It is a place of heroes and glories.
It is where wars rage and valor is proved.
It is the battleground of eternity.
Ysgard is a plane on an epic scale, with soaring mountains, deep fjords, and
dark caverns that hide the secret forges of the dwarves. A biting wind always
blows at a hero’s back. From the freezing water channels to the sacred groves
of Alfheim’s elves, Ysgard’s terrain is grand and terrible. It is a place of
sharp seasons: Winter is a rime of darkness and killing cold, and a summer day
is scorching and clear. Most spectacular of all, the landscape floats atop immense
rivers of earth flowing forever through an endless skyscape. The broadest earthen
rivers are the size of continents, while smaller sections, called earthbergs,
are island-sized. Fire rages under each river, but only a reddish glow penetrates
to the continent’s top. Of more concern is the occasional collision between
rivers, which produces terrible quakes and sometimes spawns new mountain ranges.
Ysgard is the home of slain heroes who wage eternal battle on fields of glory.
When these petitioners fall, they rise again the next morning to continue eternal
warfare. Two deities make their homes on Ysgard: Kord, scion of Strength; and
Olidammara, patron of thieves. The plane boasts two layers, Muspelheim and Nidavellir,
beneath the main expanse of Ysgard.
Ysgard has the following traits.
- Normal Gravity.
- Normal Time.
- Infinite Size: Ysgard goes on forever, but its wellknown realms have boundaries
within the plane as a whole.
- Divinely Morphic: Specific powerful beings (such as the deities Kord and
Olidammara) can alter Ysgard with a thought. Ordinary creatures find Ysgard
as easy to alter as the Material Plane is—they can be affected by spells and
physical effort normally. But deities can change vast areas, creating great
realms for themselves.
- No Elemental Traits: No one element dominates on Ysgard; all are in balance
as on the Material Plane. However, pans of the second layer, Muspelheim, are
treated as if they possessed the fire-dominant trait.
- Minor Positive-Dominant: Ysgard possesses a riotous explosion of life in
all its forms. All individuals on a positive-dominant plane gain fast healing
2 and may even regrow lost limbs in rime. Additionally, those slain in the never-ending
conflicts on Ysgard’s fields of battle rise each morning as if true resurrection
were cast on them, fully healed and ready to fight anew. Even petitioners, who
as outsiders cannot be raised, awaken fully healed. Only those who suffer mortal
wounds on Ysgard’s battlefields get the true resurrection effect; dead characters
brought to Ysgard don’t spontaneously revive.
- Mildly Chaos-Aligned: Lawful creatures on Ysgard suffer a –2 penalty on all
- Normal Magic.
Permanent portals exist between various planes and Ysgard. One of the most
notable is a particularly roughhewn extension of the Infinite Staircase, which
connects to countless planes. Multiple landings offer a chance to ascend or
descend the Infinite Staircase from each of Ysgard’s three layers.
Petitioners—the slain heroes of countless ages—predominate on Ysgard. However,
humanoids of all kinds live throughout the top layer of Ysgard (also called
Ysgard). The fiery middle layer, called Muspelheim, is home mostly to fire giants,
while the cavernous lowest layer, called Nidavellir, is home to dwarves. The
plane is also home to scattered ghaele eladrin and firre eladrin celestials
and a few devas.
The petitioners of Ysgard are mostly former soldiers whose aggressive and
valiant spirits draw them to the plane where competition never dies. They have
the following special petitioner qualities:
Additional Immunities: Fire, acid.
Resistances: Electricity 20, sonic 20.
Other Special Qualities: None. Like anyone else on the plane, petitioners benefit
from the minor positivedominant trait on Ysgard.
MOVEMENT AND COMBAT
Getting around on Ysgard is much like travel on the Material
Plane. However, movement between the floating earthbergs on the top layer of
Ysgard can be quite tricky.
Those who fall between the flaming cracks plummet into the second layer, Muspelheim,
where the earthbergs also predominate. In Muspelheim, each mass of earth is
constantly aflame, presenting an inhospitable environment for travel. The lowest
layer, Nidavellir, grants easy access through rifts and tunnels, although the
tunnels sometimes close up, an event dangerous to travelers and natives alike.
Battles on Ysgard function much like they do on the Material Plane. Because
all combatants have fast healing 2, battles tend to take longer, and every day
fallen foes can rise to join the battle anew.
FEATURES OF YSGARD
Except for the planar traits noted above, Ysgard behaves like the Material Plane, and adventurers should find few differences in bow their spells and abilities work. Vision on Ysgard is exactly like on the Material Plane. Ysgard is a vast place, filled with life. Each layer of Ysgard is outlined below.
The top layer of Ysgard, also called Ysgard, is far and away the most well
known and well traveled of the three layers. Most of the inhabitants live in
camps and rugged settlements with rough and wild conditions. The layer is dotted
with dozens of huge halls, smoking battlefields, and hilly terrain leading down
to cold seas. Few settlements exist along the edges of any of the earthbergs,
except those interested in trade with communities on other earthbergs.
Kord’s Realm: The deity of the strong and courageous,
Kord the Brawler lives in the Hall of the Valiant on this plane. His grand hall
is built of stout beams of wood hewn from a single massive ash tree. Within,
Kord presides over a never-ending banquet where honored guests come and go,
but the revelry never ends. The feast tables surround a great open space where
valiant heroes wrestle for sport. Sometimes, Kord himself sets aside his intelligent
dragonslaying greatsword, Kelmar, and his dragon-hide accoutrements, and enters
the square to the great delight of all assembled.
Plain of Ida: This great field is located near
the Hall of the Valiant and the great free city of Himinborg, the largest population
center on the layer. The Plain of Ida hosts daily festivals where warriors can
flaunt their mettle. Here, bravery and skill in battle is valued over all else.
Alfheim: Elven petitioners populate this brilliant,
sunlit region, as does a contingent of mortal elves. Alfheim is suffused with
light and joy, and visitors cannot help but be buoyed by the happiness in the
air. The lands are wild and beautiful, untouched by civilization. Wildlife is
plentiful, and natural features such as streams, forests, and sunny hills are
likewise bountiful. The elven natives are friendly, but they care little for
anything but games and meditative appreciation of their natural surroundings.
While many elves live in harmony with nature among the trees and fields of the
surface, some elves abide in glittering caves below the surface of Alfheim.
Alfheim has seasons. Summers are long and kind, and its winters are dark and
unforgiving. During winter, the elves retreat into the glittering caves, the
entrances to which are sealed off and buried during the season of snows.
Den of Olidammara: The god of rogues, Olidammara
the Laughing Rogue is an intermediate deity who concerns himself with music,
revels, wine, humor, and similar ideals. Wood, stone, and stranger substances
create a grand but haphazard structure, as if several mansions of various cultures
were mashed together. On the inside, mazes, locked doors, blind hallways, and
secret treasuries surround a grand hall where music and dancing are mandatory.
Usually, the guests of this inmost den include rogues, bards, performers, and
entertainers of all stripes and all places. Wine, romance, and song rule here,
where Olidammara lounges at his ease on a grand divan—unless he is disguised
as one of his many guests using his magic laughing mask. Because some terrible
prank often draws him far away from his den, other deities treat Olidammara
with deserved caution no matter where they are.
The middle layer of Ysgard, Muspelheim, is made from ribbons of floating earth,
some continent-sized or larger. Here, though, the ground smokes and burns, earning
this layer the name “Land of Fire.” It’s a hostile layer where even the ground
is sharp volcanic rock. Most of Muspelheim has the fire-dominant trait. Muspelheim’s
ground rolls toward a ridge of fiery mountains at the highest point. This range,
called the Serpent Spine, is home to hundreds of clans of fire giants. Watchtowers
and citadels defend the mountain passes against rival clans and unwanted visitors.
The Spire is a towering, needle-thin citadel of dark stone in the midst of the
Serpent Spine mountains. Devout fire giant maidens are said to inhabit the tower,
serving as clerics of a mysterious intermediate deity of fire giants.
The third layer of Ysgard is Nidavellir. It is an “underground” realm crisscrossed
by warm tunnels, heated by hot springs and geysers. The wild regions are crowded
with underground forests of strange woods that need no sun, only heat, to grow.
Vast caverns run through veins of clear quartz, and deep holds are studded with
shining mica and pyrite. Precious and semiprecious minerals are strewn across
the floor of some lengths of runnel and even entire caverns. Dwarven and gnome
kingdoms divide up most of Nidavellir. Most of the layer’s inhabitants are mortals,
but petitioners are common as well. It is a place of fiery furnaces, ringing
anvils, and constant striving for perfection in the crafts of smithing, runecrafting,
and magic. Its halls resound with the chanting voices of dwarves and the lilting
songs of gnomes. Though the two races are rivals often given to war, they unite
when confronted by their underground enemies: dark elves.
Svartalfheim: Drow have their own realm in Nidavellir.
Though the gnomes and dwarves think the worst of the dark elves, the allegiances
of these particular drow are not as evil as many travelers might think. Like
others of this layer, they merely wish to be left alone and they don’t take
kindly to unannounced visitors or trespassers.