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    Canonfire :: View topic - Proctor Chronos, Lady Tolerance, and Master Entropy
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    Proctor Chronos, Lady Tolerance, and Master Entropy
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    GreySage

    Joined: Aug 03, 2001
    Posts: 3218
    From: Michigan

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    Wed Dec 01, 2021 4:12 pm  
    Proctor Chronos, Lady Tolerance, and Master Entropy

    I thought I'd write an explainer about these mysterious entities, since the novels they're from are hard to find and there's not much online.

    Proctor Chronos, Madame Tolerance, and Master Entropy are three entities that appear in Gary Gygax's novels Come Endless Darkness and Dance of Demons.

    What are the Gord novels?

    They're novels by Gary Gygax, set primarily on the world of Oerth, starring the thief-acrobat Gord the Rogue. In the first novel he's a penniless orphan sentenced to hard labor for stealing food, and by the last he's the Champion of the Balance saving the multiverse from the newly freed Tharizdun.

    Who are Chronos, Tolerance, and Entropy?

    As the stakes grow more cosmic in scope, Gord and his companions Leda and Gellor encounter Master Entropy, Proctor Chronos and Lady Tolerance, three beings of great power who offer them aid against Tharizdun.

    But what are they?

    Proctor Chronos is the personification of Time, and Lady Tolerance is the personification of Probability.

    Master Entropy, of course, personifies Entropy.

    What are time and probability in the context of Gygax's cosmology?

    They're dimensions. In his novel Saga of Old City, Gygax wrote:

    Quote:
    "What are the nine known dimensions of the multiverse?" the good doctor demanded.

    San managed the three obvious ones—length, breadth, height.

    "Astrality and etherality," Gord added proudly, but he was stuck after that.

    "Time, probability, extra-conceivability, and nonconceivability," Doctor Prosper finished, and both boys squirmed.

    "From whence came the Common Tongue?"

    "When was the Empire of the Aerdi overthrown?"

    "What is leverage?"

    "How can you explain technology?"

    Gord took a shot at that one. "It is a myth of the ignorant used to fool gullible folk and frighten children!"

    "Nonsense!" the elderly scholar retorted. "It is the counterpart of magic within the dimension of probability and works in inverse proportion to it."


    So the assumption here is that Oerth, Aerth, Yarth, Uerth, and Earth are all arranged according to their position along the dimension of probability (the seventh dimension, after length, breadth, height, astrality, ethereality, and time), with Oerth in the direction of magic and Earth in the direction of technology. This is the "inner plane probability line" that 23rd level hierophant druids are able to roam according to first edition Unearthed Arcana, page 17.

    The first edition Manual of the Planes did something similar by rating each alternate material plane by its physical factor (which governed how well technology worked), magical factor, and temporal factor (which accounts for their position along the sixth dimension, the dimension of time). Unlike Gygax, Jeff Grubb didn't make the physical factor and magical factor inversely proportionate, so it's possible by those rules for a plane to be high in both magic and technology, or low in both factors.

    What are the dimensions of extra-conceivability and nonconceivability?

    I haven't the slightest idea. No other source mentions them, as far as I'm aware. Perhaps Doctor Prosper was mistaken in thinking they existed. I suppose you could treat "extra-conceivability" as the Positive Energy Plane-Feywild-Shadowfell-Negative Energy Plane axis and "nonconceivability" as the dimension of the Far Realm, if you were so inclined. If there are beings who personify extra-conceivability and nonconceivability, Gord and his friends never meet them.

    Are they overpowers/uber-deities?

    Sort of, in the sense that they're supposed to be beings beyond the gods. In an interview published in Oerth Journal #12, Paul Stormberg asked Gary Gygax if Proctor Chronos and Lady Tolerance were meant to be pseudonyms for the previously published deities Lendor (god of time) and Istus (goddess of fate), and Gygax answered that they "were meant to be more remote and more powerful by far."

    Are they the overpowers of Greyspace?

    No. Unlike Ao, the overpower of Realmspace, whose powers are limited to Realmspace and the realms of those gods worshiped there, Chronos, Tolerance, and Entropy govern the forces and dimensions they represent on every world and plane.

    What they're closest to, mythologically, is the Three Fates from Greek mythology. Lady Tolerance is like Clotho, who spun the threads of fate; Proctor Chronos is like Lachesis, who measured the lengths of each thread; and Master Entropy is like Atropus, who cut the threads.

    Dance of Demons, page 337 wrote:
    "I am Lady Tolerance, after all. I must allow all things, even those which are inimical to my very existence such as multiple probabilities existing simultaneously. The Lord of Entropy is one such opposer, and the most deadly, I must add. Some imagine that old Chronos might be, but I spin out new lines and he busily marks and measures them."


    In the MYTHUS MAGICK sourcebook for the DANGEROUS JOURNEYS RPG, Time and Probability essentially take the place of Law and Chaos in that game's version of the "Great Wheel" cosmology.


    Are they the overpowers' bosses?

    The concept of "overpowers" doesn't exist in the Gord books, but since they oversee dimensions that define the various parallel universes, they do seem like they would be superior to beings like Ao or the High God who are in charge of only one.

    Do they have superiors of their own?

    None are mentioned.

    Are they like the Old Ones from the BECMI Immortals Rules?

    The Old Ones are beings beyond the Immortals who have receded into the sixth and higher dimensions in order to make themselves inaccessible to mortal and Immortal life. Proctor Chronos personifies the sixth dimension and Lady Tolerance personifies the seventh, so in that sense they're similar, but while it's meant to be impossible for mortal characters to meet with the Old Ones, Gord and his friends are able to meet with Chronos, Tolerance, and Entropy.

    How do Gord and his friends reach them?

    They have magic rings that allow them to quickly travel between the planes. The exact planes they travel through match the names that Gygax used in his Dangerous Journeys cosmology, so it's likely that by Dance of Demons, written after he left TSR, he was assuming Gord's multiverse looked more like the Dangerous Journeys multiverse than the AD&D one.

    Dance of Demons, pages 328-329 wrote:
    It was a simple matter for them to walk out of the strange plane [Tharizdun's prison]. Just as if the three were going along a material track, they strode back down the mountainlike terrain and soon arrived at the verge where the Empyreal Sphere commenced.

    "Now we will benefit further from these bands forged by Weal," Gord said confidently. "The rings will enable us to move quickly through the upper planes to reach the Sphere of Order. If we find an ally there, then will be time enough to regain our strength and repair the damage taken from this battle."

    From the place of fire and hue they entered clear light, crossed the Celestial Sphere, then the sphere of creative energy. Many paths wended from there, but Gord directed their steps along the one of astral way, then into the aetherial, and finally the three tired wayfarers came to where the Realm of Regularity lay.




    Empyreal? Celestial? Wha...?

    The Empyreal corresponds to the Seven Heavens (Mount Celestia) in the AD&D cosmology and the Celestial corresponds to Olympus (Arborea/Arvandor). The Aetherial corresponds to the Ethereal Plane; it isn't obvious from the diagram, but it's supposed to touch all the inner planes, just as in the AD&D cosmos.

    That seems like a convoluted route.

    They were having a bad day, give them a break.
    Apprentice Greytalker

    Joined: Nov 05, 2020
    Posts: 28


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    Fri Dec 24, 2021 3:22 pm  

    Hmm, the dimensions connection is interesting.

    I didn't know about the Dangerous Journeys version of the multiverse.
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