Campaign of the Month: December 2007
Codex of Infinite Planes
(as told by Jazra, a tiefling tout of Sigil)
A body can rattle his bone-box about how the planes fit together ‘til Ragnarok, but basically, the multiverse splits up three ways: the Material Plane, the Inner Planes, and the Outer Planes. These three groups hook up many different ways, but it’s best to imagine each as separate from the others.
The Material Plane, also called the Prime Material or the Prime, is just one plane, containing countless worlds like Toril, Krynn, Avalast, Eberron, and Oerth. These backwaters are each sealed inside crystal spheres, all floating in a rainbow sea called the phlogiston. Yeah, travel between the spheres is called spelljamming, but bar that—we’re talking about the planes. This is your home, or at least, it used to be; you know what it’s like, so I ain’t gonna rattle on about that. The Plane of Shadow coexists with the Material; maybe you’ve heard of it.
The Inner Planes are the rings of the elements, the stuff from which everything in the Prime was made, the homes of the genies. The Elemental Planes include six main universes: Air, Earth, Fire, Water, Positive Energy, and Negative Energy. Where Air, Earth, Fire, and Water merge, you’ll find the four Paraelemental Planes. And the eight Quasielemental Planes exist where Air, Earth, Fire, and Water meet the Positive and Negative Energy Planes. They’re tied to the Prime by the Ethereal Plane, and by elemental vortices.
The Outer Planes are the homes of the powers, gods who take interest in the lives of mortals for reasons that’re dark to us. These planes are laid out in a ring, sometimes called the Great Wheel, and each plane is its own universe, with a unique morality which you can see in its lands an’ people. They’re often grouped into the Upper Planes of Good, the Lower Planes of Evil, and the Boundary Planes of Neutrality. (Or Law, Chaos, and Conflict. It’s your choice, berk.)
The Astral Plane and its color pools link the Outer Planes to the Prime, or you can skip straight from one to the next with a conduit. Some things like the River Styx, the World Ash Yggdrasil, and Mount Olympus touch several planes at once.THE TRANSITIVE PLANES
- The Ethereal Plane.
- The Astral Plane.
- The Plane of Shadow.
THE INNER PLANES
- The Elemental Plane of Air. No up, no down, no ground—just endless sky. Them that ain’t djinni or elementals live on pockets of earth and other elements that have drifted in from elsewhere.
- The Elemental Plane of Earth. The dao rule a universe of unbreached rock, almost impossible to travel. There’s no air, no light, and only a few places where a basher can walkabout without goin’ incorporeal.
- The Elemental Plane of Fire. At first sight you might take this ocean of fire for Baator. If you don’t burn to death, or choke on the smoke, you may live long enough to get killed by the efreeti.
- The Elemental Plane of Water. If you can breathe the water, this place is almost hospitable. There’s no up or down, no surface or bottom, but the marids make their palaces in drifting coral reefs.
- The Paraelemental Plane of Ice. Where Air meets Earth, you’ll find this sheet of ice, stretching as far as you can see. Don’t stay long.
- The Paraelemental Plane of Ooze. This endless ocean of muck lies between Earth and Water—a favorite jail for wizards’ enemies.
- The Paraelemental Plane of Magma. Fire and Earth unite in this nasty lake of lava, where heat and gasses kill unprepared sods.
- The Paraelemental Plane of Smoke. When Air meets Earth, there’s no ground and plenty of heat. Try not to breathe too much here, berk.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Lightning. The Positive aspect of Air, the skies here flash with constant electricity. Very dangerous place.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Mineral. This is the treasure trove of the multiverse—infinite metals and gems where Earth meets Positive, guarded by weird crystalline elementals.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Radiance. Fire and Positive Energy form a featureless place filled with blinding, beautiful splendor.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Steam. More like mist, this surprisingly cool plane stands between Water and Positive. Again, no up or down.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Ash. An ocean of heat-stealing ashes stretches between Fire and Negative Energy; each Negative Quasielemental Plane is home to a Doomguard fortress. (They lost one here to a demigod from Oerth.)
- The Quasielemental Plane of Dust. Earth breaks down into this endless sea of sand where it touches the Negative Energy Plane.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Salt. Water and Negative Energy conspire to rob a sod’s body of all its moisture in this sea of salts.
- The Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum. When Air meets Negative Energy, nothingness results—no breath, no light, no sound, no warmth.
- The Positive Energy Plane. The radiant plane of all life may sound like a good thing, but too much is just as bad as not enough.
- The Negative Energy Plane. Similar to Vacuum, but something in this blackness steals life, drains spirit, and devours the soul.
- Demiplanes. The Demiplane of Time and the Demiplane of Imprisonment are said to exist in the Ethereal Plane, as do small domains carved out by wizards. Some bubbers also talk about a “realm of terror” somewhere in the Ether, but where would a bubber get the dark of that?
THE OUTER PLANES (in alpabetical order)
- The Abyss. The uncountable layers of the Abyss belong to the vicious tanar’ri, the fiends of chaos, and ancestors of mine. This place is unspeakably hostile, and a cutter’d have to be barmy or desperate to come here.
- Acheron. On the immense black cubes of iron-shod Acheron, spirits are crushed, hopes are broken, and conformity is king. The Mercykillers are strong here, and many orc gods dwell in exile.
- Arborea. Called Arvandor by elves, and Olympus by some others, Arborea belongs to the Olympian (Greek) and elven gods. It’s a boisterous and passionate place, beloved by the Sensates and inhabited by the eladrin.
- Arcadia. Peaceful order guides the fields, orchards, and woods of Arcadia. Its militia, and the Harmonium, ensure that its three layers remain safe from the predations of the Lower Planes.
- Baator. This is it: The Nine Hells, home of the baatezu. These devils rule the nine layers of Baator, tormenting their petitioners, waging the Blood War, and plotting against each other.
- The Beastlands. Alias the Happy Hunting Grounds, all of this plane’s petitioners are animals. They’ll hunt any addle-coves who think this place is a game preserve, and the Sign of One’ll chip in. Every kind of animal seems to have a Lord here; the Cat Lord is probably the most famous.
- Bytopia. The two layers of the “Twin Paradises” are stacked on top of each other—look up in Shurrock and you’ll see Dothion above. Working bloods here’ll leave you alone ‘til there’s good need.
- Carceri. This is the Red Prison, land of exiles, where the defeated plan their revenge, and the Revolutionary League plots their attacks. Also called Tarterus, this plane spawns the fiends called demodands.
- Elysium. The greater good is all that matters here—order or anarchy is immaterial, and action is better than thought. The Ciphers like it here; the native guardinals maintain the peace.
- Gehenna. Petitioners must struggle to survive the four mountain layers of barren, bitter Gehenna, becoming suspicious and greedy in the process. The general of Gehenna is a mysterious and powerful ultroloth.
- The Gray Waste. The dull landscape of Hades (as some call it) devours all feeling from petitioners, and has seen many horrific battles in the Blood War. The oinoloth, lord of all yugoloths, lairs here.
- Limbo. Utter, formless chaos. Elements are mixed without reason, petitioners change shape and structure, and magic runs riot. Githzerai and slaadi coexist here, and the Xaositects are everywhere.
- Mechanus. A clockwork universe of giant cogs in perpetual motion, hovering in space at all angles. Also called Nirvana, this is the plane of perfect order; the layer of Regulus belongs to the modrons.
- Mount Celestia. Law and goodness tempered by understanding and mercy rule the “Seven Heavens.” The great mountain is divided into seven layers; the petitioners here are called archons.
- The Outlands. At the center of the Great Road lies the “Plane of Concordant Opposition.” This is a place of balance, home base to the Free League. Sigil, City of Doors, is at its center—that’s where we are now. The high-up race here is the rilmani, true neutral and a queer bunch of cutters.
- Pandemonium. Hardly anybody lives here, and with good reason. The winds that blow through the endless caves of this plane’ll drive a sod barmy. The Bleak Cabal likes it, but they’re the only ones.
- Ysgard. The earth rivers of Ysgard belong to the Aesir (or “Norse” pantheon), a rowdy lot with some belligerent petitioners. Some Clueless call this one Gladsheim. Popular with the Fated.