The Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo
|Cosmology / Powers and Deities / Dramatis Personae /
Rules and Mechanics / Character Creation / Equipment
Limbo is a plane of pure chaos. Untended sections appear as a roiling soup of the four basic elements and all their combinations. Balls of fire, pockets of air, chunks of earth, and waves of water battle for ascendance until they in turn are overcome by yet another chaotic surge. However, landscapes similar to ones found on the Material Plane drift through the miasma: bits of forest, meadow, ruined castles, and small islands. Limbo is inhabited by living natives. Most prominent of these are the githzerai and the slaadi. In Limbo, most petitioners take the form of unthinking, ghostly spheres of swirling chaos. Limbo has no layers. Or if it does, the layers continually merge and part, each is as chaotic as the next, and even the wisest sages would be hard-pressed to distinguish one from another.
Limbo has the following traits:
- Subjective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity is the same as on the Material Plane, but individuals choose in which direction it pulls. Limbo bas no gravity for unattended objects, but worn, held, or carried objects share the subjective gravity of their owner. This can be very disorienting to the newcomer.
- Normal Time.
- Infinite Size: Limbo goes on forever, though it has finite components (including big chunks of stabilized earth and githzerai monasteries and cities).
- Highly Morphic: Limbo is continually changing, and keeping a particular area stable is difficult. A given area, unless magically stabilized somehow, can react to specific spells, sentient thought, or the force of will. Left alone, it continually changes. For more information on stabilization, see Controlling Limbo, below.
- Sporadic Element-Dominant: No one element constantly dominates Limbo. Each element (Earth, Water, Air, or Fire) is dominant from time to time, so any given area is a chaotic, dangerous boil. The elemental dominance can change without warning.
- No Energy-Dominant Traits.
- Strongly Chaos-Aligned: Nonchaotic characters suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-, Wisdom-, and Intelligence-based checks. However, the strongly chaosaligned trait disappears within the walls of githzerai monasteries (but not githzerai cities).
- Wild Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities in Limbo function in wildly different ways. They function normally within permanent structures or on permanently stabilized landscapes in Limbo. But any spell or spell-like ability used in an untended area of Limbo, or an area temporarily controlled, has a chance to go awry. The spellcaster must make a level check (1d20 + spellcaster level) against a DC of 15 + the level of the attempted spell. If the caster fails the check, roll for Wild Magic Effects.
Permanent portals exist between various planes and Limbo. However, a huge ball of fire, a pile of boulders, or a terrible windstorm could surround the Limbo side of the portal. Thus, entering Limbo can be quite dangerous for visitors unprepared to deal with the plane of chaos.
There are three kinds of terrain in Limbo: uncontrolled raw areas, controlled areas, and stabilized areas. Raw areas make up most of the plane, while the controlled areas (also called tended areas) and stabilized areas are tiny islands in comparison. Raw Limbo: Uncontrolled areas of limbo are dangerous, but most sentient creatures can exert a localized calming influence (see Controlled Limbo, below). But sometimes there’s no control, such as when a visitor first enters Limbo or when a traveler is knocked unconscious. When no one’s trying to control a given area of Limbo, it exhibits the qualities noted on the table below. For the purposes of this table, an area is everything within a 25- foot-radius sphere, though areas can drift and move around randomly.
Stabilized Limbo: A section of Limbo becomes stabilized if a creature of sufficiently high Wisdom creates it within an area of control. The stabilized area in the center of the area of control retains its traits. It drifts at the whim of Limbo’s chaotic currents and, if not protected, is eventually eroded by repeated immersions in the elemental surges. For instance, a 5-foot-radius ball of fire could become stable if created by a creature with a Wisdom of 20 or higher. Over the course of several dunks in water, however, it is eroded and finally dissipated. However, industrious creatures can bring bits of stabilized earth together and use them as the foundation for permanent structures, especially if tended by guardians.
WHAT CAN I DO WITH CONTROLLED LIMBO?
Most controllers are unable to achieve any works of complexity within the area they control. The best most can do is mix two or three elements—and not too subtly. Rare minds called anarchs can build objects of amazing complexity, including structures and even simple vegetation. Anarch ability is exceedingly rare even among Limbo’s inhabitants. It’s even less likely that visitors have anarch ability.
Slaadi and githzerai are commonly associated with Limbo. Of the two, only the slaadi have been natives since time began. The githzerai arrived far later, seeing the entire plane as a challenge to their indomitable spirit. Limbo is also a harsh proving ground for their particular ethos: “Pain is weakness leaving your body.” Even though they’re natives, the slaadi control Limbo just like travelers do. However, a slaad’s control never falters even if the slaad is unconscious, and the area of control surrounds the slaad tightly. To viewers, it seems as if a slaad lolls unhurt in a bath of fire. The few githzerai who follow a monastic calling also follow the dictates of law, and such monks are particularly challenged by the chaos of Limbo. However, the strongly chaos-aligned trait of Limbo is neutralized by the walls of githzerai monasteries. Most githzerai do not follow a monastic calling and congregate in large cities. The petitioners of Limbo are those who revere chaos above all else. Some come to embody the plane, while others linger as insane spirits composed of shifting limbostuff
MOVEMENT AND COMBAT
Like everything else in Limbo, movement depends on the local conditions. Where air is dominant, a traveler can take advantage of the subjective gravity trait to fall in a desired direction at a maximum speed of 300 feet. Travelers in firedominant areas can also take advantage of subjective gravity, assuming the traveler can survive the trip. Swimming through water and burrowing through earth are also possibilities. Normally, travelers attempt to gain control of a particular area, turning it into an air-dominant or earthand-air-dominant area. From the edge of each controlled area, they gain control of an adjacent area, then move there, repeating the process as they make their way across the plane. A comforting method of travel is to allow gravity to pull one’s feet toward a chunk of earth (over which hovers an atmosphere of air) and walk upon it normally. Maps are useless in the chaotic expanse. Over time, even solid, permanent structures drift in the chaotic currents of Limbo. The time it takes an individual or group of individuals to reach a particular area depends on how familiar they are with that area.
In a combat where all participants use the same direction of subjective gravity and stand on a solid surface, nothing differs from standard combat. However, those who know how to take advantage of subjective gravity can use it to make amazing leaps, to quickly flyaway if threatened, and to run along floors or ceilings. An attacker who shoots or hurls a ranged weapon imparts subjective gravity to the ammunition.
Limbo is filled with wonders beyond count, a few of which are briefly presented below. Random surges of elemental fire light the plane. Some are far off and visible only as a dim glow spreading through floating seas, while others are bright, too-close suns. The random boil of Limbo sometimes limits vision to nothing (inside an earth-dominant area, for example), but other times vision can stretch for miles through contiguous air-dominant areas.There is no day or night on the plane of Limbo.
Some say that powerful slaad lords named Ssendam and Ygorl are representative of true slaadi. As the story goes, slaadi are beings of ultimate chaos, and their forms follow no set pattern. But when Ssendam and Ygorl rose to power long ago, they did not want to someday face a slaad spawned by random mutation greater than they. Thus, they altered the Spawning Stone to limit future slaadi generations to the handful of “races” that they now take. Burning white runes that gird the Spawning Stone speak of these limitations, although no slaadi but the slaad lords know their true purpose. However, because of the inherently chaotic manner in which slaadi breed, sometimes slightly (and occasionally greatly) mutated slaadi are born anyway. The greatly mutated slaadi look absolutely nothing like the base slaad form.