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The World Axis is the most commonly accepted cosmological model by the sages of the World. This structure, which resembles a sphere split into two axes, is composed primarily of the fundamental and parallel planes. "Above" and "below," the fundamental planes encircle the rest of the cosmology, forming hemispheres in the conceptual model, though since both the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos are infinite in size, this is mostly metaphorical. To the "left" and the "right" of the Prime Material Plane, which lies at the center of this cosmology, sit the parallel planes, which float in sync with the Prime. Together these planes form the World Axis, other planes lying outside of the model and having an indistinct cosmological placement.[1]

Basic StructureEdit

Prime Material PlaneEdit

Main article: Prime Material Plane

Also called the natural world, mortal world, or simply the Prime, this plane lies at the center of the World Axis. The Prime is where The World and its inhabitants are located.

Fundamental PlanesEdit

Main article: Fundamental Planes

Surrounding the Prime and the parallel planes are the two fundamental planes: the Astral Sea and the Elemental Chaos.[1] The fundamental planes, according to common theory, are the basis from which all the other planes, including the Prime and its echoes, were formed.[2] Whether or not this is true is unsure.

The fundamental planes are also the homes of the astral dominions and elemental realms, smaller planes within the Astral Sea and Elemental Chaos. Only a few of these are known to the inhabitants of the World, however, and it is believed that if one traveled far enough through the infinite spaces of the fundamental planes it might be possible to locate the dominions and realms of entirely different pantheons worshiped by beings from other material planes, though such a journey would be unimaginably lengthy. [2]

The two fundamental planes are as follows:

The Astral Sea
The Astral Sea is a great silvery void that contains the homes of the gods and which is considered the realm of pure thought and creativity, where thoughts and feelings become reality, if only for a moment. It is through this power that gods shape the cosmos according to their will and the astral dominions are forged.[3]
The Elemental Chaos
The Elemental Chaos is a vast and infinite sea of tempestuous elemental matter and energy in which the cycle of creation and destruction continues without end. It is from the essence of the chaos that the world was first formed, tempered though it was by the divine essences of the Astral Sea.[3]

Astral DominionsEdit

Main article: Astral dominions

Within the Astral Sea lay the astral dominions, planes separate and unique from the surrounding fundamental plane but which owe their existence to it. Formed from the will of the Astral Sea's inhabitants[1] the astral dominions were once linked into an intricate network known as the Lattice of Heaven. The Lattice was destroyed in the Dawn War.[4]

There are many dominions within the Astral Sea, the most commonly known ones being as follow.

Arvandor
The Verdant Isles of Arvandor is a realm of natural beauty and arcane energy that echoes the Feywild. It’s the home of the god Corellon and sometimes of the other free gods. Arvandor seems to be as much a part of the Feywild as of the Astral Sea, and travelers claim to have reached it through both planes. Many elven souls dwell in peace and joy here.[5][6]
Carceri
The Red Prison of Carceri is a well-hidden astral dominion. Its entrance is barred by great gates of adamantine. It's a prison plane. The deities created Carceri as a place to imprison a terrible primordial monster that was too powerful to destroy without unleashing power sufficient to destroy all existence.[7]
Celestia
The Radiant Throne of Celestia is the heavenly realm of Bahamut and Moradin. Upon parting a veil to enter Celestia, a traveler arrives on the lower reaches of a great mountain. Behind, the mountains disappear into silvery mist far below. Kord also spends a good deal of time on the mountain's slopes because of an old friendship with the other gods, but his tempestuous nature keeps him from calling it home. The just, the righteous, and the merciful dwell here in light and joy forever.[8]
Chernoggar
The Iron Fortress of Chernoggar is Bane's stronghold in the Astral Sea. It's a mighty stronghold of rust-pitted iron, said to be impregnable to attack. Even so, Gruumsh makes his home on an eternal battlefield outside the fortress's walls, determined to raze it to the ground one day. Immortal warriors fight and die on both sides of this conflict, returning to life with every nightfall.[9]
Haemnathuun
Gods, primordials, and other powerful beings are sometimes preserved in the Astral Sea after their deaths. Drifting through the starry mists like statues of their former selves, they slumber through eternity, awaiting the divine spark that might reawaken them. One such drifting corpse is Haemnathuun, the Blood Lord, a terrible primordial who fell during the Dawn War.[10]
Hestavar
The Bright City of Hestavar is a vast metropolis where the deities Erathis, Ioun, and Pelor make their homes. Powerful residents of all the planes travel to the Bright City to buy and sell exotic goods. In Hestavar's mercantile arcades things that are too precious or scarce to be sold anywhere else can be found.[11]
Kalendurren
Once a peaceful, well-ordered domain of shining castles and noble warriors, The Darkened Pillars of Kalandurren is now a ruined landscape where dark powers squabble over the choicest plunder. Kalandurren was the dominion of the god Amoth, a power of justice and mercy, but thousands of years ago the demon princes Orcus, Demogorgon, and Rimmon took advantage of a cosmic conjunction to storm Kalandurren and destroy it. Amoth destroyed Rimmon and nearly split Demogorgon in two, but Orcus struck down the deity, and the demons prevailed. Divine hosts from the dominions of other deities soon drove out the victorious demons, but Kalandurren was marred forever.[12]
The Nine Hells
The Nine Hells of Baator is the home of devils and is ruled by Asmodeus. This plane is a dark, fiery world of continent-sized caverns ruled by warring princelings, though all are ultimately under the iron fist of Asmodeus.[13]
Pandemonium
A rambling maze of black tunnels blasted by fierce winds, the Howling Depths of Pandemonium is the most desolate and dismal of the known astral dominions. Tharizdun, who created this place in the timeless depths of antiquity, abandoned it soon afterward, and no great powers or races have ever called Pandemonium home.[14]
Pluton
A dominion of dying willows, shriveled olive trees, and black poplars, the Gray Waste of Pluton is forgotten by all but the most learned of sages. This cheerless land was once the domain of Nerull, a god of death who died in the past.[10]
Shom
Once the Illumians, a mysterious mortal race of great knowledge and enlightenment made its home in the dominion of the White Desert of Shom. But the ancient race vanished long ago, leaving behind its deserted temples, its buried mausoleums, and its monuments of stone. Now Shom is a magnificent wasteland, a desert of white sand where titanic statues and empty cities silently guard their ancient riddles.[15]
Tu'Narath
Unlike the divine dominions where the gods reside Tu'Narath is a realm shaped by mortal minds, specifically those of the githyanki. Within the great metropolis carved from the corpse of a forgotten god the githyanki are ruled over by their lich-queen Vlaakith, who constantly plots for the conquest of the other planes and who holds de facto control of the other nominally independent githyanki settlements.[10]
Tytherion
The Endless Night Tytherion is the domain that the dark gods Tiamat and Zehir share. A vast maze of canyons and jungles, no light can pierce its darkest depths, and both serpents and dragons haunt its otherworldly wilderness.[16]

Elemental RealmsEdit

Main article: Elemental realms

Within the Chaos those beings strong enough and powerful enough to shape the materials around them are able to create new planes or preserve parts of old ones, either of which became known as elemental realms. Here numerous elemental creatures reside, alongside the mighty primordials who first created the planes alongside the gods.[17]

The known elemental realms are listed below.

The Abyss
The Abyss is the home of demons and is ruled over by none, though several of the powerful demon lords each claim control. A multi-layered pit, the Abyss lies at the very "bottom" of the Elemental Chaos, waiting to draw in and ensnare any who come too close.[18]
The City of Brass
The City of Brass is the home of the efreeti, fire genies who long ago forged this city, which is believed the oldest in all the planes. Though efreeti are known for their wars against other elementals, the City of Brass is best known as the center of interplanar trade.[19]
The Keening Delve
Not far from the City of Brass, a shrieking wind howls along a network of tunnels cut through a great mass of blood-red rock. The maddening sound is audible for miles around. This is the Keening Delve, an apparently permanent feature of the Elemental Chaos. According to legend, the elemental rock is the ancient stronghold of a slain primordial, Haemnathuun. Now croaking slaads, howling demons, and rampaging elementals infest the twisting tunnels, all driven to madness by the constant blaring of the wind.[20]
The Ninth Bastion
Thousands of years ago, the empire of Mira spread its influence across much of the world and the planes beyond. The empire's attempt to extend its influence into the Elemental Chaos may have spelled its doom but also allowed its influence to survive to the present day, in the form of the Ninth Bastion.[20]
Zerthadlun
Zerthadlun is a realm shaped by the minds and will of the githzerai, mortals who have taken residence in the Elemental Chaos in order to study the entropy that fills it. Through constant diligence and monastic ritual the githzerai maintain their realm, in spite of the chaos that threatens to engulf it.[21]

Parallel PlanesEdit

Main article: Parallel Planes

Parallel planes are strange reflections of the Prime, formed by the will of the primordials in the age of creation who gathered what they considered to be imperfections of the Prime and created new planes from them. Parallel planes are the closest of the planes to the Prime and resemble it geographically, though they are very distinct in their own manner.[2]

The parallel planes are:

The Feywild
A vibrant twin of the Prime, the Feywild is the home of the fey and is filled with vitality and powerful arcane magic.[22]
The Shadowfell
A dark and twisted echo of the Prime, the Shadowfell is the home of shadow creatures, the focus of the souls of the dead, as well as much of the undead that fill the planes.[23]

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 12. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 8. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 84. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  4. Rob Heinsoo (April 2010). The Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 6. ISBN 978-0786953929.
  5. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 90. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  6. Rob Heinsoo (April 2010). The Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 38. ISBN 978-0786953929.
  7. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 110. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  8. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 91. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  9. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 92. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 111. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  11. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 94. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  12. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 96. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  13. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 97. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  14. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 106, 107. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  15. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 107, 108. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  16. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 108. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  17. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 13. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  18. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 78. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  19. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 73. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  20. 20.0 20.1 Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 76. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  21. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 77. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  22. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 32. ISBN 978-0786950027.
  23. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 16, 2008). Manual of the Planes. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 48. ISBN 978-0786950027.

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