Travel Guide to the Imarel Multiverse
Travel Guide to the Imarel Multiverseby T.A. Saunders ©2014 v1.0
At a Glance
The universe is not a singularity onto itself, but rather a single layer of several that make a composite reality we know as the Multiverse. Each layer could be considered a universe onto itself, though they do not exist one on top of another or in any scheme of three dimensional design. Rather, these planes co-exist over top one another, in the same space and the same relative time. Travel through these dimensions is done via several means, all of which are some manner of magic (arcane, divine or mystic). Technology on Imarel has not been able to, without heavily relying on magic, produce a gate of any kind into another dimension.
Below is a comprehensive listing of all the known planes of existence and what to expect upon traveling there. As one can expect, traveling to some of these dimensions can be fraught with hazards that can kill a mortal being nearly instantaneously. In some cases, such death could be without any means of recover or resurrection. Laws of nature and physics are entirely different on each plane of existence, though they can be similar. The assumption that a mortal being can survive in one plane as well as another is foolhardy. Even Etheric Will-shapers, who can walk between dimensions must take precautions when traveling the planes or suffer the same fate as one not so gifted. Planes, when referred to by their given name (ex. Indaris, the Bright Heavens) are known as realms. The terms can be used interchangeably, but if one is referring merely to other dimensions in a generic sense, the word plane is used. Nobody is sure where the names of the various planes came from, aside that it had been the High Asyndi that had named them. The prevailing theory is that the various realms were named after immortal beings destroyed in the first Godswar that formed this iteration of reality.
Codex of the Planes
Adanum, The Mortal Realm: This is the name given to the prime plane. Scholars recognize that Imarel is a planet amongst many, orbiting stars along with other planets and galaxies within the prime plane or what is classically referred to as a universe. There are also alternate realities that, through sorcery, Imarel scholars are also aware of and through extremely difficult and rare magic or magic items (such as a Mirror of Multiplicity), can be reached. It's important to note that there are an infinite amount of these alternate dimensions and each dimension is a fragment another, created by key events that are temporally static, meaning they will occur across all alternate realms, though not always simultaneously.
Time travels slightly different between these fragments, though never more than a few months back or forward. It is also important to note that two of the same being cannot exist in the same reality, unless one or both beings are given the ability to generate a paradox field by a deity, artifact or an extremely powerful chronomancer. The paradox field cannot be detected, sensed or manipulated by hostile parties, save by the being or deity who put it in place. Should two of the same being come into contact without this protection, they will cancel one another out to the point of non-existence. So while traveling to alternate realities is certainly possible, one should do so with incredible amounts of caution.
Cylmoria, the Ethereal Realm: Cylmoria, or what is more commonly referred to as simply ‘The Ether' is a realm of primordial stuff believed to be leftover material from the creation of the Multiverse. The whole plane is a place of near weightless, semi-fluid suspension that a person could quite literally swim across if one were so inclined. The whole plane seems to generate its own light which has a dream-like, pinkish haze to it. Ether sometimes coalesces into solid masses, commonly known as Cylmorian Islands. It is on these islands Ether miners are often found, toiling away for Etherium, Ethercite or the exceedingly rare Vanicite. Cylmorian Islands are also, at their largest capable of sustaining fortresses, airship ports and in a handful of cases, small cities dedicated to Etheric travelers.
The two foremost of these cities are Kyssak, which is maintained by a group of Van'Su not indentured to dragons and welcomes travelers of all kinds within their walls and N'Jorah, a city formed by the descendants of the last D`Mirian Emperor, Jahthar Kyr. Unless you happen to be an Asyndi, approaching this city is simply not wise. Kyssak's more hospitable environment boasts a library that spans most of the surface of the Cylmorian Island it sits upon as well as a well-provisioned trading post, room and board, and supply stations. The caveat to coming to Kyssak is that no violence is allowed. The Van'Su are considerably more powerful than other races at dimensional magics and can very easily send an entire airship to another part of the Ether (or another plane) with very little effort at all. Thanks to places like Kyssak, traveling Cylmoria is only somewhat dangerous in comparsion to other planes. It is very much the ‘wild frontier' as far as planes go.
Indaris, The Bright Heavens: Indaris is the plane that most of the lawful and neutral deities reside. It is a place of ideal and picturesque existence, the center of which is the great ivory and golden hall of the same name. Within Indaris Hall, is Kaal's legendary table, where those who have lived well and in accordance to their deity's ethos will arrive upon death. Here, they will tell Kaal and the other gods the tale of their life and what worth they brought to the world they came from (noting, of course, spirits come from other worlds aside of Imarel). Depending on the worth of their deeds, they will be given a seat closer or father from the gods themselves, though anybody who makes it to Indaris is, by default, welcome.
The seats closest to Kaal are reserved for those who are named Champion Spirits, those who have fought and died for a great cause and for the fate of the world from which they come. Other key locations include: Lake Lipha, also known as the Lake of Dawn, where it is said that Tashalasheeri and Hazaad first met in secret, Jhiariah, The First Hirsalas Tree, which is on an island at the center of Lake Lipha, and Aldunah the Everwood, which is the vast forest that sprawls Indaris.
Kladhaal, The Crossroads Realm: The metaphysical place between Indaris and Xos, Kladhaal is home to the mighty Krondhir, Spirit of War and his Valkyries. At the center of this realm is a sprawling fortress of the same name, set upon war-beaten earth that spans the entire plane. The light of Ka reaches Kladhaal, but it is often clouded with the smoke from the eternal battling that occurs across this realm. Kladhaal is a place where spirits with no affiliation or an affiliation to the Spirit of War go, to be tested if their lives have walked a questionable line of morality.
These spirits are offered a choice: single combat with one of the Krondhirdottirs or step out onto the Eternal Battlefield and fight under one of the many Condemned Banners of fallen lords and ladies of the past that are locked in fatal combat. Those who win their day may pass onto the Bright Heavens, having earned their seat at Kaal's table. Those who fall are sent to Xos, where their soul becomes a larvae. Kladhaal is exceedingly dangerous to travel to, for the many and often chaotically overlapping battles going on at any given time. Once in Kladhaal citadel, one is generally safe…and treated to the sight of Krondhir's scantily clad Valkyries tending to one another's wounds, wrestling for sport, or sparring for Krondhir's amusement.
Lyth, The Shadowlands: Lyth is an extremely inhospitable realm for those unprepared and unprotected. The entire plane is utterly black save for the dimmest of light that manages to reach it from a gray-white sun that glooms over the immeasurably large fortress of Shadowcove, the domain of the Spirit of Vengeance, Mourne. Those who enter Lyth without protection from entropic energy are instantly (within 1d4 rounds) enervated of all life energy and husked. This death destroys not only the body but the soul as well, making it one that resurrection is simply not possible. Aside of the location of Shadowcove (which exists simultaneously on Imarel), there is no known topography of the realm.
All manner of exceedingly lethal shadow-born creatures, including Light-Eaters, Shadow Demons and the countless souls of the Guilty roam here in eternal twilight. Meklah also makes his home in this realm, but true to the nature of the God of Secrets, nobody knows where exactly he lives within this nightmarish plane.
Mirdahl, The Astral Realm: Also referred to as the Dreaming Realm, Mirdahl is the composition of all the dreams, hopes, and fears of mortals and gods alike across the Multiverse. The mind is a most dangerous thing in Mirdahl, for those with the strength of will to do so can shape reality into whatever their desires are. Astral travelers should always be exceedingly cautious because often they can encounter projections of dreaming people, who are infinitely more powerful than a physical person drifting in the Astral Plane, as they are melded with the energies of this chaotic, ever-shifting realm.
Like the Ethereal Realm, Mirdahl has no center and no sense of gravity, save by whatever law of physics may apply to whatever dreamed up physical mass they encounter. The plane is breathable, equally for water-breathing and air-breathing species and has a sort of semi-fluid suspension to it, as the Ether does but differs in that its not consistent. If one is caught in the dreams of a god, for example they could just as easily be crushed in a vortex of colliding planets as easily as find themselves on a land mass with green grass, fluffy bunnies, and singing sock puppets. Few airships go out to the Astral, but those that do tend to go for the high risk minerals and ores that can be found, as well as rare chunks of condensed dreams.
Niraeth, The Realm Beyond the Veil: Sometimes called the Void, or the Chaos Realm, Niraeth is quite possibly the most dangerous place to visit in the Multiverse. Existing between dimensions as a dimension onto itself, exceedingly complicated and powerful rituals are required to both reach and summon beings from this strange realm. Existing as at times, total nothingness, while other times floating chunks of matter that pre-date the present Multiverse that orbit black suns that shed anti-light, coming to this place unprotected is tantamount to suicide in much the same way traveling to Lyth is. Those unprotected against the rampant chaos energies are instantaneously (1d4 rounds) driven irrecoverably insane for the things their mind must process.
Staying longer within the ebb and flow of chaos beckons random, horrific mutations of the body and mind, to the point of being forever altered into a thing that can thrive in this place of madness. There are plenty examples of such twisted beings to be found, as well as ancient and powerful proto-gods, similar to the Forgotten Ones, that call this realm home. Only the most heavily-armed and sorcerously protected airships travel to such a place, and nobody who wishes to remain sane travels here alone, unless they are exceedingly powerful .
Tala, The Sea of Light: A place of pure, ambient energy, Tala is where all Mana originates. The composition of this plane, for those who can survive it, is nothing more than blinding white light, filled with contrails of free-flowing energy. At the center of this plane is the Origin, so named by the God of Time, Uronous. It is a sphere of light, with a realm of angled stairs and doorways that should be impossible to traverse but are. Some lead to the past, some lead to the present, some lead to the Void of Niraeth. Where these doors lead changes from moment to moment, depending on ever-shifting Time.
Uronous exists at the midst of this mind-breaking series of doors and stairs, though there are only fairy tales of people actually reaching him. As expected, this plane is exceedingly dangerous, in the same way Lyth and Niraeth are. Entering unprotected will instantly vaporize a mortal being (1d4 rounds). Airships cannot travel here due to the energy fluctuations wreaking havoc on the engines.
Xirorya, Realm of Elements: While there are certainly more dangerous planes to visit, none offer the reward for those risks as Xirorya does. Between the powerful Xirorym and the purest possible form of each of the four elements in abundance (along with other ores and minerals), this realm is a favorite amongst enterprising mining operations. This is simply not safe for the single traveler however, for the many unbound elementals that, while aren't fighting their opposite element somewhere, defend their territory with great hostility (though for those who can speak Xiroryi, negotiation is sometimes possible). Aside of the elementals themselves, there are an abundance of hostile creatures formed from the elements to contend with as well. Cities and towns of various elemental spirits pepper the landscape, but the great city of Escaria resides at the center.
The vassels of each of the four elemental princes bring their matters of territorial and wealth disputes to their Princes here (though vassels of the Wind are often left to fend for themselves, thanks to Ciahal's capricious nature). Escaria is a very wealthy, chaotic and dangerous city, possibly more dangerous than the outlands for all the cloak and dagger activity between the princes. Though, again the enterprising group can thrive here if they have a smooth tongue and the power to back themselves up. Escaria is home to several trading posts and safe havens for non-elementals, though for those who have forcibly bound elementals to their service? Their names are remembered and no haven is truly safe for such criminals of Xiroryi law.
Xos, The Frozen Dark: Where Indaris is light, warmth and growth, Xos is a frozen gloom of endless steppe and frigid mountains. To enter Xos as a mortal without proper protection, means death (1d4 rounds) from being drained by the entropy of the realm itself. Dying in Xos condemns the soul to be turned into a larva, which then must fight other larva for the right to even exist at all. There is no sun and no moon in Xos. Light is found by spires of frozen light that stand upon the highest peeks of the realm, which offers just enough light for a perpetual dusk. If one can avoid dying upon entering, there is the hazard of the ever-warring factions of demons that rage across the desolate landscape.
Each demonic faction seeks to impress Miron, so they might serve him directly, rather than one of the lesser Xosian gods or worse, another more powerful demon. The foremost of these demons is Ysil, who controls the strongest demonic faction. Ysil's greatest enemy is not another demon however, but the Spirit of Decay, Vex'nar. The various Xosian gods have holdings across the plane, with their own alterations based on their sphere of influence, the greatest of these of course is the frozen fortress of Hadahm. Traveling to Xos is incredibly risky but profitable if you're after use of a Xosian forge or out to make Xosium.