Transit Plane, Fortress Celestia (3.5e Environment)
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The transit plane surrounds and connects the planes of the Fortress Celestia campaign setting. It has only one layer, a gaseous void in which drift various objects and interplanar phenomena. Some regions are filled with clouds of less transparent gas, dust, etc., but in most areas, the sky takes on a silvery grey color which varies from bright foggy white to almost black and it is possible to make out large objects apparently hundreds of miles distant or more.
- This plane is intended to be used as part of the Fortress Celestia Campaign Setting, but there is no reason it can't be used in other settings. The Fortress Celestia setting is one where dealing with adult topics and hard choices is often just a normal part of life. All these can be omitted from adventures here, but they are a fundamental aspect of what the setting is.
- This environment is inspired by cannon planes from various versions of D&D, particularly Planescape. It is not meant for profit, and I do not own any D&D - related intellectual property other than some ideas for homebrew settings like this one.
- Subjective: in most of the plane, there is no gravity. Near islands of solid matter, 'Down' is usually whatever direction provides the most useful footing.
- Timeless: throughout most of the plane, creatures do not need to breathe, eat, drink, sleep, etc., and can remain at negative hit points indefinately without dying. However, healing and recovery of spells also do not occur. In most areas, long distance journeys are extremely rapid. Many powerful outsiders use the plane as a sort of hyperspace between portals; travel times can be nearly instantaneous.
- Infinite, or at least seemingly so. At a minimum, the plane is stagerringly huge. Countless "islands" of solid matter, demiplanes, etc., dot the plane, some of which are larger than most worlds, yet even these are mere specks of dust in the plane.
- Alterable morphic: spells and technolgy that creates a spell like affect that affect areas or objects for 2 or more rounds act as if extended, persistent, permanent until dispelled.
Magic, Alignment, and Energy/Elemental Traits
- Air; the predominant content here is a gaseous void, in which drift various solid forms.
- faintly negative; living creatures take no damage, but the plane is lonely and grey.
- mildly Neutral.
- Limited Magic: Astral projection does not work here.
- Enhanced Magic: spells that affect areas or objects for 2 or more rounds act as if extended, persistent, permanent until dispelled. For example, a Solid Fog may be permanent, only to be permanently dispelled by a Gust of Wind.
Movement and Combat
Movement and combat work normally except as noted above. Missile fire for non-natives is at -2 because of the unstable footing, except on solid land.
Features of the Plane
These look like pools (usually) floating in midair. The size and color varies greatly, and may indicate the location. Typically, the colors are as follows:
- The Plane of Elemental Substances: a solid color indicating the sub-plane with grey edges.
- The Celestial Courts: the pool appears to be made of marble stone, and yet it is liquid at room temperature. The exact color and pattern to the marble may indicate the layer, but it takes an expert or highly experienced traveller to recognize them.
- The Plane of Ideological Conflict: flat grey.
- The Chaos Plane: black with swirling white froth.
- The Broken Machine: the pool appears to be made of iron or steel which is in liquid form at room temperature.
- The Barrens of Evil: the pool appears to be made of blood. Fiends, dieties, and creatures using a wish spell or similar can sense whether a pool leads to a layer they know; other creatures can't.
- Fortress Celestia: the pool appears to be made of a translucent star sapphire which is in liquid form at room temperature. All portals lead to the isles of battle.
These are less common and look like an ordinary door until an appropriate portal key is presented, upon which they open into another plane. Portal keys could be almost anything or any combination of things the being who enchanted the door wishes. For example, a gate to the chaos plane might require a chaotic neutral carrying a dead fish on some days, and a egg on others. A portal to Fortress Celestia might require a paladin carrying a holy symbol of a deity with a realm inside the fortress. Some provide no information about where they lead until the being activating the portal crosses through, others allow a party with the key to use them to see into another plane without entering, although it may be too dark, cloudy, etc., to see much, or toss a rock, insect, arrow on a string, etc., through to test the conditions inside.
Gates work exactly like doors but often simply are an open area inside a marked ring. They are the least common of the plane links listed here. Entering a gate or being inside one as it is being opened is extremely dangerous; usually the victim is sent to the other plane, but sometimes the body is disrupted (treat as a disintegrate spell followed by a gust of wind). Worst of all, the soul itself may sometimes be thrust into the Heart of Chaos. Some are fairly small while a few are miles across, permitting use by collossal - sized creatures, spelljammers, or ocean, air, and space ships. Many require portal keys that act as sophisticated passwords that are almost impossible to copy without overtechnology or epic magic, while others open the instant any creature of an appropriate species enters the area, and others cannot open unless empty so no one is disrupted.
Most appear as featureless mirrored or flat black spheres usually ranging from inches to a hundreds of feet in diameter; a handful are so large, creatures nearby mistake the surface for be the edge of the plane itself.
These demiplanes are simply a portion of the plane that follows its own rules, and one can enter by simply stepping across. Many are home to islands and clouds of debris, pieces of a prime world or a plane that was broken up in interplanar warfare. Some are so immense creatures live here without ever learning of the existence of the main plane outside.
In these exceptions, time works normally, or almost normally. Due to the odd temporal nature of the rest of the plane, it can take hundreds of times longer to go through these areas than it does to go around. Creatures come here to recover hit points and spells, but they must breathe, eat, drink, etc., as they normally would while there.
Massive chunks of mostly solid material drift through the plane in cloudlike clusters that can be larger than most prime worlds. Many have their own gravity and are home to living beings, some of whom have built homes or other structures on these islands. Ocasionally two islands drift close enough to each other that they collide. Usually this is a small island colliding with a large one, which is catastrophic for the small island, but only really devastating in the immediate area for anyone living on the larger one. When two large islands collide, however, it can be catastrophic not only for those on both islands but also on neighboring islands struck by the resulting debris. Thankfully that is a relatively rare event.
These shapes resemble collossal - sized beings. They are said to be the bodies of gods who died from wounds sustained in previous multiversal wars or neglect by their own worshippers. According to rumor, some of them are still revivable by arcane means.
Most islands are made of rock and ore. Most range from several feet to a few miles across, but some are larger. All but the smallest ones have their own gravity and dirt, sand, pools of water, etc., may form on the "top" side(s).
Other islands are made of ice, occasionally with something frozen inside. Most are hundreds to thousands of feet across or less, but others are the size of small continents.
The largest islands are home to major ecosystems, some with large deserts and forests, or even oceans or mountain ranges. Others have vast underdark realms with gaping mouths open to the outside sky. Many are in fact pieces of a prime world or a plane that was broken up in interplanar warfare.
Massive clouds of mist, dust, smoke, and other nontransparent materials drift through the plane. Most are a few thousand feet to several miles across, but others are world - sized. Smaller clouds often drift in continent - sized shoals. When one of these drifts near a island, it may rain, snow, etc.
Most of the inhabitants of the plane are native to parts of planes and prime worlds that ended up here, especially those nominally native to astral or etherial planes. Also, creatures with access to technology or magic needed to construct interplanar portals, spelljammers, etc., as well as those creatures commonly domesticated or enslaved by such beings, and those creatures that commonly sneak onboard, such as rats, insects, and small birds, can be found here. Of the races, many are refugees from prime worlds and chaotic planes destroyed in interplanar warfare and often take jobs onboard spelljammers and in ports. Although creatures can survive without nutrition, most natives must go into time havens and eat and drink in order to regain spells, hit points, etc. While severe conditions are uncommon here, food and water are scarce. Dragons are widespread but their large appetite and poor reputation keeps them rare. Natural selection here favors hardy, nomadic creatures who can survive in multiple environments and can leave their homes quickly. Of the humanoid races, many are refugees from prime worlds and chaotic planes destroyed in interplanar warfare and often take jobs onboard spelljammers and in ports.
Most of the creatures here take less interest in planewide or interplanar politics than their fellows on other planes. Many are ignorant of other planes, believing that their shattered worlds and the surrounding region of the plane is all that remains of the multiverse. Most who understand what is going on prefer to stay as far away as possible from the more political planes. As a result, typically the alignment demographics of the plane run a little skewed toward neutrality relative to that listed in the SRD for a particular race, even for fiendish or celestial races. If you have goods or services to trade at a decent price, most intelligent creatures can be approached on friendly terms.
The planes of this multiverse are said to have a fondness for ships. On the demiworlds where intelligent life flourishes, traditional seagoing vessels can be found, but the real adventure here is sailing the infinite sky. Some vessels have been taken directly from the oceans, with just enough magic to allow them to lift off, but most are either true airships or primitive spelljammers. A few are true spaceships constructed with overtechnology or epic magics and capable of surviving virtually anything the plane can dish out. Some have formed alliances stretching across many islands and employing hundreds of vessels.
Many locals engage in piracy, raiding each other's commerce. For travellers just passing through it is only rarely a problem, but those who book passage on a spelljammer bound for a time haven often encounter such trouble. Some are ruthless killers who systematically murder, take, and discard uncaringly, while others are surprisingly kindly, offering any vacant positions on their own crews to prisoners. Often pirate ships and the towns they stop at have populations that would seem very odd elsewhere. Most pirate captains have learned only to prey on the outskirts of the major trading empires, or to act as their vassals, as few can afford to compete directly with the most powerful civilizations.
flyer: a large flying animal such as a giant bird, griffon, giant spider using its web as a paraglider, or dragon, is flying alone in the void. It is tired and hungry and would like nothing better than to take prey on the wing before returning home.
rock: a rocky sky - island with trees and a cave, resembling a cliche' tropical island or sky castle, in an area where such things are uncommon. Perhaps there is is food, water, or treasure there. Perhaps it is home to something dangerous....
nomads: a largish ragtag vessel overcrowded with refugees of mixed humanoid species and trading goods travelling from one demiworld to another. Hidden in their bunks are crude weapons. They will fight to the death to defend what little they have, but will negotiate if they can.
patrol: 1-4 spelljammers or spaceships are searching for a group of pirates that hijacked a critical shipment. The commander has little time for anyone who gets in their way.
port: a raucus, fun - loving town perched precariously on the edge of a demiworld or large sky island that does business with trading empires and pirates alike. Most people here are just trying to make money as best as they can. As long as you don't cause unusually serious damage, kill, injure, or rob locals, pay your rent, and tip the barmaid, what else you do is your own business.
Oddities are almost common here. Besides the time havens and islands, the local population can occasionally be a shock to those used to more traditional D&D settings. Virtually every species of significant population in the setting might be found somewhere on the plane. In some towns, dwarves, elves, orcs, astral devas, and succubi might live peacefully side by side.