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    The Lords of Geometry - The Platonic Solids Revisited
    Posted on Mon, November 15, 2004 by Farcluun
    gvdammerung writes "Think you know about the Balance in Greyhawk? Think Mordenkainen and the Circle of Eight keep the Balance? Think they are on your side? You might want to reconsider. Meet the amoral and mysterious Lords of Geometry, the secret masters of Balance. Learn why so many extraplanar entities seek to influence events on Oerth. Its all connected.

    The Lords of Geometry - The Platonic Solids Revisited
    By: gvdammerung
    Used with Permission. Do not repost without obtaining prior permission from the author.

    The Lords of Geometry: The Platonic Solids Revisited

    By G. V. Dammerung

    Primal Worlds

    Oerth is a neutral world. Neither good and evil nor law and chaos nor any combination hold a position more prominent than any other. The essence of neutrality is balance. In this, Oerth may be understood to be a primal or primary world composed in equal parts of the essences of the multi-verse. Not all worlds are primal. If dominated or if there is a predomination of any aligning force, any such world is not primary or primal. The further a world is from pure balance the more it may be characterized as secondary, tertiary or so on.

    Primal worlds are natural nexus points of power because they may be taken out of balance to align in any manner from the point of neutrality. Primal worlds hold ultimate potential in this sense. Secondary and lesser worlds already see something of their potential spent toward law, chaos, good, evil or some combination. It is for this reason that primal worlds draw greater extra-planar attention than secondary and lesser worlds. There is more to fight for. More to win.

    Countering any easily sought success by forces that would sway a primal world is the stability of balance once in place. Balance is both adaptive and reactive toward a point of equilibrium. When an unbalancing factor is presented, on a primal world a counter-balance will be seen to emerge. This process should dispel any notion that balance is a state conducive to the interests of human or demi-human, who so often seek their and others weal.

    Balance will favor weal only when woe threatens to predominate. Conversely, balance will favor woe should weal grow to strong. On a primal world, any good will not hold. This same is true of law and chaos, and of evil. Each will overturn the other and be overturned, if balance is threatened.

    Should pure balance be maintained, consider that this means woe will be present as much as weal and law as chaos and in all combination. The hopes of human and demi-human for peaceful prosperity are dashed as surely as the hopes of orc or goblin for riotous destruction. None may rest. None may prosper. None may succeed. All is transitive. All must suffer by turns that there be balance.

    Balance is amoral and ultimately consumptive of all life, all force and all magic in maintaining an equal alignment of forces. In this manner, balance closely resembles a sort of enlivened entropy. What distinguishes balance from entropy is the adaptive and reactive character of a balanced or primary world. Entropy is neither. Entropy is enervating.

    A Time of Imbalance

    Of course, it is inherent in sentient life to strive for self-interest, that or those conditions most favorable to that life. At the same time, the primal world makes a tempting prize for those that would dare the unbalancing. It is certain that the balance which characterizes a primary world will not go unchallenged. Such is Oerth. But Oerth has seen strange days. While balance yet characterizes Oerth as a primal world, it is a balance grown ever more precarious.

    Law and chaos first rose to challenge the balance. The titanic war between these forces is remembered dimly in legends of the Wind Dukes of Aaqa and the Queen of Chaos. Ultimately, neither prevailed but so fierce was the combat that law and chaos lost much of their vitality on Oerth.

    Into this vacuum, forces aligned with good and evil could arise. Worse for a balance, the foolish confusion of good with neutrality or balance has led to a near triumph of evil in the person of Iuz and in the increasingly restive Tharizdun. There is no good in seeking balance. Balance is its own good, unconnected to any maudlin idea of weal. Too late is this lesson being learned, even by the strongest proponents of neutrality or balance. Evil will always strive to maintain its position with greater ruthlessness than weal and thus an evil empowered in the name of balance is not easily overthrown and may itself prove a cure for imbalance worse than the disease.

    This is the situation on Oerth and matters now come to a head. Forces stir that have long been dormant. The Lords of Geometry are abroad.

    The Lords of Geometry

    Existence, including life, is two dimensional. There is space, the physical realm. There is time, the perceptive medium of the physical realm. All other dimensions are illusions or delusions of the mind, failed attempts to understand reality with frail senses. At best, other perceived dimensions may be best understood as mere corollaries of space and time universal. Balance is the natural state of space through time and of Oerth.

    On a primal world, each of space and time have their watchmen, individuals who perceive truly the greater reality beyond mortal ken. These watchmen are inherent outgrowths of a balanced or neutral reality expressed in space and time. They are born, not chosen. The are the governors of the engines of balance Upon achieving a greater sentience, they move beyond mortality to become everlasting. On Oerth, these are the Monitors of Infinity and the Lords of Geometry.

    The Monitors of Infinity are the guardians of all time. The Lords of Geometry are the guardians of all space or reality, as commonly understood. As respects the balance expressed in the physical realm of the present or now, the Lords of Geometry act to maintain the primal essence of Oerth. Long have both the Monitors of Infinity and the Lords of Geometry lain dormant. Now, the latter is called forth by a growing imbalance toward evil.

    Lest greater reminders be in order, recall. That the imbalance is toward evil does not mean that the response will be good, in the sense of a human or demi-human weal.

    The Lords of Geometry are eternal and have long past beyond concepts of humanity. They are super-luminal forces best understood as the intersection of planes of pure being or essence. They are nine, as the alignments they reflect. The Rel Astran philosopher Platon named the Nine in 490 CY in his ground breaking work, The Quag Survivors, and they bear his name - The Platonic Solids.

    The Lords of Geometry appear as shining polyhedrons. The appearance of shining is in actuality their interaction with the environment. Only their agents may understand what the Lords of Geometry say and do in this manner. To all others, they are inscrutable.

    A polyhedron is a three dimensional shape made up of two-dimensional polygons. A polygon is composed of straight line segments. Such a polygon is regular if all edges are of equal length and meet at equal angles. There are but nine polyhedrons that are made up of regular polygons, where the same number of faces of the polygons meet at every vertex.

    Convex polyhedrons contain within themselves all intersections of their component polygons. They appear smooth or regular. Non-convex polyhedrons extrude their component polygons and appear pointed, sharp and irregular.

    The Tetrahedron is the most basic of the Lords of Geometry. It is appears as a solid with three connected triangles at each vertex and represents true neutrality or nullity, not good, evil, lawful or chaotic. The Tetrahedron, as all Lords of Geometry, is mysterious but appears in the sky where balance is most threatened. It appears much like a scout, heralding the arrival of one or more of its fellows. It favors neither existence or non-existence. The following table describes each of the other Lords of Geometry.

    Name Composition At Intersection Alignment Favors

    Octahedron 4 Triangles NG Existence
    Icosahedron 5 Triangles CG Existence
    Hexahedron 3 Squares LN Existence
    Dodecahedron 3 Pentagons LG Existence

    Small Stellated
    Dodecahedron 12 Pentagrams NE Non-Existence

    Great Stellated
    Dodecahedron 3 Pentagrams CN Non-Existence

    Dodecahedron 12 Pentagons LE Non-Existence

    Great Icosahedron 20 Triangles CE Non-Existence

    Those Lords of Geometry favoring existence bring forth influences. Those favoring non-existence suppress or destroy existing influences. Existence is not equivalent to good, nor non-existence, evil. The alignment designation describes a general “personality” associated with the individual Lord of Geometry but does not describe its ends or the means to those ends.

    Lords of Geometry rarely, if ever, act directly. They influence. They promote. They do not create or destroy themselves. At most, they may empower an individual or individuals with knowledge, foresight or rarely, raw power.

    In furtherance of their goals, the Lords of Geometry will usually have a single human agent, generally a wizard, with whom they will communicate directly. This wizard will then lay geas on others to have them carry out the will of the Lords of Geometry. The name of one such agent is recorded - Hystaspes. Those under geas will wear bracelets that cannot be removed, set with the Platonic Solid corresponding to one of the individual Lords of Geometry. These selections are not dictated strictly by alignment. Once under geas, the wearer of a bracelet will find their life as they have known it effectively over. They have become an instrument. Few escape the geas unscathed. Some prefer death to a constant compulsion they cannot fight and, usually, cannot fully understand.

    Mordenkainen, Tenser and Hystaspes

    For all of his championing of balance, Mordenkainen knows nothing of the Lords of Geometry. Mordenkainen’s concept of balance is idiosyncratic and ultimately flawed. The Lords of Geometry want nothing to do with Mordenkainen.

    The Arch-Mage Tenser has been the agent of the Lords of Geometry but he has slipped their leash. Tenser, once strong in favor of balance, has become convinced that only principles of law and good should order the Flanaess and Oerth. He has done the unthinkable. Tenser has abandoned the Lords of Geometry and now works in opposition to them as well as Mordenkainen and the Circle of Eight.

    In response, the Lords of Geometry have returned Hystaspes to life. He now works to fulfill their will.

    Using the Lords of Geometry

    The Lords of Geometry can function in a campaign much like the Alien Conspiracy in the X-Files. They have a plan but it is shadowy. Their actions may not appear to make sense, at first or maybe ever. They have no morals and will use anyone in anyway to achieve balance. Their view is very long but demands short term actions of the most immediate sort. Compulsion is their preferred methodology. Hystaspes is The Smoking Man. If not directly the PCs’ enemy, he is certainly not their friend.

    The individual Lords are like the aliens of the X-Files. Sometimes they may appear friendly. Sometimes extremely hostile. But they are ultimately both chimeric and ephemeral, and always enigmatic. And the PCs have no real way to fight them directly. The best the PCs can hope for is to put pieces together, guess and hope. Hystaspes, like The Smoking Man, is a common reference point. When he appears, you know something is up.

    Like the Alien Conspiracy on the X-Files, the Lords of Geometry are not the entire campaign. Every adventure does not see Hystaspes laying a geas on the PCs or others nor is a heroic NPC or villainous NPC always seen in proximity to one of the Lords of Geometry themselves. Other things take center stage in most adventures, but the Lords of Geometry keep popping up until the PCs start to see a pattern in the initial weirdness.

    When Hystaspes does geas the PCs, or some of them, the geas should be treated both as a true geas and as akin to the alien implants in the X-Files. The PC(s) is not doomed to serve the Lords of Geometry but it will take some work to get free of them. And what might they do in the meantime? And what about the repercussions? Nobody believed Muldar. Nobody is going to believe the PCs when they start talking about shining polygons that are forcing people to do things against their will! Even in a fantasy universe, that sounds far fetched.

    Of course, the ultimate question is how exactly are the Lords of Geometry attempting to bring about Oerth’s balance.

    First, it should not be made a simple matter of promoting good over evil, or really any alignment over another. If the Lords of Geometry appear simple, they will not be sufficiently sinister and mysterious.

    Second, Oerth is bigger than the Flanaess. Balance is all encompassing of Oerth, not just the Flanaess. You can have the Lords of Geometry helping Turrosh Mak this month and King Belvor the next. However, in each instance, the amorality of true balance should be played up. Even “good” acts should be suspicious, if not sinister. If a good act turns out to have terrible consequences, its even better! And the same holds for evil acts that see things turn out surprisingly well.

    This is the villainy of the Lords of Geometry. They don’t care how they achieve their ends and those ends mean equal suffering and joy, equal law and chaos. Balance is not good, even if it not pure evil. That is the key concept.

    In the final analysis, you have to tailor the Lords of Geometry to your campaign. They add a touch of the surreal, not an easy thing in a game with polymorphing dragons, dopplegangers and extra-planar whatsits. Their menace can be an end in itself. Arguably, that alone kept the X-Files going for a decade and many people were vastly entertained.

    Tenser’s prior history with the Lords of Geometry gives you a way to “bring it back to Greyhawk” if you need to. Tenser will believe the PCs when no one else will. Like Muldar’s government contact (before he was killed) however, Tenser will not sponsor the PCs against the Lords of Geometry or Hystaspes. He has too much to potentially lose. His help is highly limited, and on his terms.

    End Notes -

    This article has a broad genesis. For years, I’ve wanted to do something with Quag Keep and never could decide what. Then I read Tzelios’ excellent Platonic Solids article on Canonfire and wanted to do something more with those. When, in that context, I recalled Quag Keep, I knew what I wanted to do.

    While I went with the foregoing approach, there is an entirely other way to go that still intrigues me and still uses Quag Keep. Make the Platonic Solids items or artifacts. Very intelligent. Very willful ones. No Lords of Geometry in this approach. I may yet do this and would read someone else’s take very eagerly. Different is good.

    Notice of Copyright and Terms of Use

    The Lords of Geometry is copyright G V Dammerung, 2004. All right are reserved.

    This work, LoG, was first published electronically at on Wednesday, October 6, 2004.

    The Author grants to permission to electronically publish, post, archive and republish LoG without limitation on the Canonfire website, so long as such is done on a not for profit basis and so long as this Notice is included in such publication, post, archive or republication and so long as G V Dammerung is acknowledged as sole author of the work. Such acknowledgment is deemed made by the inclusion of this Notice in its entirety.

    Author grants to the owners and or domain holders of any other website permission to electronically publish and archive this work on their websites, so long as such is done on a not for profit basis and so long as this Notice is included in such publication or archive and so long as G V Dammerung is acknowledged as sole author of the work. Such acknowledgment is deemed made by the inclusion of this Notice in its entirety.

    Permission is granted to individuals copying or downloading this work from or any other website to make private use of this document to include photocopying, provided that individuals copying or downloading this work from or any other website may not utilize this work, or any part thereof, for profit.

    This work, or any part of this work, may not be electronically subdivided, split, edited, reedited, published, posted, archived or republished in parts or just in part without Author’s express permission.

    This work utilizes material subject to third party copyright. Such use is not intended as a challenge to such copyrights. This is a work of fan fiction intended to support and expand the use and value of the third party copyright materials to consumers, chiefly other fans, in the spirit of the Open Gaming Licence (OGL). This work is produced on a not-for-profit basis and any for-profit use is strictly disclaimed and prohibited.

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    Re: The Lords of Geometry - The Platonic Solids Revisited (Score: 1)
    by castlemike on Mon, November 15, 2004
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    Very Nice Article.

    Re: The Lords of Geometry - The Platonic Solids Revisited (Score: 1)
    by basiliv on Sun, November 28, 2004
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Incredibly cool article. I might have to finally pick up Quag Keep now! :-)

    Great job.

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