Planes of Existence


The Splinterlands is just one realm in a stratum of countless realms known collectively as the planes of existence. These planes aren’t separated geographically; rather, they occupy the same space and time, divided instead by interplanar and extraplanar boundaries known as ley lines. Paradoxically, each plane—and each realm within it—is surrounded by an infinite expanse known as the Beyond.

While ley lines typically prevent interaction and passage between the planes and their realms, trace amounts of mana from the Beyond continually permeate these barriers and diffuse throughout the planes of existence. Additionally, while it takes a great deal of concerted force, ley lines can be weakened through means both magical and natural—the latter being the case in the Splinterlands, where numerous natural disasters and empire-driven calamities caused its ley lines to fail and nearly precipitated the ruination of the realm—allowing passage within or across the planes of existence.

Despite their shared space and time, the planes are distinguished by thematic and metaphysical characteristics that lend to philosophical (rather than spatial) classifications, which enables a better understanding of their complex nature and relationship to one another.

  • The Material Plane lies within the inner planes, as do the Fey and Shadow Plane.

  • The outer planes comprise the Planes of Fire, Water, and Earth.

  • The upper planes comprise the Planes of Order, Light, and Life

  • The lower planes comprise the Planes of Chaos, Darkness, and Death.

  • The Beyond surrounds each plane and its individual realms.

Inner Planes

The inner planes and their realms all share one quality: each is unique. They are a nexus of the mundane, the magical, and the elemental aspects of the outer, upper, and lower planes, both defining and defying reality.

These are the only planes of existence where all gods and goddesses hold equal influence. Subsequently, it is here they concentrate their attention as they vie for dominion over one another.

The Material Plane

The realms of the Material Plane, which include the Splinterlands, are defined by their tangible, mortal, and physical aspects—in contrast to the abstract, elemental, or moral themes of the realms of other planes. Yet each is unique in the variety of its magic, races, elements, religions, geography, technology, and other characteristics.

Fey Plane

The realms of the Fey Plane are wild and capricious, from their fey inhabitants to the forests, meadows, and glades that comprise their landscapes. Hills and valleys roll like waves, as if the land itself is breathing, forests shift in relation to one another and the surrounding terrain. These movements are subtle, imperceptible to the eye, yet they make mapping and navigation by outlanders all but impossible. So too is the Fey Plane rife with magic and the element of earth. Here, the laws of nature are merely suggestions. Streams might flow uphill; stars can light the forest floor; spring may well turn to summer then to autumn—never winter—and back again in a span of hours; day and night vary end-to-end; and even time can change its speed or course in relation to other realms.

Shadow Plane

The realms of the Shadow Plane are static and unchanging, the same events playing out over and over again. They are populated by the shadowfey: dark, silhouetted counterparts of fey and beasts. Landscapes repeat like quilted patches, every leaf and blade of grass is like the other, and forests grow in uniform canopies. Fell a tree, and it will return, unchanged. The Shadow Plane is devoid of the elements. There is no fire, water, or earth. Nor is there life or death. Here, there are no dragons. There is only raw mana and the eternal sameness, painted in shadows of gray beneath a blank, black canvas that is the sky.

Outer Planes

The outer planes are defined by their elemental and primordial nature. They comprise the fundamental forces from which all realms were forged. Subsequently, in the outer planes, the elements are more than mere substances; each is the primary force of creation within their respective plane. They shape every facet of life, from the environment to the cultures and magics of the denizens of their realms.

Plane of Fire

The realms of the Plane of Fire are landscapes sculpted by heat and flames. Some are nothing but vast fields of smoldering ash that stretch beneath a sky of perpetual flames. Others boast majestic mountain ranges eclipsed by massive volcanoes from which rivers of magma flow into lakes and oceans aflame.

The gods and goddesses of water have minimal influence over the Plane of Fire.

Plane of Earth

The realms of the Plane of Earth are defined by their terrestrial nature. Mountain ranges, plains, and underground caverns comprise their landscapes. These are worlds of impossibly large rock formations that rise into the ether, sculpted by time and the wind; limestone pavements and karst forests of stone that stretch from horizon to horizon; abyssal canyons that carve into seemingly bottomless depths; and hollow, geode-like interiors, where entire ecosystems and civilizations thrive beneath the surface.

The gods and goddesses of fire have minimal influence over the Plane of Earth.

Plane of Water

The realms of the Plane of Water are endless expanses of seas and oceans that stretch unbroken in every direction. Some are calm and placid. Others expand and constrict with the tides. Still more are gripped by an eternal rain, from light mistings to violent tempests, where megatsunamis rise as high as mountains before crashing down in a cacophony of violence. In stark contrast are the plane’s icy realms—those of icebergs or oceans frozen solid and blanketed by a dusting of snow or a layer kilometers thick. Formations of ice rise in peaks and ranges like mountains. Here, the cold might be bearable, or it might freeze one through in the span of a blink.

The gods and goddesses of earth have minimal influence over the Plane of Water.

Upper Planes

The upper planes are manifestations of the higher aspects of existence, which transcend abstraction and manifest in tangible, concrete ways. The life element dominates, and its magic is profound.

The gods and goddesses of death have minimal influence over the upper planes.

Plane of Order

In the realms of the Plane of Order, laws of both nature and community are of paramount importance. The seasons change on an unerring cycle. Sunrise and sunset occur precisely at the same time each day. Celestial movements are meticulously orchestrated. Geological activity and weather patterns follow an invariable, reiterative succession. Sovereign laws and edicts are strictly enforced, sometimes to a totalitarian degree. Rules and regulations exist for everything from architectural design to dress codes. Such is the price for absolute order, for anything that disrupts it has the potential to fundamentally alter reality, with consequences ranging from minor to catastrophic, until order is restored.

Plane of Light

The realms of the Plane of Light are suffused with a perpetual brilliance. Everything—from the earth to the oceans and the flora and fauna that inhabit them—exudes a natural luminescence. Even the air itself exudes a soft glow. Darkness and shadows do not exist, eliminating the traditional cycle of night and day. The pervasive nature of light has a profound affect on life within the plane’s realms, including the philosophies of its denizens, whose cultures tend to emphasize truth and openness above all else. For some, however, it is opposite; in realms without darkness, privacy and secrets kept are rare and can be of great value indeed.

Plane of Life

In the realms of the Plane of Life, there is no death. Its denizens and the outlanders who travel to it do not grow old and die. There is no sickness or disease, no decay or decline of the flesh, flora, or terrene; all is unmarred by the ravages of time and the shadow of mortality. These realms are not globes but infinite expanses without end—necessarily so, for without death, their flora, fauna, and civilizations continue to expand infinitely as well. Ecosystems are perpetually flourishing with rivers that brim with crystal-clear waters, lush forests, and meadows in eternal bloom. All things exist in perpetual harmony, with the life element providing all the nourishment required to thrive.

Lower Planes

The lower planes are defined by the darker aspects of existence. Wickedness and sin prevail, and existence amounts to a series of tribulation and trials. The death element is pervasive, its magic irrepressible.

The gods and goddesses of life have minimal influence over the lower planes.

Plane of Chaos

In the realms of the Plane of Chaos, unpredictability and turmoil reign supreme. Earthquakes rend the land, volcanoes belch magma and great clouds of choking ash, mountains crumble, great tempests bring to ruin everything in their path—all often and without warning. Great plagues, blights, and famines ravage entire ecosystems, and the denizens of these realms must adapt or die. Kingdoms and empires remain in a state of constant conflict: fighting to gain territory, losing it, and soaking the land red with blood in the process.

Plane of Darkness

The realms of the Plane of Darkness are cast in an eternal night. Fire burns without light. No sun or moon or stars shine in the sky. Even bioluminescence and phosphorescence are absent. The air is heavy with the weight of its tenebrosity, so that even sounds seem muted and hollow. Denizens of the Plane of Darkness have adapted to their sightless existence, with flora feeding on the darkness itself while fauna is endowed with preternatural senses that allow them to hunt prey and evade predators. Societies are built on caution and wariness, trust is scarce, and secrets are the common currency of the realm; and for good reason: here, a samaritan is as likely to stab you in the back as lend a hand.

Plane of Death

The realms of the Plane of Death are landscapes of desolation and decay shrouded in a perpetual twilight. The terrain is eroded, leaving mostly flat plains broken only by low hills and fractured mountains. Here, the cycle of life is starkly absent. Instead, the flora and fauna are bound in the perversion of growth and vitality that is undeath. Beasts of prey hunt their quarry not for subsistence, but merely for the sake of the kill. The same holds true for the empires and kingdoms of these realms, whose wars are waged for neither glory nor power, but to end the mockery of life that is undeath. Sacrifices and other ritual killings to appease Yzaos are common as well.

The Beyond

The Beyond is an endless ebon expanse filled with swirling wisps of the elements—motes of red, blue, green, white, black, and orange—interspersed with pinpricks of star-like light. It is the birthplace of mana and the home of the gods and goddesses. It surrounds not only each of the planes of existence, but also each of their many realms, stretching out to infinity around them. Where the Beyond abuts the planes of existence, mana seeps into the realms. Here, too, the gods and goddesses exert their influence on the realms, vying for power in a cosmic game of strategy, leveraging lives like pawns on a chess board or elemental manifestations in an arena.

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