The Wilderness of the Beastlands
|Cosmology / Powers and Deities / Dramatis Personae /
Rules and Mechanics / Character Creation / Equipment
The Wilderness of the Beastlands is a plane of nature unbound. It is a plane of forests ranging from mangroves hung heavy with moss to snowfall-laden pines to acres of sequoias 50 thick that no light penetrates their canopy. Oak, birches, spruces, firs, and maples are common here, and explorers into the plane’s distant corners find great forests of giant fungi and mushrooms. There are vast deserts as well, though they are hardly barren wastelands. Cactus, aloe, and other desert plants thrive in the arid parts of the Beastlands.
The air of the Beastlands is ideal for anything that grows. It is humid and warm in the swampy regions, calm and cool beneath the sequoias, breezy and clear among the beeches, and arid and hot in the more open lands. The Beastlands consists of three layers, each layer frozen at part of the day. The top layer is a place of eternal daylight, its second layer a domain of perpetual twilight, and its third layer a land of night illuminated only by a pale moon.
The most important aspect of the Beastlands is how it favors animals of all kinds. Like Arcadia, it is a plane heavily populated by animals, beasts, and magical beasts. Traditional towns, cities, and strongholds are few and far between. Those who make their homes here seek to live with the trees, not against them.
The Beastlands has the following traits:
- Normal Gravity.
- Normal Time.
- Infinite Size: The part of the Beastlands known to most visitors is relatively small, but there may be vast realms beyond it, and deities as yet undiscovered within.
- Divinely Morphic: Deities can shape the plane’s traits with a thought, but mortal creatures must use spells or physical effort to affect a change in the plane.
- No Elemental or Energy Traits.
- Mildly Good-Aligned: Evil characters suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.
- Normal Magic.
The Beastlands borders the neighboring Outer Planes of Arborea and Elysium. Natural portals between these locations are common, and shifting borders can whisk travelers from one plane to another. Often these natural portals take the form of hollow trees. Stepping within the rotted core of a lightning-blasted oak takes the traveler to Arborea, and ducking within the hollow of a toppled sequoia connects to Elysium. Portals between the layers are insubstantial and erratic, and many of them tend to be one-way. By passing between two trees or ducking beneath a branch, the light changes from day to twilight (Krigala to Brux) or from dusk to night (Brux to Karasuthra). Such portals are common, so a wanderer may find his or her way back to the top layer of the Beastlands fairly easily. The River Oceanus flows through the Beastlands on its way from Elysium to Arborea. The course of the river is straight and true across the plane, but the border between the planes is a stretch of white-water rapids. Travelers should not risk these planes with sturdy ships.
A variety of creatures live in the Beastlands. First and foremost are outsiders, often celestial versions of wild creatures found on the Material Plane. These celestial animals, beasts, vermin, and magical beasts inhabit every environmental niche in the Beastlands. Occasionally a nonevil aberration calls the Beastlands home, but few intelligent creatures other than magical beasts such as unicorns stay in the wilderness for long.
Some sages contend the spirits of wild creatures drift after death to the Beastlands, where they are reincarnated as celestial versions of their mortal selves. Whether this is true depends upon your cosmology, but it does explain why such a huge number of celestial wild things live in the Beastlands. Celestial creatures in the Beastlands, in addition to the other traits provided by the celestial template, have their Intelligence raised to 3 and can speak Celestial. This increased Intelligence score does little to dull their natural tendencies, and the deadly dance between predator and prey continues even in this extraplanar arena. The increased Intelligence lets the prey try to bargain its way out of danger, just as it enables more effective communication within a pack of predators.
Celestials are common in the Beastlands, especially the eladrin but also planetars and solars. Lillends may be found here as well. The plane is the home of many beasts of legend—superior versions of powerful animals, beasts, and magical beasts. Good-aligned lycanthropes (and their petitioner spirits after they die) can find great joy with their animal kin in the Beastlands, though they lose their lycanthrope abilities in this plane. Planar travelers are common on Krigala, Brux, and Karasuthra, mostly because there are so many portals between the layers that spreading out over all three layers is easy. Some visitors to the Beastlands are travelers moving between Elysium and Arborea. Others are sages and acolytes seeking knowledge that can only be gleaned in the darkest woods. Some are hunters from other planes seeking the beasts that populate this plane. Hunters often find themselves overmatched by the wild creatures of the Beastlands and beat a hasty retreat.
The Beastlands is not a place inhabited by many deities, though it is as divinely morphic as the other planes of the Great Wheel. Deities that might establish a realm here would share a love of creatures or the wilderness itself, and their kingdoms would fit neatly into the surrounding forests. Two such deities are Ehlonna, Deity of the Woodlands, and Skerrit, the deity of the centaurs. They both have their personal kingdoms in Krigala, the Beastlands’ top layer.
Because not many deities make this plane their home, mortal souls drawn to the Beastlands primarily arrive based on their philosophy: good and just a bit on the side of freedom over order. They usually live in small communities at the bases of great trees, leading simple lives in harmony with the other creatures of the plane. These petitioners take on animal traits soon after they arrive. Their hair grows long in lustrous pelts, short horns sprout from their foreheads, and they develop cats’ eyes or fox ears. Over the course of centuries, they become celestial beasts or animals.
MOVEMENT AND COMBAT
The Beastlands does not present any worse penalty to movement than any Material Plane forest or woods. Creatures with the ability to climb or brachiate (swing among the branches) are able to move through the Beastlands without touching the ground. The Beastlands does not present any inherent benefit or penalty to combat, thought cover and concealment are plentiful.
FEATURES OF THE BEASTLANDS
The Beastlands is divided into three layers: a land of eternal day known as Krigala on the top, a territory of dusk called Brux in the middle, and a moonlit place of fireflies and wandering stars, Karasuthra, on the bottom.