Atlas Rules Resources Adventures Stories FAQ Search Links
Multifunctional Gear Relic of Garalby Marco Dalmonte
from the Tome of Mystaran Magic
Among the demihuman relics, the Multifunction Gear is certainly the most original, incomprehensible to those not belonging to the Gnomish race.
Indeed, Garal's relics is not easily recognised by those not expert in gnomish contraptions, since it does not have a fixed form and function.
The closest description would be "a series of contraptions, pulleys and gears that, together, operate to activate a magical device able to accomplish apparently impossible tasks". Usually, this would be an appropriate description for any gnomish invention, and indeed the secret of the relic is exactly that it is the ultimate realisation of the wildest dreams of this race of inventors and visionaries, since it is a supremely complex device, which, thanks to the power of Garal can actually function and make the impossible happen.
The Multifunctional Gear is constantly fussed over by hordes of clerics and engineers, whose labour is coordinated by the Keepers, so that the ultimate machine is always efficient and in a perfectly functional state. The life of these Gnomes is completely geared toward the relic, since they can't imagine a better life than working constantly on the maintenance or improvement of such an epic piece of machinery. Thus, the Multifunctional Gear is truly the focus of the Gnomish clanhold life, besides being physically located at its centre, in some cases moving with it or allowing its movement. This is the case for the gigantic Earthshaker, powered by the Clock of Infinite Time*, or the Flying City of Serraine, powered by the Self-combustion Aerial Engine*.
In addition to the typical powers of all demihuman relics, the Multifunctional Gear allows the implementation of an impossible (even from a Gnomish point of view) engineering project, such as moving a mountain, flying a city, travelling in time, or creating matter from the void. "Multifunctional" describes this peculiar power of the relic, which takes a different primary function in each gnomish community. The DM has the last say on the actual effects, and usually the power cannot be used too often. Either it is a unique effect, such as travelling in time or across dimension (then it can only be used once every 2d20 years, with the interceding time used to gear and synchronise the relic to produce the effect) or it is a continuous effect, such as powering a device or vehicle (in this case it either needs to be continuously fuelled or may have occasional power downs).
The almost limitless power of the relic is not easily attained, since the Multifunctional Gear can only be designed and build by a priest of Garal that has served at another relic (which happens very rarely, since there are few, wide spread Gnomish communities), and then only one with 18 Intelligence and Wisdom (thus a genius theoretician and engineer) skilled in Fantasy Physics and Fantasy Engineering. The design phase requires at least 10d4 years of theoretical research, planning and blueprint production, while the construction phase is even slower, taking 1d4 centuries. The design phase requires a successful Fantasy Physics check at a -10 penalty by the designer (who will become the Elder Keeper). If the check is successful, Garal will show his approval by transferring part of his life energy to it, making it functional. If the check fails, the gnome designer is aware of the failure and must restart the design phase from scratches. Finally, the number of Gears is limited by the gnomish population: a new clan is formally formed when at least 1000 gnomes swear loyalty to a new chief, leaving behind wealth and acquaintances if the belonged to a different clan. Then, the new clan head can search for a cleric of Garal and invites him to build the relic (all members of the clan will enthusiastically take part in the project), thereby taking the role of Elder Keeper (a position known to the gnomes as First Engineer).
*It's possible that these were originally canon names with a different form, and I'm back translating them into English.