- Written by Charles Wenzler
There are five general types of planes; the prime material worlds, the transitive planes, the basal planes, the transcendent planes and microplanes.
Material Plane: The material plane is the most habitable terrestrial realm where the known worlds exist; each obeying a strict guideline that makes up the physical, spatial and temporal laws of its universe. Most material planes, like Sarûnia, contain a multitude of planets and other heavenly bodies make up one solar system that forms the basis of the entire plane. The prime material plane is the seat of all worldly adventures wherein the adventurers begin their careers.
Basal Planes: There are six basal planes that make up the elements and energy that binds reality together. Each basal plane is a unique and separate entity from reality though and that is important to remember; each one of these is an element or energy type that is the most prevalent source of matter in their respective planes. Natives to these planes generally are made up of the type of element or energy of the plane and have immunities, whether innate or sustained through other means, which enable them to survive.
Elemental Planes: There exist only four types of elemental planes – elemental air, elemental earth, elemental fire and elemental water. Each separate element has its own plane which includes residents native to them.
Energy Planes: There exist only two types of energy planes – the plane of negative energy and the plane of positive energy. These energies permeate all other planes, influencing the lives that exist on them; the positive energy being the spark that creates the soul and helps to keep the body alive, while negative energy is the seed of unlife. When clerics channel energy, the power they utilize comes from one of these two planes.
Microplanes: Extradimensional spaces and planes created by powerful spellcasters as private sanctums and getaways are generally referred to as microplanes. Most microplanes are small, have a finite size and are only accessible to select few. Some microplanes are or can become extraordinarily large. There are countless microplanes in existence, many of them long forgotten, others adrift and some that are stationary, most of them co-existing on the material plane. Some are created in the sidereal sea, completely cut-off from the material plane and all other planes. Some microplanes can only be reached by obscure long forgotten portals and custom created spells.
Transcendent Planes: Only accessible from the sidereal sea, these are the planes that make up the various heavens and hells, the final destination of the souls of those that shaken off their mortal coil. The transcendent planes are where the deities build their divine realms and those that seek them out and call an audience with them; either through avatar, proxy or direct contact. Each of the transcendent planes has an alignment and the natural inhabitants of them more often than not tend to behave through the strictures (the moral and ethical outlook) of it. Powerful spellcasters are able are able to contact the transcendent planes by using such spells as
commune, contact other plane or can summon up celestial or infernal help with such spells as planar ally and summon monster.
Transitive Planes: The transitive planes are the planes that are commonly used as a nexus to other points or places in the cosmology. These planes have a strong tie to the prime material plane (as some of them are reflections of it) and most often spells or magic items are used to traverse from the prime material to a transitive plane. Most transitive planes have native inhabitants.
The Akashic Collective: The akashic collective serves to create a barrier between the prime material plane and the sidereal sea. Within this misty and ever changing realm exists ancient forgotten lore, the collective knowledge of everything from the beginning of time until the end of time and dreams from those that dreamt them. The akashic collective has its own unique landscape which is constantly changing. Strange and exotic creatures call the akashic collective their home and to the horror of unsuspecting creatures, they are able to exert their willpower and shape the creatures dream into an unforgettable nightmare and some of them even have the ability to snatch unsuspecting victims from their home plane and bring them back to the akashic collective.
The Empty Echo: A mirrored version of the prime material plane, the empty echo is referenced as the space between spaces. The empty echo is an exact duplicate of the prime material plane, and the only way of getting there is through the use of a mirror and an affect that manipulates it to becoming a gateway which functions to and from the empty echo. No structures or any civilized amenities exist within the plane. Travelers that find themselves on the empty echo know where mirrors exist on the prime material due to a slate gray slab of space that hangs in the middle of the air. With a touch, the gray slab wavers and becomes a glass mirror allowing anyone peering through it to see the other side of the mirror on the prime material plane. Casting the proper spell, using a magic item or utilizing a class feature can turn the glass into a portal from which the user can re-enter into the prime material plane, snatch nearby objects or even for the mischievous minded, use it as a means to capture or kidnap creatures standing in front of the mirror on the other end.
The Eternal Twilight: The eternal twilight is a realm in a perpetual state of twilight. No matter where one finds themselves on the plane and the actual time of the day, the only amount of light available is equal to that of dawn or dusk. The eternal twilight is similar to the empty echo in that it is a mirrored version of the prime material plane, without the biggest notable difference is that all structures that exist on the prime material have an eternal twilight analogue. The eternal twilight is the home to the Seelie and Unseelie courts of the fey as well as countless undead. In addition, the eternal twilight serves as a means of traveling great distances on the prime material plane through the use of twilight stride and its essence can be drawn upon to create effects and creatures that seem realistic with spells such as penumbral evocation or shades.
The Sidereal Sea: The airless vacuum that connects all material planes to the Basal and Transcendent Planes, the sidereal sea is what the soul travels through to reach its final reward or eternal punishment when a person reaches the end of their physical journey through life. Travelers in the Sidereal Sea note it for its vast emptiness and motes of light of various colors and its black and white swirling vortices. Spellcasters that cast spells of the teleportation type and those traveling in astral form utilize the sidereal sea to reach their destinations. Physical relocation to the Sidereal Sea is not without danger, as creatures that have the need to breathe can only last so long without artificial help.