Exalted – The Halls of Alternity

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   The Halls of Alternity / Infinite Mirrors (Lunar Manse *****)

   As a rank five manse that only generates a rank zero hearthstone (these provide no essence motes or powers, although an essence-user can tell when the stone is in the same universe as the version of the manse that’s generating it by sensing the link), the Halls of Alternity start off with fifteen creation points and gains another three by being unliveable for a total of eighteen. The powers of the manse include:

  • Wyld Revocation (3): The Halls of Alternity modify the laws of creation fairly drastically…
    • The Halls allow visitors to use (Int + Occ) to open portals between alternate dimensions – usually between alternate timelines (D4), but possibly between even more exotic realms (D8) or even times (D16). This has several secondary ramifications as well:
    • They overlap themselves in many worlds, and many configurations. They thus always have a pair of secondary aspects and those within are nigh-impossible to reach or to divine any information about.
    • They’re no longer dependent on external geomancy; they draw essence from the interdimensional flux. Geomantic sabotage will have no effect on them. Of course, as a side effect, this means that the demesnes they’re built on becomes uncapped again the moment each manse is completed.
    • Their hearthstones work anywhere, in any dimension – although most of them don’t generate a hearthstone worth noticing.
    • They have a unique drawback; as gateways to thousands of dimensions, it’s quite impossible to close things up entirely, turn your back on the place safely, rely on the atmosphere (you never quite know when it’s going to be chlorine or something), or prevent the occasional monster or other bit of weirdness from wandering through (-3). This is, of course, also why it’s unliveable; some versions would be quite comfortable if you didn’t mind the random portals opening up all the time.
  • Indestructible (5): Any force turned against the Halls is simply scattered across infinity – a perfect defense. Whether fortunately or unfortunately, it is not possible for the hearthstone bearer to turn off this power.
  • Magical Conveniences (1): Each version of the Halls maintains a constantly-updating list of the accessible versions of itself, will bar their indestructible doors on request (providing a way to keep most of the random nonsapient horrors from making too much trouble), keeps updating its archives with the local history, allows visitors to readily call other Halls of Alternity or place orders with businesses from across the multiverse, and some minor function which varies from world to world.
  • Archives (2): Each version of the Halls maintains records on five topics (and sometimes more) – invariably including the local layout and history of the world, and usually including a couple of local topics, and some spells or other occult secrets (any two from 25 thaumaturgic rituals, 5 terrestrial spells, 1 celestial spell, five dots worth of artifact plans, or one-third of a solar spell).

   Each version of the Halls also has ten points worth of powers of it’s own – although these also vary from world to world. Occasional versions even generate worthwhile Hearthstones, or buy off aspects of the disadvantages.

   Some of the accessible worlds include:

   The Last Refuge:

   This spherical pocket realm is a hollow world nearly eight hundred miles across, centered on a blazing sphere – once a tribute to the Unconquered Sun, but now merely a memorial. The interior of the sphere is covered in a mixture of primaeval landscapes, along with the strangely-twisted crystalline towers and cities of the Dragon Kings at – if not quite the height of their civilization – at least as they were when they were still a great people during the First Age.

   Soon after the Usurption, the Dragon Kings had labored mightily. They had enacted great rituals, calling on the massed power of millions of participants, and had constructed a refuge elsewhere – forever hidden within a dimensional pocket, and there safe from all external attack. In Relkithian, the Last Refuge of the Dragon Kings, their civilization – and the worship of the Unconquered Sun – would be preserved despite the malice of the Terrestrial Exalted.

   No Terrestrial attack ever came. The Dragon-blooded opted to forget the Dragon Kings, lumping them in with the other tribes that haunted the edges of the Wyld. They pursued the Lunar Exalts, and the few Solar Exaltations, which remained free – but the mortals dwelling on the fringes of the wilds far from the Blessed Isle, even the Dragon Kings, were not one of their great concerns.

  Then a Deathlord opted to repay a long-forgotten debt; he – or perhaps she – warned the Dragon Kings to take refuge form a coming disaster which would sweep over creation to the dismay of the Terrestrial Exalted.

   Barely in time, the Dragon Kings withdrew into their long-prepared refuge and sealed the gates behind them – leaving Creation to it’s own devices as the Great Contagion swept over it.

   Without the presence of the Dragon Kings in the borderlands, the Balorian Crusade swept through the borderlands just a little bit faster – a small, but crucial, difference. By the time the would-be Empress reached the controls of the Imperial Manse, the geomantic corruption had already reached the Blessed Isle.

   The defense grid failed. The Imperial Manse detonated – as did the War Manses, and then many of the other manses of the Blessed Isle in a cascade failure that tore out creation’s heart and killed most of the surviving human race and Terrestrial Exalted.

   When the savants of the Dragon Kings had their people reorganized and settled, and turned their attention away from their pocket realm to find out what was going on in Creation, Creation was gone. A few small islands of stability, adrift in the Wyld, remain near various power sources or held by surviving Gods or Exalts, but Creation, even locally, no longer challenged the supremacy of the Wyld.

   The Dragon Kings and their few guests – both mortal and divine – have now been isolated for centuries, using the slowly-dwindling resources of their pocket realm refuge to attempt to contact something beyond it. Now, of course, one of their experiments has succeeded – and they will soon, once again, have access to worlds where the Unconquered Sun and their ancient Solar Exalted allies still survive.

   The Temple of the Fallen Sun is a glorious structure of ruby, orichalcum, and mirrors, set amidst flourishing plants and running streams, and containing a central chamber in which burns a precious, salvaged, fragment of essence from the Unconquered Sun itself, salvaged from the Wyld at great risk and effort. Not unexpectedly, its secondary aspects are Wood and Solar. It’s powers include Central Control (2), Provider II (can support up to 320,000 people – a source of supply sufficient to balance the ecology of Relkithian, 4), Password Activation (to let welcome visitors and returning explorers safely in and out, 1), and Integrated Utility Artifacts (3). These provide the ability to eject unwelcome visitors into alternate dimensions, to seal gates moments after they open, constantly monitor the operation of – and any visitors to – the manse, and automatically package and ship out the supplies the manse produces.

   The Shadow World

   The Exalted had fallen – and with them, the treacherous gods and most of the primordial host. The Ebon Dragon had taken oblivion into himself, sacrificing much of his own nature to become a power of destruction great enough to swallow up both the gods who had betrayed him and his fallen brethren before tearing himself to shreds. Autochthon was sadly diminished, no longer the maker, but merely the maddened preserver – and Gaia was crippled to the point where her enfeebled essence was reliant on the remnants of creation to give it form. The legions of the Dragon Kings had been reduced to remnants, and the creative, transforming, power of the Wyld pressed against the boundaries of an ever-shrinking world.

   But as the Wyld grew closer, the power of mortal dreams and prayers grew. They became a narrative, a tale of growth and endurance which placed mankind squarely at the center of the cosmos.

   A tale which birthed feeble imitations of the fallen gods, that nourished sparks of power from the seeds of shattered exaltations and ancient tales – and which gave the dreaming mortals control of their world.

   Within the world which they had made, opposed by the blind malice of the fragmented Ebon Dragon, the madness of Autochthon, and the forces of the Wyld, humanity clawed its way up out of the darkness through its own strength. Their world is still haunted by fragments of the prior realities, and by the creatures those fragments empower – but such things are marginal at best; the destiny of this shadow of creation lies in the hands of mortals.

   In it incomprehensible powers from outside creep around the edges of reality and haunt the deep heavens, wild shapeshifters roam the forests, secretive mystics shape the nature of reality in an endless competition, fragments of the wyld and the darkness of the dragon take root in human hosts – and the occasional glorious, though often deeply flawed, hero accepts a spark of light and rises to defend the masses of the unaware who dream the world.

   The Eternal Spires rise from the peak of one of the highest mountains of the world, grey pillars of stone which – until one is amongst them – do not reveal their true nature.

   It is the nature of the Eternal Spires to present those who reach them with the resources they need to achieve their visions. It’s Dynamic Architecture (four aspects, 5) includes a Factory-Cathedral (5), a Genesis Laboratory (5), Creation’s Forge (Integrated artifacts II at 5, providing eighteen dots worth of built-in manse-driven artifacts which can tap into the Wyld to provide the user with virtually any material resource he or she can imagine), and a Pool of Transfiguration (a similar setup which allows the user to remake living creatures – including him- or her-self – in almost any desired fashion).

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One Response

  1. To answer an offline question, yes that says “times”. You can go forward, you can visit a world which at least seems exactly like yours was in the past, and you can visit worlds which seem like possible futures of your own.

    Whether those are alternate probability lines, worlds located elsewhere in the infinite reaches of the wyld, or divergent worlds, is yet to be determined. Changes there don’t seem to affect your own world – although whether or not you’re back in your own world can be difficult to determine without the hearthstone…

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