Grand Design

This explanation was given by Han Jierre as part of the welcome speech during the opening ceremonies of the Obscurati Convocation in Chapter 7, Schism.


Our organization, though composed of powerful industrialists and brilliant thinkers the world over, has operated with little communication between cells. Though we all desire to change the world, you should be realizing that the scope of change possible to us demands that we not let any one person make the decisions.

Our leader Nicodemus has called you together to listen to proposals, debate their merits, and ultimately choose the zeitgeist, the spirit of the next age.

The Method of Change

As mentioned, our world is linked to eight planes. This connection was set by a ritual performed several thousand years ago, which utilized eight stone pillars in a location we are going to keep secret for now. Those pillars were then buried, arranged in a pattern around a plate of gold 100 feet in diameter and nearly three feet thick.

To unlock the ritual pillars, we must first remove the golden plate. For this, we designed the mechanical colossus that has been making the news lately. Though it was activated earlier than we wanted, we are bringing it to a place where we can regain control of it. As soon as we have it, we’ll be able to proceed with altering the Ancient’s ritual by careful physical and magical manipulation of those pillars. This will result in a new collection of planes in orbit around our world, bestowing on us a new suite of unique planar traits which will combine to form a new carefully-considered environment for mortalkind which we will vote upon at this convocation.

The changes will affect the whole world, but to help the transition, we are constructing lighthouses, towers, and similar tall monuments, all equipped with magic lanterns. By triggering these all simultaneously, we’ll create a field of stability. In the event something does go wrong, we’ll be able to abort the ritual at any moment up to when we drop the lid of the giant gold seal back down.

Planar Primer

There are eight planes tied to the world we live on, and each has aspects that distinguish from any old plane with an elemental trait. While the True Plane of Air is vast, there are many worlds that are carved from slivers of it. Some of those slivers have storms, others are filled with birds, and some are smoky and concealing. The nature of each plane determines what traits it lends to our world.

It seems when the Ancients decided what worlds ours would be connected to, they did not care much for traits. Indeed, many of these planes are fairly mundane, and our organization has access to many more impressive options.

  1. Jiese, Plane of Fire. Its trait is Cunning. The fire from this plane is less destructive than a typical elemental world, and its flames can be used intelligently, like a tool. Our scholars suspect most worlds never achieve the industrial revolution ours has because they lack this trait. Changing this plane might stymie technological progress.
  2. Avilona, Plane of Air. This world appears to have been damaged since it was originally tied to our world, so now its trait is Calm. Changing this plane might lead to stronger storms, and could make the world in general more energetic and changing.
  3. Av, Plane of Life. This glassy hollow world is our moon and has the traits of Reflection and Dream. It allows our world to have the two parallel planes of fey and darkness, The Dreaming and The Bleak Gate. Changing this world would remove those planes and might have consequences involving dreams and undead.
  4. Mavisha, Plane of Water. Its trait is Mystery, and while we are unable to fully pierce its effects, we believe it to be responsible for the many islands that dot the world with their various secrets; indeed, it may be a factor in keeping our meeting place here on Mutravir Island successfully hidden from the powers that be. We think this trait can be easily abandoned; once the world changes, we will have no more use for secrecy.
    5. Urim, Plane of Earth. This golden world has fractured into many pieces, but its still maintains its trait of Barrier, which causes gold in our world to block teleportation.
    6. Apet, Plane of Space. The Distant plane is responsible for keeping our world and its bonded planes far from the rest of the multiverse and less likely to attract extraplanar attention.
    7. Reida, Plane of Time. Most scholars don’t even realize that the incomplete silvery ring that surrounds Apet is another plane altogether—this appears to be a purposeful pairing on the part of the ritual’s original performers, and so any new planes of Space and Time we choose will continue to act as a sort of binary world. Reida’s trait of Limited Fate allows for prophecy, but motivated forces can overcome the yoke of destiny. We suggest caution in tampering with this plane, but experiments show such efforts are possible.
    8. Nem, Plane of Death. Its trait is Annihilation, and it destroys any who try to travel from our star system of planes to the outer multiverse, and vice versa.

The Cardinal Rule

It is risky to directly alter behavior or personality. Free will is an all-or-nothing option, and we cannot force people to be “good” without also turning them into complete automatons. We can, however, nudge people. You’ll see some example options below.

Proposals and Voting

The leadership has five proposals to consider. We encourage you to come up with revisions or even new proposals. Whatever design we agree on will no doubt demand some compromise and disappointment. Our initial five factions are:

  • The Arboretum. Order nature so it can spread and be controlled like industry.
  • Colossus. Grant ourselves semi-divine powers to fix problems as they arise.
  • Miller’s Pyre. Enact subtle changes, focused on making people more empathetic and less susceptible to hypocrisy, so they can more easily pursue goodness and justice.
  • Panarchists. Grant individuals enough power to make governments unnecessary.
  • Watchmakers. Eliminate free will and design a thousand-year destiny of progress for the world.

Tonight you will meet the representatives of each faction, and then we will hold a preliminary vote to see which proposal holds the most support. This evening and tomorrow morning will be opportunities to make coalitions and alterations. Starting tomorrow afternoon we will grant everyone who desires a chance to speak, and by the end of the evening we hope to hold a second vote.

For a proposal to win, it must have support of at least 75 percent of the officers in attendance. Including the leadership there are 48 officers present, and an additional 27 votes are given to the Ghost Council, which has a tradition of voting as one.

Update on Voting

This newsletter was found posted in the lounge areas, starting on Day 2.

As Day 1 drew to a close, we were all shocked to learn of the death of Ramos Zoltan, representative from Drakr and donator of the hardy test subjects you’ve seen used in various demiplanes in the Portal Gallery. We wish swift vengeance upon the enemy of progress that saw fit to murder him. Honoring his views on Eschatology, we will not let allow his untimely end to have been in vain.

Now with 47 living officers among us, it has been made clear that Vicemi Terio and the Ghost Council have pledged to continue casting their votes as “Any,” meaning that they will be assigned to whichever faction currently has the most votes from the rest of the members in attendance. Combined with the fact that Amielle Latimer and Reed Macbannin have shown themselves to vote apart from the rest of the Council, keep in mind the new ‘vote goals’ below.

As of Day 2, there are currently a total of 74 votes in this convocation, 25 of which will be assigned as “Any.” Since a faction needs 75% of the total votes, that means they need 56 votes total, or 31 out of the 47 non-Council votes to win. Conversely, that means that if any faction acquires more than 15 votes, but less than the necessary 31, we’ll be consigning ourselves to another round of debates.

Day 1 Factions Votes Notable Supporters
Watchmakers 6 Leone, Kiov, and Amielle
Miller’s Pyre 12 Nicodemus, Oscan, Cula Ravjahani, Erdanen, and Xavier
Panarchists 9 Luc, Livia, Han, and Bree
Colossus 10 Catherine Romana, Bruce McDruid
Arboretum 4 Erskine and Reed
Other 33 Vicemi and the Council (25 ghosts total)

- Gardienne du Cherage, head of College Cell

Final Results

Dame Constance Baden came up with the briliant and show-stealing compromise now known as the MAP Proposal. Following the total purge of Colossus Cell, it looks as though this will be the Obscurati’s plan, moving forward… provided Nicodemus does not decide to disregard the voting system entirely and arrange the world’s planes as he sees fit.

Grand Design

Zeitgeist elfshire