does it Lead?
planes than I've ever cared to visit, that's for sure.
The following planes are definitely connected to
Yggdrasil in one or more places (I'm sure about most of
these because I've been there myself, berks):
-- the Gnarl in Arvandor is touched by a particularly
thick branch of Yggdrasil's crown. There are plenty of
other branches here, but this is the best-known, and best
served by ratatosk guides.
-- en route to the Prime, Yggdrasil grows through the
Astral. It's a funny sight from here, cutter, with the
light from the plane making the branches and leaves look
like they're made out of silver. What's more, because
time stops here, Yggdrasil doesn't grow. Which beggars
the question how it ever got here in the first
-- as one might expect from a plane of Wild Nature, the
Beastlands has its share of large trees, and more than
its share of connections to the World Ash. Since most of
them are unmarked, take care when you travel.
Waste -- one of the Ash's
three main roots ends up in Nilfheim (the Abode of
Darkness) on the second layer of the Waste, spitting
distance from the horrible realm of Hel. Be vigilant
here, cutter, because the foul dragon Nidhogg and her
brood dwell here, gnawing on the root. One day they'll
kill the tree and the planes will come crashing down, or
so the story goes. You need to see how think Yggdrasil's
roots are to understand we're safe for a long time yet.
Leave the old beast and her children well alone and
you'll usually be fine. Oh, and look out for Garm, the
monstrous dog that guards the road to Nilfheim too.
Hmmm...all things considered, maybe you should avoid this
-- there may or may not be Yggdrasil connections here,
depending on the weather (as they say). Your best bet is
Pinwheel, a bizarre stable island in the centre (they
say) of the plane. If it doesn't send you elsewhere,
Limbo is its usual destination (!)
-- one root (some say a branch) extends to the Realm of
the Norns, leading to the Well of Urd. There are dozens
of other connections throughout the Land, but only from
the fourth ring and out.
-- if you're keen on visiting Loki's Winter Hall,
Yggdrasil is as good a way of getting there as any. Take
climbing gear, or risk being blown off the tree from the
fierce winds that gust through the gate...
-- legend has it that any prime world where they've ever
worshipped Norse powers has at least one connection to
Yggdrasil, and judging be the number I've found, it's
probably true. Easily the most numerous, but also the
hardest to find, colour pools to the Prime litter the
Astral regions of Yggdrasil like acorns on an oak tree.
I've also heard tales of a living planet in a prime world
called "Torilspace" called Yggdrasil's Child. Now
that I would pay to explore...
-- this pane is literally overgrown with bits of
Yggdrasil. There are branches leading to Rowan's Hall
(the Fated headquarters out of Sigil), the Well of Mimir
in Jotunheim (a place close to me own heart!), Smoke-Top
in Vanaheim (that's a root, leading underground),
heard stories that these planes might be connected, but
haven't checked them out yet.
-- rumours of twisted portions of the tree and warped
branches lead one to assume there might be the odd
section of Yggdrasil that's wormed its way int the
-- although there aren't Norse powers here, the chant
goes you can reach the Twin Planes from the Tree if you
look hard enough for a pool.
Water -- they say the roots
of Yggdrasil reach even this far, though a body's assume
they'd have to pass through the Astral, Prime and
Ethereal first! I'll reserve judgement on this one, I
think. But the rumours are very persistent.
it Come From?
that one up to another mystery of the planes, cutter,
because nobody knows for sure. Magnum
Opus tells me that the
World Ash is mentioned all the way back through planar
history, and is at least as old as the River Styx itself.
It's a good chance it was born the same time as the
theory goes that Yggdrasil is a natural product of the
planes. Just like the Abyss represents corruption and
evil, and Elysium is ultimate, peaceful goodness,
Yggdrasil represents growth and renewal. Climbing it,
then, becomes a symbolic gesture; as the planewalker
traverses the obstacles of the Tree, so obstacles in her
life are overcome, and she grows, physically and
also represents renewal. While it's an evergreen, so the
leaves don't drop off with the seasons (though a canny
basher will add there's no seasons on most of the Outer
Planes anyway!), the tree itself seems to go through
cycles of growth and consolidation, where some colour
pools wax or wane, new ones are formed, and older ones
die. Some bloods reckon that the less-used portals
eventually disappear, as if Yggdrasil only keeps them
there as long as cutters stretch themselves to use
some cutters snort at that and say that it's just a
sodding big tree...
Climbing it Like?
climbing any tree, only larger! You'll find that many of
the better-travelled routes are quite wide; often with
roads big enough for wagons and caravans to pass down,
because the World Ash is often used as a route of
commerce. Less-known routes might have steps carved into
the trunk, or ropes and ladders helpfully placed in
difficult places by previous climbers. Of course, if
you're looking for an unknown portal, or one that other
cutters don't want you to find, expect to have to hack
the undergrowth back yourself!
tree itself often doesn't look too much like a tree. It's
that, big, berk, that you can rarely see both sides of
the branch, with vegetation growing on the nutritious
bark obscuring the view. When you do catch a glimpse of
the edges, it can look more like a cliff than a tree.
There is a general sense of "up" and "down", and falling
off a branch is a hazardous process, as you're bound to
hit a branch sooner or later and invariably come out the
encounter the worse off than the tree. Some areas of the
tree have localised gravity, however, so you can walk
along the trunk rather than down it. Be wary of
points where two branches meet, though, because sudden
shifts in gravity can be mighty disorientating. Often you
can walk around a branch and not fall off, because
gravity points to the centre. But with the tree this
infused by the Planes of Chaos, it's a leatherheaded
cutter who trusts a rule of thumb all the
times vary according to how fast a basher climbs, of
course, and how far away portals are from one another,
but they're certainly a lot shorter than you might expect
from a tree that crosses infinite distances! You can
usually reach any point from another in 1-12 days of
climbing, assuming you're not waylaid by unpleasant
main dangers on Yggdrasil are other travellers. As I said
before, fiends and celestials both use the Ash; depending
on your temperament either one of those could be a threat
to you. A fair number of monsters and hungry predators
also make their homes in the branches, particularly
ettercap, mold men, manticore, and trolls (who live in
holes in the trunk and love to set traps).
beware of crossing a treant, for these self-important
creatures see themselves as Yggdrasil's guardians
(ignoring the fact that the ratatosk also claim this
Can I Get
of the best and safest ways of traversing the Tree is
with a guide. While there are many touts and planewalking
cutters who'll gladly show you the way around for the
right jink, the best guides I've found are the ratatosk.
If you can bear their squirrely antics, you'll find they
know more about the World Ash than they let on...
you must trust a humanoid, try the burg of Crux. It's a
well-known stopover point on Yggdrasil, and boasts a very
pleasant tavern, and some friendly residents. You should
also be able to find good guides there, at reasonable
prices (so long as you're not planning on going anywhere
now, if you'll excuse, me, I think I can see my colour
pool just ahead. Ah, don't you just love the bland,
washed-out smell of the Gray Waste? I've got a date with
a 'loth, and it's bad form to be late. Mimir, cease