Post:The Lay of the Elemental Planes - 8/11/2010 - 01:41:20

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The Lay of the Elemental Planes · on 8/11/2010 1:41:20 AM 722
Bards are widely regarded as excellent storytellers, but terrible cosmologists. There are expectations about what the distant planes are like, as widespread as they are erroneous, even among wizards that should strictly know better. Typically Bards take the blame for this misinformation, weaving fantasy tales of lakes of fire and infinite skies.

If the planes were so hospitable as to merely be an unending drop, the Warrior Mages would've conquered them long ago.

Particularly with the Elemental Planes, whose essences are infused with bloody single-mindedness, it is impossible to overstate the alien nature of the planes. The Elemental Plane of Fire is not a place where the land is on fire and the oceans are lava and the skies are very hot; it is fire in every symbolic and literal sense. The air is fire; gravity is fire; north is fire; the force that holds your atoms together is fire. It is deadly in its irrationality: anyone brave enough to venture across the planar void is likely to die of some bizarre cessation of their vital functions rather than being burnt.

Of particular hindrance to budding planar travelers is a lack of spatial dimensions. There is, to the best of the Warrior Mages' knowledge, no actual space in five out of the six Elemental Planes, at least in any sense that a man from the Plane of Abiding understands the term. The elemental inhabitants of the planes appear to spawn from and return to a single no-space. Familiars are notoriously unable to put into words how this is experienced, but don't seem to regard it as exceptional. To extraplanar life, three dimensional space is merely one of many ways which you can order the universe.

Despite this, Warrior Mages have been calling down the forces of the Elemental Planes since pre-history, and have a well established "map" of planar correspondences. This map is a product of magical experimentation and invocation: not a matter of true direction (you cannot point at the planar void), but permutations of magical patterns and summoning rituals rendered in graphic form.

The most common map depicts five elemental planes in a five-pointed star array, with the "base" elements (water, earth) together, the "energetic" elements (fire, air) at the next tier, and the "sublime" element (aether) alone. This is rendered as a pentagram during normal magical operations, with aether at its apex, and inverted to a penticle during summoning, references to the Voidspell, and other extraplanar operations.

Of course, this scheme has one glaring fault. Though to be fair to the cosmologists who invented it, so does the universe.

The Elemental Plane of Electricity is an odd plane out. The aesthetically pleasing, "symmetrical" changes in magical operations that allow the Warrior Mage to access the other five planes do not work with Electricity. Relative to the adjustments required to "aim" an invocation to the other five planes, the Elemental Plane of Electricity is entirely outside the "circle" of the other elements. Compounding this mystery, Electricity is also the one plane where there is reason to believe that spatial dimensions exist.

No one knows why, precisely, this is the case. The leading theory is that the Elemental Plane of Electricity is the first of a second "circle" of elements awaiting discovery, bringing the theoretical total number of elements to either 10 or 13, depending on which scheme you use to project the missing elements of a second array. The idea of discovering a new element has filled the dreams of Warrior Mages for thousands of years, since nothing short of the gods themselves could so assuredly immortalize the lucky scholar.

-Armifer

This message was originally posted in Warrior Mages (35) \ Warrior Mages - Related Events (14), by DR-ARMIFER on the play.net forums.