This image taken from the Falkland Islands
The Tabernacle is a massive pyramid that almost takes up all of Antarctica. The Tabernacle is a probe, created by the Galactic Accord to initiate a five-thousand year test with the humans of Earth to see if they are worthy of joining the Accord. The Tabernacle is also a vast library that contains all knowledge of Earth circa 1997 AD and the central headquarters for the Humanists as well as several faction representatives, the Inquisitors and the monks who explore the libraries, zoos and other collections while meditating on the concept of what it means to be human.
These rules are written under the assumption that you may want to run a game that takes place anywhere else on Earth, however if you want to run a highly-politcal Tabernacle campaign, or if your adventurers find their way here for any reason, here’s what yo need to know.
The Faction leaders live in the Tabernacle at the expense of the monks, who have allowed the representatives to live there so long as they all get along for the sake of human progress. The tabernacle is also equipped with a number of mechanical servitors that answer only to the monks. The servitors however will never venture beyond the water’s edge of Antarctica, and so it was deemed necessary to create a group of men who could travel the world at large and accomplish tasks the monks might require. At first they were known as the Taskmen, but after several years of factional involvement the faction leaders convinced the monks to give up control of the Taskmen to them, so that the monks could spend more time to meditation and introspection. It was then that the Taskmen were renamed to the Inquisitors, and slowly their purpose has been changed to include spying and assassination as well as keeping up to date on the world at large.
The faction leaders all play a dangerous game of power and influence, as each believes his faction to be the best path for humanity. However with the monks about the leaders cannot clash heads openly. Instead they plot and scheme against one another by influencing the world at large through the use of Inquisitors as well as many other clerics, psions and leaders under their control.
The Tabernacle cannot be accessed from the outside without a monk allowing you inside, and there are powerful wards up that keep non-humans from approaching the building as well as several powerful and clever traps to ward away intruders. The Tabernacle is also warded against scrying and planar travel, and the entire outer wall is composed of magically sealed adamantine over 100’ thick. Non-humans may be invited in (like the faction leaders), but they must wear hermetically sealed bio-suits at all times or risk automatic and violent dejection by the servitors.
Inside the Tabernacle there are several floors, each at least a mile high. They are:
- The Observatory: The Observatory is about the size of a city block and acts as the central location for charting and watching the stars.
- The Operculum: The Operculum is about 500 sq. miles and acts as housing for the faction leaders as well as the Inquisitors and any guests to the Tabernacle. Food and entertainment can also be found in the Operculum, though the faction leaders keep these joys to a minimum or outright hide them from the monks. This has caused many an Inquisitor to become more than a little humorless and on edge over the years.
- The Seat of Ascetism: The Seat of Ascetism is 1,000 sq. miles and is where the monks spend their time when they are meditating or resting. This is also the entrance-way into the Tabernacle, only accessed by climbing up a 1.1 million mile long staircase.
- Bibliotheca: The Bibliotheca is 99,500 sq. miles and acts as a house for all information on the world. Roughly every copy of every written book in existence since 1997 that could be taken or recreated by the servitors or any book written since then that the monks have gotten their hands on exists here. There is also a full copy of the internet, a collection of videos, music and movies. The Bibliotheca is almost a full collection of all written and recorded human history.
- The Wilderness: The Wilderness is a 10,000,000 sq. mile complex that takes up the majority of the pyramid. The Wilderness is a vast world that acts as a physical collection of all life on Earth circa 1997. Cities, deserts, forests, lakes, oceans; there are tiny facsimiles of each located here. The Wilderness is where the monks and their servitors spend most of their time, among life and humans in conditions before the Tabernacle arrived. The denizens of the Wilderness have no idea that there is life outside of the Tabernacle, they have no concept that they’re in the Tabernacle at all! The humans who live in the Wilderness see the monks as holy men descended from heaven and possessing divine knowledge, and revere them as teachers and stewards. Travel to and from the Wilderness by anyone who is not a monk is strictly forbidden.
- The Scutam: The Scutam is the term for the entire outer-wall of the Tabernacle. It is a space, roughly 5 miles thick, that contains a series of mechanisms of unknown origin and design. All servitors are created in the Scutam, and the Scutam is where the wards and magical shields are generated. The Scutam is composed of a myriad of machines, posts and walkways all composed of a white marble-like substance, adamantine, zinc, copper and platinum.
Though the Tabernacle is the primary location in Antarctica, there are a few other places of note that adventurers may find themselves at.
- Location 545: Located in Enderby Land, Location 545 is the forward base of operations for the terrestrial Lawful factions. Ancient technology such as airplanes, helicopters, boats and military weapons are all kept here in case the factions of Chaos unite and march against Law. The Lawful factions of Earth are mostly disparate and far apart, making unified aid almost impossible. Not to mention, should any Lawful factions begin to work together in great numbers that would be more than enough reason for Chaos to try and unify too, and the number of Chaotic individuals is unknowable, but assumed to far outnumber those of Law. Location 545 is the Lawful’s ace in the hole, should such an event take place. Some Inquisitors are trained here in the art of using firearms.
- Rothera Island Rothera is an island located on the Antarctic Peninsula, and is the only shipping port to and from Antarctica. It is home to as many faithful as well as fanatical persons who want to see a monk before or after a great pilgrimage. The throngs are known to amass and beg any monk seen in the city for passage into the Tabernacle. It’s only by the power and influence of the Lawful faction leaders that the monks are able to travel through Rothera safely.