Campaign of the Month: January 2008
A Deadly Affair
The material plane is coterminous with the Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadows. Thusly, most magic functions exactly as in other settings, with no changes to the rules. In another idea borrowed from other campaign settings, there are places on the Prime Material that are closer to or nearly coterminous with the Elemental Planes. This means that magical effects using those elements have a stronger effect there, while effects using the opposed element have a reduced effect.
Most of the real changes come when you consider planes outside the Prime Material. The only planes available for common planar travel are the 4 primary elemental planes, the Astral Plane, and the Dreaming. The Storm on the Astral Plane makes travel to any other plane nearly impossible, so other planes will be omitted from this description.
Each of the four primary Elemental Planes exists almost precisely as described in the extant source books, except that each has a mild alignment trait according to the following elemental association (Fire = Evil, Water = Good, Air = Chaos, Earth = Law). They can be reached by means of plane shifting, or via the Astral Plane. The elemental nature of the creator deities is responsible for the relative proximity of the Elemental Planes to the Prime Material, and their ease of access relative to other planes not coterminous with the Prime Material.
Lastly, we have the Dreaming, which is a variably morphic plane most influenced by the subconscious of it’s visitors. It’s name arises from the most common method of travel to and from – dreams. Rarely (only a few times in the lifetime of the average person), a person in natural sleep will project their consciousness to the Dreaming. These are often referred to as “True Dreams” because of their realism (they actually happen, in a very real sense). Most species of monster originate here (though most exist and reproduce conventionally on the Prime Material now).
Portions of the Dreaming mimic portions of other planes from more conventional settings, including the infernal and celestial planes. The monster inhabitants are actually created by the dreams of the mortals who reach the Dreaming (though, once created, they remain), and many reproduce there, giving it its own independent population. The notable effect that this has on the characters is a simple concept change for the Summon Monster and most associated non-elemental summoning spells – the spells are calling forth creatures from the Dreaming rather than any outer plane. In game terms, this changes nothing, and many characters, particularly those with appropriate religious beliefs, may believe that they are summoning demons from hell or celestial badgers from some celestial plane.