Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Athasian Elemental Planes Part Five: The Plane of Water

Symbol by Vedeskaja.
The Elemental Plane of Water

It is very difficult for a vast majority of Athasians to imagine an infinite amount of water. There is no surface or floor on the Elemental Plane of Water, just endless water. Most Athasians might see a barrel of water that holds tens of gallons, or an underground cistern that holds hundreds, but the idea of endless water is often unfathomable.
Once, the water of the Plane of Water was cool and fresh. Some areas were a bit salty, but they could be avoided. The plane was rich in nutrients and oxygen for the fish living there. Now, much of the Plane of Water is fouled by mud and gives no life giving oxygen to its inhabitants. The endless sea has also lost much of its coolness and there are portions that are becoming too hot to live in.


Visitors with the right magic or psionics and the ability to swim will find the Elemental Plane of Water one of the most hospitable elemental planes. However, with the degradation of the plane and the constant bombardment of the forces of the Paraelemental Plane of Silt, the Plane of Water is becoming more and more hazardous.

The most obvious hazard of the Plane of Water is finding enough air to breath. Although a traveler can hold their breath,  spells and psionics are far more practical. Also, some natives to the plane may be able to bestow some of their own magic upon non-native visitors, although this is rarely done.

Once the Elemental Plane of Water was in constant motion, with soft currents flowing in all directions. There were some strong currents as well, some of them were even dangerous, but those were the exception not the rule.
Now, the soft currents are nearly gone. Most of the plane is still and lifeless. The strong currents have grown in ferocity and size. These currents can sweep away a visitor and send them thousands of miles off course or into a deadly whirlpool.
The DM can use the following table to determine the strength of a current of a given area:
1D20 Strength of Current Adjustment
1-5 Stale +3
6 Light Current +2
7 Moderate Current +1
8 Strong Current 0
9 Light Bore -1
10 Moderate Bore -2
11 Strong Bore -3
12 Light Flow -4
13 Moderate Flow -5
14 Strong Flow -6
15 Light Tide -7
16 Moderate Tide -8
17-18 Strong Tide -9
19-20 Doom Tide -10
This table indicates the dice roll (on a d20) to produce a given strength of a current. The strength of current column is intended to provide reference a point for the DM. The last column indicates an adjustment that can be applied to saving throws, attack rolls, proficiency and ability checks, or anything else the DM feels in appropriate.
Currents on the Elemental Plane of Water are very unpredictable. A current may last for a few minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, or even years. Changes in current strength may happen very quickly. As a rule, changes in current strength take place over a single turn. Thus, a given location can jump from a light current to any other strength, such as a strong flow, in only 10 minutes.
The DM can use the following table to determine the duration of a given current condition:
1D20 Roll Duration of Current Conditions
1-2 1d6 rounds
3-4 1d6 turns
5-6 1d6 hours
7-8 1d6 days
9-10 2d6 days
11-12 1d6 weeks
13-14 1d6 months
15-16 1d6 years
17-18 1d6 decades
19-20 1d6 centuries
The size of a given current can be whatever size the DM needs it to be. If an exact size is needed, the DM may roll 1d100 for width and another 1d100 in length. Both measurements are made in miles.

Where the Paraelemental Plane of Silt has made incursions into the Elemental Plane of Water, sludge is created. Sludge is an area of thick, coarse mud. Luckily areas of sludge are easy to spot in the endless blue water of the plane. However, sludge balls move through the plane and an unaware victim may have one slam into them from above, below, or behind. Sludge fills a nonspherical volume of 1d100 x 10 feet.
When an individual interacts with sludge they must make an open doors roll to escape. The victim is allowed one more open doors roll to escape, before being pulled inside the sludge completely. Once completely engulfed, the victim must make a bend bars/lift gates roll every round to escape. Also, the victim will begin to suffocate, even if they have a way of breathing water. In addition, they will be slowly crushed by the sludge, taking 1d4 points of damage per round they are engulfed. Objects engulfed for more than five rounds must save vs crushing blow or be destroyed.

Red Tide
A red tide is a torrent of fast moving water that has become infected with a dangerous disease or microscopic parasite. These flows can be carried by currents between a light current to a strong bore. Anyone entering a red tide is treated as if they were the victim of a cause disease spell.
If the creature is not a water breather or is not using magic or psionics to breath water, the disease is merely debilitating. If the creature is a water breather, by any means, the red tide is deadly.

Steam Pockets
Some places of the Elemental Plane of Water have become so hot, they have boiled away, leaving a pocket of steam floating through the plane. These pockets are invisible until thirty feet and become more visible the closer they get. The closer they get, the more obvious they become. At thirty feet, they might appear as a white smudge in the distance. Only when five feet away can they clearly be seen as a pocket full of steam.
Steam pockets are 1D100 x 2 feet in diameter. Coming into contact with one burns a creature for 2D10 points of damage. Characters are allowed a saving throw vs breath weapon for half damage. A natural twenty on the saving throw dodges the pocket entirely. Objects brought into the steam pocket must save vs normal fire or be destroyed.

When two strong currents slam into each other, a whirlpool may form. Whirlpools pull anything near them into themselves, where they are battered by the force of the water and whatever else has been pulled inside of it. A whirlpool has a diameter of 1d100 x 10 feet. If a creature comes within the whirlpools diameter, they must make a saving throw vs. breath weapon or be pulled inside. Once inside, a victim suffers 1d6 points of damage per round and must succeed at a bend bars/ lift gates roll to escape. 30% of whirlpools contain a vortex to another part of the plane at their heart.
Thankfully whirlpools are generally fleeting and break up after a few hours or even days. A small consolation to someone trapped inside of one. However, there are some whirlpools that have lasted for centuries.The DMs may use the chart below to determine how long a whirlpool remains.
1D20 Roll Duration of Whirlpool
1-2 1d6 rounds
3-4 1d6 turns
5-6 1d6 hours
7-8 1d6 days
9-10 2d6 days
11-13 1d6 weeks
14-16 1d6 months
17-18 1d6 years
19 1d6 decades
20 1d6 centuries

Moving Around

Swimming is a necessary skill on the Plane of Water and a visitor should have this skill before visiting. In areas where there are currents, natural swimmers, that is creatures with a swim rate, are able to move twice as fast. Thankfully, there is no gravity on the Plane of Water, so the effects of pressure do not exist.
Soft blue light permeates the Plane of Water, so creatures as able to see. However, water is not as easy to see through as air. Visibility is limited to sixty feet, but creatures native to the plane can see twice as far. Infravision range is reduced by half. Sound is carried twice as far in water, but may be difficult for non-natives to discern the direction of origination.


Great White Shark Photo by Jason Heller
The Elemental Plane of Water is home to many animals that don't exist on Athas. Creatures the natives call fish and sharks swim through the plane endlessly. Many of these animals are raised by the Jann and Nereids for food. Some creatures on the Plane of Water are enormous and rival the largest creatures on Athas in sheer size. Crustaceans of all sizes, fish of all kinds, octopi, sharks, squid, and urchins all make their home on the Plane of Water.

Like the genies and other ruvoka, the Avasori were created by the Elemental Lords around the time of the Rebirth. Unlike the genies, however, the Avasori were created with the assistance of the three other Elemental Lords from the three other elemental planes. This cooperation grants the Avasori powerful elemental spells, the same as a twentieth level druid with major access to the sphere of water.
Avasori are human-like ruvoka with blue or blue-green skin, webbed hands and feet, pointed ears, and white or black hair. Avasori wear black, white, or blue clothing that is skin tight, to reduce drag, and rarely have facial hair. The Avasori fight with bone harpoons or bone daggers. Avasori serve the Elemental Lords as powerful troops and may support members of the armies of Jann. They very rarely serve the Elemental Lords as guardians of important locations on Athas as well.
Avasori organize themselves into tribes, but despite their tribal structure, the Avasori are generally loners. If a traveler stumbles across a Avasori, they usually find only a single individual on a mysterious task. Sometimes this Avasori will approach trusted travelers to ask for help in accomplishing the Kaltori's goals. Those who offer their aid can expect to be rewarded with a minor bit of elemental magic, or perhaps even the Avasori’s help in achieving some end of their own. However, they shouldn’t expect to learn what the Avasori is up to, as they won’t reveal the ultimate purpose of their mission.
The Avasori aren’t interested in any affairs that don't concern them or their elemental plane.

Water Drakes swim through the endless water of the plane. They are sometimes tamed by Marid to defend their submersible fortresses, but most of them passionately follow the commands of the Elemental Lords. They too are used most often in the Elemental War to great effect. Although rare, water drakes are impressive and capable combatants. The sight of one entering a battle can boost the morale of water's allies and drown the morale of water's enemies.

Elemental beings are the most common lifeforms on the Elemental Plane of Water. In addition to lesser, standard, and greater elementals, this category includes fundamentals and elemental kin, like water weirds and fundamentals.
While some of the lesser elementals serve the Marid, the vast majority serve at the command of the Elemental Lords and are used as soldiers in the Elemental War. Their entire society is geared toward the defense of their home plane. When not in battle, water elementals like to enjoy the cool currents that flow through their plane, but those currents are becoming more and more rare.

Elemental Lords
The most powerful beings in the Elemental Plane of Water are the Elemental Lords. The Elemental Lords of Water are made up of pure water and have no distinct shape. They do not have names or titles, but all natives of the Elemental Plane of Water show deference to their leadership. They reside inside strong currents and are serviced by other elementals, marid, and jann. Around two thousand years ago, one of the Elemental Lords of Water was slain by the forces of Silt, proving that these beings are not omnipotent.
It is unknown if the Elemental Lords of Water grow old. It is possible that the Elemental Lords are the same as they have been since the beginning of time. It is also a mystery how the Elemental Lords of Water communicate with each other as no verbal or telepathic communication can be detected between them. However, they do telepathically communicate with their servants.
The Elemental Lords may travel anywhere in the Elemental Plane of Water instantly, but cannot leave it. They can control currents and whirlpools within the plane, but not sludge or steam pockets. They can also grant divine spells to anyone who makes a pact to serve the Elemental Plane of Water. Lastly, they can cast any spell in the domain of water at will, including wizard elemental water spells as divine spells, and any spell in the sphere of cosmos three times per day. Elemental Lords are immune to psionics.
These powerful beings are not good or evil. They are the lords of water and care very little for events that do not affect their realm. Their current dilemma is the war between their elemental plane and the Plane of Silt. The Elemental Lords of Water have allied with the Lords of Air, Earth, Fire, and Rain against the Paraelemental Planes of Magma, Silt, and Sun.

The Jann of the Elemental Plane of Water are generally used as troops by the Elemental Lords. The Jann have a tribal structure, where the Amir of the tribe receives orders from the Elemental Lords and leads his tribe accordingly. Water Jann have organized their society toward service in the Elemental War.
In combat, Jann divide themselves into infantry, cavalry, archers, healers, and siege forces. The infantry is the main bulk of the fighting force and fight in units of one thousand soldiers. A single army might have three to four infantry units. Cavalry fight on the backs of elemental beasts or sharks. There is not a set number of cavalry troops for an army, but generals feel most comfortable if they have at least fifty. Archers use crossbows made of bone and fight in units of fifty archers. An army will have at least two archer units. Healers are water clerics of various levels and serve the army in units of five. Ideally an army will have at least five units of healers. Siege forces are generally made up of combat focused water clerics, psionicsists, and siege engine crews who fight in units of ten. Most armies are lucky to have one siege unit.
Jann may be encountered alone or in pairs on Athas, carrying out the orders of their superiors.
Like the Marid, the Jann suffer the same restrictions as all Athasian spellcasters, no matter if they are on the Elemental Plane of Water, or Athas. Jann generally wear leather armor and use leather shields. Bone tipped spears are the weapon of choice for Jann, with bone gladii as a backup weapon. Most carry a long bladed bone dagger as a weapon of last resort. Jann do not suffer any penalty for dwelling indefinitely on the Elemental Planes and must travel through the Gray to reach Athas.

Even on the Elemental Plane of Water Marid are rare. There were once more of them, but their numbers have been slowly dwindling as the Elemental War rages on. The Marid are genies that were created by the Elemental Lords of Water around the time of the rebirth. They were modeled after the rebirth races.
Marid were once carefree and chaotic, but have become more disciplined as the war has raged on. They are ruled by a pashida and lesser titles are bestowed freely on loyal Marid. The Pashida lives in the Great Reef, an impressive living fortress.
Marid had floating fortresses shaped like the animals that live underwater and are carried by currents and magic. These underwater fortresses are constructed of bones and coral. These mobile forts are protected by Jann, Nereids, and trained sharks. They travel from battle to battle, striking at the forces of Silt whenever possible.
Other permanent fortresses made of coral and bone are spread throughout the plane. Although they may not be designed for war, they keep their fighting forces alert at all times. It is here that Marids, Jann, and Nereid do all the support work for the war. They raise food, make weapons and armor, and train new troops. They have no time for play or entertainment, as they are constantly battling for survival.
A traveler meeting a Marid might think them rude. Marid are in a near constant state of panic, as the forces of Silt pour into the Plane of Water at an alarming rate. Males do not keep harems and few Marid bother having formalized wedding ceremonies. Marid are abrupt when speaking to outsiders and will only take anytime at all if the outsider is useful to the war effort. Marid do not keep slaves.
Marid almost never travel to Athas, as it is too dry for their comfort. They prefer to send Jann. If a Marid is encountered on Athas, it would be on an urgent mission that could mean the success or failure of the Plane of Water's role in the Elemental War. They will not tolerate any delay in completing their mission.
Marid suffer the same restrictions as all spellcasters on Athas, no matter if they're on Athas or their home plane. Therefore, Marid only create thirteen gallons water. In addition to the spells granted to Marid in the monstrous manual, Athasian Marid can also cast all divine spells from the domain of water of levels three and lower five times per day.

Once common on the Plane of Water, merpeople are close to extinction. Merpeople appear as a human from the wist up, but instead of legs, they have a fish tail. Merpeople were ruled by a king who devoted all the resources of his kingdom into fighting in the Elemental War. One disaster after another brought a downfall to their kingdom and civilization. Their formidable armies were wiped out by the forces of Silt. The few remaining merpeople live as servants to the Marid and seek their protection.

These creatures are from the elemental plane of Water, created by the Elemental Lords from water itself and given form through the magic of their shawls. They are unpredictable and chaotic, half are neutral, a quarter are good, and a quarter are evil. They once traveled to Athas to cause mischief, but no longer.
Nereids detest staying in one place for long, so they travel from fortress to fortress aiding in the war effort. Evil Nereids prefer to serve as troops against the forces of Silt, killing the enemy in the most brutal way possible. Neutral and good Nereids serve in any capacity that is needed.
Nereids do not build societies of their own, instead they live among the Marid and Jann. They guard their shawls fiercely, no matter their alignment.

Water elemental beasts are common on the Elemental Plane of Water. They are frequently caught and trained by the Marid to be used as guardians and hunting and tracking beasts.The Marid will sometimes use packs of them to attack their enemies from the Paraelemental Plane of Silt.
Other types of monsters found on the Elemental Plane of Water are not found on Athas, such as the exceptionally rare hippocampus and equally rare water naga. Urchins are present on the Plane of Water also.

Other Races
It is possible that other intelligent races exist on the Elemental Plane of Water, especially if they can breath underwater, but they do not take a major part in the Elemental War and are not present in great numbers. There are stories of other intelligent aquatic humanoids who once fought in great numbers, but they were exterminated long ago.

The Sites

The Great Reef
A massive icosagon fortress constructed with twelve foot thick living coral walls. At each vertex of the icosagon is a watch tower, which is manned by a greater water elemental, a Marid, and four Jann archers. The entire surface is teeming with life and is quite beautiful to behold. The reef is patrolled by Jann calvary, water elementals, and water weirds.
Inside the Great Reef are hundreds of workers and soldiers, making weapons and training for war. The great reef is laid out in a layered pattern, with choke points between each layer and eight foot thick walls. This gives some areas a dark, oppressive feeling, which is favored by some of the inhabitants. In the very center of the fortress lives the Pashida, his advisors, and his elite guard.
It is whispered that the center of the fortress is the home of some sort of artifact that holds the Elemental Plane of Water together. They say that if it is befouled by a Silt Paraelemental Lord, the Plane of Water will vanish forever.

The Giant Bog
This bog is thousands of miles in diameter and grows each year. Here, the forces of the Paraelemental Plane of Silt swim into the Plane of Water. The armies of Silt are fighting to exterminate the creatures who serve the Elemental Plane of Water. There are water soldiers and elementals in massive quantities protecting their home from silt troops. It is said that one of the Elemental Lords of Water stays close by to defend the plane, but it is impossible to know if this is true because Lords of Water look like the rest of the plane.
Currents leading to whirlpools circle the giant bog, trapping the forces of silt and scattering them when possible. Some currents lead silt troops into traps laid by the forces of water. Even with these powerful forces available, the forces of water are losing the war. Without some great change, the great bog may one day fill the plane completely.

The Vortex of Madness
This huge whirlpool has existed for a thousand years and is hundreds of feet wide. In the center of the vortex is a portal to the Paraelemental Plane of Rain. The Water Lords send relief and aid to the desperate Paraelemental Plane and ask little in return. Even though Water is suffering badly in the Elemental War, Rain is suffering to a greater degree. There were once huge whirlpools like this all over the Plane of Water, but the Plane of Water is running short on resources.
Creatures attempting to pass through the Vortex of Madness without permission of the Elemental Lords suffer 1d8 points of damage per round. In addition, they must succeed at a bend bars/ lift gates roll with a -10% penalty. If successful, the creature can move through the vortex, or escape back into the Plane of Water. If unsuccessful, the victim has a percentile chance of going insane. The first two rounds, there is no chance of going insane. Each additional round adds 5% to the characters chance. The DM is encouraged to use the Random Insanity Chart on page 88 of Player's Option: Spells and Magic.

The Wallow
While not as large as the giant bog, the wallow is another portal to the Paraelemental of Silt. The wallow is fifty miles in diameter. Here, water troops fight silt troops in an endless battle. While not as dire as the great bog, the wallow continues to grow and may one day be as large as the great bog. The Lords of Water are not foolish enough to think that the wallow is something to be ignored. They still command legions of troops to fight it.
The forces of silt, however, seem unending and unceasing. The forces of water grow fewer, while the forces of silt grow more numerous. Some water creatures have accepted the inevitable, that they are doomed to fail, but they continue to fight on. What other choice is there?

Post Prism Pentad 

Rajaat was able to open a semi-stable portal to the Elemental Plane of Water and the Paraelemental Plane of Rain. Normally this portal would have collapsed with the defeat of the first sorcerer, but Tithian's essense complicated matters and kept the portal open. This portal feeds the Cerulean Storm.
This powerful manifestation of rain and water on Athas is strengthening the Elemental Plane of Water and the Paraelemental Plane of Rain. The Planes of Water and Rain have no desire to dissipate the Cerulean Storm. They will send priests and other servants to stop anyone attempting to do so.

Part Six will cover the Paraelemental Plane of Magma.

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