Lore - Cosmology

The Multiverse
Ere and its associated cosmology is part of a larger cosmology known only as the multiverse; an infinite expanse of space containing trillions of planes, some that stand alone, many that have their own associated cosmologies. For game rule purposes, the Multiverse, at least the part of the multiverse in the immediate vicinity of Ere, is treated as the Astral Sea in the default cosmology.

The Black
Between these worlds lies a vast, cold void called the Black. Most planes simply float within the Black; their inhabitants able to reach the Black simply by flying straight up (in which case, other planes, their suns and moons can be visibly seen as stars). Other planes are contained within a planar envelope which must be bypassed in order to reach the Black.

But the Black contains no air and is too cold for most natural creatures to survive. Further, the distances between planes in the Black are, in most cases, sufficiently large that light itself takes years, decades of even millennia to travel the gulf.

Travel in the Black is useful only for those that wish to move between planes and their natural satellites, or that are capable of and wish to remain close to but not on a plane.

The Eternity
Powerful and focused magics and a rare few creatures are capable of accessing the metaphysical gulf between the planes. This place, a world where the planes, their suns and moons can be seen a brilliant orbs of light and power, is called the eternity.

Planar distances can be crossed in the Eternities in matters of days weeks or months at airship cruising speeds, but the environment is even more hostile then the Black. Living or undead creatures that are not specifically immune to the Eternity’s environment are destroyed utterly within seconds of exposure. Creatures destroyed in such a way cannot be resurrected, even by divine intervention. Luckily, the Eternity resists entry by such creatures, making it impossible for creatures traveling in planar envelope protected ships to accidentally fall into it.

Travel via the Eternities is necessary to reach planes that do not have existing planar gates, though some creatures can move through the Eternity at the speed of thought.

The Elemental Sea and Elemental Leylines
The Elemental Sea is an infinite expanse as large as the entire multiverse; a world where the elements clash and coexist and clash again. It is said the ancient origin world of the true demons exists somewhere in this chaotic vortex.

Where the Elemental Sea comes close to the Multiverse, elemental leylines form; places where the balance of elements in planes nearby is skewed to one or more elements over the others. At times, the Sea extrudes from these leylines, creating planes formed of a single element.

Few travel into the Sea itself, but these elemental planes are often inhabited by elemental creatures willing to trade, hire, or make war. For game rule purposes, the Elemental Sea and associated planes are treated as the Elemental Chaos in the default setting.

The Ere Cosmology
In a remote area of the multiverse, far from the worlds spanning empires and planar wars that rage in other areas, lies the plane of Ere and its local cosmology. Floating in the Black are its brilliant sun, Ola-Hess and the four moons; forested Azelia, crystalline Gracellia, harsh Mayana, and invisible Nubul. Concordant with Ere, at its metaphysical heart resides the multilayered Well of Souls, which serves as it’s afterlife and the source of it’s driving life force.

The Sun and Moons
The sun and moons of Ere are all (save Mayana) planes created by the Greater Pantheon to serve as their domains. The moons and sun orbit Ere in the Black and can all be reached by six hours of flight in the Black.

Obscured from Ere by a planar envelope of brilliant light, Ola-Hess is, once beyond the envelope, an expansive world of air and light. Massive bergs of alabaster and diamond float in an airy void, eternally lit by ever present, pure white light.

This is the domain of Hessa, head goddess of the Greater Pantheon and creator of the world, who dwells in a modest cottage upon one of the alabaster bergs. Gravity is subject to Hessa’s whim, but she bestows this power to any creature she allows to visit her world. Intruders must contend with a down that is subject only to Hessa’s whim.

Aside from Hessa, there live on Ola’s floating bergs a number of ancient and powerful beings of benevolence sufficient for Hessa to allow them homes there. Many goodly ancient dragons come to this world to live out their twilight years; in death becoming diamond bergs unto themselves, blooming with flowers.

The green forest moon Azelia is ensconced in a planar envelope of mist. Beyond the mist, it is a world of towering forests beyond even the scope of Ere’s magnagoth trees, verdant fields, and crystal clear lakes.

From a city in the canopy of one of the great trees, Sylph rules the world created by Sylph the first, watching over the races and forest peoples she’s nurtured and the beasts left behind by her predecessor. Every plant and tree and animal is her spy within the woodland realm here, alerting her to intruders so that her wrath might be visited upon them.

The forests, fields and lakes of Azelia are home to an abundance of flora and fauna, many alien or extinct to Ere itself. Wild fey and terrible beasts also make the moon home, using any means necessary to slip between the worlds to visit mischief or terrible horror on the people of Ere.

Seen from Ere, Gracellia presents a gleaming white planar envelope that remains geostationary to Ere at all times. In reality, it is a world of two parts, ruled over by the two brothers, Denaii and Pandemos.

Denaii’s half of the world, which always faces Ere, is a vast mountain of crystal, lined with metal ore that rises from a white cloud that obscures everything below the crystal. In the central spire, in an efficient city of clockwork, lives the god Denaii and his chosen champions and servitors. Within the city, there is always the sound of work and training. Light foundries, heated by Ola’s light focused though the vast crystal spires, are in continuous use, pumping out fine and functional crafts, tools and machine parts. Training centers, attended by races never seen on Ere, work day and night on perfecting their fighting styles and themselves in the process. In Denaii’s realm, the body does not tire and never needs sleep, only meditation.

On the other side of the cloud veil, seemingly hanging below the crystal – or the crystal hanging below it – is a haphazard city of brick and stone and steel on a sandy island, in the midst of a white ocean.

Here Pandemos holds court from within a grand hall that changes daily from a fancy ballroom, to a mead hall, to a desert pavilion, to anything in between. In the city, almost anything a visitor can hope for is sold or performed in some shop or salon or inn, bed are always comfortable and food is always delicious. Not food, drink or other substance has any effect the imbiber would consider adverse; strong drink never causes hangovers, food never causes weight gain, or causes enhanced muscle gain, and it is impossible to be poisoned by imbibing too much of anything.

This part of the realm is inhabited by the rabble that Pandemos naturally assembles around him, which is necessarily diverse.

The Red Rock Moon, Mayana is the natural moon of Ere. It’s surface; a hazy landscape of red cliffs and deep canyons, is visible from Ere with the naked eye.

No gods hold their domain on Mayana. Volcanoes and towering mountains instead provide homes for savage monsters of earth and fire affinity which vie for scant resources and territory. The only signs of civilization are the homes of exiled efreeti and planar displaced dwarves that dot the landscape.

Powerful beings seeking to hide their workings from the gods sometimes place their lairs on Mayana in hopes of not being noticed in their works.

Invisible against the sable backdrop of the Black, Nubul is a sphere of dark water, wrapped around a core of dark iron.

It was created shortly around Saint’s Landing by Sefar, this was once her domain, where once dozens of small islands were home to the servants of Sefar and to a variety of exotic aquatic creatures. Since her loss, the plane has gone dark, the islands had sank and the creatures have been twisted into dark reflections of their former selves.

It is said that Kayda resides within the iron core of Nubul; unable to leave, but still capable of reaching out to his followers.

The Well of Souls
Alongside the metaphysical space Ere occupies lies the Well of Souls, the afterlife of the world and the driving engine of the world’s life force. It is divided into several layers, which the souls of the dead pass through on their way to the center – the Source of All Souls (more to come).

The Spirit World
The first level of the Well of Souls is the only one that can be reached (with extreme difficulty without dying) from Ere, the Spirit World (or Afterworld) is a reflection of the material plane of Ere. Whether the reflection is positive or negative depends on if the day or night aspect of the world the one entered.

The day aspect of the sprit world is where those that die with light hearts find themselves. It can be accessed with powerful items or rituals only under the light of the sun.

This aspect of the spirit world is ever bright and cloudless and natural features of Ere exist as grander, more beautiful versions of themselves. Mountains are taller, lakes are clearer, and forests are more lush. Seasons come and go in the day even though night never falls.

The day aspect is populated with corporeal spirits of the recent dead, spiritual representations of nature, and mighty versions of natural animals. Many sapient inhabitants build structures on the site where similar structures exist one Ere, but towns and cities are never accurately reflected in the spirit world.

The night aspect of the spirit world is where the spirits of the suffering and black hearted dead find themselves after death.

This aspect of the spirit world is shrouded in eternal gloom and night, the sky overcast and moonless, often drizzling lukewarm rain. The natural terrain of Ere exist as tainted and more stark versions of themselves. Mountains are steeper and unforgiving, bodies of water are polluted and silt laden, and forests are wilted and groan ominously. Seasons come and go in the night, even though the sun never rises.

The day aspect of the spirit world is home to the corporeal spirits of the recent dead, spiritual representations of dark emotions, and shadowy, dangerous versions of natural animals as well as all manner of undead. The sapient inhabitants of the night aspect built dark fortresses to fend off the other dangerous beings of the world.

Portals and rifts between the two aspects are rare and when they are discovered, day inhabitants rally to guard and conceal them and night inhabitants fight for control over them, hoping to escape into the daylight.

Those favored by and devoted to a god might be plucked from the spirit world to become a servant or excarch.

The White Ways
Spirits of the dead who no longer feel tied to their old lives, or who accidentally stumble upon entrances into them discover the second layer of the Well; the White Ways.

The Ways are a twisting and infinite series of paths, tunnels, overlapping bridges and caverns that connect the Afterworld to the Court of Souls. Weak spirits and spirits resigned to or certain of their final fates eventually sink or pass into the walls or firmament of the Way and into the Inferno or the Source of All Souls. Spirits that are unsure of their fate, or refuse to accept it and are strong enough to resist the pull of the Inferno and Source must wander the Ways, fighting the inhabitants until they find the entrance into the Court of Souls. Some such spirits never find the entrance and wander the Ways eternally.

The spirits of spirit beasts and other discarnate beings stalk the Ways, preying on travelers, as do agents of the Court of Souls d the Bone Clan who seek to prevent or at least hinder mortals from breeching the Court of Souls.

Spirits and discarnate beings destroyed in the White Ways are instantly drawn to the Source or the Inferno.

Few creatures choose to live in the White Ways and those that do are a hearty and stubborn lot who live in structures built off of or into the ways themselves.

The Court of Souls
Beyond the White Way lies the large planar frontier called the Court of Souls, ruled over by the Celestial Bureaucracy from the city of Rigseneda. Here, those spirits that have managed to pass the White Way and avoid being drawn into the Inferno of the Source have a chance to live new lives or to petition for the chance to pass through the Discarnate Gate and become one with the Source of All Souls.

In the Court of Souls, a spirit’s memory of it’s past life and fetters fade swiftly, usually within a few months. Within a year, the spirit is not recognizable as it’s former self. Most spirits that enter the Court, however, do not last that long as they instead petition the Bureaucracy in Rigseneda.

Once petitioned, the ruling of the Celestial Bureaucracy is final and has one of three outcomes: The petitioner is sent through the Discarnate Gate to become one with the Source and eventually be reborn, the petitioner is sent through the Flame Gate into the Inferno, where they will be tested and tormented by the Keepers of the Inferno until they are purified of their flaws and deemed worthy to enter the Source, or the petitioner may become indentured into servitude to the Court of Souls until such time they have ‘paid’ for their passage into the Discarnate Gate. These sentences are enforced by the Bone Clan.

The members of the Bureaucracy are fallible beings, however, and their decisions can be swayed by impassioned pleas, lucrative bribes, or substantial threats on the behalf of or against the petitioner. The wheels of the process move slowly though and it usually takes more than a month for a petitioner to be sentenced.

Dungeons and Dragons 4th Edition © Wizards of the Coast
World of Ere and related original content © Landon Porter