Originally posted April 2008

Planescape: Ascending Primes

The greatest of the Sensates have begun to hear a new noise, a ripple from the fabric of creation. The greatest of the Fated have deciphered it, revealing a ritual of great power. The greatest of the Athar are certain that it’s a ritual to contact the true gods beyond the Powers.

The Powers are silent on the issue, strangely so. The streets of Sigil must be inked with the runes of the spell, turning the city of doors into one single gate. Standing at the center of the Outlands, where no magic should function, the ritual will send a single seeker through the torus of Sigil and into the unknown.

Assuming you can even gather all the materials needed for the ritual, how do you get a city full of factions, much less the Lady, to let you enact such a working? And what will you find beyond?

Fading Suns: The Fading of Men

Three Keys for the noble-kings under the sky,
Seven for the church-lords in their naves of stone,
Nine for guilded men doomed to die,
One for the builder on his dark throne,
In the gates of Sathra where the shadows lie.
One Key to rule them all, One Key to find them,
One Key to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the gates of Sathra where the shadows lie.
— From the Eskatonic Scriptures

Many have forgotten the sad affair of the Keys, which hastened the fall of the Second Republic. A brilliant pilot and engineer, it was said, discovered twenty philosophers stones in an ancient cache, and worked out how to turn them into universal jumpkeys with the help of human and Ur tech. They could open any jumpgate, no matter to where, no matter if it was locked, no matter if it was in the middle of reset. Some say they had other abilities built in, too: not the least of which was the power to adjust the Sathra dampers and jump engine of a ship to render it effectively invisible to all sensors.

Such power is dangerous enough alone, and great battles broke out over the upset balance of power. Then the builder revealed his master stroke: the one key he had kept for himself was bound to the others, and he could monitor them and selectively control their access to extort obedience from their owners. Eventually war was made upon him and his allies, and his ship was destroyed, the Key seized by a great leader, one of Alexius’ ancestors. He never made it home, and the One Key was lost to the jumplanes.

Now the Key has been found by unlikely travelers. And the Builder is somehow moving once again: the church elders say that the manipulation of the Sathra field by the Keys left him and others open to the demons between the stars, bound by the gates. His consciousness seems stretched across the gates, and the lesser Keys, seeking to bend men to another war and to open the gates to the dark between the stars.

The only way to stop him is to return the One Key to the Ur ruins from which it came, and hope that the ancient tech is enough to purge his consciousness from the jumpweb. But the ruins exist deep in lost space, and the Builder’s old allies are even now marshaling there for a great assault on the known worlds.

Pray that men have not faded with the suns, for their greatest strength is needed today.