Pondering what a high-level Sets 4 & 5 / Exalted / Nobilis style game for Planarch might look like.
Originally shared by J. Walton
Random thoughts on Exalted/Nobilis-inspired thing for the Planarch Codex
Every plane in existence has, at its heart, a fountain: a place or object or being that serves as its metaphysical fulcrum and the outpouring font from which the shape and life of the plane bubbles forth. If a mortal being takes possession of this fountain – whether by being given charge of it or seizing it by force – they become a demigod-like champion of that plane, embodying its traits and bound to safeguard the plane against threats both internal and external. Such demigods are known as Planarchs, as they are often considered to be the monarchs of their respective planes.
Historically, the Planarchs schemed and romanced among themselves and with the most powerful mortals and immortals of their planes, playing a grand game of their own devising. But that was before the Ravenous City began consuming their planes one by one. Of course, Dis doesn’t completely digest the planes it devours but rather remakes them in the city’s own image, creating new districts and neighborhoods and welcoming refugees by the millions. The fountains also remain, for the most part, as it takes Dis millennia to slowly absorb the core essence of a plane into itself. Consequently, there are still Planarchs and they are now much more likely to be close neighbors, staring across at each other from the windows of Dis’s alleyways.
The grand game of the Planarchs has changed too. Those devoted to wild planes mostly untouched by Dis’s tendrils hope to maintain their independence and resist the city’s encroachment. Sometimes they even find allies among the Planarchs of the city, who know all too well what its like to watch their homeland be colonized and torn apart. However, the old grudges and suspicions die hard. Has your ally cut a deal with the Sultana to temporarily protect their plane at the cost of your own? Either way, Planarchs often scour the multiverse for information about Dis’s weaknesses, its origins, and the means for resisting or even destroying it. At the same time, they are beholden to the inhabitants and lands of their plane, even if it has been already fully consumed by Dis: they may be called on to deal with crises, to perform important ceremonial tasks, and to ensure that whatever’s left of their plane survives as long as it can.
Of course, there are also the Planarchs who’ve won demigodhood through treachery, deceit, or violence, who conduct their role through tyranny and demand much more from their inhabitants than they give back in return. And there are others who may have originally had noble goals in mind but – confronted with the unstoppable might of Dis – decide that extreme measures need to be taken, ones that may ultimately inflict as much as or even more harm than the city. Others may have decided, for better or worse, that the city’s advance cannot be stopped and submission is the only way to preserve as much as possible. And don’t forget that there may be a vast number of mortals who are just waiting for a Planarch to stumble so that they can take their place as the new demigod of the plane, returning their predecessor to the humble station from when they came or even disposing of them entirely.
In any event, things should be interesting.