TWIN PARADISES OF BYTOPIA
It is the plane that faces itself.
It is the home of the gnomes.
It is two sides of the same coin.
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
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’
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 (see Chapter 9) 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. Bytopian gnome petitioners have the following special
Additional Immunities: Fire, cold.
Resistances: Cold 20, electricity 20.
Other Special Qualities: At will—magic circle against
evil (as the spell cast by a 5th-level sorcerer).
These petitioners live on Bytopia in much the same way
as they lived in life: pursuing order at a leisurely place,
satisfying curiosity, and otherwise enjoying themselves at
their work. There is a marked humor among the petitioners
of Bytopia, an easygoing nature that disappears as
one moves onto the sterner planes of law. Conversely, they
maintain a sense of community that erodes as one moves
through Elysium and onto more chaotic planes.
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.
Dothion is the more populated of the two facing planes
and is the home of the gnomes. It is a realm of pastoral
activity and individual industry. Its rolling hills cluster
around spikes of volcanic rock that jut toward to its more
savage companion layer. The land is a combination of
open, settled manor farms and well-tamed woods and
Dothion is a very domestic plane, its petitioners raising
silver-wooled sheep and golden-flecked lambs. The open
spaces are huge manor fields of wheat, barley, and corn.
The residents have dammed many gentle streams, harnessing them to waterwheels
that grind the grain into
excellent flour and meal. Towns here lack protective walls,
but paved roads link them in well-ordered lines. It is a land
of barns and beekeeping, of wool and milk, and of small
shops and smithies. Most of the workshops that huddle
along the roadside are privately owned, and the owners
swear no allegiance beyond “the common good.”
Dothion’s weather tends to be mild, and it has regular,
mostly benign seasons. Often a heavy storm from
Shurrock breaks through the border between the two
layers, wreaking havoc. In general, the layer is an ideal
paradise for those who prefer the quiet life.
The Golden Hills: Garl Glittergold and his court
hold sway over a large section of Dothion. It is a region of rolling hills dominated
by one or more larger tors—one for Garl Glittergold and one for each of his
assistants. The space among the tors’ is a gnome’s paradise of small communities,
quiet industry, and farms. A single tower or citadel tops each of the tors,
containing the audience- and feast-halls where deities receive visitors. In
some cases, these very towers have been abandoned as their powerful owners have
taken up with wanderlust and sought out new treasures, new adventures, and new
ideas. Some of the gnome deities leave guardinals, planetars, and solars as
caretakers of their tors. Others leave more mundane traps to confound intruders.
Garl Glittergold has mined out most of the region beneath the tors to provide
warrens for gnome petitioners and forges for craftsmen. Deep within the mines
are vortices to the Elemental Plane of Earth and Elemental Plane of Fire, which
the gnomes mine and use for energy. As a result, outsiders and elementals from
these two planes are more likely to be found near the Golden Hills than elsewhere.
All the plant life in this region has a soft, golden tint to it that gives the
landscape a soft radiance. Celestial animals are common here, with golden plumage
Shurrock is Dothion’s wild counterpart. While Dothion is
well mannered, Shurrock is savage. Where Dothion is
calm, Shurrock is extreme. It is a land of rough country
and harsh weather, divided by deep, snow-filled winters
and dry, parching summers.
The land of Shurrock is filled with raw materials. Seams
of gold and gems are found just beneath the surface, the
tangled woodlands are rich in timber, and all manner of
wild game thrives throughout the layer. Quarries and mills
are common, usually with small communities crowding
them. These towns are often walled and guarded, for on
Shurrock walk the more powerful creatures of Bytopia
such as celestial versions of animals and magical beasts.
Shurrock is a land of continual challenge. For those who
seek to prove themselves and their ability to survive, it is a
very different type of paradise from its tame sibling,
Dothion. Occasionally some foul beast breaks loose from
Shurrock and reaches Dothion, but in general the challenges
of this layer stay on their side of the border.