In the Dungeontech series of articles, I offer suggestions and alternate mechanics for introducing fantastical technology into your Dungeons & Dragons games. In this article, I introduce two new Realms for your characters to inhabit and explore: deep space and Logos. I also expand on an established realm: Mechanus.DEEP SPACE
Deep Space Traits
Type: Anomalous realm.
Size and Shape: The plane is infinite (or so large as to be functionally infinite) in extent. Individual realms, such as the World, are known as planets or moons. These realms are bounded.
Gravity: No gravity (see below)
Mutability: Normal mutability
Hostile Environment: Space has no air, gravity or external pressure and is infused with deadly cosmic radiation. Without proper protection, living creatures will die within three minutes of exposure, as if drowning.
Scholars are uncertain how to classify the area known as “deep space” in the classic planar cosmology. Space appears to be as vast as either the Astral Sea or the Elemental Chaos, and thus might qualify as a third fundamental realm. In fact, in many ways, Deep Space functions as a parallel plane to the Astral Sea. Many of the Astral Dominions in the Sea have planets and moons that mirror it in space, and with portals that cross from one to the other, much as the Mortal World has portals that allow passage into the Shadowfell and Feywild.
And yet, perhaps space is not a plane at all. It appears also to be a mere extension of the Mortal World. Spacecraft are able to cross beyond the outer reaches of the atmosphere and enter space without any magical assistance whatsoever. However, other scholars believe that the upper atmosphere is itself a large crossing dividing the breathable Mortal World from the hostile environment of Deep Space.
Deep Space is vast and largely empty. It requires special vehicles that can achieve faster than light travel to reach almost any destination other than the Mortal Realm’s own moon in under a few days. The environment is entirely hostile to almost all forms of natural life. There is no atmosphere to breathe. The lack of pressure places great stress on a creature’s physical form. The entire plane is suffused with deadly cosmic radiation. Any exposure to the environment of Space without appropriate protection exposes the character to radiation poisoning (to be explained in a future article).
Deep Space is virtually unique as a plane in that it has no gravity, not even subjective gravity. Any object that moves in Space will continue to move in the same direction and at the same speed, until it either comes into contact with another object, the creature is able to impel itself in a different direction, or the creature comes within the gravitational ambit of a planet, star or other celestial body. Moving with accuracy in low or no gravity requires an Acrobatics check.
Dotted across space are planets, stars and asteroids. Most of these orbs are lifeless husks or inhospitable balls of fiery gas. However, some of them have worlds brimming with life. Sometimes these lifeforms are entirely alien, aberrations as strange and exotic as any that hail from the Far Realms. Other times they are as familiar as the Mortal World, with mortal races virtually identical to those found elsewhere, though often at varying stages of technological, magical and spiritual development. Sometimes these mirror worlds will even have their own parallel versions of the Feywild or the Shadowfell, or entirely different parallel planes leading to their own adventures. These planets may worship entirely alien gods, or recognizable variations of the gods of the Mortal World. Some planets follow no gods at all.
There is no limit to the worlds that might be developed for a Tech campaign in space.LOGOS
Type: Anomalous plane.
Size and Shape: Logos is infinite in extent, as large as all the knowledge in the world, and constantly changing.
Gravity: Subjective gravity.
Mutability: Unstable plane.
This plane is considered cousin to the Plane of Dreams. This is the plane of Forms, of Thought and of Philosophies. While the Plane of Dreams contains a manifestation of all dreams, real or unrealized, the Plane of Thought is a plane where all things exist in its most pure form. The idealized version of anything that existed, could exist, and even some things that could never exist, dwell here.
Logos is also called the “Virtual World” because on its periphery exists metaphorical representations of those objects that are created by people who use telepathy and technology to communicate across distances.
In a Turingian Campaign, the world of Logos is a digital world, where programs come to life and where, digitized characters can adventure within a virtual reality.
Logos is populated by an infinite variety of creatures called “memes” that either resemble or take on the form of a thought, idea or ideal. These sentient personifications will possess the personality of the idea that they express. Personifications of jealousy and rage, for example, will be violent and angry. While these creatures can be fought and even defeated, they cannot truly be physically destroyed within Logos, for as long the belief persists, the meme will regenerate, even from nothingness, and be whole once more.
Objects in Logos are flawless perfect reconstructions of objects from the real world. Any object found in Logos gains a +1 unnamed bonus to any rolls (attack, damage, skill or ability) related to their intended use. However, these exemplars cannot exist outside Logos and they will dissipate into the stuff of thought when removed from the plane.
Since nothing in Logos is truly permanent, and nothing in Logos can be removed, few travelers visit there for tangible benefits. Instead, scholars, scientists and arcanists journey to Logos for the one resource Logos has in abundance: information. For those who know how to sift through the infinite troughs of data, a trip to Logos can be educational, revealing information about strategies, plans and weaknesses of enemies. However, not all information is truthful, and it can be very difficult to separate the rumors from facts. Inexperienced visitors to the Realm of Thought often leave with false leads and false hopes. Even the most well-traveled visitor to Logos knows to take all the information gleaned with a healthy skepticism.
Not all journeys to Logos are intentional. Some people, lost in thought, have been known to travel to the Realm of Philosophy in an astral form, peering at the idealized creatures and objects and from them inspiring new philosophies and ideals. Visitors who travel in this manner have reported a feeling that Logos is almost more real than the Mortal World.
Some never leave. There are persistent rumors of ancient philosopher kings who have transported their entire nation from the Mortal Realm into Logos in order to create and then preserve a utopian society of that monarch’s vision. However, whether this is a real society or whether this is merely a collection of memes who believes itself to be real is a riddle no visitor has been able to solve.
In a Turingian World, it might be possible for a programmer to send his mind into Logos by being in “the zone” during a programming session. Some people have felt the pull of Logos even while playing a particularly immersive computer simulation. Present in their astral form (or "avatar"), these interlopers can interact with the memes, perhaps gleaning useful information before their avatar is destroyed and they are shunted back fully into the Mortal Realm. Such happenstance visitations, however, tend to be brief and ephemeral, much like a visit to the Plane of Dreams.
Like the Plane of Dreams, the physics of Logos is mutable and subjective. Gravity there is subjective, although powerful memes have domains – much like the realms of the Archifey of the Feywild. (See the MANUAL OF THE PLANES).MECHANUS
Type: Astral dominion.
Size and Shape: Mechanus is an enormous clockwork construct presently more than 200 miles across, but increasing in diameter every day.
Gravity: Normal gravity.
Mutability: Divinely mutable.
Color Veil: White
The clockwork realm is a massive construct floating in the emptiness of the Astral Seas. From a distance, it is a bright beacon, twinkling with a multitude of artificial lights. Some astral travelers mistake it initially for a Far Realm inexplicably deposited in the midst of the Astral Sea. However, as one approaches, the hum of activity is distinct, with the clang of metal against metal, of saws and lathes and riveters working together.
The interior of Mechanus is a wonder to behold. It is a massive clockwork realm, with gears and cogs spinning together. Levers, pistons and exhaust fans churn harmoniously. Through the massive pipe works, a sort of primordial ooze fuels the entire machine and helps to create the workers who build and maintain the project.
Mechanus is in a state of perpetual construction. The plane itself is always expanding, building new pieces to the elaborate puzzle. And yet, enormous as it is, all the pieces continue to work together in a single harmonious whole. Nobody has been able to determine the purpose of the machine, and Primus, the singular deity of this domain, does not divulge its plans. Some believe Mechanus is a massive engine of war to destroy both gods and primordials and bring the multiverse under the dominion of Primus alone. Others believe, Mechanus seeks to replace reality, not conquer it. One piece at a time, the clockwork realm will occupy more and more space, until it occupies all reality. Still others believe that Mechanus has no purpose at all, except the purpose that all life has – to perpetuate itself, and to try to reshape the world around it to its own image.
Constructs, golems, homunculi and automata of every kind can be found in the clockwork realm. Massive factories churn out these artificial workers by the thousands every day. Additionally, Primus has numerous angels who have pledged themselves to the Clockwork Realm and seek to help Primus complete this project (if the project can in fact ever be completed). Finally, Primus has made its own race of mathematically symmetrical beings called modrons that work on the great machine, and oversee every piece of the project.
Visitors, for the most part, remain undisturbed as long as they do not attempt to interfere in the workings in the plane, and do not try to go into any restricted areas (all of which are marked clearly in Supernal, so as to be recognizable to all intelligent creatures). Mechanus rarely gets violent, unless it perceives a threat. And then it becomes a very violent, efficient, and ruthless killing machine. All of the denizens of the plane will converge on any threat, overwhelming it with sheer numbers.
Mechanus operates with laws of physics much as the Mortal World does. However, Mechanus is layered with pocket dimensions and wormholes that move creatures and material to all parts of the mechanical world without regard for their physical proximity in three dimensions. Natives of the plane can use these portals effortlessly. A casual traveler, however, can become easily and hopelessly lost.
In addition to the immortals who dwell on the plane, the mathematical precision of Mechanus has attracted Primusian cultists, machine-pact warlocks (to be detailed in a future article), as well as philosophers and mathematicians who desire to study the sacred geometries of the plane, and some who even seek to export the mechanical hegemony of this plane to the Mortal Realm.