The Inner Planes
The inner planes, also called the elemental planes, are planes consisting primarily of one type of matter. The inner planes consist of six major planes and 12 minor planes, arranged on a sphere as shown. The Prime Material planes and Ethereal plane are located inside that sphere.
The following are the six major elemental planes:
The plane of elemental Fire
The plane of elemental Earth
The plane of elemental Air
The plane of elemental Water
The plane of Positive Energy (Positive Material plane)
The plane of Negative Energy (Negative Material plane)
The twelve minor planes are divided into two types: The para-elemental planes, which exist between the four elemental planes, and the quasi-elemental planes, which exist between the elemental and Positive or Negative Material planes. Each elemental plane has a solid core of its elemental type for example, pure rock in the case of elemental Earth. Each also contains islands of other elemental material that allow a wide variety of creatures to survive in that plane.
These elemental, para-elemental. quasi-elemental and Positive and Negative Material planes share a inborn hostility to life forms not from the inner planes, and to life from the Prime Material plane in particular. Travelers are therefore warned to wander here only it they possess specific protection, or, lacking that protection, remain in the Border Ethereal of these planes.
Reaching the Inner Planes
The inner planes can be reached in three ways – via the Ethereal plane, other inner planes, and elemental vortices. Reaching a particular plane from the Ethereal plane is covered in the section on the Ethereal (enter the Border Ethereal of the Prime Material plane, pass through the Deep Ethereal to the curtain of the proper color, then pass into the Border Ethereal of the desired
An important point for adventurers who travel through the inner planes while ethereal (i.e., who travel through the Border Ethereals of the Inner planes): Natives of these planes can see into the Ethereal from their home plane. They can also attack ethereal beings and enter the Ethereal from their home planes (only). An earth elemental in the plane of elemental Earth that sees an ethereal traveler can attack that traveler and then pursue the fleeing traveler into the Ethereal plane. Such a creature could not follow the traveler into the Prime Material plane, nor into any non-adjacent quasi- or para-elemental plane.
An inner plane can be reached from another inner plane merely by traveling through the para- or quasi-elemental border between the planes and crossing over into the new plane.
Finally, vortices can be opened directly between the Prime Material and the elemental planes. These vortices may be free-standing or temporary.
A free-standing vortex exists in situations where a high density of elemental material exists in a concentrated mass. Such free-standing elemental vortices link only with the major elemental planes, not their attendant quasi- and para-neighbors. Some free-standing gates:
A vortex to elemental fire in the heart of a volcano
A vortex to elemental earth at the center of a mountain chain
A vortex to elemental water at the bottom of a sea
A vortex to elemental air in the eye of a hurricane or typhoon
At these vortices matter and individuals can move freely from one plane to another without harm. When the phenomenon that created them ceases (the typhoon expands itself. the volcano cools, etc), the vortex disappears.
Vortices to the Positive and Negative Material planes are possible but none have been discovered thus far. A vortex to the Positive Material plane would result in a massive surge of energy, such as that of a star, while a vortex to the Negative Material plane would suck in all surrounding substances. The dangers of such vortices preclude their existence in inhabited areas save under tight controls, probably under the eyes of Great Powers. These dangers also indicate why these types of vortices have not yet been discovered.
Survival in the Inner Planes
Each of the inner planes has its own special hazards; the dangers they share in common are noted below.
Breathing: With the exception of the plane of elemental Air, normal breathing is impossible in the inner planes. Unless the traveler has some extraordinary means of breathing, or reduces the elemental material to a breathable state (airy water or similar spell), he suffocates or drowns rather quickly.
The Plane of Elemental Air
Of all the Inner planes, the plane of elemental Air is the most hospitable to Prime planar life. The plane’s substance can be breathed and is excellent for travel. Beings of elemental air are the most easily summoned and controlled (the aerial servant, dust devil, and invisible stalker spells all summon elemental creatures from the plane of Air, yet no equivalent spells exist for the other elemental planes).
The traveler first notices the sterling blue color of the plane, like the bluest high-summer day in the Prime plane. Unlike conditions in the Prime, this blue extends underfoot as well as overhead, so that the traveler is surrounded by a great vault of sapphire hue. Small pieces of matter float in this realm, bits of other elemental planes that have found their way (or been brought by powerful forces) into the plane of elemental Air. It is in and around such
matter that other-planar creatures usually make their homes; the open space is the home of the air elementals.
As the traveler moves through the plane of elemental Air, the terrain changes. As the traveler moves toward the plane of para-elemental Smoke, the air becomes thicker, warmer, and harder to breathe. In the opposite direction, the air becomes cooler, and snow and ice crystals begin to hang in the air until they fill the sky, becoming the thick, crystalline walls of the plane of para-elemental Ice. Toward the plane of quasi-elemental Lightning, the air thickens with rain clouds and fogs, and there is the distinct tang of ozone, until lighting erupts and the traveler knows the buffer area between these planes have been reached. Finally, toward the Negative Material plane, the air begins to thin out until an airless state is reached in the plane of quasi-elemental Vacuum, looking into the heart of the Negative Material plane.
The Plane of Elemental Fire
The plane of elemental Fire is a hellish place, unsuitable for the unprotected traveler and uncomfortable to those who make their homes in cooler regions. In addition to elemental creatures, this plane is the home of the evil efreeti and their fabled City of Brass, and the realms of the dwarf-like azer.
The unwary traveler entering the plane of Fire is immediately subjected to the terrible heat of the plane and the brilliance of the plane itself. Those who survive their entry into the plane of Fire are treated to all the wonders of the plane.
The plane of Fire is alive with every color and manner of flame, all burning without consuming any fuel, radiating energy and heat at maximum levels. There are the brilliant yellows and oranges of every adventurer’s campfire, and the hot red edged with white of the live embers of the campfire. The shine of candles and the white radiance of heated steel can be seen, as well as the blue and green flames of alchemic experiments.
Most matter that is unprotected is consumed by the flames, but some elemental pockets do survive in the plane of Fire and often serve as waystations for beings from other planes.
The borders of the plane of Fire are only slightly cooler than the inner parts of the plane. Toward the plane of elemental Air, the amount of burnable materials increases, and large pockets of haze and soot collect until the fires of the plane are reduced and the traveler reaches the para-elemental plane of Smoke. In the opposite direction. toward the plane of elemental Earth, more ground appears, thick basalt columns form, as well as less impervious materials that flow under the effects of the heat. When the fire is finally subsumed in the heat of the surrounding rock, the plane of para-elemental Magma, home of the magmen, is reached.
If the traveler gains an elemental guide and moves toward the Positive Material plane, the flames become brighter and less distinct. until the light overwhelms the fires and the traveler reaches the plane of quasi-elemental Radiance. In the other direction, the flames begin to die, leaving behind the remains of eons of fires now dead. The air becomes cool and then bone-chillingly cold and the last of the flames disappear. The traveler has reached the negative quasi-plane of Ash, the border between the plane of Fire and the unknowable depths of the Negative Material.
The Elemental Plane of Earth
Of the four major elemental planes, it is earth, not fire, that is the least hospitable to travelers. Elemental earth cannot be breathed by atmosphere-requiring travelers, and the very solid mass of the plane prevents the normal traveler from entering . Air, water, and fire all part for the traveler, but the building blocks of the elemental plane of Earth form a solid wall against intruders.
A traveler is normally restricted to moving in the Border Ethereal until a safe area to enter can be found (usually a pocket of another elemental material that permits the traveler to enter). The traveler can also employ spells that force an open area (such as stone shape) or that permit the traveler to walk through solid material. Those who pass into the plane of Earth find themselves totally enclosed in densely packed earth. The plane of Earth is colored with streaks of dark greens, mud browns, and granite greys. Bands of color drift past the eyes. What little air there is smells of stone dust and damp calcium deposits. Only when an elemental pocket is reached does the plane of Earth resemble anything familiar to the traveler; elsewhere there is the feeling of being buried alive.
This enclosed nature of the elemental plane of Earth is most true at its centermost heart. Toward its borders with other planes, its nature alters slightly. Toward the plane of Fire, the cool stone warms and finally becomes hot and viscous, giving way to the plane of para-elemental Magma that separates Earth from Fire. In the opposite direction, the earth and stone becomes wetter, cooler, and more pliable the plane of para-elemental Ooze is reached. As the traveler moves toward the Positive Material plane, bands of crystal become more common, as well as ore-bearing rocks, until finally the plane of Earth gives way to the quasi-elemental plane of Minerals. Toward the Negative Material plane, the soil begins to dry out and fall apart, until the traveler arrives at the barren plane of quasi-elemental Dust. For the traveler to reach any of these bordering lands, the ability to move through the stone and rock of elemental earth is required in addition to a guide that knows which way to go.
The Elemental Plane of Water
The plane of elemental Water is an ocean without a surface, a vast expanse that extends in all directions without reaching air above or solid bottom below. The pressure of the water is uniform in all directions and equivalent to that several feet beneath the surface of a Prime planar ocean. The entire region is illuminated by soft light: glowing blues and greens that seem to radiate from the water itself. Elemental Water is less harsh than the planes of Fire and Earth, though not as accessible as the plane of Air. The plane of Water is the home of elemental creatures such as the water weird, the nereid, the triton, and the realm of the marid.
The traveler entering the plane of Water feels surrounded by the softly resilient element. Sights are muffled by the surrounding liquid, though sounds carry greater distances. Bubbles of air, floating chunks of rock, and even an occasional free-standing ball of fire survive in this cool plane. Unless the traveler has some method of breathing in this plane, however, these sensations may be the traveler’s last.
At its heart, the plane of Water is clear water. brilliantly green and fresh. As the traveler moves away from that center, the nature of the plane changes. Toward the plane of Earth. the amount of debris and sea-borne muck increases until movement is hampered by wading through the muck, and the plane of para-elemental ooze is reached. In another direction, toward the plane of Air, the water grows chillier and fragments of ice appear and grow until the entire horizon is filled with the wintery white solid mass of the plane of para-elemental ice. Toward the Positive Material plane, the water becomes warmer and more agitated until the cohesiveness between water molecules breaks down and the plane of quasi-elemental Steam is reached. Finally, as the traveler moves toward the Negative Material plane, the water begins to evaporate, leaving a saltier and saltier mixture until the traveler finds himself in the plane of quasi-elemental Salt.
The Para-Elemental Planes
The para-elemental planes are minor planes that lie between the major elemental planes. The para-elemental planes are Smoke, where Air meets Fire; Magma, where Fire meets Earth; Ooze, where Earth meets Water; Ice, where Water meets Air. These planes are called minor for several reasons: they are harder to reach for Prime Material spell casters: they are home to fewer great powers; they are less varied than the major planes; they are also transition planes between the major elemental planes.
The plane of para-elemental Smoke is a large bank of foul-smelling fog, sweeter and cleaner toward the plane of Air and its quasi-planes, hotter and brighter toward the plane of Fire and its related quasi-elemental planes. The plane of Magma is a long sea of lava. thinning to burning gas near the plane of Fire and thickening toward the plane at Earth until it becomes solid rock. The plane of Ooze begins with clammy dampness on the borders of Earth, passes through a quicksand-like state in the central part of its plane, and finally becomes muddy silt where it borders the plane of Water. The plane of para-elemental Ice is a solid land of frozen water broken by fissures and caverns. ranging from scattered icebergs at the edge nearest Water and ending in a white wall jutting into the plane of Air.
The Energy Planes
While the four major inner planes are generally hostile to Prime Material life, they pale in comparison with the effects of the Positive and Negative Material planes. These two planes, also known as the planes of Positive and Negative Energy, are thoroughly hostile to outside life. No Greater, Lesser, or Demi- powers are known to inhabit these planes.
The Positive Material plane is alive with light, the very atoms of the elemental medium vibrating with energy. Power is everywhere, so much so that it overwhelms the traveler.
The Negative Material plane sucks in all matter and energy. The Negative Material plane is eternally dark, its structures and towers made up of physical, solid blackness.
Both planes border on the major elemental planes and where they meet are the quasi-planes. The positive quasi-elementals are Steam, Lightning, Radiance, and Minerals, while those that border the Negative plane are Ash, Dust, Salt, and Vacuum.
The Quasi-Elemental Planes
The Positive Quasi-Planes
The planes known as the positive quasi-planes or positive quasi-eiemental planes lie between the Positive Material plane and the four elemental planes it adjoins. These four quasi-elemental planes are those of Lightning (adjoining Air), Radiance (Fire), Minerals (Earth), and Steam (Water). These positive planes have so much energy that the elemental matter is in an agitated state. Of all the inner planes. the positive quasi-planes are the most changing and dynamic.
The plane of quasi-elemental Lightning is elemental air at its most excited state, crackling with energy as a continual storm front plays along its border, registering such power that the very air tastes of metallic ozone and the atmosphere is charged with electrical energy. Those travelers who enter this plane from the plane of Air find the region heavy with clouds that range from grey to greenish black in color. Continual bolts of lighting are from cloud to cloud; quasi-elemental creatures dance through the churning maelstrom. All forms of electrical discharges are found here, from the well-known bolts to St. Elmo’s fire to large metallic sheets of lighting. Hair, fur, and feathers rise and separate in the charged atmosphere. The touch of metal carries a shock. At the farthest edges of the plane lies the border with the Positive Material plane. a continual bolt of electrical power issuing from afield of pure brilliance beyond.
The plane of quasi-elemental Radiance is flame and fire at its brightest. it is not hotter than the plane of Fire that adjoins it, but the fires burn purer and with a more intense glow. Rainbows of flame exist here. The creatures that live within span the entire spectrum of color in a dazzling display to be seen nowhere else. Walls, spheres, and lines of prismatic force lace the plane. The lights become more crystalline and sharper. until finally the border with the plane of Positive Energy is reached and mere colors are overwhelmed by the brilliant white light issuing forth.
The plane of quasi-elemental Minerals is the most varied and intricate of stonework and crystals. From the border with the plane of Earth, the veins of crystal and metal-bee ring ore become thicker and richer. until they dominate the surrounding earth. The plane becomes filled with black marble naturally polished to a mirrored shine, interlaced with veins with gold, gems, and crystals that catch the inner glow of the earth itself. The crystals and gems become more fragile and delicate and seem to hum with a life of their own. Finally. at the border with the Positive Material plane, the crystals shatter from the energy within and the plane ends in a great cliff-face, beyond which lies the bounty of pure positive energy.
The plane of quasi-elemental Steam is not a hot plane, though portions of it are on the verge of boiling. Rather the water itself is so turbulent that the it ceases to hold itself together and the plane fills with mists and fogs and thin vapors. The mist-like vapor glows from the energy within. and this glowing increases as the traveler moves toward the Positive Material plane. Eventually the plane ends in the brilliant border to the Positlve Material plane. All of the positive quasi-planes have definite edges or boundaries with the Positive Material plane. The boundaries are not stationary, but rather ebb and flow like the tide against the quasi-elemental planes.
All of the positive quasi-elemental planes are inhabited by creatures that are suited to the energetic and chaotic nature of their planes. Such creatures are rare on the Prime plane, and only one, the lighting quasi-elemental, has been studied in any detail. This quasi-elemental and others like it may be beseeched to act as elemental guides. Elementals from the other inner planes may be used as guides, but they dislike such service because the continual confusion greatly unsettles their senses.
The Negative Quasi-Planes
The planes known as the negative quasi-planes are those that lie between the Negative Material plane and the the elemental planes it adjoins. These four quasi-elemental planes are Vacuum (between Negative and Air), Ash (between Negative and Fire), Dust (between Negative and Earth), and Salt (between Negative and Water). These elemental planes are characterized by the increasing absence of their primary elemental material as you move closer to the plane of Negative Energy. These planes are generally barren wastelands inhabited by parasitic beings.
The plane of quasi-elemental Vacuum is a thinning of the atmosphere of the plane of Air until a true vacuum is reached. Paradoxically, pressure and temperature do not drop as the atmosphere thins. Those who venture here must contend not only with nothing to breath, but worse yet, nothing to transform into a breathable atmosphere. The ambient light of the plane of Air becomes dimmer and dimmer until a wall of solid blackness rises betOre the traveler-the Negative Material plane.
The plane of quasi-elemental Ash is the depletion of warmth and fire. The transition from the plane of Fire to that of Ash occurs in a region of cooling temperature and the dusty remains of burned materials hanging in the atmosphere. The plane is bone-chillingly cold. Finally the ash thickens to a grey, dusty wall, beyond which is the darkness of the Negative Material plane.
The plane of quasi-elemental Dust represents the crumbling at at elemental earth as it loses cohesion. The earth and stone become looser, and the restrictive nature of the plane of Earth is eased, so that a character can swim through the plane as if through loose sand. The motes of earth still glow, but they are dimmer and farther apart. The empty blackness between motes becomes darker and more prevalent. Finally the dispersing motes of dust and completely in a wall of solid darkness. Beyond this only negative energies exist.
The plane of quasi-elemental Salt is the residue from the evaporation of elemental water. As you move from the plane of Water to that of Salt, brine overcomes pure water and quickly solidifies into hard crystalline lumps. These solid salts soak up all the remaining water. The solid salts end in a great cliff overlooking the plane of Negative Energy, beyond which neither water nor other substances exist.
Each of the negative quasi-elemental planes has a hazy and variable border with its adjacent elemental plane and a definite edge with Negative Material plane. The boundaries with the Negative Material plane move forward and backward sporadically, sometimes adding territory to the negative quasi-planes, sometimes swallowing up parts of those planes.
The negative quasi-elemental planes are inhabited by creatures that have adapted to the hostile nature of these planes. Several creatures found on the Prime plane may have their origins there (sandiings, sandman, and dune stalkers are all from the plane of Dust), but no definite information exists on this subject.