The Astral Plane is a realm of thought and psychic magic, where our whim and our will shapes the landscape. Its true form is without even the concept of body, ground, light or shadow. It is without air and without the need of air. Lunar mana is one of the most powerful natural forces on the Astral Plane. Inside the plane Lunar mana is manifest energy and as deadly as fire to touch. Moon Mages have the ability to access the Astral Plane and use it to very quickly travel great distances across the Plane of Abiding
Cosmology of the Astral Plane
The Astral Plane borders both the Plane of Abiding and the Plane of Probability. It has a similar relationship with other, yet stranger planes of being, but none of these share a common border with the Plane of Abiding.
From the Planar Observatory the Astral Plane is seen as a uniformly grey shape of and indeterminate circular or spherical shape:
- A sea of grey light floats in front of your eyes. The grey light is uniform and utterly still, without a sense of texture or even a faint shift in illumination along the horizon. It is impossible to tell if this is a sphere or simply a grey circle. A sense of quiet peace fills you as you look into grey light.
The microcosm is a small region of the astral plane which corresponds to the magic essence of the shattered moon Grazhir. Grazhir is, in a sense, still intact. Its magical pattern -- its essential quality -- still exists, connecting each little pebble of it in streams of mana and lines of sympathy. Somehow the shattered moon's mana is being channeled into the Astral Plane, maintaining itself as a single, holistic magical pattern. This has created a "safe bubble" which can be used by moon mages to travel between its' physical fragments in the Plane of Abiding.
Shards of Grazhir
Although Grazhir may be still intact within the Astral Plane, on the Plane of Abiding it has been shattered into numerous fragments. The Naming Ritual has imbued many of the shards with a magical pattern which imparts it with a unique name and allows them to be used as a conduit for astral travel. Essentially, each shard is able to cohabit one location and the Astral Plane and an unrelated position in the Plane of Abiding. This property can be used to allow a Moon Mage to take advantage of the shorter distances between shards in the Astral Plane to quickly cover great distances in the Plane of Abiding.
The currently known (and named shards are: Rolagi, Taniendar, Marendin, Dinegavren, Erekinzil, Mintais, Asharshpar'i, Emalerje, Dor'na'torna, Tamigen, Teloish, Aliaes, Auilusi, Besoge, Tabelrem, and Vellano.
Axis is the name given to the largest Grazhir shard. At the center of the microcosm and below the pillars is a source of Grazhir mana so powerful that it dominates the entire system. It is unknown where lies on Elanthia.
Between Axis and the other shards are ten pillars. Each stream of Grazhir mana routes through one of the pillars before connecting to Axis. This provides a constant for navigation and lets Elanthians approach Axis far closer than would otherwise be safe. It is stated during the quest to learn about astral travel that the Pillars are not a natural occurrence, but neither are they a conscious creation; it is heavily implied that the collective Moon Mage consciousness caused the Pillars to form, and that each is symbolically associated with a different Moon Mage sect, faction or ideal.
Map of the Microcosm
|A. Pillar of Nightmares||Rolagi (Crossing)||Prophets of G'nar Peth|
|B. Pillar of Tradition||Auilusi (Aesry)||Nomads of the Arid Steppe|
|C. Pillar of Secrets||Marendin (Shard)||Progeny of Tezirah|
|D. Pillar of Unity||Vellano (Fang Cove)||Heritage House|
|E. Pillar of the Shrew||Emalerje (Lesser Fist)||Children of Kalestraum|
|F. Pillar of the Heavens||Asharshpar'i (Leth Deriel)||Celestial Compact|
|G. Pillar of Introspection||Dinegavren (Therenborough)||Monks of the Crystal Hand|
|H. Pillar of Fortune||Mintais (Throne City)||Followers of Fortune's Path|
|I. Broken Pillar||Not aligned to any known shards.||No sect association.|
|J. Pillar of Convergence||Not aligned to any known shards.||No sect association.|
|Unknown - cannot be learned||Teloish (Planar Observatory)||Unknown - cannot be learned|
The Grey Expanse
Although often considered a defined region of the Astral Plane by Moon Mages it is, in reality, a description of how a mortal experiences the true nature of the Astral Plane outside of the Microcosm.Within the Grey Expanse mana spell casting is essentially ineffective due to the lack of a physical universe. It is possible to become lost in the Grey Expanse during Astral Travel. The usual result is death from exposure to the alien nature of the Astral Plane. On occasion, however, a Moon Mage with great skill and exceptional luck is able to locate and return to the Microcosm through sheer force of will.
Denizens of the Astral Plane
Inhabitants of the Astral Plane are quite mysterious; the only known inhabitants are forms of conceptual life, possibly originating from the Plane of Probability. At this time only the Pelag ai Aldam and the Cashek gand Aldam are known.
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