Walls and Planes
Some information distilled from a conversation over dinner:
The High Wall
A single massive tree created by the 12 staves of the Namitha Ardrua growing and fusing into a giant ring around modern Faengleis. The material cannot be passed through by an incorporeal being and no destination on the far side can be teleported to. While the material can be damaged, doing so is extremely difficult: it ignores magical damage and the magical properties of weapons used against it, relying on material strength and brute force to get through. The wall extends down into the soil or sand wherever it passes over, including the ocean. No one is sure how deep these roots run, but it has confirmed to be at least 300 feet below the surface in accessible land areas. It also stretches up higher than has been successfully scaled or flown; it has been confirmed to be at least 3 miles high and is most likely higher.
The Outer Dark
No one knows for sure what the outer dark is, though it has been referred to as the "True Death." The most common theory holds that those who exist in it do not join the gods in the afterlife when they die, instead simply ceasing to be. Many who believe this also believe those who live in the Outer Dark exist in a state of hedonistic amorality, being outside the presence of the gods, and either live in a hell-on-earth or have, after twelve-hundred years, killed themselves off. A minority believe the outer dark is an actual darkness, that nothing but infinite blackness exists beyond the High Wall and the world that used to be the rest of Faengleis no longer exists. Even rarer is the opinion that the Outer Dark has simply ceased to exist entirely and that penetrating the High Wall will have you breaking through the wall on the other side of Faengleis.
Knowledge of the planes is fairly common amongst magic users, though the common folk don't understand much beyond the idea of heaven and hell. Entrance to the planes is possible, but it is difficult and dangerous. Travel via the planes is also possible, but no way has been discovered to enter a plane and return to the Prime Material on the far side of the High Wall. Planar cosmology in Godsfall is similar to normal D&D cosmology, though modified in the following ways:
- The Prime Material Plane - Faengleis and whatever else may share the same physical reality. This is the "real world" and the hub of the planar network.
- The Ethereal Plane and the Plane of Shadows - Both are reflections of the Prime Material, the Ethereal as a place of dreams, the Plane of Shadows one of nightmares. These worlds are accurate if indistinct reflections of Faengleis, complete with their own, impenetrable High Walls. They are often visualized as a sort of shell around the Prime Material, keeping it separate from the planar medium of the Astral; a metaphor that is helpful if inaccurate in the specifics.
- The Astral Plane - Indistinct and silvery, this is the often called the "planar medium," the stuff in which the various planes drift, though the actual reality of it is beyond the scope of most to accurately grasp. It is the source of magic, the place from which arcane energies flow and the source of the seemingly-spontaneous energy conjured up by a few arm shakes and some bat guano.
- The Elemental Planes - Air, Fire, Earth, Water, Positive, and Negative energy are the most known and the largest, though there are elemental demi-planes for substances as varied as lightning, smoke, wood, metal, and more. They are also known as the "inner planes" to some, for they exist within the Infinite Ring.
- The Heavens - Bounding the Astral as the border of Everything is the Infinite Ring, which consists of the Heavens and the Hells. The Heavens are ruled by Thahtma and include Arcadia, Celestia, Bytopia, Elysium, the Beastlands, Arborea, and Ysgard:
- Celestia - Splendor, glory, and perfect goodness hold in this land of saints, where the most noble and pure-hearted can spend eternity in the light of Thahtma's silver throne atop the highest of the Seven Mounting Heavens.
- Bytopia - Like two great lands that face, each the other's sky, it is a land of whimsy and innocence, where pain never touches and all memories are sweet.
- Elysium - Pure goodness without regard for law or chaos, those who exist here are infused with all the best things a being's heart can offer: compassion, love, peace, camaraderie, and fulfillment.
- The Beastlands - A great forest of adventure, where abundance and plenty reward those who suffered privation with strength in life.
- Arborea - Eternal peace opens up grand vistas for the mind in this plane of contemplation and learning, where every book ever written can be read in the shadow of great trees or by the banks of clear, cool streams.
- Ysgard - A place where the valiant, courageous, and chaotic go to spend eternity with the great warriors of old. Freedom fighters, warriors who stood against impossible odds, and those who died defending the weak will all find a home here.
- The Hells - The other half of the Infinite Ring is Feyoon's provenance, where the wicked are punished by being forced to dwell forever amongst their own kind and the demons their evil has spawned. They consist of Pandemonium, the Abyss, Carceri, Hades, Gehenna, the Nine Hells, and Acheron:
- The Abyss - The Abyss is infinite in layers, for it must house the demons created by man's violence, greed, and wantonness, though men of sins both petty and foul will find themselves damned here if no other Hell can contain them.
- Carceri - The prison plane, where the corrupt or betrayed have eternity to pot their revenge.
- Hades - These grey, unchanging planes are filled with the shambling husks of souls once lost to ignorance, apathy, or despair, though it is a favorite place for demonic armies to collide in their frequent, pointless battles.
- Gehenna - A bleak furnace where-in burn the slaves of mammon, who had no room for charity, pity, or compassion.
- The Nine Hells - Also known as Baator, it is the durance of the devils, where malice and cowardice are rewarded with pain and Feyoon herself watches the world from the deepest layer.
- Acheron - Broken swords and broken oaths are the reality of this plane of eternal war, where armies of traitors and war-criminals fight without succor or surcease.
- Limbo - As the Astral is for the inner planes, so Limbo is for the outer, a place of power and chaos and the source of divine magic, though usually only after it has been tamed by the will of a god. It is the power that keeps souls from moving between Heaven and Hell and the demesne of Nurket.
- Mechanus - Often considered the "outer shell" of reality, it is the firmament in which the Infinite Ring is seated, a place of ultimate law that ensures physical reality works as it is supposed to. It is also the only defense reality has against the mad winds of the Far Realm, ruled over by the enigmatic Vakad.
- Far Realm - Beyond reality, it is everything that does not exist, should not exist, and yet has existence. The merest whispers of it are maddening enough to destroy even the strongest minds. It is the whirling chaos that lies beyond reality's horizon and should it ever intrude on the planes of creation, all would be lost.