Going Up and Going Down

Jem's picture

Points Above and Below

being a compilation of answers to the curiosities of planeswalkers who wonder what lies above and below the typically-settled portions of the Outer Planes

compiled at the request of the Fraternity of Order


Zzing, xorn late of the Plane of Earth,


Elenya Ihaha, avariel late of Jhankal (Beastlands)


Humanoids, as the numerous races are called for whom humanity is widely regarded as the tabula rasa, tend to be air-breathing, land-bound bipeds without ability to transit through other solids. There are exceptions, the most common of which are water-breathers and flyers, both of which still often come to rest upon land. This means that humanoid settlements are primarily found upon land-air interfaces.

Exploration and settlement therefore has been most widely undertaken in a relatively two-dimensional cross-section of the vast Outer Planes. The converse of this statement is also true: since most of the lives of humanoids take place in such a section during their mortal existences, the beliefs they develop are the strongest concerning such places, and so the Outer Planes are most diverse and richest in useful qualities in the immediate vicinity of landmass surfaces. Very low places tend to be associated with evil -- witness the Abyss, and the descending Nine Hells -- while high places are often noble and good, again behold Mt. Celestia and Mt. Olympus. The Spire is a notable exception.

Curiosity knows no bounds, however, and eventually many planewalkers have asked what lies far below or above the settled surface of the Outer Planes. This is a compilation of the best answers that can be found, based on academic research as well as some personal experiences of the authors. For the most part, personal exploration below ground was done by the earth-gliding ability of our xorn explorer Zzing, and most exploration in upper regions was done by Elenya of the al karak elam.

Mt. Celestia

To go upward into the skies of Mt. Celestia from any known level is to enter an atmospheric region of crosswinds difficult to navigate. These increase in strength as one goes upward, until even the strongest flyer or most powerful flying magic is unable to penetrate further, and risks bodily damage. This gradient likely continues forever. It is simply a law of the plane that to find higher layers one must advance along the correct paths. There are aerial paths, but they are not commonly known.

There is little to see here, if one is not searching for a particular domain in the skies, such as Jazirian's realm. Near the Mount itself, clouds and fog also thicken until visibility is nil. Astronomical bodies such as sun and stars are visible otherwise, but no known spell or route seems to exist to visit them, and their visibility may simply be a religio-optical feature of the plane. This is generally the case for all planes with astronomical bodies. Whether spelljamming technology can achieve such a trip is an open question.

Unlike many other planes, one can also go down into the clouds of Mt. Celestia, from layers above the first. This trip usually leads to the layer below -- sometimes to a crash on the rocks, if one leaps into a cloud bank. Going down the layers of Mt. Celestia is much easier than going up.

Delving into the substance of Mt. Celestia, one first tends to find colonies of subsurface dwellers such as dwarves. Routes on upper layers lead to high peaks on the layer below, so that the "bottom" of the mountain's upper layers rest upon the tops of those below. Within the mountain, the stone rapidly becomes extremely hard rock, so few delves are very deep; valuable materials tend to lie close to hand. The rock seems to extend indefinitely, including under the Silver Sea on the first layer. Eventually the bedrock of the first layer became a wide shelf of pure adamantium, through which Master Zzing could not progress. He hypothesizes that this depth may be at least potentially infinite, essentially as a theoretically-required foundation for the plane. However, there are two interesting rumors that can be found regarding the very deep regions of Mt. Celestia.

The first is Mountainheart: that, as far below Lunia as Chronias rises above it, there can be found a stone harder than any other substance in the planes, more immovable than any immovable rod, the pin upon which all the weight of Mt. Celestia rests. While Master Zzing found no such stone, he did note that some deep regions of Celestia boasted an abundance of diamonds, and hard materials like adamantium but unfamiliar to him.

The second rumor is the Closed Valley: that, at the beginning of time, or very close to it, a great battle occurred on Celestia. Some say it was when Asmodeus was kicked out of the plane as a fallen angel. Some say that some people say a lot of things, often about things they would have done better to keep quiet about. At any rate, the story goes that something massive fell here from several layers up, so hard that it went straight through, leaving a huge hole in the plane. The waters of the Silver Sea rushed in after it, and fell into a place so cold that they instantly froze, closing up the gash but leaving a deep, dark valley below them, cut off from Lunia's light, and at the bottom of it a gate to the Lower Planes. If such a trench exists somewhere in the Silver Sea, the zoveri don't speak of it to outsiders. If Asmodeus really did fall through there, it stands to reason that he'd have left quite a bit of flesh and blood behind, possibly tainting the region seriously, and the zoveri certainly wouldn't want the sort of evil pilgrims that might be powerful enough to resist the Silver Sea and make use of such a place.


This one will be short. Any fool knows that if you go up on Bytopia, you get to the other layer. Fewer know that you can get there by going down, too: there's a gravity shift plane below the surface too. On the way, you'll pass towns full of gnomes and dwarves, and the burrows of Urdlen, so watch for inhabitants.


The skies above each layer of Elysium are mostly just as they appear, airy heights like those of Prime Material worlds. There's one exception to this general resemblance, but it's not something to care about for any but staggeringly powerful explorers of great purpose.

It's sometimes noticed that an awful lot of powers of sun, dawn, and other features of the day, make their case here on Elysium. The sun of Elysium crosses its sky on a path agreed to amicably by the powers of this plane that take an interest in matters solar. They tend to arrange the stars and wandering stars, too, which rather than being affixed to a crystal sphere, are deliberately placed in the cold upper airs, and sometimes nudged about for the purposes of signs and divinations. They're close enough to be flown to -- if you need a bit of starstuff (don't look for starmetal here; that material's said to be native only to the Prime), or a spark from the heart of a shooting star, this is a place to get it. Best if you teleport here, though, because to get here by flying you'd have to pass the solar level.

Several flyers on Elysium talk about legends like that of the poor Greek lad, Icarus: they say that to go high enough in the sky in Elysium is to invade the precincts of these gods. Not like entering their temple, or rampaging across their realm -- the upper skies of Elysium are a kind of workshop, a place where these powers of sunlight do whatever it is such gods do in the way of honing their craft, or maintaining their equipment, or something. First off, it's not going to be an experience survivable for any but the toughest travelers, able to face the Sun itself at close range. Second, like most craftsmen, sun gods don't particularly care for people peeking into their trade secrets. So the skies of Elysium might be the place to go for someone looking to pry into the secrets of powerful gods -- and if you're dumb enough to do that, we'd appreciate it if you paid cash upfront for this publication.

Below ground, the nature of Elysium is defined just as much by the River Oceanus as the surface is. Beneath the fertile soil and sharp mountain ranges are mile upon mile of karst, cavern, and aquifer. Master Zzing says that his explorations beneath Amoria and Eronia (the other two layers were difficult to access) were some of the most beautiful trips he has ever taken. The mighty River has carved out caves of astonishing beauty, with waterfalls and underground lakes, their shores tumbled with stones of every hure and flecked with crystals of all shapes and colors. In fact, he describes it as a gourmet feast.

Surprisingly, there are inhabitants in these caves, and work to be done for the travelers' way. Zzing would not speak of them much. He said, "Untarnished beauty shines so brightly it can blind those who have walked a long time in the dark, even if they want to see it. There are a lot of portals down there, to some very far away places." He concluded by saying that in any case, if you didn't find such caves or delved beyond them, you reached a depth where the traveler's way didn't seem to see a point in letting you go further. You simply couldn't get much deeper than a shallow layer of simple granite bedrock, and there probably isn't any more "down" to ask about.


The skies of the Beastlands, home of the second author, are a place of beauty and wonder, whether under the sun Selera in Krigala, the moon Noctos in Karasuthra, or both in the twilight land of Brux. They are the home of the mortai, vast cloudlike beings, and the realms of the storm giant god Stronmaus and others.

Since spells of flight don't work here, it's not likely anyone will get too far up. Ask the mortai, though, and if you get a straight answer at all they'll tell you, and why should they lie: Selera and Noctos are no true distance away at all, but rather their visible presence everywhere above each layer is simply the nature of those layers in the Beastlands. Keep going up in the air, and you'll simply get higher in the air.

Something one mortai said may be a joke, or a peel for adventurers a little too adventurous for their own good: but it claimed that above each layer of the Beastlands there's a cloud staircase made by Stronmaus (whose castle floats on a flying cloud, so it's definitely his style), a ladder of clouds that can be reached each one by flying up (you'll need wings) a long way from the one below. At the top of the one in Karasuthra, you can get to Noctos, although why anyone would want to go the mortai didn't know. The one in Krigala leads to Selera, getting hotter as it goes. It wasn't sure where the one in Brux went, though it was sure there was one, and it said the view from the top was "enlightening." Given mortai predilections, even if it's real that might be nothing more than a beautiful half-shadow, half-light view. Or it might be plane-sized runes of wisdom written in the light of sunset and moonset. Who can say, unless they find it?

The first thing below each layer of the Beastlands is, of course, burrows. The soil below Krigala especially is full of ants of all descriptions. There are few things on the Planes more organized than an ant society, as the existence of the formians can attest. Now imagine an ant society with a near-immortal queen, ruling workers who can talk. There are whole ant cities Zzing bets humans have never laid eyes on, extending for miles below the surface of Krigala, mole colonies below Brux, and other societies that never saw a need to chat with someone that walks on two feet. Of course, now that he's said this, some sod's going to take it into his head to go see. Good luck to him. It should be noted that Zzing thinks the presence of these rigidly-ordered societies may be what's keeping the Beastlands Law-ward of Arborea, home of the Greeks with their customs of democracy, geometry, and the guest-laws.

Further down, the rocks are coal and oil shale, limestone and chalk, and the metamorphic bedrock is white marble. Zzing points out that these rocks aren't very common on the Plane of Earth, because they're all formed from organic material. If they really accumulated from the bodies of plants and animal petitioners on the Beastlands, the depth in this plane shows its age in a way that most other planes don't: ages upon ages, pressing down on each other. You could taste the time in the rocks, he says, and if that's true, an earth-dive here might be an odd way for a mage to pick up some useful material.

Going further than the marble layers, the gravity starts to turn on you; it loops around in odd patterns, until a diver traveling far enough from Krigala or Karasuthra surfaces in Brux, and from Brux a traveler might go to either of the other layers.


The skies of Arborea make for dangerous, magnificent flying, full of tempests and wild windstorms. They behave in most ways like those of a Prime, though like Elysium, the stars here are in the airs rather than on a crystal sphere, arranged (and sometimes rearranged) deliberately by the wills of their powers. The Olympians are particularly fond of favoring great mortal heros by offering them a place in the sky. The same stars and sun are visible over both Olympus and Ossa. Mistress Elenya was unable to go herself, but fairly reliable report has it that with the right sacrifices to Apollo, Diana, and Zeus, a cutter can indeed fly up to these starry heights, and speak to the heroes and creatures memorialized there. How you speak to a collection of stars, the rumors aren't clear on, but several independent reporters concurred on the same basics, including that the layer you see below you from up there is whichever one you started from. An important warning is to stay well away from the Sun, which will burn anyone less than a Power, even those immune to fire; and the Moon, which doesn't burn but is likely to lead to an angry goddess hunting you down for the trespass.

The elves are peerier about their stars, over both of the first two layers; instead of constellations, several individual stars here are supposedly heroes or even demideities, and while it might be possible to visit them, a basher had probably better have a very good reason to do so rather than using a commune spell. On the other hand, some kind of bottled starlight and moonlight are available from the elf realms, which makes some folks think that traffic to the starry realms from there is more regular than among the Greeks.

Above the third layer of Pelion, the sky is positively tiny. It only really needs to cover the settled regions, which are pretty small, and beyond this it's barely more than an after thought, a faded echo of the real thing back in more important areas. Over a settlement, a sharp-eyed basher on the ground can make out the boat in which Ra carries the Sun across the sky, even though at that moment he's presumably doing the same thing across a thousand Prime Material worlds, and at night, the folds of the robe of the Egyptian power Nut can be seen dimly waving in distant, shadowy breezes. There probably is no "up" past that Power, not on Pelion. Outside the settled areas, there may look like a sun up there, and a starry night sky, but they're just echoes of the real thing; keep an eye on your altitude as you travel toward them, and you'll soon find that you're making no headway.

Below Olympus, there are plenty of caverns and beautiful sights, but a basher had best keep his hands off: Hades is the Greek power of the underworld and its wealth, and for them, the underworld starts as soon as you're down below head level. You're not in the Waste the instant you get down here, but the region beneath Olympus is clearly a transit region, part of the Mount Olympus pathway, even if you start from under the ocean, whether on Olympus or Ossa. (Coming up from Hades always takes you to Olympus, though.)

Beneath Arvandor is an entirely different and interesting set of sights. First off, the elves don't spend much time underground, so there hasn't been much exploring here; giants don't either, so all the giant ruins that people go ransacking are above ground. Dwarves would be the natural population, but a city of dwarves below a city of elves is unlikely to happen soon. That means that down there's an entire realm of Arborean beauty and passion as yet untouched by tools: enormous caverns with intricate columns and stone formations carved by lively underground rivers; deep mines full of gems and precious metals; perilous chasms; and creatures, he says, that are part of the Arborean underground, shapers of geological strata that live on the scale of titans. If sufficient peace could be made to allow a community of dwarves to make a settlement here, he's certain it would become a planar pilgrimage site for the race.

Below this bedrock is a magma layer, just like those on a Prime, if bigger. However, if this hasn't been enough to blow your mind so far, the creatures of Arvandor's deep strata say there are even mightier beings that swim the Molten Sea, causing upthrusts and volcanoes that are responsible for many of Arborea's mountain ranges, islands, and earthquakes. How deep that goes, it's impossible to say. Below Pelion, however, the rock appears to be just the opposite: bare, flat and dead, simply compressing and getting harder the further down you go. Some of the underground is under the protection of Nephythys, though, apparently as part of the burial regions, and wise bashers will avoid them.


There are stars on Ysgard, and a moon, but these are more of an optical feature than real things. (Selune, or another moon power, might be able to tell you different regarding their portfolio, but they don't speak to our authors much.) The Norse don't care so much for honoring their heroes in the sky; they'll be drinking with them down below. The astral winds blow in the upper airs, tossing the branches of the World Ash, and the heights of Ysgard shrink, so that the sky is limited in extent. Go up, far from the World Ash, and you'll find yourself in the Astral, or more rarely another world that the Tree touches. The highest point still in Ysgard is just above the World Tree's crown, many days of flight or climbing upward, where there is an enormous eagle, and a portal to the Plane of Air.

There's not much "down" in the first two layers of Ysgard either, where the land is primarily foating earthbergs. Yggdrasil is surrounded by breathable air, and going down parallel to its axis, either on the trunk or by hopping earthbergs, you start to drop into cold mist and eventually will come out near Niflheim -- if you don't pass through a portal to the Prime. That puts a bottom to "down" from those layers, and on Nidavellir, up and down are nothing more than different arrangements of the touching earthbergs that make up the entire layer.


Are you serious? There isn't any up or down here, berk.


Same. Either way you go, there's more maze and cavern.


On those layers that have a defined up and down, fairly solid report has it that digging deep down from any layer of the Abyss is a good way to drop yourself through a hole into another layer, often a random one. The Grand Abyss is the best example of this. Going upward does the same, at least among Graz'zt's layers according to scholarly natives there, so if you're looking to escape a layer of the Abyss you might try that. If you're not happy about the idea of any layer of the Abyss sitting basically atop a sheet made out of closed portals, well that's just the nature of the Abyss. However, the Abyss being the Abyss, it's just as likely that any given layer has no up or down, or is an infinite air-filled void with a definite up and down, and gravity and things to crash on, or a number of other unpleasant things. Basically, every layer has its own rules.

There's one notable exception, which we provide from reports rather than exploration, and that's the skies above the Plain of Infinite Portals. This is strictly the realm of Pazuzu, the demon Prince of all evil things that flap and fly. There's a burning red sun here, too, but it hews to no set course, wandering the sky. Rumor has it the sun is a minor power itself, worshiped on a few Primes as the sun in its evil aspect of drought and blindness, but no one knows for sure and it certainly doesn't get traveled to much. What would you do with a spoonful of the sun of the Abyss? It never sets either, so no one knows whether the Plain even has stars. There might not be anywhere it can go.

Pazuzu's court demons say that very far above the Abyss, reality itself gets a little thinner, the gravity gets weaker, and the notion of "up" stops making too much sense anyway. One thing they did shut up about, though, was whether they had ever seen any stars. Something about the notion of stars above the Abyss seemed to bother them; it's true that the paths of stars are a metaphor for order on other planes, but that didn't seem to be it. If the stars ever appear above the Plain of Infinite Portals, a wise basher might seriously suspect a portent of something major -- something that the demons don't like to anticipate.


If you go upward or downward in the right places on Carceri, you reach the next layer. You can also fly to neighboring orbs through various means. Flying away from the orbs is a bad idea, especially on the top layer; it's said things live in what seemed to be a vast emptiness, and call to the minds of those who dare flee the Red Prison that way. On the lower layers, the sky is just plain empty; there's the occasional windstorm, and the air gets gradually colder and thinner away from the orbs. There are no astronomical bodies.

If you go downward from an orb into a place that's not a portal, you basically run into bedrock, usually pretty quickly. It's rare that it's very thick before the pattern shifts, though, and not all orbs have the same material below. Most have a layer of magma or adamantine that Zzing couldn't pass through, so he thinks that physically, many of the orbs are solid spheres. (If they're not, then the core of a Carcerian orb would be huge, and surrounded by an amazingly impenetrable wall; could something of similar size be held therein?) He claimed, though, that one orb he visited was completely different from any others he had seen: that the inside of one Othrys orb was an entirely different layer, populated by aquatic creatures who had been imprisoned here. The Styx leaks into this layer, though, leaving traces of its power in some of the ocean's currents. His memories are thus, alas, fuzzy. However, his notes are available in the Fraternity's archives. (He also says that many of this watery layer's inhabitants, through long exposure, are almost completely amnesiac, even for recent events.)

The Gray Waste

The skies above the Gray Waste swiftly cloud over with altitude, the haze obscuring vision. On Niflheim or Pluton, the influence of Yggdrasil and eventually reach into those skies, taking over the concept of "up" and bringing a flyer onto the airs above those planar paths. On Oinos, there's no way to tell. If there's a source of the light which sometimes brightens the haze, no one has been able to pinpoint it. Elenya figures that the most obvious answer is that the haze itself is the source.

She also did some arcane tests on this material, with curious results. She ventures to suggest that the Void is surrounded by an undifferentiated collection of material so apathetic it doesn't even have a name, or qualities in the elemental sense: the elements are differentiated by their qualities of cold versus heat, and dryness versus wetness, so that Earth is warm and wet, for instance, while Air is cold and dry. But the thin, cool haze of the Waste's sky is neither dry nor wet, neither cold nor hot, and not natively imbued with either positive or negative energy. It might even be useful to someone who needs such an elementally blank slate and could capture some, which, if it were capable of thought, it would probably hate (being useful, that is).

The ground below Niflheim and Pluton similarly eventually becomes the region below the World Ash and Mount Olympus. Below the World Ash, the ground becomes. . . roots. Normally roots are rooted in something, but according to Master Zzing, he found wooden roots, hard as stone, curling through soil and underwater lakes, eventually crowding so closely together that there was nothing but iron-hard rootwood. This, he could not glide through, and he suspects that it forms the metaphysical underpinning of the layer. Below Pluton, the bedrock is marble, probably by the preference and will of Hades -- definitely his style above ground. It looks like it extends indefinitely without differentiation. Oinos, however, is an altogether different matter.

Descending through Oinos, there is the usual layer of dry soil and small amounts of water; he notes that there are, in fact, enormous aquifers, so locked in that their water will forever be completely useless to the surface dwellers. (It is only under gravest adherence to his oaths as a researcher for the Fraternity that Master Zzing reveals something he is sure will not be put to good use: that there are far below the surface of the Waste communities of Blood War deserters and fled larva or other weak creatures who have managed to find a place that searchers are unlikely to look and have trouble searching.) The depth is no barrier to the Waste's draining effect. In fact, it grows stronger; muscles, and then other powers, begin to tire and weaken. It is not a draining in the sense of the Negative Energy Plane, a consuming, nor is it a blockage like the effect of the Spire. Rather, the apathy of the spirit grows stronger, even if one's emotions are still intact. This even infuses the material, which grows thick and obstinate. Gravity itself starts to weaken and pull less, but material sits there all the same. Apparently, whatever the Waste is sitting on only needs to be a finite depth; whatever it is, it holds Oinos up simply because it can't be bothered to move out of the way.


This one is pretty easy. The mounts of Gehenna are finite, so digging through eventually sends you to the same place flying up too far does: into the black void. It's not an exercise that is likely to profit anyone.


Baator is one of those planes where digging around and flying around are both pretty difficult. Actually, just being around can be a substantial problem, so our sources here are strictly from the literature.

Theoretically, the skies of Baator are infinite, air-filled voids. The example of Jangling Hiter is the most commonly cited. However, on lower layers the layers above are visible, like in Mt. Celestia. It's just that this is some manner of illusion, or perhaps a form of vision or understanding granted by being on the lower layers. At any rate, going up requires magic, not climbing Jangling Hiter's chains or flying up by wings. Going up from Avernus, one enters a glowing red haze -- it probably continues forever, but the glow, though it illuminates the land from low altitudes, shuts off sight of the land below once you get too high. The baatezu don't want people scouting out their territory.

More than one source, though, has said there's a dark up here: portals, to the Outlands, Acheron, Gehenna, and the Astral, and not necessarily as random as the random portals below. Thing is, there are no landmarks, so the only way to find one is to know its route from the land below, and go to wait for it. Coming in from such portals, all a traveler sees is a blank red glow -- how would he ever know he's in Baator, until he splatters on the ground? If the story of the Closed Valley on Mt. Celestia is true, that portal might open out here -- and if that's the case, it's possible that the baatezu do know about it, in which case they'd have a fast route to Celestia, and any sod who knew anything about its location would be a sure mark for the dead-book.

Digging below each of the layers of Baator is different, though all of them stop short after a while; the layers are surrounded by a void that is said to devour those who enter, and that includes those who dig through and fall, much like Gehenna. Below Avernus, you'll first wind up in the realm of Draukari, simply by the will of that power -- he seems to "own" the underground there, except for the caverns Tiamat controls. Below Dis, it's built-up areas -- sewers, basements, and underground tunnels, even under the areas seemingly outside. The whole city is said to be a reflection of Dispater's mind, and he doesn't seem to care about much below the inhabited level. The bog in Minauros was actually explored by devils tasked to retrieve items that had fallen from the city over the years. They found, a long way down, a layer of filthy peat; they also claimed there were Ooze portals, which is just odd enough to be true. Below Phlegethos, Stygia, and Cania, as far as we can tell, are simply the oceans of magma and icy water which define the layers. An ocean sitting on a void is a disturbing thought, but then, Baator isn't supposed to be comforting. Maladomini and Nessus are without information; if Baator sticks to its pattern, though (and it's a lawful plane, after all), a relatively short dig will drop you through. It's entirely possible, however, that the concept of "below Nessus" doesn't even work mathematically on Baator.

Malbolge is an interesting case. It has recently changed; its landscape is now one of flesh, and intrepid investigators report that digging exposes you to any number of bodily fluids of various acidities, heats, and poisons. However, because it grew from a body, regardless of its current size, speculation is strong that the old rock region, in which beings even more ancient than the devils were said to live, still lies below the new, biological surface.


There is no up or down on most of the layers. Digging into a cube gets you to the other side of the cube. Flying somewhere sends you into regions with different cubes. That's it. The one exception might be Wee Jas' Wall on the fourth layer, where 'down' might be marked by the vast extent of black ice. There's already speculation floating around the planes as to what might lie at the bottom of this frozen stretch; the authors have no real claim to expertise to add to it, but Elenya ventures that the mage Lysander is known as a pretty wise sort, and he suggests that the source of the Styx lies below it. What's below that? Portals to all the worlds where the Styx gets all that sin and poison, presumably, putting a boundary to 'down' in that direction.


Every berk knows there's no ultimate up or down here. Digging into a cog gets you to a gravity plane and the other side of the cog, which more often than not is on the bad side of a modron for digging through a cog. Going up into far distances takes you to regions that don't see much traffic or settlement from our neck of the planar woods, and the machinery can start to get mighty thick and complicated in some directions. Elenya's no slouch at constructs, and she said she's never seen some of those ingenious gearings before. She bets one of these regions inspired the wall of gears spell. Maybe, she figures, there's something to all those explorations the Mathematicians are undertaking on Mechanus.


The daylight in Arcadia is provided by the Orb of Day and Night, which is a physical distance away on its tallest peak. Nighttime features stars, which are rumored to be the true location of the realms of Arcadia's powers. This is uncertain, though, and no one is sure; certainly teleportation and physical travel are insufficient to journey there. Travel through the skies finds servants and tools used by the Storm Kings, whose permission is required for exploration. Various cloud-borne castles patrol the skies regularly.

Shortly below the surface of Abellio and Buxenus is the realm of formian cities and dwarven delves. Below this is bedrock, and below this is a rigorously smooth adamantium layer, like Mt. Celestia's -- apparently a popular foundation for planes of Law. It's unclear what might have been below the surface of Nemausus previously.

The Outlands

The Hinterlands, which surround the outer ring of the Outlands, exist above and below it as well. Those heading below the surface of the Outlands should first beware of Ilsensine and Gzemnid's realms, which extend through many of its rings and sometimes below other powers' domains, if those powers don't care too much about the underground. Unclaimed regions below ground in the Outlands are fairly natural for whatever surface their land appears to be, but the bedrock always melts into Hinterlands fakery once one goes too far; it looks like undifferentiated stone continues forever, but in reality someone diving down isn't going anywhere further than a short trip below the surface. What doesn't matter isn't there, as far as the Land's concerned.

The same goes for the skies above, but instead of the Hinterlands reaching in, the circles of the Spire's influence reach outward. You can make it above the weather, and it looks like blue skies, and that you can even see clear through the infinite distance to Sigil. But go high enough above any ring in the Outlands, and you'll find yourself in the next ring in, and then the next, until you're in the central ring. Continue further, and you'll find that more than just magic stops working. Concepts like "flying" and "up" stop functioning, either, and that's as far up as anyone can go, or ask about.

That, then, is what's up there and down there on the Planes, at least as far as our intrepid authors could explore. Maybe we killed some of the mystery, or maybe you think now there's more than you expected. Whatever it is, good explorations to you, cutter.

Out-of-character caveat: The information above is a thoroughly mixed collection of canonical, deducible, speculative, and wholly fictional elements. Buyer beware.

Birdy's picture
Joined: 2008-11-02
Re: Going Up and Going Down

I love this article!

Do you think any of the suns could be inhabited? I've always liked the (noncanon) idea of phoenixes nesting in Upper Planar suns, for instance; and I'm sure hell-suns wouldn't lack for powerful fire-themed fiends. Ancient, advanced HD balors, maybe?


"A wise dragon once told me to aim high in life and watch out for flying boxes."

Jem's picture
Joined: 2006-05-10
Re: Going Up and Going Down

Very possibly! Suns are explicitly mentioned in only a few entries, and on some planes they're definitely missing. Arcadia mostly doesn't, though in Heliopolis you can see one. Mt. Celestia has several! (There's a character in an adventure in Planes of Law whose job is "keeping the suns of Mercuria circling in their orbits.") The topmost layer of the Abyss definitely has one, while none of the other Lower Planes seem to.

The sun Selera is the crucial feature of Krigala, the upper layer of the Beastlands. In fact, the description of the Beastlands in Planes of Conflict almost seems to suggest that Selera is itself awake...

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