This page describes my campaign world, and the greater environment in which it exists. Reading the entire document is necessary for full comprehension. Have fun!
The World is a huge ring in space, rotating around its Sun, making a complete rotation every 360 days. The World's circumference is nearly 600 million miles long and the width is approximately 1 million miles, totaling an interior surface area of 600 trillion (600,000,000,000,000) square miles. This is some 3 million times the total surface area of most habitable natural worlds.
The structure of the ring is composed of adamantium tubes, each 100 yards in diameter, welded together to form a structure 10 miles thick. The interior and exterior surfaces have an adamantium plating 3" thick, presenting a smooth surface.
The interior of the ring has "rims" on both sides, also composed of adamantium tubes, forming walls 2 miles thick and 900 miles high. As with the ring, the rims have adamantium plating, providing smooth surface inside and out, and along the top as well.
The interior of the ring is filled with rock and dirt typically 6 miles deep. Sea level across the entire world is fairly consistent, varying by less than 3 yards around the entire world. Mountains rarely peak over 10,000 feet above sea level, but some mountains as high as 40,000 feet are noted.
The oceans are typically rather shallow, averaging some 300 feet deep. However, some deep trenches have been identified, going deeper than 1,000 feet.
Given the distances involved, movement around the world is impossible except on a strictly local scale. Traveling by hippogriff, assuming a hippogriff could consistently fly 100 miles per day, would take nearly 28 years to cross the width of the world. At that same rate traveling the circumference would take nearly 17,000 years!
Obviously The World is an artificial construct, one of a practically unimaginable scope. The effort necessary to build this world is beyond the comprehension of even the greatest gods. Which begs the question: Who built The World and where are they now?
Savants who are aware of the composition of The World refer to the unknown constructors as The Builders. No clue exists to identify who or what these people were, or where they went, nor if any still exist. Gods tend to prefer to ignore the idea of any beings greater than they, and some gods grow quite agitated over the concept.
One area of The World appears to be one huge shallow ocean, running nearly the full width of The World and over 5,000,000 miles long. The waters average about 300 feet deep, although some trenches extend down over 1,000 feet.
In this huge ocean exist many continents and archipelagos, all roughly 1,000 to 5,000 miles in length and width, separated by 10,000 to 15,000 miles of open ocean. Given the distances involved each of the more than 20,000 continents is virtually a separate world.
The life on each continent can vary greatly, but overall is surprisingly consistent. The dominant races are typically humanoid mammals, although on some continents the dominant creatures are anything but. Magic, an inconsistent contravention of the known laws of physics, exists on most continents. On some continents high technology exists, and on a few both co-exist. The one constant is the variety of conditions found.
Savants postulate that these continents are, or were, a fantastically huge laboratory for genetic experimentation. But the original purpose of this laboratory is as lost as those who built it.
On the opposite side of The World is a matching ocean, one that balances this one in most respects. It, too, is dotted regularly with continents and archipelagos, although the arrangement is not quite as regular as the first ocean.
The populations of those continents? Demons, devils, daemons, devas, solars, planetars, and the like.
Aptly enough, the alignments of the continents appears quite like the common depiction of the Outer Planes, with Lawful Good lands existing in the North West quadrant, Chaotic Evil lands existing in the South East quadrant, and the like for the other alignments.
The 98% of the land in between the two expanses of ocean? Two huge land masses filled with every land form and form of life imaginable. Totally unknown and unexplored, even by the greatest gods.
The World rotates around its sun, like a tire rotating around its axle. As The World is not a natural one it should be expected that the sun would shine 24 hours each day, as there is no rotation to turn any part of The World away from the sun.
However, a series of huge plates revolve around the sun, in orbit between the sun and The World, causing periods of light and darkness. What keeps these plates revolving constantly and consistently? As with the fate of The Builders, none know.
The onset of darkness appears similar to an eclipse, as a plate slides between the sun and The World, and daylight appears in the opposite fashion, like the ending of an eclipse. These periods of dusk and dawn last about 30 minutes with little variation.
Night time is never pitch black, but is rather close to it. With no moons there is little light after "sun down". Some stars are visible to the east and west, but never to the north and south. The plate between The World and the sun block the one star that would show there.
The World does not revolve in an exact circle around the sun. The position around the sun is a bit off, so that seasons vary enough that most elevations experience four distinct seasons.
Temperature is more dependent upon elevation, as there is no real latitude in The World. Low lying areas tend to be hotter -- some times tropical. Higher elevations are colder, and areas more than 8,000 feet above sea level do not often experience temperatures above freezing.
Winds generally come from the north, so northern coasts typically get the worst weather coming off. Ocean currents typically flow from the north-east and north-west, and are hot or cold depending on the depths from which they come. These currents make the difference between a tropical coast line and a moderate one.
Because the curvature of the world is "in" instead of "out", the horizon expected on a natural world doesn't exist. Instead there is no horizon -- the view appears to extend into infinity. In reality the sight of things farther and farther away gets hazier and hazier due to light refracting in the air, until the eye is unable to distinguish the object. In good light conditions that distance is about 30 miles for a large ship.
Magnets align themselves to point in the direction in which The World spins. By common convention this direction is called "north".
Possibly due to the fabricated nature of The World, each year is exactly 360 days, each of which has 24 hours of 60 minutes.
The amount of light visible each day varies with the seasons. In the middle of "summer" the sun shines exactly 14 hours and in the middle of winter it shines exactly 10 hours. The days in between vary regularly between those two extremes.
The known Nexus Portals are quite similar in nature -- they exist in valleys or box canyons that have a single entrance and are filled with a musky smelling, cloying mist that obscures vision beyond 10 feet or so. The mist varies in density and is lit with a mild glow, similar to dawn or dusk. Animals in the area near a Portal avoid it, and intelligent beings feel an ominous sense of unease when sighting the mist filled entrance.
The Nexus Portals are an instantaneous transportation system for the world -- each Portal is linked to all others, so that one can walk into one and walk out any of the others.
However, those who enter a Nexus Portal rarely return -- due to the terrible number of Portals and the mist filled interiors, it becomes all but impossible to retrace one's steps. Some creatures with extraordinary scent abilities have been able to track others through a Portal, or to retrace their own steps, and some powerful magics allows the wielder to do the same, but for most -- any trip into a Portal results in an exit from a random Portal.
Savants postulate that more than 1,000,000 Nexus Portals exist, all across the World. Even with that huge number the Portals are rarely found, as each exists in nearly 600,000,000 square miles of land.
If evenly spaced the Portals would all be 24,000 miles apart, literally years travel with the swiftest flying mounts. However, the Portals are not spaced evenly, some a mere 1,000 miles apart, while in the lands populated by the demons, daemons, and devils, virtually none exist.
The differences between The World and the planar arrangements described in the PH, DMG, MotP, and other resources makes for some differences in planar travel.
The arrangement of the inner planes, including the ethereal plane, is exactly as described in the official AD&D resources. In addition, most reference materials published in Dragon Magazine regarding these planes also hold true.
Placing the Outer Planes on the Prime Material Plane (The World) obviously negates most of what is written in the official AD&D manuals about the Outer Planes. There is no need to use the astral plane to get there. Teleport will work fine (assuming there is a known reference to teleport to!), as will ethereal travel. It's also possible to use the Nexus Portals, but as previously stated there are relatively few in the area occupied by the Outer Planes.
The Outer Planes keep that name in this book, even though they are physically continents and large islands. This simplifies nomenclature and keeps in mind that the "Outer Planes" are not Trivana.
While the ocean Trivana exists in has fairly regular placement for the continents, the arrangement of the Outer Planes is different. The groupings depicted in various depictions of the Outer Planes holds true -- in the north-west quadrant are the "planes" of the Lawful Good creatures, in the north-east the planes of the Chaotic Good creatures. In the south-west are the planes of Lawful Evil, and in the south-east the planes of Chaotic Evil. In between everything is as expected. In total there are nine major groupings of continents and islands.
In the south-east there are no continents, merely a vast number of relatively closely spaced large islands. While the number of large islands is commonly stated as 666, the actual number is somewhat greater than that. Legends of strict travel limitations from one plane only to those directly "above" it and "below" it stem from the spacing of the islands. Some islands are as close as 20 miles apart, while others are nearly 1,000. Travel between the closely spaced islands is relatively simple, while in the other cases not so.
The super-continent in the central west portion of the planes is another exception. This "plane" is nearly 20,000 miles in length and breadth, far larger than any other plane. This is the land of the Lawful Neutral creatures, the modrons. It's doubted that they would have it any other way.
The other planes are more similar to the continents on the other side of The World -- the above two examples are the extremes.
If the other side is a huge genetic laboratory, this one may be even more so, but with different parameters. The spacing between the nine groups of "planes" is much larger than 10,000 to 15,000 miles -- it's typically 30,000. This enforces all non-magical travel between the groups.
With the Outer Planes as part of The World, what good is the astral plane? Does it exist, and if so what is it good for?
The astral plane is as described in the various official AD&D publications. There are no differences in travel and existence there.
What differs is what the astral plane touches. As suggested in an article on the Ecology of the Mind Flayers in The Dragon Magazine, the astral plane is a conduit between difference realities, different alternate worlds and dimensions. Via the astral plane it is possible to travel to alternate universes, one where evil is good and good is evil -- where demons are lawful good and planetars are chaotic evil.
Or places with less drastic differences, say The World where the Lords of Rendelshod stomped Jxtl into paste, where they returned to eventually assume rulership of the entire World.
Or to other dimensions, such as one where James T. Kirk protects the Federation of Planets and proves that humans can and will couple with anything vaguely humanoid!
Or to more mundane places, such as Greyhawk or the Forgotten Realms. The possibilities are endless.
One of the many "worlds" in the Great Ocean is Trivana, located near the eastern edge of The Great Ocean. It consists of a large continent with a few medium sized islands off the northern edge, and a group of large islands off the southern edge. The east and west coasts have few islands of any significance.
Twin cold currents come from the north, one paralleling the east coast and the other the west coast.
Due to the fairly cool temperatures and the frequent violent storms, the north coast is sparsely inhabited. Summer and fall hurricanes often come inland, making life between the coast and the various mountain ranges some what chancy. Life on the very northern parts of the east and west coasts is similar, but storms tend to veer back out to into the ocean so the lower parts of the coasts are more moderate.
Due to a warm current passing by the southern islands, the southern-most islands experience tropical weather, especially the southern coasts. However, the mountain on those islands experience the same conditions as those on the main continent.
Copyright 2007 Bryan Fazekas