Mechanus

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Greyhawk Plane
Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus
Type Outer Plane
Layers One
Alignment Lawful neutral
Native Inhabitants Modrons, formians , flards, inevitables, gear spirits, paraii, moignos, spectators, chaturani
Greyhawk Powers Cyndor, Lendor, Lendys, Osprem, Pholtus, Primus, Psilofyr

Mechanus, also known as the Clockwork Universe, Nirvana, and the Land of Cogs and Gears, is a Lawful Neutral plane. In the Great Wheel it is situated on the exact opposite side as Limbo.

It is the plane of ultimate law and order, where the souls of people of lawful neutral alignment go after death. Mechanus operates on a strict schedule where every action is planned, measured and controlled perfectly. It is home to the construct-like geometric modrons, the law-enforcing inevitables and the regimented giant ants called formians.

Structure

Mechanus consists of a single infinite plane; there are no constituent layers. Mechanus shares its borders with the neighbouring planes of the Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia, the Outlands, and the Infernal Battlefield of Acheron; travel is possible between Mechanus and these planes at certain locations.

Portals in Mechanus take the form of circles. Light-green circles lead to Arcadia and deep-red circles lead to Acheron. The portal in the Outlands gate-town of Automata leads to a variety of possible destinations depending on on the time of day, the position of the gears, and many other arcane factors, including the modron realm of Regulus and the independent town of Haven. A portal known as the Gearspring Well once connected the plane of Mechanus to the city of Kolbenborg in the City of the Gods civilization.

Throughout Mechanus exists a series of interlocking cogs that float in space, intersecting at all angles and directions. Many of the cogs are gigantic, stretching many miles across and turn so slowly that the rotation is undetectable. Smaller cogs can move at much higher speeds, but no centripetal force is experienced, except at the very edges. Usually smaller cogs bunch up with larger ones; these are called knots. The gears are fiercely guarded by gear spirits that reside within them. The gravitational force is oriented towards the face of each individual cog, making intercog travel a disconcerting experience for the uninitiated.

Features

Regulus

Regulus is the home of the construct-like modrons. Their strict hierarchy originates from Primus, a greater deity, who resides here. Regulus consists of a total of sixty-four cogs, a number that never varies. It is divided into four quarters of sixteen cogs, each ruled by a Secundus. Each quarter is in turn split into four regions, of four cogs, each ruled by a Quarton. Finally, the regions are further subdivided into four sectors, of a single cog each, ruled by an Octon.

Regulus contains portals to Mount Celestia, Arcadia, Acheron, the Outlands, Baator, and Sigil.

The Center

At the center of the formian realm lies a central cog more than three-thousand miles across, where the Scion Queen Mother, leader of the Formians resides. The central cog supposedly imparts the movement to all other cogs in Mechanus.

Anu's Way

The Babylonian god Anu's realm in Mechanus, called Anu's Way, an enormous gear of orderly lines and clay brick buldings. He is served by einheriar called the soldiers of Anu - they have copper skin, yellow eyes without pupils, and no apparent gender. All have the same memory and knowledge, making them more like modrons than people.

Anu rules from the center of his realm, upon a great raised throne. At his side is the goddess Anutu, his sister and wife.

The Jade Palace

The Jade Palace is home to Shang-ti, the Celestial Emperor. His palace is the focal point of the Celestial Bureaucracy, which also supervises the Chinese pantheon. The Jade Palace is located far from Regulus and the interference of the modrons (though Shang-ti counts Primus as an ally). Shang-ti lives in the center of his disk-like domain with his family, his court, his messengers, and his ministers. The door to his audience room is kept by Wang, the transcendental bureaucrat. Foo dogs and foo lions patrol the grounds of the Jade Palace, which is planted with ever-ripe peaches of immortality similar to those tended by Shou Hsing.

The library of Shang-ti contains all the books and knowledge lost on those Prime Material worlds that recognize his authority. His librarians are tall, faceless giants in gray cloaks, who visit those places where disaster is about to hit and rescue knowledge from destruction.

Shang-ti's disk interlocks with the marine realm of Shan-Hai Ching.

Nemausus

This enormous cog was once a layer of the neighboring plane Arcadia, but it has recently slid across the planar boundary due to the activities of the Harmonium faction. It formally included the realm of the god Meriadar, but he has relocated to the Arcadian layer of Buxenus. Nemausus is currently contended over by modrons, formians, and Arcadians who wish to return their home to its original plane.

Neumannus

Possibly named after mathematician John von Neumann, it is a series of mysterious self-sustaining factories that produce inevitables. It is managed and presided by the Hub of Elders, who seeks out any non-lawful activity (broken contracts, etc.) that needs to be corrected.

More Godly Realms

The plane of Mechanus is the location of a number of godly realms, including the god Pholtus's realm Path of Law, Helm's realm Everwatch, Lendor's realm Wheel of Time, Cyndor's realm Path of Time, the myconid deity Psilofyr's realm Mycelia, Nai No Kami's realm the Shaking Land, Yama's realm Yamasadena, Rudra's realm Focus of Energy, and Varuna's realm the Vigilant Eye.

Ecology

Fauna

  • Coggles resemble the gears of Mechanus, but they are mobile, and modrons use them for transport.
  • Moignos are two-dimensional creatures made of mathematics, obsessed with finding the value of irrational numbers. They perform a variety of other useful calculations for the modrons.

Flora

Inhabitants

  • Chaturani are living chess pieces.
  • Axial dragon
  • Flards are infinitely tall marble columns created by an extinct race to record all knowledge (Dragon #47).
  • Formians are a race of intelligent giant ant-centaurs obsessed with dominating everything in the name of order.
  • Gear spirits are pieces of living metal whose function is to tend to the gears of Mechanus and ensure their smooth operation. They are similar to nature spirits such as dryads, but take the forms of axles, padlocks, chains, and other tools. Most gears seem to have more than one gear spirit.
  • Inevitables are constructs tasked with enforcing justice and law.
  • Modrons are clockwork personifications of pure Law that take the form of various geometric shapes.
  • Paraii (singular: parai), also called visilights, are humanoids that seem to be made of porcelain, except for the ball of white light inside their hollow heads.

Creative origins

Mechanus was originally named after the Buddhist concept of Nirvana, which could be described as a perfectly ordered balance between extremes. Since it was detailed in the 1st edition Manual of the Planes (1987), however, it has changed markedly from this concept. It was renamed "Mechanus" in the Planescape Campaign Setting (1994).

See also

Bibliography

  • Armory, Patrick. "Creatures from elsewhere." Dragon #47. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1981.
  • Cook, Monte. The Planewalker's Handbook. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • McComb, Colin, and Monte Cook. The Great Modron March. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997.
  • McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Noonan, David. Complete Divine. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.