Limits of Infinity: the Planes Beyond
Sigil stands in the center of the Outer Planes, a group of areas where all sorts of beliefs and philosophies can be found: it is literally the clashing point for all thoughts and ideas. These areas are called 'Planes', as they are much like their mathematical counterpart: they stretch on in all directions for infinity and contain all set of points within a given set based on their definition. One only has to think of sets of points as given thoughts and ideas, and there is the basic definition of a 'Plane' in the sense of Planescape. Each plane is infinite and stretches on forever, and most Outer planes have different "layers", which are places where the physical and moral environment is different but still similar to their home Plane. By all counts, there are seventeen different Outer Planes. There are also "Inner Planes", places of the elements, but those are far removed from Sigil and less important. There is also the "Prime Material Plane", which is judged perhaps the least important of all: it is a place of mundane worlds orbiting strange suns.
"Would you like
to study philosophy? It's about
Connecting the Outer Planes and the Prime Material is the Astral Plane, a starry void of thoughts and ideas. The xenophobic Githyanki make their homes on the Astral Plane, protecting themselves from their ancient and hated enemies the illithids. Also, the Athar enjoy the Astral Plane, as the Astral is the final resting place of those powers that
Connecting the Inner Planes and the Prime Material Plane is the Ethereal Plane, a place of fog and dreams from which the Believers of the Source claim all life is drawn from. Connecting the Inner Planes and the Outer Planes? Nobody knows. Some claim it's the "Ordial", a plane of faith that connects the matter of the Inner Planes to the philosophies of the Outer Planes.
The "Lower Planes" of the Outer Planes are those tinged with evil, and lie at what cartographers usually label the bottom of the Great Ring (which the Outer Planes are often called). The "Lower Planes" consist of The Abyss, Acheron, Baator, Carceri, Gehenna, the Gray Waste, and Pandemonium. In them dwell tortured souls and fiends of the worst sort. They aren't frequently travelled.
The "Upper Planes" are those influenced by good, and are usually placed at the top of maps of the Outer Planes. On them are the souls that believed in a righteous and good lifestyle, and celestials, angelic creatures and servants of goodness, abound. However, many of the planes tend to be pious and 'holier than thou'. Those planes counted as members of the "Upper Planes" are Arborea, Arcadia, The Beastlands, Bytopia, Elysium, Mount Celestia, and Ysgard.
The "Cordant Planes" are those touched by neither good or evil, but instead are embodiments of law and chaos. The two "Cordant Planes" are Mechanus and Limbo. Further, at the center of all these planes lies the Outlands, where good, evil, law, and chaos are in conflict and balance.
However, the Outer Planes are the most prevelant when speaking about Sigil, and as such they are briefly detailed below for quick reference. While they are a factor on Sigil, they are not primary venues: rather, Sigil itself is the focus of the MUSH. It is an interesting and diverse place, one where the ideas of the Outer Planes collide. The Outer Planes are listed here for consistency.
The Abyss represents in some ways the Biblical Abyss of the Hells: wild and untamed, The Abyss is comprised of an almost infinite number of different layers, each representing a different aspect of chaos and evil. It is a place of infinite tortures and endless nightmares, where any horror imaginable is real. As a result, the paramortal race of Tanar'ri makes their home among its plains of evil and torture, spawned from the very souls of the adulterers, lechers, sadists, and murderers that arrive in the Abyss after their sinful lives.
Acheron is a plane of iron cubes hanging in midair, where armies class endlessly with one another. It is a place of dead hopes and dying dreams, where the law of Mechanus is perverted by the evil tinge of Lower Planes. It is a place where the organisation does not care about the individuals: a place where you are just another number in the crowd.
Arborea is a land of emotion: any feeling or sensation to be found exists here, as well as it being the combination of the raw force of chaos and the essence of goodness. It is a place where tradition is important, where anyone can be a hero, and where Greek gods and goddesses inhabit the land and fill them with their stories.
Arcadia is a plane of Harmonium order. It is a place where the trees grow in rows, a place where the geese line up at the chopping block. The locals believe in the greatest good for the greatest amount, so you won't find any social outcasts in Arcadia: people either contribute to society or are cast out. It is the perfect ideal that the Harmonium strive the multiverse to be.
Like the Biblical Hell of Dante, Baator is an inverted pyramid. It is the final repose of the tyrant, the lawyer, the sinner, and all those that used power to repress their fellow man. Some enter Baator and find, instead of punishment, reward within the ranks of the Baatezu, who make their home in Baator and give the plane its name. The Baatezu control everything about the plane, and each layer is ruled over by a specific "Lord of the Nine", a powerful being that rules from the shadows and controls ever aspect of their realms.
The Beastlands are a wild and feral place, one where the souls of every animal in the multiverse goes to spend bliss with archetypes of their particular species before being reincarnated for another life. It is a place of wilderness and the wild, and a place where man realises quite soon that he is the hunted. It is a place without civilisation of any sort, a place where nature is the ruler. Man might find themselves eaten alive upon venturing into the forests of the Beastlands, which might seem odd for one of the Upper Planes. It's not good and it's not evil; it's just the way of things. The Beastlands is the Plane of Physical Knowledge; a place where everyone becomes intimately familiar with every muscle in their body. The body never lies.
Bytopia is a land of honorable work. It is a place where everyone pulls their own weight and anything can be achieved through hard work. It is the place of the farmer, of the merchant, and of the laborer. Physically, its two layers are in a sandwitch with each other, connected by large spires as they face one another. Spire travellers must be careful not to be caught in a bad situation while they are near the point where the gravity changes from one layer to the next.
Carceri is the prison-plane. Tinged with chaos but lying between the Gray Waste and the Abyss, Carceri is the place of the revolutionaries that failed in their quests. It is the place of the exiles, of the betrayers, and of the godless. Physically, it is composed of a large series of orbs stringing off into infinity, each layer wrapped inside the other like a series of wooden dolls, enveloping its prisoners within it.
Elysium represents tranquility in all its forms: is a plane that represents goodness in its sheer simplicity. The people within the plane are relaxed and calm; the very place creates peace and protection from evil. It is the home of the restful paramortals, the Guardinals: champions of all forms of goodness. Those that do good in Elysium find friends everywhere; those who do ill find no solace or companionship.
Gehenna is a place where four massive mountains, fiery volcanoes, hang in the middle of an empty void. It is a place where the strong survive, and the weak are burned. Those that can survive, do, and they cling to the slopes of their huge homes. Only the first true of the mountains are fiery: on the other two the fire is either slowly dying or dead. Gehenna is a land where strange strains of creatures have since evolved and where organised crime rules. The Yugoloths, supposedly having originated from the Gray Waste, moved to Gehenna at some point in time and now live within its fiery floes.
The Gray Waste is a place representing true and undiluted evil. Appearing as an infinite gray wasteland, it is a place devoid of color, emotion, feeling, and thought. In the end, the very landscape burns the feelings and emotions right out of an unwitting soul, leaving him nothing but an apathetic vegetable. This used to be the home of the Yugoloths until the majority of them left many millennia again. They still maintain a fortress within its plains; a huge spine of an unknown creature rising up from the ground.
Limbo is a swirling soup of chaos and confusion. It is a place where there is no order to it: even the constant of chaos is not there. Limbo is the home of both the Slaad and the Githzerai, mortal enemies (most of the time). The githzerai host a strange group of recluses known as the "Chaos Shapers" who are said to be able to attune the chaos around them to create landscapes and buildings out of sheer thought alone. The Soup of Limbo is otherwise comprised of mixtures of every sort of element and substance imaginable; as such, it's not a very popular place to visit. However, the Xaositects are quite common there, basking in the sheer randomness of the land.
"What is Limbo?
It's never what you expect."
"What is Limbo?
It's always what you expect."
Mechanus is a land of cogs, gears, and of perfect law. It is a place where the code of rules and regulations run everything and everyone is part of the system, another face in the crowd. The orderly and clockwork Modrons run the place with a top efficiency, and it's no surprise that the Fraternity of Order maintains a formidable presence among the gears of Mechanus.
Mount Celestia is the Mountain of Holy Ascension. It can be modelled off of Dante's recollections of the Paradisio; a Holy Mountain with the petitioners always ascending up its slopes, purging themselves of all sin. As they approach new slopes of purity, their minds fall further into the ideas of ordered good. This is the final rest for chivalrous knights, holy paladins, and respectful monks. In their afterlives, they become the paramortal race of the Archons and work to bring order and virtue to the rest of the multiverse.
At the center of all the rest of the Outer Planes lie the Outlands. Like Sigil, they are a place where all factions and ideas collide along its outer ring. It's a place where every idea has a counter, and if someone travels long enough they'll come where they've started, as per the Unity of Rings. At the center of the Outlands is a massive spire, stretching infinitely high into the sky. It is everpresent throughout the Lands; no matter where one goes, the center can always be found by following the Spire. At the very top of the spire, floating above an infinite space, is Sigil.
Along the ring of the Lands (as they are called) lie "Gate Towns", towns that are constructed around gates to various Outer Planes. These towns are so ordered that their people begin to take on the atmosphere of their neighboring Plane: for example, Curst (gate town to Carceri) is a place of bitter revolutionaries. If a town mirrors its mother Plane too much, it slides off to join it. This is something that nobody wants, as the Gate Towns create a large amount of trade and business. As such, couter-cultures usually form within the Gate Towns (such as the Council of Anarchy within Automata, the Gate to Mechanus). But there's more to the Outlands than the Gate Towns: it's said that there are hidden Rilmani enclaves near the center of the Lands. In addition, beyond the Gate Towns lie the enigmatic Hinterlands, untamed wildernesses of philosophy which represent idle thoughts and beliefs far too minor to fit in anywhere else. Strange and mysterious, the Hinterlands are almost never visited by anyone in their right minds.
Pandemonium is the Howling Land, the land of madness, a place of infinite caverns wending their way through underground mazes. There is one constant to the plane: the everpresent howling wind that cuts through all other senses. It's always there, and anyone coming to the plane eventualy goes insane from the shrieking winds. People here are bad-tempered but survivors: the plane makes it that way. However, the plane encourages secrets: the most hidden of powerful artifacts lie in its bottom layer: a land of secluded air bubbles. Some empty... some not.
Ysgard is a land of Norse myth and legend; it is a place where the beserkers of Odin crash down upon the ranks of the giants, and honor and family tradition means everything. Everything else goes out the proverbial window. It is a place where the strong survive and the weak must try again, because the only thing that you can possess is the thing that you can work to keep. Both the Fated and the Indeps admire this attitude on the plane, and are frequently seen throughout the earthbergs, floating islands of earth, of the land.
For more information on the Planes, their mappings, and how to travel them, consult the Explorer Mimir.
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