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T O P I C    R E V I E W
Wooly Rupert Posted - 09 Feb 2009 : 02:06:05
Since I'm not the Planescape fan that some of our members are, I just acquired this book recently. I thought I'd talk about it as I read it, and that I'd throw the discussion open to everyone -- there have been plenty of mentions of this book over the last few years.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about... The title of the book is Beyond Countless Doorways. It's a Sword & Sorcery D20 book, published by Malhavoc Press and written by a lot of the former Planescape folks. It's a 3.5E book. The book details 18 modular planes, and gives a brief overview of a cosmology that is neither Great Wheel nor Great Tree (the Countless Worlds cosmology).

The planes detailed in the book can be used with the Core cosmology, or they can be used with the Countless Worlds cosmology described in the book. Admittedly, my Planescape knowledge is virtually non-existent, but I don't see any reason why these planes can't be simply dropped into the Great Wheel cosmology. Some of the features of the Countless Worlds cosmology can also be used in the Great Wheel, thinks I.

The Nexus, for one, could be used as a much smaller version of Sigil. Alternatively -- and keep in mind, I don't know if there's anything to contradict this -- the backstory of the Nexus could be used for Sigil. Niveral-Sca could be the Lady of Pain.

The Underland -- sort of a interplanar Underdark -- could easily be under some or all of the planes of the Wheel, as well as the Prime.

The Silken Ship -- and possibly several similar ships -- could easily sail around the planes of the Wheel. Like the Voidjammers described in Dragon 159, it's something that could present an alternate method of traveling amongst the planes. It could make planar travel easier for low-level PCs; a planar ship could even visit the PC's homeworld and be how they get into the planes. Ships like this could also give PCs (or DMs) a way to avoid Sigil, though I'm not sure why someone would want to.

After this post, I'll review each chapter of the book as I read it, with a separate post for each one.
25   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Wooly Rupert Posted - 27 Sep 2017 : 04:28:42
Originally posted by Ayrik

How could I never haved encountered this excellent book on my planar journeys, lol.

Sold! This scroll was enough. Had to transfer funds to paypal, but soon enough I will possess this tome, mwoohaha!

I'm glad my reviews proved useful to you. I thought this was a nifty book, and as noted, the structure made it really easy to review.
Ayrik Posted - 27 Sep 2017 : 04:16:50
How could I never haved encountered this excellent book on my planar journeys, lol.

Sold! This scroll was enough. Had to transfer funds to paypal, but soon enough I will possess this tome, mwoohaha!
freyar Posted - 22 Mar 2009 : 16:16:40
Yeah, the discrete nature of the chapters really made it easy to review. ATM, I'm reading Green Ronin's Book of the Righteous and a PDF on d20 sailing and ship combat rules, both pretty good, but I don't know about reviewing... I will say that the Book of the Righteous will probably inspire me to read my PDFs of Faiths and Avatars (and its sequels), which have always seemed a little intimidating to read on a computer screen.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 22 Mar 2009 : 00:58:22
I kind of enjoying doing this review, but it's not something I can see myself doing all that oft... This book just lent itself to being reviewed like this.

I'm reading Doom Striders right now, which not only wasn't what I expected when I got it, it's proving to be quite underwhelming. I also find it irksome that the power source that sounded most interesting in the book isn't described anywhere that I can see.
freyar Posted - 21 Mar 2009 : 20:02:41
Now that Wooly's done most of the typing, I'll chime in.

Tevaeral, Magic's Last Stand: I liked this one as a campaign or short arc, like Markustay has said. It would be an interesting place to start a campaign since the character perspectives would probably be different than standard D&D assumptions. I like this better, though, as a place to visit from a more normal campaign world (like Toril, for example). I think the hook of meeting a dragon that wants to go home to Tevaeral is pretty good, actually.

Venomheart, Haven of the Sleep Pirates: I quite liked this one on a read-through, actually. The dragon-ship didn't bother me at all, just seemed to give it an over-the-top Jack-Sparrowish kind of feel (really, can't you imagine Johnny Depp as Harvock?). It's really the characters that stood out, I think, even if they're only good for an adventure or two. I particularly like the idea of an adventure where Harvock hires the PCs to go after the night hag, and they later find out that they're working for a bad guy.

The Violet: My general feelings on this are pretty much the same, mostly useful for a particular type of "retrieval" adventure.

The Primal Gardens of Yragon: I'm also a bit ambivalent about this one. Might be useful for a search-and-rescue but probably not a long-term campaign.

And that's basically it.
Markustay Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 16:11:38
Tevaeral is obviously a campaign-arc, or even the basis for an entire campaign.

Venom Heart and the Primal Gardens sound more like adventure ideas then entire worlds. Both usable - I agree about the pirate ship. Also, it could grow into an entire story-arc by broadening the organization as you've said (maybe even have the Nightmare court of Ravenloft or some dream-god hire the adventurers to put a stop to them). The grahlus sound too much like the Grahluk from the Melnibonean Mythos, which was included in the 1st printing 1e DD. They gave them a twist with the disease thing, but still, a blatant rip-off.

The Ten Courts of Hell sound too much like the Oriental version of the afterlife. Not sure if I could ever use it as anything more then fluff - I don't do planet-leaving adventures.

The Violet is just odd... methinks it would be the final scene of a three-part adventure-arc, where PCs have to go and retrieve something. Thats about it - I can't think of any other use for such a boring place.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 15:34:16
The last section of the book covers making various different flavors of parallel worlds. It's nothing overly original, but it could prove useful for some DMs.

Overall, I like this book. I'm glad, though, that I got it on the cheap -- I'm not sure if I find it useful enough to justify the $35 price tag. Other DMs might find it a lot more useful than I, of course -- I'm beginning to think I'm a bit picky with this stuff.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 15:33:41
The Primal Gardens of Yragon

This is the last place described in the book. It's called a plane, but it's basically a jungle-covered continent on some larger world.

Yragon used to be a paradise with only one intelligent group on it -- a virus called the alipatur. The alipatur could telepathically communicate, and lived inside other animals, from which they got their sustenance. Eventually, a group of them discovered that they could control these termite-like critters, and built themselves a city.

Then a group of alipatur decided this wasn't enough, and hopped into some jungle apes. They basically forced evolution on the apes, making them become intelligent -- and losing some of their control over them. The alipatur could still do some control on a racial or cultural level, but that's it.

By that point, they'd made the apes -- the grahlus -- into a warlike, expansionist society. The grahlus have taken over Yragon, and forced the native trolls and medusae (they assumably evolved later) into slavery or hiding. They also discovered that there was this one kind of tree, that if cut open just right and treated with a special alchemical mix, could create a short-lived portal to a random plane. They use these portals to raid for slaves.

It was on these raids that the alipatur realized they could be killed with a simple remove disease. This was not a welcome discovery. So they don't like spellcasters, at all.

There's a description of grahlus, including how to use them as characters. The slave raids are also covered. There's a description of some of the settlements on Yragon, but nothing exciting.

And that's about it for this one... Though there is a blurb about the moral aspects of this one. Is it wrong to wipe out the alipatur? Are the grahlus slaves or beneficiaries of the virus? I'm not sure that's one I really want to get into, myself.

I see potential here, but I'm not sure where to take it. It's not a bad write-up... I can see doing something with it, but I'm just not sure what. It can be pretty much used as written, but that whole morality card makes me unsure of how I'd use it. I like the plane, but that angle makes me unsure I could use it.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 15:32:27
The Violet

This one could be a planet -- more specifically, the interior of one -- but the nature of it makes it work better as a plane, thinks I.

So the Violet is the interior of a rocky sphere. Everything has a violet tinge, so that's where the name comes from. There's a lot of violet plants here, mostly vines that start on the ground looking like redwoods, and then get thinner as they reach upward into infinity.

There's no gravity here. If you let go of something, it (or you!) are just going to hang there. This can be problematic, in some situations.

And magic doesn't work well, either. Any spell over 1st level won't work. This even affects magical items and artifacts! Constructs and intelligent magical items are screwed, too. The only way around this is to make a difficult spellcraft check, and cast antimagic field. This gives you an area where magic functions normally -- which is likely the only way you'll be able to get out.

Time is broken here, too. Every now and again, it rewinds by a few seconds or a few minutes. Everything that happened the first time is undone, as if it never happened -- though you still remember it.

The whole place is messed up because of some divine war. The gods tried to fix what they broke, but they didn't do a good enough job. The Violet is basically a hole in space and time.

There's a bunch of snakes living here. There are other critters, too, including a small group of couatls.

The nature of the plane makes it a good place to stash magical nastybads and artifacts. One such artifact is the anvil of hate, an artifact that makes people want to kill their loved ones. There's a planetar trapped there, too. He had made a deal with a pit fiend, so the fiend couldn't kill him -- he instead stuck him in a prison originally intended for himself. There's an empty storehouse with an inverted antimagic field, so it's a place you could go to try to get out. And there's a group of native couatls, too, as mentioned earlier. They have a small sanctuary there. They've never been outside of the Violet, and aren't interested in leaving.

This one works as written. I can't see using it for much more than a couple of adventures, though, maybe a linked arc. It's cool, I just think it's not something that can have a lot of use.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 15:29:47
Venomheart, Haven of the Sleep Pirates

This is a world in a plane, but most of the description is about the very small group of inhabitants, their means of travel, and what they do.

Venomheart is a empty world. And by empty, I mean totally devoid of any animal life. Plant life isn't mentioned, but I'm thinking that with no bugs or any other critters, there's not going to be a huge amount of plants.

The main pirate is a guy named Harvock. Harvock's main gig is that he wields a magical blade that steals sleep. If it's used against a sleeping person (and this apparently can be done without wounding them), they wake up and can't sleep or rest for 24 hours. The sleep is then stuck in bottles of sleep. If you open one of these bottles, you have the full effects of eight hours of sleep.

Harvock and his buddies get around on a ship called the Neverest. This ship is the corpse of a black dragon. The ship can fly, though not well. It uses an intelligent (and sometimes uncooperative) artifact to jump around the planes. The crew is a mixed bunch, with a couple of them described.

When not stealing sleep from rich folks (Harvock prefers doing it that way), they hang out in Venomheart. There's a single manor house there; no one knows where it came from. They store unsold bottles of sleep there. The house is also home to an abstract painting (from which the name Venomheart originated) and some busts that bear nifty magical masks.

There's a brief description of the favored ports of the Neverest. There's also a blurb about a night hag that's trying to steal the stolen sleep for her own purposes.

I like this one. There's a lot of potential, here... That said, I'm not sure that I'd keep the Neverest as it is. With plane-hopping, sleep-stealing pirates, I'm not sure that having them sail about on a dead dragon isn't overkill. I'd likely change the ship to a standard spelljammer or voidjammer. It might also be fun to make the pirates an organization, not just one small group built around a guy with a sword.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 15:28:23
Tevaeral, Magic's Last Stand

This one is a world. They don't even attempt to call it a plane -- they specify that it's a world not unlike the one the PCs are from.

The gig about this one is that arcane magic is declining. There's a 5% per level chance of spell failure, and 9th level spells don't work at all. Divine magic works fine, but there's next to no divine casters in this world -- the people have gotten caught up in this movement called The Unity, and no one pays much attention to deities.

Spell-like abilities and magical items have a chance of failure, too.

Back in the day, Tevaeral was ruled by elves. Like elves seem to like doing, they warred against the local dragons. And they managed to wipe most of them out. Of course, by the time they did this, then their own magic started failing. So the elves were getting pushed around by humans, and eventually just left the world altogether.

So then the humans first warred on the magical critters of the world, and then, after wiping them out, turned against arcane spellslingers -- they had a serious mad-on going as far as magic was concerned.

Arcane spellslingers banded together and fled to a mountain stronghold. There's about 250 of them there. They've got about a couple dozen magical critters there, too, and a juvenile bronze dragon -- the last dragon alive on the world. The strongest spellcaster still around is in this valley, too -- she's a 9th level wizard.

Also in the valley is the Book of Eldritch Might, an intelligent spellbook that's also an artifact. It can talk to people and share just about any known spell . The Book (it's nickname) is happy to be the last artifact in the world, and it likes the fact that all the remaining mages are devoted to it. It actually does have a spell that would forever protect the valley, but there's no one around powerful enough to cast the spell.

The Unity is similar to a religion, except that believers believe that they shouldn't rely on outside forces -- so they rely on themselves, not gods or magic. There are no Unity clerics. The Unity was started 500 years ago by a dude that hated arcane magic, and it's because of the Unity that magic came under the axe. The guy that founded the Unity is also part of why there aren't many dragons about -- he inherited an artifact that could banish a dragon from Tevaeral forever.

And here's the real rub: dragons and magic are linked on Tevaeral. Magic is diminishing because there's only one dragon left on the planet. So if that artifact -- the Dragondoom (which the Book does not know about) is destroyed, then dragons could come back, and bring back magic with them. A bit of a potential plot hook there.

A little bland, perhaps, but full of potential. I think this one needs to be spiced up a bit, but it's otherwise pretty good as written. I like it, but not as much as some of the other ones.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 19 Mar 2009 : 15:26:09
Okay, so I got a bit sidetracked... But I'm done with the book, now!

The Ten Courts of Hell

A plane. Definitely. You can't do Hell without making it a plane. Well, I supposed you could, but it works best as a plane.

The first thing discussed in this section is the fact that these planes are arranged in a weird way. Usually, layers of a plane are stacked atop each other. Maybe not literally stacked, but that's the way they're always shown. Not so these planes -- they are linked in such a weird way that a diagram is needed.

These are actual courts, too. Not courts as in where Azoun IV and Vangey hung out, but courts as in places where Judge Wapner and the lawyers Khelben ran out of Waterdeep hang out. In other words, these are trial courts, set up with the express purpose of sentencing folks for various crimes.

And obviously, you're not going to have enough real criminals to keep ten (maybe more!) planes of courts in business. So each plane is run by a Yama King. And each Yama King has a whole buttload of servants, including armies of fiends who raid other planes to grab people to send to the courts.

The first court is where most of the judging is done. The second court is where slaves are sent to be broken. The third court is the food source for most of the other courts. The fourth court is for training Recruiters, the snatch-and-grab demons. The fifth court is full of mines and smithies, and a lot of torturing goes on here, too. The sixth court is full of snakes, and everyone sent here eventually becomes snake food. The seventh court is metalworks, and it's ruled by a fallen angel who is for some reason trying to create the perfect enormous bell. The eighth court is a cold place, with lots of gladiators and corpses among the ice. It's also the current location for the Treasury of Souls, which is where the souls of victims of the courts go. The ninth court is about darkness. It's ruled by a "vampire demon", and the really difficult prisoners are kept there. The tenth court is a mystery -- it's either a paradise or so incredibly hellish that it's impossible to survive. No one has ever come back from there, so it's a mystery.

There's also rumored to be an eleventh court, ruled by the Hermit Saint. It's rumored that he occasionally sends his minions to rescue people from the other courts.

While I can see the potential for adventure in the Ten Courts, the plane simply does not grab me. I can see it being quite useful for other DMs, and they could even use it as written. But on a personal note, it just doesn't float my boat.
freyar Posted - 10 Mar 2009 : 11:53:16
The cruise sounds pretty nice...

Originally posted by Wooly Rupert
*snickers* I'm covering every plane I've not hit yet, regardless of whether or not anyone is interested.

Hmmm, maybe I'll let you do the heavy lifting, then.
Markustay Posted - 09 Mar 2009 : 19:25:02
I thought those would make some decent layers in the Abyss - in a truly infinite universe, there is room for Demons that behave somewhat on the lawful side (I think one of their generals is lawful in canon, IIRC).

And by the same token, this entire thing can be dumped right into 4e's Abyss, since you have Demons and Devils 'getting along' now. Think of it as a small piece of Hell that got so chaotic is slipped into the Abyss - races in the outer Planes aren't so much assigned by their birth, but rather by their attitudes.

Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Much fun was had, though there were some not-as-fun moments, like sunburn and the groom's brother redefining inappropriateness in his best man speech.
Now that is one wall I wouldn't mind being a fly on... sounds like a truly epic faux-pas moment.

"Redefining inappropriateness"

Edit: I find the Through the Looking Glass chapter reather interesting... especially when applied to Abeir.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 09 Mar 2009 : 18:04:03
Originally posted by freyar

Anyone still interested in hearing about more of these?

*snickers* I'm covering every plane I've not hit yet, regardless of whether or not anyone is interested.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 09 Mar 2009 : 18:02:37
Originally posted by freyar

Seeing as how I've now finished the book and Wooly hasn't been posting any more planes , I'll try a longer review or two.

I've been quite busy of late; I just got back from a wedding on a cruise ship, which was followed by a cruise (on that same ship) to the Bahamas. Much fun was had, though there were some not-as-fun moments, like sunburn and the groom's brother redefining inappropriateness in his best man speech.

My only souvenir, other than the receipts, is a pretty shell I found near a suspiciously convenient shipwreck.

I'll prolly get back to posting planes in another day or two.
freyar Posted - 09 Mar 2009 : 12:33:59
Anyone still interested in hearing about more of these?
freyar Posted - 08 Mar 2009 : 03:48:35
Seeing as how I've now finished the book and Wooly hasn't been posting any more planes , I'll try a longer review or two.

The Ten Courts of Hell: This is listed as a set of ten (or perhaps eleven) linked planes ruled by fiends. I'm not entirely sure how I'd handle this one, maybe link them into the Nine Hells somehow. The basic idea is that the fiends capture creatures, "convict" them of essentially made-up crimes, and then sentence them to slavery somewhere in the Ten Courts. I'm not sure how helpful this is since capturing the PCs seems like a bit of a railroad, but a couple of the adventure hooks have alternate ideas.

A quick tour:
1st Court: Essentially the sorting center, determines where prisoners will serve their sentences.
2nd Court: Slaves are broken here before being sent to the higher courts.
3rd Court: Slaves are used a farmers in rather disgusting farms.
4th Court: This one is kind of interesting, as there is a school of magic used for training "recruiters" (agents who kidnap slaves from other planes). Even slaves can become courtiers in the Ten Courts if they pass the school entrance exams.
5th Court: Salt mines and smithies and a lot of torture.
6th Court: Not much on this one, except there are a lot of snakes.
7th Court: This is ruled by a fallen celestial obsessed with creating a perfect bell. It's not clear to me why he's still in charge.
8th Court: Basically a frozen waste. Most interesting is that it's king holds the Treasury of Souls, which tracks all the captives of the courts.
9th Court: A completely dark land associated with undead.
10th Court: A mystery, as its its mighty ruler.
11th Court: A legend, this plane is ruled by a Hermit Saint who can rescue the worthy from the Ten Courts.
Supposedly there is quite interesting politics in terms of rulers changing in the courts and the actual courts changing in prominence, but other than a comment about the Treasure of Souls moving around from time to time, there's not much on that, which was a disappointment.

This seems like a very lawful place to me, so I was a bit surprised and disappointed to see demons listed as a number of inhabitants. I'd change those over to devils of one type or another. Similarly, the new monsters, the "ox demons," are also LE and should be called devils.

As I mentioned above, most adventures here are either going to be escapes or involve entering the plane, bribing some devils (there's a nice table on appropriate bribe sizes ), and getting out with what the PCs want. But that seems tricky. In any case, this is not my favorite.
freyar Posted - 28 Feb 2009 : 17:09:25
Just a few thoughts...

Mountains of the Five Winds: I think there's a lot of room for PC character development here, though this world/region could probably have been executed a little better. One quibble is that I'd probably use something other than half-fiends for Tormentors (I like the half-fiend characteristic table, though, and I'll probably yoink it).

Ouno, the Storm Realm: I'm with Wooly, I like this one. I'd probably stick it in elemental water or air.

Palpatur: Interesting, but probably a little too icky for me. I also don't like the over-population of tieflings, but I'm sure there are other interesting races I could find to use.

Sleeping God's Soul: After Avidarel and Palpatur, I think this is the 3rd plane that needs to be woken up. Anyone remember another? Well, besides evidence of a strange fetish, I quite like this plane. I think there are supposed to be some other visitors besides the 4 listed, so that doesn't bother me much. I like the use of clockworks from ToH, too.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 Feb 2009 : 07:00:47
Originally posted by Markustay

Actually, I was thinking a large island, or a small continent.

Then the Tieflings don't seem so bad, and I could limit the number of faces (just one?). Then the 'island' would be a living god ( I can see this somehwhere on Toril - perhaps Malatra). I'd also have the faces come and go from time to time (its more disconcerting that way - you find a face in the middle of your camp the next morning... watching you...). In fact, the whole island could be one of those Elemental Monoliths (I forget what sourcebook they are in, but Bruce Cordell used one in Darkvision).

I think someone loved the giant face on Mars, and just 'ran amok' with the idea.

That's a cool idea, too.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 Feb 2009 : 07:00:08
Sleeping God's Soul

This is definitely a plane. It is an interesting one to me, but I don't know where to go with it...

There are two sections to this plane. There's the Quietude, which is a mostly featureless area. There is literally almost nothing noteworthy about the Quietude, except for its lack of anything interesting. The ground is flat, the air temperature is constantly and uniformly cool but not cold, the sky is white and holds no features other than more white. The ground is a light grey substance that resembles metal -- and that's the only thing notable about this part of the plane, other than the potential for dying of utter boredom. Watching paint dry would an exciting activity, here.

Scattered around the Quietude, however, are hidden doorways to the undersection, the Clockwork Caves. The Clockwork Caves are deep underground, encased in solid rock. Some of that rock is visible, but most of the Clockwork Caves are plated with the same kind of metal as above. And there's gears and pistons and belts and clockwork stuff everywhere. It's not doing anything apparent, and damaging a section of it only seems to shut down that small area.

The plane was once a friendly area, with lovely terrain and normal animals and the whole routine. But then a demigoddess of order showed up in the plane, running from forces of chaos. Since there was no one intelligent there, she reshaped the plane into what it is now. To hide from her enemies, she fled deep underground. She lost a lot of power shaping the plane and making a hiding place, and fell into a deep sleep. The Clockwork Caves were formed by her subconscious.

Most of the inhabitants of the Clockwork Caves are either clockwork constructs or inevitables. There's a bunch of spiders, too, that showed up from some unknown place. There are four non-native intruders described, but little indication that there's more than these four wandering around. One's a half-elf princess and her male elf lover; both are evil and really want to get the hey out of the Caves. There's a mad mage here, too, who thinks he's an avatar of the sleeping goddess. He also has a dumb-as-a-rock warrior for a bodyguard, and a flesh golem built from inevitable body parts.

The wizard, Sighvat, lives near what he calls the Central Gear, which has a nifty ability. Anyone standing on it knows the location of every other living creature in the Clockwork Caves. Unless they're really smart, though, it's too much information (TMI! ), and they are randomly focused on a single one. They know exactly where it is in relation to themselves, and can see thru that critter's (or person's) eyes. Sighvat has fallen in lust with the half-elf princess (she's a babe), and wants to rescue her -- but not her lover. Sighvat thinks of the plane as being his, so he's not going to welcome other folks.

Somewhere deep within the plane, the demigoddess Tevra lies sleeping. She's on an island surrounded by a few miles of water, passing into or over the water makes a person experience some of the goddess's memories, which confuse them. If you get to the goddess's island and touch her, you might get a bonus to an ability score, or you might lose some points from an ability score. Hang out on her island too long, and her memories become corporeal and attack.

I like this plane. It's usable as written, and fairly intriguing. I don't know what I'd do with it, though...

One idea is to modify the Clockwork Caves to more closely resemble the Kicksey-winsey of Arianus, in the Death Gate Cycle of novels. We've already got the massive amounts of machinery doing nothing discernible, so adding dwarves or some other race in to do nothing but maintain the machine and its works isn't much of a stretch. It does add more people to the plane, though, which some DMs might not be as keen on. Of course, that could be avoided by having a special type of clockwork construct that does nothing but maintain the machines...

Taking it a step further... We've got spiders, and we've got a big machine doing nothing apparent. What if this plane and the sleeping goddess were the source of the Spelljammer nastybads, the clockwork horrors? The basic origin story for the horrors could be almost the same, with the first one having been created by the machine, or maybe directly by the goddess... Perhaps the original purpose of the horrors was to spread order. The adamantine horror might have gone rogue while still in the plane and been exiled, or it might have accidently wound up on another plane, where it went mad from losing its connection to Tevra. From there, it became the "destroy everything and make more clockwork horrors" guy we all know and love today. It could be fun to explore this idea...

Lastly, as a plane of order, this plane could have some connection to the Five Winds, and/or to the Rod of Seven Parts.

Oh, and there are a couple of interesting planes mentioned in the sidebar about other planes. One plane, The Twelve Houses of Vacarar, is a hollow world, with 11 smaller world inside it, each one nested inside and just a bit smaller than the next one out. The other intriguing place is Malachost -- a realm where all the natives are incorporeal, and share and trade bodies that are otherwise inert.
Markustay Posted - 28 Feb 2009 : 06:50:49
Actually, I was thinking a large island, or a small continent.

Then the Tieflings don't seem so bad, and I could limit the number of faces (just one?). Then the 'island' would be a living god ( I can see this somehwhere on Toril - perhaps Malatra). I'd also have the faces come and go from time to time (its more disconcerting that way - you find a face in the middle of your camp the next morning... watching you...). In fact, the whole island could be one of those Elemental Monoliths (I forget what sourcebook they are in, but Bruce Cordell used one in Darkvision).

I think someone loved the giant face on Mars, and just 'ran amok' with the idea.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 28 Feb 2009 : 06:15:55

This one is definitely a plane... It could be modified into a planet, I suppose, but its history works best as a plane, and its nature is that of a plane.

Palpatur is a sentient plane, now inhabited by tieflings, imps and quasits, and stray fiends.

Once upon a time -- not terribly long ago, since there's at least one tiefling alive who remembers that time -- Palpatur was a much better place. The sentient plane provided everything the tiefling inhabitants needed. It grew cities for them from a material called bioleche, material drawn from the groundflesh of the plane itself. It made bioleche constructs to hunt for food, bioleche tools for work, and bioleche goodies like wings, sticky shoes, and armor for the tieflings to wear. If the inhabitants needed it, it was grown for them out of bioleche.

And then the Blood War spilled onto Palpatur. The nastybads swarmed all over the plane, pretty much destroying anything that got in their way. Palpatur was not amused. The sentient plane was traumatized by the destruction and war, and expressed itself by growing mountainous faces with anguished expressions (oddly, called titanic cromungi). This failed to impress all the nastybads, who happily continued trying to destroy each other. Finally, Palpatur gave up, and ate them all. All most all of the various fiends were swallowed up in sinkholes.

This wasn't the best manuever for Palpatur; it was already weak, and this caused it to fall into a coma.

Now it's a wasteland. Next to nothing grows there, and the physical conditions (gravity, weather, day/night cycles) often change. The bioleche is mostly inert. There aren't nearly as many animals around as there used to be; the tieflings now supplement their diet by eating groundflesh -- but only stuff that's been trimmed away or reclaimed, because scooping it up from the ground to eat it is sacrilege.

The tieflings now live inside of the massive faces, which are big enough to accomodate hundreds of tieflings, each. The tieflings have begun worshipping the plane, and each tribe is working towards the Waking, when the plane will wake back up (and assumably go back to taking care of the tieflings). The tribes have different methods for helping the plane along, and sometimes violently disagree with other tribes. They spend their time praying and doing what they can to help the plane out, which mostly means trimming back unsightly bits of groundflesh (it sometimes erupts into funky growths) and reclaiming fallen bioleche goodies. Some tieflings also like to try to get folks from other planes to come to Palpatur; it's not easy to travel from Palpatur, so any newcomers will have a hard time leaving. The tieflings do this because they believe Palpatur draws sustenance from its inhabitants, and having more regular folks there will help balance out all the evil it ate.

The cromungi are the most notable locations on Palpatur, but they're not the only spots. Bunches of imps and quasits escaped the big Eating, and formed two rival cities. The imps and the quasits continue to war against each other. Another interesting spot is the Reliquary of Simulacra, where tieflings turn bioleche into sculptures of past great warriors and prophets, and even some fiends. Sometimes a sculpture animates for a brief time, which the tieflings see as a sign Palpatur is still alive and kicking.

That's the basics...

I can't stand the name "titanic cromungi". All the cromungi are incredibly big, so it seems redundant to call them all titanic cromungi. And that's actually related to something I would change: the fact that all the faces are small mountains. I see no reason for there to not be all sorts of these faces all over the place, ranging from the mountain-sized ones to ones that are human-sized.

I'm also not keen on a plane full of tieflings. Call me old school, but I like my planetouched races to be relatively uncommon. The descriptions basically make them to be genetic throwbacks to earlier generations, so having a large group of any one type of planetouched seems odd to me. Not only that, but tieflings are to me more like quarter-fiends than a separate and unique race. So while two tieflings might have strictly tiefling babies, it seems logical to me that they'd be just as, if not more, likely to produce regular human babies. At least, that's my understanding of planetouched lore.

Either way, having a whole plane of tieflings just seems pointless. I can dig a lot of exiles wandering over to here, but enough to populate a plane? That's stretching it. And other than the description, there's nothing that distinguishes these guys from any other race. That is for me a huge reason to avoid having a large accumulation of an exotic race.

The bioleche is an interesting angle. The stuff can be constructs, armor, weapons, or tools... It kind of brings to mind the psionic grafts from Dark Sun; I'd certainly modify some of those into bioleche if I was running this plane.

The main things I'd change if I was running this plane are the cromungi, like I discussed above, and all the dang tieflings. I'd make most of them humans, with perhaps a higher prevalence of tieflings, who themselves might form small bands. Other than those things, I think the plane is mostly usable as written.

I might also draw from Narfelli lore for this plane; demoncysts are an obvious idea.

That said, it didn't really grab me. I see potential there, but it doesn't interest me enough to make me really want to explore that potential.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 26 Feb 2009 : 18:50:04
Ouno, the Storm Realm

So this one feels like a plane, because of the way its described. But, also because of the description, it could easily be tweaked into being a Spelljammer locale. The basics are that it's a stormy ball of water with islands floating in the sky, with 2 suns that orbit the world. Granted, that sounds more like a world than a plane, but the overall feel is more of a plane... As I said, though, it could be tweaked for Spelljammer: make Ouno a water world, set it in the center of its sphere (like Oerth is the center of Greyspace), put the suns in orbit around the world, and you're done.

Ouno is a plane of storms, as the heading suggests. There is no land other than the islands floating around in the sky. The water itself is somewhat acidic, though it loses the acidic qualities after 24 hours -- at least, the rain does. The ocean stays like that. There's no references to anything living in the ocean, but I don't see why some acid-resistant versions of regular aquatic critters (including the elemental-based ones) can't be dropped in without a problem. The waters also boost psionic capabilities.

The ocean is also a deity, Mother Ocean. More specifically, it's her mind, as she's transcended past physical form. That idea doesn't work as well for me; I'd change it so that she was a regular deity with her realm at the heart of the plane.

The islands of Ouno are made of a rock called floatstone. Floatstone has neutral bouyancy, so it stays at one altitude without needing to be manipulated in any way. Trees that grow in floatstone gain this property, and their wood becomes floatwood. The floating thing only lasts while in Ouno, though, so if you take floatwood or floatstone to another plane, the floaty ability goes away.

Ouno was first discovered by githzerai, and there's still a good number of them hanging around. The other dominant race is humans. Both races live on the islands, and on ships that sail the skies between the islands. Some of the ships are used for gathering water from the clouds, as this water loses its acidic properties in 6 hours.

In addition to the islands (four of the larger ones are described), there's also a big perpetual hurricane, the Heart of Storms. It's pretty much impossible for anyone to sail into the eye of the Heart of Storms, but cloud and storm giants hang out there.

One thing that readily comes to mind when reading about this plane is Captain Shakespeare and his ship and crew, from the movie version of Stardust. I loved that movie (and the book, too, which I want to read to our kids when we have them), and I think Ouno would benefit very much from some elements of that part (particularly the gathering of lightning, which could have some different properties on a plane of storms than it would have on the Prime).

I quite like this plane as it was written, and think it's ready for us as it is. I also think, though, that a couple of tweaks would make this an awesome place to send your PCs. This is easily one of my favorite planes from this book.
Marc Posted - 25 Feb 2009 : 09:15:54
Beyond Countless Doorways was a great addition to my cosmology, which is the same as of the other poster, Quale, with some disagreements

Mountains of the Five Winds is in northern Anchorome, because there is the planar rift near the north pole, a bit like Chaos in Warhammer

Lizard Kingdoms is in Katashaka, it's isolated almost like the Malatran plateau, overall for the entire continent I used parts of Nyambe, Lustria and X'endrik

The Maze is in the Region of Dreams, Dreamscape, between the Astral and the Ethereal

Faeraenyl is boring, I considered it placing it in the Outlands cause of the symmetry, somewhere close to Oghma's realm and coterminous with Faerie, Faeries of Bastion Press is superior

Kin-Lin, connected it with Khin-Oin, and made Beligos an altraloth

Deluer is in Deep Shadow, where Dust and Vacuum meet

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