To Chance with Hell (Planescape)
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Elysium a plane a cutter can real relax in peace, forever. It’s hard not to see it in wholly negative terms, but this plane isn’t malicious. Certainly, one can find challenge and danger here if one seeks it, but the majority of petitioners and mortals who live on this plane do so because it can be so relaxing. Unlike the Gray Waste which saps ones will to live, Elysium brings those who stay too long utter contentedness. The effect often takes weeks to grab hold of someone, so it usually only captures those that willingly stay. This plane tests travellers, urging them to help others who require aid.
Elysium is divided into four layers. Amoria is a rugged wilderness, but everything from the weather to the animals screams “relax.” Eronia is a plane of lofty mountains and weather where those who wish to challenge themselves in their twilight can do so (and the rewarding views are always spectacular). Belierin is the third layer, a land of swamp and marshes. Horrible evil is said to be sealed away beneath. Finally, Thalasia is where the River Oceanus begins; this plane is mostly water, although many small islands dot the layer, oftne tributes to heroes, past and present.
By Alexi Mirrwood
The Blessed Fields. The Plane of Peaceful Rest. Elysium. It‘s very name is synonymous with peace and tranquility. Serene valleys, vast mountains, sparkling rivers, it very much fits most cutters vision of heaven. At the center of the Upper Planes, it represents the purest incarnation of good, and is the home of countless planars and petitioners that have earned their rest in the service of that ideal. But it‘s oh so much more than a place to make one‘s case and spend the years in quiet prosperity (not that that‘s such a bad thing, mind you). I should know; I‘ve been courting her for over twenty years now. Park your ears cutter, ‘cause Elysium is more than just the sum of its residents or its position in the Outer Planes. I‘m not here to peel ya for jink either, so don‘t give me that look. Just sit down in that chair over there and listen to an old greybeard‘s tale.
Situated between the untamed wilderness of the Beastlands and the cultivated fields of Bytopia, Elysium is a balance of lifestyles and pleasures, where a basher can live the life they most desire with hardly a care or concern. Here people only work if they want to, as the plane is bountiful enough to provide for everyone‘s needs. There‘s a good mix of different types of communities as well, from nomadic tribes to vast cities, and just about whatever life a body chooses is fine by everyone else. What misfortune one might experience here is only an opportunity for another to do good, and it should come as no surprise that the entire plane is a testament to what can be achieved when folk put the welfare of others above their own interests. The plane isn‘t content to let berks to come to that conclusion on their own, however, and that‘s where its true nature becomes clear. But we‘ll come to that in due time.
Elysium is divided into four layers, and each surrounded by the River Oceanus. Amoria, the first layer, is both the most hospitable and populous. It is a land of rolling hills, green meadows, great forests, and shining beaches. The weather is always tame, neither too hot nor too cold even during the height of the seasons. Most of the burgs are situated along the coasts of Oceanus and glow like jewels during the night. The Transcendent Order has the largest presence here, save for perhaps the guardinals, though the Ciphers don‘t have any organized forces per se.
Hm? Oh, yes, my apologies, the guardinals are the exemplar of Elysium, celestials that combine animal and humanoid features representing true good. They‘re generally a peaceful and wise lot, though they have no tolerance for evil and make fierce warriors. Good-aligned folk come to them for advice and help, even other celestials, but don‘t be fooled by their reluctance to take part in every quest brought their way; the guardinals are easily the most proactive of the celestial races and have their hands in events across the multiverse. Eronia is the second layer of Elysium, and is very much a rugged version of Amoria. Here the mountains are sharp, the hills steep, and the wind strong. The petitioners here believe the afterlife should still provide its challenges, and most of the planars that come here do so with the intent of testing their endurance and their heart. Whether its great canyons, white rapids, or snow white peaks reaching to the clouds, Eronia is a land of adventure. On the other hand, it has its fair share of tests and hurdles, where failure means a sod‘s going to be joining the petitioners for good.
Belierin is the most mysterious and least populated of Elysium‘s layers. It‘s a mist shrouded land with thick swamps and overgrown marshes, a far cry different from it‘s neighbors. Few save the guardinals are found here, and the other creatures that make their home here are often monsters that have no problem dragging a berk headfirst into the water, good intentions or not. Chant goes that the layer serves as a vault or prison for things the forces of good would have locked up or otherwise could not destroy. This might explain why the guardinals are so suspicious of people wandering around the plane and why use of divination or transplanar magic draws the attention of the natives.
Thalasia is the lowest layer and the origin of the River Oceanus itself. This layer is the home of the exalted and other archetypes of good that have been hidden away until some future time. It consists of a series of small, mostly tropical islands, but the majority of the layer‘s population resides in its underwater depths where entire kingdoms coexist out of the sight and mind of the rest of the multiverse. The islands themselves mostly house small communities of land dwellers living in peace with those below, though some serve as havens for the warriors of good. These mystical realms are often spoken of in legend on prime worlds and the petitioners here are the greatest heroes ever known. Reaching any such isle is a quest in and of itself, but the things to be seen there will make one wonder what sway Elysium truly has over the rest of the multiverse. Aye, I do mean the plane itself, for I‘ve seen whole civilizations whisked away at their peak from the Prime to Thalasia, locked away from the multiverse and never knowing anything had changed. Maybe they‘re being safeguarded from some great cataclysm, but I have little doubt that their existence will somehow serve the greater good, and thus Elysium itself.
See, the whole sodding plane is aware. Not truly alive in any traditional sense, but it thinks and acts to further its own ends as if it were one big power. Travel is the best example; when I said before that one‘s bad luck is a chance for another to do good, I wasn‘t being cute. When walking from place to place the plane puts such situations along the way, forcing bashers to choose between helping someone in a rough spot or going about their business. Those that show their good intentions will make it to their destination faster, while those that ignore the suffering of others could find their journey taking hours or days longer than it should. The plane doesn‘t stop its manipulations there, either. Most everything in Elysium exudes a feeling of safety and perfection. The feeling is so strong that an unlucky soul might even find themselves unwilling to leave after spending only a few days there, even if they have pressing concerns elsewhere in the Great Ring. The pleasure and joy one experiences steadily increases, warping their mind until they can imagine nothing else but the happiness of living here and pitching in to make it a better place. As time passes, even loved ones forget about their previous lives…
Ahem, don‘t mind me. Just because something is good doesn‘t mean it has to be kind, cutter. I remember the day twenty years ago when my own sweet Aleasia gave in to Elysium‘s sweet song. She rose in the middle of the night and walked off into the woods with nary a word nor kiss goodbye, and by the time I had risen she had vanished. I‘ve spent the years since searching every layer and realm for sign of my love, giving up when I felt myself surrendering to Elysium‘s charms, and then only long enough to bring my wits back to me. The plane itself has lead me on this merry chase, teasing me with clues of her whereabouts to keep my hope alive, pushing me to continue my work so that I might tell others of what I find. Some of you chaotic bashers might balk at one‘s freedom being so blatantly taken from them, while lawful folk may consider the whole thing unjust, but here the only thing that matters is how it serves the greater good. Even if I should die without ever seeing Aleasia‘s face again, I‘ll know what my life has been for.
Ecstasy (Outland Gate-Town)
By Hajzeek Gnarl-Hoof
Ecstasy. Wit‘ a name like that, what could there be not to like? It‘s a casual place, indulgent in many ways o‘ the needs an‘ desires o‘ its populace. This includes a rather loose definition o‘ the word “borrow”, but so long as ye don‘t throw too much o‘ a fuss yer belongings should make their way back to ye ‗fore ye leave. Or ye may just have to borrow ‘em back.
If ye‘re in the mood for entertainment or debate, or both, there‘s a place in town that hosts ongoin‘ philosophical debates. The arguments, an‘ they do sometimes get rather heated (that‘s the entertainment part), are mediated by an odd fellow known as the Philosopher King. There‘s a new king there now, the old one havin‘ retired, an‘ this King is a fellow I don‘t suggest ye tangle wit‘. A risen ultraloth, if ye can imagine such a thing, an‘ a rather extraordinary debater given his understandin‘ o‘ the principles involved.
Outside o‘ town can be found tall pillars, the ‘homes‘ o‘ meditatin‘ celestials an‘ other philosophers that make their case here. Bring yer climbin‘ equipment if ye plan to have a cuppa wit‘ ‘em, but bear in mind not all o‘ ‘em are too talkative.