The Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus

Cosmology / Powers and Deities / Dramatis Personae /
Rules and Mechanics / Character Creation / Equipment

Mechanus is where perfectly regimented order reigns supreme. It consists of equal measures of light and dark, and equal proportions of heat and cold. It is as predictable as the drip of a water clock and as obvious as a tree in a field. On Mechanus all law is reflected in a single infinite realm of clockwork gears, all interlocked, all turning according to their own measure. The cogs seem to be engaged in a calculation so vast that no deity knows its purpose, except that it is somehow a function of law. At first glance Mechanus seems as straightforward as anything on the Outer Planes. However, subtleties lurk just below the surface. Every kind of law can be found in the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, from simple maxims to devilishly twisted rules of decorum. But for the most part, Mechanus contains no passion, illusion, or pain. When all consciousness is completely subsumed into the whole, perfection follows.

Mechanus has the following traits:
  •  Objective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity is the same as on the Material Plane but the direction is oriented to the face of each rotating cog. Walking between cogs can be dizzying for newcomers—and dangerous if a traveler falls between the cogs.
  •  Normal Time.
  •  Infinite Size: Each cog is finite, though even the smaller ones are as big as a typical island. The void the gears hang in is infinite.
  •  Divinely Morphic: Lesser deities can alter Mechanus with a thought; ordinary creatures require spells and physical effort to do so.
  •  No Elemental or Energy Traits.
  •  Strongly Law-Aligned: Nonlawful characters on Mechanus suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-, Wisdom-, and Intelligence-based checks.
  •  Normal Magic.

Free-standing portals from elsewhere usually connect at the center of any given cog. Some portals lead to other Outer Planes, Inner Planes, or even the Astral Plane or Ethereal Plane. Some portals even lead to other cog faces. Portals on Mechanus appear as light green coglike circles, slowly turning. A green portal appears regularly once per revolution of the cog it resides upon, though some portals appear according to the interaction of several cogs (and which ones are not always readily apparent). Once it appears, a given portal usually remains open for at least 1 hour and possibly as long as 24 hours.


The inhabitants of Mechanus make their homes on the cogs that turn in the void. The gear faces are normally devoid of vegetation and native wildlife, although colonists from other planes, including the Material Plane, the Nine Hells, and Celestia, transform many faces into elaborate hedge mazes, parks, or nature reserves. The most prevalent creatures on Mechanus are not truly living creatures at all—they’re constructs. As a group they are called inevitables, and they exist to enforce the natural laws of the universe. The three widely recognized types of inevitables are kolyaruts (fugitive-hunters), maruts (foes of those who cheat death), and zelekhuts (enforcers of contracts). Each type of inevitable relentlessly finds and punishes those who have committed such transgressions. Expansionist formians have hives throughout Mechanus. These antlike centaurs seek to colonize all they see and incorporate all living things into their hives as workers, serving the law of their queens. Other clockwork creatures, apart from inevitables, also call Mechanus home, though they have as little as possible to do with other races.

Mechanus Petitioners

The petitioners of Mechanus often adopt a stylized version of their mortal bodies. Despite the outward differences, all petitioners on Mechanus are alike in their frightening honesty and submersion of individuality. They are notoriously literal, and some take no instruction at all for fear of misinterpreting the speaker.


Movement in the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus is much like movement on the Material Plane. Walking between turning cogs seems daunting to the uninitiated, requiring a Balance check (DC 10). This is a relatively easy check, but failure by 5 or more means a fall between the cogs, which deals 20d6 points of damage each round. It takes a climb check (DC 20) to emerge from the teeth of the cogs. Travelers can move between the cogs by flying or teleporting through the void, of course.


Mechanus is a single infinite plane without defined layers. The void is filled with gargantuan interlocking wheels, like the internal cogs of an ornately carved clock. Some connect at right angles, and others connect along a single plane. The wheels, also called cogs, are composed of stone, earth, and metal ores, as if a deity carved them from the mantle of the Material Plane. Many of the cogs are more than a thousand miles across, and they turn so slowly that their rotation is imperceptible. Yet turn they do, as witnessed by much smaller island-sized cogs that interlock with the much larger wheels. These smaller cogs seem to turn at an almost dizzying pace, although inhabitants feel no centripetal force once on the surface of a small cog. The objective directional gravity means that inhabitants won’t be spun off the edge of a cog unless they’re standing within 10 feet of the rim. Vision is normal on Mechanus. The plane is lit by a white, all-encompassing light springing from the very void for 12 hours, and is dark for 12 hours. Hearing is also normal, though the bass rumbling of cog turning on cog is sometimes audible near the edge of a face.

If the void of Mechanus is infinite, then the cogs must also be numberless. The disks that make up the plane all interlock, so there is no part of Mechanus that is not connected to some other part. Technically, there is no place a traveler can’t go if he is determined and long-lived enough. For all its lawful conformity, Mechanus holds countless sites of interest.

The Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus

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