Master Cell Item in Manifold Sky | World Anvil

Master Cell

A master cell is a specialized form of safe, prison cell, or other container created with Verdial biotechnology. Nearly indestructible and featuring immensely complicated locking mechanisms, master cells are considered nearly impregnable by modern technological standards.

Manufacturing process

The inner volume of a master cell is enclosed within double-layered alloy walls; either the sapwood of the tree is encouraged to grow between the layers or, more often, specialized taps are installed to make resin flow through constantly. Modern master cells are also coated in heat-resistant ceramics and chemically treated to create corrosion-resistant passivation layers.   As the doors to a master cell are just as important as the walls, only the best locks available on the market are used to seal a master cell. Master cell doors are thick, resin-filled hatches sealed by several large tumblers, each possessing diabolically complex wardings, trap pins, internal shielding, and double-backs. The hinge mechanisms for the doors are located within the cell, making disassembly impossible from the outside. If the door is damaged, the resin within hardens on contact with the air, potentially permanently disabling the hinges or tumblers.


Master cells are sometimes percieved to be symbols of existential dread in Vale Verdial (ethnic group) culture, much like oubliettes in New Voxelian (ethnic group) culture; to be sealed in a master cell with a broken key is a sentence of death by immurement. On the other hand, master cells are also symbols of commerce, preservation, and security, as banking institutions in Petalcap Vale often have multiple master cells for use as vaults. Quests for master cell keys are common tropes in Vale Verdial fantasy, adventure, and heist novels.
Item type
Related ethnicities
Master cells are uncommon in Petalcap Vale due to their expensiveness, and extremely rare everywhere else.
Varies (up to 10' cube)
Base Price
Varies (based on size), but expensive
Raw materials & Components
In previous eras, master cells were constructed in hollows carved into the massive paulownia trees of Caudal D, with the continuous resin production and growth of these trees serving as the regenerative component of the master cells. The paulownia of Caudal D are a mutated strain that grows even more explosively than their Medial counterparts, a potential risk factor for becoming an invasive species if not for reduced fecundity. The Ghostleaf Foundation produces specialized resin-producing cultivars to be inlaid into the armor of master cells, making some such cells portable via 'planter pallettes' or through integration into living verdial sporeships.
Constructing a master cell requires a combination of specialized locksmithing, metallurgy, and botanical knowledge, as well as a range of specialized equipment. Master cell makers are often wealthy and come from long, prestigious family lines of locksmiths. Often, the molds used to make master cell keys are broken after the keys are struck; this ensures that, in the event that a key is destroyed or goes missing, the locksmith can set his own price for replacements.

Cover image: by BCGR_Wurth


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