Math and Mechanus III: A sea, a hand bag, a prophet

sciborg2's picture

Zahlen, the Sea of light/darkness/void.Even on the Plane of Law, a god can die. However, the thought of crumbling edifices is anethma to the mediators who regulate the plane. However, the lingering power of a god leaves evidence of its passing all the same for even the mediators have limits to their power.Zahlen is the former site of one such god, a massive gear that serves as the shore and boundary for a wonderous body of apparent liquid. One can never see the whole cog, the view is blocked by other cogs interlocked around it, and so one arrives on the Light Shore or the Dark Shore, or the Horizon.The Light Half--a sea of positive energy made of droplets, or better put packets, of energy. These infitesimal spheres do not actually melt into one another like water would, though they do adhere to each other. This gives the positive sea a foamy quality. No one has touched the bottom of the sea, in fact those who try usually end up in the Positive Material Plane. Occaisonally one will find hungry ravids or xag-ya floating around. Even rarer are the Deathless, ash white elves who survive on positive energy who sometimes ply their boats across the sea, asking of nations and even planes no one has heard of.The Dark Half--Similar droplets make up the sea that greets one on the dark shore, but the entropic force of the Negative Material plane faces the visitor. To even attempt to ply these deceptively gentle waves is madness, as shadows and specters await in the dark depths to drag victims into the Negative. Xeg-yi float lazily, observing travelers. Against the expected symetry of the plane is a tower made of blue-ice, the home of the last "surviving" servant of the forgotten deity that once resided here. A vampire driven mad by the death of his god, the apparently former noble sits in the tower obsessing over the sums to infinite series and combinatorics, branches of mathematics it believes will ressurect its former master. The vampire is in fact NG, and an amicable enough fellow for those who don't mind listening to expositions of higher mathematics. There is also the fact that visitors are confused with sentient simians never seen on the planes, mammoths, and giant avians. These were possibly servants of the dead god, apparently an army of which had a great desire for specific pastries. So much so, that the vampire's servants--apprentices of the Mathematician faction--are always baking them for guests.The Horizon--This is the border where the Positive and Negative parts of the Zahlen Sea meet. As it is known that such a meeting would be explosively violent, it is hypothesized that that there is something between the two, an impossibly thin sheet of elemental vacuum. Those crossing from one side to the other experience a feeling of blindness, weightlessness, and breathlessness, but it passes in the next moment.Bag of Collaries--An object from the fairytales of Mechanus, this object is either a relic (possibly of Primus, Shang-ti, or Varuna) or a minor artifact. Reaching into the bag, a user will find a minor magic item of some sort. The item either protects against or aids in the attack of chaos, allows the user to cast a divination spell, or allows one to masquerade as a formian. Of course, these are just some of the potential properities, and many a merchant would eagerly pull out a host of valuables. What prevents this is that the bag loses its "charge" once an item has been pulled out of it. One must hold the bag out and let it brush the bodies of a proof flock in their eternal migration.Several members of the Merkant sect have recently embarked on a joint venture to find the bag. Why they are convinced it actually exists is unclear, though once in their possession crisscossing a flying vehicle through prufe flock would not be so difficult as to be unprofitable.

The Prophet of Fractals--Aleister Weierstrass is a portly pale fellow with curls of white hair ringing the smooth baldness of his scalp. A member of the Guvner sect Mathematicians, he vanished some years ago but has apparently turned up in those cogs distant from known portals with his new religion.In Mechanus, math and religion are often the same thing. Which is why most give some degree of worship to the Axioms, if only to call upon them in moments of distress. Yet the purposes of these beings remain unclear. If they created the multiverse and are originators of Law, why did they create chaos? Why have they allowed the formians to overrun the cogs? This plague is scattering families who try to remain disciplined in the face of change, yet often as not descend into dreaded chaos. Such recent events have called faith in the Axioms into question, which is threatening the very underpinning of spirituality across the gears.Aleister Weierstrass has only added to the confusion with his claim that unpredictablity isn't necessarily chaotic. In fact, there are unpredictable patterns which exist in the multiverse, and all chaos inevitably conforms to these patterns. Many laugh at the paradox of his statement, others see this a dangerous heresy. You see, the prophet believes that if all chaos yields to pattern, then all are free to do as they will. "Do what ye wilt shall be the whole of Law!" his followers cry, as mad as Bacchae in the eyes of their brethren...meaning these Mechanusians take different routes to work, or vary their weekly meal schedules. Even this has transformed societies on the cogs, though the distance from the familiar portal network makes the danger seem distant.But if Weierstrass is right, then perhaps the Axioms don't plan to stop the Formian incursion, as many had hoped. In fact, perhaps they don't plan to do anything for anyone, and merely watch the emerging patterns--what Weierstrass calls "fractals". Others have only become stronger in their faith, believing the Axioms are so great that even free will can be encompassed by holy Law, and that all unpredictability is accounted for in the algorithms that guide creation to the state of ultimate Harmony.Yet observe the inhabitants closely. Did that one put one extra spoonful of sugar in her tea. Did the law hound's puppies come a day too late? The Fractal Heresy may soon transform the town/the cog/the plane, and true bloods will keep their distance...or reap the profits. Not the least of which is the promise of silks of new colors created by Renbuu, Slaad Lord of Colors, for the capture of this so called prophet.

Jem's picture
Joined: 2006-05-10
Zahlen and the Bag of

Zahlen and the Bag of Corollaries I like. Weierstraß and his followers... I think maybe, though it's definitely a peculiar bunch. While the notion that there is a secret law underpinning apparent Chaos is attractive and surely already has currency on Mechanus, he and his followers take this faith to such an extreme that they end up acting -- for Mechanus, at least -- chaotically.

(Of course, fractals are both chaotic and extremely ordered, which makes them interesting examples of this. There is a branch of mathematics, by the way, called Ramsey theory, which basically discusses this very issue: that any system, no matter how disordered, must contain a certain amount of internal organization! It's the study of unavoidable patterns. I've always thought the factions and sects on Mechanus would very much enjoy this notion.)

I posted an idea on fractals last year... almost exactly a year ago, now, over in the Civic Festhall. It's a Mechanus-Limbo portal you might like: /forum/the-fractal-portal .

sciborg2's picture
Joined: 2005-07-26
Hi Jem, Sorry for the

Hi Jem,

Sorry for the delayed reply - playing catchup on this rainy day. The Fractal Heresy is meant to push Mechanus into a state of conflict - though how far the residents would take their freedom is in question.

Will have to look up Ramsey theory though I've recently begun relearning the basics of mathematics and going over the proofs that support them. I'm honestly a math hobbyist who is slowly trying to take on the subject in a serious manner.


Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

GunsmackIt's picture
Joined: 2008-12-30
The Fractal Heresy is most

The Fractal Heresy is most interesting in that it makes Mechanus dynamic within itself. Previously Mechanus had little to draw my interest except for the conflict with the formians but the emergence of the Fractal Heresy allows for interesting conflict on the plane that (to me) seems both one of the most entertaining to host battles on but the least conducive to conflict in general.



Planescape, Dungeons & Dragons, their logos, Wizards of the Coast, and the Wizards of the Coast logo are ©2008, Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. and used with permission.