Zoph Escher at the Races

In Karthack, Zoph'Escher, the Sorcerer-Governor of Kar-Ischil, is widely regarded as a monster and a madman for his callous treatment of his subjects, general amorality, and also for openly trafficking with dark powers to aid in the crafting of dubiously controllable arcane engines with names like "The Pain Matrix" or "The Fear Engine."

Escher is a powerful Sorcerer from Northern Karthack. His family has barbarian roots, and they were installed in the North because their tribal connections kept the restless province in check. Escher was educated in Kar-Karthack, and designed a combined sewer system for the capital, demonstrating an early understanding of engineering, architecture, and city planning.

After taking his place as Sorcerer Lord of Kar-Ischil, he enacted a huge series of public works projects that greatly improved the city's infrastructure, sanitation, flow of traffic, and public welfare. A land reclamation system successfully converted thousands of acres of marsh into farmland, and for a time, Kar-Ischil seemed like it was on the way up.

But Escher wasn't really interested in aqueducts or sewers or irrigation. He was interested in magic. While many praised him for finding innovative solutions to all of these issues without using sorcery, his true reasons were far from philanthropic. He didn't want to use any magic on public works because he wanted it all for himself. After fifteen years of skimming off the top of the treasury, he had acquired enough capital to build the first of several grandiose magical devices. This one was called "The Masticator Array," and its purpose was to chew open one of the Sorcerous Leylines, tripling or perhaps even quadrupling its Flow output, which Escher believed would give him access to effectively unlimited magical energy, which he could then use for other nefarious purposes.

Surprisingly, the plan actually worked, the Masticator Array did increase Flow by six times, much more than expected. Unfortunately, it also weakened the boundary between Mundus and the Spirit Realm, and the denizens of that alien place poured into Kar-Ischil, destroyed the array, and nearly annihilated the city.

Escher was not dissuaded.


A Fear Matrix is a sorcerous device that, if Zoph Escher is to be believed, converts human fear into Flow and adds it to the Warren. Supposedly he had the idea after visiting the Kaselreich and witnessing the Schwarzvald firsthand. He built the device in his hometown of Kar-Ischil, which is notoriously violent and dangerous. With the power he siphoned off of his terrified people, he was able to pull an island out of the sky and drop it on a barbarian army come to destroy them. (Mostly him, actually.)

The Eschatology Engine is a device that, again, if Zoph Escher is to be believed, hastens the death of the universe by about a thousand years every five seconds. In return, it allows him to control the weather. It has been raining in Kar Ischil for the last eight years.

The Mastication Array is a device that can project a Damage Weave from one Warren to another, using the Flow from both. This defies all known laws of Sorcerous physics. It allows Escher to "masticate" (chew up and destroy) his enemies at a longer distance than normal. The effects are hideous, but more disturbing is Escher's staunch refusal to explain what exactly powers the machine. (It is unclear if this is the same device as the above mentioned Masticator Array, or if the name was reused in development, creating a conflict in canon.)