Alarmingly, at first glance the Halls of Order look like a realm of chaos – objects are in constant flux, writhing and shifting while retaining their overall shape. On closer examination, the truth is revealed; the Halls of Order are a constantly advancing and accelerating process of increasing order and complexity. Every object and creature is constantly being refined and resolved, moving towards a higher order of perfection.
Leave a stone on the roadside in the Halls of Order and watch it for a time. The cracks in the stone become more regular, the random stains and blemishes shift until they are snow-flake patterns on the surface of the now-regular rock. The road has become straighter, and as you blink, you realize your eyes have become lenses of crystal.
Getting there… and BackEdit
The Halls of Order border on the two planes of the dead – the Afterworld and Chasm – so the easiest way to get to Order is to die. For those searching for a less drastic means of travel, the plane is easily accessibly through magic, as even plane shift is reliable here. Natural portals to order are non-existent – for the random flux of the planes to produce doors to the realm of perfect law is unthinkable. All portals to the Halls of Order are carefully constructed for specific purposes. All is planned, all is anticipated.
Survival in the Halls of OrderEdit
The lower four layers of the plane are as safe as a region of the Material Plane, so a traveller need take no special precautions. The upper two layers are much stranger, as the level of order approaches perfection. Any chaotic impulse can result in the traveller being attacked or transformed by agents of Law. Effects that hide alignment are suggested for safe travel in these layers.
Features & PropertiesEdit
|... to Astral||7||Coterminous|
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The Halls of Order are divided into six Halls, the six layers of the plane. A character can travel between these layers using spells – all six layers are coexistent with each other, and numerous portals exist between them. Furthermore, at the ‘edges’ of the plane are many little ledges. The six Halls are located on the faces of a rotating cube, but the ledges are outside the cube. A character can walk to the edge of the plane along one Hall, wait for the cube to rotate, then walk back the way he came onto a different face.
The Machine RealmEdit
The lowest level of the Halls of Order is a vast engine; furnace-hot and oil-dark, the air choked with chemical fumes and the smoke of a billion forges. Dwarves and azer scurry through dim access-ways and along slowly rotating cogs and gears, overseeing the workings of the Great Machine. In one part of this device, inevitables are forged by other machines, metal and crystal folding in accordance with inevitable law. In another region, mighty clockworks tick on, regulating the forward flow of time across the cosmos.
The Machine Realm is not yet conscious. The great intellect of Law that exists on the upper layers has not yet downstepped itself into unliving metal and stone. One day, the Machine will have rebuilt and refined itself sufficiently to become self-aware, vastly increasing the ability of Law to bring Order to all that exists. At the heart of the Machine Realm is the seat of this nascent intellect, a machine-mind guarded by hosts of inevitables. If a single whisper were to be spoken inside this great sealed chamber, or even a stray thought were to disturb the mind as it grows, it could conceivably drive the Great Machine insane even as it slowly becomes aware. Many have tried to subvert the unborn machine-mind – their corpses litter the metal corridors outside the sealed chamber.
The Model CityEdit
The second layer of the Halls of Order is the Model City, a plane-spanning metropolis where Law is paramount. The citizens thread their way between massive edifices of stone. A tunnel system filled with mechanical worms carries the common folk to their assigned duties, all watched over by a billion sleepless eyes of crystal. Law is enforced by agents of order; some are constructed inevitables, others are mortal beings so strongly aligned to order that their actions are utterly dominated and circumscribed by Law.
The Model City is an experiment; how can the various races and civilizations of the multiverse be brought under the beneficial rule of Law? Therefore, towering tri-legged gate-machines are dispatched to dredge whole villages or city-quarters from other planes into the Model City, where the reactions of the new additions can be observed and the universal law adjusted to bring the greatest degree of order to the masses.
The sheer size of the Model City is mind-boggling, and it is much more peaceful than other cities a tenth its size. Jealous scions of chaos sometimes launch sudden raids or spawn criminal syndicates within the Model City, but the agents of Law are ever-vigilant.
The Library of All-That-IsEdit
The third layer of the Halls of Order is referred to as the library. Almost every book ever written is here, transcribed by diligent clerks who scry over the reader’s shoulder. Any creative act increases order, so books are sacred here. The Halls of Order are haunted by thousands of sagely ghosts, the souls of mages and philosophers who linger here to study. The librarians are spider-things, indistinct clouds of silence, shadow, eyes, legs and quills; they do not take kindly to borrowers. Finding anything in the library is exceedingly difficult; almost all the books are physically identical, and most have been translated into a curious language used only in the library. Learning this script of order is difficult; the language was designed to process and order concepts and lore from thousands of different races, so it is most complex and encompassing.
The Grey JudgesEdit
These entities, led by Nymphadora, are lesser Lords of Order; their power stems mainly from their grey robes of office, which empower them to judge the fate of souls. These artifacts empower the wearer to act as a talisman of pure good or talisman of ultimate evil once per day. Furthermore, the wearer’s judgements grant the Judge the ability to redeem souls. A damned soul can be removed from the Infernum and sent to the Afterworld if the wearer so decrees.
With Nymphadora as the exception, the Grey Judges are all Lawful creatures with similar statistics to titans. They have little patience for the living, and tend to issue summary judgement against those they find to be interfering with the judicial process.
Souls are formed in Tarassein and pass through life, either following a neutral path through the Vault of Stars or else making a moral choice and coming under the auspices of the Firmament or the Infernum. No matter how the soul behaved in life, however, it shall end up here, in Twilight Mecca. The Grey Judges review each soul in turn, determining exactly what proportions of good and evil, law and chaos hold sway over it. Particularly exalted or potent souls attract the attention of advocates, powerful outsiders from one plane or another. A paladin’s soul might be defended by a guardian angel; a demonologist might be claimed by a dozen fiends, each of whom have the necessary paperwork to demand ownership.
There is a tiny demi-plane that spans this level and the level of the Library of All-That-Is. In this demi-plane there is a reliquary wherein lies the Tome of True Names, a single massive book that contains all True Names in existence. It is impossible for any but Oros himself, who resides in this level of the Halls of Order, to access this demi-plane. It is here that fresh souls from Tarassein are assigned a True Name before being sent into the mortal coil to live.
Twilight Mecca is also the city of the deathwalkers, the army of Lord Death himself. They are composed of powerful souls snatched from the jaws of fate and given the choice between their original destiny or being chosen to serve the Law of Death for eternity. Few turn down the Pale One.
Twilight Mecca itself only takes up a fraction of this layer. Nine great gates, each corresponding to a particular death, bring in the souls, who then wait in endless queues until the Judges are ready to judge them. The gates are accounted as follows: Death by War, by Sickness, by Famine, by Spell, by Beast, by Murder, by Suicide, by Age, and by Fate.
Souls judged evil are hurled into Chasm; those worthy of rest are carried on silver barges to the Afterworld. The brightest souls are carried into the Firmament, while those souls too chaotic and free to accept rest are usually sent back to Chaos to be reincarnated once more. A potent soul (character level 20+) may request a trial by the Grey Judges instead of judgement in certain cases. Inevitables are dispatched to the Dream Plane to retrieve suitable witnesses and jurors.
Dominions of OrderEdit
These are the holdings of the greater Lords of Order. These entities are not gods per se; they are the expression of the natural forces of order. Their domains are primarily abstract; the only solid terrain are growths of crystal, while all around fly equations and the manifestations of process. The Lords of Order sometimes manifest in this midst of this incomprehensible order. They resemble whatever they hold authority over, so the Lord of Building looks like an animated castle, speaking through his drawbridge-mouth and peering through arrow-slit eyes. The Lady of Intellect is a cold being of blue crystal and lightning-quick thought. The Lord of Constellations is a shape made of dots and lines that form fate-governing patterns as he moves.
The Lords of Order are exceedingly potent on this layer – it has the Divinely Morphic trait, and they are divine here. It is here that the forces of Order are marshalled and dispatched against the spawn of Chaos and where that great minds reach out over the cosmos to draw it back from the pit of barbarism and madness.
The layer of Eutaxy is the highest manifestation of Order. No being has ever passed into this face of the cube and returned. It is a field of constantly moving light, a single thought constantly expanding. Eutaxy attempts to replicate itself; the other five layers are merely echoes or approximations of Eutaxy in different respects (the Machine Realm in base matter; the Model City in civilizations; the Library in individual minds; Twilight Mecca on a universal scale, and the Dominions mediate the flow of Order from Eutaxy to the other four aspects). Eutaxy has the Law/Chaos trait of –10 (Uttermost Law).
Refining Breath (CR5)Edit
The major hazard in the Halls of Order is the Refining Breath. This phenomenon is as attempt by the plane to make everything in it more orderly. The Refining Breath manifests as a sudden gust of dry wind. Anyone struck by the breath must make a Fortitude save; the DC for the save is 10 if the character is Lawful, 15 if Neutral and 20 if Chaotic. The character must continue making saves each round until he succeeds at one. Whenever the character fails a save, one of the following effects occurs:
The character’s ethical alignment becomes Lawful.
The character’s highest and lowest ability scores are averaged.
The character’s hit points are changed as if he had rolled the average amount on each hit dice.
The character becomes crystalline; he gains DR 5/chaos, but loses two points of Dexterity and Charisma.
The character is struck by a geas never to break any laws (no save).
The character is struck by a mark of justice (no save).
The Dungeon of Ill RegardEdit
This labyrinth is a pocket plane along the vertex between the Machine Realm and the Dominion of Order. Here, especially powerful chaotic creatures and other aberrations are captured and dissected. Spools of cold iron are wound around with the life-essence of chaos beasts and potent Fey, who have their chaotic substance uncoiled cell by cell. Sagely machines analyse the stuff of chaos, hoping to impose order on it. The walls of the dungeon are made of perfectly transparent crystal, so that the chaos-things trapped within can be observed at all times by the glittering guardian constructs.
The network of train tunnels beneath the Model City includes several portals to other planes. All these tunnels meet up at one underground complex, overseen by a woman named Edana. Agents of order travel through Edana's Junction on various missions and journeys, and it is certainly one of the cleaner, safer and more convenient nexus points. Edana permits travellers not in the service of Law to use her junction fairly freely, occasionally demanding a minor toll.
In secret, Edana has a longer-term goal. She seeks to become a Lady of Order, by spreading the civilizing effects of travel throughout the planes. The Lady of Transport would be a potent portfolio to hold. She has made bargains and compacts with several beings of industry to promote technological development and steam power in numerous worlds.
The inhabitants of the Halls of Order are primarily humans, azer, dwarves, and gnomes, as well as vast numbers of inevitables and Lawful creatures. The Halls seek to bring all things towards the perfection of Law, so almost any entity may be assigned its place in the order of created things.