View Full Version : My Baby 2 - The Cosmology of Iladrin

2007-12-05, 04:54 PM
These details are important for some other aspects of Iladrin, so I'll post them first.

Overview of the Cosmology

The Astral Cord:Each world on Iladrin is joined to the outer planes by two astral cords: one going up, the other down. Each takes the form of a wide, pulsating tunnel of gold and silver light, many miles across, along which travellers fly at tremendous speed. Travellers can veer as they speed down the cord, but they would be unwise to do so, as this can send them crashing through the wall of energy at the edge of the cord and into the Æther.
Each astral cord has two layers. One leads away from Iladrin and towards the outer planes, and the other goes the other way. Few travellers try to do anything about this: if they want to turn around, they simply wait until they have reached the end of the cord, than fly back into it. Only the gith races have managed to break the boundaries between the layers, and both the githyanki and the githzerai have built magnificent cities in various astral cords. The cities are balanced between the layers, and thus are spinning at a huge speed, which makes it difficult for non-gith to cope inside them.

The Æther: The Æther surrounds everything in the cosmology. If you veer too far while in the Astral Cord, you will fly into it. If you open a planar rip you will be sucked into it. Planeswalkers in Iladrin must always be careful, for the Æther is always a danger for the incautious.
The Æther is less than nothing: nothing refined into its ultimate state. There is no heat, no light, no sound, no gravity, no pressure, no time, and no life. If you enter the Æther you will simply fly in the direction you were travelling in when you entered at a constant speed: for all eternity. An unlucky planeswalker’s only hope if he falls into the Æther is to be defended against the cold and the dangers of exploding due to lack of pressure, and then cast – very quickly – a silenced spell that is powerful enough to get them back where they came from.
The Æther’s most peculiar trait is its effect on magic. It leeches away at any magical effect or item, and interacts with the drained magic to create æther elementals. The more powerful the effect, the more powerful and numerous the elementals. It is rumoured that, deep in the Æther, there are ancient artefacts, completely drained of power, which have spawned beings powerful enough to challenge the gods themselves. While the plane isn’t evil, any intelligent offspring of this trait usually are, due to their solitary and depraved existence.

No gravity
No time: a character that enters the Æther does not age, or feel hunger, thirst or any other bodily need. If he leaves, he simply returns to the time stream – he suffers none of the adverse effects that are incurred by leaving a timeless plain (see DMG 148).
Magically Morphic: Leeched Magic (see below) is the only thing that alters the non-substance of the Æther.
Leeched Magic: This is a trait unique to the Æther. Whenever a spell is cast here, the caster must make a caster level check (DC 20 + spell level). If it fails, so does the spell. The magic interacts with the Æther, and æther elementals, humanoid-shaped holes into nothingness which function as portals to the Æther when on another plane, may form. Magic items must make a Will save or be leeched according to their caster level. The stronger the spell or item, the greater or more numerous the elementals produced. Epic spells (caster level check DC 35) and artefacts produce unique effects if leeched. Some create swarms of Huge, Greater or Elder elementals. Some might create small numbers of primal elementals or elemental monoliths. The most powerful create beings of tremendous power, the most well-known of which are the Ur-gods Tyst, Yrl, Zak’k and Quar.
Empty: A creature or object in the Æther must make a Fort save (DC 31) (Edit: Upon entering and every subsequent half-hour)or explode due to the absence of pressure. There is no air in the Æther to breathe, and everything is silenced.
Trapping: If a creature dies in the Æther, their soul remains there, floating around until it finds a portal or is eaten by an æther creature. It is difficult to resurrect a creature that died in the Æther. Whenever a resurrection or raising spell is cast, the caster must make a DC 31 caster level check. If he fails, so does the spell.

Orbis Speculorum: The Nerra (see Fiend Folio) are a mysterious race. They appeared shortly after the Last Days of Wonder with the aim, it seems, of keeping watch on the universe. From their home plane of Orbis Speculorum, the Plane of Mirrors, they watch the events unfolding throughout the cosmology. The plane itself is a marvel – fine gardens, brilliant causeways, ancient mansions, all filled with mirrors. They are everywhere, floating in ponds, lining walls, standing here and there in passages and roads. In fact, the mirrors are the only real thing there. Everything else is a solid illusion, a copy of things the nerra have seen in other worlds and liked. Every mirror (or even a stationary reflective surface such as a still pond) emerges into Orbis Speculorum somewhere. The nerra can pass through these mirrors freely, but other beings must use powerful magic to enter the plane of mirrors, and must keep in mind that the nerra do not like being watched themselves. If a caster uses the plane of mirrors too often, he may find himself pulled in and left in one of the nerra’s inescapable prisons.

Mildly neutral-aligned.
Special Morphic. Nerra can adjust the fabric of their part of the plane of mirrors, but they cannot create anything new – it must be copied from a real area the nerra has seen.
Mirrors: Every mirror emerges onto Orbis Speculorum somewhere.

The Inner Planes
The Elemental Planes: The elemental planes of earth, air, water and fire are all coterminous with Iladrin, each other, and the Ages of Order and Chaos. Because of this locality, it is far more common to find people on Iladrin with a touch of elemental blood.

The Age of Chaos: This plane is similar in its layout to Iladrin, but is a much rougher and less ordered version. Villages are tumbledown. Forests are wild and much larger. Animals are untameable, and people are uncivilised and unpredictable. Every day things change, so you could be in a village one day and in the middle of a huge, wild prairie the next. Chaos rules.
In the centre of the plane, a huge river runs. Its course is never the same from one day to the next, but it is always more than a hundred miles wide. Instead of water, it contains a churning mass of all the elements. This is the River of All Things, where creation began.
As the legend goes, the Age of Chaos was the first attempt at creation. The Kin, the four elemental deities, tried to unite to create a world where life could exist without being aligned to external force, but they failed because they could not reconcile their differences. The result was a world of conflicting elements, and thus chaos was dominant. Ashamed, the Kin retreated, resolving to try again.

Strongly chaos-aligned
Objective directional gravity.
Wild Time: Time in the Age of Chaos is unpredictable. Each day there can equal anything from ten minutes to ten years on Iladrin, so visitors must be very careful.
Alterable morphic. The River of All Things is highly morphic.
Wild Magic

The Age of Order: In this plane, everything is dominated by order. All villages and towns are laid out in perfect grid patterns, with all buildings looking exactly the same. Forests are perfectly square, comprising neat rows of identical trees. All animals are automatically tame, and most reside in areas of identical square fields. Mountains are perfectly conical. Rivers are perfectly straight. Perfection – from a lawful point of view.
A major feature of the plane is a wide, flat desert. Stretching up from the sand are cogwheels and ratchets and cams, all clicking together in perfect, silent harmony. This is the Great Machine, which operates the plane. Inevitables live in the machine, formians in the desert under it.
The Age of Order was the Kin’s third attempt at creation, after the Age of Chaos and Iladrin, and by the time they had created it, all but the last vestiges of their divine strength was gone. This time, they got it right. All the elements work in complete harmony, and law rules.

Strongly law-aligned
Objective directional gravity.
Alterable morphic. The Great Machine is non-morphic.

The Transitive Gates: These planes are the areas between the different inner planes. Each is different, but most feature two gate-like structures somewhere within them, each of which leads to one of the planes they are joining, and all are self-contained: If you walk far enough in one direction you find yourself coming back the other way. The Gates combine the features of the two planes that they form the bridge between.
There are 15 Transitive Gates. These include the Sand Gate (earth/air, home of the CE god of the desert, Erimos) and the Frozen Gate (water/law, home of the LN cold elf god, Ortion)

The Outer Planes

The Upper Planes

The Lower Planes

Not a tremendous amount of new stuff here. Many of the planes are the same as in the Great Wheel, even if their histories and arrangement are different.

The Outer Spheres: The outer spheres are the infinite expanses that the astral cords attach to. One is positive and one is negative, but they are very similar in all other respects, so they have been detailed together. Planar travellers must inevitably encounter the spheres in their journeys, for they are the gateways to the outer planes.
Each sphere is an endless expanse of thick mist. In the Posisphere, the mist is vibrant and white, with motes of silver light floating through it. In the Negasphere, the mist is grey and oppressive, full of phantasms and shadows. Either way, travellers can only see ten feet in front of them while in the mists. This is a problem, as each sphere is dotted with portals to the planes it envelops. Each portal takes the form of a 20-foot wide slab of blue-grey metal, floating in space, and to enter it, an adventurer merely has to fly through it. Each portal has a single, incredibly complicated rune carved on it. For those who can read it, this rune gives information as to which plane it leads to, and a description of the area around the portal. Those without the Tongue of the Planes feat (which I will probably post later - basically it allows the players some uses of Ladashi'i, the creator tongue. Essentially an unaligned version of the Dark Speech and Truespeech from BoVD and BoED)must make a Decipher Script check to glean some information from the rune, as below:

DC Resulting Knowledge
30 The plane the portal leads to.
35 A basic description of the area around the portal.
40 A detailed description of the area around the portal, and any
possible dangers.

Few portals are unguarded. Most have small squadrons of outsiders to defend them, and many of the major ones are guarded by whole hosts of them. Only the ones that lead to remote or undiscovered areas, or emerge within hazards (lakes of lava, etc.) are undefended.
The spheres are not uninhabited. The Negasphere boasts swarms of incorporeal undead such as spectres and wraiths, many of which are the tortured souls of adventurers who fell foul of the planes negative energy, while the Posisphere is inhabited by rasts and energons.

Subjective directional gravity
Minor negative-dominant (Negasphere) OR minor positive-dominant (Posisphere). Each sphere has some major energy-dominant areas.

The Swirling Vortex of Lharm Discovered by the archmage Lharm many centuries ago, the swirling vortex is a gateway between the upper and lower planes without using the astral cords. It is thus a favourite gateway for outsiders wishing to attack their opposites.
The vortex is present in both the Posisphere and the Negasphere. It appears as a huge whirlpool of colour and sound, slowly working its way towards the centre. The outer parts of the spiral only travel at a few miles per hour, and settlements have actually been built on some of the larger chunks of ground at the outer edge, although they are built loosely out of cheap materials and frequently moved further out. Travellers have to travel to the centre of the spiral under their own power if they don’t want to wait years to travel. Once in the vortex, you are carried down to the other end within minutes.
Travelling in the vortex is not pleasant. Travellers take 5d6 points of damage for each of the 1d6 minutes of the journey, and must make a DC 20 Fort save or be nauseated for 20 minutes and sickened for a further 2 hours after leaving the vortex. Thus, many of the villages at either end have a lucrative healing business.

The Far Realm: The Far Realm is a place of terrible monstrosities and deepest evil. Simply seeing it can drive a traveller mad, and few leave it unchanged. Few leave it at all. The fate of the kaorti (Fiend Folio)is a testament to this.
The terrible godlike beings of the Far Realm, known as Gor, were sealed within it after a long war with the Ladashi’i, or creator race, many million years ago. Only a few weak Gor, such as the Great Mother of the beholders and P’Gar, creator of demons, escaped the Ladashi’i’s purge. (To give those who have read Deities and Demigods some idea of what medium to strong Gor are like, there are Gor deep within the Realm with 40 or more divine ranks). Since the Ladashi’i vanished, the Gor have been slowly trying to re-establish their presence on the other planes. Thankfully, beings of pure chaos and pure evil do not plan well or co-operate.
The Far Realm can only be reached from the Negasphere. Its terrible presence permeates the sphere ever so slightly, and there is a chance (2d%, both 1s – a 1 in ten thousand chance) that entering any portal in the Negasphere will take you to the Far Realm instead of its declared destination.

Strongly evil-aligned and strongly chaos-aligned.
Subjective directional gravity.
Highly morphic.
No magic. Only beings native to the Far Realm, or those descended from those beings, can perform magic there. Thus, there is very little chance of getting out once you get in. Psionics do, however, function.

The Perfect Frost of Talanta: Long before sentient life walked the face of Giai, there was a long and terrible war between two of the greatest forces for good in the upper planes: the mighty angels and the fiery asura. These two races had hated each other since their genesis, and this hatred had finally bubbled up into open hostilities. Dismayed by the war, the other two races of celestial in the planes at the time, the archons and the eladrins, managed to quell the fighting with clever words and strategic alliances. However, the hatred and scorn between the two sides remained. In order to prevent such a monstrosity as a heavenly war happening again, the archons drew up a treaty, known as the Treaty of Five Stars. This treaty clearly defined the domains of each celestial race and their portfolios, and was signed by the five celestial races – the archons, the eladrins, the asuras, the angels and a newly emerging type of celestial, the neutral good guardinals. The treaty was the ultimate expression of good untempered by law or chaos. When it was taken to a far part of the Posisphere, its extreme power manifested itself, as it began to fold space around itself to form a new plane to guard the treaty from attack: The Perfect Frost of Talanta. The treaty is at the centre of the plane, protected by great magic and only reachable by one route and with the permission of its various guardians. From the treaty radiates pure, clear ice, into infinity. The ice is not cold – rather, it is pleasantly warm, but does not melt. Ever. For anything. It is riddled with tunnels, but none go within a hundred miles of the treaty. With this protection, the treaty should remain safe until the end of time.

Strongly good-aligned.
Subjective directional gravity.
Pure Magic. None-good creatures cannot cast spells or use spell-like abilities while in Talanta.

The Elemental Plane of Blood: The Elemental Plane of Blood was the product of the fevered dreaming of the Gor Sanguis. Chased by the Ladashi’i, Sanguis had fled far into the Negasphere. Here, she created a small bubble of extradimensional space and slept, hoping that by the time she woke up the Creators would no longer be hunting her. As she slept, she dreamed. She dreamt of things beyond the human imagination, things of terrible evil and warped sanity. Slowly, the demiplane around her expanded. Then the campaigns of the klurichir Irr’kallakarros began, and the terrible bloodshed and widespread war awakened Sanguis. Seeing what had happened during its sleep, the Gor filled the now huge plane with the blood of the victims of the First Blood War. She created a self-expanding plane of her own nightmarish dreams.
The Elemental Plane of Blood is not infinite, but it is always expanding, so it is as good as. It consists of two layers. The outer layer, Jassthos, is a never-ending sea of blood, a savage mockery of the Elemental Plane of water, inhabited by blood elementals and aquatic vampires. Sanguis’ supreme agents, the Blood Mothers, live in sub-sanguine fortresses, each controlling legions of blood-based creatures. The second layer has no name. It is where Sanguis herself dwells, and is a smaller reconstruction of the Far Realm, since Sanguis still does not dare to leave her plane. If you swim down far enough, you will fall into this place of madness and terrible evil, and will most likely never escape.

Mildly evil-aligned and mildly chaos-aligned. The inner layer is strongly evil-aligned and strongly chaos-aligned.
Subjective directional gravity.
Alterable Morphic. The inner layer is highly morphic.
No magic. In the inner realm, only Gor can use magic.
Bloody. The very essence of the plane is tainted with blood. Any non-magical water that enters the plane transmutes into blood within 1 hour. Magical water and water-based creatures (e.g. water elementals) get a DC 15 Fort save after 1 hour and every subsequent day, but the DC increases by 1 after each save. Any water-based creatures become their bloody equivalent, with water elementals becoming blood elementals and so on, and become chaotic evil. Any water-tinted creatures become blood-tinted instead, and their alignment shifts one step towards evil and one step towards chaos. Blood-tinted characters can use inflict light wounds as their tint-granted ability.

brian c
2007-12-05, 05:13 PM
Interesting. For the Aether, you should probably say that you need to make a fort save every minute/hour/day, because as it is written now you only need to make one, and then you can stay there forever. Unless that was the intent.

2007-12-06, 01:19 PM
Good point. Every half-hour, I think.

2007-12-07, 01:58 AM
So about the Orbis Speculorum: Are you in effect looking into the demiplane whenever you look at a reflection? Can ordinary people occasionally see Nerra flitting about inside mirrors?

2007-12-09, 05:38 AM
Certain mortals with the Sight can see Nerra on the other side of mirrors, but mostly they are only transparent from the Orbis Speculorum side. Any Nerra can move through any flat reflective surface from their home plane at will, so they are very dangerous. Thankfully, they don't seem interested in doing much except watching.

2007-12-09, 06:17 AM
I've added the info and diagrams of the Inner and Outer Planes to the first post.

Gwyn chan 'r Gwyll
2007-12-09, 02:13 PM
The Nerra sound like things from the King in the Window. You read that book?

2007-12-11, 01:35 PM
No, I haven't. Do you reccommend it? I'll read anything. Who's it by?