So here’s a question for all your Planarch GMs out there (and Jonathan Walton especially, of course)

So here’s a question for all your Planarch GMs out there (and Jonathan Walton especially, of course)

So here’s a question for all your Planarch GMs out there (and Jonathan Walton especially, of course)

When the living city of Dis starts “devouring” a plane, what does that look like, in your mind? What exactly is happening to the plane and its inhabitants?

20 thoughts on “So here’s a question for all your Planarch GMs out there (and Jonathan Walton especially, of course)”

  1. A bit like the wall of anti-matter in Crisis on Infinite Earth, a bit of Cronenberg-like transformations of the familiar into the monstrous, a bit like the gateways to Hell in Event Horizon

  2. The way I see it, and I think I could do better but I would be happy running with it as is:

    First, secret connections are established, passages between Dis and the plane in question through ruins, dungeons, and so forth. Inhabitants from Dis comes through these passages, filled with their endless hunger for natural resources and new lands. They colonize. They build buildings. They log forests. They trade with the nations of the plane in question, getting their culture all over the place. That sort of things.

    Meanwhile, Dis eats the boundaries of the plan, and the forgotten, ’empty’ places in between. It’s a subtle process, at least at first, but the plane gets smaller: the distance between Brightwall and Castle Daunting might go from a trip that takes months to a trip that takes weeks to a trip that takes only days. The essential elements mostly remain intact but the spaces between them vanish, and this happens on scales large and small: the distance between two cities might vanish, but also the distance within a single city between two landmarks. People can be subject to this as well, unless they stay in motion: it seems Dis won’t “eat” anyone who considers themselves “fleeing” from the effect, but those who stay to defend their homes, well, the people of Cornwood vanished when the town did, you know?

    And between these two processes, the city spreading and the plane shrinking, it generally isn’t long before it’s just another Parish of Dis, a bit of its essential nature… recognizable, if not exactly intact, but most of it lost to that greatest of melting pots.

  3. I in no way want to lay down the law on this, so I think I’ll avoid responding in detail for a while, if that’s okay, but my short answer is: it’s like urban sprawl or gentrification, creeping and insidious. You only really notice after you’ve been gone for a while and come back to a place. “Wow, whatever happened to XYZ that used to be around here?” “It’s gone, man. That place is long gone…”

  4. Right. That’s part of how I pictured it, but also with the subtle shrinkage, but other people have made me reconsider the disastrous and blatant apocalypse, a wall of gnashing teeth the size of mountains.

  5. It really depends on if you want Dis to be the cause of the real violence and destruction or, rather, people’s resistance to Dis (bombing growths of the city, no matter who lives in them, etc.). Personally I like both.

  6. Holy crap, Bruce. I’ve been trying to figure out if the crazy illustrations of Dante I remembered seeing in a book in my father’s office (he’s a literature professor) were just something I dreamed up. But no, it was Barlowe! I’ve been thinking about those in relation to the Planarch Codex for YEARS. Thanks for reconnecting us!

  7. Woo hoo! Glad to help!

    There’s one wide, tall, and thin artbook, and one novel in the setting. God’s Demon, the novel, is at least available in audiobook form and is surprisingly well-written, and deep in weird detail.

  8. I was told that there are three distinct phases:

    1) The interface phase.  Like +Ben Wray says, it’s tunnels and magic doorways and infiltrators and it’s low-key.  Travel is two-way.  The most elite explorers and criminals will pass freely into the target plane.

    2) The overt phase.  From the target plane’s perspective, this is apocalyptic.  Hunks of the target are cut off from its plane by horrendous elemental forces — acid and fire, mostly.  Huge numbers of displaced refugees wander into Dis.  Whatever isn’t eaten is left, cold and dead, in its home cosmos.  And Dis is a messy eater.

    From the Dis side, it’s business as usual.  Criminals gather in the borderlands, eager to plunder and enslave the vulnerable new arrivals.  If you wonder why the Codex specifies that borderlands are dungeons, this is why. Some high-value targets will receive a roadwarden detachment to police the overt phase, and the Gentle Sisters and Brothers do what they can, but for the most part brutal anarchy reigns.

    Gawkers will also gather, as the destruction can be freely witnessed from the borderlands.  

    3) The reconciliation phase.  After the most violent part of the consumption is done, Dis and the target will very gradually knit together.  Streets, utilities and buildings will flow slowly into a unified whole.  Yeah, Dark City is a good visualization of this, although the Dark City version is a sped-up time-lapse version of what really happens.

    The weather and physics lines are the last things to settle between the old and the new.  These lines will wander considerably during the reconciliation but will eventually stabilize.  Some planes have a very strong weather presence and will project weather into their neighboring parishes. There are no documented cases of physics projection.

  9. I’d say it is probably different for every city it takes. Generally, statues and gargoyles start taking on the likeness of famous wardens and the Sultana. Odd fish and amphibians start swimming in the fountains. Often keys will stop working in certain doors for no obvious reason. People start to go missing as they accidentally wander into Dis and fail to find their way back.

    Sometimes Dis will quickly take a whole building or even block all at once, causing it to disappear entirely. Sometimes Dis takes a whole world, or a whole city, other times just a tower, block or district.

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