EVER-CHANGING CHAOS OF LIMBO
It is where everything, and nothing, is possible.
It is where raw chaos seethes.
It is where the elements come to die.
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 has 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
- 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,
bas 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 on Table 1–1: 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. For a given
area, roll on the table once every 1d10 minutes.
TABLE 7–1: UNCONTROLLED LIMBO
41–50 Mixed dominant: Air and earth
51–60 Mixed dominant: Fire and earth
61–70 Mixed dominant: Water and earth
71–80 Mixed dominant: Water and air
81–90 Mixed dominant: Air and fire
91–100 Balance (as if air-dominant)
Element-Dominant: The indicated type of element surges in the
given area. The previous dominant element is wiped away in the first round,
and the effects of the new dominant element come into play immediately. For
the effects of the element-dominant trait, see
Elemental and Energy Traits in Chapter 2. Limbo’s subjective gravity trait overrides
elemental gravity traits that conflict with it.
Mixed Dominance: Two elements mix together, creating a hybrid
effect. All effects of both element-dominant traits simultaneously affect the
area. In addition to the trait effects, the region develops a chaotic mix of
both elements. For example, where earth and fire
mix, a boiling ball of magma results.
Balance: The elemental forces come into exact balance, and tranquillity
results (for 1d10 minutes). Treat a balanced area as airdominant, because that
trait has no dramatic effects.
Controlled Limbo: Controlling a raw area of Limbo is an exercise of the mind.
A Wisdom check (DC 16) establishes control within part of a raw area of limbo,
and the check can be repeated once per round as a free action. A traveler who
bas failed checks twice in a row gains a +6 circumstance bonus on subsequent
checks. If entering an area of raw Limbo from a controlled or stabilized area,
a character can make a control check just prior to stepping into the boil. If
the Wisdom check succeeds, the creature has established control over part of
the area and can reshape it as she desires, allowing a desired element or a
mixture of elements to become dominant. A favorite among travelers from the
Material Plane is a chunk of earth surrounded by a small atmosphere of air.
Consult the table below to determine how large an area a character can control.
TABLE 7–2: CONTROLLED LIMBO
|Wisdom Score||Area of Control||Stabilized Area|
|20-23||20-ft. radius||5-ft. radius|
|24+||+5-ft. per 4 Wis points||+5-ft. per 4 Wis points|
Wisdom Score : If the Wisdom check is successful, reference the controlling
creature’s Wisdom score to determine the size of the area of control. Area of
Control: “None” indicates that the creature is unable to gain control of its
environment. The increasing radii denote an area of control surrounding the
controlling creature, so a creature with a 1-foot-radius area of control can
create only a 1-foot buffer between itself and the environment.
Stabilized Area : Stabilized areas
form at the very center of, and overlap, an area of control. When an area of
control lapses, stabilized areas remain. Once control is achieved, it lasts
as long as the controller remains in the controlled area, or until another creature
succeeds in wresting control away. Controlled areas drift at 1d4x10 feet per
round in a random direction. If more than one creature successfully gains control
of an area at the same time, control goes to the contender with the highest
Intelligence. If two controlled areas of Limbo
move so they overlap, the overlap area remains under the power of the controller
with the higher Intelligence. In the case of a tie in either case, compare Charisma
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
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
Petitioners who reach Limbo gain the following special qualities:
Additional Immunities: Fire, cold.
Resistances: Electricity 20, acid 20.
Other Special Qualities: The petitioners of Limbo who are not absorbed back
into the plane often appear as swirling masses of chaos-stuff, gibbering and
laughing without regard to their surroundings. Like slaadi, Limbo’s petitioners
automatically control the chaos in their personal vicinity even if unconscious
or flat-footed, rendering them immune to their tempestuous environment.
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.
FEATURES OF LIMBO
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.
Githzerai Cities and Monasteries
Githzerai who call Limbo home congregate in cities and monasteries.
Those githzerai who congregate in cities do not follow the monastic tradition
the race is most known for. Instead, they revere straightforward martial prowess
and all the deadly arts of a fighter or spellcaster. However, even cityborn
githzerai look with favor on those githzerai who have the strength of spirit
to leave the city behind to train in a free-floating monastery adrift in chaos.
Shra’kt’lor : This is the githzerai’s largest
city. A fighter/wizard general called the Great Githzerai rules the city and
is revered as a deity-king. The city is an austere place with massive iron gatehouses
piercing seven concentric rings of high, thick granite walls. Quarters inside
the city are rather cramped, though an open market is broad and filled with
produce grown on stabilized earth as well as other items mundane and wondrous.
Monastery of Zerth’Ad’lun : One of many monasteries,
Zerth’Ad’lun follows the teaching of Sensei Belthomais, a 16th-level monk. Belthomias
teaches a specialized martial art (as do many monasteries), and those students
who fully embrace his teachings are also called Zerth cenobites. Those who practice
zerthi—“Zerth’s teaching” in the githzerai tongue—claim to peer a moment into
the future in order to aid their martial expertise. From the exterior, the monastery
appears almost like a small glade of stone spires and towers layered around
a sphere about a quarter-mile in diameter. Taking full advantage of the subjective
gravity of Limbo, the interior of the monastery possesses winding stairs that
connect “floors” to “walls” or “ceilings.” All the surfaces are really floors
for those who don’t mind adjusting their own subjective orientation. Vast halls
provide room for mass martial arts training, while hundreds of tiny cells lighted
by dim candles provide privacy for individual meditations. The schedule of a
monk at Zenh’Ad’lun is strict and harsh, but the rewards of the spirit are considered
sufficient compensation. The monastery welcomes visitors and may put them up
for as long as a week in quarters set aside for hospitality. Nongithzerai who
are interested in studying at the monastery are allowed to do so, although the
supplicant must be willing to spend a few months in the monastery learning the
basics and abiding the schedule of a cenobite.
Slaadi in Limbo
The slaadi freely roam the length and breadth of chaos, unharmed
by all but the most
severe chaos storms. Generally, slaadi range in nomad gangs of two to five or
packs of six to ten slaadi. They hunt the drifts of chaos for food, and they
are ready to fight off other predators (many of which are rival slaad nomads).
Ravening chaos beasts pose
more dangerous threats; when encountered in the plane of Limbo, chaos beasts
are always Large (at least 13 HD).
Spawning Stone : The primordial home of the
slaadi, the Spawning Stone is located in a realm of their greatest dominion.
Each race of slaad converges on the Spawning Stone for a season of mating. The
hermaphroditic slaadi mate at the stone in turn, fertilizing each others’ internal
egg sacs. When the next slaad race in the cycle wrests the Spawning Stone away
from the previous group, the slaadi carry around these seedlike fertilized eggs
for later implantation into host bodies. Sometimes, however, young slaadi are
produced right there at the stone because the slaadi implant each other in their
mating frenzy. Thus, dead adult slaadi routinely float about the stone until
destroyed by the chaos of Limbo. Though the stone drifts from place to place,
currents of chaos-stuff always flow away from the stone. Slaadi can recognize
these currents and follow them “upstream.” The currents grow into tsunamis and
give birth to chaos storms when the stone changes hands among the slaadi. One
death slaad guards the Spawning Stone at all times against potential nonslaad
visitors. This sentinel, called the Guardian of the Stone, is a 45 HD death
slaad who has several levels of fighter and sorcerer. The slaadi believe that
wresting control of the stone from the Guardian allows the victor to be reborn
as a death slaad with the powers of an anarch. The level of control possessed
by the anarch can bring into being buildings, vegetation, and animals—an entire
ecosystem, if desired.
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.