Some thoughts on the Million Spheres [Enternal Champion]


Having recently reread the first three Corum books, I'm now in volume 8 of the 15 volume collected Eternal Champion series that Moorcock authorised White Wolf to put out in the 1990s, I naturaly started thinking about the mechanics of the planes and/or spheres.

First, the stories don't seem to use plane and sphere interchangeably. Planes seem to be subdivisions of spheres. There's a fairly consistant ( for Moorcock) pattern of speaking of the fifteen planes in the Corum setting as being divided amoung three spheres. Sometimes these Spheres seem to be spheres of influence. Most of the time, spheres seem to contain the plains.

This works for me. Spheres will always have one of more planes in them. It works out like pocket-multiverses in GURPS Infinate Worlds.

Second, we'll need intensity charts with the Plane Shift and Sphere Shift spells.

Example: If its an Intensity one shift to cross from plane A to plane B, then ordinary people will often be able to see into the other plane. A large city in A might appear as a Fata Morgana in B. If we assume that B's sea-level is a few hundred feet higher than A's, then, under rare conditions, a fleet, sailing over the site of a city in A, might appear as a ghost fleet in the clouds. While those in the fleet on B would see a ghostly sunken city.

The higher the intensity needed to cross between planes, the less accidental bleed-though.

Third, wheather you're shifting from one plane to another, or between spheres, the less similar the two ends of the journey, the more effort required.

Example: I wish to cross from the Young Kingdoms to a High Fantasy version of Ancient China. Both are sophistocated worlds of magic and exotic wonder. So it's not that big a problem. However, if I try to cross from the Young Kingdoms to Tragic Europe, it's much harder. The worlds are very different.

Cultural and physical changes can make the move harder. If I want to shift from the Young Kingdoms to Bro-an-Vadhagh a century before the events of The Knight of Swords it's much easier than goning there a century after the end of The King of Swords .

Before TKS Bro-an-Vadhagh was on a flat world, ruled by selfish gods, where Chaos was a growing power. After TQS the worlds of the five planes were round again! After the third book, the gods were dead and the cosmic balance dominated the scene, if it wanted to!

Cultural, mystical, physical, changes have to be taken into account in planar travel, and, since at least Elric, Erekose, Corum, Faustaff, and The League of Temporal Adventures, travel back and forth in time (as well as sideways) time travel by planar shift must be covered too.

That's all for now. More later.

Please, give your reactions, thoughts, and speculations here.

Thought provoking stuff. I'm hoping to work on a Multiverse book next year.

I like the Intensity idea, which could neatly reflect the way Dream Realms/Dream Strengths work in the core rules. As to classification of Spheres/Planes... I don't think MM has ever really sat down and thought about how the two compare. He's also used wheels, dreams and aethers and really I think that trying to be prescriptive about it will cause more problems than it solves. The multiverse is a complex, swirling mass of conjunctions/collisions/creations and destructions - it might be easier to keep everything undefined, save for the Intensity idea, which I think could work well.

The Elric Companion contains some down n dirty random plan generation mechanics...

'Dream Realms' for Elric, coming soon, contains rules for dreaming and some of the League of Temporal Adventurers...
Try this idea. Creatures with high Pow can be seen in other realms.

First the formula for being seen (Pow-14 )-the Intensity needed to cross to the plane viewed from the plane of the viewer)

Thus if Little Suzy from plane A has Pow 19 and Little Billy is in plane B (which is three Intensity levels away). Then Little Billy might be able to see Little Suzy. However, Jack is in plane C (which is five Intensity levels away) so he can't see Suzy. But the number is zero, so he might sense her.

Now the formula for seeing. (Pow-18 )- the Intensity needed to cross to the plane viewer from the plane of the viewed) [yes, if it is harder to cross one way than the other, it counts] However, every ten percent of a hypothetical Planar Viewing spell is an add. Thus Little Billy only had Pow 15, he's minus five to see Suzy even thought other untrained people, with very high Pow can see her in Plane B. However, Jack has learned Planar Viewing to 90% and has Pow 16. (16-18 )-5)+9=2
Jack can see Suzy without even needing to roll or do any sorcery.

Assuming Suzy has some magic. She could make herself visible to people in other planes by a simple spell. She'd need to overcome the distance/intensity between the planes. This could allow a Sorcerer in one world to play God in a nearby world where he could cast his spells but the inhabitants would be unable to get to him. However, if someone taught the victems to fight back...

I could see someone (the destined hero/ine) in an odd state of mind suddenly having a vision. The odd state of mind giving them a conection with another plane. Their destined True Love (whose soul is both strong and linked to the Hero/ine) becomes visible to them, thus starting a Grand Quest!

Random visions across the planar barriers are percevied as Ghostes, Fairies, UFOs, Spies, whatever kicks off the plot.

Is any of this tasty?
Its a tasty idea, but perhaps a little complex in execution. I'm sure there'd be a simpler, more elegant, way of handlng this, if it proved necessary to have a mechanic to handle distances, and seeing, between planes at all.

That said, you should test it in your own campaigns and see how it works in practice. Planar travel is a feature of the Eternal Champion saga, so set up something simple for your characters and see how it would work in a grand planar quest (because Little Suzy is actually the Princess Suz'an'o of the Ooem-Ofmeo, a delicate elder race plagued by the Chaos Sorcerer Ghaggan-Baal and his Sword Ruler masters... She needs saving!) :D