants further investigation.

Chaos/The Wildlands - A confusing patchwork of landscapes and caverns. Animals from this plane display the same sort of confusing patchwork. There are enormous holes bored throughout, though nobody seemed to have any idea as to what may have caused them.

Nightmare - Corresponding to The Abyss, this plane is a twilight forest realm filled with deep shadows and dark caves. This seems to be a plane of solitary predators who hunt down anything unfortunate enough to be caught in their path. It's speculated that these predators take the place of the demons from Multiverse prime.

Fetid - An endless swamp filled with biting insects, leeches and crows. There's apparently a species of hyena or jackal that roams these swamps. By all appearances, they're helpful creatures and try to lead unaware visitors through the swamps, though there are numerous accounts of people coming to bad ends, sinking into quicksand or being lead directly into a river with a strong undercurrent. These reports also seem to indicate that these animals like to sit and watch the individual struggle helplessly. One can't help but think of the 'loths...

The Hunting Grounds - Taiga and tundra dominate the landscape here, where packs of hunting animals roam far and wide. They've been observed working together diligently to bring down large prey or driving entire herds of animals off of cliffs. Despite the effort it takes them to accomplish these feats, they often leave the fruits of their labor to rot.
Homelands - This parallel's equivalent of the Outlands. Apparently, this plane is home to a fairly mundane cross section of animal and plant life, though creatures from all the planes have been observed crossing through the landscape here.

Regarding Petitioners: There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason behind where petitioners from Prime worlds show up. Likewise, the form new petitioners take run the full gamut from all species, including sentient ones. There's a group that calls themselves The Shepherds who roam the planes and try to save anybody who shows up in a humanoid form. There's another group who opposes the Shepherds, and subscribe to a Survival of the Fittest philosophy when it comes to saving petitioners.

Regarding the Bloodwar (or it's equivalent): Occasionally, packs from the Hunting Grounds and shadowy predators from Nightmare encounter one another. When they do, they fight until one side or the other is completely destroyed. Woe to anything that's caught in the middle of these battles.

Regarding the Powers: It's not clear if there are any out and out Powers in this particular parallel. Exemplars of a given species have been spotted however, and it's speculated that they're similar to the Beastlords of other parallels, and that these may take the role of Powers in parallel XXVII.

Not much is known about the Inner Planes of this parallel at this time, though rumors seem to indicate that it's well populated by refugee petitioners from the Outer Planes.

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Parallel XXVIII: The Alchemy of Virtue and Vice

The Spire, a swirling configuration of prismatic magical force, stands over a battlefield of elemental exemplars fighting what seems to be an unending Armageddon. High above this corpse laden madness - thankfully infinitely higher than the aerial war zones - Sigil sits as a coin with a central hole, rotating above the tip of the Spire. The hole, guarded by dabus, allows one to cross between the two sides when the Lady wishes it to be so.

On one side of the coin is Sigil as Canvas. This Sigil is rife with artists of all sorts and the ground underfoot glows with soft sunlight to illuminate their works and their forms. Public pavilions, arenas, and auditoriums play host to all manner of perversions and performances, and the Sensates, Ciphers, and Bleakers host all manner of operas, plays, and athletic competitions.

The other side of the coin is Sigil as Orchard. This Sigil is an overgrown jungle, its soil going far deeper than possible as it almost never breaks into the other side. The plants here have all sorts of magical properties and the alchemist guilds here use them for many different kinds of potions and salves. This side of Sigil is dominated by the khaasta, though the lack of dabus is largely due to the lack of work that needs to be done here to maintain a sprawling wild land.
There are four elemental planes, each bleeding into the plane of Concordant Opposition, itself a neutrally aligned mixture of the different elements and the results of their conjoining. It is in the Concordant Opposition that one finds liquid gold and star fire crystals, to name but two of its wonders.

Each elemental plane contains its own variations of fiends and celestials, who take on traits like those of the genasi but far more pronounced - crystalline horns, obsidian teeth, bat wings of living silver or feathers of fleshly gold, merfolk gills, salamander scales, lightning or fire running across flesh, eyes made of ball lightning, lower torsos cyclones or pillars of flame, flesh made from stone or radiant cold, hair of smoke or mist or rainfall, and so on. The Prime consists of Crystal Shells hanging stationary in a Cosmic Ocean of Ether. The Ethereal Ocean, in several Alternate Primes of this Multiverse, has been overrun by the hordes of the Nathi, the Devourer Plagues, or the Empire of Neth. The last is perhaps the most pervasive and dangerous, for the eyes and ears of Neth are that of its shape shifting Nethlings.

The Plane of Fire is a place of burning illumination ranging in tone from orange to blue to white, with the fiery inhabitants constantly contesting with hurricanes of ash. Here the celestials are courageous and proud, virtues they encourage in others. The fiends are gluttonous and wrathful, sins that visit upon others in their homes while tempting Primes to those same vices in the mortal spheres. Rivers of liquid flame connect various major sites here such as the Black Diamond Parliament of the Red Dragons and the Solar Orchard whose trees bear suns as fruit. The exemplars here are obsessed with exploration and fascinated by wheelwalkers, for they seek to illuminate all ignorance.

The Plane of Earth is a place of stone and soil where the Battle of Good and Evil is long eons of diplomacy leading into punctuated violence that often drags on into grinding wars of attrition. Here the celestials are loyal and steadfast as the firm mountains and bountiful soil. The fiends preach callousness and casual cruelty, dismissing those who cannot survive without charity as undeserving of their lives or even their souls. Many tunnels are filled with crystals containing the trapped souls of those a fiend lord has tricked into becoming a part of his or her collection. Tunnels bright with veins of precious metals lead to wonders such as the Seven Formian Kingdoms of Mercy and the cavern spanning Warforge Theocracies.

The Plane of Water is an ocean bursting with life. The water itself glows blue, and is filled with kelp and clouds of algae and plankton. The celestials here are compassionate and nurturing, entering into your emptiness the way the water spreads itself to fill its container. Inversely but similar, the fiends are obsessively suffocating and lustful. Water gardens are common here - when amongst the celestials one hears the laughter of orphans and when amongst the fiends one sees the overuse of body slaves. Currents ridden by turtles and cetaceans flow between what the residents believe to be holy places for the plane entire, places such as the relics of the Jade Whale Ossuary and the Great Coral Mosaic which depicts the face of a woman with blades for hair, a face larger than continents...

The Plane of Air is a frigid blue emptiness through which thunderheads and snow storms wander. The celestials here are joyous and also calming, seeking to reinvigorate those who have exhausted themselves in the battle against Evil. There are many way stations and floating oases the champions of Good can use to recuperate their bodies and spirits. The fiends here delight in whatever cruelties take their fancy and exact harsh retribution against those who cross them. They are much like the tanar'ri of Multiverse Prime - they believe all creation should be both larder and harem, existing only to fulfill their nightmarish whims. Great bridges of cloud lead one to the myriad market cities of the plane, where the residents trade in songs and scents as well as bottled rainbows, tempests bound into kettles, and cyclopean masterworks hammered out of lightning.

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Parallel XXIX: Prime Time

On most parallels, the elemental and energy planes are the fount of all the substance of the multiverse, certainly no small feat. But on the prime of this reality, they are the source of more. Some peculiar cosmic alchemy blends these six essences into a potent seventh something; few mortals have even begun to breach the arcana with which it is harnessed, but its mere existence in the nooks and crannies of the prime has birthed strange, powerful creatures that have had dramatic impact on this multiverse.

The seemingly omnipotent beings that wander the prime of this parallel are frequently described as “gods”, though this is only in deference to their power. Though they sometimes take similar interest in mortal affairs, they are mysterious and deeply alien in their ambitions and motivations and, above all, possess no connection with or dependence upon belief; that their awesome abilities are innate and not subject to mortal fickleness is a profoundly unsettling truth for this parallel's planar powers.

Foremost among these mighty immortals are the Illuminators. Dwarfing the tallest mountains, these ten mute, armored giants travel the crystal spheres in a vessel the size of a world, nurturing life towards intelligence and civilization wherever they find it. As such, the known spheres of the multiverse prime are but a corner of civilized space in this reality. Dozens of intelligent races have crafted sophisticated empires spanning multiple spheres; hundreds more are not far behind. Advanced magic has as many forms as it has practitioners, from the sand runes of the umber hulks to the inscrutable topological arcana of the puddings. Artificer magic is widespread, with constructs and magical infrastructure commonplace on countless worlds (to say nothing of other curious intersections of magic and technology).

While the densest portions of the known spheres may feature hundreds of races peacefully coexisting in sprawling cities and on great magical space structures, the prime here is not all cosmopolitan tolerance. On the frontier there are still wars of enmity and conquest, though most learned long ago that the Illuminators do not abide genocide; even massive state-sponsored bloodshed is slightly more civilized than one might expect.

Contemporaries of the Illuminators number between a dozen and a hundred, depending on the source (the longer lists typically include legends of questionable authenticity as well as incarnations of what are most likely planar powers).

In light of the immense variety of races represented, the planes here are absolutely thick with lesser and intermediate powers. With so many realms based on alternative visions of aesthetic perfection, neighborly squabbles have found more and more powers retreating to demiplanes in the ethereal.

Arcadia, for instance, has been all but yielded to the gods of the thri-kreen, the xixchil, and other insect races, who have reshaped it into an endless hive of stadium-scale cells. Light pleasantly diffuses through each cell's golden walls during the daytime hours, as petitioners tend to a variety of exotic (and carefully arranged, naturally) flora and fauna. Misbehaving intruders are quickly dealt with by buzzing, insectile archons and their fractal honeycomb golems.

Alternately, in some cases the powers have proactively made homes for their new peers. A collective of good-aligned fire powers have fused all of the sand on Pelion, the desert layer of Arborea, into glass. A variety of energy, light, and color beings now reside here.

Unsurprisingly, the astral here is one of the largest graveyards of powers that a wheelwalker is likely to encounter. Many are the simply forgotten, though it's rumored that others were sent here purposefully, by malevolent prime immortals without the Illuminators' distaste for genocide.

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Parallel XXX: The Mysterious Stranger

Wheelwalkers visiting this parallel generally find an empty void in which floats a naked, humanoid male of reasonably pleasant appearance. You must bring your own air and light, though fortunately it is impossible to get lost; the only space here exists within a few arm's lengths of the Thinker. He is normally lost in thought, but can be broken from his reverie with sufficient stimulus.

When asked, he explains that he normally spends his time imagining the reality he pleases, forgetting briefly that he is alone in existence. No power seems able to harm or control him, and no persuasion seems to be able to convince him that wheelwalkers are not themselves figments of his imagination.

It is, however, possible to enter the Multiverse he imagines, with any sort of immersive telepathic bond -- which he can cast himself, if he likes. This can be useful if he can be persuaded to focus his attention on any particular part of the Wheel, since he can, if convinced that it would be at all entertaining to do so, edit the Multiverse as he pleases. Normally he abides broadly by his own rules, simply to make the madness-game somewhat interesting.

Upon exit when the bond is terminated, materials -- and people -- collected within this imaginary Multiverse seem to be as real and solid as material from any other Multiverse, even when taken to other Wheels. The economic possibilities are intriguing, and really daring wheelwalkers have tried suggesting unusual physics to him, in order to harvest items they might be able to obtain nowhere else. The philosophical consequences are also obvious, and have driven more than one wheelwalker to make an attempt on the Thinker's life. Obviously, to date none have succeeded. It's presumed that particularly annoying wheelwalkers are simply edited out of his game.

People escaping from the Thinker's reality often suffer from the fear that he can still stop imagining them if he chooses; it's a worrisome thing to think that one began existence merely as a figment for the entertainment of some casually mad god in a universe where the Sign of One was apparently right. Otherwise, the structure of that world is a fairly straightforward one, with a Wheel of the most usual type, although the Thinker appears fond of crossover synergies and hidden puzzles, so his various worlds tend to be more littered with artifacts of lost realities or contradictory histories.

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Parallel XXXI: The Circle

"This idea that we travel through our lives as a group with several people that we have this core connection to, led by perhaps one bodhisattva, working on issues within our core character through the different lifespans, returning to the bardo, and then spinning out again. Beautiful."

-Summary of the Years of Rice and Salt

I draw my sword, studying the reflection of the dawn on its surface. My steel tints the sky, for I have never been able to wash it as clean as it was on its forge day.

"There must be something thicker than blood, a music, and with the Cadence of our beating hearts it flows from your veins into mine. These bodies are but vessels for our symphony."

And with those words echoing behind my every sword stroke I fall into the steady march of my column, wondering how my love and I will know each other in the next life.

=-=-=

"You lead this family to death!"

"Death, my son - what is death before dishonor? Only the latter is carried across Hel's every Harvest. Look to you who were before this life and take courage.

We are, in truth, Memories moving through corpses."

Instead of my supposed past lives I looked at my mother, tried to drink of her courage until I gagged but only fear gave strength to my roiling stomach's sickness.

I glanced out the window, and saw the armies like tides rising to crest over the walls of our city.

=-=-=

There are no dead lands in Parallel XXXI. There is no afterlife, or at least no permanent one. Instead it seems that souls reincarnate across this parallel, and though no one is sure why this is or if every soul is reborn it is clear that at least some souls are engaged in the cycle of birth and death.

The Outer Planes are partially a place, and partially an event. Actions leaning heavily toward an alignment will cause areas of their occurrence to take on aspects of the plane relating to that alignment or the virtue or vice being exalted. This doesn't always happen, and oftentimes it takes either years for reality to slowly be rewoven or a great event (such as an incredible betrayal that costs the lives of thousands) for an instantaneous shift.

Sigil, floating above Mount Meru which rises from the Primordial Ocean, takes on the architecture of the Land of Ind, Tir Na Nog, and the Shinto civilizations. The Vedic, Celtic, and Shinto pantheons hold an incredible amount of power on this Wheel as do the Dustmen and Believers of the Source. There is no Outer Wheel, the gods all reside on the Inner Planes, the Etheral, the Spirit Worlds, or the Astral-silver skied Primordial Ocean of Milk and Honey.

There are Spirit Worlds that border the planets of the Prime, and souls are often cycled between these border worlds and their mortal world. Other souls seem to have a need to find each other across reality, either being born into the same family or finding each other over time. Sometimes they meet as lovers or friends, sometimes as sworn enemies.

What is being sought by each Circle of Souls? Are the Godsmen and Dustmen right, in that some higher state of being can be sought? And what if this is the *only* Multiverse where the philosophies of either faction can lead to that place in (or beyond?) the Metaverse?

=-=-=

I scream out my mothers name as I cut down the invaders running through our household. Who is this Valkyrie inside me, when I am a small man with only a head for numbers not bloodshed? My training with a blade was but a formality, and yet here I find all my lessons paying my sword arm back tenfold.

=-=-=

I run him through, this son of a noble house that stands in the way of revolution. The name of my slaughtered slave girl, my beautiful flower, I spit it into his face...and for a moment my entire lifetime reels, and I think I have impaled a wife I never had...

And then all is vengeance and a search for a good death, one whose echoing tide will deliver me to a new shore my lost love has already been born into...waiting for me...

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32 - Entropic Thunder (bahne)
33 - planar Refugee (bahne)

I'm sorry I can't keep up with numerals Sticking out tongue here is a loose idea...
(not many details, as I'm a total noob with the multiverse)

Entropic Thunder

The debate of how, why, when, who has died out, nobody no longer cares. The energies of entropy gained strength throughout the multiverse, so much that even powers began suffering from it. Some powers have decayed so much only a fragment of their power and sanity is left.

The Queen of blades, has earned a new nick name... Queen of Rust as her blades and once pearl of a city is now rusted, decayed and on the brink of utter destruction. The queen herself no longer hides or wanders, she sits on a huge throne in the middle of a huge market place, there are no stalls or people in the square, nobody dares to be near the Queen. She sits here, sighing, drumming her fingers idly on the armrest of her huge throne, while flakes of rust slowly but surely falls from her body and Sigil slowly decaying her and the city.

The multiverse has been swept in a tidal wave of entropy and despair, the general feel of any plane or person is... "who cares anymore, it's just a matter of hours or days before we are gone"... it's a dismal grey corrupted decaying multiverse...

But nothing ever happens without anyone benefitting from it, does it?
so who is responsible, how and what can be done?

Planar Refugee

In this parallel all powers/entities have been banished from all planes to the prime, although powers have been retained, they are still diminished as the powers have been forced to manifest on each prime world they in some form were worshipped splitting their powers in equal parts.

It all happened very sudden and without warning, none of the powers knows what happened, they know they are on the prime and cannot travel into the multiverse on their own. They have no connection with the other manifestations of their previous entity.

This has severe implications on the worlds they now inhabit, they are no longer immortals but are beings of great power. The irony is that, their power is diminished equal to how many worlds they were worshipped on and as such their former glory is now their biggest weakness. Mortal worshippers can now kill (if lucky or well equipped etc.) their god's rival god.

Who or what is now in control of the planes? and how does it affect the primes?
I imagine players could be playing the banished powers or they could help them restore the multiverse if they are metaverse walkers.

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Parallel XXXIV: The Grudging Truce

From beyond the rim of this Great Wheel, the Aeons came, somehow stepping through the Spire onto the lands of the Rilmani. Together, they found a means of offering the Second Death to all that would oppose them.

The Aeons and Rilmani rode forth on the concordant dragons they'd recast in the Spire's heart, and these massive leviathans now breathed out lances of light with every exhale, and those outsiders run through by their exhalation did not rise upon their planes - instead they were lost to this Wheel and perhaps to the Metaverse.

Grazz't was the first to propose an alliance with the surrounding planes: Charge the Outlands or watch the Rilmani rise to tyranny with the aid of their Aeon advisers. At first many did not heed him, even as the Blood War lost more to the Breath of Light than had been killed in ages.
Then Khin-Oin fell from within, as apparently in this world the Oinoloth had been Center-of-All, the rilmani trickster, since before the obyrith created the tanar'ri. All this time, the aurumach had been patiently waiting for the right opportunity to topple the power structure of the yugoloths.

On the outer walls of the tower's ruins all the known baern are now crucified. This led the Multiverse into alliance against the neutral exemplars, though it was not soon enough to keep the Spawning Stone intact. This was actually a miscalculation on the part of Neutrality, for what the slaad have become now that they are Unbound are creatures vast and amphibious and amorphous...they will need to be dealt with once the Rilmani and Aeons are cast down.

Strangely enough, with the Outlands besieged and celestials forced to make common cause with fiends, Sigil is a city prone to violent outbursts and bar room brawls. After all, it is only here that the Rilmani and their Aeon friends are barred, only here that one can relax enough to let old familiar hatreds breathe. Across the planes the portals incoming from the Outlands have been torn down or at least locked but Neutrality gets around this by bringing the dragons into towns which are then encouraged to slide to whatever plane the self titled Lords of Balance wish to strike.

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Parallel XXXV: The Wind Swept Lands

Sigil has become the focal point of a planes wide disaster. An artifact built to draw power from the Elemental Plane of Air was used to keep Duke Rowan Darkwood from completing the speaking of the Sigil Spell while outside of Sigil through the clever use chronomancy and the message sending properties of the Harmonica. It is also important to note that the Evil Elemental Princes were on the verge of releasing their dark master who few suspected was Tharizdun.

The artifact was an ancient fail-safe prepared by the Wind Dukes and, surprisingly, Dagon. It was used in Sigil with the Lady's blessing apparently, preempting the Duke's use of the Sigil Spell. This action likely saved this Wheel because it ushered a powerful dimensional glyph made of winds from around the Multiverse that kept Tharizdun from reconstituting itself, scattering his essence into 333 artifact level magical gems.

However, the price of keeping the monstrous Entropy Lord from arising with more power than ever before was higher than perhaps even the Wind Dukes worst case estimates. Most of the edifices on the Outer Planes have been torn apart by the unrelenting hurricanes that ravage the planes of Good, Evil, and Neutrality. Even Limbo has been affected, as winds carrying the Cold of Ice have frozen large swaths of chaos matter. These nightmarish storms have rent apart the mortai, who are now weeping voices strewn across the Beastlands. The three towers of the yugoloths are shattered fragments strewn across the Lower Planes of Conflict. The Pillar of Skulls has been toppled on Baator, and the winds have torn Jangling Hiter from its supporting chains - the city is now half sunken and all shattered within the swamps of Minauros. The citadels on the Plain of Infinite Portals are naught but flotsam whirling inside the titanic tornadoes that congest the first layer of the Abyss.

Sigil's surface is empty save for air elementals and those few with the power to withstand the barrage of of the winds spilling out of the white-iron mace - the artifact the Dukes created to serve as a planes wide ward. Undersigil, however, has never been more congested and crowded.

The Prime worlds have seen stormier weather as a result, a great number of hurricanes and tornadoes, and the gods have answered less and less prayers and granted less spells to their clerics as the deities must devote a great deal of power to simply keep their realms intact. Powers who possess domains relating to storms or the wind are likely to rise to the heads of pantheons and their priests in turn are already setting up theocratic empires on the Prime. However, forces from the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Lightning have begun make excursions into the storm wracked mortal worlds, though they have yet to commit to any definitive plan of conquest.

The Inner Planes feel the winds as well, and are currently dealing with the mass invasion of the djinn and invisible stalkers who seek to bring Air to dominance. Cryonax has lent them considerable aid, perhaps realizing that in this Multiverse joining the winning side is the best he can hope for. The forces of Smoke have been less willing to ally with the forces of Air, largely due to the general annexing of the plane by the Efreeti seeking to safeguard the paraelemental border.

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Parallel XXXVI: The Center Cannot Hold

Ygorl has crashed the Spawning Stone into the base of the Spire. Riddled with cracks, the infinitely tall pillar seems destined to topple. The Slaad as a people spin off into creatures encompassing simultaneous forms vastly different from their once definitive amphibian shape.

Most of these beings, now Moorcockian Dancers at the End of Time have little interest in fighting the myriad races and peoples now arrayed against them in vengeance or hope of preventing the coming calamity. They instead travel across the planes, spreading the insanity of an incoherent space-time. However, there are those loyal to the other Slaad Lords who feel that Ygorl has cheated them by placing Entropy above all other aspects of Chaos - in fact they realize that Entropy will ultimately swallow their own Concepts as much as it will break down the Law. Of all the beings in the Multiverse that might reverse this disaster, perhaps only babbling Ssendam has the key....

The concept of locality seems to be breaking, so all the Inner and Outer Planes are experiencing the ever increasing degradation of reality. Mountains crumble, dragons age without warning, seas boil, Time writhes like a serpent on hallucinogenics, Malsheem rusts, the gears of Mechanus don't seem to fit as well, the Gray Waste orgasms out its hoard of emotions and colors, Yggdrasil rots and Mount Olympus slides into the Plane of Elemental Earth...

Primus and other forces of Law warn that this act is treason against creation itself, and if the Rilmani weren't busy sickening and dying in their diaspora they'd likely jump on this band wagon. Instead they serve as Exhibit 1.0 for the doom crying Guvners going into public hysterics on the streets of Sigil.

Sigil itself seems to be largely immune from the decoherence, save for the randomness afflicting the efficacy of portals. The keys are definitely shifting, but thankfully for now the destinations of the portals seems to remain the same even if they randomly fail to work every now and then. The Doomguard have also declared victory for their side, celebrating with drunken revelry or attempting to convert everyone to the worship of Ygorl.

Factol Skall has taken all the Dustmen into the Negative Material Plane, to meditate the onset of what he believes is True Death.

The lower level Sensates desperately attempt to experience everything they can, while the high ups of the factions prepare some mysterious ritual connected to the symbol in the faction headquarters.

The Ciphers are broken, deaf to the Cadence. The Chaosmen seem more erratic than ever, and the Anarchists are split as always as to the virtue of Ygorl's actions.

The Harmonium and Mercykillers seem to have a plan, something to do with the now beleaguered Elementals of Law and the enactment of a punishment fit for The Crime...

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Parallel XXXVII: My Father's Mansion, the One of Many Rooms

(thanks to Colin McComb for the seed of this idea!)

Step through a door and walk onto the beaches of Oerth, take flight and soon enough, a mere matter of decades, you will find the frescoes being painting by aasimon seeking to record their interventions to save this place on its ceiling. Climb a stairwell and enter a tower overlooking a stone playroom whose detailed filigree regenerates against the assault of madness driven winds. Infantile monstrosities weep out of hunger in the darkness, overseen by nurses that seem to be hybrids of your ideal beauties and those giant spiders you feared as a child.

All the Multiverse is a single house, an infinite home of interconnecting stairwells and rooms. But the rooms can sometimes be large enough to swallow worlds, and the stairwells of prismatic force might twist and writhe through foyers until their spiraling lengths of subjective gravity touch the doors that rarely seem to lead to the same place twice.

There are god rooms and rooms awash with cosmic oceans, heavenly rooms that are studio apartments waiting for a mother and daughter to live there.

There are cells where the tortured are packed in, rooms where mass graves double as iceboxes for demonic butcher shops.

In some rooms the wall paper depicts reliefs of paradise shining out merciful sunlight but devils ply their trade within the living spaces, in others one hears titanic fauna scurrying or the World Serpent slithering or the whispering of pleading prayers to Paladine in the walls but rooms are in the midst of ice ages or golden ages or ages of illithid dominance where red lamps shine over the world spread across the floor.

There are rooms filled with forests, and others that no one has been able to open but the scent of cinnamon or the sound of lovers draws visitors hoping they might have the key.

Somewhere in all the halls and stairs and rooms is the mysterious Sigil Room, a fabled place where a Lady sits waiting for a visitor. Perhaps a rescuer, perhaps a rival. Who, the inhabitants of this House wonder, are the implacable dabus and their living rebus legions searching for?

And is this a true Multiverse at all, or another maneuver of the Crossroads House in its long game against (and somehow simultaneously on behalf of?) its makers, The Architects of Infinity?

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Parallel XXXVIII: The War of Parted Lovers

"What is this life that pulls me far away?

What is that home where we cannot reside?


What is that quest that pulls me onward?

My heart is full when you are by my side -

Calling, yearning, pulling, home to you..."
-Loreena McKennitt, 'Caravanserai'

It began with the dissolution of Apophis. Ra stood mystified on his celestial barge, his body of luminous golden light bleeding solar flares from his wounds. Every time before, meaning every day's dawning, the Serpent's blood would boil out and the ruby clouds of steam would settle on the sun god's flesh as Ra's morning dew.

Every time before, the blood would close his wounds as if flesh were but parted liquid. But in what was clearly their final battle Ra had watched with raptor eyes wide with wonder as blood had become sea water, as scales had become sea foam and bones had turned to brittle souvenirs of coral.

The eyes of Apophis became two black pearls - never had his enemy's eyes so resembled his own. Ra had summoned those pearls into his barge and continued in his daily passage across from horizon to horizon. If any of the billions of worlds whose daylight depended on him noticed the delay in the sun's rising it troubled only the wisest and the most sensitive to the interplay of divine and mortal realms.

The next dawn, which is the dawn of a billion mortal worlds, it was Horus who took up the Barge of the Sun as Ra slept as Thoth and Isis sought to stem the fire that leaked out of their pantheon's godhead.

Ra did not awaken that day, or the next, and on the ninth day since Apophis's death Osiris welcomed the god into his realm. The soul of the god had gone to its rest.

On the tenth day, Geb proclaimed that he and Nut should be together now that the reign of Ra had ended. Isis and Osiris, themselves painfully parted loves, sided with Geb and his wife. Seker found Geb's proclamation disrespectful and Anubis even spoke from the Astral to state that Ra's judgement should stand. Bast believed the lovers' should be reunited, and Set said the judgement of Ra should stand, likely out of spite more than any respect for Ra.

Shu, surprisingly, was one of the gods who abstained from saying yea or nay on the matter. Though he did not give his opinion, he continued to hold the Geb and Nut apart with his power and still does so.

Horus, Ra's successor, was still assuming the powers of his office and was angered by the presumption of the other gods. He might have decided the matter single handedly, but Thoth who had once bent Time itself for the lovers had now given them each a share of power bled from the body of Ra.

With Thoth's ibis head being shorn from his neck, the War of Parted Lovers began.

=-=-=

State of the Planes: Give the pervasiveness of the Pharaonic gods and their followers, the inter-pantheon civil war has dragged much of creation into violence. The Blood War continues but both sides in the now greater conflict, the War of Lovers, have taken it upon themselves to teleport whole legions of fiends near the realms of their enemies. This has made both the devils and demons wary of gathering in open legions without the backing of a deity on the planes of their conflict.

More troubling is that the Upper Planes quake with the warring of the pantheon's legions. As more and more mortals die, more soldiers appear in the planes of Paradise to serve as the soldiers of their gods.

Of great insult to Horus was the untethering of Ra's former realm from Arcadia. Once he killed Thoth Orisis and Isis allowed Heliopolis to shift across the Upper Planes to Ysgard, the plane that most closely matched Horus's alignment. Not only did this leave the realm vulnerable to the violent forces of that plane, but it also was a symbolic insult in that a chaotic power was hardly one to enforce his predecessor's lawful edicts.

That Horus is their son is now a mark of shame to Isis and Osiris, for the blood of wise Thoth is on his hands.

Though Ra's soul passed through Osiris's realm on the way to some Other reality, his corpse shines golden and hot against the cool argent of the Astral Void. Anubis watches over it, for while he supported the dead god's ruling the jackal headed guardian of the divine graveyard will not let forces from either side draw on the energies still contained in Ra's dead body. Every day hundreds of exemplar legions are culled from the the corpse's vicinity, though many wonder how long Anubis can resist the will of so many gods unaided.

What is perhaps more unusual is that Thoth's corpse has not appeared in the Astral, though his priests no longer receive any spells from him and it is clear his realm is fading away. Stranger still is that his proxies retain their power - if anything, the observant might note, they seem to now radiate with divine magics.

More troubling for his worshipers is the lack of inspiration that has beset them and that the ability to commune with Thoth's incredible mind and its knowledge of planar history is gone.

The War of Parted Lovers has resulted in the domains of the gods turning into weapons across the worlds. Horus cannot restrict the sun from rising on the pantheon's worlds, but it glares in the eyes of the "rebel" gods' peoples. Isis, with the aid of Azuth and Mystra, is turning arcane magic against those who side with Horus. Geb attacks the people who've sided with Horus with earthquakes, and Nut strikes them down it lightning.

Because Bast sided with Geb and Nut, and thus against Horus, it seems many hawks in the Multiverse are hunting cats in the wild and in the streets of and rooftops of the cities.

The priesthoods of Set have pushed their way to legitimacy in many worlds as the pantheon's worshipers have been forced to choose sides in the War. Similarly, in many places the worshipers of Geb and Nut specifically are blamed for the shifting tides of misfortune and often abused or run off from their homes. Many have fled into the crypts of their peoples, seeking protection from the living and finding it in the arms of Osirs's dead. Where need is great, his priests are being granted mummy-hood and lichdom in droves which has led to the paladins of Seker declaring war against all of the White Crown's worshipers.

Where Horus's power is strongest, all those who are said to follow the "rebel" gods have been tossed into dungeons. Given that many worshiped the pantheon as a whole this has led to no end of administrative headaches and rampant corruption as merchants and nobles alike seek to rid themselves of long standing rivals.

A great number of the pantheon are providing some measure of aid to both sides or neither. Many are unsure how to proceed, for while they pity Geb and Nut they acknowledge Horus as the rightful heir to Ra. Yet if their pantheon is to retain its strength across the Multiverse it will need a greater power at its head, and thanks to Thoth Horus can only claim to be an intermediate power at best.

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Parallel XXXIX: The Storms of Pandemonium

Have you been living under a rock somewhere or are you just addlecoved? How can you not know about what's been going on? Fine. Here's the dark of it, as I understand it.

Nobody's quite sure what exactly happened. Chant has it that some barmy greybeard figured out how to open a permanent two-way link between Pandemonium and the plane of Storms. That'd be the elemental plane of Lightning to you, Clueless. Oh good, you do know about that. Anyway, all anybody is really certain of is that about twelve years ago, a demon windstorm broke out across the planes. That'd be both the Outer and Inner planes.

Madness infected Lightning and spread through Air, Smoke and Steam like a plague. The borders between those four planes just plain broke down, and apparently the whole place is now just an insane swirl. A group calling themselves the Lords of the Storm started riding out and conquering the adjacent planes. They say these guys are unstoppable, and the mere fact that I've heard stories about Marids fighting along side the Efreet makes me wonder if there's something to that. They also say that winds now howl through the Deep Delve, like the place was sodding Pandemonium. I ain't never been there, so I can't tell you if that's true or not. But, given everything else that's going on, I got no reason to not believe it.

Anyway, that's what's going on on the Inner Planes. What happened to the Outer planes is just barmy. Fr'instance, didja know you can see all the planes of the Great Wheel from the Outlands here? Look over there. That's Mount sodding Celestia. And that over there? The four peaks of Gehenna, and yeah, they're all sodding erupting now. And that swirl of madness over there. Don't look too long. I've seen cutters stronger than you go completely mad after looking it a little bit too long. Best as I can figure, that swirl is somehow Pandemonium, Limbo and the Abyss, all mixed up together.

Got that all in your braincase? Good, now look past all the scenery. See that stormcloud? Do you see where it ends? You're right, it doesn't. That damn thing has been gathering since that windstorm. Every now and again, an arm of it drifts out over the planes and everything in its path...changes. I can't explain what that means exactly. It's just something that you're gonna have to experience for yourself, but you'll know it when you come across it. It's like the places that have been touched by the storm have been unstuck.

Oh yeah, by the way, the Blood War ended. After that windstorm, all the drive seemed to go out of the Ta'anari and they retreated. Thinking they had won, the Baatezu gathered their numbers together, and in an onslaught worthy of epic poetry, pressed onwards to the Abyss. Nobody quite knows what happened, but to a one, the armies were defeated, driven back and driven mad. Now, there's sodding devils wandering the planes, attacking anything and everything that strikes them as needing to be attacked. There are rumors circulating that Solars are working with the four remaining Lords of the Nine in an effort to control their wayward numbers and to bring some semblance of sanity back to the planes. Yeah, I said four. The others are either dead, missing or barmy. Yeah, a barmy Lord of the Nine wandering the planes. That’ll give anybody nightmares.

Let’s see. Inner…Outer…the Blood War…what else? Oh, the factions. Yeah, they’re mostly still around. There’re a few new ones these days. The Cult of Ragnorak. They’re big on Ysgard, obviously, though they’re really more of a sect. Basically, they’re a bunch of barmies who’re convinced that the big doomsday show-down is immanent and they’re doing everything they can to ready themselves to fight alongside the powers against their enemies. Come to think of it, there are more than a few of these doomsday groups. Some are doing their best to break open Carceri. Chant has it, they’ve already managed to free a titan or two.

Near as anybody can tell, the Guvners have been hard at work trying to figure out a way to bring things back under control. The Hardheads are still around, trying to convince everybody that they already have everything under control. Pike ‘em both.

The Society of Sensation has now become the Society of Bacchus. Yeah, these days, in the face of seeming Armageddon, they’re less about experiences and more about hedonism. The Bleakers and the Dusties have seen their numbers rise for much the same reason. People deal with the end of times in their own way.

The Xaositects have surged, of course. Can’t throw a rock without hitting one these days. They’ve more or less taken over Sigil, if you can believe that.

Oh Sigil! How could I forget Sigil?! I’m such a sodding idiot. Look up at the Spire there, berk. You see that purplish-bluish glow? Yeah, that’s the city. These days we call Sigil “The Storm Cage”. You know why? It’s cause the entire city is encircled with lightning. And Her Serenity sits in the middle of the city’s airspace, acting as some kind of sodding lightning rod. I don’t know why she’s doing it, but ever since lightning first started surrounding the city, and a few stray strikes burned down the Hive, that’s all she does.

And the Dabus. They’ve gone barmy too. They build up and tear down buildings like you’d expect, but they work over top of one another. One puts a board up, and another tears it away. They’ve also built whistles and pipes to catch the wind and play a sort of music. They also put up sculptures that don’t look like anything I’ve ever seen. Abstract-like, I mean. And the towers they’ve built lately. I’m sure that if you could somehow get outside the city and look down, it’d look like the spokes of a wheel. The Xaositects, of course, love the madness in the city now and “help” the Dabus with their constructions. Madness.

So yeah, that’s the screed. You planning on writing a book or something? You’ve taken an awful lot of notes there.

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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XL: The Sundered Planes

Sigil? Well, yeah, it exists, but we don't bother with it anymore. Not since the Multiverse started tearing apart.

See there are breaches that connect the planes now, and so places like the Cage and the Gate Towns don't see as much traffic. Why bother with a portal when you can lead whole legions through a rift?

The first one? That one was between Fire and Ice, and that war is still going on. Might be good for the arm chair generals, seeing as a rift between the Grey Waste and the Beastlands turned the Blood War into the battle between yugoloths and the Innocence of the Happy Hunting Grounds. If nothing else, at least the essence of the Wild and Innocence of animals has brought emotion to the Wastes and got the Baern running scared....At least, that is what I hope the gradual retreating of the yugoloths and mortai claiming the grey skies means.

The Plane of Vacuum has swallowed bits of Positive Material, clouds of Radiance, as well as varied Prime Material worlds...who knows what will come of that.

The Negative Material Plane has bled from various breaches into the Ethereal Plane, resulting in a surge of incorporeal undead across the Prime.

The thinnest of cuts has supposedly linked the depths of the Abyss to the Order of Mechanus. If nothing else Orcus has apparently allied with -or perhaps found himself dominated by - Primus, who is even now sending hordes of modrons into Thanatos. Its exact plans remain unknown.

Another rumor is that Chronias now shines the light of Ultimate Good and Order into the swirling lunacy of the Far Realms.

The Styx is being diluted by the Plane of Water, and Oceanus is leaking into the Plane of Shadow.

Cubes of Acheron are floating off into the Astral, drifting amongst the corpses of gods.

The Temporal Prime has conjoined the past, present, and future of several worlds.

That's just the examples off the top of my head. But hey, just take a stroll through any of the planes and you're sure to bump into a breach - There are news one appearing everyday even as all sorts of forces - elementals, celestials, fiends, jinn, mercane, spellweavers, aboleths -work hard to close off the old ones.

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Parallel XLI: The Spirit Ocean

The crystal spheres here have a calligraphy of glyphs etched on the outside, nation spanning lettering interlocked into blazing wards that light the spiritual waters around them.

The Spirit Ocean is an infinite expanse of breathable yet murky water clouded by ether and shadow. Utilizing the dimensional currents allows one to travel via spelljammer submersible across distances that would otherwise take millennia or longer to traverse.

While predators of all sorts are a concern, the greatest threat as well as the staunchest allies lie in the cities that lie upon or within the gargantuan fauna and flora, those forces that necessitated the wards upon the crystal spheres.

Hippocampi with starlit fur and moonshine scales, kraken with tentacles grasping artifacts of healing and truth, tyrannical sea turtles carrying the cities of devils on their shells, ever twisting eternally spreading forests of madness inducing coral, beds of entangling sea weed all to willing too entrap souls by utilizing the cruelest illusions - all these and more are the representations of alignment within this Multiverse. Some serve as land for the fortresses of fiends or cities of celestials while others are the realms of the gods.

Within the crystal spheres, behind the protections carved out by mysterious benefactors, are the equivalent of Prime Material Worlds. However, these worlds are also the originating forces for the elements, and thus one sees mortal humanoids interacting with elementals and jinn. Sometimes there are wars, though such wars are not always between the elemental and mortal. Other times there is peace and occasionally united, civilized empires.

Sigil leads to the backs, underbellies, and innards of the great flora and fauna of Alignment. The city is built on the inner circumference of a torus, but as there is no Spire no one is sure where it is. Attempts to dig through the streets results in being mazed in a lightness labyrinth of heat leeching ice.

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Parallel XLIII: The Contest (Rip already did 42)

There are only seven known sapient beings here - the rest is your run of the mill flora and fauna found on Multiverse Prime.

There are no dabus, razor vine has choked the Cage and the Lady seems unconcerned by the strangulation. You'll see her Serenity floating around her empty city, not bothering with the other six sentients who know better than to risk her ire as they make use of the portals.

The Six are incredibly powerful immortals with incredible magic at their disposal. Each of the six seeks the capture of the others - to kill one of the Six is to ensure they reappear fully restored in some unpredictable corner of this Wheel.

Though the Six retain their memories, the form of their reincarnation varies - a slaughtered ogre might return as a pixie or a dragon. Oftentimes one of the Six, finding himself or herself in an unfavorable form, will seek out some plant or animal to destroy the body and thus allow him or her to enter a new one.

Every time a body of the Six is killed, that particular person finds his or her skills and prowess greatly diminished. Such knowledge and training can be recovered, depending on the form, but during these years they are particularly vulnerable.

If there are more contestants, they are unknown at this time.
The Six, in their current forms, exist as follows:

Hainnor the Great, Archmage of Storms, Master of Wind and Flame, and Diabolist of the Three Circles - No matter what form Hainnor took over the years, he always found a way to use powerful magic in his struggle against the other five, whether as a savage Minotaur Shaman, a High Elf Wizard with classic spell mastery, or a Pit Fiend conjuring fiendish animals to his side. In his most recent incarnation, Hainnor appeared as... a domestic dog. He's more or less a large mutt in appearance, with big floppy ears, a brown and black coat, and a fairly long, round snout. He can speak all the languages he's ever known, but has so far had trouble reclaiming his magical powers. However, in the meantime, he discovered an abandoned mortal city from long ago and found that it was wonderful. The smell of the flowers growing through the cracks in the stone, the adrenaline-pumping sensation of hunting the numerous rats, the primal satisfaction of marking and defending his territory from another dog. While Hainnor's powerful mind has not slipped into a bestial state, he is beginning to think he enjoys this life more than he ever did the great contest. The man inside the dog is still torn, but he wonders if he might not be able to escape notice in this form, spend his days roaming this city, and maybe the next, and perhaps the next after that if he has time. Siring puppies, discovering new smells... it all sounds remarkably pleasant, with no worries about eternal captivity or being Mazed by the Lady on some poor decision.

Of course, if he does decide that the contest is more important than all this, there are always the wolves roaming the broken city, ready to send him on his way. Tim4488

Parallel XLIII: Contestant #2

Kitteran the Chain Skinned: Whether she is a an aboleth, a bodak, a giant amoeba, a disenchanter or a prismatic dragon as is her current form, Kitteran always is marked by the fine golden links that interweave themselves into and over her flesh.

The chains somehow preempt binding Kitteran, who is already bound to herself in some arcane paradox that the other contestants have as yet been unable to unravel. This mystic recursion of continually triggered contingencies has made Kitteran rather insane and thus more loquacious than the other five and certainly more talkative than the Lady of Pain.

Kitteran has spoken of the others and herself as the "pact-bound" and the prize as the "root-trunk of the branching histories". Note that the "pact-bound" sometimes includes the Lady as well, but never when Kitteran is asked about it in Sigil. The Chain Skinned has also referred to the Wheel upon which the game is played as the "purposed reflection" and when asked about what happened to everyone - gods, archfiends, mortals, the Concordance of Celestials - she laughed mockingly at the "necessity of history in dreams".

Kitteran's comments led the chronomancers of the Fate Breakers to discovering that time travel is impossible, and temporal scrying cannot look forward and looking back only shows the Contest being played without any hint as to its inception. At which point the Architects of Infinity began to wonder if this Wheel is in fact a constructed copy of some other Multiverse with all sapients save the six contestants and the Lady removed.

While she enjoys the company Kitteran refuses to speak further on the subject, repeating herself once before chastising visitors for distracting her with questions about origins when victory should be the sole concern. For someone mentally touched, Kitteran plays the game incredibly well. Her resistance to binding allows her to be more direct in seeking out the others who are more prone to using armies consisting of some combination of constructs and charmed non-sentient life.

Kitteran enjoys the use of arcane enhancement, transfiguration, and abjurations. When witnessed in direct battle with the other five, Kitteran was a jovial and sporting combatant, apparently bearing no ill will towards the others.

Parallel XLIII: Contestant #3

"Remember, it's all just a mirror we made to see ourselves in."
-Invisibles

I am Rune and I am Musical Note and I am letter of Ink...

I am Fey and I am Leviathan-Behemoth-Whale and I am bastard child + secret shame of Griffon and Horse.

I am a woman grown, rising from grass, drops of my own urine racing down my legs, but I remember the budding of sloping but unobtrusive mole-hill breasts and the shoots of hair prickling the valley between my round, kissing close thighs.

I remember being an eagle headed foal clawing through the womb of a mare and I remember a crown set on my head as prince of the Seelie. I am a calf in a salt water world, the girth of my cetacean mother dwarfing nations.

But I have no past, even as my memories glitter in the depths of the recorder stones. My own secret fortress, infinitely recursed to infinitesimal proportions in what seems to be the Sigilian headquarters of the Society of Sensation.

I come here to remember that I am Nydra, and to forget for a moment that I must never let myself be caught - that I should bleed myself or burn myself or explode into chunks of muscle and shards of bone rather than feel the clamp of a shackle or the weight of a ward.

Do the others remember lives never lived? Do they follow the map of their memories to unearth artifacts that have never been made but still lie in ruins and crypts guarded only by supposedly "non-sentient" life?

Whoever made the rules never owned a dog, that's for sure. But then again, I probably never owned one either...

I don't think the others remember the memories of their forms. I don't think the others can find the eye that (maybe?) never lay in a socket, the hand that (perhaps?) never connected to the bones of a wrist. I don't think they could give them to Laquera and thus make a new friend who promises to help me win the contest...I think Laquera is more real than anyone, because she is always giving orders to herself, always attended by her selves young and old...

I don't think Laquera should give a dead man's eye to a child, but we don't know each other so well so I keep my mouth shut. I don't want to lose such a valuable friend.

Still, I can't wait until the contest is over. I can always be friends with the rest of the Laqueras, so you couldn't even really say I murdered the one that was the meanest.

Parallel XLIII: Contestant #4

"I love a challenge, and saving the Earth is a probably a good one."
-Six Ways Mushrooms Can Save the World:
http://www.ted.com/talks/paul_stamets_on_6_ways_mushrooms_can_save_the_world

When I awoke, I thought for a moment I'd been buried alive. I thought I was frozen, unmoving, tasting the rotting alchemical waste of untold generations. This seeping garbage affected my own arcana, preventing the triggering of my contingencies. Unable to even destroy the body I now inhabited, and thus reincarnate, I thought the contest had been lost.

As none of my rivals came to gloat, my panic settled, and finally the revelation came: I had not lost.

Rather, I had been dealt a winning hand.

=-=-=

Most survivors of the Cleansing worship me as Tohgrut the Omnipresent, and surprisingly I have come to the find that through the ingestion of my flesh a communion opens between me and my priestly vessels. I can grant spells to my chosen hunters, allowing them to utilize arcana via new born instincts.

But my body, of which my ambulatory children take part daily, that is my true miracle.

I feed the starving, and give revelation to the worthy. My stalks pierce the earth and offer up my majesty to all who are willing.

The druidic prophecies in empty aboreal libraries denounce me as aberration, but have I not healed what they could not...and is not their lack of presence proof of their failure?

=-=-=

The wolf, the bat, the beetle and and the dolphin. All come to know themselves as my spores carry the gift of my consciousness across the planet. Apes rebuild ruins with the aid of messenger birds and varied beasts of burden.

There are clerics and mages now among the animal kingdoms, the truly blessed who have survived taking in my flesh and let my mycelium wrap around their veins and bond with their nerves. The less fortunate still have a part to play, their corpses the soil in which new aspects of my divinity grow.

These mycanoids are myself born anew, the ones I have remade the world for. I am their Alpha and Omega.

=-=-=

Let the others come, let them come and face the glory of Myself, the Lord of the World and One true God of this Multiverse.

=-=-=

One of my mycanoid children vanished, and I felt as if an eye had been plucked out of the body of a previous incarnation.

=-=-=

My child was lost, and now is found. It tells me not of other worlds, but other Wheels...other Multiverses waiting for the Revelation....

Parallel XLIII: Contestant #5

Chentatel

Those other fools have it all wrong. It's not about magical power, sheer physical might, or even knowing the best routes to travel the planes. The Contest has less to do with defeating the others, and everything to do with not being defeated.

Chentatel has honed its skills as an escape artist first and foremost. Some incarnations, it merely does its best to avoid capture, escaping snare after plot after trap before the other contestants even realize Chentatel is on the same plane. Other times it has willingly let itself get caught - the fools are far more likely to divulge information about their own schemes once they believe they have Chentatel firmly in their grip. Once it's learned all it can, it slips away again, using the new knowledge to outmaneuver the others. The best part of the contest is that, since forms change every time, most of Chentatel's foes have yet to figure out it even exists as a distinct entity. Rather, they blame each distinct escape as bad luck or poor planning on their own parts.

An interesting thought, if you like, is that Chentatel's current incarnation has willingly become "blessed" by Tohgrut. Through a series of magical tricks and intense mental disciplines, it has managed to maintain its own will and hide its true identity, while gaining immense knowledge from its association with the fungal network. These other Wheels could be truest escape Chentatel has ever dreamed of... Tim4488

Parallel XLIII: Contestant #6

Annael

You can hide a whisper in a symphony, a cube of sugar in a sea of salt. But for what I am composing, for my masterpiece...such a thing could only be hidden in the boundaries of an infinite Wheel.

I walk into the unmanned mists of Raven's Loft and bend the land of my domain, birthing canyons that blush with the emergence of calligraphy. I walk out and enter the Caverns of Thought, finding their center so that I might focus the scattered animal attentions of its gray matter to streaks of tarnish painted in the distant reaches of the Astral Void.

I die and come back, I swim and crawl and fly as serpent as xorn as djinn. I write, and I paint, and I sculpt. The fractures of crystal upon the plains of Mineral, the hoof beats of horses on the snow, the turn of a gear in Mechanus and the currents just under the surface of a billion oceans. The cry of the osprey and the fall of a thousand redwoods into Hell's fallow Pit of Flame.

All are stanzas in my miraculous poetry, all are movements in a dance that confines.

The kernel, the center of my works is arcana not my own. A ribbon of unfading echo that quivers like flesh in ecstasy, thrumming that lends shivers to Her shadow on the cobbles. All of Sigil is a spell unlike any other, magic that I will answer with my own and so make the City of Doors the lynchpin to my own plane-spanning Cage.

I am weaving a web made from Everything, and every day my supposed rivals tangle themselves freely while daring to think they are players instead of prey.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XLIV: The Lady is Naked, But Veiled by Stone.

Sigil is a collection of stone plinths rising up out of white sand. The plinths are the width and height of a half-giant. The sound of lapping tides and the smell of salt spray are everywhere, but no one has ever found the ocean shore. The sunlight always shines silver through the perpetual cloud cover.

Each plinth has a keyhole. Put the key in, turn it, and the plinth becomes viscous in the manner of honey. Walk into the stone and arrive at your location.

Any who have looked upon the Lady are now blind, their skin the rough consistency of rock. They are not statues, not completely, but enough of their insides are made into stone so that what remains of their lives is agony. Yet all consider themselves blessed, having claimed to seen the very definition of both Beauty and Truth.

Instead of being mazed, those who do not displease the Lady to warrant such punishment are instead left on miniature islands, adrift in a mysterious ocean whose fruit sustains all forms of life.

The Inner Planes are Positive, Negative, the Ethereal, The Mists of Water and Air, the Burning Caverns of Earth and Fire, and the Twilight Savannah of Darkness and Light.

There are seven Outer Planes, which are as follows:

Heaven: The Plane of Mercy and Justice, Heaven is dominated by a great mountain that slopes downward in a gentle curve, ultimately becoming the rest of the land. At the top of the mountain, from which the entire plane radiates, is a shining pin point of light. It is this silver orb that provides the majority of illumination in this plane's eternal night. The stars are far too distant, and far too few.

Heaven is overseen by the lycanthrope celestials who both mete out justice across the Multiverse but also raise and protect Heaven-born mortals and arriving petitioners as if they were the archons' cubs.

Heart Wild: The Plane of Freedom and Passion, the Heart Wild is a forest that shifts without warning from temperate pines to sweltering jungle to a land of dead, sun bleached trees. The weather above is even more inconstant, often subject to the whims of the mortai.

The Heart Wild is guarded by a variety of beings including eladrin, oreads, valkyries, and sphinxes. It is commonly accepted that the wisdom of the ratatosks is the ultimate arbiter when conflict arises.

The Iron Desert: The Plane of Tyranny and Control. A vast plain of metal that ends up with rust covering its surface in compex, and as yet indecipherable, calligraphy. Upon it the Riaa conduct their endless slave trade. The Riaa are a race of lawful evil fiends that are some born from the patterns of rust that long to complete themselves. They are gangly, emaciated beings whose black metal bones are clearly present under the thin cover of translucent white flesh that stretches over their forms.

The Riaa are constantly at war with each other, but it is a war rarely of violence and more often of politics and riddle contests. In fact, Riaa flat out refuse to kill one another, so instead most conflicts consist of capturing and attempting to brainwash the enemy. Given the untold eons they've had to practice on each other, they easily create armies of broken souls to fight their battles for them.

The Shattered Mountains: The Plane of Excess and Madness. A mountain range of broken stone under an angry red sun, the air filled with chastising insects, the Shattered Mountains continually shift their paths and threaten travelers with avalanches and earthquakes.

The stone, or at times crystal, takes on varied hues and consistencies and often is covered over by poisonous moss,strangling vines, or sentient mold. Caverns and hidden valleys lead to sybarite kingdoms of the varrangoin, sibriex flesh crafters, and bebilith hive minds, each using its will to create a nightmare realm to sate its own alien pleasures.

The Ink Wells: The Plane of Creativity and Transformation, the Ink Wells are pools of various shapes and sizes, each holding a swirl of variegated ink. Fey and Slaad race around the pools, using the ink of various materials, including their own flesh, to alter their persons or bring fictional beings to life. The ink is said to be the petitioners who come here, conjoining their personalities into a wondrous whirlwind of insane imagination.

Many artists come here as well, forming protective communities in order to utilize the ink in more controlled fashions. They are aided by the monastic, unified races of Gith, who help ensure the underlying, foundational reality of the Ink Wells is not overwritten by the wildness of its more chaotic inhabitants. Note that despite the high body count there is no malice in the conflict between the races of Gith and the children of either Titania or Renbuu.

To dive into the ink wells is to throw the dice regarding identity, location, and perhaps even one's place on the timeline.

The Web (Inspired by China Mieville): A weaving of energy touching all creation, a fractal plane that ever revises its patterns in unpredictable fashions, the Web is also known as the Threads of Synchronicity and Indra's Net. No one knows who set the spidery constructs that oversee this place their duties, nor does anyone understand how these arachnids use the Web to traverse both space and time, mysteriously pushing this Wheel toward Order or Chaos as it suits them.

The Ocean of Blood: It is said that the exemplars of a primordial age had their veins opened here, and that they lie at the bottom of what most sages agree is a depthless body of liquid.

The mysterious Rilmani forever patrol this plane in their boats, using lanterns to guide them through the red mist. While their motivations are unknown, and supposedly tied to the concept of Balance, one cannot help but note the mercy they show in rescuing those who are stranded, drowning, or beset by the monstrous yet natural reptilian, amphibious, and ichthyian vampiric horrors of this plane.

Somewhere, it is said, the waters turn from red to cleansed cerulean, and one can land upon the beach that leads to the secrets of Sigil.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XLV: Blessed are the Liminal Messiahs

Credit to Jem, who introduced me to the idea of and potential of the Liminal. Dragon empire credit to Robin Hobb.

"We should leave..."

"No."

"Jacen, get off your knees and look outside the thrice-damned window! There's an army of demodands and yugoloths marching toward this city. We should leave here, leave Carceri entirely."

"I'm not leaving. I told you, I saw the Truth out there. You go if you want, I couldn't leave if I tried and you can't run forever."

"Jacen -"

"Faith roots me to this red lit soil that casts my shadow upon the clouds. It knows I've submitted. It knows I wait for It here."

=-=-=

Multiverse Forty-Five, until the turn of its last quarter century, was similar in many ways to Multiverse Prime with not quite minor differences but no radical shift from the Prime's planar configuration.

Differences? Orcus never became Thanatos but he neither was he slain, Vecna remains an immortal lich king on Oerth, the Expansionists and Incantifiers never ticked off the Lady and are still around.

Other differences...hmmm....oh, that whole weird thing with Chaos hatching out of an egg on Krynn? That never happened....You sure Chourst didn't have something to do with that on Multiverse Prime? Rather...random, that....

Anyway - Twenty-five years ago, something appeared in the midst of the Blood War, upon the Field of Nettles. At first it seemed like the Indigo Death Mother dancing, then a fiend that was either an enriynes or a succubus...then the fiends blinked as lightning momentarily blinded even their generals and it was clearly a miscegenation of a pit fiend and a gorristo, then a Kyton and a Marillith, then an ice-devil sweating rain on account of its burning balor head.

Neither tanar'ri nor baatezu attacked. Seven ultroloths appeared, surrounding the shifting creature, their thoughts stabbing at the meat housed it is iconoclast skull. Thought it wept black ichor and even coughed out its innards, in the circumference of their circle it became a towering baernoloth with three heads, each bearing a different face of the demodand castes. Every finger was the length of one of their blank canvas faces.

The ultroloths know they didn't blink, know their iridescent opal eyes never turned from the one they had come to pass judgement on. It walked through them, and as it walked it seemed to become amorphous shadow, a tyrannical darkness that bore an abstract resemblance to a bebilith.

When it changed again, into a humble hordling quasit, the battle field somehow grew a brighter shade of grey yet everyone on the field knew that luminescence had been lost. Perhaps devoured.

The one it passed through was now blind, now named The First. It shared its last sight with the other six, and the shifting figure had its first seven disciples. They left the field of battle, not in a flash of space-twisting arcana or even inches above the soaked grey soil that hungered for color and anger alike.

The ultroloths walked. The baatezu and tanar'ri parted, though the nycaloths and arcanaloths refused to be so easily cowed.

Their statues still sit upon the battlefield turned fiend-sacred ground, the footsteps of the Seven walking around them undisturbed despite the billions of fiendish visitors.

=-=-=

Water that offers light and warmth, air that is cut into blocks and hammered into swords, clouds of gemstone that can be breathed in, fire that when set upon the soil causes the crops to grow.

=-=-=

The red-gold dragon is the brilliance of the setting sun, and the metallic and chromatic dragons listen to its sermons whether they are given upon tundra, in the depths of the swamps, or the highest mountain reaches. They fly across the world, or even between worlds, at first as spectators then later as genuine witnesses.

Later, a black-silver wyrm offers the same salvation on an Alternate Prime.

Twenty years ago, almost all the chromatic and metallic dragons across all the Primes of this Wheel vanished. When they returned, they seemed more at peace, their faces the very definition of serenity as they explained to the lesser races across the Rainbow Oceans that they would be assuming control of the crystal spheres.

This war is being fought today, though there has been no siting of the liminal dragon. None but the dragons know the contents of its scriptures, none but they know the purpose of these draconic empires.

=-=-=

Sigil remains the City of Doors. The Lady of Pain flays anyone who speaks aloud about the Lords of the Boundaries, but curiously enough does nothing to those who put speak their thoughts through ink and paper, chisel and stone, or mind to mind.

Only those who allow breath to become voice face the sentence in Her shadow.

There is something else in the air, an all pervading feeling that one's long lost siblings, lovers, or perhaps it is enemies have finally returned.

=-=-=

In the midst of the Second Unhuman Wars, the seed of a child is formed in the folds of a flower, a wet fetal thing tumbling out of the cusp of a tulip, plopping into the water garden of one Elven Admiral Elana.

Believing it to be a blessing from the Tel'Seldarine, Elana nurtures the embryo, turning the attention of its bio-mages away from the creation of more Spirit Warriors and towards the gestation of the miracle.

Then, before it is fully developed, it is both clear that it is a boy and that it bears features that are both elven and goblinoid.

Clerics and conjurers, alchemists and druids, all are brought in to study the child while chronomancers work around the clock to freeze its development. They are barely managing to keep it from maturing any further.

Though elven worlds are reporting droughts, locusts, rivers and rains of blood, still the Elven Armada is under strict orders not to allow the completion of the fetus to term.

They do not know the druids plan to betray them and take the child to their co-conspirators amongst the orcish shamans.

=-=-=

No Liminal Messiah has visited the Celestials. Instead, they have united on their own in order to prepare for the advancement of a unified Lower Planes. Thankfully, the prejudices of the Nine, the Baern, and many Abyssal Lords has prevented this from coming to fruition.

All the balaena have retreated from affairs beyond their river domain, and no longer aid travelers unless they witness them under attack by intruders or they are drowning. Many planewalkers claim they have seen shadows of the celestial whales in the murkiest depths of the Oceanus. They are, apparently, singing lieder of celebration whose watery echoes are dirges of mourning...or perhaps it is the other way around.

=-=-=

Have you seen the Silver Monk? Hairless, voluptuous, compassionate, stern - her flesh is the Philosopher's Stone. She is Ether and Astral, Matter and Mind, and she offers Enlightenment if we are willing to serve her to the end of our days.

She will save us from the dragons. I know She will. But first we must find a boy being kept apart from his predestined birth.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XLVI: The Dreamers' Exchange

"I'm with you in Rockland - in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-journey on the highway across America in tears to the door of my cottage in the Western night." -Ginsberg, Howl

Marie is afraid to fall asleep, despite the fact that her restraints feel secure. She can see the black soot stains upon the charred stone, she knows that sometimes Hell can sweat through her pores.

The men and women gathered around the pentacle that circumscribes her seem cautious but rather than overly worried you might characterize their leering as overly eager. They stand with ledgers in hand, ready to record Bel's thoughts and observations.

One of them, Marie is sure it is someone different every time, says something in words that are achingly familiar and yet utterly foreign.

Marie yawns and with a haze dulling the edges of her fears quickly tumbles into slumber. The smile on that sleeping face stretches out until lips bleed, showing the folly of a human trying to mimic the wicked grin of a pitfiend, especially one who has earned a place among the Nine.

=-=-=

Parallel Forty-Six is another parallel that bears an incredibly strong resemblance to Multiverse Prime, though here the Astral is an argent ocean lapping at the Outer Planes on one end and the Plane of Dreams at the other.

The Plane of Dreams is at once capricious and constant, a land of subjective environments based on individual dreamers as well as the foundational home of those archetypal forces that unite all aspects of creation. It the nature of this place to act as a sieve to subjective experience, revealing meaning in dreams by referencing events and symbols easily looked up in any planar's Dream Dictionary.

Portals attempting to connect the Inner and Prime Material Planes to the Outer Planes almost inevitably collapse, oftentimes in catastrophic or at least chaotic ways. These portals, if they can be salvaged at all, from then on lead to the Plane of Dreams rather than their intended destinations. It doesn't matter if the portal is constantly open, occasionally used, or a never used escape plan. The very magic attempting to link the Outer and Inner Planes is ultimately made wild by the Plane of Dreams.

Anyone attempting to make such a portal should be ready to account for dangerous, miles-wide wild surges.

Sailing the Astral Ocean from the shores of Dream is a safer method to get to the Outer, but time on the silvery waters is at best stretched and shortened unexpectedly and at worst violently nonlinear. There is also the danger of astral dragons, streaker flocks, and the terrifying Astral Dreadnought. (Whether there is more than one of these on this Wheel is as unclear as it is on Prime, if not more so.)

The most common means to make contact between extraplanars and innerplanars (including primes) is through dreams. However, there is an extreme difference between common and reliable - there seems little rhyme or reason why some beings on different sides of the Astral Ocean would end up dreaming each others' lives. Even more dangerous, at times the dreamer becomes a planar vortex themselves, channeling the plane in their dream onto the one in which they are physically present.

Perhaps the answer lies in the clockwork steam city of Sigil, where it is believed the dabus-tended machines upon and under the streets of the Cage set up the exchange of dreams. The entire shining, colorful, razor-vine free, and clean city supposedly manipulates dreams at the behest of a mysterious Lady no one alive (or un-alive) can claim to have encountered.

Why then, you ask, does anyone believe in the Lady? Because she visits us in our dreams. Sometimes it is only one person, sometimes whole nations all at once dream that they are kneeling in worship before the Lady of Pain, their sins shriven by the scalpels of Her shadow.

Whether or not the Lady is real, the machines of Sigil have no known purpose. They are regarded as important because though those who try to ruin them or get in the way of the dabus end up as sleepwalkers destined for eternal slumber. Those looking into the minds of the sleepers describe the dream of a Labyrinth to which all enemies of the Lady are confined.

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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XLVII: The Evolution of Evil

-Excerpt from the journals of Decirius Bael, noted fiend historian, now missing for 6 years:

For two races that regard each other with such murderous intent, the devils and demons (Baatezu and Tanar'ri to be more precise), sure do share an awful lot of similarities - just be sure never to mention this in their presence unless you are willing to face their wrath. While looking at the two races from a military historian's perspective, I began compiling notes on their separate caste systems and noticed some startling parallels.

Both races have "familiar" creatures - sent out to the prime plane to tempt and weaken mortal spellcasters (Imp vs Quasit). Both have endless legions of mindless soldiers to act as cannon fodder (Lemure/Nupperibo vs Manes/Dretch). Each side has their elite "shock troop" soldiers (Barbazu vs Bulezau). For heavy cavalry the devils use their hellish Narzugon, and the demons counter with an Armanite charge. Arial support consists of the Abishai vs the Vrock. Each side has very capable unit leaders/lieutenants - the Cornugons for the Baatezu and the Hezrou for the Tanar'ri. Both races boast clever tacticians or information holders - the Amnizu and Gelugons on one side, opposed by the Marilith and Glabrezu on the other. The Osyluth handles internal affairs and recruitment for the devils, while the demons rely on the Chasme, Babau, or Molydeus to fill this niche. Each side has a specialist in seduction and espionage - the Erinyes and the Succubus. Lastly, both forces have nearly all powerful generals to lead their terrible hosts - the Pit Fiend commands the infernal armies, while the Balor rallies the abyssal hordes.

The careful observer will note the devils and demons have disturbing similarities, despite the tanar'ri's propensity towards chaos and mutation. This is no coincedence. It is because every devil has a personal demon counterpart. In fact they are flip sides of the same being! Perhaps this is one of their many sources of discontent and bloodlust. Every fiend feels "incomplete" and is driven by an illogical hatred to annihilate the opposite race. This is not to say if the races were ever merged or integrated to their true forms they will lose an ounce of malice or spite. It is interesting to note that a fiend's true name can give a hint as to its counterpart on the other side. It is said that a Tanar'ri true name is simply a corruption of the name of his Baatezu mirror.

Note: it is generally believed there are far more demons than devils in existence, thereby casting a dubious shadow on the counterpart theory. However, this is chalked up to the many peculiar vagaries of the multiverse. Perhaps not all the demons are "true" fiends, and these dregs will eventually wither out and die during this "Evilution" process.

-end of final journal entry

*
*

Decirius went missing because he stumbled onto a truth he was never meant to realize. For millenia the yugoloths have manipulated the devils and demons into fighting each other in a brutal, plane-spanning Blood War. As one side seems to gain an upper hand, there you will find a group of 'loths undercutting and sabotaging. And in the other camp you will no doubt find more 'loths supplying conscripts and hideously powerful weapons to help turn the tide. The reason for the perpetuation of the most violent conflict ever known is simple on the surface: pure greed. The yugoloth's official stance is they are simply a lower planar race of traders, merchants, and mercenaries. The label of "fiend' is decidedly unfair, as they are only trying to make a comfortable living - just as every other sentient being in the multiverse does.

Unfortunately for everyone that is not a Yugoloth, the truth is much more sinister. The 'loths have in fact been steering the course of the centuries-long Blood War as a means of battle training. For only in the heat of combat does one innovate the greatest advances in tactics, instincts, and weaponry. The Celestials of the Upper Planes train hard to be sure, and while their skills are formidable, they are child's play compared to the utter brutality and violence unleashed by the fiends against each other on a daily basis.

The enigmatic leaders of the yugoloth race have decided the baatezu and tanar'ri have warred with each other long enough. Their skills have been honed to a razor-edge, and now the time has come to unleash what they have learned against the upper planes. Once the celestials are wiped out, the rest of creation will fall like wheat before the scythe. And so the 'loths have begun their master plan to merge the devils and demons into one super-powerful race of True Fiends - the ultimate battle-hardened warriors.

Ages ago, deep in the endless deserts of the Gray Waste, the Yugoloths unearthed an artifact of incalculable power: The Heart of Darkness. In the Book of Derelict Magicks it is theorized that "one ultroloth created a gem which it used to "purify" the yugoloths. This magnificent jewel spilled the law and chaos into forms of the larvae nearby, which were then herded to the Abyss and Baator, where they evolved into the baatezu and tanar'ri."

- from Faces of Evil

Now, untold centuries after the split, with the devils and demons having perfected the art of war, the yugoloths wish to use the power of the Heart of Darkness to pull the two separate races back to their original daemonic forms. Fortunately for all, the yugoloths are not able to wield the Heart of Darkness to this end. Either the technique of the original ultroloth has been forgotten, or the artifact is simply not able to undo what it did those long years ago. Whatever the case may be, the 'loths have surmised the only way to complete their plan is to destroy the Heart. Ultroloth overlords have theorized that if the gem is smashed, the original "purification" spell will be broken and each devil/demon counterpart will be forcefully integrated. However, every spell of weakening or sundering, every weapon or force of nature that has been brought to bear upon the Heart simply slides off it like water.

Except in Parallel 47....

Here, through a series of circumstances likely never again to be duplicated, the yugoloths successfully smashed the Heart of Darkness - thus setting the Evilution in place. On battlefields all across the lower planes, infernal and abyssal forces feel an irresistable pull towards one another, so strong it even overrides their ages-old racial enmity. Fiends of like "type" (see unit comparisons above) find themselves merging together into uber-fiends - creatures several times stronger than the sum of their parts. Gelugons and Mariliths combine into a horrid insectile/reptillian nightmares, while Cornugons and Hezrou meld into brutes that resemble giant slaadi, only covered head to toe in razor sharp bony spikes and ridges. Worst by far though are the nigh-omnipotent Balrogs - the terrifying union of a Pit Fiend and a Balor.

Parallel 47 is lost. It is a forgone conclusion that this mighty host of True Fiends - who have no compunction against using the precepts of law or chaos (having seen the strengths and weaknesses of both over the centuries) - will swallow up all of existence, with the various angelic armies offering whatever meager resistance they can. Our only hope is that these beings are somehow unable to traverse the parallels, and that this particular turn of events cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel IIL: (intro/draft)

Sigil is a city of bunkers and towers, cast in scarred and scorched black iron. With little upkeep to do, the fearsome draconic dabus monitor the city from their high-up perches, glumly carrying out their absent Lady's final order. The impression is of a city under siege, with visitors and residents alike spending no longer in public spaces than it takes to do their business. Only the Clueless linger.

Wheelwalkers are uniformly taken aback by the shrines to the Lady of Pain, though locals will quickly point out that she deserves the reverence and is frankly in no position to do anything about it. Even on the planes, it is a rare municipal official that has closed a gate to the Far Realms from the wrong side.

Centuries later, pilgrims still deliver flowers and trinkets to the spot where the Lady sacrificed herself, an entire city block of charred, black earth. It was mid-afternoon when the portal opened - exemplars and urchins alike stood by slack-jawed as buildings suddenly tumbled into the darkness. All was quiet for a moment, before their surprise turned to horror at what emerged. This was a parallel with no Vast Gate, no Blood Queen - while being remarkably similar to the Multiverse Prime, it had been blessedly untouched by the Far Realms. Not even the most sagacious celestial or fiend had precedent for the monstrosities that emerged.

The Lady was lost early in the ensuing battle. Accounts tell of her acting with no hesitation, arriving at the scene of the calamity and immediately descending towards the dark pit, meeting its geyzer of monsters in an explosion of alien gore. She disappeared into the portal and moments later it simply vanished. This and other stories of the Battle of Sigil have brought a tear to the eye of many a hardened wheelwalker - proxies of warring powers standing back-to-back against a sea of gibbering aberrations, a trio of shining angels luring a tentacled horror into a waiting mob of ferocious devils, the gentle dabus transforming into death-dealing creatures of the sky.

Unfortunately it was many hours into the fighting when the Guvners realized that the creatures may have been the least of their problems. A shimmering, noxious fog had also come from the portal. That it was transforming any being it encountered into an insane, misshaped beast was bad enough - now it was drifting unimpeded through the city's portals, to hundreds of locations across the multiverse. Mages were able to corral what remained of it as the warriors butchered the last of the invaders, but both were pathetically small victories. Half of the city was leveled and thousands were dead, with the damage across the planes yet to be measured.

Parallel IIL - the idea grab bag:

Originally I was imagining many aberrations escaping Sigil for the planes, though they all seem to have turned out dead. This may change. The mist could wreak terrible havoc in some places (turning entire prime worlds into cannibalized wastelands) but less so in others. Centuries and generations later, perhaps the "realm-touched" are a sizable demographic in various societies.

Terrorism is a fact of life in Sigil, from cultists and assorted aberrational crazies (most intent on reopening the portal, naturally). Thus the iron architecture and the dragon dabus (the latter being one of the Lady's incapacitation contingencies...).

The elemental planes have been thoroughly infected (or conquered), though they remain as elemental as before. Splitting the difference, I suppose. Maybe I just want giant gasbag creatures all over the Plane of Air. Probably.

Traveling the Styx is basically a death wish considering what's living in there now. This has thrown a large wrench in a great deal of lower planar commerce.

Spots of weird, alien beauty exist across the upper planes.

Some races no longer exist in their natural forms.

I haven't even considered how the powers are with all of this.

edited to add: I'm trying to keep in mind that this is a world with no experience with the Far Realms before this incident or since, which seems interesting. I suppose this is where it makes a genuine difference if any invaders actually survived or not.

edited once more: thinking about Monte Cook's Chaositech and how an incident such as this one might instigate a boom in novel and heretofore unavailable magic-tech of some kind.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel XLIX: The Luminous Deluge

"I'm not a baby, I'm a tumor."
-Hellboy II

Parallel 48 is awash with energies from the Positive Material Plane. The Bastion of Unborn Souls expands across the infinite golden blaze of Life, producing such an excess souls that many - too many - are housed in too few bodies. The madness of Demogorgon is now common occurrence.

Mutations occur constantly and randomly, crustaceans born from burrowing insects bursting out of the bellies of ancient dragons, fungi that sicken whole forests exploding into spore clouds that block nations from the sun while producing a rain of mycanoid giants.

Swarms of Ragnorra type Elder Evils devastate the crystal spheres of the Prime Material and its varied alternates, bringing about twisted life even as all the worlds see a rise in fecundity to such an extent that deserts become jungles of choking disease laden humidity.

Elemental energies across the Multiverse shift toward their positive quasielemental aspects. A single candle can flare with the light of a sun, blinding an entire continent. Storms deliver enough lightning to pound mountains to rubble even as oceans evaporate into steam. Once fertile soil hardens and pales into lifeless diamonds and gold.

Most undead are eradicated, those with the means have traveled to the Negative Material Plane which in turn has led to a massive influx, over the years, in the numbers of undead Dustmen and Doomguard.

In the midst of this madness Siva has become savior, protecting the worlds in which he is worshiped by placing necromantic moons in the sky to balance the overflow of Positive energy. (Each moon is an Atropus type being guarded by Atropals)

Siva's intervention has allowed the mages and scholars of billions of worlds to work together to answer the ultimate question: What has caused Life itself to run amok in this Multiverse?

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel L (50): The Shadowverse

This is a parallel of whispering shadows, though to each other they can scream and roar and can cut and bleed where visitors turn shadows into tatters with their attacks. To visitors they are all shades in ephemeral walls made of shadow stuff themselves. Note that visitors are slightly more "present" but also become shadows upon arrival. It is also hard to leave this place as one is not just realigning to another Multiverse but also returning to a more solid, if not more real, state of being.

Here shadow fiends are glowing silver spectres, and rule over the Lower Planes. The Lady remains her bladed self, a creature of color, yet here her "shadow" is of cold silver light as well.

The Outer Planes are in the same configuration as those of Multiverse Prime, and all of them are made from shadow stuff. In Limbo the shadows can take on colored hues, and thus fashion here revolves around the manipulation of chaos matter. The Grey Waste is a dead space, a wasteland with no emotion or color draining abilities. The yugoloths are not to be found though their three towers stand complete but empty. This leaves Evil at a disadvantage, but the celestials have found that Ztefano is loose upon the Prime and much of their forces must contend with the corruption he has left in his wake. Apparently none knew just how much of the Primes he had ruined until after the Grey Waste was scoured of its Evil essence...a plane-decimating attack no celestial but many others have claimed to have perpetrated.

There is no Astral Plane, and save for the claims of a few barmy natives, apparently there never was.

The Inner Planes are three in number. There is a Sea of Life and Death, where currents of Positive and Negative energy swirl together to produce shadow stuff. There are the Cloud Lands, an oceanic nebulae of beautiful hues that produces this Multiverse's suns - all offering weak silvery light to the Primes they are sent into. And there is the Savannah of Dreams, a place of glowing azure and cerulean hues populated by shadow beings in shades of blue and indigo born from the dream soil continually rejuvenated with the dreams of this Multiverse. One can walk from the Savannah to the Outer Planes and its silver starred sky leads to the Cloud Lands, but be aware that Time passes differently in Dreaming. To traverse the Savannah is to be on a vision quest, by its very nature the plane offers wisdom and reconfiguration of the Self.

The Prime consists of Crystal Spheres separated by a featureless white void. The Prime Worlds are also made of shadow stuff, with advance civilizations (or their frothing ruins) utilizing the color of Chaos. Rennbuu, the Slaad Lord of Colors, is often worshiped across the worlds as the primordial force that gives existence some semblance of meaning. Harvesting this devotion, Rennbuu has become miserly with his gifting of hues and shifted his alignment to True Neutral.

michel andre
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Reference Work: Enumerating the Parallel Multiverses

Parallel LI: His Death Throes Echo in the Caverns of our Skulls

The Cataclysm of Parallel 51 (50 is the Shadowverse, which was the duplicate 27):

In this Multiverse, Gith was a little kinder and perhaps Zerthimon a little less wise. Their people still separated but it was more amicable, each promising to keep peace with the other. And so the githzerai settled upon Limbo, the place where reality is shaped with a thought. Their brothers and sisters, the githyanki, settled upon the Astral, the place of Thought itself.

One day, the monasteries of the githzerai wove themselves together in the seas of primordial chaos, shaping themselves into some greater structure. On that same day, the githyanki projected the energies of the Astral through the crystalline tangle of now interconnected houses of meditation. Argent mirror-toned light moved through initiations of refraction and reflection, raising the meta-monastery through levels of thought, awakening the chakras of its being.

Silver light shot back through the Astral, burning lines of light blazing through pools colored in the brown shades of soil. Arrows of illumination all piercing the Caverns of Thought, all of them conjoining in the assassination of the mind flayer God.

Ilsensine screamed without voice, and sanity across this Multiverse was butchered.

=-=-=

Status Quo on Parallel 51:

Ilsensine is still screaming. The sane and nearly so speculate he might take forever to die.

Alignment is a nebulous thing. Disorders and delusions can turn raging pyromaniacs who have no regard for life into supposed messiahs attempting to teach love to lions and tigers and bears.

Cultists open portals to fiends who are too busy dealing with their compulsive disorders involving the counting of grains of sand to wreak havoc on the Prime.

Elementals think they are human children, human children think they are plants. Plants think they eat meat, which leads to ambulatory sentient flora wasting away even as they feast on the flesh of their farmer neighbors. Their madness keeps them from absorbing nutrients from sunlight and they refuse to draw nutrients from the soil due to their denial.

Vampires and ghouls suffer eating disorders. Beholders become so paranoid their eye stalks always face in different directions. Merfolk become terrified of drowning and drow develop arachnophobia.

Ssendam is so strong all of Limbo shines with her golden light. The slaad lord seems content with the security granted by her burgeoning power, and has seen fit to use her power once - this is why Ygorl has been reincarnated as a mortal in possession of but also unaware of his powers as the Lord of Entropy. Ygorl's mount is searching for him across this Wheel.

In Sigil, even some dabus babble in lunatic rebuses and the Lady finds Herself culling them from the herd...

=-=-=

Notes:

Undead eating disorders inspired by stuff on Ravenloft forum Cafe De Nuit. Merfolk terrified of water is from Tower of Babel, a JLA comic story.

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