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The Inner PlanesEdit
For places that are supposed to be infinitely large several times over, the amount of page space dedicated to the Inner Planes in the core books makes us sad. They're supposed to be the embodiment or origins or whatever of the most common stuff on the Material Plane, but how they get from one place to another is left sorely lacking and shunted off to supplement books.
Crossing the PlanesEdit
|“||How far is it to swim to Bladereach from the City of Glass?||”|
D&D devotes a lot of page space to what planes connect to what, how those connections work, and so on, for a game where people can go from anywhere one plane to anywhere on any other in the middle of combat. Of course, they wrote up a lot about silver cords for astral travellers, when Astral Projection is a ninth level spell that most games won't actually see. They also wrote a Shadow Walk spell at all, and put it a level higher than Teleport. That's just inexcusable. Apparently, though, people were actually supposed to physically cross the planes at some point in their careers. That's cool, so let's give those some actual rules.
Crossing the planes takes three steps in most cases. First, you have to get in to whichever plane you're going to use to cross. This is usually the Astral or Ethereal plane, but sometimes you want to cross the Shadow plane to go to bizzarro world or just to skip over ground on the Material Plane. Then you have to cross the depths of the plane you want to cross. Finally, you have to get out and into your destination. All of these are difficult steps, but can be cut down to one by finding a direct portal. The Ethereal and Shadow planes will be addressed here; the Astral, because it's so different and has less historical connection to the Inner Planes, will be addressed in a later publication.
All three major transitive planes (Ethereal, Shadow, and Astral) have Border regions and Deep regions. Border regions are coexistent with some other plane (all three have borders with the Material, for instance, but there's also Border Astral next to the Nine Hells). In a border region, you can have a vague sense of where you are relative to the other plane (Ethereal and Astral even let you see into the other plane, out to a range of 60'); in a deep region, though, one is out in the plane, out of sight of any of its borders. However, to cross a transitive plane from one plane to another, you have to go through the deeps.
Entering Transitive PlanesEdit
Spellcasting is a remarkably bad way of entering a transitive plane to cross them. If you want to get ethereal, your choices are Blink, Ethereal Jaunt, and Etherealness. The first can't take you to the Deep Ethereal at all, all but the last put you back in border ethereal after a few rounds, and the last one is a ninth-level spell. Plane Shift is 5th level on some spell lists, and once you can do it you have no reason to walk. No, if you're going to try to cross a transitive plane on foot, odds are you're going to look for a portal to do it with.
Portals to get into these planes are fairly uncommon. Portals to the Ethereal Plane can be found, occasionally, as artificial constructions in biplanar buildings. These buildings are build on both the Material and its coexistent point on the Ethereal plane, and have a number of portals between rooms shunted just sideways from eachother. The experience can be quite disorienting, especially since many of these buildings also blur Ethereal creatures' ability to see onto the Material. They can also be found in the wilderness and in Faerie Realms, which will be addressed in the Book of the Wilds, although such sites are always home to some kind of guardian creatures, such as fey, elementals, or outsiders. Some can also be found in the deepest parts of haunted graveyards, providing a boon to ghost hunters, but such portals are always watched by dangerous ghosts.
Portals to Shadow are likewise rare. In civilization and in the wilds, however, they can be found in dark places. Such places must not only be dark, but they must have dark surroundings and yet be even darker. Many Shadow portals are also time-dependent, open either only during the night, or only for some time around sundown or midnight. A few are timed instead for sunrise, usually because they involve the shadow of something to their east. In a city, the cellars beneath an abandoned warehouse might hide a portal to Shadow in their darkest corner, as might a desolate blind alley forking off a little-travelled alley. In the wilds, a cavern in a valley shielded from the sun might have such a portal, as might a pit in a deep jungle where sunlight never breaks through the upper leaves.
A character who wants to find a portal usually can; if one is present in a wilderness, finding it requires successes on two skill checks using different skills out of Knowledge (Nature), Knowledge (The Planes), and Survival, all at DC 20. Survival works because animals instinctively avoid these portals, so going where they aren't is a pretty good idea. Different characters can contribute successes to eachother on these if they work together. In civilization, if a portal is present, it can usually be found with a DC 20 Knowledge (Local) or (The Planes), or Gather Information or Bardic Knowledge, check. No matter where they are, these portals are seldom guarded by more than an EL 7 encounter, and usually much lower; portal guards can also often be negotiated with, although some, such as Wraiths and Shadows, cannot.
Also, some classes get the ability to cast shadow walk at a level you might actually cast it. Those classes have an inherent ability to travel through the Plane of Shadow. If a shadow walker wants to make a more detailed exploration of the Plane of Shadow, they can simply dismiss the spell without returning to the material plane. This ends the effects of the spell, including its distance distortion, and leaves the walker stranded until she is subject to another shadow walk spell. Casting shadow walk on the Plane of Shadow only causes the distance distortion effect and allows the walker to breach through to the Material Plane from anywhere in border shadow (ending the spell).
Deep Ethereal is a weird place. Getting there from Border Ethereal is easy; you just will yourself there (a move action) for long enough, and you're there. Each move action you spend willing yourself into Deep Ethereal reduces the range of your sight (in Border Ethereal and Material) by 10', and the range at which you can be seen (as you become more insubstantial); after three full rounds, once you're invisible and incapable of perceiving Border Ethereal, you're in Deep Ethereal. While there, you can see Deep Ethereal out to 60'. For distances much greater than that, though, there is no such thing as direction or distance, only time and destination. Direction on the small scale still applies as a metaphor for destination; two groups seeking different destinations who meet will come from, and part in, different directions.
But, as soon as you're fully on the Deep Ethereal, you get lost. Getting back to Border Ethereal takes 1d10 minutes if you decide to turn back immediately, and each minute you spend searching sends you 1d10 miles in a random direction. Going to Border Ethereal for a different plane takes 3d6x8 hours and a DC 15 Knowledge (the Planes) check to find the right plane, and you end up within 5d% miles of your destination, halved on the Plane of Earth, doubled on the Plane of Air. Searching for a specific place in Deep Ethereal takes a DC 30 Knowledge (The Planes) check, rolled secretly (DC 15 if you've been there before), and takes 6d6x20 hours the first time, or 5d10 hours if you've been there before; the check can be retried once after 720 hours for a place that the seeker has never found, or once per 50 hours if they've been there before. One character can guide others, in which case they use that character's destination and time rolls, but only that character can make Knowledge checks to find a place. Finally, one can simply wander the Deep Ethereal. Regardless, after attempting anything, returning to the last Border Ethereal you have been on takes 2d6x4 hours, and displaces you 5d% miles in a random direction from your origin. Because the Ethereal Plane has no gravity, "up," "down," and combinations of those with the normal "east" "south" and so on are valid directions. Note that travel times given in hours do not include time needed to rest.
Deep Ethereal is devoid of creatures as it has nothing for them, so using the Survival skill to gather food and water is impossible. Most creatures there are travelling from one place to another, or are hopelessly lost. Ethereal Filchers and Marauders usually lair in Border Ethereal, as the Deep Ethereal has nothing that interests them and would drive them far away from their lairs. Ghosts, likewise, have no particular attachment to the Deep Ethereal unless that is where they died. It is a good place to hide, and so people with stuff to hide often put their demiplanes in it. Finding a demiplane, though, is rare enough that you can't just forage from them with skill checks.
Deep Shadow is a worse place than Deep Ethereal, being much more densely populated. It is, however, more familiar than the endless misty void of the Ether, and at least it has local food and water. It can be found, by those who seek it, quite easily, by simply travelling out of the more conventional areas of the Plane of Shadow in directions that only occur to those seeking deep shadow. A few minutes' travel is all that is necessary to find it, and, unless you travel far in Deep Shadow, a few minutes' travel is all that's needed to find one's way back. Once in Deep Shadow, though, the environments become even more extreme and dangerous, and bear no correspondence to anywhere on the Material Plane; rivers rage stronger, forests grow thicker, native life grows more alien and fearsome-looking, cliffs and mountains grow higher, steeper, and more impossible, with gravity-defying portrusions; a rock plateau of a whole square mile might jut from the side of a mountain with nothing supporting its furthest edges, for instance, and a shadowy darkness beneath it. Scenes (see the writeup for the Plane of Shadow) grow disjointed from one another, too, almost entirely, and there's no way to guarantee that you'll get somewhere, although willing it to be as you walk can help to find the path. Some regions of deep shadow are fairly stable in the scenes they contain and their relative arrangement, although even the most stable of these are rarely as stable as border shadow. Likewise, scenes in deep shadow can be much bigger than scenes in border shadow.
Turning back and going to Border Shadow after travelling to a destination in Deep Shadow takes a journey of 1d4+1 hours, and lands the travellers 5d% miles in a random direction from where they first entered Deep Shadow. Deep Shadow can also be used to rapidly cover distances on the Material Plane. This kind of journey takes 4d8x4 hours through Deep Shadow (counting time spent travelling for other reasons) to go anywhere on the same earth-sized planet, and then allows a return to Border Shadow to a random place 5d% miles from the intended destination; crossings between Deep Shadow and Border Shadow can also be made by way of a Khayal Road, maintained by the plane's Khayal genies. Such roads connect two specific points, at least one in Deep Shadow and usually one in Border Shadow, and always take 1d6*10 minutes to traverse. They cannot be built to connect any two arbitrary points, however; Deep Shadow apparently still has some correspondence with points on the Material. Further, only the Khayal know the secrets of building them. Deep Shadow has no holes to the Material Plane, and is as dark as a moonless, cloudy night. Finding a Khayal Road to travel along is a matter of luck or an adventure in and of itself
There are two major ways to get out of a transitive plane once you've gone through its depths. One is to find an opposite border, then to go through a portal from that border back into the main plane. The other way is to find a portal from the middle of the plane. The Deep Ethereal and Astral planes are full of portals (or, at least, have more of them in the void than they have anything else you care about); the Shadow plane less so. In the Ethereal plane these portals are called Ethereal Curtains; in the Astral they are called Color Pools. Regardless, they work the same way. They are naturally-occuring color-coded portals to other planes of existence, even those that don't directly connect to the plane they're on (there are Ethereal Curtains to the Outer Planes, for instance). Most of these are one-way portals, although a few are two-way. The Shadow plane has portals, too, called Shadow Wells, but they're much fewer in number and also not just floating in an otherwise-featureless void.
Border portals behave similarly on both ends, and are generally two-way. They are much easier to find on the Ethereal or Astral side, since they're hanging in a literal void, or on the Shadow side, since they're brighter and in more vivid color than the rest of the plane; thus, they can be found with a DC 15 Knowledge (The Planes) check if you need to look for one. Even on a failed check, animals and ghosts can also be followed or even tracked from the Ethereal plane, or shadow beasts followed on the Shadow Plane, using the same Knowledge (Nature) or Survival DCs in the wilderness. On any plane, simple blind stumbling can find them (1% cumulative chance per hour of searching, resets to 0 when one is found). These portals let out in similar places to the portals on the Material end. It's important to note that the portal isn't guaranteed to leave you somewhere that you would ordinarily want to be. For instance, Ethereal portals to the Plane of Air dump people on uninhabited cloud islands if you're lucky, and the open sky if you're not. Usually, though, they let out on a usual part of the planar terrain (on the ground in Fire, buried in Earth, and so on)
Alignments of the Inner PlanesEdit
|“||You say that I am evil because I cast evil spells. So, then, will I become fire because I cast fire spells?||”|
It's plenty clear that the alignment system, as a way of stating a character's morality, doesn't work. This section here is written under the presumption that a replacement system that replaces alignments like "Lawful Good" with characters aligned with specific planes. Such a system has not been completely written yet, but this section will ignore that. A complete system to do this will be included in the Book of Stars
While creatures aligned with the Outer Planes debate their complex moral theories, aligning oneself with an Outer Plane isn't the only choice available. Most creatures, in fact, align themselves with the Inner Planes. Most creatures are stupid enough that this works out for them. These alignments tend to have much less complicated moral theories, and more a set of survival strategies, instincts, and emotions that creatures aligned with them prefer. Very few sapient creatures even hold inner planar alignments; even Genies often align themselves with an Outer Plane. Sapient creatures with inner planar alignments aren't usually seen very highly by society, as many survival strategies given are in some way objectionable. Animals and Elementals, though, often have inner-planar alignments, to fit their simple minds. A few player characters or villains, of a more simple-minded or single-emotion bent, might also want an inner-Planar alignment, with Fire being the most common (the wizard whose response to every problem is a bigger fireball, for instance, is probably Fire-aligned). Alignments for the Outer Planes will be discussed in more detail in the Book of the Wilds, Book of Civilization, and compiled in the Book of Stars.
Elemental Plane of AirEdit
Creatures aligned with the Elemental Plane of Air travel; when an environment becomes unsuitable, they will leave. They tend to travel in large groups, although this is not necessary. They are not usually very ecologically sensitive, and the problems they flee are sometimes of their own making through, for example, overgrazing. Migratory herd animals, such as bison, migratory birds, and deer are common examples of Air creatures.
Elemental Plane of EarthEdit
Creatures aligned with the Elemental Plane of Earth handle hazards by simply outwaiting them, when they cannot overcome them through physical strength. This is most commonly expressed through hibernation, although ambush predators are also an expression of this strategy. Bears, who sleep through the winter when there isn't enough food, are a common Earth animal, as are spiders, especially those that rely on ambushes and traps to eat, and constrictor snakes.
Elemental Plane of FireEdit
Creatures aligned with the Plane of Fire consume. Unlike elementals, who need only consume for their own pleasure, most animals need to eat, even those not aligned with Fire. Animals aligned with fire, then, consume by surrounding, and devour most of what they can get. Pack predators, such as wolves and lions, are Fire animals, as are locusts. Pyromaniac mages are likewise commonly aligned with Fire. Fire is also associated with anger, so characters whose only emotion is anger may want a Fire alignment.
Elemental Plane of WaterEdit
Creatures aligned with the Plane of Water tend to hoard and steal, or be percieved as doing such. This includes both animals that simply gather trinkets for their nests and those who plunder others' for food or other necessities. Rats, squirrels, and crows are common "Water" animals.
Negative Energy PlaneEdit
Living creatures are almost never aligned with the Negative Energy Plane, which seeks the destruction of all life and collapse into entropy. Nonsapient undead and many free-willed undead, however, are aligned with the Negative Energy Plane. Even undead such as Vampires, who live hidden in mortal society, often align themselves with some interpretation of the Negative Energy Plane. This works out really nicely for them, since the principles that the Negative Energy Plane supports are simply to act like the undead generally do.
Positive Energy PlaneEdit
The Positive Energy Plane represents life and growth in an every-cell-for-itself free-for-all, dealing with dangers or competition by choking them out of existence. Almost no macroscopic creatures are aligned with the Positive Energy Plane. Instead, it is the domain of bacteria and cancers.
Plane of ShadowEdit
The Plane of Shadow is a plane of hatred and jealousy. While every shadow always follows one thing, it is always lesser, and, for that, it hates its origin, following whatever it is bound to and biding its time to strike. Animals follow this by targeting specific prey creatures and stalking them, striking at just the right moment and, until then, plotting. Panthers, similar felines, and poisonous snakes are all common examples of shadow animals.
Elemental Plane of IceEdit
The Elemental Plane of Ice encourages curiousity in its animals and manifestations. Just as the glacier reaches south, then retreats having left what it found, so do Ice animals. Confusingly, patience is also considered an ice trait almost as much as it is shadow. The big difference between the two is that Ice seems to ignore things while it waits, while shadow stews and gets angrier, although that isn't enough to normally create two separate alignments. Confusingly, it also encourages actively freezing things, although that's more something sapient creatures do. Many species of monkey are commonly Ice-aligned.
Elemental Plane of WoodEdit
The Elemental Plane of Wood is a plane of life, but also of sedateness. It encourages stillness, and overcoming dangers by simply overgrowing them. Most animals can't manage this, and most plants can't manage anything else, so that's what aligns with it. Funny, that.
Mephits and Genies: Society on the Inner PlanesEdit
|“||I don't have all day. Make your wishes and go.||”|
Society on the Inner Planes is on a greatly different scale from that on the Material. Genies, for instance, are beings of immense individual power, and yet they form societies where their members are as replaceable as any member of mortal societies. Societies of the Inner Planes also have a drastically larger power range. The weakest of elemental genies is twice as powerful as any mephit, and mephits are as much a part of inner planar society as Genies are.
Mortals are even further from genies in power than Mephits are, and are looked down on with a similar level of condescension. Nonetheless, mortals have been known to trick, outwit, and bind genies. Genies look on this as enslavement. Slavery of nongenies is common in genie societies, with the Dao and Efreet making it a basis of their society, Marid leaders turning a blind eye to it, and only the Djinn outlawing it and then taking advantage of their planar conditions to coerce cheap labor anyway.
Genie society also reflects their immense magical power. For example, Efreet can cast Permanent Image once per day. This means that the home of even minor Efreet will be garishly decorated in illusion to look like palaces; how much of your decorations are illusion is as much a marker of status as the size of one's home. This also means that areas of Efreet towns not meant for the public are blocked off with illusions; an Efreeti shopkeeper might have one of the walls (or part of the ceiling) of her store be an illusion, and make her home behind it, for instance. As another example, as all genies except Dao and Marids can fly faster than they can walk, and marids can swim faster than they can walk (same thing when you're underwater, which they are most of the time), most genies don't use the ground level of their cities' streets much themselves, reserving them for visitors and servants. This also means that, in the City of Brass, skyways over city streets are kept clear by law, since that's how Efreet get around.
Genies have immense magical power, and not all of it is available to them directly. They use a lot of tricks to get around this, the most common of which is bullying others into wishing for what they want. An Efreeti can cast Wish three times a day, but it has to have someone else making demands to draw them out. To do this, they use slaves brought into strict magical obedience, forcing them to make wishes. Efreet are not the only breed of genie with this power, and every kind has struck upon this ability, even noble Djinn, despite being rare among their kind for their ability to grant wishes.
As a side note, genies really shouldn't have Always alignments or Alignment subtypes. A Marid not a Slaad; they're made of water, not giant frog. They probably only have them because they're extraplanar outsiders who had alignment entries before those tags and alignment subtypes were invented (older editions just said Alignment: Chaotic Neutral for the Marid), and nobody wanted to think when porting those entries to 3rd edition. It's fully possible for a Marid to be of any alignment. Change the "Always" tag to Usually, or even Often, depending on how morally flexible your genies are supposed to be. Jann got to be Usually Neutral, since native outsiders get Usually alignments, and that's as good a precedent as any.
Inner Planar EconomicsEdit
The inner planes have many of the same economies as the material, but in different proportions. Very few creatures on the Inner Planes live in any kind of turnip economy. Elementals, while they don't generally have the possessions to interact with a gold economy, don't have the needs that drive them to interact with a turnip economy, so they don't interact with any economy at all. An enterprising Mephit can, if put anyplace more survivable than the inner planes, leverage its strength into gold by way of a few well-placed murders and robberies, and a gang or swarm of mephits can even Manage this in the inner planes; having no needs that might push them into the turnip economy helps, too.
Indeed, even though relatively few denizens of the inner planes are actually able to drag themselves into the wish economy (Genies are, after all, outnumbered by their slaves), much of the plane is there anyway. A Genie's servants, mercenaries, and slaves don't participate in the wish economy, but the genie has to get their pay, food, lodging, or whatever it provides from somewhere, or, usually, from nowhere at all. Even the lowliest slave in the City of Brass or Great Dismal Delve lives in the shadow of the wish economy.
But Genies can't make everything with their powers, and this drives them to a brisk, if often underground, trade in things they can't make. The City of Brass makes trading in such items with anyone except the Sultan and his representatives illegal, and then exploits their monopoly to rip off anyone who tries to trade with them, while the Khan of the Great Dismal Delve will just steal from you if you have a magic item he likes. None of the genies actually protect or enforce deals regarding such items, since doing so would involve getting their society in fights with beings powerful enough to injure it. So while you can trade major magic items in the markets of the City of Onyx, you can't expect the Malik al-Khayal or any of his agents to get involved if the person you were bargaining with tricks you with a minor item, or just stuffs your item into a santa sack and teleports out.
There's also a productive component to the genie economies. The fundamental material of the elements is raw chaos, and any that's found left over on the elemental planes is quickly gathered, although with most of the planes being unexplored and undifferentiated elements being uncommon on the more hospitable single-elemental areas of the elemental planes, much of the raw chaos is ungathered. Likewise, magic gems are as common on the elemental planes as they are anywhere else. Not only do the planes of earth and fire have gems beneath their crusts, but water has hoards of pearls, and air has gems forming out of the clouds, blown in the storms of the plane. The genies also exploit other sources of power that come their way. For instance, the efreet have a thriving trade in souls, although they conduct most such business in Finality (which can be reached by portal from the City of Brass).
Jann: Genies of the Mortal WorldEdit
Most talk about genies in this book focuses on genies that aren't the Jann. The Janni society doesn't really fit in with the societies of the genies on the elemental planes. They don't have a single leader of their entire kind, instead being divided into tribes ruled by sheiks and emirs. Talking about them as though they had a unified culture, social rules, or legal system is meaningless, since they don't. The main unifying feature of the Jann is that they mostly live in secluded areas of the Material plane where they won't be disturbed, and they're at war with the Khayal.
Those two facts are, naturally, connected. The Khayal have a huge advantage in their war against the Jann in that the Jann's planeshifting ability only allows travel to the elemental planes, which the Plane of Shadow is emphatically not (even though shadow is basically an element), while the Khayal can cast Shadow Walk. So the Khayal can gather infantry groups of ordinary Genies and launch attacks, then retreat beyond the reach of the Jann, while the Jann need powerful and elite spellcasters to be able to break into khayal territory. So, while the Jann may have once had a great empire (another excuse to fill the D&D world with ruins to explore), now they've been driven into hiding in the deserts. They're nomadic herders who cover much wider territories than they need to, because they're running from the Khayal. Their hiding oases are generally small enough that you can't find them on the Plane of Shadow unless you know what you're looking for on the Material, so Khayal scouts can't find them easily. Which is good for the Jann, because it means they get to live another day.
So now the Jann are divided into a bunch of tribes that occasionally meet to trade and intermarry, but are mostly scattered to hide from the Khayal. The war with the khayal actually pretty genuinely sucks for an ordinary Janni, since it basically means that occasionally a group of powerful shadow monsters come out of nowhere to kill your family and take your stuff for no discernable reason. Surprisingly, though, for people in such a brutal situation, the Jann are very hospitable to guests who aren't known allies of the Khayal, although they are very suspicious of all shadow magic users. This is because they need every ally they can get to survive the Khayal, and not because they often find themselves at the mercy of others' hospitality; their own magic takes care of that. It is not unknown for a Janni host, in lean times, to go without food so that their create food and water spell-like ability can feed its guests; custom calls for the highest-ranked Janni to set an example by doing so, and then for direct subordinates and those lowest in status (except children) to follow as needed. Nonetheless, Janni sheiks are often absolute rulers, in the same way as any other material-planar king or queen: none can stand against them without endangering the survival of the tribe.
Unlike the powerful genies of the elemental planes, mephit society is built on a survival basis. Mephits don't form into large empires, since they don't have the resources to do so. A mephit gang or swarm's primary goal, if not already controlled by something more powerful, is to survive and not get enslaved. A lone mephit has the same primary goal, and nothing to watch its back. They're among the least powerful of all of the sapient creatures on their home planes, and the least bright of all of the civilizations. They have an advantage, though, in their short generations, and their small size gives them an advantage in hiding. Further, like elementals, they don't actually need to eat or drink anything, making the entire plane open to them. In the planes of Water and Air, they still prefer areas with landmarks, so that they can scatter and re-congregate. Hiding places are useful too, and most space in those planes doesn't have any unless it has some obvious feature in it. Earth and fire have both more landmarks and more places to hide, with the Mephits take advantage of.
Mephits have two major origins. Some are born of other mephits through conventional sexual reproduction, while others are spawned fully-blown from the same storms that create elementals. Strangely, the fully-blown spawn are as mentally mature and aware of the dangers of their world as those who naturally grew up. Exactly why is left as one of the mysteries of the planes. One theory is that they're conglomerate reincarnations of dead mephits. Mephit children are only produced through normal breeding, and are fiercely protected by their swarm. Similar kinds of mephits (not just the same kind, or even same elemental subtype) can breed with eachother; the resulting mephit usually takes after one of the parents, but some exibit traits of another mephit species of the same subtype as one parent.
Elementals, genies, and mephits are common to all of the elemental planes, but, unlike the latter two, elementals don't have a unified society. Instead, they just are. Nonetheless, there are commonalities to all of the elementals that bear discussing. There are creatures, some might say gods, on each of the elemental planes, called Archomentals. Usually there's one good and one evil archomental, each aligned with one of the appropriate outer planes, living on each elemental plane. On some elemental planes (notably Fire and Ice), the evil one has killed or driven off the good, which is probably good for the game. Nobody cares about what goes on in the Temple of Elemental Good, after all, and an imbalance where evil is stronger is an adventure seed for any party, given evil's tendency to destroy the world. In some pantheons there are also elemental gods, such as Kossuth, god of fire, who live on the elemental planes, too, and outrank even the Archomentals. The pantheon given in the Player's Handbook is missing them, though.
Archomentals don't build huge societies any more than elementals do, though. Instead they each have a large group of elementals allied with one or the other who work to try to give one supremacy over the other. So, even with the most closely-allied groups of elementals, they don't have cities, or even regularly see more than a handful of others. Elementals, overall, are aligned with their inner plane, and the inner planes are neutral with respect to good and evil. This means that most elementals don't actually care about the Archomentals' plots. Most earth elementals could and do sleep right through that plane's archomentals having a major war.
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