Thursday, August 14, 2014

In Limbo (D&D/Planescape, little bit of Spelljammer)

the funeral of angles


Limbo is the swamp of the planes. It has primal soup ("fire and earth") but it also has clusters of places in the broth:

             there is the endless valley of Fennimar, infested with hermits and where civilization is outlawed Xaositect engines hum in shaded glens, gathering, gathering

             and Shra'kt'lor, last hope of the Githezerai, seven-walled and iron gated and domed, this war-city of millions houses the mentat throne of the 'zerai god-king. Its colleges and general-governors produce military leaders of psychic and martial puissance, its forge towers weapons, siege devices, psychic armaments and world-enders. At least once a week, a Githyanki death squad attacks or a Xaositect bomb artist self realizes along the outer walls of the city

             and the Floating City is a warren of tenements and temples (all for the god-king) massed around the Mage Spike, both temple and academy of magic, a miles-long meteor of abmetal mined by the 'zerai for psychic augmentations and thaumaturgic acids from the depths of Limbo's primal soup. The tenements are a horror of thieves and desperation and the worst of human chaos and poverty of spirit, maintained by the 'zerai to train their spies and thieves and assassins and chaos evangelists, each neighborhood (a "Believing") led by a temple. There are more halflings here than humans, and their family names are stricken from the rolls of polite hobbit society. The temples provide fences, informants, food, money, bribes and take or buy all of the same. There are a number of barely-tolerated home churches of Chaos Catholics here too, nurturing pacifist crusader cells

             and the factory cathedral of the dwarves, Gaz'sham, slowly being swallowed by the primal soup, a city-planet reclaimed by the dwarves who desperately try to halt its descent and destruction. It is still belching out ships, the dirge walkers of Limbo, black metal barges like blinking boxes or cannisters, slowly plumbing the depths of Limbo's soup, or using ponderous logic machines to squeeze through planar pores

              and the breeding stone of the Slaad, a lumpen, be-cogulated and ponderously limbed nugget, the petrified, stolen fetal twin children of dead Primus

              and the pincipalities of malordering, thrones of the Slaad, their twisting hallways like the sinuses in a skull that is all sinuses, submerged in rotten soups of water and acid, the gagging fug of plant decay thick, whole biomes of temperate and tropical zones collapsing into the swampy water and then falling into Limbo, the greedy siege engines of the Slaad pulling down more and more from the material plane, organizing destruction and dismantlings. whole insect populations, mosquito men on giant stirges, have been created here and will live nowhere else and will someday be swallowed again. the Slaad sit like enormous kings over the rot of existence

             and the shaping academies of the anarchs, custodians of Limbo

             and then the limbic crust

Mind over Matter
Anyone can maintain some structure in the primal soup.

Use the higher of Intelligence or Charisma and multiple that by 10 square feet. You can maintain this much space without effort.

You can maintain 1.5 times as much with concentration.

You can maintain half as much and give it some mobility (about 20'/round).

For as many bonus points afforded by the higher of your Int or Cha, you can add architectural/sculptural details with concentration (each 10 square feet of detail costing 1 point)


Imagine a ridge long enough so that all things in the material plane could be balanced atop it ponderously. Down one side is dragged all things growing, ordered, being built or re-built, the act of building, the act of creation, down the other side, all things decaying, falling into madness, heat death, disintegration and Limbo sits at the bottom of that side, like an inevitable pole.

When a person dies they go to some hell or whatever. Their temporary meat time portioned out and expended, their meat falling to Limbo while the perpetual substance floats from the material, no longer bound by gravity or the girdle around the material plane with all its wide open pores.

When a person forgets, when ideas are discarded, art forgotten, languages and words fallen out of use, architecture and theories and books and all the rest of civilization's rubbish abandoned, it falls toward Limbo. 

Others have noticed Limbo's usefulness as a dump, the always-entropy of the place and use it as a dump - mostly for things not dangerous enough to dispose of properly, though there are a multitude of examples of people tossing into Limbo things much too dangerous to throw away and leave to time and chance.

This waste accumulates and slowly deteriorates, but is being accumulated faster than it decays.

This detritus of the limbic crust has self-organized, accreted into a system and that system retains intelligence. It knows everything within it, so it knows nearly everything that is forgotten, rarely speaks, is thoroughly insane and largely hostile, full of regret and hunger for all the good things not discarded. It sees Limbo as death, it sees anyone on its structures as a parasite, it sees itself misused by the universe and it knows its made of junk and it wants the good stuff, the stuff no one wants to throw away. 

Don't be found out.

Most of all the brain hates the Universal Encyclopedia. It sits alien and immovable like an old nail bleeding rust in the constituent stuff of the brain. It wants the nail out, but it also wants it cracked open, it wants everything added to itself and the Universal Encyclopedia sits there, mockingly. The limbic crust will promise anything if you can undo the Encyclopedia and empty its contents into the crust and it will betray you. Accordingly, there is usually at least a few demigods sitting outside/under/around the crust, pelting it with megaton radiant bombs periodically to remind it that its being watched.

If the limbic crust grows too powerful, there are a number of deities of order that will simply aim creation engines at and blast it with things until the things that constituted the crust's thoughts and ideas are pushed into limbo or overwhelmed, its consciousness effectively wiped, its thinking structures, perhaps, destroyed or disabled.

Each accreted loci or brain segment in the limbic crust is called a Funeral. Funerals are organized around a central concept. Dirges are portals, conduits or just plain roads connecting one Funeral to another. Dirge walkers crawl through Dirge space, studded with instruments or plating or weapons, hung with sacramental writ or draped in blasphemic totems.

The largest Funeral by far is the Funeral of Logos, where reason and arguments and knowledge goes to die. Its artificial valleys and hills are reams of rotting paper smeared with ink and ruined books and effaced cuneiform obelisks.

The Funeral of Angles is a tangle of geometry and metal and stone and most doors here open to Pandemonium. Most things here can be used as doors to anywhere, if you know the trick, and gravity works by perspective. Its outer limits are rimmed with buildings and ruins, slowly sinking into Limbo proper.

The Funeral of Music and Poetry is home to the College Discordant, a center of Xaositect music and philosophy, its oceans of sound waves and meter home to parasites that eat the order of sounds, who swallow phonemes and scales, who infect whole languages until no one can speak to or understand anyone else. Anyone infected speaks increasingly in gibberish, their voice increasingly modulated, like in a vocoder until it just becomes a high pitch static burn. Xaositect terror chemists weaponize these parasites.

Ravenloft sits somewhere between Limbo and the Material Plane. The Material Plane itself, like a Dali clock, tends more and more toward Limbo as time progresses. No one knows how to stop this. Chaos Theorists (and many others) suggest that the Material Plane may be just a huge, secondary limbic crust, the scab of a previous civilization. Xaositects call Ravenloft the Funeral of Comfort and the Material the Last Funeral.

attributions: Paolo Girardi, Druillet, Ravenloft, Slaad, Xoasitectcs, Shra'kt'lor, Fennimar, the Floating City, slaad, anarchs are all thinks TSR did. I just changed all of them.

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