D&D General The cosmology of your homebrew campaign

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
In my most recent game, one of the PCs is a shadow sorcerer who received her magic from the god Mask whom she calls her patron, so the Shadowfell is part of the setting.

Another PC is a paladin of Pelor, and another is a cleric of Tiamat. One is a warlock whose patron is Glasya, daughter of Asmodeus. I suppose there's a vague notion that there are outer planes in which these divine beings reside, but it hasn't come up in the game yet.

There's also a prominent citizen of the campaign's base city who is secretly a rakshasa, so I'm thinking the Nine Hells exists as a distant region of the outer planes from which he and his family originated long ago.

Beneath the city there are tunnels that legends tell eventually lead down to an underworld that was once the source of a zombie invasion of the city but that also is the location of a magical garden whose trees bear great shining gems for fruit. I'm thinking this cavern may contain portals to both the Shadowfell and the Feywild.
 

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I've been reading the thread on the recent errata and a few people dislike the great wheel. I don't consider thos a problem, but it has made me wonder what kind of cosmology people have set up, if they aren't using the great wheel.

Taking my inspiration from Nordic myth, I decided on nine inter-connected planes. Looking at a* list of the Nine Worlds gives us
  • Midgard, the campaign world
  • Asgard, the divine world, risen afterlife
  • Vanaheim, the second divine world
  • Jotunheim, the giant world of primal nature
  • Muspelheim, the primordial fire world
  • Niflheim, the primordial ice world
  • Alfheim, the elf world
  • Nidavellir, the dwarf world
  • Hel, the netherworld, fallen afterlife
Thinking about this, and keeping mind some other ideas I had previously about alternate realities / dimensions I came up with the following;

Kherindal - The campaign world, fairly typical Terran world with magic and super-science. Notable for the large number of sapient races. (Life Evolves)

Salandron - A place of fire, earth, air, but no water. The City of Brass is here, along with literal firestorms, slag rats, thoqqua, and ironwood dhows sailing of seas of pitch and oil. Innately hostile to terrestrial life. Yet, those that can survive can barter for pleasures that can satiate any desire, subtle or gross. But beware for the ifrit hunger for slaves to work in this most inhospitable world. (Fire Consumes)

Vaalbaran - A place of water, earth, air, but no fire. This is an empty, lightless waste of stone, ice, and gloom, an echo of the time before Creation. Emotionless intellects from deep time lurk here contemplating ineffable philosophies for eons. They do not take kindly to interruptions, but, oh, the questions they can answer... (Water Contemplates)

Acheron - A place of earth, fire, water, but no air. A chill waste without obvious life. While there is a sky, there is no wind and sound carries strangely. A shout is barely heard at 50 ft, but have someone's gaze and they can hear you whisper. Nothing flies, seemingly nothing can travel upwards more than 30 ft. above a surface. It is a place of the lost, broken, and forgotten; a realm of exile but also of travel. Many ancient beings are here, discarded gods and banished demons wander about looking for escape. Most any other realm, save Salandron, Vaalbaran, and Carceri, can be reached from here. But, travel quickly before you become the stone under your feet... (Earth Fossilizes)

Asphodel - A place of air, water, fire, but no earth. A world of wings, light, and drifting realms tucked into spherical tree-like growths. Angelic beings shepherd beings to strange glades to rest, heal, and forget their past lives. Travelers here can potentially find the spirits of the departed before the return to the cycle of reincarnation or move on to the Long Road. Powerful servants and cohorts of the Patrons can also be found here. But, you have to evade their guardians. (Air Travels)

Anakarum - A realm where nature is "larger than life". Storms rage, trees tower, and mountains scrape the sky. Everything grows 5-10x the size, jewels the size of your fist glimmer from canyon walls, and you wake up feeling more alive than ever before. Giants, behemoths, leviathans, and zazzan dwell here, and you could find yourself a pet in a gilded cage if not simply consumed. (Bodies Act)

Lyonesse - The realm of the fae, and the Veil of Dreams. This is a world that most people travel to, although they seldom remember it. The Veil shrouds the mortal worlds preventing easy access to primal creatures such as ifrit, demons, and eidolons. The Veil is plastic to mortal minds, but as primals do not dream what happens to them in the Veil happens. A child could destroy a balrog with a simple fearful "go away!", and it does so, forever. (Dreams Reveal)

Rhoder - A twilight place of stars, moons, but no sun. People live amid startides that blow silvery winds through the pearlescent leaved trees and gather moonstone from where it has fallen from the sky. But they always hide from Sol Adligatus, the hate of the dead but shackled sun that creeps across the sky. (Thought Expresses)

Carceri - The realm of the forsaken. Only accessable from Acheron, here the Fallen One guards the Iron Sun that seals the rift to the Outside of Creation. Serving the mortals that It once desired to rule, the Fallen One gazes down on the prison where the demons are trapped. Only such a consummate strategist such as It can anticipate the actions of the things from Outside. It rules from the drifting, shattered landmasses that orbit the dark fire of the Iron Sun. (Hate Imprisons)

All realms save for Salandron and Vaalbaran can be travelled to without special protections. Acheron and Lyonesse are often accessed as it allows for fast travel through other worlds. It is far more likely to encounter a denizen in Lyonesse than Acheron, but the latter is usually drastically more dangerous.

*There are at least four different lists that I'm aware of, and they're all different. The similarities are that they all have Asgard, Midgard, Jotenheim, Muspelheim, and Niflheim.
 
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cbwjm

Legend
Taking my inspiration from Nordic myth, I decided on nine inter-connected planes. Looking at a* list of the Nine Worlds gives us
  • Midgard, the campaign world
  • Asgard, the divine world, risen afterlife
  • Vanaheim, the second divine world
  • Jotunheim, the giant world of primal nature
  • Muspelheim, the primordial fire world
  • Niflheim, the primordial ice world
  • Alfheim, the elf world
  • Nidavellir, the dwarf world
  • Hel, the netherworld, fallen afterlife
Thinking about this, and keeping mind some other ideas I had previously about alternate realities / dimensions I came up with the following;

Kherindal - The campaign world, fairly typical Terran world with magic and super-science. Notable for the large number of sapient races. (Life Evolves)

Salandron - A place of fire, earth, air, but no water. The City of Brass is here, along with literal firestorms, slag rats, thoqqua, and ironwood dhows sailing of seas of pitch and oil. Innately hostile to terrestrial life. Yet, those that can survive can barter for pleasures that can satiate any desire, subtle or gross. But beware for the ifrit hunger for slaves to work in this most inhospitable world. (Fire Consumes)

Vaalbaran - A place of water, earth, air, but no fire. This is an empty, lightless waste of stone, ice, and gloom, an echo of the time before Creation. Emotionless intellects from deep time lurk here contemplating ineffable philosophies for eons. They do not take kindly to interruptions, but, oh, the questions they can answer... (Water Contemplates)

Acheron - A place of earth, fire, water, but no air. A chill waste without obvious life. While there is a sky, there is no wind and sound carries strangely. A shout is barely heard at 50 ft, but have someone's gaze and they can hear you whisper. Nothing flies, seemingly nothing can travel upwards more than 30 ft. above a surface. It is a place of the lost, broken, and forgotten; a realm of exile but also of travel. Many ancient beings are here, discarded gods and banished demons wander about looking for escape. Any other realm, save Salandron and Vaalbaran, can be reached from here. But, travel quickly before you become the stone under your feet... (Earth Fossilizes)

Asphodel - A place of air, water, fire, but no earth. A world of wings, light, and drifting realms tucked into spherical tree-like growths. Angelic beings shepherd beings to strange glades to rest, heal, and forget their past lives. Travelers here can potentially find the spirits of the departed before the return to the cycle of reincarnation or move on to the Long Road. Powerful servants and cohorts of the Patrons can also be found here. But, you have to evade their guardians. (Air Travels)

Anakarum - A realm where nature is "larger than life". Storms rage, trees tower, and mountains scrape the sky. Everything grows 5-10x the size, jewels the size of your fist glimmer from canyon walls, and you wake up feeling more alive than ever before. Giants, behemoths, leviathans, and zazzan dwell here, and you could find yourself a pet in a gilded cage if not simply consumed. (Bodies Act)

Lyonesse - The realm of the fae, and the Veil of Dreams. This is a world that most people travel to, although they seldom remember it. The Veil shrouds the mortal worlds preventing easy access to primal creatures such as ifrit, demons, and eidolons. The Veil is plastic to mortal minds, but as primals do not dream what happens to them in the Veil happens. A child could destroy a balrog with a simple fearful "go away!", and it does so, forever. (Dreams Reveal)

Rhoder - A twilight place of stars, moons, but no sun. People live amid startides that blow silvery winds through the pearlescent leaved trees and gather moonstone from where it has fallen from the sky. But they always hide from Sol Adligatus, the hate of the dead but shackled sun that creeps across the sky. (Thought Expresses)

Carceri - The realm of the forsaken. Only accessable from Acheron, here the Fallen One guards the Iron Sun that seals the rift to the Outside of Creation. Serving the mortals that It once desired to rule, the Fallen One gazes down on the prison where the demons are trapped. Only such a consummate strategist such as It can anticipate the actions of the things from Outside. It rules from the drifting, shattered landmasses that orbit the dark fire of the Iron Sun. (Hate Imprisons)

All realms save for Salandron and Vaalbaran can be travelled to without special protections. Acheron and Lyonesse are often accessed as it allows for fast travel through other worlds. It is far more likely to encounter a denizen in Lyonesse than Acheron, but the latter is usually drastically more dangerous.

*There are at least four different lists that I'm aware of, and they're all different. The similarities are that they all have Asgard, Midgard, Jotenheim, Muspelheim, and Niflheim.
I like the way you've set up the various planes of existence, I especially like how you look at the elemental realms with a primary element and a missing element and then thinking what these planes would look like. All of your planes are well thought out, and I like the two word description of the planes.
 
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Thank you @cbwjm!

It started with the desire to have a limited number of planes and wanting nearly all of them to be locations of adventure. I decided that having a number of elemental planes that were just "pure" elements was too limiting. I also wanted the fae to not be tied to the natural world, and that elementals were expressions of that world. So summoned elementals are usually nature spirits clothed in a particular element.

I didn't want the blood war and this arrangement, and the myths that support it, also allowed me to have demons and many far realm entities be tied together. Most of the rest are from Vaalbaran, an echo of time from the previous universe.
 

cbwjm

Legend
Thank you @cbwjm!

It started with the desire to have a limited number of planes and wanting nearly all of them to be locations of adventure. I decided that having a number of elemental planes that were just "pure" elements was too limiting. I also wanted the fae to not be tied to the natural world, and that elementals were expressions of that world. So summoned elementals are usually nature spirits clothed in a particular element.

I didn't want the blood war and this arrangement, and the myths that support it, also allowed me to have demons and many far realm entities be tied together. Most of the rest are from Vaalbaran, an echo of time from the previous universe.
Part of what I like about the 4e planar set up was the elemental chaos, all the elements mixed in together rather than separate planes. It made it more interesting than the previous set up, which while it wasn't bad, the elemental chaos was just more interesting for me.

My current setting has a number of elemental spirits, kind of like representations of a location. My players have met an elemental water spirit that represents the waters of a large lake surrounded by an ancient city. I expect they'll meet a few more.
 

Rogerd1

Explorer
Taking my inspiration from Nordic myth, I decided on nine inter-connected planes. Looking at a* list of the Nine Worlds gives us
  • Midgard, the campaign world
  • Asgard, the divine world, risen afterlife
  • Vanaheim, the second divine world
  • Jotunheim, the giant world of primal nature
  • Muspelheim, the primordial fire world
  • Niflheim, the primordial ice world
  • Alfheim, the elf world
  • Nidavellir, the dwarf world
  • Hel, the netherworld, fallen afterlife
Thinking about this, and keeping mind some other ideas I had previously about alternate realities / dimensions I came up with the following;

Kherindal - The campaign world, fairly typical Terran world with magic and super-science. Notable for the large number of sapient races. (Life Evolves)

Salandron - A place of fire, earth, air, but no water. The City of Brass is here, along with literal firestorms, slag rats, thoqqua, and ironwood dhows sailing of seas of pitch and oil. Innately hostile to terrestrial life. Yet, those that can survive can barter for pleasures that can satiate any desire, subtle or gross. But beware for the ifrit hunger for slaves to work in this most inhospitable world. (Fire Consumes)

Vaalbaran - A place of water, earth, air, but no fire. This is an empty, lightless waste of stone, ice, and gloom, an echo of the time before Creation. Emotionless intellects from deep time lurk here contemplating ineffable philosophies for eons. They do not take kindly to interruptions, but, oh, the questions they can answer... (Water Contemplates)

Acheron - A place of earth, fire, water, but no air. A chill waste without obvious life. While there is a sky, there is no wind and sound carries strangely. A shout is barely heard at 50 ft, but have someone's gaze and they can hear you whisper. Nothing flies, seemingly nothing can travel upwards more than 30 ft. above a surface. It is a place of the lost, broken, and forgotten; a realm of exile but also of travel. Many ancient beings are here, discarded gods and banished demons wander about looking for escape. Most any other realm, save Salandron, Vaalbaran, and Carceri, can be reached from here. But, travel quickly before you become the stone under your feet... (Earth Fossilizes)

Asphodel - A place of air, water, fire, but no earth. A world of wings, light, and drifting realms tucked into spherical tree-like growths. Angelic beings shepherd beings to strange glades to rest, heal, and forget their past lives. Travelers here can potentially find the spirits of the departed before the return to the cycle of reincarnation or move on to the Long Road. Powerful servants and cohorts of the Patrons can also be found here. But, you have to evade their guardians. (Air Travels)

Anakarum - A realm where nature is "larger than life". Storms rage, trees tower, and mountains scrape the sky. Everything grows 5-10x the size, jewels the size of your fist glimmer from canyon walls, and you wake up feeling more alive than ever before. Giants, behemoths, leviathans, and zazzan dwell here, and you could find yourself a pet in a gilded cage if not simply consumed. (Bodies Act)

Lyonesse - The realm of the fae, and the Veil of Dreams. This is a world that most people travel to, although they seldom remember it. The Veil shrouds the mortal worlds preventing easy access to primal creatures such as ifrit, demons, and eidolons. The Veil is plastic to mortal minds, but as primals do not dream what happens to them in the Veil happens. A child could destroy a balrog with a simple fearful "go away!", and it does so, forever. (Dreams Reveal)

Rhoder - A twilight place of stars, moons, but no sun. People live amid startides that blow silvery winds through the pearlescent leaved trees and gather moonstone from where it has fallen from the sky. But they always hide from Sol Adligatus, the hate of the dead but shackled sun that creeps across the sky. (Thought Expresses)

Carceri - The realm of the forsaken. Only accessable from Acheron, here the Fallen One guards the Iron Sun that seals the rift to the Outside of Creation. Serving the mortals that It once desired to rule, the Fallen One gazes down on the prison where the demons are trapped. Only such a consummate strategist such as It can anticipate the actions of the things from Outside. It rules from the drifting, shattered landmasses that orbit the dark fire of the Iron Sun. (Hate Imprisons)

All realms save for Salandron and Vaalbaran can be travelled to without special protections. Acheron and Lyonesse are often accessed as it allows for fast travel through other worlds. It is far more likely to encounter a denizen in Lyonesse than Acheron, but the latter is usually drastically more dangerous.

*There are at least four different lists that I'm aware of, and they're all different. The similarities are that they all have Asgard, Midgard, Jotenheim, Muspelheim, and Niflheim.
This is amazing, but if you like a world tree type feel-


In there it has a World Tree, but it is more a multiverse tree.

Angel Compendium Excerpt said:
To beholdit is to behold nothing more than a thing of wood and leaves, no more spectacular than any other tree. But as one approaches this thing, they begin to understand exactly what it is. Within the gnarled branchesand the groovesofthe woodlies the lives of every human to haveeverexisted. The bark is composedofuniversesinfinite, beyond the scope of any mortal being. To touchitis to feel wood, but to know what it is brings enlightenment. The tree exists in a worldall its own. Its roots dig into what seemsto be rock, and golden cloudsoflight frame Ein Soph from behind. The branchesstretch far into the heavens, andthe leaves, green, never change their colors.
 

S'mon

Legend
The philosophers IMCs have different concepts of what their universe's cosmology looks like. I tend to default to something like the World Axis (except Hell is in the Elemental Chaos, not the Astral Sea). The Wilderlands, Primeval Thule, my Forgotten Realms, Thylea (Odyssey of the Dragonlords) - they all have different cosmologies though. Thule is a 1930s-modernist type universe, Thylea is a Greek myth universe. In Thylea you have Aurae Nymph sailing ships literally sailing the Astral Sea. In Thule you have eldritch horrors lurking in the Void Between the Stars.
 

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