Transcendental Structure

The material universe is contained in the physical plane. All worlds occupy different physical locations within the same physical plane – that is, there is only one physical plane.

The substance of the physical plane is actually composed of the intersection of all the various fundamental and elemental planes. Entities native to the physical plane perceive the world as the summation of the effects caused by this intersection. The reality, though, is that each plane contains its own set of substance and entities that exist only on that level. It is possible to limit your perception of the universe to a single elemental plane, at which point it becomes possible to manipulate the substance of that plane independently from the other planes, and it also becomes possible to interact with the entities that are limited to that plane. This means that entities native to the physical plane are transcendental beings with respect to the elemental entities.

Entities

Every living entity is native to exactly one plane of existence. In general, this is the plane where their life cycle originated (by whatever mechanism that might have been). Because the planes are superpositions or combinations of each other, it is incorrect to speak of “travel” between the elemental planes since they are not physically separate locations.
Entities can be brought into another planar perspective through use of sufficiently powerful magic. This is not a stable condition: it requires a great deal of energy to maintain, and will revert to the natural state once that energy is exhausted. For any entity that wishes to perceive a plane on a lower transcendental level, it is a filtering of the entity’s perspective that allows the interaction. Such filtering does not limit the entity’s physical form: for example, perceiving only the plane of Fire will not cause incineration. It does, however, temporarily limit their interaction with their native plane.

Safety Considerations

It is not automatically a given that altering ones’ transcendental perception is safe. The following guidelines neeed to be observed.
Changes of “one level” that are only changes in substance or chaos/order are not generally harmful.
Changes of more than “one level” that are only changes in substance are not generally harmful, but organization might become harmful.
Changes of any number of levels that are mental or spiritual in nature will have an immediate impact.

More information will be presented in each planar description later in the chapter.

The Fundamental Planes

The fundamental planes occur in pairs that are polar opposites of each other. The members of the pairs are incompatible and do not merge. It is not possible for a caster to filter his perception to a fundamental plane. There are no elemental creatures or entities native to a fundamental plane, as they are too primitive to support any.

Energy and Negative Energy

•Energy.
•Negative Energy.

Chaos and Order

•Chaos. Chaos is the embodiment of change and randomness.
•Order. Order is the embodiment of resistance and definition.

Substance and Astral

•Substance. This plane provides the basis of form.
•Astral. The astral plane is the plane of the mind and the spirit. Ethereal is just another name for the astral plane.

The Primary Elemental Planes

Each elemental plane is created by the superposition of two of the fundamental planes. This is the lowest transcendental level that has beings and structure beyond basic existence, and the lowest level it is possible to filter to.

For more details, see The Primary Elemental Planes

The Secondary Elemental Planes

The secondary elemental planes are one level higher than the elemental planes and are formed by the superposition of two elemental planes. These are complete worlds in and of themselves, with complex ecosystems and a myriad of creatures. There is no “planar” deity at this level – rather, various higher order transcendental beings play that role for the entities on the secondary planes. Almost all secondary planes are safe to travel to without additional restrictions, so only unsafe planes will be noted.

“Antagonistic” combinations

The rule of combination is that if two elemental planes differ in opposing fundamental planes, then they will not combine. For example: Earth (Energy and Substance) will not combine with Air (Negative Energy and Substance). The other traditional pairing is actually slightly misleading because Fire is not a primary elemental plane. Heat (Energy and Chaos) will indeed combine with Water (Substance and Chaos) to form Steam (Energy and twice Chaos and Substance). Fire is actually the combination of Heat and Good, which gives twice Energy and Chaos and Astral. Fire will indeed not meld with Water because of the Substance / Astral conflict. So, in summary:

Energy [Heat, Light, Force, Good] cannot mix with Negative Energy [Cold, Shadows, Air, Evil]
Chaos [Heat, Cold, Water, Destruction] cannot mix with Order [Light, Shadows, Earth, Creation]
Substance [Force, Air, Water, Earth] cannot mix with Astral [Good, Evil, Destruction, Creation]

The Secondary Elemental Planes

The secondary elemental planes are one level higher than the elemental planes and are formed by the superposition of two elemental planes. These are complete worlds in and of themselves, with complex ecosystems and a myriad of creatures. There is no “planar” deity at this level – rather, various higher order transcendental beings play that role for the entities on the secondary planes. Almost all secondary planes are safe to travel to without additional restrictions, so only unsafe planes will be noted.

“Antagonistic” combinations

The rule of combination is that if two elemental planes differ in opposing fundamental planes, then they will not combine. For example: Earth (Energy and Substance) will not combine with Air (Negative Energy and Substance). The other traditional pairing is actually slightly misleading because Fire is not a primary elemental plane. Heat (Energy and Chaos) will indeed combine with Water (Substance and Chaos) to form Steam (Energy and twice Chaos and Substance). Fire is actually the combination of Heat and Good, which gives twice Energy and Chaos and Astral. Fire will indeed not meld with Water because of the Substance / Astral conflict. So, in summary:

Energy [Heat, Light, Force, Good] cannot mix with Negative Energy [Cold, Shadows, Air, Evil]
Chaos [Heat, Cold, Water, Destruction] cannot mix with Order [Light, Shadows, Earth, Creation]
Substance [Force, Air, Water, Earth] cannot mix with Astral [Good, Evil, Destruction, Creation]

Allowed Combinations
•Heat and Force : White Lightning
•Heat and Good : Fire
•Heat and Water : Steam
•Heat and Destruction : Wild Fire
•Light and Force : Bright Metals
•Light and Good : Radiance
•Light and Earth : Crystals
•Light and Creation : Dreams
•Force and Water : Storms
•Force and Earth : Stone
•Good and Destruction : White Flame
•Good and Creation : Healing
•Cold and Air : Black Lightning
•Cold and Evil : Wild Cryofire
•Cold and Water : Ice
•Cold and Destruction : Cryofire
•Shadows and Air : Dark Crystals
•Shadows and Evil : Gloom
•Shadows and Earth : Dark Metals
•Shadows and Creation : Nightmares
•Air and Water : Mist
•Air and Earth : Dust
•Evil and Destruction : Disintegration
•Evil and Creation : Disease

Descriptions

White Lightning

The combination of heat and force creates a powerful, blazing white electrical plane. It manifests itself often in nature during thunderstorms.

Fire

Heat and destruction give birth to fire. This is the milder and more controllable form of burning. Fire elementals are very popular to summon.

Steam

The combination of heat and water creates the very common plane of steam. Steam elementals cannot endure the physical plane for more than a few hours.

Wildfire

Wildfire is similar to fire, but wild and uncontrolled. It manifests itself in nature during huge fire events such as forest fires and grasslands. Wildfire elementals are impossible to control once summoned. Filtering to this plane is dangerous because of the aggressive and unpredictable behavior of its residents.

Bright Metals

The bright, light metals get their properties from this plane. This includes metals such as silver, platinum (also known as mithril), tin, zinc, aluminum, chrome, and so on.

Radiance

The combination of light and good yields this brilliant and powerful plane. Evil beings cannot endure it rays, and those depending on negative energy take severe damage from it. Most light sources emit at least a little radiance, and the sun gives off much. The moons, however, do not shed any. Evil or undead creatures cannot filter to this plane without special precautions.

Crystals

Gemstones, rock crystal, glass, and every transparent solid thing gets its properties from this plane.

Dreams

Some dreams are visions created by the mind, others come from here. A place utterly lacking in substance, but with all the form of reality. The lack of rules here leads to confusion and chaos all too often. But there is no evil here.

Storms

Violent, uncontrolled weather – tornadoes, hurricanes, thunderstorms, windstorms, and other violent air-based phenomena owe their existance to this turbulent plane.

Stone

From the dull grey of limestone, to the beautiful smoothness of marble, to the speckled strength of granite – stone gets its properties from this plane.

White Flame

A special good form of fire, that acts as a channel for radiance. All natural fires contain a small amount of White Flame. It is powerful and good, and evil cannot endure its touch.

Healing

The intersection of good and creation produces this most beneficial plane. Healing reverses the effects of damage and entropy and returns objects, items, and entities to their “proper” state, whatever that may be. Not only is this plane safe to filter to, it is quite beneficial.

Black Lightning

This negative energy form of lightning is rare in nature, only being released from volcanoes and other huge explosions. It is powerful and seems to draw the light from its path. It freezes rather than burns what it hits, although the electrical jolt it carries is similar to the positive form of lightning.

Cryofire

Cold and destruction give birth to cryofire. This is a milder and more controllable form of negative-energy burning. It consumes its fuel just like fire, but generates cold and darkness rather than heat and light. Cryofire elementals are not as popular to summon as fire elementals, even though they can withstand the physical plane somewhat better.

Ice

Not merely water ice, but the property of liquids to transform into solids (generally under the influence of cold) comes from here. This is a special plane in that it comes with an entire ecosystem of frosty creatures.

Wild Cryofire

Wild Cryofire is similar to cryofire, but wild and uncontrolled. It consumes its fuel just like wildfire, but generates cold and darkness rather than heat and light. Like their hot cousins, wild cryofire elementals are impossible to control once summoned. Filtering to this plane is dangerous because of the aggressive and unpredictable behavior of its residents.

Dark Crystals

Crystalline in nature, but cloudy, dark, or even opaque, the dark crystals are the result of shadow combining with air. Smoky quartz and obsidian are prime examples.

Gloom

A darkness that seems to absorb light that enters it, without being illuminated. Gloom is frightening to creatures used to light. Many times it is actually gloom elementals that are summoned when people talk of shadow-monsters.

Dark Metals

Dark, often dull, and usually heavy, the dark metals are actually the most common and sought after. Iron, titanium (also known as adamantite), nickel, copper, and gold are common examples.

Nightmares

Some nightmares are visions created by the mind, others come from here. A place utterly lacking in substance, but with all the form of reality. The lack of rules here leads to confusion and chaos all too often. This evil plane is a source of terror and madness.

Mist

The combination of air and water creates the very common plane of mist. This includes clouds, fogs, vapours, and all other such phenomenon. Mist elementals are often mistaken for ghosts.

Dust

The tiny, unidentifiable specks of matter that float through the air get their properties from this plane. Not all dust is simply subdivided particles of something larger!

Disintegration

The intersection of evil and destruction produces this pinnacle of chaos. Disintegration destroys the structure and organization of a substance, reducing it into ever-smaller particles until nothing remains. Magicians will be destroyed if they filter to this plane without special precautions. There is no such thing as a disintegration elemental.

Disease

The intersection of evil and creation produces this dreadful plane. Disease encourages entropy and damage. It is not limited to biological diseases, but includes rust and other oxidation, and decay. This plane is very dangerous to filter to, even with shielding. Magical shields are not immune to the diseases of this place, and will gradually fail. An unprotected magician will be stricken with a multitude of diseases and quickly perish.

The Physical Plane

The physical plane is the superposition of all of the lower planes. The interactions between them in some instances will cancel out, in others will strongly reinforce, and in yet others will simply compliment each other.

The physical plane is the pinnacle of the universe – everything else is actually simpler in organization. Complexity is not always a good thing, and the mass of conflicting influences often results in a less capable system. Nevertheless, an entity of the physical plane has access at one level or another to all other planes. This is also the real reason that the deities seek the worship of physical beings – the deities are limited to their own plane (and lower ones), so only through the assistance of a physical worshipper can they have any influence on other lower planes.

There are powerful beings on the physical plane who name themselves gods. These often maintain worlds for punishment or reward of their followers. It is important to bear in mind that these worlds exist in the physical plane – even if they are remote and protected from being casually reached.

Higher Planes

Higher level planes are frequently referred to, but do not fit into this same structure. They are really different perspectives of the physical plane, generally through different dimensional awareness. So, a hypothetical 2-dimensional being would not truly interact with a 3-dimensionl being. Similarly, a 5-dimensional being would not even notice a 3-dimensional existence.