Miscellaneous Chant on the Pathways and their Users

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Opener of the Way
Being the Realm of Ptah
(by Aaron Infante-Levy)

"He who yields his power becomes empty. He who empties himself becomes free. He who becomes free, to him are open all the paths of the multiverse."

- Ophericon, priest of Ptah

CHARACTER: Wandering is the mark of the free. Never be in the same place twice. Travel is the absence of bonds to tie you down, so cast off your bonds and explore the mists of the multiverse. The greater the sacrifice, the greater the reward. Releasing yourself from all your bonds opens the doorway to inspiration, and from there, the imagination will take you anywhere.

RULER: There's no doubt about it, Ptah is God here. Little dark has been compiled on Ptah, Egyptian power of travel, craftsmen, and artists, who remains one of the least understood of his pantheon. Why a Power would sacrifice his might is beyond the understanding of most mortals, not to mention the Powers. The dark of it is that Ptah is the eldest of his pantheon, and the closest to a creator that the Egyptian Powers have. It is he who was responsible for sculpting the Ka, or spirit bodies, in which petitioners would dwell (and rumour has it the Powers as well). Some event, now shrouded by the mists of time, caused him to relinquish his power to Ra, and to forever live in silence. What could cause a Power to take a vow to never speak is left to the speculation of sages, although it doesn't seem to bother Ptah much. He would be just as content talking amiably with some traveller as drifting quietly through the Ethereal.

DESCRIPTION: Opener of the Way follows Ptah through his wanderings in the Ethereal, though it can exist independently of him anywhere. A planewalker wont necessarily know she's crossed the boundary into his realm, for it is as misty as the Misty Shore itself. Slowly, however, the mist becomes stratified, divided into ribbon-like layers. Depending on which mist ribbon a cutter focuses, she's going to see a different aspect of Ptah's imagination. Most bashers don't realise this dark, and they'll just wander on by. Those that do know the dark aren't blinded by the Powers might, for Ptah does not wish to scare off the visiting travellers. However, no sound is possible in his realm, as an extension of his vow, so spells with verbal components fail. Strangely, communication is possible, but by a form of telepathy, wherein those conversing can relay mental images, though only those based in creativity (e.g.. "check that ribbon for the portal" doesn't function, but "open eyes to the mist of our gateway" will).

There are an infinite number of mist ribbons, each centred on taking a body to certain plane, for a price. When a planewalker just wants to get to a plane, not caring about her specific destination, she's going to need to sacrifice a story of her travels to Ptah, one that she will never tell again. If she needs to get to a certain layer or world, Ptah requires something more substantial, such as sacrificing a favoured spell, potent magical item, or a truly creative piece of art. Ptah can also guide the planewalker through a gateway into a specific city or realm, though the price is high, often involving the sacrifice of some honoured position, membership in a faction, or experience level loss. By traversing Ptah's mist ribbons a planewalker can reach any place in the multiverse, though the trick is finding his realm in the first place.

SERVICES: Besides the mist ribbons, little in the way of services can be found here, though the planewalker with a true travellers heart can expect a warm reception and a place to rest free of harm. A powerful priest of Ptah, who's rumoured to be striving toward Proxyhood, calls himself Ophericon (Planar / male human / P11 / LN), and has been seen within Opener of the Way more and more often. He can help travellers find supplies in the Ethereal, direct them to colour pools outside of Ptah's realm, and show them the safest routes. Fact is, he knows the Ethereal like the back of his hand. Course, there's bound to be an ulterior motive for his presence in the realm; chances are he's pursuing his last step towards becoming a proxy, so woe to the berk who gets in his way.

CHANT: Whatever the eyes see, the ears hear, and the nose breathes goes straight to the heart and the conclusion reached by the heart is then spoken by the tongue. This is how Ptah commanded all the gods into existence, as the chant goes. It is because of his penchant for creating all that he speaks that he was silenced; this makes sense considering his soft spot for persecuted artists. Chant has it that he brought into being, by creationspeak, the serpent Apophis and other such terrors of the Egyptian pantheon. Nobody would want to imagine him creationspeaking something even worse, yet no one will ever know if he could create something better.


Mik Mathews the Red
Being a description of the famous Pathwalker
(by Belarius)

14th level fighter, 4th level bard - dual classed, Society of Sensation
Neutral (Good)

Str 17, Dex 13, Con 15, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 17
HP 85, AC -3, THAC0 7 (6 with Str bonus)

EQUIPMENT: Red leather splint mail of blending +3, ring of protection +4, long sword of the planes, cubic gate (Arborea, Carceri, Mechanus, Ysgard, the Gray Waste), iron bands of bilarro, luckstone.

SPECIAL: 60 ft. infravision. +1 to saves vs. poison. +1 to surprise checks. 10% chance of detecting lie (20% with humans). Sensory touch. Weapon specialisation (long sword). Has the following thief abilities: PP 50%, DN 70%, CW 70%, RL 75%, DM 45%. +1 resistance to charm. Alter moods. History and magical item identification. Scroll use. +2 saving throw vs. sound-based attacks. Rally friends.

Mik Mathews is a living legend. In planar terms, most people have heard his name somewhere. A trader and taskmaster of extraordinary skill, Mik Mathews has spent the last thirty years running all manner of goods across the planes for whoever offered the most interesting jobs. From shipping wine to Gehenna to bringing larvae to the Outlands, he's worked for a lot of people and knows the planes like few mortals can.

An impressive man, even at his current age of 50, Mik is not tall (5'5") but radiates a veritable aura of respect and talent. His curly red hair is cropped close to his head, and a fiery beard with newly appearing streaks of white adorns his square jaw. His eyes are bright green and his skin is a dark orange hue from years in the sun. Mik's trademark clothing is a red leather coat that's run knee-length and black leather pants (this is actually a suit of armour, magically concealed). He typically wears horned walking boots and red gloves. His attire eventually stuck him with the nickname 'The Red' or just 'Red.'

Mik is very well educated, having spent at least a year in Thoth's library (he was careful not to look for anything specific, and thus never was addicted to the library's capacity). Well-read and articulate, he can recite verbatim a number of famous ballads and epics, as well as sing like a Fierre and dance with grace and poise.

Born and raised on the Outlands, Mik was a bright lad with a cheerful smile and robust build. Mik's mother died in childbirth, but otherwise his early years were comfortable. A champion rider, his skill with a mount (any mount, by now) is surpassed only by the Hinterland bandits. His father was a bard of some repute (many a fairy tale book in Sigil bears the name of Old Man Mathews as author), and Mik heard tales from across the planes throughout his childhood. When he came of age, his father brought the young man to Sigil, where he joined the family faction. Mik followed in his father's footsteps for several years, becoming a bard of respectable skill himself.

This all changed when a powerful and disgruntled wild mage cast Mik and his father into the depths of Carceri. Surrounded by traitors on all sides and eager to escape, the pair quickly learned the age-old rule of the Red Prison: those banished there must become as powerful as the being who banished them before they can escape. Mik very quickly learned to use a sword as much as his tongue, and the pair slowly worked their way to an escape. Though valiant, Mik's father never made it, dying at the hands of a pack of trolls. Mik escaped alone, into the Outlands, starving and weakened, but survived long enough to be picked up by a passing caravan.

Though still in mourning over his father's death and scarred to the core of his being by over a year in the Plane of Traitors, Mik quickly grew accustomed to caravan life. His aptitude showed, and the caravan leader soon started showing him the ropes of managing the wagons, the mounts, the people. when Mik was able to go it alone, the caravan leader (an old man named Roc) retired, leaving Mik in charge. So, at the age of 20, Mik began his travels in earnest.

Over his thirty years of travel Mik has been on every Out Planes at least twice, has visited every gate-town, and has made regular visits to the Astral, Ethereal, and Inner Planes. Though a man of action more than a man of words, Mik has retained his extensive repertoire of lore. Able to fight toe-to-toe with fiends and even having outwitted a nalfesnee (only once, mind you), Mik is a force to be reckoned with.


  • Mik can be a helpful NPC in any adventure which calls for a caravan or trading centre (Dead Gods - Chapter VI, Strange Bedfellows, Militancy Justifies the Means, etc.). Because of his relative power, it is recommended Mik not assist the PCs in combat, representing a friendly NPC instead.
  • Mik hires the PCs as guards within a caravan to one of the Lower Planes. He also, however, specifies that he believes another worker of his is a spy, and the PCs must find this person. Ideally, the adventure continues once the caravan has reached its destination, perhaps as a murder mystery in a Lower Planar castle.
  • A bit worse for wear, Mik is starting to feel the burden of his age. The PCs are asked to help him seek something akin to a Fountain of Youth (high-level adventure, possibly on an epic scale). The generality of the idea allows DMs to come up with their own artifacts/sites to keep their campaign balanced.

The Rilmani Conspiracy
Dark from the Stygian Chantslinger
(by Rip Van Wormer)

In the hardest to find regions of the World Tree or Mount Ollie are kips that seem to screamingly defy the way we look at how the planes fit together.

Your first clue might be when all of your dweomered items peter out or maybe you're a mindtickler whose subtlest senses all go blind all sudden like. I once saw a deva scream in agony like a Clueless at a bladeling disco as she suddenly lost all contact with her god.

If you're a real blood you might see the signs of a rilmani infestation before you get in trouble: shrubbery half trimmed and half wild, a mound of fresh dirt next to an old sinkhole, or a stream of gibberish next to erudite poetry. That's the rilmani alright -- Balance above all.

If you're more bloody than Blood you might not know anything's different till you meet the rilmani themselves. Like as not they're holed up like cloistered monks communing with their body odour, stacked up like fish in a sardine dead-book, or like the legendary Sleepers the powers store here and there to stave off this or that foretold apocalypse. If you stumble on to these bashers they'll perk up like Spectators and rush out quick as you please. These are choice cut rilmani, mind you: paragons of their race, advanced souls with few peers. They'll boil the dark out of you one way or another: what are you doing here, who do you work for, what side of the Balance are you fighting for, if any. Then they firmly usher you out of their private little theatre, although some bashers've sworn they've been altered subtly -- by what skill or craft they can't tell. No one remembers being made to forget anything either, not that memory's worth a yugoloth's words in such zones.

So what's the dark behind it all? What kinds of theories and axioms have the Guvner's dreamt up to explain it? The only link we can forge is that both Mountain and Tree are variants of the World Axis that manifests itself most purely in the Spire. It's like these most famous pathways are reflections of that great rivet that connects everything, and in some strange, shallow places they even behave the same way.

That's the best I've heard chanted, anyway. If you hear more, pass it back to me and I'll feel it for funny notes and see how it casts.

I'll see you in the next story over, cutter...

Copyright 1998 by Jon Winter and respective authors,
artwork by Jeremiah Golden and Jon Winter

Consult the Mimir Again