WILDERNESS OF THE BEASTLANDS
It is a domain of natural savagery and plenty.
It is the forest eternal.
It is where the most loyal animal companions go when they die.
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
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’
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.
Beastlands petitioners have the following special petitioner
Additional Immunities: Electricity, poison.
Resistances: Cold 20, fire 20.
Other Special Qualities: Fast healing 2.
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.
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.
The Beastlands’ top layer is Krigala, split in two by the
River Oceanus. The river flows through the layer in a
strong torrent, flanked by verdant forests that often bridge
the great river with intertwined branches above. Small
side channels depart from the river, and there are I
numerous bayous and oxbow lakes formed whenever this
extraplanar river alters its banks.
Krigala is a land of eternal afternoon. A warm sun basks
the land in its continual glow. It is just warm enough in
Krigala for the plant life of the area, and temperatures
remain in a comfortable range unless manipulated by
spells or divine will.
Time passes normally but is not tracked by the moving
of the sun. Instead, gentle rains drift in on soft breezes
once per day. More rarely, occasional thunderstorms
strike, sending many of Krigala’s beasts to cover.
The centaur deity Skerrit lives in Krigala with his closest
petitioners. Skerrit is a lesser deity, but he is greatly
venerated by the centaurs. The deity’s realm looks little
different from the surrounding woods, and the homes of
his petitioners are often small huts and lean-tos. When a
feast is called (and that’s often if you’re a centaur), the
centaurs set out great tables in the midst of the forest,
trusting to Krigala’s benign nature and Skerrit’s power to
keep them in line.
Skerrit’s petitioners take centaur form but are otherwise
similar to other Beastlander petitioners. They attack as
centaurs do (two hooves at a 2 points of damage). In extreme cases, Skerrit might
arm them, but such events are exceedingly rare.
Most of the creatures encountered in Krigala would be
active during the day if they lived on the Material Plane.
Most of the native life has a basic understanding of how
me portals between the layers work, and they can avoid
the portals instinctively if they choose.
The Grove of the Unicorns: Deep within the Beastlands
is the realm of Ehlonna, deity of forests and woodlands. The grove sits at the
base of a cluster of great sequoias that form a natural cathedral for those
beneath the canopy. The lowest branches of the great redwoods are hundreds of
feet in the air, such that those with wings can fly through Ehlonna’s cathedral
without difficulty. Those who reside within the borders of Ehlonna’s realm live
in peace with the trees and animals, and they are similarly left alone by the
wild creatures. The thinking creatures of the Beastlands adore Ehlonna, such
that she is often aware of occurrences that happen far from her Realm. True
to its name, the grove attracts groups of unicorns. These are both unicorns
with the celestial template and half-celestial/half-unicorns (as described in
the Monster Manual). In addition, there are flocks of bariaurs in Ehlonna’s
service. The grove is not far from Skerrit’s realm; centaur petitioners are
found in Ehlonna’s realm and half-celestial/half-unicorns in Skerrit’s. Ehlonna
has taken advantage of the Beastlands’ divinely morphic trait to give her realm
the enhanced magic trait. All spells cast by rangers within the Grove of the
Unicorns are extended (as the Extend Spell feat), and all spells that create
food or water are maximized (as the Maximize Spell feat). Ehlonna has the power
to make other alterations to the traits within her realm, if she so desires.
Brux is the second layer of the Beastlands and a land of
eternal dusk. The sun is a red ball along the horizon,
casting long, ruddy shadows through the forest. Where it
can be seen above the trees, a silvered moon hovers low
over the opposite horizon. Time passes normally on this
layer, but newcomers often get the eerie sense that the
world is frozen at sunset.
Brux is slightly cooler than Krigala, and fogs and mists
roil through the trees. The animal life on Brux is active in
morning and evening, sleeping during the heat of the day
and getting food when the sun is low in the sky.
Travelers who find themselves on Brux by accident may
find their way back to Krigala by following the creeks and
streams. Many of them lead eventually to Oceanus; others
lead to boggy marshes and swamps.
The lowest layer of the Beastlands, Karasuthra wears a
cloak of continual night. A silver moon whose phases
change achingly slowly hangs in the open sky, surrounded
by stars that lazily drift across the sky. Only a few beacons
of moonlight piece the thick canopy of the forest here,
forming silver shafts that touch the forest floor.
Karasuthra is the home of the most dangerous night
creatures, hunters relentless in the pursuit of their quarry.
Hunters from the Material Plane sometimes journey to
Karasuthra looking for the most dangerous of trophies.
Some even survive to try a second time.
If you’ve designed a cosmology in which the Plane of
Shadow is coterminous to or coexistent with the Beastlands,
Karasuthra’s darkness makes it a convenient arrival
point from that plane. In such a cosmology, dusk beasts,
ecalypses, and umbral banyans could be found throughout
Karasuthras, as could shadow versions of animals and
beasts (created by applying the shadow creature template).
Evil-aligned creatures would be uncomfortable in the
Beasdands and hunted mercilessly by the many celestial
creatures that catch their scent. But desperate evildoers
could use Karasuthra as a hiding place from other, more
foul creatures on their home plane.