So generally speaking what are some of the community service functions the Obelisk performs? (besides city defense, and repelling alchemists). For instance:
- Fill a battery for someone? (obviously within reason, not going to fill a void crystal)
- Make a big ohm gem for them?
- Provide them access to certain magic formulas, spells? Or does the Obelisk just refer them to the library?
- Transport services - seen him do this before.
- Refill someones cubes?
transportation is about the only thing correct on your list… the obelisk functions mainly as a city-wide defense system as well as a maintenance department, repairing and restoring things that most folks take for granted via an army of Unseen Servants that keep things running smoothly
in addition, its comm facilities are a public utility as well - which is why he handles a lot of day-to-day bullshit so the city founders/guards don’t have to. to prevent resource abuse, 99% of the population is limited to 3 rounds of his time per day, which increases as a persons citywide rank goes up. the higher-level resource you are to the city, the more of his runtime you can access.
he will NOT fill anyones battery or cubes, unless paid (fed) to do so - or the city is under attack. a lot of rules go out the window when the defensive shield is active he WILL flashfill a single ohm gem (of whatever strength) once per day for any resident touching it to his surface. again, this is more of a “public service” thing he does to prevent resource drain on the various churches (HE can track and record a nearly infinite number of events, and tell you (for instance) how many times Sorvani or Varalla or even Daren has used that function and what gems were filled and on which Obelisk said refill occurred). the refill restrictions are not enforced on city guards, for obvious reasons.
being a gemstone himself, he can convert any number of gems into the various forms of spell receptacles with little more than a moments effort - but he typically only does so when paid (fed). obviously, his price is significantly cheaper than paying a wizard to do the same thing
the knowledge he shares with others is more of the helpful info or scrying type than magical formulas. the majority of the time he refers them to the library - his own repository of formulae and knowledge is practically useless to anyone without a 20+ INT score (s’why they don’t teach physics to 5 year olds). those lucky few who HAVE the ability to understand his complex formulas still often find it less work to go and figure shit out themselves than try to decompile multidimensional crystalline mathemagics… powerviners and ancients being the exceptions, of course.
and, as very few are aware, the Obelisk also serves as a sort of genetic “backup” for anybody above a level 0 commoner. far beneath the surface of the crystalline spire, a bulbous crystalline vault contains each individual obelisks personal library of encrypted information. the largest crystal in that vault contains thousands (sometimes hundreds of thousands) tiny-ass microtic stasis clones of any individual who’s touched the surface of the obelisk for more than 5 rounds. these stasis clones can be used by the obelisk to “respawn” anybody it wishes, should their primary form be annihilated beyond recall. on RARE occasion, the obelisk has been known to spawn dedicated micro-copies of certain high-powered individuals for its own research purposes - all inside a microsphere of its own design that TO DATE none of the individuals have been able to escape, tho the Ethos copy did come close… to be fair these genetic banks are NOT shared between individual obelisks, so (for example) the Waterdeep obelisks copy of Daren is probably a lot lower level than Primes.
i’m sure there’s a lot more functions that the obelisk performs “under the hood”, but this is what my brain vomited forth on an early monday morning…
"Everything just runs smoother with an Obelisk"
side note : the Fallen Legion, whilst not TECHNICALLY a part of the city guard, did have a “virtual” rank in the guard (as do the battleogres) so beings such as themselves and the command structure were given special privileges when it came to requesting things from the V’ral Obelisk…
also (my woken brain has reminded me) that whilst in the Mess, after the Great Resurrect wound up burning down the weave, the deities of magic respun it using the obelisk network - which made each of the crystalline entities basically Ley Line Nexuses. after that occurred, they didn’t mind so much blasting extra mana into manapools or batteries, as they had access to overflow from the main conduit of magic feeding the whole sphere (similar to the feed Daren gets from his microsphere).
or were you thinking of the Mana Shower that Arg built in Argopolis ?