Planar Sphere Item in Tremanac | World Anvil

Planar Sphere

A complex device which shows when there will be a close interaction between the unified and distinct planes of existence.   These devices use a combination of clockwork and magic to calculate and display any close alignments between the planes. Most have a large map or globe at the centre along with a number of arms which can rotate around the map. Most use magical lights to show the type of alignment, with a clock like device to show when the alignment will occur, and a focused dot of light on the appropraite location.


The earliest known example of such a device was accidentally created by Heber Fastroot Slinkpetal. Heber was attempting to use the techniques he had picked up in Ironhammer halls to build a device which would show when stars would fall based on their positions in the sky. It was a complete failure in that regard, but one of Heber's friends noticed that certain positions aligned with when spells involving ice were more or less powerful.   Keen to find a use for his otherwise pointless creation Heber travelled across numerous lands seeking out those with the knowledge to help him understand what his device predicted. Armed with this new information, Heber was able to refine his device so that it could show the timing and intensity of alignment with one of the distinct planes. Despite only be useful in one area, and only working for one element, Heber was able to sell the concept and several wealthy mages commissioned him to construct similar devices for them.   As knowledge of the distinct planes improved over the centuries, so did the designs of the spheres. At the forefront of this development was the University of Trem which employed several skilled crafters from Ironhammer halls who turned complex equations into mechanical calculators. Though this iteration of the spheres were able to predict multiple planar alignments they were still limited to one area and needed recalibrating if used more than a few leagues away from Trem.
While the regular transition of the Other Planes over a long period is well known smaller changes in alignment can affect spells and enchantment rituals
  Development of these devices diverged at this point into two types of device:
  • The Planar Clock. A transportable device which predicted the timing of planar convergences. These could be calibrated relatively easily when taken to a new area.
  • The Planar Sphere. Room sized devices which could show not only when but also where an alignment would occur.
  While not exactly commonplace, planar clocks became a standard part of an adventuring spellcasters gear when visiting new areas so that they could check for any potential problems for their spells. While some embellishments have been added since they were first developed the workings of planar clocks have remained relatively unchanged for uncenturies, though they are currently much harder to obtain.  
The Planar Sphere's on the other hand were too large and expensive to be available to the average person. Only those with the wealth of a country behind them could reasonably afford them, The early spheres were cumbresome contraptions requiring considerable work to interpret the position of a conjunction, but that changed with the development of a light focusing device.
Some rulers used the commissioning or improvement to a sphere as a way to attract new talent to their lands.
  By focusing light down to a single point it was possible to display on a large map or globe where a close alignment would occur. This removed the need for efforts to minimise mechanisms within such a map, and allowrd for creating precision. The changing patters of lights on a sphere, along with some creative attempts to add various sounds and even music, made by the spheres display pieces as well as tools. In the later parts of the second age, it was rare to find a palace without a sphere, though none rivaled the ones built for the Colleges of Magic in terms of precision and complexity.   Few of the spheres survived the War of Ascension apart from in the elven and dwarven lands. The ones which The Empire did construct were mostly cobbled together from the ones destroyed by the war or the demon horder that followed. Though the dwarves of Ironhammer halls had earned great sums constructing these spheres during the second age, with study of the planes generally discouraged by the elves, they seemed uninterested in remaking them during the age of the empire.   By the time of the fourth age there was little knowledge of how to use one of the sphere's and no-one with the skill to make new ones. However, the discovery of a mostly undamaged sphere in a tower in the Bolin mountains on Laiqua has llowed the Kingdom of Caresnas to start researching the devices again.
Unified and Distinct
When these devices were first created the various planes of existence were classed as either unified or distinct. The unified planes are those which directly overlap like the core and ethereal, whilr the distinct planes are entirely separate.  
Time and Tides
While the Cycle tides are mostly driven by the overall movement of the planes, the use of sphere can allow for more accurate prediction on the time and severity for a given location. This is such a common use for a sphere that the interaction with the moon and sun is typically built into the sphere.  
Before the spheres
Before the spheres were developed finding the location and timing of a planar alignment was a matter of laborious calculation or a bit of trial and error. This was how the dwarves of the Magrannor Halls determined the locations for forges used in the Blessed Crafting. Use of the sphere later determined that several of the forges were not as well posistioned as they could be but there has been little appetite to try moving the structures.
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Cover image: The party's camp by Tanai Cuinsear


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