Level Up (A5E) ENterplanetary DimENsions: Aquatic Aquestio

Any world where carbon-based lifeforms persist is likely to have water on it, but there are some places among ENterplanetary DimENsions where there’s far more of it than anything else—places like Aquestio!

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Illustration by NASA.
From afar Aquestio seems like any other water planet, a sapphire jewel hanging amidst the cosmos just close enough to a celestial body to keep it warm enough to remain liquid—yet both it and the neutron star it orbits are unique. Within the very heart of this swirling mass of blue and white there is no solid core for every bit of the countless acres of water within its humid atmosphere carries magic within, resisting the solidity that a planet’s pressure worth of water would usually enforce. The miraculous nature of Aquestio makes its geography only differentiated by depth alone, and it is practically impossible to navigate without the use of extraordinary senses, magic, or technology.

It is unclear what creatures are native to Aquestio or if its endless waters ever spawned life of its own. In any event there are countless aquatic creatures now, from amoebas and simple germs left by errant asteroids, to the evolved and titanic progeny of bacterium that arrived eons ago, industrious folk from all over the galaxy seeking to exploit the world for their own gains, and animals aplenty (whether for game hunting, scientific experimentation, or fishery). The most noticeable denizens of Aquestio are the humanoids and other technologically advanced peoples that have brought industry to the planet in the pursuit of wealth, and in so doing bring some amount of order to the chaos of the relentless waves. Floating isles conjured by hydromancers, hypercorporation research facilities, colonies of waterbreathing folk from elsewhere—all can be found beneath the planet’s surface.

Planar Traits. Aquestio has the following planar traits and the Narrator should make use of the acid, darkness, extreme cold, extreme heat, frigid water, and underwater encounter elements. When it is possible to do so, noticing one of these encounter elements before it is too close to avoid requires a DC 14 Perception check.

Breathless Bearing

One of the most remarkable things about Aquestio is that any creature is able to swim in most of its depths whether normally able to breathe water or not. A powerful enchantment worked upon the waves by a hydromancer long ago has spread to everywhere across the planet, its magic infused into every molecule to make it accessible to non-aquatic creatures. This effect has its limits however, requiring a thinking mind and focus to be maintained.

While underwater on Aquestio, a creature can concentrate (as though concentrating on a spell) to gain the ability to breathe water. When the creature takes damage it must make a Constitution saving throw to maintain concentration (DC 10 or equal to half the damage taken, whichever is higher). On a failed save, the creature immediately begins to suffocate.

A creature concentrating on breathing water is also able to focus upon magic, though usually not spells of any considerable power. While using Breathless Bearing, a creature is able to also concentrate on a concentration spell of a spell level equal to or less than half its proficiency bonus. When a creature using Breathless Bearing and concentrating on a spell makes a concentration check it uses its spellcasting ability to do so, but on a failed saving throw it loses the spell and immediately begins to suffocate.

Air Safe

Cost 20 gold; Weight 10 lbs.
This airtight 1-foot diameter metallic sphere is able to withstand pressures of up to 15,000 feet without rupture or collapse. While you are at a depth of 5,000 feet or less, you can use a bonus action to press the air safe’s valve against your mouth and breathe from it. When at a depth between 5,001 feet and 11,000 feet, breathing from the air safe requires an action. Between depths of 11,001 and 15,000 feet the air safe’s valve only functions with a DC 13 Strength check and a DC 12 Dexterity check is needed to successfully breathe from it.

Most air safes only carry enough air for a single Medium-sized creature, but their design makes them only function a single time before needing to be brought to the surface to be refilled.

Diving Set

Cost 250 gold; Weight 35 lbs.
Diving sets come in a wide variety of shapes and forms, though all include both a face mask and bodysuit.

Bodysuit. A suit of armor is needed to utilize this leather and aquatic animal hide slip, but once integrated it hermetically seals the wearer from the outside. While wearing a suit of armor equipped with a bodysuit, you gain resistance to cold damage while underwater and advantage on saving throws made against pressure. A fine or masterwork bodysuit does not require integration into a suit of armor to be worn.

Face Mask. This leather and glass contraption covers the eyes, nose, and mouth without obstructing vision. While wearing a face mask underwater, you gain advantage on saving throws against poison. A face mask can be disarmed as if it was a shield.
In addition, you can connect the face mask to a specialized fine or masterwork air safe, providing enough air for up to 1 hour of breathing for a Medium-sized creature (or 2 hours of breathing for a Small-sized creature).

Curious Core

Aquestio’s topography is nearly all in a constant flux, measurable almost only by how much water is above or below—and it only becomes more dangerous and strange the greater the depth. The creatures found swimming about the planet sometimes travel as much as a league above in search of prey, though usually keep to a certain depth to roam.


Depth: 0 feet to 500 feet
Challenges: hail storm, haze, lost item, stampede, thunderstorm.
Creatures: pirates and various aquatic beasts.
Roving patches of open sea slowly migrate across the surface of Aquestio and it is within these areas of relative safety that most civilized creatures stay, though bad enough storms can quickly lead a ship onto endless destructive waves that no vessel can survive unscathed.


Depth: 501 feet to 2,000 feet
Challenges: private property, river rapids.
Creatures: boggards, merfolk, merrow, sahuagin.
Denizens of the planet naturally able to breathe water live far enough beneath the surface for sunlight to reach them. Some float endlessly as nomads of the seas, others craft homes of their own able to anchor among the depths, and more still simply take as their dwelling what has been abandoned by others (boggards in particular favor deserted scientific facilities).


Depth: 2,001 feet to 5,000 feet
Challenges: caught in the crossfire, river rapids, wild magic zone.
Creatures: chuul, giant lanternfish, merclops, shroud ray.
Although most aquatic folk are able to withstand the increased pressure this far down into Aquestio, they find it uncomfortable—and greater threats prowl the waters.
Water Pressure. At the end of each minute spent more than 2,000 feet beneath the surface of Aquestio, a creature must make a Strength saving throw (DC 5 + 1 per previous successful save). On a failed save, it takes 1d6 bludgeoning damage per 1,000 feet below the surface of the water. Huge or larger creatures automatically succeed on this saving throw.


Depth: 5,001 feet to 8,000 feet
Challenges: hallowed waters (as hallowed ground), river rapids, wild magic zone.
Creatures: black puddings, water elementals.
Water elementals immune to the chilling currents drift down to this realm of darkness, extreme cold, and pressure (as above). Their most common fellow denizens are oozes that feed upon the detritus that falls to these depths, eating away at anything that they can sense.


Depth: 8,001 feet to 11,000 feet
Challenges: hallowed waters (as hallowed ground), river rapids, wild magic zone.
Creatures: elder black puddings, giant water elementals, marids.
The eternal night becomes freezing this far below the surface of Aquestio, with darkness, frigid water, and severe pressure bearing down with terrible force.
Severe Pressure. At the end of each minute spent more than 8,000 feet beneath the surface of Aquestio, a creature must make a Strength saving throw (DC 8 + 2 per previous successful save). On a failed save, it takes 2d6 bludgeoning damage per 1,000 feet below the surface of the water. Gargantuan and Titanic creatures automatically succeed on this saving throw.


Depth: 11,001 feet to 15,000 feet
Challenges: hallowed waters (as hallowed ground), river rapids, wild magic zone.
Creatures: dragons and dragon turtles, kraken, sea serpents.
There are few things able to survive the darkness, frigid water, and severe pressure (as above) just outside of the center of the planet, but this is also the safest area for explorers to obtain and collect the rare elements that swirl Aquestio’s core—though many have found only death at the jaws of the monsters that prowl these depths.

Aquestio Core

Depth: 15,001 feet to 20,000 feet
Challenges: wild magic zone.
Darkness, frigid water, and severe pressure reign here, and it is a place where creatures can only briefly endure. Roving in circles through the churning maelstrom at the planet’s very center is a portal to the Plane of Water, constantly buffered about and jostled by gateways briefly snapping open from other dimensions: rare elements drawn to Aquestio like iron to a magnet. Adamantine, corzcu, gold, mithral, platinum, and more can be found liquified and streaming around this strange world’s core.
Core Currents. The water moves with such force and swiftness that it carries away nearly everything within it. Creatures without a swim speed lose control of their movement, moving 2d10 × 10 feet in a random direction (roll 1d8 for how it moves up or down and 1d8 for which direction it moves laterally) at the start of their turn. At the start of its turn, a creature with a swim speed makes an Athletics check (DC 8 + 3d4) to move normally, reducing its speed by half on a failure, or being moved randomly (as above) on a critical failure.

Sea Seers

A world of only water is of course a haven for hydromancers. These water mages live all over and throughout Aquestio, studying the planet or utilizing the endless currents to further empower their magics.

Hydromagic. While within or on the waters of Aquestio, spells from the water school are cast using a spell slot of one level lower than normal (minimum 1st-level). In addition, when a creature with class levels and a water-focused archetype (such as a coastal circle of the land druid) finishes a long rest on Aquestio, it regains all of its Hit Dice, and when it expends Hit Dice to regain Hit Points on a short rest it rolls twice, taking the higher result.

Tentacular Towers

For most travelers the only points of reference around Aquestio are the various deep-mining rigs set up around the planet. These immense compounds float suspended in the questiozone or exozone, glowing balls of light that cast away the gloom of the deep waters. Within are hundreds of workers—divers, laborers, scientists, soldiers, technicians, and more—all working on massive siphons that measure in the thousands of feet, dipping down into Aquestio’s core to sieve out valuable rare elements for sale elsewhere.

Legendary Liquids. There is great wealth to be found in Aquestio’s core but gathering it is no simple matter, the processes required demanding either powerful magic or advanced technology. Both are utilized but whichever the case the bobbing towers in which all this treasure resides are all dutifully and fiercely defended. The people in charge are typically an arcane blademaster or knight captain always assisted by an archmage. Beneath them are alchemists undertaking experiments and overseeing equipment, or crime bosses keeping the facility organized and running. To ensure their safety and security there are blackguards, champion warriors, or gladiators equipped with diving sets (and possibly an apparatus of the crab designed to dive as far as 11,000 feet) and ready to respond to threats at a moment’s notice.
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