Ad blocker interference detected!
Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers
Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.
All elemental planes are places of continuous destruction and rebirth; their element is continually being destroyed in sinks and spat out again in other forms by sources all across the plane, although the forms these sinks and sources take are always different from plane to plane. Likewise, a sink or source seldom stays in the same place, and often disappears entirely or opens out of nowhere. Sources act to counteract sinks, removal of material from the plane, and destruction through effects like Disintegrate, and so every plane actually has more sources than sinks at any given time, at least if you consider amount of material produced or consumed. These Planes also all have traits to enhance appropriate magic and impede opposite magic, and are all quite sparesely populated.
Also, there are places on each plane where other planes combine with them. These are called "leechings" if only matter crosses through, and "bubbles" if planar traits cross through. A leeching might be as simple as a chunk of earth floating out in, well, anywhere, and are most commonly found between elemental planes. Bubbles are substantially rarer, but can occur anywhere. They are essentially a pocket of one plane in the middle of another, so you might find a miniature material plane in the Plane of Fire, or a Sea from the Plane of Water in a cavern on the Plane of Earth. Some bubbles are unstable, and go back and forth between planes. Others don't.
Reading the EntriesEdit
Gravity: This describes the plane's gravity trait, and what it means for people on the plane. No matter what the gravity on the plane is, though, the planar medium usually behaves intuitively, as though it had a solid floor somewhere even though it doesn't. So the plane of air has lighter air rising atop heavier air, but the force on the air is as much levity as gravity.
Lighting: How the plane is lit, and what this means for people who need light, shadows, or whatnot. Also discusses general visibility conditions when light isn't the main problem.
Environment: This is the meat of the entry, and describes in a few words not just what it's like in general, but also what the places you want to visit are like.
Settlement: Who lives on the plane, and where on it they live.
Planar Capital: This lists the major planar metropolis on the plane. Each of the major elemental planes has one, as do some of the minor planes. These cities are big enough that you can find practically anything you desire in them, on a similar scale to Finality, although they deal in harder currency than souls: the infinite resources of the inner planes, or even the primordial chaos from which everything came. Most of the time, this metropolis is also where that element's genie empire puts its throne. Since the major power bloc on each elemental plane is the appropriate genie empire, that makes those throne sites into capitals of the entire plane. Sometimes, though, like on the Plane of Water, the genie capital is not in the major metropolis. In that case, both sites get mentioned, with an emphasis on the metropolis.
Note that every planar metropolis has portals in it. This may be an obvious statement, but it means a lot that isn't closely considered. These portals connects not just to outlying ouposts of the empire associated with the metropolis, but also to its trading partners: other planar metropoli. Because of this, even if two planar metropoli are at open war with eachother and have been for long enough that they don't have any portals between them, you can still go between them by way of neutral planar metropoli, without ever leaving a planar metropolis. In a very real sense, every planar metropolis is merely a part of a larger city. The implications of this will be explored more thouroughly in the Book of Civilization.
Sinks and Sources: A "sink" is a point on an elemental plane where planar material is being destroyed, or at least appears to be. Maybe they just redistrubte it. A "source" is the opposite, a point where planar material is either being created or being distributed to. Note that sinks and sources are not in balance with eachother, as sources also have to replace planar material that has been removed and used to build other worlds.
Special Site: A place you might want to visit or avoid, either a general category of place or a specific one. Each entry has two of these for planes that have a capital, and three for others.
Transportation Mode: This gives something people like to use to get around the plane. Usually its something you can use in other places, but sometimes it only works in one specific plane's unique environment.
Elemental Plane of FireEdit
Unlike many of the other Elemental Planes, the Plane of Fire is actually almost playable straight out of the Dungeon Master's Guide. It lacks detail, but otherwise is playable. It's populated with iconic genies and monsters; indeed, it has more native monsters in the Monster Manual than any other Elemental Plane. It doesn't have any problems with nonsensical gravity traits; indeed, you're supposed to be able to walk everywhere in it. This also means that the fires rise on their own in the way you'd expect them to. It's inhospitable to creatures that aren't resistant or immune to either fire or planar traits, but otherwise it's a lot like any material desert. Note that immunity to the plane's elemental trait does not protect you from areas of increased fire damage caused by the plane, just the usual 3d10 damage every round; if you fall into lava, you're still screwed.
Some people think that the Plane of Fire being a conventional arrangement of places with land, seas, and so on is a problem, and that it should be an endless expanse of fire. That is what one might be more inclined to expect from the name, after all. But the elemental planes don't have to be pure masses of their element (they're more interesting if they aren't), there are plenty of endless empty voids in the other planes, and the Plane of Fire has been described this way before.
The Plane of Fire has normal gravity.
The Plane of Fire is lit by its own flames. Visibility, though, is poor, as even the air is on fire and filled with smoke (which is, also, on fire, no matter how much one tries to convince it that that is impossible), which can black out whatever it is you want to see. Visibility can be as low as five feet, in the thickest smoke banks, with an average of around 60 feet, although in the best of circumstances, when the fumes and smoke are themselves burned away, it might reach as much as four miles (for comparison, earth's horizon drops off at about seven miles). Gouts of flame and low-hanging smoke clouds are also common visibility hazards. The smoke here is worse for visibility than it is on the material, since not only does it blur and dim things, but the flames are bright enough to make faint objects harder to see than they should be. The picture in the Dungeon Master's Guide shows an incredibly clear "day" on the Plane of Fire, and the air in it is likely poisonous.
The ground on the Plane of Fire is mostly made of ash, embers, and coals, although regions of volcanic rock, such as basalt and obsidian, are not uncommon, nor are regions made simply of solid fire (inflicting 5d6 damage to those standing on it, on top of the normal damage for being on a Fire-Dominant plane). The terrain is usually rough and jagged; most of the wilderness is difficult terrain except in areas recently smoothed over by lava beds, and particularly bad areas behave as though covered in caltrops or even Spike Stones. It is almost universally black or gray, and almost universally still burns.
The planar ground forms into rough layers a few hundred feet thick in most places, hovering in the planar atmosphere. One with the ability to see through smoke can often look into the sky and see other continent-sized chunks of rock hanging in the sky two or three miles up. The sky above the Plane of Fire is an endless smoky void, looking red and pink with light from the fires of the plane reflected off its smoke; it looks almost like the night sky over any highly-polluted modern city. Continents get sparser higher up on the plane and thicker lower, but even the lowest continents are sparse. These continents have mountains, valley, lakes, rivers, and even seas of lava or of liquid fire. Volcanic rock and magma occasionally contain veins of various kinds of metal ores, notably iron, copper, tin, and zinc; zinc itself vaporizes quickly on the plane of fire once separated from its ores, but ores can be used to make brass.
Unlike the other Elemental Planes, the Plane of Fire is not self-contained. Anything that falls far enough from the Plane of Fire is caught in a planar portal if it's lucky. These normally go to the Ethereal Plane, but occasionally go to a random other plane, often another Inner plane, although sometimes the Material. These falls almost never put one in a hosptiable location. The unlucky ones are simply consumed by a progressively hotter plane. In the horizontal directions, the Plane may have edges, or it may simply have gaps too large to see or teleport across between continents; some have reported finding themselves on other planes after flying out of sight of land. The explored Plane of Fire is much thinner vertically than it is horizontally. What happens to those who ascend high into the sky is intentionally left as a mystery. Some possibilities are: you get sent to other planes, you can go on forever, or seem to continue to ascend while, actually, the ground doesn't get any further away, or you can find new continents.
The Plane of Fire has a valuable planar currency of its own: Blue Smoke. There are some vents on the Plane of Fire that the smoke simply wisps out from, and they can be tapped to gather the smoke, which must then be concentrated. A vial of Blue Smoke can generally be sold for around 500 GP, and takes that much off the cost to create for any divination-based item, or any intelligent item that does not have any bound souls or elementals. Many vials can be used to make one item, and Blue Smoke cannot be created with Wish. When such an item is broken, the Blue Smoke can be seen escaping it (returning that blue smoke into the item does nothing), but it need not be replaced to repair the item.
Other planes leech into the Plane of Fire at times, and the results are often quite useful. Leechings of earth in form rock chunks and mountains made of rock and dirt unlike the normal ash and embers, although burning coals quickly find their way atop them and many melt down to magma unless the Earth Plane's traits continually assert themselves. Air leechings form places of strong winds outward from the leech, blowing flames and smoke along, although creating no other hazards; if one is very close to the hole, the air is even cool enough to not do damage, although how close "very close" is depends on the size of the node, with most being able to sustain no more than a small village or camp. Water, when it leeches in, usually boils away quickly, forming rainclouds high in the plane and becoming continual cycles in the sky of water falling and boiling away. However, around bubbles of the Plane of Water, oases form in the desert with cool water and even, in longstanding oases, plant life. Some of the higher continents have rain that almost reaches the ground. When a Water-leeching is below the surface of the ground, on the other hand, an underwater hot spring forms, often becoming a geyser when it breaks the surface.
The Plane of Fire is settled by Efreet, Azers, Salamanders, Mephits, and Elementals, primarily, in addition to the nomadic Magmin and wild Thoqqua. All vegetation on the plane is cultivated and magically protected.
Most Efreet live in a structured sultanate, owing allegiance to the Sultan of all Efreet in the City of Brass through a feudal system of lords and vassals. Most Efreet live outside the city. Efreet cities, towns, and fortresses are usually built on the surface, out of whatever local material is present, typically basalt and obsidian, leaving brass construction reserved for palaces for high-ranking Efreet. Most such cities pledge fealty to the City of Brass. Sometimes their air is cooled like that of the City of Brass; other times it isn't and the Efreet simply revel in the fire and don't take many off-planar guests.
Salamanders usually lair in grottoes by the coasts of seas of flame and magma, and will build cities there if enough are present. Some Salamander cities are allies of the Efreet, while others are seen as pirate lairs. Azers mine in the mountains and in the earth-leechings, and build great magma forges; they act quite like their Dwarven cousins on the Material Plane. They typically form small emirates, malikdoms or kingdoms with one central city or stronghold and as many outlying mines, outposts, and other settlements as are dependent on it for defense. Like the Salamanders, some malikdoms are trade partners of the Efreet, and others are its enemies. Magmins are barbarians, living in various tribes on the desolate steppes of the Plane of Fire, and are usually raiders against the Efreet Sultanate.
Planar Capital: The City of BrassEdit
The writeup in the Dungeon Master's Guide for the City of Brass actually doesn't get anything wrong, but is woefully short. The most obvious thing not included, although this should almost go without saying, its enclosing hemisphere is more than forty feet thick, making teleportation into it from below impossible. Also, Efreet in the city are actually outnumbered quite heavily by slaves, including Azer, Mephits, Salamanders, Elementals, and mortals, although the thing where the Efreet are immensely more powerful all of their slaves make slave revolts difficult, to say nothing of the divisions and rivalries the masters encourage between slaves.
The City of Brass is actually so large that merely crossing the city is a whole day's walk or flight even for Efreet. The enclosing hemisphere is 40 miles across. That's more than a day on foot if you can walk in a straight line with nobody getting in your way. It's big like a modern, car-based city, not like an ancient large city. While it's nowhere near flat anywhere but the bottom, Efreet can fly and build on the sides of it, so that's honestly not a big deal. There are "terraced" districts running all the way to the edge in some places. Because of this, Efreet, visitors, and trusted slaves are often given access to portals established between major districts, magic carpets, or Phantom Steeds to go about their business. This size is another barrier to slave revolts; word of one can be contained until the revolt is put down.
Although it's huge, the City of Brass does have a very densely-packed "downtown" district roughly the size of a small city, in which most of the major efreeti lords conduct their business. The City of Brass also has a rather large and highly advanced industrial district, designed by azer, dwarves, and kobolds who hold a fairly high status despite being technically slaves. Here, the natural heat of the Plane of Fire is dumped out through portals to power mills and machinery and machinery run by slaves of a dozen races producing goods for export across the entire multiverse. The industrial district has many portals to the Plane of Water, which provides water for the boilers and a place to dump exhaust, and the Plane of Earth, which supplies raw ore; the industrial district thereby transforms the ores of the Great Dismal Delve into metalwork to be sold in the markets of the City of Glass.
Note that the portal system in the City of Brass sometimes means that the shortest path between two districts of the city doesn't actually stay entirely within the city at all. Two districts on opposite sides of the town may be connected by portals near the same market in Finality, or two sides of an alley in Sigil, or a mere street away in the City of Glass.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
Sinks on the Plane of Fire are little more dangerous than the rest of the plane. They simply consist of regions, often a mile across, that are being eroded by the flames of the plane consuming eachother, rather than simply recursively burning and consuming nothing. The ground of the plane is likewise burned and crumbles away in these areas, but that is the major source of danger to travellers; the consuming flames are no more dangerous than the nonconsuming flames are elsewhere on the plane. Other pieces of ground usually slide in to fill the gap left by a sink, although near an edge a continent may simply fall away into nothingness.
Sources on the Plane of Fire ususally appear in the form of great volcanoes, drawing magma from an invisible source within the thin ground. Occasionally a plume of fire, or a rock, or whatever finds itself stuck on the sky or supported by a pillar of smoke, forming the beginnings of a new floating continent. Regardless, sources on the Plane of Fire are much more dangerous than Sinks, and are as dangerous as any material plane volcano.
Special Site: Choking SmokeEdit
At some points on the Plane of Fire, the flames burn smokily. The thickest of these places become choking smoke clouds, the base of high pillars of smoke reaching up to the red sky or the next continent up. A choking smoke cloud behaves like a Fog Cloud or even Solid Fog spell, except that it is significantly bigger, usually at least a thousand feet, and often several miles, across.
Within the cloud, the flames of the plane are choked out; the cloud is merely unearthly hot and causes no fire damage, even from the Fire-Dominant trait. Additionally, within the cloud, breathing is difficult for creatures without the (Fire) subtype. Such creatures who begin holding their breath in the cloud can only hold it for 1/4 as long, and must make a DC 16 Fortitude save or be poisoned by the smoke (initial and secondary 1d3 Con); characters are also poisoned every ten minutes spend in the cloud. Each minute spent breathing in the cloud deals 1d6 points of damage by smoke inhalation. Some places are even more damaging, when the smoke is thicker or more poisonous. Damage caused by smoke inhalation cannot be cured until the victim is able to breathe clean air. A cloth mask can protect against the hit point damage of smoke inhalation, although it must be changed and cleaned every hour.
Choking smoke clouds typically disperse over the course of a few days, but it is not unheard of for them to persist and last multiple months, blowing around the plane. A point of note about such clouds is that they are actually cooler than the air around them, due to not having a fire under them and having had time to cool. This means that, rather than forming pillars, they instead cling close to the ground, generally going no more than a few hundred feet up, as the air warmer than them rises and forms a thermal inversion over them.
Special Site: Brimstone IslandEdit
Brimstone Island is in the middle of a large sea of liquid fire atop magma; a pillar of basalt and obsidian jutting out. It is notable for its large deposits of brimstone and of metal ores, including adamantite within it formed in a volcanic eruption centuries ago, and the occasional spark of Raw Fire. The island is the major stronghold of an alliance between an Azer Malik and a council of Salamander Nobles, with a city rising from the peak to one of its bays. Azers typically live inside and atop the mountain, while the lower slopes are Salamander dwellings; the jointly-run palace, however, is in the middle of a heavily-defended fortress on the island's peak, where the crater contains a lake of magma. The entire island is run through with tunnels, both excavated and magma channels, none of which have ever been fully mapped, and the entire coastline is watched by guard outposts.
The island is currently at war with the Efreet, who call it a pirate base and want to loot it to keep its supplies of brimstone and adamantite out of the hands of the various lesser factions, and seize its Raw Fire. While its sailors are not above committing piracy against Sultanate ships, its warriors think that holding an efreeti hostage until it grants them wishes is acceptable behavior, and its merchants don't care that goods taken are looted, that really makes it no different from any other town in the D&D world. It also conducts trade with various other free cities around the sea it is on via its large navy, and is especially eager to trade with extraplanar visitors, who can offer resources that the Plane of Fire cannot.
The rulers of the island regularly pay tribute to a red dragon that makes its lair in a cavern beneath the palace. The dragon has no love for the Efreet, who caged it and treated it as a beast when it was young. Because of this, when the Sultanate attacks from the air, or with powerful forces, the dragon stirs from its lair to repel them.
Transportation Mode: Hot Air ElevatorEdit
Many denizens of the Plane of Fire use Hot Air Elevators as a way of getting from one continent to another when the continents are separated vertically at the edge of the higher continent. These are simply hot air balloons tethered by long cable to points on both the higher end and the lower end, or attached by a hook to a cable attached to both continents; their altitude can be controlled by adjusting a "burner" on the elevator that focuses the plane's heat. Often this is done by a specialized operator, rather than requiring the passengers to manage it. Fares for these elevators vary, ranging from a silver piece to a few gold pieces; most beings with access to Planar Currencies can fly if they want to.
Other transportation modes are also common. Ships of carved stone, sometimes plated in adamantine or magically reinforced, are used to sail across seas of magma or liquid fire, and dirigibles similar to those used on the Plane of Air are occasionally used to cross long gaps between floating continents.
Elemental Plane of WaterEdit
The Elemental Plane of Water only superficially resembles the depths of the oceans on the Material plane. It has no surface and no floor, and is lit diffusely, giving the whole place an almost eerie glow. But it does have everything else an ocean can be expected to have, including plant beds, corals, and currents. It is divided into a multitude of seas, which mix very slowly even when they touch each other. Seas can have different lighting, temperature, dissolved salts, and many other properties. A freshwater sea and a saltwater sea can both sit beneath a sea of acid, for instance. The Plane of Water is self-contained.
The Plane of Water was victim to the same writing mistake as the Plane of Air of giving it Subjective Gravity, making swimming any distance at all pointless; this is fixed by giving it normal gravity. Certain seas have different gravity traits, usually falling inward toward some center. In these areas, water is subject to gravity's pull, and only the pressure of other water at the center keeps it from becoming a vortex. Such areas can be miles across, and the pressure near their centers can be truly immense; in other places, pressures are fairly light. Elemental lords of various kinds, like Genies, Brutes, Weirds, Primal Elementals, and so on, often live near these centers.
The Plane of Water is lit diffusely, from all around, which gives the whole place an almost eerie glow. Distant objects (those more than about forty or fifty feet away) appear very blue, due to the properties of the light, and even nearby objects appear to be caught in a blue light due to the way light is absorbed by the water, unless an extra light source is brought in nearby. The diffuse light all but eliminates shadows on the plane except in areas with their own light sources. Note that visibility dies off at around sixty feet, due to the distortion and dimming of the water, and the sand and microbes that live in the water; this is true of Darkvision as well as normal vision.
While the visibility on the plane of water is total crap, the audibility is intense. Water is nearly incompressible and it's nothing but water forever and ever. Sound pretty much follows the rule that any noise is four times as quiet when at twice the distance, with no additional dampening from the atmosphere. Any noise ever propagates with such totality and speed that to the human visitor it is nothing but a constant deafening roar. Indeed, since sound travels so much faster in water than in air, any non-aquatic visitor needs 10 ranks of listen to even have a hope of locating any sound. Even sounds that are loud or close enough to be distinctly made out sound like they are from "everywhere." This is not a problem that natives have, and indeed a Sahuagin can locate you by the sound of the water against your skin.
The Plane of Water has native plant and animal life, currents, and so on as one would expect an ocean to have. Most of the immobile native life is either neutrally bouyant or fixed in place as if by an Immovable Rod; some truly spectacular coral reefs grow in such arrangements. It is also inhabited by Tojanidas, and all manner of fish, sharks, and mollusks, even Kraken. Coral reefs and kelp beds form the most vibrant ecosystems on the plane.
Because stuff can and will grow pretty much anywhere in the plane of water, given the right nutrients, everywhere on the Plane of Water is potentially an interesting place. And so while the Plane of Water, while still immense, is substantially smaller than the Plane of Air in terms of actual volume, it is immensely larger in terms of places you care about and in places you can hide. Since, as long as you keep quiet, you could seriously be thirty yards from someone and they'll never know, searching the Plane of Water for anything takes essentially forever.
Another thing to note is that stuff, both constructed and not, is really, really mobile on the Plane of Water. While there are pretty solid upper limits on how big you can make a practical wagon, and limits as to how much usable space you can put on a dirigible, there really isn't anything of the sort for ships. A castle on the Plane of Water is more analogous to a battleship than a castle, and people fighting wars will actually drive castles at eachother. A kelp bed on the Plane of Water isn't analogous to anything at all on land. Unlike a field of crops or a forest, it moves and goes places. Unlike a herd of animals, it pretty much just drifts, and produces usable biomass rather than consuming it.
The Plane of Water is made up of enormously many seas. Each sea has its own solutes, temperature, pressure, and lighting, sometimes even gravity. These differences of solutes range not only between freshwater and saltwater, but also (rarely) to greater extremes, such as seas of vitriol or lye. Every sea, though, is primarily water. Temperature varies from freezing to boiling for whatever pressure the sea has. Almost four seas in five have a pressure just above one atmosphere, with about one sea in ten being more than three atmospheres, some going as high as ten, with only a few seas being lighter than one. These pressure differences, surprisingly, do not usually cause seas to actually press against eachother, since sea boundaries are magic. Light generation also varies from sea to sea, but almost all seas are bright enough for full sight. These seas only slowly mix or heat eachother at their boundaries, keeping their identities. Every sea also has its own currents with no obvious cause. Sometimes these currents even cross sea boundaries, leading to more rapid mixing at the edges of the current, or pressing the boundaries of one sea into another.
There are a number of leechings from other planes throughout the Plane of Water. Air leechings are sometimes stable and sometimes not. When stable, they take the form of bubbles of air where the water cannot penetrate, and are often inhabited by air-breathers, using imported materials such as wood for their floors. When not stablilzed, they become vents through which a stream of bubbles flows; this form seldom lasts more than a few months before dissipating. Fire leechings take the form of hot spots or even as sources of steam bubbles. Leechings of Earth and Cold take the form of solid matter, which is used by those who like the environment near it to build homes.
Most creatures of the Plane of Water, Elementals, Mephits, Marids, and the occasional Nixie, are nomadic. Permanent settlements, then, seldom have permanent residents. Hunting camps, the most common kind of settlement, are usually built near rich ecosystems, such as coral reefs or kelp beds. The Marids, although they are among the most powerful beings on the Plane of Water, have very little in the way of empires. Each considers itself ruler of all it surveys, and they chafe at the idea of submitting to any other, making empire-building almost impossible among them. Even the Padishah can't necessarily rule any Marid she isn't presently watching within the Citadel of Ten Thousand Pearls, nevermind Marids elsewhere.
The Plane of Water also plays host to many empires, few of them primarily native, although some are ruled by mortals who have lived on the plane for so many generations as to basically be native. The largest empires are Sahuagin, much like on the prime, except that elemental empires of Sahuagin are much larger. If the elemental planes are astronomically large, there may well be several sahuagin habitation zones, each ten thousand miles across and with a population in the tens of billions, sometimes with entire material worlds attached as provinces. Smaller planes have correspondingly smaller Sahuagin habitation zones. Regardless, the plane is vast enough that any individual visitor can get along perfectly well never actually hearing about them.
Outside of the Sahuagin, the major empires on the Plane of Water are traders' alliances. These empires have their seats of power in trade hubs, and the towns they maintain are primarily waystations. Trade empires don't often exert military power over their subordinate nations, instead preferring to control their trade in and out. They do maintain militaries, though, or at least good relations with mercenaries, mostly to deter bandits and attack unlicensed traders. Because they don't need to actually conquer their territory or hold it by force, trade empires can grow with astounding speed. Occasionally, some places might find themselves in the territory of two or more trade federations, which might get along peacefully (but tensely), or might fight in open war.
Planar Capitals: The City of Glass and the Citadel of Ten Thousand PearlsEdit
The City of Glass is the greatest city on the Plane of Water, and capital of the plane's greatest trade federation. It sits on a block of ice, fixed in place at the top of its sea, made up of a series of domes and spheres of glass as hard as steel. Various domes and spheres are either flooded or filled with air, some, including the largest (mistaken for the entire city by some) are filled half with one and half the other. The city itself is Marid construction, although its builders lost interest centuries ago. The city, since then, has been placed under the rule of a collection of merchant guilds. Marids still visit from time to time to trade, although most of their needs are satisfied by their immense power; trade is, like everything else they do, a source of amusement. Anyone trading in large quantities of goods must pay fees to the apppropriate merchant guilds, whether for permission or membership. Law in the City of Glass is strict, but fair, and designed to facilitate trade and make money for the merchant council that rules it.
Far from merely being the trade hub for a single elemental plane, though, the City of Glass is the trade hub for the entirety of the Inner Planes. Although its physical size and population aren't nearly as large as those of the City of Brass, its system of rule makes it far better-suited as a trade hub. The City of Glass is not involved in any open warfare, as any enemies of one faction of the city's rulers find it simplest to buy off another and to fight as bandits, rather than to try to attack the city itself. Furthermore, the City of Glass is thick with portals; excepting Sigil, the City of Glass in unmatched in quantity and variety of portals, earning it the nickname "the Sigil of the Elements." The merchant council actively attempts to exploit these portals for trade relations, by searching for new portals, sending diplomatic delegations through to open relations with those on the other side of two-way portals, and confiscating space containing portals owned by people they think are "anti-trade." Every other inner planar capital, and major outer-planar trade hub can be reached through the City of Glass, with varying degrees of difficulty. One notable such other city is Finality; the merchant council of the City of Glass and the lords of Finality have a deal where the City of Glass outlaws trafficking in souls, but leaves their transportation legal, shunting all such business into Finality.
The Citadel of Ten Thousand Pearls is the home of the Padishah of all Marids. It is built into a miles-wide coral reef in the middle of a warm salt sea on the Plane of Water. The citadel itself is a town inhabited by a few hundred Marids at any given time, carved into a number of shell-shaped domes. It can't really be said to have any permanent residents, or even landowners; its residents frequently just up and leave home to go wandering, and squatters quickly move in. Even the Padishah herself spends the majority of her time away from home, and has to deal with squatters on her returns. Unlike other Marids, though, she feels an attachment to her palace and will expel squatters instead of just moving.
The Padishah, aside from being the most physically and magically powerful of the Marids, has no real authority over the goings-on of the Plane of Water. Marids attend her court, essentially, as a party and to see who will come to petition her, and she does not give orders to any Marids, not that they would be taken more seriously than as suggestions. Indeed, status at the court is more determined by ability to impress the Padishah than anything else. Marid nobles, which is all of them, other elemental natives, such as mephits, and travellers are all judged the same. Any who try to petition her will be heard for as long as doing so amuses the Padishah, and dismissed as soon as she gets bored. Whether she acts on any petitions is entirely up to her. More powerful people are generally more interesting, but power is not a guarantee that one will be allowed to speak. The Citadel has no laws, although the Marids will come to eachothers' aid if attacked by outsiders.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
Water Sinks, like those on the Plane of Air, take the form of vortices. Unlike those on the plane of air, Water Sinks also absorb light, in exactly the reverse way as water: red is most reflected and transmitted, then green, and blue is almost completely absorbed; thus, they appear as reddish-orange spheres, although they appear completely black from a distance. They tend to form near the middle of seas, and not to move much relative within that sea or from sea to sea. Creatures composed at all of water (most living creatures are, barring elementals of other elements) take 3d6 damage from brief contact, and 15d6 damage per round from sustained contact as the water is drawn out of their body. The Sink also draws up unattended objects of all kinds that touch it. Sinks have been known to last anywhere from a few hours to until their entire sea is drained or nearly drained. A sea that is near completely drained diffuses naturally into its neighboring seas.
Water Sources tend to form on the edges between seas, especially where three or more seas intersect, although they are also known to form inside of seas. They take the form of currents always going outward. Water fresh from a source also carries a number of bright points of light in it, resembling sparks, that die out over the next few seconds, causing the sources to resemble a spray of Glitterdust or Faerie Fire. Indeed, a creature caught in the spray, which often flows as much as twenty feet from the source at full effectiveness, although sources vary, must make a Will save (DC 15 for most sources) or be affected as though by Glitterdust. Water Sources usually form their own seas, although sometimes they appear in the middle of seas and grow that sea while changing its composition.
Special Site: Kraken's DeepsEdit
The Kraken's Deeps is an enormous salt sea on the Plane of Water inhabited by a group of Krakens; an exact count has never been given, but it's likely to be at least five. Rumor has it that an even more powerful Kraken leads the group. This sea has a large leeching of the Plane of Earth at its center, with caverns large enough for the Kraken to hide in, and gravity in the sea points to the leeching. The pressure there is enormous due to the miles of gravity around it, and this sea is also colder the further one goes from the borders with other seas. Further, its natural lighting dims as one descends into it; after about five hundred feet, it is gone. The Krakens themselves make this their lair, although they will travel out into neighboring seas to hunt for food.
Travellers who have escaped from the Kraken's Deeps report that near the stone itself there are strange forms of plants growing in the darkness, fed by magic. This has been reported enough that it is likely to be true. However, the deeps are warded against scrying. Exactly why they are is a mystery.
Special Site: WhaleseaEdit
The Whalesea is a warm sea in the Plane of Water that envelops an Air pocket. The entire sea is more brightly lit than other seas, leading to immense undersea jungles; their lighting from the inside allows them to grow thicker than any on the material plane could without shading eachother out. Because of the air pocket, a pod of whales make their home here, eating the plankton that forms the basis of this immensely vibrant ecosystem. A Marid currently lives in this sea, studying the whales as he has never seen whales before (being air-breathers, they are not native to the Plane of Water).
Transportation Mode: Aquatic SubmarineEdit
Submarines on the Plane of Water are seldom built for the comfort of air-breathers, instead often flooding except for areas where air must be used for ballast. They are not usually as quick as some of the native inhabitants would like, and so are often used to transport large and nonfungible goods (as water is permeable to teleportation, small and fungible items are moved that way instead). As such, among the Marid, submarine-owners are seen as a source of amusement. Submarines are also used by nomadic Mephit Swarms as a way of establishing a common place about which they can move.
The submarines themselves are usually made of some form of wood, coral, leather, or even magically hardened glass. The heavier submarines have air compartments within them for ballast, some of which can be used for habitation, in the short term, by air-breathers. Most submarines are unpropelled, instead being pulled by their users or a beast of burden. A few, especially the largest are driven by a bound water elemental or several. Such vessels move at a third the elemental's speed if up to 20' in length per hit die, half if up to 10' in length per hit die, and its full speed up to 5' in length per hit die. A vessel more than 5' wide or tall for each 30' of length (minimum 5') counts as six times as long as the larger of its height or width, rather than its actual length. Those driven by multiple elementals use the speed of the slowest one and the combined hit dice of all of them.
Elemental Plane of AirEdit
The Elemental Plane of Air is an endless expanse of varied gasses and vapors, mostly breathable air. They form into vague "clouds," which adhere to eachother much more closely than gasses do on the material, although clouds do still blend with eachother and mix. A cloud of normal air might be next to a cloud of sulphurous smoke, next to a cloud of lighter-than-air vapors. These clouds have a variety of temperatures, although most are only a bit above the freezing point of water. They are shot though with actual clouds of water vapor and ice, some of which are magically solid. The Plane of Air is self-contained; going far enough in any direction will leave you back where you started, although that would take a truly enormous amount of time and the plane's winds would likely catch you before then.
It's the Elemental Plane of Air. Flying is supposed to be essential to go there. Then someone wrote "Subjective Directional Gravity" on its traits, so that flying would only let you turn faster than the round system allows you to with gravity. That's dumb and unjustifiable, and I refuse to write for that. The Elemental Plane of Air has light gravity (everything weighs half as much, falling damage dice are d4s, weapon ranges are doubled, unacclimated characters take -2 to Balance and Tumble checks and attack rolls, acclimated characters gain +2 to Jump checks), instead, and all flying spells and magic items have their durations doubled. The gravity is still bad for you, since you can just fall and keep going until you hit something. The air doesn't actually fall, though, because of the weirdness of physics needed to make the world at all intuitive.
The Plane of Air is lit by a bunch of brightly glowing planar nodes to places like the Plane of Fire and Positive Energy Plane that drift around the plane. There are usually no shadows since there's nothing to cast them on, but the number of bright light sources are few enough that those with a surface to cast a shadow on usually do. The nodes are close enough together that the plane is usually lit to about the brightness of a late afternoon on a clear day (unless there's a cloud in the way), but far enough apart that there are seldom more than three contributing significant light to any given place.
The Elemental Plane of Air has a number of kinds of "islands" to floating in it. The most common are solid cloud formations, which are usually difficult terrain because of one's feet sinking into it, and are easy to swim or burrow into, although it is quite cold inside. They also have hazardous areas where the footing is only as good as Solid Fog, they tend to be fairly rough and also to have rough rises equivalent to Solid Fog or Fog Cloud rising from them and blowing along them. Constructions can be built on these formations, and ground can be paved or floors built to give more stable footing. Cloud Islands are almost invariably cold. Earth islands are substantially rarer, but also provide better footing; they take the form of rock formations and dirt hovering stably in midair. Water islands are similar, except that they take the form of bodies of water; constructions here usually float or are built underwater.
Because hot air still rises and cold air still sinks despite the Plane's oddity in gravity, winds still exist, and the Plane generates some truly awesome windstorms. Despite the lack of coriolis forces, bodies of air still have an inherent tendency to rotate on the Plane of Air, contributing to these storms. It also has prevailing wind patterns induced by magic; sometimes they are simple, leading from a site where the Plane of Fire leeches in to a site where the Plane of Cold leeches in, and sometimes they are more subtly induced by the Plane of Air itself.
The pressure on the plane varies, with most of it being comparable to breathable high altitudes on Earth. As such, creatures who live on the Plane of Air are always acclimated to high altitudes. Clouds' tendency to not mix allows them to persist against eachother even at different pressures. The largest clouds, which are usually made of breathable air, typically surround most of the other clouds.
In addition to Mephits, Genies, and Elementals, the plane is populated by Arrowhawks, Belkers, Invisible Stalkers, and all manner of flying animal, in addition to air elemental versions of material planar creatures. Most of them don't need to eat, so little of the Plane's limited habitable areas are used for agriculture. A few potted or hanging gardens and fruit trees are used for luxury food and alcohol.
Most habitations are on cloud islands or rocky islands formed on Earth leechings. Some even float atop hovering "lakes" formed by Water leechings. A few settlements, though, simply sit as though on Immovable Rods, hovering in midair, or are even built as gigantic mobile craft. The Plane of Air, though, is very sparsely settled compared to the material; often, the next town is too far away to tell by sight alone that it is, indeed, a town and not just a brightly reflective or burning rock out in space.
Non-natives are also common settlers on the Plane of Air. Their biology gives them a lot more needs than natives have, and so they have to settle on chunks of arable land. Their settlements are usually built on Earth leechings, rather than on the more common cloud islands, since the former is far more likely to have arable land. Their populations are even sparser, and they stretch their dirt as far as they can use it, building most of their buildings out of wood (most of the new mass of a growing tree comes from the air, not the dirt) and planting everywhere crops will fit just to have enough crops to feed the town.
Djinn towns tend to be more relaxed. The main occupants are actually enormous net producers of food if they take as much as twelve seconds out of their day (twenty cubic feet of rice is a lot of food), so they don't actually dedicate effort to agriculture, and because of this can build on clouds, or waste dirt when building on earth. Typically each Djinni will have somewhere between ten and sixty servants, with most having around 20-30, but only a handful of Djinn will live in each town, each with their own palace.
Planar Capital: The Court of Ice and SteelEdit
The leader of the Djinn rules from the Court of Ice and Steel, a mobile island or gigantic vessel made of ice and steel, with expansions built onto it of solidified clouds. His empire reaches as far as his vassals do, and his vassals reach far indeed. However, they are sparse, often visiting a town and moving on, leaving much of the plane out of his direct control. However, he can move the Court quickly, and wherever the Court goes is his center of power.
It's important to note that in older editions the leader of the Djinn was labelled a Caliph. This is not only historically inaccurate, but also insulting. See, the word "caliph" literally means "successor" and historically meant the successors to Muhammad as rulers of all of Islam. So, while it's cool to have all of the genies ruled by people with different vaguely middle-eastern titles, calling the leader of the Djinn a caliph only makes sense if the Djinn are muslim. Doing otherwise would be like setting up a scheme where one of the four rulers of the elements is called a Pope without having any mention of Christianity. Since writing real-world religions explicitly into the D&D world is emphatically not the goal of this project, the Djinn leader's title will be changed to sultan. Yes, that's the same as his archenemy, the Sultan of the Efreet, but, really, it's fine if they don't all have different titles, and matching two enemies together is the natural choice.
The Court of Ice and Steel proper is protected by steel-bound ice walls thick enough to be impossible to teleport through, despite the passages through them, although the cloud islands around it do not have this protection. The Court itself is small, by planar capital standards, about three miles long and one across at its widest point, in an ellipsoid shape. Inside the vessel is a large cavernous cavity, containing a huge, densely-packed city of Djinn and servants sculpted mostly out of cloudstuff, with the Sultan's palace near the front of the vessel, and containing the access to its control room, which is in an area of the palace none but a few select noble Djinn are allowed. Below and around it, however, are tight areas of ice caverns and steel walls, most of which are off-limits to travellers. Entering them deals damage as though travelling through a broken Wall of Ice; further damaging passages are common.
The vessel itself is obviously not of Djinn construction; the Djinn have little faculty with the magics of ice and even less with metals. Legends among the Djinn say that it was taken by their first sultan from an elemental lord of immense power, or perhaps even from a fiend. Rumors say that even now, whoever it was stolen from is plotting to get it back. It is known that the Court does come under attack and infiltration by daring pirates and raiders frequently, for such a heavily defended fortress.
Much of the capital is outside of Court proper, on the cloud islands and smaller vessels that surround it. These are likewise densely populated with Djinn, servants, and visitors. It is here that the majority of the city's population, and the vast majority of its links (at least, two-way links) to other planar metropoli can be found. Only some of the larger cloud islands are permanent parts of the city; much of the city joins for a time then separates from the city to go its separate way. It is not uncommon for a travelling captain, fearing pirates and hearing that the Court is going toward the same place as he is, even on a longer route, to join with the Court until he reaches his destination. This means that a significant amount of the city's population aren't just transients, but are actively in the middle of a voyage, and also means that entire districts of the city sometimes just up and leave. The Djinn aren't always keen on letting people with cool stuff keep to their original plans when those plans call for leaving, though. Even if a ship's captain and crew fully intend to leave, the Djinn might treat it as a permanent part of their city; which the ship actually is may never be decided until someone tries to take the ship away.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
Air Sinks take the form of huge vortices of winds, blowing into an invisible center with none blowing out. Because they're suspended in midair, they form as discs with the wind circling into a point, with concave cones of strong wind above and below, also blowing in. The only hazard of an Air Sink comes from its winds; the sink does not destroy anything but air and vapors, and never destroys creatures. A sink can last for weeks at a time.
Air sources are more transient, lasting for only a few hours. The gas it emits tends to be uniform, although not all are actually breatheable air; they have been known to emit poison gasses, lighter-than-air gasses, incendiary gasses, and so on frequently. Sources usually form on borders between existing clouds, creating a new cloud, although sometimes they form inside existing clouds, either creating a pocket cloud or simply changing the composition of the original.
Special Site: Coral PoolEdit
The Coral Pool is one of a rare kind of site on the Elemental Plane of Air where it is interrupted with both Earth and Water. The Earth interruption takes the form of a stony spire, rising upward at about a 30' angle, with a water leeching around the bottom of it. The combination allows corals and similar life to grow, forming a vibrant aquatic ecosystem. A mob of Mephits makes their home there, lead by one with levels in Sorcerer. Additionally, an Arrowhawk nest can be found on the peak of the island. The Arrowhawk is on good terms with the Mephits that lair there, and warns the Mephits of intruders.
Special Site: Lighthouse PointEdit
Lighthouse Point is a leeching of the Plane of Fire, where a giant shelf of burning embers and flames floats in the Plane of Air, burning brightly enough to illuminate for hundreds of miles. The shelf itself is about a mile long, half a mile wide, and several hundred feet thick, not counting the two-thousand-foot-high mountains that rise from the middle of the shelf. Dirigible docks hang off the edges in all directions. About a hundred feet beneath the shelf, there hangs a truly enormous inn complex connected to the docks by winding staircases, and an enormous covered market, with yet more docks. The inn is connected to the shelf by enormous steel chains, and is covered in a stone tile roof, to protect it from falling embers. This place, although it has precious little in the way of its own natural resources (at least that it is exploiting) is a major port for dirigibles going from one place to another. This is in part because the bright light gives it a good navigational beacon, in part because the heat causes a huge updraft to center around it, allowing ships to come in from below, lift up, and fly off along any wind, and in part because of the cunning of its mysterious proprietor.
Transportation Mode: DirigibleEdit
Dirigibles work really well on the Plane of Air. Sources of lift gasses are available, and, in the light gravity, magical levitation sources work even better than normal, and the winds allow one to sail to nearly anywhere on-plane that strikes one's fancy. A few of the many types of dirigible are used on the Plane of Air:
- Dirigible Barge: A basket attached to either a stiff balloon of lift gasses or equipped with its own levitation magic. A Dirigible Barge mounts no sails, and is instead used by a flying creature as a transport of its possessions. Dirigible Barges cost 1 GP per 10 pounds of cargo room if lifted by gasses (but take about a cubic yard of balloon to carry this much), or 15 GP per pound if lifted by magic.
- Sailing Dirigible: A larger dirigible used to transport those who can't fly on their own. It mounts sails and is capable of tacking into the wind despite its weight and bulk. It costs 5 sp per pound of cargo room if lifted by gas, or 20 gp per pound if lifted by magic. One medium-sized creature's cabin generally takes up about a ton of cargo room, more if particularly luxurious. It can sail at up to the wind's speed in the direction it is going.
- Heavy Dirigible: A rigid-bodied dirigible used to transport large groups of mortals or large cargoes around the plane. It mounts sails and is capable of tacking into the wind, and many are capable of controlling the wind. It costs 1 gp per pound of cargo room if lifted by gas, or 30 gp per pound if lifted by magic (plus costs of wind control). It can sail at up to the wind's speed in the direction it is going.
Magical dirigibles are used for the greater security that not having a huge gas-filled target brings; as such, all dirigibles made for combat are magically supported. Dirigibles of any kind can be Wished for at no EXP cost; large dirigibles can be wished for in parts. On the matieral plane, magical dirigibles have half capacity due to the higher gravity. Due to the pressure differences, gas dirigibles still behave normally, provided sufficient gas can be found. The ability to tack into the wind on a dirigible is invariably magical.
Elemental Plane of EarthEdit
The Elemental Plane of Earth is a self-contained solid mass of dust, sand, stone, and rock, shot through with seams of metal ore and gems. Unlike the other Elemental Planes, most of the plane is simply inaccessible, as teleportation is nearly useless through the plane of Earth. Unless you can find a tunnel, dig one yourself, or pass through another plane, such as the Ethereal, travel through the Plane of Earth is near-impossible, and regardless it is, compared to other planes, at a snail's pace. Contiguous masses of the same material on the Plane of Earth are called strata or seams, depending on shape.
Gravity on the Plane of Earth is Heavy. In addition to its effects in the Dungeon Master's Guide, the heavy gravity trait makes moving anything over any distance harder, even moving oneself more tiring: time spent on the Plane of Earth counts double for forced marching, except for those acclimated to the Plane of Earth, and makes falls more deadly. Deadfalls and pit traps are a common form of deadly trap used on the Plane of Earth; when everything weighs twice as much and falls twice as fast, dropping the ceiling on someone often becomes the most effective way to kill them. For falling objects, double the object's weight before looking up falling damage, and change all falling damage dice (object or person) to d10s. Its effect on ranged attacks isn't as great as it could be, since most of the accessible Plane of Earth is tight passages or accessed only through burrowing. The whole mass falls in the same way one would expect a planet to, from the perspective of one within it (i.e., it doesn't).
The Plane of Earth is pitch-dark naturally, although there are a number of glowing crystals that form naturally throughout the plane and are excavated to be set as lighting. Also, most of the plane is cramped enough that you can see the four walls with a simple Light spell, so the darkness doesn't really matter.
The Plane of Earth is the smallest, densest, and most stable of the Elemental Planes (that last part does not say much). It is made even smaller by having most of the plane be, unlike the Plane of Fire's blasted deserts or the Planes of Air and Water's empty voids, inaccessible solid rock or dirt. Still, the solid rock also makes the plane bigger, by forcing people to travel the paths between two points instead of simply teleporting. Every place of interest on the plane is a cavern, mine, or dungeon of some kind, and many of them are joined into complexes. These things are constantly being collapsed and reshaped by the plane's earthquakes.
Where other planes leak into the Plane of Earth, the Plane of Earth develops a number of special sites. Leechings of fire usually generate magma chambers, which form under intense pressure and often leak over quite a wide area. Leechings of Water and Air generate caves, including a few wider than any natural cavern on the Material Plane. These caves are surprisingly stable for their size and location in as unstable a place as an Elemental Plane, although the Plane of Earth's natural instability sometimes does collapse them. Note that these leechings aren't always the form of the element we all know and love. A water leeching can be freshwater, saltwater, aqua regia, or whatever, and an air leeching may well be poisonous or combustable.
Similarly to the clouds of the Plane of Air and the seas of the Plane of Water, the Plane of Earth is divided into regions with different compositions. These regions are called strata, and are arranged fairly randomly (geology doesn't work reliably on the Plane of Earth). Just like on the Material Plane, strata don't usually press into eachother and mix. Strata, and the boundaries between them, are shot through with thin seams of materials, sometimes valuable, sometimes not.
Besides the Dao, Elementals, Mephits and all manner of strange beasts like Xorn and Thoqqua, the Plane is also inhabited by a number of burrowing material species. Their numbers, however, are kept down by the lack of food; the Plane of Earth is almost as hard as the Plane of Fire to farm on.
Because much of the Plane is difficult to access or even completely inaccessible from other parts of it, individual areas on the Plane of Earth can be much more independent from eachother than areas on nearly any other plane, including the Material, and even connected areas are far-flung from eachother. So the Plane of Earth is home to completely unique cultures even of the same creatures, and connected, large cultures are still very diverse. The Great Dismal Delve is the size of a continent, and you can't teleport across it, or scry across it, or anything, and neither can the Khan, which means that an outpost of Dao has to use more mundane means to send communications back to the Khan. The Delve itself is actually past the limit of what any individual empire can control on the Plane of Earth, and there really are areas of it that don't submit to the will of the Khan, and the Khan doesn't even know about all of them.
Every settlement is an excavation of some type, and the plane is subject to frequent earthquakes. Repairing the tunnels that connect excavations after earthquake damage is a frequent labor for those who live in such complexes, as the loss of their passages can mean being permanently cut off. The Great Dismal Delve is only the largest such tunnel complex; there are many others, some of which are connected and some arent; some of these even have Dao lords. The Dao in such complexes sometimes owe nominal fealty to the Khan, and sometimes don't; the Khan's agents have no way to enforce it, anyway.
A note has to be made about digging in the Plane of Earth. See, most of the underground areas in D&D, including the Great Dismal Delve and the Underdark, are being constantly expanded by digging. But excavation doesn't actually get rid of the rocks you're digging through, it just moves it around. Not only that, but a pile of mining debris has air in it, and so is actually bigger than it was before you dug it up. Mining from the surface actually makes huge piles of debris, and in the Great Dismal Delve there isn't actually room to put them, especially if you're trying to make it bigger. Digging on the Plane of Earth, then, is made possible by having disintegration furnaces; there are actually purpose-built pits on the Plane of Earth that disintegrate rock waste. These places aren't unique to the Plane of Earth, and mean that mining in D&D is substantially cleaner than it is in the real world.
Planar Capital: The Sevenfold Mazework, Great Dismal DelveEdit
The Dao claim to rule the entire plane, but their power is centralized in the Great Dismal Delve, an enormous dungeon the size of a continent, which the DMG somehow managed to mention without mentioning the species of genie that rules it at all. The power center of the Great Dismal Delve is in the city known as the Sevenfold Mazework, home to the Khan of all Dao. Administration of the entire Delve flows out of the Sevenfold Mazework, in theory, and the Sevenfold Mazework is the major trade hub on the Plane. Because it's hard to travel on the Plane of Earth, most of that trade are people coming from off-plane to trade with the Dao.
The Sevenfold Mazework is called that because of its seven districts, although most of them are little-used. The most-populated mazework is the First Mazework, which forms a city of thousands of Dao and myriads of slaves. The Second Mazework is also populated, and serves as a nobles district. The remaining Mazeworks are little-populated, except for the Seventh, in the center of the city. The Seventh Mazework can only be traversed in gaseous form, and holds within it the Palace itself.
It's important to note that the Great Dismal Delve is actually really small as planar empires go. It's the size of a continent, which means that it's actualy comparable to some real-world historical empires, like the Romans (Europe) or the Mongols (Asia). Compared to the Efreeti or Djinn Sultanates, the Great Dismal Delve is tiny. It's important mostly because it's denser in both population and resources, and also because the plane it is on is much smaller.
Due to a bet made between the god of the Yakfolk and the Khan of the Dao, the entire Dao race nominally is enslaved by the Yakfolk. This is actually enforced over the Khan, and hence over all Dao in the Khan's control, but most of the Great Dismal Delve is little-enough controlled that the Dao there are essentially free.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
Most of the sinks and sources on the Plane of Earth are actually indistinguishable from eachother. See, the Plane of Earth has actual earthquakes on it, despite not having any magma source actually moving the plane. These earthquakes are caused by having two parts of the Plane of Earth, usually in different strata, being suddenly pulled together or pushed apart. When pulled together, whatever natural earth is in between them simply goes away; when pushed apart, something new forms in between them. Either way, as this whole process settles, an earthquake occurs.
Special Site: Truesilver SandsEdit
The Elemental Plane of Earth is made up of all manner of earth, metal, and stone. Truesilver sands are a rare, and valuable, occurance on the Plane of Earth. They form when mithral ore is ground by the scouring action of rocks and sand, leaving fine-grained mithral ore mixed into a deposit of likewise-fine sand; one could almost swim, or drown, in it, and it is impossible to tunnel through. Because of the mithral ore's fine grain, it can be more easily smelted than larger chunks; the grinding action of the plane has left it finer than any artificial grinding can accomplish in a reasonable amount of time. Further, the plane has natural thermal events that may even smelt the mithral into tiny flakes, mixed in with the sands, leaving it pure for the gathering; it only needs to be washed out from the sands.
Special Site: Slime TunnelsEdit
The Slime Tunnels are a unique intersection of elements on the Plane of Earth. First, they were a magma chamber and its associated vents. Afterwards, they flooded, and the obsidian walls were eroded and cracked away in places by erosion, by a Dao mining outpost, and by an earthquake, filling many parts of the chamber with mud, and, by the strange deep purple light of the glowing obsidian, plants grew, and died. Now it is home to all manner of oozes: Green Slime, Gelatinous Cubes, Black Puddings, and so on, making it immensely dangerous even to the prepared and wary. However, when the mining outpost was destroyed, treasures were left behind, including the treasured armor of the Dao overseer. Later expeditions have also gone in to try to reclaim that armor, and have left their own items overgrown by the green slime.
Transportation Mode: Tunnel MapEdit
Navigation on the Plane of Earth is incredibly difficult. The tunnels systems are extensive, and, worse, three-dimensional, making the old standbys of maze navigation useless. Getting from any point A to any point B in a larger area than, say, a village or well-organized city (note that dao architecture is defensive in design, making them as navigationally difficult as blind tunnels for anyone but locals), then, takes an extremely detailed map and the ability to read it. A good tunnel map not only helps you find your course, but keeps you from getting lost and helps you find your way back if you do. Most tunnel maps are on large scrolls of specially-treated parchment, or thick tomes. However, because they must note incredibly detailed three-dimensional information on a two-dimensional sheet of parchment, their symbology is complex and arcane. Using one correctly takes a DC 15 Intelligence check for non-natives unfamiliar with the Plane of Earth, which can be retried only after getting lost due to the bad direction. A native or someone familiar with the Plane of Earth and tunnel geography can reduce the DC to 10, and need not make a check for a route they've used before.
Note that the tunnels change with new excavation, erosion, and collapse, so a tunnel map that is more than a year old is dangerously out of date. There are magical tunnel maps, which can have a number of features. They can be made substantially easier to use (DC 10 if unfamiliar or for the first check on a similar map for a native, auto-success if one has been successfully used before by one familiar with tunnel maps) by making them change the features they display to match what the user is looking for, or by displaying a three dimensional illusion of the complex, or both. They can be made to update themselves in areas they are brought through via Prying Eyes, Commune With Nature or similar spells. They can be compressed to a single sheet of metal by using stacked Secret Page effects, which also allows a user who knows their full set of command words (DC 15 Knowledge (the Planes) to understand the index, if it has one) to use them easily. All of these are available as minor magic items. Some extremely powerful dao forgo tunnel maps and instead use tunnel compasses, which are crystalline orbs filled with water in which floats a needle that points in the right direction, as a Find the Path spell that can only find places, sometimes only on the Plane of Earth (a major magic item).
Additionally, certain areas of the Great Dismal Delve have extensive networks of mine cart tracks. These are used to transport ore, debris, equipment, and even workers over long distances. If the tracks are kept repaired, then following them will invariably lead from some point A to some point B, and avoid caved-in areas besides. These tracks, though, rarely lead to where an adventurer will want to go.
Negative Energy PlaneEdit
Alright, the Negative Energy Plane, possibly the most confused plane in all of D&D. It's environment at least makes sense, but I'm talking about the way it relates to everything else. Since this is the source plane for Undead Fuel, it got tied up with the mix-up on undead morality. It's either a dangerous place that leaks danger over the entire multiverse, or the ultimate source of all evil. Every writeup ever of the Negative Energy Plane has assumed Playing with Fire, though, and for good reason. An insideous evil that permeates and corrupts things works great, but a place that is made entirely out of evil energy and isn't Hell doesn't. So the Negative Energy Plane is more the home of decay and collapse than anything else. Negative energy makes things fall apart and crumble to dust. The plane itself has already almost entirely decayed down to a background void, with almost all solids in it being brought in from elsewhere.
Gravity on the Negative Plane depends on location. Large stable solid objects cause Objective Gravity toward themselves, usually. Some areas, such as Voidstone Fields, have no gravity. The vast majority of the open void has Subjective Gravity. Note that in subjective gravity and the strange psuedo-atmosphere of the negative energy plane, it is possible to reach incredible speeds and cross titanic distances in surprisingly reasonable amounts of time. You can fly the distance between Earth and Mars when the two are on opposite sides of the sun in five days on the negative energy plane. Also of note is that the directions to Neverland (Third star on the left, and straight on 'til morning) are completely reasonable directions, and represent another planar bubble that is about 2 million kilometers away. Like all regions of subjective gravity, going "towards" a point will automatically have you accelerate continuously to the halfway mark and then have acceleration away from it for the rest of the journey, so you never ram into anything at relativistic speed; it's impossible to put oneself on a high-speed collision course, although a spiral is perfectly feasible.
The Negative Energy Plane has no natural light sources. But the void doesn't dampen lights that much, so bright light sources can be seen from incredibly far away. Not that it helps when you're in the void; occasionally someone is sillouetted against the starfield, but for the most part you are in, effectively, total darkness.
The Negative Energy Plane is mostly an empty void. There are occasional locations where voidstones form, and occasional locations where imported material is used to build a fortress, prison, or even city. The Negative Energy Plane has no apparent distinct regions in it to match the seas of the Elemental Plane of Water or the strata of the Elemental Plane of Earth. It's an undifferentiated mass of the primal essense of entropy. It actually resembles the real universe pretty well, in that its mostly a void that will kill you. Except for the parts that are being refreshed through links to other planes, and the part where the plane is suffused with an energy that is actively harmful to life, it resembles the post-heat-death universe quite well: the void of space isn't going to notice the heat death of the universe, but the interesting places will fade into it.
One important thing to note is that the planar atmosphere of the Negative Energy Plane is not breatheable. It's not really an atmosphere; it's the decay of the place surrounding and pressing in on you. It's not toxic (except for the negative energy effects), and its pressure is sufficient to hold people together, but travellers to the negative energy plane must bring their own air or do without. It also doesn't produce any kind of drag, nor does it transmit sound. Some constructions on the plane have their own magic to recycle air.
The second most hospitable regions on the Negative Energy Plane are doldrums, areas where the plane is a little less deadly than normal, having only the minor negative dominant trait. These areas are, for the most part, fixed in place but not in extent; while doldrums, in general, remain in roughly the same place over thousands of years, they have been known to shrink and expand quickly and without warning. Doldrums have the minor negative-dominant trait. Those who come to the negative plane for whatever reason often build their fortresses in doldrums, unless they don't expect or want to be visted by anything but undead or constructs who are immune to the effects of the plane due to their artificial nature. Undead, see, aren't simply energy-reversed versions of living creatures; they are (usually) artificial beings that draw on a limited amount of negative energy. This isn't always so for naturally-occurring undead, so sometimes even if the plane turns someone into a wraith it will flood the wraith with death until it explodes in a flash of darkness. Xeg-yi energons and similar native species are also simply outright immune to the plane's harmful traits.
There are a few areas where other planes leech or bubble into the Negative Energy Plane. Leechings of the elements are also common, but often twisted by the Negative Energy Plane, forming clouds of poison gas, choking dust, salt, corrosive liquids, and so on. These leechings generally have directional gravity at the same strength as their source plane. Leechings of the Plane of Shadow are also not rare, forming islands of shadowstuff, and in them the energy of the plane itself is dimmed; they only have the Minor Negative Dominant trait. Sometimes even complete bubbles form, giving (sometimes) habitable areas that are almost indistinguishable from their original plane. These areas are often inhabited by something, either natives to the bubble's origin, refugees shunted into the negative plane, or undead, as they're the only real estate of interest in a vast emptiness, and yet are astoundingly easy to find.
Like the Dungeon Master's Guide says, Voidstones totally exist and form death fields. One important point, though, is that they have no effect on things that don't naturally tend to decay or that decay very slowly, which makes them (to an extent) workable, and hence useful as weapons. An iron chisel might rust into nothing, but one made of granite can generally be used for a few strikes at least. A gold bracket can hold a voidstone in place indefinitely. Also, unworked Voidstone steals souls; a creature consumed by a Voidstone has their soul trapped in it, although worked Voidstone lacks these properties. Eating that soul requires shattering the voidstone, and using the soul in an item requires either carving the voidstone down to gem size or making the item out of the voidstone. For these reasons, Voidstone is valuable as planar currency; a Medium chunk of Voidstone generally goes for about 20,000 GP and weighs about 320 pounds, and each size up multiplies the price by four (Small Voidstones can be wished into existence). Any voidstone used in trade is gold-plated. A Voidstone can be split into four Voidstones one size category smaller, or can be used to make a single weapon with a striking surface one size category smaller than it (a Spear of any kind has the same size striking surface as a dagger). Using it more efficiently is impossible due to its brittleness. Any creature or object (with the exception of objects made of gold or similarly stable substances) hit by a voidstone weapon must make a DC 25 Fortitude save or be annihilated, but need not make more than one save per round. Note that working Voidstone in the presence of anything not gold-plated runs the risk of destroying it by flinging fragments.
The Negative Energy Plane is inhabited primarily by undead, especially Nightshades and Devourers, and Xeg-Yi energons. The native energons don't build settlements, instead simply living on planar energies. The undead are non-native, instead leaving the material for the Negative Energy Plane to set up bases from which to attack the Material and Elemental Planes. Many of them build cities out of imported material, whether from their native planes or taken from the other Elemental Planes, especially Earth and Fire. Also, planar bubbles can be settled by anything, typically natives of their origin planes. Indeed, Material bubbles look a lot like the real thing. It has all the same planar traits as the material, and the sky is an utterly hostile black void filled with tiny lights, just like on the material. And the lights in the sky are just like what ancient people thought about them: some of them are very large and far away (like Elemental Fire leechings that function as stars), and others are more modest light sources that are more reasonable distances.
There are a few settlements based on voidstone resource exploitation. These settlements are often not involved in the wish economy themselves, trading voidstone for access to wishes. They use special divination items and spells that they fiercely protect (as these items are their entire livelyhood) to make the normally difficult to find voidstones and voidstone fields easier to locate. The dangers of their trade has an interesting effect, where, although gold is plentiful (genies will trade large amounts of the stuff for things they really want), the rich and powerful eschew its use in ornamentation; a stonecarver's workshop might have every single wall gold-plated on the inside, but the queen's banquet hall might not have a single gold candlestick or goblet. This is because of gold's enormous usefulness as a tool of craft; the queen would not want her banquet hall to look like a lowly carver's workshop.
News and trade goods spread quickly on the Negative Energy Plane because travel is so easy. Anyone who can fly the few hundred feet it takes to escape their home gravity well, and survive the void, can travel astronomical distances in a few days. Hearing news from something that happened a million miles away yesterday isn't exactly uncommon, if it's interesting enough; after all, a million miles away is just the next town over.
Although most settlements are light sources of some kind, making them fairly easy to find and to get to (if you can get out of your local gravity well), some aren't. These are called "Castles Perilous" by the locals. Turning out your lights is pretty much a declaration that you under no circumstances want visitors. After all, without giving off any light, you're basically about as findable as any rock out in deep space is in the real world. The only ways to find one are to happen to see them passing in front of a light source or to shoot one's self off into the void looking for the automatic deceleration that accompanies moving towards a real object - and even knowing that second one is an option requires the kind of math you'd need a Knowledge (Planes or Engineering) DC 25 test to do. Most of these are populated by undead, and in the middle of incredibly dangerous areas, as a further deterrent against uninvited guests.
None; the Undead on the Negative Energy Plane are not unified, and nothing else on the plane is even capable of building an empire. There are a few large undead cities, though.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
Whether or not the Negative Energy Plane has sources and sinks is deliberately left as a mystery, as is whether or not people would actually recognize its sources and sinks if they saw them. It might even be a sink on the entire multiverse, who really knows?
Special Site: The Champion's PrisonEdit
Floating in the Negative Energy Plane is an adamantine Castle Perilous, protected by wards of magical force, in the middle of a voidstone field. The castle is occupied by a guard of undead, all of which are immune to the effects of this negative energy, who have been guarding the castle for centuries, their creator long-since dead. The castle also is mobile, and will, once it knows it has been found, move, preferably to another voidstone field, without warning. It has a number of lead-lined vaults warded against scrying and teleportation in its inner chambers, most of which are empty. Three, however, are of interest, holding creatures in Temporal Stasis. One holds an Aasimar Paladin, one holds a Planetar, and one holds a Babau. All of them were enemies of the castle's creator, defeated and imprisoned.
Special Site: Eye of DecayEdit
Eye of Decay was once an enormous "ship" made of carved stone, set to float through the Negative Energy Plane. In those times, it was called the Voidseer, and was on a mission of exploration and research. It was uniquely suited to the voyage, as its walls were able to turn the inside into a comfortable planar bubble. All good things must come to an end, though, and the Voidseer was not unique in this regard when it had a Voidstone driven past its defenses when attacked by a group of undead. Its crew were then transformed, en masse, into wraiths and wights, and its motive powers were smashed.
Since being set adrift, further undead have come to the wreck, inspired to use it as a base of operations. Except for the breached area, most of the wards are able to keep the strength of the negative-dominant trait to minor within the ship itself, and even completely suppressed in some areas, and it has been built into a thriving undead city; although the undead don't give birth, they're also immortal, so that's moot, and an environment that produces nothing is perfect for creatures that have no needs. Areas with no negative energy are used as mortal farms by the various feeding undead on the ship. The ship itself is divided into a number of factions with different goals, and the relatively indestructable members of each faction are willing to fight eachother over it. They are not entirely turned to the inside, however; a trickle of undead refugees come in, and many undead use the ship as a safe base, travelling out to hunt on the Material, then returning with their profit to the ship. It's not impossible for one faction to overcome the others through politicing and force at any time, either, giving player characters another reason to invade.
This undead city is also important, as the explorers had a number of since-lost divination methods, giving them elaborate maps of the negative energy plane, including detailed and accurate predictions of things' orbits (though not the orbits of disturbed objects). This ship tracked everything, not just lights, but also every single Castle Perilous and Voidstone Field that the ship passed by. The way they did it was completely lost when a vampiric minotaur killed the last of the explorers and feasted on her heart a few hundred years back, but they did leave notes. All over the city, there are books filled with page after page of descriptions of the size, shape, and location of various objects in the void. There are a lot of adventures there: some books are useless without other books in the same series; some books are the possessions of hostile undead gangs that either do or do not know how valuable they are; and many books detail the locations of items and structures that are themselves interesting and valuable adventuring locales.
Special Site: Mount AshenEdit
Mount Ashen is a mountain-sized leeching from the Plane of Fire found in the middle of an enormous doldrum. Near the mountain (within about 100 feet), gravity is directed toward the mountain. The ash is nowhere near as solid as the ashen ground on the plane of fire, crumbling underfoot and kicking dust into the air when stepped on; it has, itself, succumbed to the entropy of the plane that surrounds it. The negative energy has not permeated entirely through the mountain, however, and, if one digs deep enough, solid enough ash to use as a foundation can be found. The mountain itself is not at all shaped like a mountain under normal gravity, instead rising out in every direction from its center, with smaller mountains themselves rising off the sides of mountains in every direction.
Despite its firey origins, however, the ash is quite cold. It is, however, inhabited, mostly by undead, although with no semblance of unity, merely a few scattered outposts, dungeons, and abandoned ruins, still guarded by their bound minions.
Positive Energy PlaneEdit
If players think of the Negative Energy Plane only as a dangerous place to stay away from inhabited only by undead, the Positive Energy Plane is worse. It basically exists to be an opposite to the Negative Energy Plane, and is an environment as hostile as the Negative Energy Plane to the living, and more hostile to the undead. So you avoid it, and there aren't even any interesting villains that come from it. Your Cure spells nominally tap into it, but you don't care where they come from. If it wasn't a counterpart to a more interesting plane, it would be a waste of space. Leaving a plane as a waste of space won't do, so the Positive Energy Plane needs a purpose: it's the plane of unchecked growth, a rampant, wild place. Not in a way like the Plane of Wood, which is the plane of gigantic plants; here, everything grows uncontrollably.
The Positive Energy Plane supports life, but not the obvious kinds. Most life on Earth is microscopic, and the Positive Energy Plane is no different. It feeds life that grows unchecked, pushing, stretching, and breaking the limits of their environment. It is the plane of overconsumption, algal blooms, and cancer. When you die of being overflooded with positive energy, you don't explode in a burst of light unless you're in a burst cluster; you contract an instantly-terminal case of explosive cancer of the everything. It can be controlled, though, since benign growth processes are able to steal positive energy. This means that people travelling through the Positive energy plane often do so while furiously slashing, flagellating, burning, or otherwise mortifying their own flesh to ward off the plane's ill effects. This works quite well, but leaves travellers covered in huge masses of scars.
The Positive Energy Plane is much like its opposite. Gravity is subjective except in the most extreme areas (like burst clusters), where even force of will cannot impose gravity on the plane, or near stable objects, where gravity provides a common "down" toward the object. Like all regions of subjective gravity, going "towards" a point will automatically have you accelerate continuously to the halfway mark and then have acceleration away from it for the rest of the journey, so you never ram into anything at relativistic speed; it's impossible to put oneself on a high-speed collision course with anything that is not moving or moving in a straight line, although a spiral is perfectly feasible.
The Positive Energy Plane is brightly lit from every direction at once. Anything more than 60' away is washed out by the light and impossible to clearly see, even outside of Major Positive-Dominant areas. Characters with Low-Light Vision have their sight range cut to 30' until they can adapt, which takes about a day; creatures with superior low-light vision suffer a correspondingly greater division.
The Positive Energy Plane is an extremely hostile environment. While it pulses constantly with the raw energy of life itself, it follows the strategies of the most numerous and original life forms, inimical to life on any larger scale. Single-celled life is encouraged and even nourised by this plane, to an extent, while anything larger is harmed by those very same forces. Indeed, anyone exposed to the positive energy plane unprotected (any major-dominant areas at all, and living in an edge zone can have the same effects even if you never venture out of it) generally must recieve Remove Disease, Break Enchantment or Heal spells afterwards to avoid the plane's slower-acting and less explosive carcinogenic effects.
The Positive-Dominant trait has the same effect on Undead as the Negative-dominant trait does on the living. This isn't mentioned at all in the DMG, but the alternative is really, really stupid. Undead are vulnerable to negative levels caused by being on a Major Positive Dominant plane, but aren't turned into anything else if killed by them; they just explode. These "positive levels" can't be used to add virtual levels to anyone else, either. Magical creatures, like Ravids and Xag-Ya, native to the Positive Energy Plane never get temporary HP from it except in burst clusters, or cancer from it ever.
Like the Negative Plane, the Positive Plane's atmosphere is equally unbreathable and frictionless, and does not transmit sound. For some reason, though, single-celled life, regardless of its environmental requirements (oxygen or lack thereof, food, water, and so on) is nourished by some parts of this planar medium, leading to truly large bacterial colonies, algal blooms, and so on, scattered throughout the plane and destroying eachother. It also has areas that only have the minor positive-dominant trait, called Edge Zones, which remain in one place, for the most part. However, the major force of the plane is known to surge into or recede from an edge zone suddenly, drastically changing their shape and slowly dragging them along.
The Positive Energy Plane has another unfortunate side-effect that the Negative Plane does not. Certain areas on the Positive Energy Plane animate objects brought into them. It is this power that the plane's native ravids channel (or possibly create). These areas are usually spheres of up to a quarter-mile in radius, though stranger shapes and larger areas have been found, and animate one object per round, for as long as the object is in the area, plus 2d6 additional rounds, although some are more or less persistent. Animated objects are hostile to anything but other animated objects. Some of them have a preference for what kind of object they animate, with the most common preference being to animate once-living objects, such as those made of wood, bone, or leather, although areas with a preference for metal have been found. Animating regions are often migratory, wax and wane in size, and seldom last for more than a few months.
Bubbles and leechings on the Positive Energy Plane are similar to those on the Negative plane; leechings are simply lumps of inanimate elements, while bubbles make interesting real estate. However, while a material bubble in the negative plane is indistinguishable from a haunted part of the actual material plane that is having the night of the space zombies, bubbles in the Positive plane are easier to distinguish. First, there's the fact that the entire sky is a brilliant glowing white; the Material Plane doesn't that doesn't have that. It's not sunlight, since the atmosphere splits that up into the direct red-yellow-green light and the scattered blue light, although it's as bright and in a similar balance of colors. It's more like a day that's bright and overcast at the same time. The entire sky is like the part of it a few degrees away from the sun, with both behind a cloud. But, in all, these bubbles are more peaceful than their counterparts on the negative plane, for two reasons. First, there are no undead in the void. There are constructs, who aren't as aggressive, and there's gray goo, which is mindless, but there's nothing malevolent. Second, things are harder to see. This means that going for help is harder, but also that fewer things are able to come looking for you.
There is precious little native macroscopic life, mostly things like Xag-Ya Energons and Ravids, none of which form civilizations. Unlike the Negative Energy Plane, which is not only habitable but actually hospitable to undead, the Positive Energy Plane is inhospitable to almost everything. Constructs, being creatures of neither growth nor decay, however, are safe in the Positive Energy Plane, and so it has accumulated a great deal of them, including mindless constructs sent by accident or with badly-worded commands and lost, and even a good many sapient constructs who seek a refuge where no others can find them, for whatever purpose they have. Settlements are usually small groupings of like-minded beings that have found a place that they can put their stuff down in.
A few creatures live on the Positive Energy Plane as nomads, eating the ooze that the plane produces and travelling between bubbles and edge zones whenever one is about to collapse or has its resources consumed. It's a hard life, and they're always on the edge being wiped out by the plane, but nonetheless they survive. Their camps can often be the best places for an adventurer to learn departure angles that lead to places you might actually want to go, and, in good times, to take on provisions. Nomads typically don't have very complete maps, instead sticking to a few places they know are usually safe.
Some non-natives come to the Positive Energy Plane to exploit its special resources. They often make extensive efforts to control the energies of the plane, either to keep them out or to channel them to some purpose, like to regenerate flesh or to animate constructs. Their settlements are often temporary affaits, built to be used and then abandoned.
The Positive Energy Plane has no plane-spanning empire, and so lacks a Planar Capital.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
Sources on the Positive Energy Plane are called Burst Clusters. These are storms of intense power. A burst cluster's energy works on an even finer scale than the bacteria that normally thrive on the plane, and is fatal even to them. A cluster can range anywhere from a thousand feet to several thousand miles across, and generally has about one burst per round per hundred million cubic feet. That sounds like a lot, but it's just a cube five hundred feet on a side. Also, except for the bursts, there's no way to tell the inside from the outside of a burst cluster. Burst clusters can give natives temporary hit points, and creatures that they kill do explode in bursts of light instead of bursts of cancer. Burst clusters form suddenly, vanish, and migrate; they behave in many ways like real storms do. The lack of gravity in a Burst Cluster, and the large size that some of them have, can make them incredibly dangerous; a group of travellers who suddenly hit a burst cluster are left in a dangerous storm with no steering.
Strangely, no sinks have ever been documented, nor does anyone know what one would look like if they saw it. The positive energy plane may be a source for the whole multiverse, with its net sinks on its negative counterpart. The question of what is true here is left as a mystery.
Special Site: City of AxelEdit
Constructs who manage to escape their masters often flee to seek refuge on the Positive Energy Plane, an environment hostile to everything. Some of these constructs find a refuge in the City of Axel, built on a large leeching of the Elemental Plane of Earth; the constructs, with their superior strength, are able to survive the heavier gravity of this leeching. The natural glow of the Positive Energy Plane has transformed some of the earth there into gemstones, which the constructs gather and guard. Axel itself is made of carved stone and bricks, as well as a number of tunnels into the island. With building material scarce, the constructs have strict laws to protect it. Its inhabitants include a variety of different kinds of constructs, including Awakened golems, Nimblewrights, and even a few rogue Modrons and Inevitables, as well as a substantial contingent of unique and rarer constructs and more than one intelligent magic item. There's a substantial embassy for the Clockwork Horrors in the city, although few are as integrated into the rest of the city as others are, instead trying to use it as a base to gather support for their operations on the Material, with limited success.
Undead creatures and sapient living creatures, except for elementals, plants, and the like, are not welcome in Axel, although the fact that Axel is located in major positive-dominant space and has no provisions for breathers deters most. Such creatures who make it clear that they come with peaceful intentions are allowed into the city, for a limited time, although the full wrath of the city will be brought upon them for any disruption. Another key point of their law is that the manufacture of constructs is strictly forbidden, with the exception of temporary Animated Objects. Mindless constructs are seen as slaves, and any who are accompanied by mindless constructs coming to the city are attacked on sight; while new sapient constructs are seen as a strain on the city's scarce resources, which would be better spent on refugees. There are few mindless constructs in the city, mostly rescued slaves or gathered lost constructs, and the city's mages work tirelessly to awaken them. The city of Axel is governed by a council of constructs chosen for a combination of insight, seniority, power, and political skill that meets for exactly eight hours every day.
On the surface, there's no reason you would ever want to visit this group of isolationist constructs in the worst place in the multiverse where only they can survive. However, these constructs are the only group with the resources and the inclination to map the positive energy plane at all. They know the bearings not only from Axel to a huge number of of bubbles, leechings, edge zones, and castles both active and abandoned, but also the bearings between many of those. Since navigation is impossible in the void (there's nothing to navigate by) without high-end magic, and being off by even a fraction of an arcsecond can leave you hurtling through the void essentially forever, these maps are incredibly important. With a map, though, crossing the positive plane can be as easy as crossing the negative plane. The constructs are defensively-minded enough to take charting every angle attack might come from, and everywhere they might escape to, very seriously, and they don't sleep, eat, or breed, so they have enormous amounts of time to do this in.
The other thing that these constructs have going for them is that a lot of them, before they escaped, were guarding or had been given powerful magic items. Sometimes this is even done deliberately, where an item is allowed to be dropped into the hands of the Axel constructs as a way of guarding it forever. So someone looking for a specific lost treasure would not do badly to look in Axel.
Special Site: Gray GooEdit
The Positive Energy Plane is a plane of uncontrolled, self-consuming growth. Some places in the plane are better at this than others. Gray Goo arises when a swarm of microorganisms, continually eating eachother, adapts the ability to eat anything (or the ability to grow to eat anything). Gray goo fields include several of clouds of gray goo, ranging from the size of a single square to 40-foot radius spheres. Any corporeal creature or object inside a Gray Goo cloud takes 10d6 damage per round (hardness and damage reduction do not apply). Living creatures are especially suceptable, taking 1d6 additional constitution damage. It is impossible to see through Gray Goo. Once Gray Goo consumes a creature or object, it grows by an amount equal to that creature's space, or the space a creature of the same size would occupy, for objects. Smaller swarms of Gray Goo tend to be irregularly shaped, while larger areas tend to be more regular.
Gray Goo can be destroyed; area attacks remove one square from the surface of the Gray Goo that they hit for each two squares of that surface in their area. It can also be dispersed, breaking up each square into Small chunks, which may reform or grow into their own massive bodies of Goo. Gray Goo can be carried only by magical force, as it will eat through anything else even if it can't derive nourishment from it. Also, Gray Goo brought out of the Positive Energy Plane dies in 1d4+1 hours regardless of feeding. It is this, more than anything else, that keeps Gray Goo from being weaponized to the degree that Voidstone is.
Special Site: The Lich's PrisonEdit
There are a number of prisons and vaults scattered across the Positive Energy Plane, since any way of getting there except directly teleporting there is essentially impossible. Building a castle in the Positive Energy Plane and then not telling anyone where it is and moving it every time anyone finds out makes it essentially unfindable, and over the centuries the Positive Energy Plane has become a dumping ground for all kinds of forgotten things. One such prison lies in one of the brightest persistent flarings of the plane. This prison is made of thick granite and surrounded by Dimensional Locks for more than a mile around and throughout the prison, and is guarded by animated objects and traps of all kinds. In a sealed vault in the center of the prison lies the gathered fragments of the phylactery of an incredibly powerful Lich. As that lich had split its phylactery and hidden the pieces well across several worlds, they could not all be found and destroyed. Enough, though, were found to force the lich to reform here, and only here. The entire prison is flooded with the plane's Major Positive-Dominant trait, and has runes to focus it, transforming the entire area into a burst cluster periodically. The phylactery itself cannot be removed without magic, which the prisoner is unable to wield due to centuries of level drain and no rest. The prisoner reforms periodically only to be annihilated again.
Plane of ShadowEdit
The Plane of Shadow is a darkened reflection of the Material Plane. Color is drained from the plane, leaving it a range of gray tones with only flecks of what were the most vibrant and deepest colors left, now faded to near-invisibility. Everything on the plane is distorted to look more menacing. It's also more inhabited than any of the Inner Planes. The Plane of Shadow is considered to be incredibly useful for two reasons. First, the planar material is highly shapeable, forming the basis for some of the most versatile spells in existence. Second, distances are also easily distorted on the plane, and one familiar with it can use this, and some magic, to cross vast distances incredibly quickly.
Unlike most of the inner planes, the Plane of Shadow is actually habitable to material creatures without harm. It is dark, however, which means that material plants won't grow. Shadow plants, though, will grow out off shadowstuff, feeding on the darkness; such plants are often edible, although also often poisonous. The plane has many shadow creatures, also, forming a number of flourishing ecosystems, not to mention civilization. It even has something not entirely unlike water flowing naturally through it, which can provide the same hydration as real water.
The Plane of Shadow has normal gravity.
The Plane of Shadow is lit with light leeched through from the material plane, mostly in tiny pinprick holes just big enough and common enough to fill the plane with shadows. Occasionally larger holes to the material plane, which one can see and sometimes even walk through (most are only visible or accessible on the Shadow Plane), form. Such holes appear with their colors and brightnesses reversed from the real, and are almost always in dark areas (making them bright spots in the plane of shadow). Even from a long way away, the light from these leaks can be seen, leading to a disconcerting effect. Leaks to the night sky (even when it's day in the corresponding place on the Material Plane) are not uncommon and can be seen from the ground, giving a sky full of ever-shifting stars in all the wrong places.
Artificial light brought in has all of its dimensions halved for normal illumination. That same subtraction is applied to its radius of shadowy illumination. Thus, a torch sheds bright illumination out to 10' and shadowy illumination out to 30', while a Daylight spell sheds bright illumination out to 30' and shadowy illumination out to 90'. Shadowy illumination isn't easily noticed on the Plane of Shadow, though, as that is the plane's natural lighting level for most places. Darkvision ranges are likewise halved for non-natives of the Plane of Shadow without the ability to see in magical darkness.
The border region of the Plane of Shadow is a twisted reflection of the material. Terrain is not exactly alike, although the most general maps are accurate; seas, forests, and mountain ranges are in mostly the right place, even if their constituent parts are re-arranged, or have new parts added and some missing entirely. Even the same mountain range on the Plane of Shadow won't be the same from one month to the next from a distance, or even one day to the next up close. However, at least in the border region, the mountain range will still be there, and will still be in roughly the same place as a material mountain range.
As a parallel to the Material, the Plane of Shadow is the most densely inhabited of any of the genie-inhabited planes, both by sapients and nonsapients. Shadow counterparts of beasts of all sorts, and unique shadow monsters, populate the Plane of Shadow. Settlements in the Plane of Shadow, however, do not usually parallel the Material plane. Indeed, Material settlements often have their parallels missing, or ruined, or simply abandoned, decrepit, and aged. Sometimes the shadow resembles an older or even a possible future form of the settlement, even one grown rather than destroyed, although this is rare.
Because of the way the Plane of Shadow changes constantly, detailed maps of anything but the smallest areas are not useful. Instead, walking along a path takes you through a series of "scenes," echoes of places on the Material Plane whose locations roughly correspond to your path, although some might be out of order (one of the many disconcerting traits of the Plane of Shadow, which is especially noticeable in built-up areas), and details of the places scenes mirror are different. Generally, anything reachable without leaving line of sight is in the same scene, but if you turn a corner, you could be somewhere completely else. Also, once you turn that corner, there's no guarantee that where you just were will still be there if you turn back; if you try and find another way, though, you can usually get back. Within a scene, people move at their normal speeds. Shadow Walk and similar spells increase the separation between scenes, rather than individual movement. Many scenes on the Plane of Shadow are inhabited by various shadow beasts, shadowy versions of material creatures. While only a few such beasts are dangerous, all are disconcerting, and it can be difficult to tell what is dangerous and what isn't.
The environment of the plane of shadow is made by shadowstuff, which takes a wide variety of forms. Shadowstuff tends to be even grayer than the rest of the plane, so dirt is a deep gray-black, water is almost uniformly black (still drinkable, for the daring), sandstone is gray, and so on. This is shadowstuff's natural color; it does not become any more like whatever it reflects if taken from the plane. Textures are also usually wrong. For example, many rocks are softer, brittler, or otherwise weaker than they should be, while water is almost uniformly much thicker than it should be, almost as thick as blood. The usual effect here is unnerving.
Additionally, the environment on the Plane of Shadow responds to peoples' minds, to an extent. Mostly, this takes the form of illusions (resembling Silent Image or Ghost Sound mostly, although Shadow Conjuration is not unheard-of and Major Image not uncommon) spontaneously arising on the plane. These images are often tailored to the traveller or group of travellers they are seen by, although they are not guided by a sentient force, merely reflections of their thoughts. They can be people known to them, or images of their memories, or anything of that sort. They don't crop up very frequently, and many can frequently travel to the Plane of Shadow and never see such images.
Some inner planes manage to leech into the Plane of Shadow. No-one knows how this happens, as they aren't supposed to touch anywhere else in common. Nonetheless, it happens. Most common is the Negative Energy Plane, which creates regions of minor negative-dominance, called Darklands; many of these regions appear either in deep shadow or in areas that have a heavy taint of negative energy in the corresponding material area. Shadow life still lives there, though, and life native to a Darkland is immune to, or even healed by, negative energy damage. Occasionally, the Positive Energy Plane forms leechings, which have the minor Positive-dominant trait and are brightly illuminated, although the colors on the plane are still drained out, casting an even stranger light than normal. These places are often settled, as they are prime places for life. Fire sites are likewise strange, being seen as giant white and gray blazes, with no apparent fuel and often no smoke, although when there is it lingers in a thick, stinging cloud. Earth, Water, and Air sites are more normal-seeming, and harder to distinguish from the shadow itself except by touch; without color, the shadow of earth and raw elemental earth itself look alike.
The Plane of Shadow has two major kinds of settlement. The first are the cities and towns of the planar natives. The Khayal genies build many of these settlements, although shadow versions of material sapient creatures, such as goblins or orcs, also build a number of cities. Khayal settlements will generally allow travellers to rest and trade, although you can expect to be ripped off if you do, since the Khayal consider cheating outsiders to be an honorable sport. Further, as long as fighting does not disrupt their town, they think nothing of allowing assassins after their guests. Shadow humanoid settlements are even more dangerous, as they tend to refuse outsiders entry outright, instead fighting until beaten into surrender.
The second type are the shadows of settlements in the material plane. These act like settlements, in that the terrain around them changes like settled land tends to do, and they grow, burn down, and rebuild. However, not every such shadow is actually inhabited, indeed, most are essentially deserted, which can have quite the unsettling effect. Those that are, are usually inhabited by shadow humanoids or by undead, sometimes reflections of living or deceased inhabitants, other times not; a shadow of a human city is as likely to be inhabited by shadow orcs drawn to lair in an empty city as by shadow humans cast by the living city, as likely to be inhabited by restless shades stopping their wanderings as by the ghosts of its inhabitants.
Planar Capital: The City of OnyxEdit
The City of Onyx was introduced in the Tome of Magic with a single paragraph. In fact, the entire Khayal race got far too little writing in the Tome of Magic for the purposes of a book about genies like this one. Seriously, if you take out the illustration, the entire section on the Khayal fits in just over a page. What we know about them is that they live in a place called the City of Onyx, think themselves superior to other Genies despite being of a lower CR, have been at war with the Jann off and on for longer than anyone except the Dwarves care to count, and like to lie to people who aren't Khayal. Since they're genies, if you catch them in a lie before it comes to fruition (if they deliberately lead you into an ambush, you only get to call them on it before the trap is sprung), they have to help you, or at least convince you that they are.
What's given about the City of Onyx is even shorter: It's a major trade city ruled by the Malik al-Khayal from the Grand Palace of Endings. That's a start. The capital of the Khayal genie empire is surrounded by decorative walls made of onyx bricks (and defensive walls of shadowstuff and magical force), and the Grand Palace of Endings is made from the same material, studded with black sapphires and pearls. Many of the smaller buildings are also made of onyx bricks, although many more are made of shadowstuff; major streets are paved with cobblestones layered with smooth onyx atop them, while minor streets are paved with a smooth, hard form of shadowstuff. As creatures of the wish economy, onyx is valueless to the elite of Khayal society, but they appreciate its aesthetic value. Necromancers plundering city buildings for spell components are punished harshly and arbitrarily, like any other lawbreakers in the city. Khayal law has a particular penchant for ironic punishment.
The City of Onyx proper sits on the coast of a sea in Deep Shadow, better to coordinate operations across the entire plane. It has far-flung districts lying across the Plane of Shadow, including in border shadow, and connected to the city by portals. The city has a lighting system of torches and magic lanterns, to a level of full torchlight throughout the whole city, giving a strange shine to much of the city. The city is also more colorful than the rest of the plane, thanks to the Khayal's magics, although colors are always subtly wrong, and light sources, especially, are always the wrong color. A torch flame, for instance, might burn in turquoise or fucshia. A Khayal Road connects to an outpost city parallel to a desolate stretch of coastline on the Material Plane; following this road always takes less than an hour, even though it crosses Deep and Border shadow. Other roads lead to other parts of the Khayal empire across both Deep Shadow and into Border Shadow, and this road network, which make travel through the Khayal Empire the shortest way to travel through the Shadow Plane, form the primary attraction for travellers to the City of Onyx. The City of Onyx is also the most portal-dense known area of the Plane of Shadow, connecting to many other planes and planar metropoli, even the other genie cities, although not in the open.
The most important cultural point every visitor to the city must know is simple: the Khayal are lying to you. While not even half of what they say are lies, enough of the important points are to make them entirely untrustworthy. They don't even always lie to personal benefit, and even tell lies that take much more effort than they're worth; lying is seen as much as sport as a means to any end. Second, they aren't lying to each other, for the most part. Their lies aren't because they have no ethics, but because their ethics don't apply to you. Combined with the telepathic powers inherent to all Genies, this allows them to set up truly elaborate conspiracies. A traveler can believe that the entire city is in on a conspiracy against them and be right about most of the Khayal they meet, although they may be in separate conspiracies. Some long-term residents manage to gain acceptance with the Khayal, over a period of many years; over decades, they then pick up cues that allow them to subtly warn Khayal off lying to them. No matter how accepted, though, the walled palace district is off-limits to non-Khayal, with a few exceptions, such as diplomatic delegations, none of whom are allowed free rein of the district or even to see most of it.
Besides the Khayal and their slaves, the City of Onyx has a wide variety of permanent residents. Some are shadow humanoids who have moved to the capital of the empire either as diplomats or as subjects. Others are even from the material plane, for a variety of reasons. Many illusionists move to the City of Onyx to practice their magic under the eye of the best teachers of illusion in the multiverse, provided a trustworthy one can be found. Because of the strange lighting and coloration of the city and its unique environment, it attracts an eclectic contingent of artists from the Material plane, some for inspiration, others for the community. The artists' quarter is little-visited by natives, although a few run shops catering to the artists, or buy their works, or join in their trade. Artists who don't try to participate in the city's politics are generally ignored by the various Khayal conspiracies. A few artists are even invited into the palace to produce works for the Malik.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
The Plane of Shadow doesn't have specific sinks or sources that churn out shadowstuff or draw things in to a void. However, the entire plane is in flux, with new scenes forming and old ones vanishing, while existing scenes steadily change. This flux is the primary way new shadowstuff is brought into existence and old shadowstuff is cleared out. Most of the time this is a slow process, but sometimes a scene tries to suddenly shift when someone is in it. This usually behaves as an Earthquake spell. At the end of it, the scene may be the same on the surface (take that in what sense you will), or it may have been dramatically changed, possibly not even corresponding to the same place and instead to another one somewhere nearby (within about a mile, usually). Such quakes also have a 5% chance of breaking Shadow Walk spells, requiring a new casting before the travellers caught in them can leave the plane (unless they find another way) or travel at an accelerated pace.
Special Site: The Cursed LandsEdit
The Cursed Lands parallels a region of the Material plane where a powerful lich ruled a generation ago before being defeated by a band of plucky heroes. While the Material region is now restored to productivity as farmland and inhabited by an influx of settlers from across a continent and run by several prosperous kingdoms, its shadow reflection has still not recovered. The entire region's shadow is a gigantic Darkland. Making matters worse, one of the lich's lieutenants retreated into the Plane of Shadow rather than be destroyed, and now rebuilds his forces there. The Khayal have retreated from the area, leaving it pretty much open to necromantic power grabs. Also, the places where it leaks into the material plane are still open, and are used to strike at the material plane from ground few reprisals can follow to.
Special Site: Temple of Twisted ReflectionsEdit
There's a temple in the Plane of Shadow, carved from shadow stone gathered by five heretics, each split from the clergy of a different god of Good. The temple complex is a fortress the size of a small town, with the main courtyard, a "chapel" building the size of a small temple in any other city for each of the five, and, behind all of this, a grand sanctum where the upper heresiarchs meet. The clerics of the sect get their power from somewhere, but the gods themselves proclaimed them heretics, and their teachings are obviously opposed. For instance, they preach that the way to honor a god of healing is to induce a need for healing in nonbelievers, and to show them what its absence can do. It is a warrior temple, and the warriors of the sect periodically go out to enact their heresies upon anyone they can reach.
Special Site: The Fading CityEdit
The Fading City is the name given by the residents of the Plane of Shadow to a city that formerly existed entirely on the material plane. Now, though, some entire districts of the city have fallen through to the Shadow Plane, and some hop back and forth at odd intervals. Even if a district has shifted over, finding a portal is usually simple enough. Occasionally, though, a district, or a block, or even a single building gets isolated on one plane or the other, left with surroundings that don't match and no portals. A market, for instance, might one day be shunted into the Shadow with just empty shadow around it, and an overgrown battlefield made of shadowstuff left in its place, and then the next day put back in the wrong place. The general trend, though, is for the city to be more shifted to shadow each year.
Unlike most of the rest of the plane, it's possible for someone to not even notice when they've crossed into the Plane of Shadow. The shadow of the city is draining the Material section of color, and is more colorful itself than the rest of shadow, so losing intensity of color doesn't give it away. Portals are often more subtle than they usually are (rather than appearing as blazing holes full of light and color on Shadow), and the city is almost constantly overcast on the material, and relatively well-lit on Shadow, so not even that can give it away.
The Fading City is on no major trade routes, and, in fact, does little business with any other settlements except its own outlying villages, including some pioneer camps on the Plane of Shadow. When it was founded, it was in the middle of a major trade route, but since then it's lost most of its heroes, and the trade route has become too dangerous to be profitable and is instead routed around. Some speculate that the city is fading precisely because it has so little contact with the outside world.
Elemental Plane of IceEdit
The Elemental Plane of Ice didn't make it in to core, and that makes us sad, because it's a cool idea for a plane. It was originally concieved as a Paraelemental Plane composed of the union of Air and Water, and then got a write-up in an appendix to the 3.0 Manual of the Planes, which got cut out when they were cutting that book down to make it into a chapter of the 3.5 Dungeon Master's Guide. It is an endless icy desert, colder than the darkest antarctic night despite the plane's brilliant glare. It has solid ground to stand on. The plane of Ice a lot like the Plane of Fire, in that the main thing people stand on is a bunch of continent-sized ice shelves floating in empty space.
Since it's not noted anywhere else easily available, it's important to note its planar traits. First, all [Cold] spells are Maximized and either Enlarged or Extended, caster's choice, at no cost of any kind to the caster. Second, it's a Cold-Dominant plane, which means that it deals damage like a Fire-Dominant plane (3d10/round), but it's cold damage. No practical amount of non-magical clothing can protect one from the literally bone-chilling cold, although thick walls and a good fire might. Also, hard things like metal objects become more brittle unless they're magical: they take full cold damage any round that they're banged against something. This bypasses their hardness and is not reduced by the normal object damage rules for cold damage. Magic items, adamantine items, and items made of Blue Ice or similar magic ice are immune to this effect, as is anything soft. Otherwise, attended objects don't take damage. This cold damage is as much wind as temperature, so places with very still air, like dungeons, do less damage, usually (1d6 to 3d6 per round in most cases). Sometimes warm weather that does less or no damage shows up. Some places are exceptionally cold and do more damage. It's also usually windy, although, fortunately, precipitation is only as common as on the material.
The Elemental Plane of Ice has normal gravity.
The Elemental Plane of Ice has lighting that always comes from above, and usually from one direction or another, although without a single definite source visible through the clouds or snowy winds. This lighting gets brighter and darker similar to how a sun might, except that it just dims in the sky independently of its movements. It is usually light out for somewhere between six and eight hours out of every twenty-four, although sometimes the nights get longer. The snow and ice reflect the light whether it is bright or dark, leading to glare hazards in some places during the "day" (DC 15 Fortitude save or be dazzled for one minute, saving again every minute while in the area. Particularly reflective places might have higher DCs or even threaten blindness for a longer duration). Calm nights, although infrequent, are truly spectacular, as the light reflected from the ice means that they are never truly dark. During blizzards, which occur frequently, visibility is cut to 5'; creatures 10' away have concealment and anything further has total concealment. In particularly windy or thick blizzards, visibility might be cut further, granting concealment or even total concealment (but still giving knowledge of which square a creature is in) at 5'.
The Elemental Plane of Ice is constantly in flux. The most solid ground is made of ice, packed snow, and permafrost. It is covered in jagged mountains that are built up by blizzards and as enormous dunes of ice over the course of months, years, or decades, then collapse in an avalanche that lasts all of five minutes. Weather temperatures are usually colder than anywhere on the material plane is naturally, and much of the plane is windy. The plane does have prevailing winds, and with them protected valleys and leeward sides of mountains, which are much calmer than the normal weather. Precipitation is universally frozen and not uncommon, in the form of snow, sleet, or hail; strong hailstorms are damaging, although exactly how dangerous varies (between 1d6 bludgeoning damage per round all the way up to twice the effect of the Ice Storm spell, on top of the plane's natural cold). Rare bouts of (relative) hot weather rise warm enough to melt seawater. The plane's climate also varies from place to place; in some places "warm" weather (meaning nondamaging or even just less-damaging) is the norm, not the exception.
It is not unknown for various forms of ice on the plane, especially snow, to start to run like water, only to refreeze. Running ice is still visibly ice, however. This causes icicle formations, and allows mounds of snow to pack into gigantic crystalline ice. This happens almost entirely randomly; there is little way to control how it happens, and it happens slowly enough to not usually affect most adventures unless they come across it while it's already running. It almost never happens on a large scale. It does, though, give rise to some large icicle formations. Because of the extreme cold, the ice on the plane is actually not too slippery, unless something happens to make it warmer.
Very little plant life grows on the Plane of Ice, and what does grow is almost unrecognizable compared to material plants. Nonetheless, stuff does grow. There are two main kinds of plants: those that are made of ice, which are basically ordinary plants with the Ice Elemental template. The others are plants that can simply tolerate the extreme cold, whether through their own nature or magic. Both kinds are rare, and most of the latter kind are scrubby plants. There are a few magically-produced trees with immunity to the cold, though, that have been introduced to and taken hold in the Plane of Ice. The Plane of Ice has its own elementals, and is inhabited by a number of material plane creatures native to cold climes, such as white dragons, remorhaz, frost worms, and cryohydras. The plane's unique plant life forms the basis of the food chain for such creatures in most areas, although links to other planes are not unheard-of.
Like the plane of fire, the plane gets thinner at higher altitudes. Unlike the plane of fire, though, it also gets colder, and areas of warm climate get rarer. Once one gets above the highest thick ice shelves, the air starts to thin out and condense in the cold, until, at the highest altitudes, there is only a thin atmosphere of uninteresting gases. Light also gets sparser at those altitudes. It's possible that there are ice shelves up at those heights, but there are few, if any, settlements there.
The Plane of Ice is mostly wilderness. Occasional settlements of Mephits, Marids, and even Djinn dot the plane. Material creatures are also common, especially Frost Giants, who have many towns spread across the plane. All native life to the Plane of Ice has the [Cold] subtype. The plane has a local breed of genie called the Qorrash, stats for whom can be found in Frostburn; their settlements are more common than Djinni settlements, but still infrequent.
Settlements of extraplanar creatures are usually based around heat sources; even with immunity to the cold of the plane, heat it still needed to make things, grow food, and so on. Such settlements fight a constant battle against the cold. Fuel for fires is highly prized, of course, and often other heat sources have to be substituted in. Every building, surface or underground, has a chimney, and most have thick walls made of ice bricks (usually) or stone, in the rare cases that it's available.
Qorrash are perfectly at home in the cold, and, like Djinn, don't eat and can create huge amounts of food out of thin air. So Qorrashi settlements are pretty popular places to live, even if leaving is nigh-impossible. In Planescape canon, most Qorrashi settlements are under the surface of the ice, since the entire (two-dimensionally infinite) surface was conquered by the evil Archomental. Yes, the whole thing, and yes, that's dumb. So the Qorrash live on both the surface and the depths.
Planar Capital: The Chiseled EstateEdit
The largest empire on the Plane of Ice isn't that of the Qorrash, but of the archomental Cryonax. Cryonax is either a giant tentacled yeti or an even larger ice paraelemental, depending on who you ask. He rules from the Chiseled Estate, an enormous fortress of ice that fills most of an ice shelf. It's substantially larger than most cities in terms of volume, but much of it is made up of monuments, defensive mazes, kill zones, and homes for out-of-towners, ranging from barracks for soldiers out on campaign to entire palaces for a single ambassadorial delegation, kept ready even when the ambassador isn't expected.
Of course, the Chiseled Estate also has markets where Cryonax's minions trade their loot, and merchants from across the planes travel, with connections to many other planar markets. Most of those connections, though, are heavily guarded because of Cryonax's paranoia. Guards and tolls, though, don't keep foreign merchants out of the market, and the permissible laws regarding contraband (nothing is, except Cryonax's secrets and goods stolen from his forces) draw them in.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
New planar material forms in sources in the high clouds over the plane's ground, and falls as snow, hail, and so on. The plane's weather makes this a near-continuous process, although by no means even. Some areas get a continual light dusting of snow, others get none for days at a time, and another might get a hailstorm that puts down a meter of new ice in three hours.
Planar material disintegrates off the plane by simply falling off the edge into the ether. Additionally, it is not uncommon for snow left melted for any significant length of time to simply disappear into the ether, possibly to the Plane of Water.
Special Site: Dragon's LakeEdit
Dragon's Lake is a lake on a high plateau on its ice shelf in one of the colder areas of the Plane of Ice, about two miles across at its widest point, and five long. The liquid in the lake is not water, however, and boils away well below the freezing point of any water. It is a vibrant electric blue in color. The air above the lake is not breathable, and will quench any fire that tries to burn in it. However, if the lake itself is boiled, it releases breathable vapors, and a burning object put into the lake will burn as long as there is fuel for it, although a fuel burns much more quickly. All fires beneath its surface that actually burn fuel do three times as much damage to their fuel (roll all dice three times), and twice as much to everything else. Any creature that takes fire damage due to, or increased by, a failed saving throw, while immersed or wading in this liquid catches on a fire that would deal 3d6 damage per round in air (10d6 while immersed). The lake is inhabited by strange creatures native only to the Plane of Ice, but resembling material plane aquatic creatures and plants. The lake's liquid also condenses onto nearby ice, rendering it slippery (like a Grease spell). Snow is less slippery because it is compactable, and merely becomes difficult terrain.
Dragon's Lake is named for the white wyrm that makes its lair in a large ice cavern complex on the coast. As a powerful sorcerer, it hoards a number of fire magic items to take advantage of its environment and to give it immunity to fire itself. The lake's shores are also inhabited by other creatures, including a tribe of Ice Mephits and even a small clan of Frost Giants, who fish on the lake in a boat made of carved ice.
Special Site: Uttercold FortressEdit
The Uttercold Fortress is in the center of a blighted part of the Plane of Ice where the vortex to the Negative Energy Plane leeches into the land. The ice on the edges of this area, a band about ten miles thick, is shot through with black and deep purple stripes and veins, and further in becomes entirely covered in an inky blackness. Within about a fifty miles of the fortress, half of all cold damage dealt by the plane (planar traits, weather, etc.) is negative energy damage instead, and all [Cold] spells cast are augmented by the Lord of the Uttercold metamagic feat for free. The area abounds with necromantic intelligences and forsaken graveyards. The fortress itself is carved from black ice and mithral, and is the home of a powerful cabal of necromancers. The motives and goals of this cabal, and their relation to the area's Uttercold, are deliberately left as a mystery. They may have been drawn to this uttercold, or they may be its cause. They may be using the area to power their necromancy, they may be storing an army for an assault on another plane, they may be hiding from something, or they may even be planning to take control of all of the multiverse's Uttercold.
Special Site: The Steam VentsEdit
The Plane of Ice has links to all of the other elemental planes, even the Plane of Fire. One of the most spectacular is the Steam Vents, where the Plane of Fire leeches into the Plane of Ice below the ground, forming a series of cavities of melted water and even steam. These break through the ice above them, on occasion, forming showers of steam (inflicting 1d6 fire damage/round to those in them, but suppressing the plane's cold damage; a steam vent generally lasts a few rounds before the ice beneath collapses again), and geysers.
In a castle of carved ice in the middle of all this, a tribe of Frost Giants makes their home. A Fire Giant lives with them, in the castle cellars, and together the tribe keeps the steam from erupting into anyone's home. They use the steam vents for defense, and use their familiarity with them to aid in hunting.
Elemental Plane of WoodEdit
The Elemental Plane of Wood was added as a bonus elemental plane in the back of the Manual of the Planes. Even though it doesn't actually fit into the elemental systems D&D is based on, or with the inner planes of previous editions of D&D, the third edition re-arrangement made room for it, and more than a few people like it. Plus it got a mention in the Dungeon Master's Guide for people making their own cosmologies.
So here's the Elemental Plane of Wood. It's a fairly habitable plane, as inner planes go, since the dominant theme there is plants and not, for instance, fire or death. The "ground" is made out of trees that grow out of eachother in arrangements that would make Escher's head spin, and is covered with every kind of plant life imaginable, growing and choking eachother out. Animal life is remarkably uncommon on the Plane of Wood, as its native elementals take a dim view of eating the plane's plant life. It's planar traits are remarkably similar to those of the Material plane, but spells that beneficially or neutrally affect plants (including Entangle) are extended and maximized.
Gravity on the Plane of Wood is normal in strength, but strange in direction; it points toward the largest nearby trunk or limb when outside. When inside, it generally bends slowly toward the originating trunk (in a limb) or the origin of the trunk (in a trunk). Trees grow out of eachother at odd angles, due to the strangeness of the gravity. Gravity near the bottoms of trees and the bases of limbs, though, generally is unaffected, sometimes for as much as 20 feet along the tree or limb. Small trees (less than about one or two hundred feet tall) do not generate their own gravity. Because of the way gravity works, many of the plane's trees actually have their thickest points well away from their base.
The Plane of Wood is lit by a light source that always appears to be just through the next several layers of leaves. The entire plane is dim, but bright enough to see perfectly well by during the day. This light source migrates, brightens, and dims, on roughly a 24-hour cycle, giving the plane "night" and "day." Days are much longer than nights on the Plane of Wood, but during the nights it's as dark as any night in a deep forest on the Material. A few parts of the trunks of larger trees also have luminescent nodules, which provide a constant source of illumination for other plants.
The Plane of Wood is made of trees, some larger than anything on the material plane, growing out of eachother. Because of the oddities of how gravity works, falling isn't actually a hazard unless you get away from the branches. It has all the plant life of thousands of material ecosystems, from forests to grasslands on the side of tree trunks, and very little of the animal life. Bees are the most common animals on the Plane of Wood, as they are considered by the plants to be harmless. The bees on the plane of wood are subtly altered by the plane, however, being more integrated into the plane's collective conciousness.
All plant life on the Plane of Wood is, in a sense, a single entity, albeit one constantly struggling with itself. All plants, plant creatures, and native elementals are aware of the presence and general emotional state (but not location) of all other plants, plant creatures, and native elementals within 200 feet, except for those that are specifically hiding. This awareness is not just knowledge, but feeling; feeling another's calm makes the plant calm, and anothers' distress is likewise echoed. Certain bee hives are also able to share in this awareness, but only at a hive level (individual bees do not, but the hive does). These bees will emerge to sting creatures they catch harming their plants. Harvesting anything more than ripe disposable fruit from plants causes them distress, bringing down the wrath of the plane on the interloper. But the plane doesn't have too long of a memory, or much ability to track people; if you're able to get away from where you did your damage without being seen, you're safe until you harm the plants again.
The Plane of Wood is greatly different from the other elemental planes. While the other elemental planes are simply random arrangements of elemental matter, the plane of wood is ordered on the smallest scale, as all living things are. Exactly what this means depends on your interpretations of the elemental planes and thermodynamics. If the multiverse is running down, then the Plane of Wood is either far from running down or is using other planes for fuel. If the multiverse is growing, then the Plane of Wood is one of the fastest-growing parts of the inner planes. Because of its complexity, wood might not even be a proper element, depending on what being an elemental plane means.
Every kind of plant creature, and even fungal creatures, native to the Material Plane has some representatives on the Plane of Wood. Even oozes grow here, although they are all either not harmful to plant life or live only in areas of blight and disease. Some vermin, such as giant ants and termites, also make their homes within the trees of the Plane of Wood, finding themselves in a constant war with the native plant life to carve out a settlement. Likewise, there are herbivorous scavengers that only eat dead plants. There are many tunnel complexes in the plane that were once giant ant colonies before being exterminated by the plants, or that starved after having killed the land. Predators are also accepted by the planar natives, but rare across most of the plane because there's nothing for them to eat.
If you stay still on the Plane of Wood, you will be overgrown. This takes too long for anyone to really notice while awake, but if you stay in one place for about four hours you become entangled. After about eight or nine hours you can't generally brush your way out and have to cut yourself out, which the plane tends to frown upon. Burial takes several days, and even then, you're mostly buried in vines and branches. Despite what travellers tales may say, even if you stay still for years you are unlikely to actually get absorbed into a tree.
Other elements leech in to the Plane of Wood on occasion. Water leechings form huge lakes in the cracks in the bark of larger trees, although most eventually seep into the tree, causing it to flourish if fresh or creating an area of blight if salty. Fire leechings are also noticeable, as they form massive brushfires that run along the plane, sometimes even scorching through the thick ground bark and burning entire limbs away. Earth leechings are quickly overgrown and integrated into the plane. The most commonly noticeable, though, are positive vortices, regions that grow thick, augmented by the Minor Positive-Dominant trait; some such areas also glow brightly, although the overgrowth in and around them usually masks this.
The Plane of Wood has regions where most of the native wood and plant creatures are dead, called "blights" or "scars." These tend to be the safest for non-natives, since you can usually get away with farming in them, if you can get the plants to take. Sometimes the decaying wood provides a fertile ground for new life, while other times whatever killed the last plant is still waiting for new plants. Revitalized blights, though, are often quickly retaken by the plane.
Most of the Plane of Wood is unsettled. The plane has no native Genies or other major civilized life, although some fey are native (but not enough to build a town), so all settlement is of non-native species. Their reasons for coming vary from settlement to settlement and individual to individual. Settlements are seldom made of wood, as the elementals take a dim view of cutting it, although some are made of still-living wood. Because of the way gravity works, settlements spread across multiple large branches are connected by ladders, rather than bridges, and gravity suddenly reversing on a ladder can be upsetting for newcomers (and their stomachs).
Because travel through the wilderness is slow, and gathering food is difficult, no two settlements on the Plane of Wood are the same. One town might be a group of elven exiles, and the next over could be a goblin fortress. One might be a circle of druids, bargaining with the plants for their food, while another has a farm and castle on a blight, and a third group can be nomads, on the run from the plane's wrath.
None. There are no plane-spanning empires on the Plane of Wood.
Sinks and SourcesEdit
The plants on the Plane of Wood grow constantly, and are constantly killed by choking, rot, or attack. Nearly the entire plane is a source for its material, and sinks show quite frequently in dead plants, and, especially, in blights, although they make up for this by working much faster, rotting away the planar material.
Special Site: ProsperEdit
Prosper is a village inhabited by dwarves in an abandoned giant ant colony. Having given up on mining due to incessent elemental attacks, they instead now tend the plants on the surface above their colony and fungi deep beneath, with a substantial contingent of druids to advise them on when the time to harvest is. Prosper is entirely self-sufficient, and is welcoming to travellers, even those hounded by the natives of the plane. They will allow such travellers to rest, for a time, and teach them the ways of the wood.
They retain what they can remember of their material planar ancestors' culture. Their ledgers are sparser, as good materials to write on long-term are not given as frequently by the plane of wood as can be taken from the material. Nonetheless, they still retain many dwarven traditional songs (some of which have mutated to their new homes, or changed in purpose; many mining songs, for instance, have become festival songs), and they also maintain variations on dwarven cooking and brewing adapted to the newly available foods.
Special Site: Amber BogEdit
Amber Bog is a site where a more acidic part of the Plane of Water once leeched into the plane and burned through the bark over the ground. Now the remnants of the acid mix with resin from the plane and form a thick, gooey bog hundreds of feet deep in places. The deepest parts of the bog have some large chunks of amber within them, but the entire bog is guarded jealously by shambling mounds and similar plant creatures. Still other parts of the depths have resin rising out of the plants, never healed after all this time, or possibly being constantly reopened. The amber here also preserves a number of species of insect with uses in magical research, and the amber itself may also have unique properties. The ground is difficult terrain at best, and liquid, or even sticky liquid, at worst, making travel difficult.
Special Site: SaplineEdit
The Plane of Wood is truly enormous, and the nourishment that they draw has to come from somewhere, which is usually quite far from where it is ultimately consumed. Saplines are the fastest way such nourisment is transmitted, and, as they rely on the plane's gravity traits, have no counterpart in material plants. They are massive tunnels; those smaller than five feet across are not counted as true saplines, and they range up to twenty or even thirty feet in diameter. All saplines have null gravity, despite the gravity outside of them, and draw the sap through them via an unknown force. They are all found deep inside their constituent trees, although parasite plants often send roots down to reach them. The saplines narrow and end in their originating plants' root systems, or sometimes in portals to other planes (such as Earth), and at the tops of their originating plants, where there is no more sap to distribute.
Sap is sticky and slow enough that all creatures in sap are counted as entangled. Other than that, it behaves almost exactly like being underwater. There is not much oxygen in this sap, so being able to breathe water nonmagically doesn't help. Creatures that get out of the sap are entangled until they can remove it.
← Previous: The Inner Planes