The Ootheca

Hearsay: Is it a possible new version of Sigil? Is it a new god that is being created by the very planes? Or is it some failed yugoloth experiment? No one knows for sure, but plenty are studying the place, seeking the knowledge of what the Ootheca really is.

History: The Ootheca was only recently discovered by Norrin, a tiefling rogue who was running away from the ‘loths and the Tower of the Arcanaloths (for reasons he didn’t tell anyone before he was killed a few weeks later in Sigil). It seems that while he was running, a sudden eruption of one of the volcanoes of Gehenna caused a cave-in, trapping Norrin inside. Upon realizing that he wasn’t dead, he started traveling down the cavern he found himself in, and came out in this structure. Not knowing where he was, he walked around until he found another cavern, which led him to Nemausus in Mechanus. He eventually found a portal to Sigil from there, and reported his findings to former members of the Guvners that he knew there. Subsequent explorers of the Ootheca named it such because of its resemblance to some sort of insect egg case.

Description: The Ootheca appears as a sphere-like structure with several spires that reach from the outer shell into the darkness that surrounds it. The inner sphere seems to hover near the center, and doesn't have these spires. The inner sphere also dimly lights the interior of the Ootheca. There seems to be no real way to reach the center sphere, since flying doesn't work (see below). Also, all portals that lead to the structure exit into the interior of the outer shell. No one really knows on what plane the Ootheca lies. It connects to several planes by the same method, the cavernous walkways, so its exact location is unknown. Most scholars speculate that it is actually located underground somewhere in the Outlands, but that’s just a guess, and likely a poor one since there doesn't seem to be a way to reach the surface of the Outlands by any means. Where ever the exact planar location of the structure lies, there seems to no top or bottom in the surrounding darkness. As far as the eye can see, the cavern-like portals seem to stretch into infinity, even though traveling through the portals seems to take only minutes. The name given to the Ootheca is somewhat accurate, in that it seems to pulse and move of its own free will from time to time. This has led some to speculate that the inner sphere is actually a god (or some other creature of unknown power) that is being born from the very nature of the planes. Some scholars believe that the spires found on the outside of the structure will eventually form portals to every layer of every plane, and when all the layers have been reached, then the birthing process will be complete. Others agree with the statement that the spires will eventually lead to all the layers, but think that this is the birth of a living city. They also believe that this city will one day replace Sigil. Both the fact that one of the portals leads to Nemausus, and the insect-like structure of the Ootheca, leads other scholars to believe that this was once a city constructed by the formians. If this is the case, why the formians abandoned it is anyone’s guess. If this theory is true, either the formians don’t have any record of such a city, or they’re just not talking about it, because they deny any knowledge of it. Another theory is that this is some failed grand experiment by the yugoloths. This persistent claim stems from the proximity of the Gehenna portal to the Tower of the Arcanaloths, and the discovery of a broken portal. The broken portal’s gray color has lead many to believe that it once reached the Gray Wastes. The same scholars further speculate that it was the ‘loths, themselves, that severed the portal. If this is true, they further wonder why the yugoloths would do such a thing unless they were somehow afraid of it, and anything that might scare a ‘loth should probably be avoided at all costs. Whatever the Ootheca is, it’s sure to be a long while before the truth is discovered. Special Features: For some reason, flying doesn’t work here, either by magical or natural means. The substance from which the inside of this structure is created however, is somewhat sticky and usually allows creatures to keep their footing. (In game terms, upon first stepping foot on the surface, a character must make a DC 10 balance check or fall. No subsequent balance checks must be made unless combat occurs.) This being said, anyone that has fallen through one of the many holes found in the outer shell of the Ootheca, has never been heard from again. Gravity is strange here as well, as it seems to be centered on where ever a creature is standing. The only exception to this is the outside, where it seems that a creature must always climb “up”, no matter what direction they are climbing, like they are continuously climbing the face of a cliff (DC 15 climb check every other round, or fall into the infinite void).. There are no true services here, as this place only contains scholars, explorers, and hired guards. Still, one might be able to gain some information from the scholars here about a great number of things. Another use of the Ootheca is the portals found here. Other than the ones already listed, other portals lead to the 1st Layer of the Abyss, the base of Mount Olympus on Arborea, the 1st Layer of Baator, the 1st Layer of Elysium near the Realm of Principality, to somewhere in Limbo. Current Chant: Lately, the Ootheca has become much more restless, pulsing and moving more than even before. Maybe it’s reacting to all of the creatures that are here studying the structure, or maybe it’s reacting to something else. Whatever the case, a few of the spires have visibly grown in the last few weeks, causing a mixture of both awe and fear to most who frequent the area..

No comments: