[Creative Exercise] Worlds in a word, planes in a paragraph


First Post
The House of Pitch:
Information about this plane is sketchy at best. There is no natural light and light sources brought from off-world simply die. The one known inhabitant is the Grey Lady, a woman holding some kind of everburning candle that glows with an eery blue light. Reports suggest that the plane is really a house hundreds of miles wide, but no one knows for sure, as those who step out of the light of the Grey Lady's candle, very rarely return.

The Para-Elemental Plane of Blood:
Sort of a holy grail of vampires. It has been suggested by some that at least one ancient vamp has managted to create a Decanter of Endless Water... only with a link to this plane rather than the elemental plane of water. Icky, but if the plane were confirmed to exist, could help vamps stop that nasty habit of biting.

The Plane of Scribing:
All writing throughout the multiverse can be found on this freakishly large plane. Every surface has words written upon it. Animated pens continue to scratch away at the walls, adding to it's surface each and every second. If it said that if a book is destroyed it's contents will still remain here, finding them though....

log in or register to remove this ad

Dark Seraph

First Post
ARTHYSIEN: This plane / world is a living entity. Vein and artery like tunnels course beneath the surface in a complex network carrying arcane energies which may be harnessed by certain intelligent races that thrive here, but only with extreme caution and proficiency. The atmosphere is made up of the gases exhaled and inhaled by this entity and its skin is the earth upon which all living matter and beings thrive upon, most ignorant of the true nature of the world they live upon. Druids are the guardians of this secret, harnessing these ley lines to do their work and serve as the shepards of sentient life form.


Yearle- world of black magic
Yearle is a world defined by its dysfunctional deities, and the high quality of life provided by its ubiquitous use of black magic. On Yearle, powerful magical devices are ubiquitous, but they are dependent on the blood of sapient beings to function. Magical beasts are sacrificed in tremendous quantities to power the world's devices, and their blood pumped into special taps in every building in the civilized world. Yearle's two main deities are Mother Whiptail, the reptilian earth goddess, and Pater Nosferat, the vampire god whose rising brings the winter. In ancient times these deities were a couple and the seasons were mild, but they broke up in an epic fight that knocked the planet off its axis, and condemned Pater Nosferat to feed on the world's life-energy, and be destroyed every spring by the returning light of the sun; in spring his followers haul his coffin through the underworld to his palace on the opposite pole.

The Dream Fortress
An enormous fortress on the plane of dreams built following dream logic. It is entirely larger than it needs to be and its layout is mazelike, nonsensical, and inconsistent. Many rooms are distorted versions of locations from the "real" game world. There are many unnecessary rooms, and also many rooms that are 'off' in some way, such as an armory for swordsmen that contains only bows, or a guard post that is also a busy restaurant, or a person's sleeping quarters with a finished basement that does not otherwise connect to the rest of the building.

An isolated dieselpunk Ravenloft domain styled after early 20th century dystopian literature and early 20th century dictatorships. A city-state whose paranoid leader relentlessly monitors, censors, oppresses, and disappears the populace, searching for a rebels and spies. The land is ringed with walls, trenches, sandbags, and barbed wire, but it's external enemies, whom the country eternally wars against, don't seem to actually exist. When the leader's paranoia flares up, bombs and mortars rain onto the outskirts of the domain, hitting anyone trying to cross the border with high accuracy, but careful investigation will reveal that the bombs apparently originate from nowhere (supernatural border closure).

A modern Ravenloft domain. A representative democracy with frequent elections, but a very poor choice of candidates. The elections there are always tight races between the No Smiling Party (whose platform involves executing anybody {other than party elite} who does not live a life of self-denial and military discipline), and the No Frowning Party (whose platform involves forcibly euthanizing anyone {other than party elite} who seems unhappy or unfriendly). The occupant of their government's highest office appears to change, but is in fact always held by the domain's darklord, who has a split personality

Thalassonoma is a planet plagued by sea-level rise resulting from the overuse of waterwheels powered by decanters of endless water. Now the entire surface is flooded, but since it's already flooded anyway they still use the waterwheels, which are now on floats (as is everything else that's left)

The Problematic Prism
This abyssal realm is full of huge shiny crystals. Many of the crystals have prismatic spray spells trapped inside them, which are released if the crystal is damaged. All spells that fire rays or manipulate light and color have a chance to be diverted off target from where they were meant to go. The layer is inhabited by incorporeal energy beings made of light.

The Sandstorm Plains
In this desert land it rains sand instead of water. The fall of new sand is slow but constant, and makes long-term settlements impossible, as any structures would quickly be buried by the sand. Anyone there needs to keep moving or be buried.

The island of Drankalotaliikaa is not a geological formation, but rather a god who got drunk and passed out in the ocean. There is a volcano at one end of the island whose eruptions are the god vomiting. When this happens the priests of Drankalotaliikaa must journey to the volcano and throw in hangover cures.

The Hall of Broken Mirrors
The Hall of Broken Mirrors is an abyssal layer which takes the form of an enormous mirror maze whose mirrors are all cracked. Looking at one's reflection in the cracked mirrors inflicts lacerations matching the pattern of that mirror's cracks. The entire layer emits an aura of bad luck, making actions more likely to fail, and making freak accidents and unfortunate coincidences more likely to occur. The Hall of Broken Mirrors is the haunt of several demon lords presiding over misfortune, including Korath the Thirteenth Son, and Lobolotodon the Bone Breaker

Carcinopolis is a party town located in one of the less severe areas of the negative energy plane. It is dedicated to all the things that normally would cause obesity or cancer. The natural wasting and slow healing in negative energy plane cancels these things out.

Helion Cryptum
Helion Cryptum is a system whose sun god has been usurped by a god of the undead. Now its sun sheds a grey light that empowers the undead rather than repelling them. The sun itself is inhabited by a race of reverse vampires who draw power from its light and live beneath its surface.

Planets At War
Abyssal layer #7716 is a starsystem consisting of a black hole orbited by a small star as well as several planets and dwarf planets. The planets, which exhibit some level of control over their orbits, are sentient and all hate each other and endevor to smash each other into slag or knock each other into the black hole or the the sun. This, naturally, is bad for both planets' inhabitants (who also all hate each other), and also contributes to both the sun and the black hole periodically disgorging hordes of incorporeal undead. The system never runs out of planets because new planets occasionally appear through various odd means such as binary fission, being spat out of the sun, and spontaneous pair production.

The Fiendish Forum
Abyssal layer 41315 is a fractally repeating Roman forum. There the demons debate philosophy with each other using the various roman style weapons strewn around. Occasionally the forum is punctuated by some other type of town square and this area will often have appropriately different weapons available.

The Forest of Weapon Trees
The 896th layer of the abyss is an endless forest where all sorts of weapons grow on trees and vines. Mostly of these are edged or piercing weapons that sprout new weapon trees with disturbing speed when left in the corpses of their victims, but there are also blunt weapons and even grenade fruits that explode when thrown, dispersing their seeds.
Last edited:

The Mists Hotel
A small ravenloft domain. Takes the form of a seaside hotel built on stilts (as many buildings near water are) and shrouded in fog. When the borders are closed the fog thickens and the distance to the ground, which is usually about 10 feet, becomes infinite. One could descend the stairs or even jump off them and never reach the beach below (at least not until the border is reopened). The fog does not thicken sufficiently to bring a traveler into the inter-domain mists however. The darklord of the domain is the hotel itself, which is sentient and sadistic like the Overlook from The Shining


Staff member
That’s kinda fresh! Do you have any ideas how the hut’s evil would manifest? I mean, The Shining is awesome, but I’m struggling with how you’d make it work in an RPG adventure other than a 1-shot.


The Mists Hotel
A small ravenloft domain. Takes the form of a seaside hotel built on stilts (as many buildings near water are) and shrouded in fog. When the borders are closed the fog thickens and the distance to the ground, which is usually about 10 feet, becomes infinite. One could descend the stairs or even jump off them and never reach the beach below (at least not until the border is reopened). The fog does not thicken sufficiently to bring a traveler into the inter-domain mists however. The darklord of the domain is the hotel itself, which is sentient and sadistic like the Overlook from The Shining
Excellent/cool! I picture it on a cliff or bluff overlooking the beach, though, with switchback stairs descending down. When the borders are closed the stairs simply bring you back to the hotel.

That’s kinda fresh! Do you have any ideas how the hut’s evil would manifest? I mean, The Shining is awesome, but I’m struggling with how you’d make it work in an RPG adventure other than a 1-shot.

As an inn, it could easily be a one shot in a larger campaign it could be encountered on the way from one place to another when the party are in need of rest.

anyway, on a different note

Hell Upside Down

Abyssal layer 7734 is hell upside down. Specifically it is a duplicate of the infernal city of Dis built upside down and inhabited by demons rather than devils. Instead of being built up from the ground, the towers and skyscrapers hang down from the layer's vast rocky ceiling over a bottomless pit and anything dropped out of a window or door will fall forever into the void. The only way to safely cross from one building to another is to jump, fly, or to tunnel into the ceiling.

Cyan Wisp

What a great read! Well done, folks. This unbridled imagination is why I love D&D and, in particular, Planescape, so much. I have to say, though, there is a dark quality to most of these! Nothing wrong with that, by the way, I love me some Grim. I'm going to attempt some lighter, marshmallowier planes. I would have thought of cool names, but I loved the idea of “Wall”, so…

Stars: In an octarine void, bathed in a marinade of gentle melodies and soaring alien symphonies, float the Stars – two-dimensional pentacles of light, some ridden by wide-eyed spectrum-washed beings agape with ecstasy. The mere touch of a pentacle surpasses all mortal joy, and when the stars align, in pulsing spherical megastructures, the riders experience fractal eternities of bliss in every passing second, too much to contain in serenity. Their voices, like screams of pain, are visible, phosphorescent exhalations of nirvana.

Cerebrum: A literal brain of who-knows-what, with neurons the size of cities joined by periodic lightning bridges. Crossing from one to another requires riding the lightning bridges on rubber dinghies. Travellers experience inspiration and unfurled secrets every time they cross new bridges, and some have been tracing the pathways for millennia, gathering unparalleled knowledge, though the thirst for more keeps them from ever escaping this wonder and putting it to any practical use. Bards, warlocks and wizards are particularly drawn to Cerebrum.

Union: A tumultuous, yet beautiful earth-like realm in which the native inhabitants, and any visitors, are not limited to their own space. By mutual consent, beings merge and share, comfort and support, becoming nurturing conglomerates; some ultra-benign communities inhabit the volume of a single body, but are thousands strong mentally and spiritually. Loners are rare and the thought of their isolation can bring the Merged to tears. The collective wisdom of these merged beings is sometimes sought by outsiders.

Hamsterspace- Crystal sphere. The sun is an enormous rodent and the crystal sphere is an enormous hamsterball or hamster wheel. Planets rotate around centerpoint of the sphere, maintaining positions relative to each other and to the sphere, but not relative to the sun. It might be thematically appropriate to have lots of space hamsters inhabiting the sphere but this is not essential to the idea.

As an aside to this topic, does anybody perchance have a saved copy of the homebrew abyssal layers thread from the old WotC forums about 15-20 years ago. I think the name of the thread was some clever variation of "1001 abyssal layers"


No, but maybe one of these will be helpful?


The Satan's Switchyard- Abyssal layer 6134. Domain of the abyssal lord of murderhoboes. Consists of an enormous possibly infinite tangle of train tracks traversed by never-stopping boxcar trains of seemingly infinite length. All of the boxcars' doors are open by default. When somebody closes one, it transforms into a portal to some other place, either in the abyss or the outer planes or on the astral or material plane. The destination is random and determined at the time of the door's first closing, remaining fixed thereafter, but it is always somewhere where there is adventure to be had, loot to be looted, tyrants to be toppled and replaced with anarchy, and/or innocent bystanders to be abused or collaterally damaged. The lord of this place can remotely command an unassigned door to open a portal to his current location. The switchyard's master is one of a group of archdemon adventurers known as "The Darkest Heroes" who travel the planes to topple tyrants by depopulating their lands and destroying the infrastructure of governance.

The only issue is that I'm not sure what happens when a train derails (and it's the Abyss, so you know that's gonna happen). I'm thinking that perhaps the trains are so long, so fast, and so powerful that derailed cars get dragged along without upsetting the rest of the train, or else the trains are so dense and so close together that anything knocked off the tracks won't be able to tip past its center of gravity because the train on the adjacent track will be in the way.
Last edited:


A single massive continent on a world whose oceans are dominated by predatory megafauna that make travel by sea impossible. The continent's coastlines are its only fertile regions, its central portion being dominated by a massive desert, and it is across these sands that the nations bordering the desert ply their trade, via sand-skimming sailing vessels of every description, from simple railed sleds to earth-gliding elemental craft.

The setting for a campaign I called "Pirates of the Arabian".

Every established deity in this crystal sphere is a rogue or trickster of some kind or another. The seasons and phases of the moon here are irregular; summer comes to the north when the god of the north steals the sun, summer comes to the south when the god of the south steals it back, and The gods of the various planets all repeatedly steal a single moon from each other under cover of darkness. There are several pornographic constellations. At least one of the sphere's planets was won by the gods in a bar bet. The powers smile on rulers who prefer spying and assassination over open war. Drinking, gambling, loud music, and prostitution play prominent roles in all societies. Animal sacrifices are offered chthonically via blood sports like dogfighting and rat baiting. Lives are wagered on sporting events like in the Aztec empire. There's a god of leather jackets, a god of switchblades, and a god of cigarrettes. Even Baator's agents in the sphere are run by Duke Ibaliclir Lord of the Underworld, an underling of Dispater in charge of organized crime.

In this crystal sphere the sun is a giant space ameoba. It's been growing for quite some time and will be ready to divode soon)

SEA Sector
A sector of Paranoia's Alpha Complex built underwater at the outskirts of the city. It's particular brand of dystopia is based on Sealab 2021. (Vital stats for Paranoia versions of the Sealab cast as follows: *Murphy- Blue rank. Communist; *Shanks- Indigo rank. Order of Neptune (which may or may not be a front for the Illuminati and/or the Servants of Cthulhu); *Virjay- Green rank. Unregistered Toxic Metabolism mutant. member of Psion; *Sparks- CPU. Yellow rank. Free Enterprise; *Quinn- R&D. Orange rank. Corpore Metal; *White Debbie- Orange rank; Humanists; *Debbie Love- HPDMC, Orange rank, Romantics; *Frenchy- Infrared rank, Sierria Club; *Stormy- Orange rank, Mystics; *Hesh- Power Services, Red rank, Death Leopards; *Prescott- CPU. Violet rank. PSION.)

Plutonic Space/Shared Underworld
Plutonic space is a subterranean connection between all planets. Contrary to what one might assume based on the size of a planet, there is actually no limit to how deeply one may dig other than the integrity of the tunnel or mineshaft. One may delve down hundreds or thousand times the diameter of the planet and never hit the other side of the planet. You may, however, eventually emerge on the surface of a completely different planet. This is because below their crust all planets connect to the same underworld. The planets might be imagined as wormholes connecting the underworld to the sky. The wormhole is spherical on both ends, which is why you can never reach the other side of the planet; Viewed from the sky a planet as a sphere of rock, viewed by someone who could somehow see through the rock of the underworld the planet would appear as a sphere of void. On the underworld end of the wormhole, the other side of the planet is on the other side of the sphere of void and by digging further you are traveling away from that side.

The upshot of all this is that a civilization that was sufficiently good at digging could travel to other planets without having to deal with space. It would be farther and longer than any normal voyage, and would not have the speed of a rocket, but it would be accomplishable without having to brave the vacuum of space.

(This one's not a world or a plane, just a location)
Fancy's is a training ground for devilish soul collectors, built to test their skill at manipulation and gaslighting. The location is disguised on the outside as an expensive upperclass restaurant. The first and easiest part of the test is that soul corruptor in training must disguise themself as a mortal, and lure a mortal dupe to the location under the pretense of a business lunch or a romantic dinner. When they arrive with their mark, the mortal is siezed and placed in a pillory in a pitch dark room for several hours and is then forced to consume rotting offal from diseased animals and robbed of all items on their person. The devil remains with them the whole time, talking to them. The final test for the trainee devil is to convince the mortal that the experience of being pilloried was actually enjoyable, or else to convince the mortal that they are a jerk or a philistine for not enjoying being pilloried in the dark, fed offal, and robbed blind. For full marks, this must be accomplished without the use of magical mind control.

The restaurant does not contain a full dining area. There is, in truth, only the one pillory and dining table. A barred window looks into the darkened dining room from the well lit area where the proctors and judges observe. This area is not directly acdessible from the dining room. To reach it, one must first go through a guardpost which leads into a small cluster of offices and barracks to which the observation room is attached.

In addion to the guardpost and its attached offices, the "dining room" also connects to a "kitchen" where sick animals are brought in and then left to die and to rot.

There are two entrences. The front entrence leads into a fake lobby/waiting room where a flunky playing the maitre'd turns away anyone who comes by and isn't part of the test. The rear entrence leads into a normal looking potemkin storeroom which in turn has a door which leads into the "kitchen".

Not planes this time, just cities

The Cyst- The cyst is a set of two warring cities set inside of each other like Russian nesting dolls. The Old City is a walled, fortified, domed, and self-sustaining enclave fully surrounded by the New City, whom it has been at war with for over a century. The New City started out as a military encampment of troops besieging the Old City, but as the days and weeks of the siege ground on into months and years it grew to become a settlement in its own right

Humanoid Farm- A former illithid settlement where the illithids were overthrown and driven off by an uprising of their thralls. However, the leaders of the uprising, knowing nothing else, now act like illithids, insy=talling themselves as the new leaders of the area and using their fellows as food and slave labor
Last edited:

An Advertisement