The Negative Quasi-Elemental Plane of Ash

Ahoy Portalskippers!

Efka Farstrider, undead(ish)

Me old chiv Voilá! gave me the rattle as he reckoned I could give you the best whispers on the plane of Ash. And you know what, he was probably right.

Me name’s Efka Farstrider, and I’ve been banging about this part of the multiverse for as long as tanar’ri teeth. Longer than some of the factions have been in your Cage, that’s a cert. Oh, I remember the Great Upheaval… it ain’t often that something from Spiretown makes waves out this far, I’ll tell you that for free.

But I’m meandering. You want to hear about Ash. I know it like the back of my hand. In fact, the back of my hand looks a lot like Ash. But then that’s because I’m dead. No, don’t get all morbid on me, I rather like it. I’m deader than dead. Undead, you call it, eh? Surprised? We’re not all rapacious ghouls, mindless zombies or ravishing vampiresses, you know. Some of the wights I know are quite normal. Well, as normal as a shambling decaying talking corpse can be… you could almost call some of them friendly.

And before you ask just because I’m dead, it doesn’t mean my chant’s out of date too. ‘Fact, I’ve done a lot more exploring since my (un)death set in; indeed, the Lower Elemental Planes are a hefty sight more friendly to your constitution if you ain’t got one. Best thing I ever did was die. I heartily recommend it, portalskippers…

Fire’s Wake: Physical Conditions on Ash

So here’s a glancing look at the plane, its physical conditions, and vital chant you’ll need to know if planning to come here.

The plane of Ash has no layers. Fact is, cutter, some graybeards in Spiretown don’t even think it’s a real plane at all, they mumble something about negative energy causing entropy to elemental fire, quenching and decomposing it to ash, as if our beautiful smouldering wastes were nothing but a border zone of elemental chaos. Whatever burns your brain-box I suppose, us Ashers couldn’t care less what they write in their books about the place. Paper turns to ash in the end anyway, and their words will too. When you’ve look out across the vast pristine waste, seen the motes churning and mixing like they’re alive, watched the fires of creation crackle and die—then you can talk to me about what’s a plane and whats not.

At its edges, Core Ash touches Fire, Smoke, Magma, Dust, Vacuum and the Nothing. As you move towards any of those other elements, the nature of the ash itself changes…

Mapping Infinity: The Ashenlands

  • Core Ash is the chilly heart of the plane.
  • Travel Dustwards and you’ll come across the accursed Wasting Place.
  • Head Magmawise and the heat intensifies as you enter the Cinder Wells.
  • Towards Fire, you’ll find the Sea of Frozen Flames, Fire’s Death.
  • Towards Smoke, the Ash is fanned by warm breezes and becomes the Embers.
  • But that’s nothing to the last two—in the direction of Vacuum the motes thin out more and more until you’re in the Sparkling Vast, a place as beautiful as it is barren.
  • And then finally, if you dare, venture Nothingwards and let the chill of entropy take over your bones as you cross into Empty Winter.

So there you have it portalskipper; travel in the Inner Planes is probably very different to what you’re used to. I hear you’ve got things called compasses on the Prime that point in one direction. Here on the Inner Planes we have six cardinal directions, and remember, the nearest exit may be behind you…

Places of Note

The Crumbling Citadel of the Doomguard

Philosophy and Culture

Movers and Shakers

Natives of Ash

New creatures on

An ash mephit

Other Creatures of the Ash

  • Animental, Ash [2e] see PSMC3 p14 here
  • Entrope [2e] see PSMC3 p38 here
  • Efreeti [2e] see Genie; Monstrous Manual here
  • Fundamental, Ash [2e] see PSMC3 p46 here
  • Hag, Ash [5e] see 5eSRD here
  • Mephit, Ash
  • Para-Elemental Beast, Silt [2e] see Dark Sun MC Appendix 2 here
  • Quasi-Elemental, Ash [2e] see PSMC3 p78 here
  • Rast [2e] see PSMC3 p86 here
  • Rust Monster [2e] see Monstrous Manual here
  • Ruvoka, Sartarin [2e] see PSMC3 p90 here
  • Salamander [2e] see Elemental Fire-Kin; PSMC3 here
  • Trilloch [2e] see PSMC3 p108 here

The Sky and Ground

We don’t have those here, ‘skipper. Like Earth, Ash is a solid plane, though it’s less stony and real easy to tunnel through. Plenty of native creatures can burrow through the stuff as if it wasn’t even there, and some of them leave tunnels behind too. Be warned, though, that the ash collapses with ease, you’ll want to reinforce them if you want them to stick around. There are also caverns and rifts and some places where other elements have bled through the planar boundaries or been deliberately introduced.

As Ash overlaps with the neighbouring elements, its consistency changes considerably; near Smoke, Vacuum or the Nothing, the ash thins right out until it becomes more of a cloud. The ashen dust of the Wasting Place is a fine silt that won’t support tunnelling at all, that place is real hostile if you’re not a native. The Sea of Frozen Flames and the Cinder Wells are solid ground, pock-marked with holes and natural tunnels. See, Ash is much more complicated than you probably thought; there are microclimates all over the place.

The Light

Ash is a dim plane, though it’s considerably better off than the rest of the Lower Elementals. Ash is lit by the dull glow of cinders and dying coals; a dim red radiance at best in the brighter areas. Nearer to the Negative all light is muted further until freezing dead ash is all there is. Here, it’s black as pitch. Ah, the peaceful darkness, just lovely.

The Air

If you’re unlucky enough to still be drawing breath, then you’re going to have a problem here. While the tunnels tend to have thin air—that I’m told smells a bit like burnt hair—you’ll have to wear some kind of mask or filter to save yourself from choking. Out in the Core Ash though where you’ll need to dig, there’s nothing to breathe so you’ll want magical assistance. And a mask!

The Gravity

Gravity is a subjective thing here. Whichever way you perceive it, it finds you, so a canny cutter can walk along the walls, floor, or ceiling of tunnels—well, of course those words stop meaning things then. However, when he comes to a burg, the prevailing gravity depends on where the inhabitants planned it. Funny thing, gravity…

The Hazards

The chill of Ash is the main thing a visitor’s got to worry about. If she ain’t protected from cold by magic, the numbing chill will take its toll [2d6 hps per turn]. Fiery creatures suffer far more, and even magic won’t save ’em from the numbing effect of the plane. Mage powder, Negative pockets and deathly sludge are other dangers of the plane [see Inner Planes, p110-111 for the dark].

The Laws

The laws on Ash are few and far between. Both ash mephits and quasi-elementals look unfavourably upon bashers who kill members of their own race (but not the other’s—there never was love lost between ’em). Theft of planar material is also a big taboo, but when was the last time any sane sod tried to steal cartfuls of ash? It just ain’t a problem, berk. Just because nothing else is illegal here, doesn’t mean the natives are impossible to annoy, though—far from it. The tempers of ash creatures are legendary; one false move and they flare up like rekindled fires, burning as hot as the angriest efreet.

The Magic

Fire spells don’t work here without a key, and as fire can’t be sustained without an atmosphere, only instantaneous fire spells will have much effect anyway—spells like heat metal or wall of fire will fail. Spell keys here are generally the burned remains of spell components, but don’t assume that, it’s always wise to check.

I’ve also got the chant on a handful of spells that are well-known here but maybe haven’t made it to Spiretown:

The Magic of Ash

  • Ashen Buckler (wizard level 1)
  • Soot Ball (wizard level 1)
  • Ashen Reconstruction (wizard level 5)
  • Object to Ash (wizard level 7)

Canonical Sources:

  • The Inner Planes [2e] p108-113 (Essential information for would-be travellers)
  • Planescape Monstrous Compendium Volume III (various ashy monsters)
  • Manual of the Planes [5e] p126-128, see here

Source: Jon Winter-Holt,

One comment

  1. Josh

    Such amazing work.
    Would you mind sharing some of the descriptors used to generate these images with Midjourney?
    Also, although I mostly write in Portuguese, if you need help, I have quite a lot of material on new sects and locations (especially in Sigil) that I could translate and send to you for review.

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