The Twin Paradises of Bytopia
|Cosmology / Powers and Deities / Dramatis Personae /
Rules and Mechanics / Character Creation / Equipment
Bytopia is unique among the Outer Planes because the surfaces of its two layers face each other like the covers of a closed book. By looking up from Dothion, the “top” layer of the plane, the traveler can see Shurrock, its other layer. In a similar fashion, one may stand on Shurrock and see the towns and farms of Dothion overhead. Each layer of the Bytopian plane is an idealized world. Dothion is a tamed, pastoral landscape, while Shurrock is an untamed wilderness. The philosophy of the plane— personal achievement working with social interdependence —infuses both its layers. The distance between the two layers of the plane is about a mile, though sharp mountains rise from either side and sometimes meet in the middle. Travel between the two layers is common by flying as well as climbing the mountains.
Bytopia has the following traits:
- Normal Time.
- Infinite Size.
- Objective Directional Gravity: “Down” exists in two opposite directions on the planes two facing layers. Gravity is normal until one crosses the invisible border between the two layers; then it reverses. Those who break through the border find themselves falling toward the other plane.
- Divinely Morphic: Lesser deities can transform Bytopia’s twin landscapes, and other creatures find Bytopia as changeable as other Outer Planes.
- No Elemental or Energy Traits.
- Mildly Good-Aligned: Evil characters suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.
- Normal Magic.
Bytopia borders the neighboring Outer Planes of Elysium and Celestia. Caverns inscribed with glowing, repeating patterns mark the natural portals along the boundaries. Caverns with patterns of concentric circles lead to Celestia, caverns with radiating lines lead to Elysium, and caverns with spiderweb patterns lead to the Outlands. Bytopia consists of two layers that face each other across a gap of open space. The one-mile gap between Dothion and Shurrock narrows in mountainous regions, so there are places where the mountains themselves push through the barrier. It’s possible to climb to the top of a Shurrock mountain and “fall” from the top of the mountain toward Dothion. And in some spots, mountains on each layer meet in the middle, so climbers from one layer need to reorient themselves and climb down when they reach the point where the gravity reverses. Characters who climb one of these mountains through the barrier are entitled to make a Reflex save (DC 20) to avoid falling as a result of being disoriented. If they know exactly where the gravity change occurs and can brace themselves accordingly, no save is needed. Those flying or levitating through the barrier may experience some mild confusion but are otherwise unaffected. A few portals connect Shurrock and Dothion, but either they have been bricked up on the Dothion side or they are guarded to protect Dothion from the creatures of Shurrock. Most communication between the two planes happens on the border above the residents’ heads.
Bytopia is home to a large number of celestials, including guardinals and archons as well as planetars and solars and the occasional eladrin. Many of the creatures that roam Bytopia are celestial versions of animals and beasts found on the Material Plane. Axiomatic creatures are less common but found here as well. In general, gentler creatures live on Dothion, while wilder beasts and more savage creatures live across the gap on Shurrock. The primary deity of Bytopia is Garl Glittergold, deity of the gnomes. He has a whole community to help him manage his portfolio. His team of “able assistants” includes Baervan Wildwanderer, tender of the forest; Baravar Cloakshadow, master of illusion and deception; Flandal Steelskin, paragon of metalsmiths; Gaerdal Ironhand, the gnomes’ battle general; Nebelun, muse of invention and discovery; Segojan Earthcaller, tiller of the soil; Callarduran Smoothhands, emissary to the deep gnomes; and Urdlen, known only as “the greedy.”
Garl Glittergold’s divine cohorts make their home on Bytopia, in a region of Dothion known as the Golden Hills, although Callarduran is often visiting the deep gnomes on the Material Plane, and Urdlen claims part of the 399th level of the Abyss as his home. As a result of Garl Glittergold’s presence on this plane, most of Bytopia’s petitioners permanently assume the form of gnomes regardless of their race in mortal life. Those whose souls drift to Bytopia by virtue of their alignment alone (good with just a touch of the lawful ethos) may be surprised to find themselves incarnated as gnome petitioners.
FEATURES OF BYTOPIA
Bytopia is divided into two layers, each facing the other. The Astral Plane reaches both of these layers, though the more settled layer, Dothion, is considered the first layer. In general, outsiders and petitioners live on Dothion and go adventuring and exploring on Shurrock. Vision on Bytopia is just as it would be on the Material Plane at that particular rime of day. Both layers of Bytopia share a day and night cycle, though the radiance comes from the border between the two layers. It brightens during the day to the brilliance of noon, then subsides, until the border itself is invisible and night falls. There is no moon on Bytopia, and the stars are the campfires and town-lights of the layer directly above. As a result, there are few stars on Dothion’s half of the plane, while there are many on wild Shurrock.