elemental planes

The party in this story are a group of low-level wizards (and only low-level wizards) who were tasked with completing their “last chance exams” at Wizard Academy™ for a chance to graduate with the rest of their cohort. It was a one-shot dungeon crawler style of game where we rotated the DM for every room. Given our level and abilities, rooms featured such challenges as battalions of house-cats, CR-reduced mimics and baby bugbears that still frequently required us to take long rests as the DMs swapped. After much trial and error (and only a few near deaths) we made it to the final test: a battle against a junk golem-style monstrosity that had access to wild magic.

Of particular importance: the current DM was an English/History teacher while Players One and Two both studied higher mathematics at university, and after an earlier incident the only serious rule we were following was “no retcons”.

DM:

 *rolls particularly well* With a great tear, a portal opens to the Elemental Plane of Cats! Ten housecats immediately appear in the arena, and more housecats begin pouring through the rip in reality at an exponential rate - 


P1:

Wait, exponential?


DM:

Yes, that’s what I said.


P1:

That’s… that’s a lot of cats, dude.


DM:

 Nah, it’s not that many.


P2:

No, she’s right, that’s a 

lot

of cats. *does the math* Yeah, see, if we started out with ten housecats, and assume that the exponential growth is per round per cat, you’ve got a hundred housecats at the end of next round, and over a thousand after that - 


DM, starting to realise his mistake:

Look, all right, I misspoke, we’ll retcon that - 


P1:

Hell no, you wouldn’t let me retcon licking the mimic earlier; exponential house-cats!


Other players:

Exponential house-cats!


DM:

 I don’t have enough minis for this…



Long story short, the house-cats killed the golem and almost killed us until someone Prestidigitation’d catnip back through the tear in reality.



“Exponential” is now a byword in our group for “poorly phrased description that will backfire horribly” and that DM has never used it to describe anything since.

Elemental Planes For Alternate Elements

So, I tried to come up with a system of Elemental Planes that use common JRPG damage types that aren’t represented by the classic D&D Elemental Planes (Or Para and Quasi-Elemental planes, so no Ice or Lightning ones), and I think I got a good one:

  • Sound
  • Time
  • Corrode (Think Acid/Rusting Attacks/Chemical Attacks)
  • Bomb (Both Explosions and Implosions, Including Gravity)
  • Rad (Think Radiation, Lasers, and other “sci-fi” flavored ”Light” attacks rather than the fantasy “Divine”/”Holy” kind)

And I even came up with a set of Paraelemental and Quasielemental planes for ‘em too!

  • Sound + Time = Echo
  •  Corrode + Time = Ruins (The ruin and ruins of all that is and will be)
  • Corrode + Bomb = Melt
  • Bomb + Rad = Nuke
  • Rad + Sound = Music

&

  • Pos + Sound = Loud, Neg + Sound = Silence
  • Pos + Time = Memory, Neg + Time = Despair
  • Pos + Corrode = React (Think Chemistry), Neg + Corrode = Poison
  • Pos + Bomb = Spectacle/Fireworks, Neg + Bomb = Dud
  • Pos + Rad = Glow (Think Neon & 80s lightning/energy effects), Neg + Rad = Apocalypse (Think World War 3 Forever in progress)

I may elaborate on these planes, their border-parts and the stuff that inhabits ‘em, but for now, I hope y’all like it, especially @thetygre and @dilbert-2

The Aphotic Mangroves, on the southern borders of the Elemental Plane Of Earth.


Darkness rules where earth and water meet. Old, foul things prosper here, where roots as wide as castles weave in and out of dense, sodden black soil, and white feelers fine as maidens’ hair drifts on the chill. Stagnant lakes and sluggish rivers embrace the trunks of the trees. Blind fish and frogs grow enormous in their depths.

Bakekujira

It’s an undead whale! It’s awesome! It comes from a Japanese Legend! What more do you want? Hopefully not too much, since this post may end up being longer than the original Japanese legend, and sadly, there’s only one to feature the Bakekujira. On the plus side though, that means there is plenty of creative space to work with here and makes the Bakekujira an excellent candidate for a mystery motif. 

Oh, and did I mention that this thing has a land speed? Not even hiding on shore will have you from this whale. 

  • A unique Bakekujira inhabits the Quasi-Elemental Plane of Salt. The undead whale has a rehydrating aura that returns precious water to the area within 10 kilometers of it, allowing it to swim through the plane, rather than crawl like its undead brethren. Many non-natives use this aura to create constantly moving camps in the plane, but is the protection from the plane’s dehydrating nature worth sharing the space with the toxic and vengeful beast? 
  • Bakekujira are known to haunt the Styx and sometimes even the Lethe and Ma’at, but their most common visitors are not often fiends. Lillend Azatas can be found in or near the waters, hoping to catch a fragment of the undead whale’s wistful songs. They are often joined by overly eager Sensates who lack the common sense to avoid such danger, and often the magic necessary to hear the songs without losing their minds. 
  • A blood-drenched Bakekujira has been stalking the shores of Acheron and Battor, shifting between the realms of the hobgoblins and the dragons. Only when the goblinoids ride the undead whale into battle  with host of devils at their backs does the symbolism become clear: The Red Hand of Doom has risen once more. 
Eyes In The Sky

Half-Orcs and Half-Elves are moderately common around the Forgotten Realms, but there are many half breeds, however rare, that roam these lands. Anagus is one such being. His father is an Aarakocra warrior from the Elemental Plane of Air, while his mother is a human priestess. It is a very unusual and often looked down upon union, though Anagus is not ever ashamed of it.

His dark tan skin shows clearly on his face, but where his hair would be on a normal human, there is only white feathers that go from his head down to his back. His facial features are sharp an angular, with golden eyes that show him far more than most humans’. His wings are usually kept tucked to his back when walking though civilized parts of the world. 

Out in the wilderness though, there is nothing he loves more than spreading his wings and soaring through the open air. He can land on the treetops using his bird-like feet and survey for miles around from his vantage point. He uses his gifts from the Plane of air to aid those who truly need help.

He took after both his mother and father in his life choices, and became a cleric of life. He worships many of the goodly gods who value the living creatures of the world, though he draws his power mainly from his worship of Eldath, the goddess of peace. With the healing magics the grants him, he takes care of those who show him their good nature.

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For @lazersharkz

Added bonus, I made a Half-Aarakocra race and will be posting it in the post after this one.

Race: Half-Aarakocra

Class: Cleric

Suggested background: Far Traveler (Sword Coast Adventurer’s Guide p148)

Second Time Charm

So I’ve played D&D all of about once, and I’m playing a fifth level Bard, who;s proficient in thirteen different skills (this is 5e). We’re just reaching the final battle of my first adventure. We’ve allied ourselves with a bunch of Kenku pirates (because the DM loves kenku), and we’re on their skyship. The boss evil kenku is on another skyship and is trying to complete a ritual that will unleash air elementals on the material plane, and we need to stop him ASAP. 

DM: So do you want to ram them?

Us: YEAH!

DM: You’re going to have to captain the ship for that, the kenku won’t do it for you. I’ll need a Dex check, or an Intelligence check, or a Survival check.

Me: Any Dex?

DM: Sure, why not?

Me: So I can use Acrobatics? Because I’ve gotta hang on while I fly through this storm. 

DM: Role for it.

Me: *rolls* That’s a 27 (because I rolled 18, and I have double proficiency is Acro for +9).

DM: You really ram it. All the kenku on the other ship take eleven points of ramming damage.

Me: Okay. While I’m here, can I flip on to their ship?

DM: With a 27 you can do anything. By yourself?

Me: YES. Because we’re all on a boat, their all within 15 feet of me, right? And none of my party is here yet, right? So I’m going to cast Thunder Wave at third level, which will hit them all. They take 4d8 damage (so…26) on a failed Dex throw and are pushed ten feet away from me. Which is over the side. And on a success, they aren’t pushed and take half damage. Oh, and if they’re pushed into something, that a d4 of damage.

DM: Oookay. So this kenku is just pushed right over the side, and he’s falling forever (because this is an air node. No ground. That’s a kenku punishment reserved for their worst criminals.) So’s this one. This kenku makes it’s save and just keels over dead. This one is pushed off. And these two keel over dead. And these bosses (because I want a boss fight) hit masts or something and each take…thirty points of damage.

DM: As it turns out, the little guys only had thirteen points left. So you either killed them, or really killed them. Wow.

My second time playing ever.

ORGLASH

Most elementals come from other planes, the Plane of Air, Earth, etc. Even your typical ice elemental hails from the borders between the Plane of Air and Plane of Water. However, the orglash is not an extraplanar being, but an elemental which has naturally evolved on the Material Plane. While this may seem like not that big a deal, keep in mind that one of the most straight-forward ways to rid yourself of an elemental is to banish it to its home plane. This won’t work with orglashes.

The orglash is a very territorial cold-based elemental found in the mountains and forests of Rashemen. They mostly attack outsiders, which is good for a nation which frequently suffers invasions from jerk wizards on one side (the Red Wizards of Thay) and barbarians on the other. Bad if you want to trade or are a travelling adventurers. Maybe stick to the slightly warmer roads where the orglashes don’t lurk.

We’re gonna be at TCAF next week. Yay! If any of you out there are Canadians or Americans whats lives close to the border, come on up and buy our stuff. We’ve got the Dungeons & Drawings books and new postcards. Joe also has his non-Dungeons & Drawings related but still really good comics, including The Hunter, published by Nobrow. Neato!

Blanca’s Tumblr

Helix normally enters a world silently and instantly, rarely observed. Most of the time, she is simply there, filling a space that was empty before.

This time, she is in distress. The portal forms above a street, crackling and humming, like the sound of whales, reaching tendrils out to anchor itself between a water cistern and and a local radio tower, flickering with the many colors of magic.

She pushes through, partially entangled in a sturdy brass net, metal thorns digging into her skin. Behind her, holding the net for dear life and thoroughly surprised, the first Dao genie to ever see Gotham City is accidentally yanked from the Elemental Plane of Earth into one of the many forms of the Prime Material Plane. Completely unable to fly, he falls like a stone, and takes the entangled witch with him.

MODERN CRITICAL ROLE AESTHETICS: KEYLETH

“…born to the air tribe of the Ashari people, Keyleth was raised with a deep love of nature and the elemental magics. It is her people’s inherent duty to protect the delicate areas in Tal'Dorei, where the four elemental planes begin to bleed with this realm. Since she was a little girl, she had quite a knack for air manipulation and beast shaping abilities; well, if you consider kittens and flying squirrels to be little beasts.”

He who is going to be a magician will recognize that life is dependent on the work of the elements in the various planes and spheres. It is to be seen in great and in small things, in the microcosm as well as in the macrocosm, temporarily and eternally, everywhere there are powers in action. Starting from this point of cognition, you will find that there is no death at all, in the true sense of the word, but everything goes on living, transmuting and becoming perfect according to primitive laws. Therefore a magician is not afraid of death, for he believes the physical death to be only a transition to a subtler sphere, the astral plane, and from there to the spiritual level, and so on. Consequently he will not believe in heaven nor in hell. The priests of the various religions stick to these fancies solely to keep their kids to the point. Their moralizing serves only to provoke fear of the hell or the purgatory and to promise heaven to morally good people. Average people, as far as they are religiously inclined, are favorably influenced by such a point of view for, from fear of hell, they will try to be good.

— Franz Bardon, Initiation into Hermetics

(Via Esoteric Science Institute)