The perceptions of James Biegle
Psionics and the lens of the mind
Dal Quor and Xoriat
The nature of the Outer Planes is a subject hotly debated by the sages of Eberron. One school of thought claims that the planes are interwoven aspects of a single greater reality. Every battle on Eberron has its reflection on Shavarath, and even the smallest flame touches Fernia. According to this theory, all living creatures have innate spiritual connections to many of the planes. These threads are what draw the soul to Dal Quor to dream, or to Dolurrh after death.
Some think that two planes in particular touch the minds of mortals. Dal Quor, the region of dreams, supposedly binds itself deeply to the imagination of mortal creatures. Xoriat, the source of madness, also serves as a font for all powerful emotions: Some believe that overwhelming rage, sorrow, and even joy all flow from the boiling well of Xoriat.
If this is true, psionic power is the energy of the planes channeled and focused through the lens of the mortal mind. The psychic surge of the wilder draws on the raw emotions of Xoriat, while the focused abilities of the psion are dreams forced upon reality.
The Zil alliance did not erase the feuds of the past. The Triumvirate of city-states, Trolanport, Korranberg, and Zolanberg, could not eradicate the competitive nature of the gnomes — and in truth, the cutthroat cunning of the gnomes was a point of national pride. But since these feuds began to threaten the interests of the new nation, it became clear that something had to be done. Once more the nation looked to the Library for inspiration, drawing on the example of the syndicate established to enforce honesty among students. Each Triumvir was authorized to select agents from her own city to create a corps of secret police — an elite force who could be relied upon to place the interests of the nation above all else. Over time, all matters of law enforcement and national security were placed in the hands of the Trust. In many nations, gnomes serve as barristers and advocates, but in Zilargo there is no court of law: the Trust punishes the guilty, and its justice is swift and merciless. It is invisible and omniscient, staffed with spies, diviners, and assassins. Any Zil citizen could be an agent of the Trust. This calling comes above friendship and family. Even when you are alone, you might be watched by an invisible spy or scrying eyes. The Zil gnomes see this as a virtue; while they have little privacy, they also have the lowest crime rate of any nation in Khorvaire. The Trust is there when it is needed and invisible when it is not; even the members of the organization know only a handful of other members. In the eyes of the typical gnome, a loss of privacy is a small price to pay for security.
The Trust acts only if something threatens society. The Zil gnomes constantly engage in blackmail and intrigue. This is a way of life in Zilargo, and the Trust acts only if the intrigues threaten the security of the nation or cause laws to be broken. For example, if a blackmailer forces jis victim to give him a lucrative shipping contract, no harm is done; the wealth still remains in the nation. On the other hand, if the blackmailer forces his victim to commit a murder, steal a rare book from the Library, or give secrets of elemental binding to House Cannith, the Trust intervenes quickly.
This raises the following issue: If the Trust is so powerful, how can adventurers get away with anything in Zilargo? First, the Trust does not interfere unless Zil citizens are threatened. If a party of adventurers is chasing a Brelish fugitive — well, provided that the adventurers don’t disrupt the lives of Zil citizens in their hunt, they are free to do as they will. Of course, if the fugitive finds refuge in the home of a doyen, the adventurers need to find a way to extract the target without harming the household. Second, as noted earlier, intrigue isn’t necessarily a crime. And most importantly, the Trust is not as omniscient as it wants people to believe. Anyone could be an agent of the Trust — but not everyone is. Careless criminals and adventurers who think that they are above the law may be cut down to size by the Trust. But if the party acts carefully and cautiously by planning out its steps and taking advantage of disguise and abjuration magic, they can escape even the eyes of the Trust. Adventurers still can accomplish their goals in Zilargo — they just need to use their brains instead of relying on sword and fireball to solve all their problems.