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ON DISCORD
    Infinite Layers of the Abyss Part III
    Posted on Wed, November 15, 2023 by LordCeb
    Osmund-Davizid writes "

    In the course of the grand project to explore the Abyss, several Grey Sages made discoveries outside the bounds of Rhineglade’s challenge.  These additional works and some other matters are presented in this codicil to the other two treatises.  



    The Infinite Layers of the Abyss Part III

    Layer 101: The Endless Enigma by Grodog

    A prison layer of non-euclidean and tesseractian chambers, created through the combined powers of Alrunes, Fraz-Urb'luu, Sceirion, Obox-ob, and Abraxus. This level is often the destination of gate traps. The only being to have ever escaped its confines, Baphomet, entered on a bet and emerged 7500 years later. Most demonic scholars believe that each of the plane's creators built special strongholds and caches throughout its structures. In addition to creatures indigenous to this unique environment, the plane is inhabited by various failed experiments, political prisoners, invaders, adventurers (Prime-planar, demonic, and otherwise), and such.


    Layer 217:  The Abyssal realm of Wagamawezwik "Ravenous" by Osmund-Davizid

    This layer strongly resembles the Prime Material Plane, being a layer of huge forests of evergreens and sharp jagged mountains. The air is always cold, and there are two distinct seasons on the plane (unusual for the Abyss - the metaphysics of what causes the seasons to change may be beyond a mortal mind to comprehend - it is likely that Wagamawezwik himself controls the weather according to his whims). There is a short "warm season" which the temperature is just very chilly, but otherwise endurable. There are very few creatures that inhabit this plane, giving a very spooky feeling of emptiness. Because of the warm season, many planar travelers have made the mistake of marking this layer as a plane of (relative) safety in the Abyss.

    This is just a cruel trick, as when the cold season strikes, the true nature of this horrid plane becomes apparent. The sky turns black, the temperature plunges to far below zero, snow and wind whips though the air, and travels are forced to seek shelter. Once forced to hide from the storms, the servants of Wagamawezwik start to walk the lands.

    These servants include shapeshifters, who turn into images of other party members in order to separate them and slay them. But most terrible is the fact that there is NOTHING to eat on the plane for man or demon. The plant life appears to be as a terrestrial evergreen forest, but in appearance only, the plants are not edible and cannot sustain a mortal creature.  Attempting to eat any plant of fungus on this layer will result in having an undigestible mass in one’s belly with no satisfaction of hunger pangs.  The snow is not really made of water as we know it, and thus cannot sustain life (although it feels as though it is working to slake thirst). Gates to and from this layer have a nasty habit of being blown about by the high winds, so a portal that was available in the warm season may have moved once the winds pick up.

    Finally, the emaciated ghasts of Wagamawezwik love to torment their prey by whispering in their ears thought of food and how they can satisfy their victims' hunger. These ghasts and ghouls are so thin that they can only be viewed from the side (like a duo dimensional spell). So they often creep up to the huddled masses of travelers trying to stay warm and tell them how easy it would be to slay their companions in order to get such sweet, sweet meat...

    The plane has a horrid effect on the human mind, driving people slowly mad with hunger (akin to the phenomenon of "cabin fever" on Oerth) the longer they spend there. Should a person resist, then the ghouls just rip them apart. But if they succumb to this torment and slay their companions for food (or even eat the flesh of the ones who have died from other causes), instead of surviving, the victim becomes thinner and thinner, wasting away until there is nothing left but a new ghoul in Wagamezwik's realm.

    Most demons know better than to enter this realm, for they can get nothing to eat as well (although some babau demons have leave by Wagamawezwik to maraud during the warm season). This is a great plane to avoid at all costs, if you value your sanity and your life.


    Layer 88: The Silent Swamp of Mangroves and Malevolence by Wilfrick

    This layer consists of an endless swamp dominated by several species of mangrove trees growing out of brackish water (a mixture of fresh and salt water). The air of this plane is thick and fetid, and the temperature remains constant at 88 degrees (F) with 90% humidity. No wind ever blows here and the swamp stinks of decay and rotten vegetation.

    The sky, when not obscured by the thicket of mangrove branches, is a uniformly hazy greenish-gray color. It continually radiates a sort of late afternoon level of “sunlight,” although no sun is actually ever visible and there is no apparent cycle of day or night in this domain. In addition, the ambient light does not negatively affect the undead.

    The mangrove trees themselves reach heights of 35-40 meters, and various types of ferns, mosses, fungi and orchids also grow here. The flowers are generally a sickly greenish-yellow color and produce a disgusting scent reminiscent of human feces.

    Food and Drink
    The water in which the mangroves grow can reach a depth of up to 6 meters, although 0-2 meters is more common. The water is dark, almost black in color, and is not potable due to the salt content its general polluted state. The beasts of this plane have apparently adapted to this and are able to filter out the salt in one way or another. But given the heat and extreme humidity in the swamp, dehydration quickly becomes an issue for any non-native creature without its own supply of fresh water.

    Even if the foul liquid could somehow be desalinized, any PC ingesting it has a 75% non-cumulative chance per half-liter consumed of contracting a severe case of dysentery. Purification spells and the like will not function in this layer because of the baleful influence of the Abyss. Cure Disease and similar spells will work, although they are only effective 60% of the time.

    Numerous animals live in the swamp, but the ecosystem’s biochemistry differs slightly from that of the prime material plane. Thus, any non-native creature ingesting “food” from this environment winds up introducing a bio-toxin into their system. Plus, the food (fish, meat or fowl) uniformly tastes rancid. No fruit grows in the swamp and none of the flora is edible.

    The effects of the bio-toxin are cumulative such that a typical PC would accrue a lethal dose after eating the number of meals equal to 1/3 of his or her Constitution score (rounded up). Purification spells will again be of no use here, although magical protections from poison will work at roughly 60% of their normal level of effectiveness.

    Denizens of the Swamp
    The “natural” fauna living in this awful place include crustaceans, fish, reptiles, mammals, small primates and all sorts of birds. Most appear deformed in some way relative to their prime material analogues. For example, a commonly seen crustacean-eating fox-like animal has greasy brown fur, a gnarled, corkscrew-like tail and eyes the color of fresh blood. The birds especially are bereft of their normal bright colorings, being either a dull grayish-brown or various putrid shades of ochre and green.

    The swamp is infested with tiny but voracious and bloodthirsty flying insects. Any unprotected warm-blooded visitor to the plane will be bitten an average of three times per turn. Each bite has a 1 in 10 chance of imparting a virulent tropical disease (malaria-type).

    Essentially, if unprotected creatures are not somehow magically or otherwise immune to disease, they are virtually guaranteed to contract one in fairly short order. Cure Disease spells will rid an infected PC of this disease with the same 60% effectiveness noted above, but with each bite received he or she has a 1 in 10 chance of being re-infected.

    PCs unfortunate enough to become trapped on this vile plane may not survive long enough to die from the symptoms of this disease (or from dehydration, starvation, poisoning, dysentery, etc.) as countless hostile creatures populate this reeking swamp. Some of these are deadly but non-magical, such as crocodiles, jaguars, poisonous snakes and various prehistoric reptiles. Dangerous giant animals (catfish, frogs, etc.) are also common. And finally, PCs must of course contend with the undead and demonic denizens of the plane.

    Random Encounter Table for the Silent Swamp:
    01-20 Animal, giant (see subtable)
    21-27 Crocodile (normal)
    27-29 Daemon, Hydrodaemon
    30-31 Demodand, Faratsu
    32 Demodand, Kelubar
    33 Demodand, Shator
    34-36 Demon, Chasme
    37-41 Demon, Dretch
    42-45 Demon, Type II
    46-48 Demon, Type V
    49 Demon, Type VI
    50-54 Demon, other type or mixed group
    55-58 Dinosaur, Dimetrodon
    59-65 Dinosaur, Pterosaur
    66-67 Dinosaur, Tanystropheus
    68 Froghemoth
    69-75 Ghast / Ghoul
    76-77 Green Slime
    78-79 Jaguar
    80 Naga, spirit
    81 Shadow
    82 Son of Kyuss
    83-87 Snake, constrictor (normal)
    88-93 Snake, poisonous (normal)
    94-96 Stirge
    97-98 Throat Leech
    99 Vampire
    00 Wraith

    Giant Animal sub-table:
    1 Beetle, giant water
    2 Catfish, giant
    3 Centipede, huge
    4 Centipede, giant
    5 Crab, giant
    6 Crayfish, giant
    7-9 Crocodile, giant
    10-11 Frog, giant
    12 Frog, giant killer
    13 Frog, giant poisonous
    14 Leech, giant
    15 Lizard, giant
    16 Snake, giant constrictor
    17 Snake, giant poisonous
    18 Spider, huge
    19 Toad, giant
    20 Turtle, giant snapping

    Special Features of the Layer
    The most unique aspect of this plane is that it is totally silent. Sound waves cannot be produced here and even if they could, they simply would not travel through the air or ground. Thus, spells with a verbal component will not function in this layer and verbal communication is impossible. PCs will be unable to hear the splash of a crocodile entering the water or their compatriot’s cries for help, etc.

    The utter lack of distinguishing landscape features renders navigation on this layer extremely difficult. The massive, gnarled mangrove roots and the interminable maze of interlocking shallow waterways significantly impede normal movement. If not assisted by some magical means, PCs will move at only 30% of the standard rate. Travel by mount, cart or coach is simply out of the question.

    Boating is possible along the larger tributaries, but the resident crocodiles have learned that vessels usually contain food and will move swiftly to attack and overturn them (50% chance for a crocodile encounter every turn spent boating or rafting).

    Similarly, it may be possible to fly above the canopy of mangrove trees, but doing so will often result in hostile pterodactyl encounters (50% chance per turn of flying, triple the number of pterosaurs normally encountered).

    Most beasts of this plane will not attack the undead or natives of the lower planes, although they will defend themselves if attacked by such creatures. Thus, a group of evil PCs with a demonic or demodand escort would be able to pass through the swamp relatively unmolested as long as they practice a “live and let live” policy -- and their escort does not turn on them.

    There is no source of metal or stone in this layer, and the twisted, salt-infused mangrove branches and roots are useless for most types of woodwork. Metallic items other than pure silver, gold or platinum will rust here and/or corrode away to nothing over time, and paper items (including scrolls and spell books) are vulnerable to mold and mildew with prolonged exposure to this humid environment.

    Politics and Planar Ecology
    Apparently, no demon lord rules this land directly, although Demogorgon reportedly banishes unfortunates who have displeased him to this plane from time to time. Pazuzu may visit this realm on rare occasions to patrol its skies.

    Gates to other lower-planar destinations are somewhat more common on this plane than elsewhere in the Abyss, and one of the winding tributaries of this endless swamp may in fact eventually connect up with the river Styx. Thus, Demons of many types, Demodands and perhaps others of the lower planes sometimes use it as a conduit for transit. Most gates here are unstable, however, and how the fiends manage to navigate from point to point on this plane remains a mystery.  Unless visitors have a very good reason for staying, the only good thing about this reeking, horrid plane will likely be taking their leave of it.

     

    This ends the formal findings of the Grey Sages.  There were other findings of the Abyss done by the Grey Sages.  In particular, the Sage Rasgon gave information on many layers based on his and other sages work.  These efforts show the resilience of humanity to push the expanse of knowledge even to the depths of the ignorance that is the Abyss.  But for the time being, this series of treatises is at an end.    

     

    Notes:

    This three-part series of articles is a reposting of a forum thread on the Canonfire website.  CF member Rhineglade proposed the thread with the following instructions: 

    “I found a similar forum to this in another website that I thought was kind of an interesting idea and allows for the exchange of creative ideas. I, for one, have always been interested in the Inner and Outer Planes of D&D. Although some information exists on the planes, there is still a lot of room for development.

    How this forum works is I will start by making up an idea for one of the layers of the Abyss. I will describe the layer and then end the post with a made up name for another random layer. The next person to post will take that name and make up a description about it. That person will then end her or his post with a new name for a random Abyssal layer and the process continues from there. The numbering system for the layers is not so important as it is an opportunity to get the creative juices flowing and to share ideas.”

    The entire thread is available here:

    http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=219

     

    I gathered the layers mentioned in the thread, made some minor editing and created the bumper story in order to preserve the ideas from the thread and to respect and credit those who participated.  I sincerely thank all those who contributed and hope that they take these articles in the manner intended.  The thread itself is worth revisiting (as are many on the Canonfire forums) due to the exchange of ideas and discussions involved.  Kudos to all!

     

    Osmund-Davizid

    "
     
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