Acheron

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Greyhawk Plane
Infernal Battlefield of Acheron
Acheron01.jpg
A map of Acheron.
Type Outer plane
Layers 4
Alignment Lawful neutral/lawful evil
Native Inhabitants Achaierai, rakshasa, bladeling, bloodhawk, bonespear, maug, yugoloth, orc, goblin, chronotyryn, rust dragon, rust monster
Greyhawk Powers Bahgtru, Bralm, Gruumsh, Hextor, Ilneval, Khurgorbaeyag, Laduguer, Luthic, Maglubiyet, Nomog-Geaya, Ravanna, Wee Jas

Acheron, also known as The Infernal Battlefield of Acheron, the Battle Cubes, and the Plane of Lost Causes, is a lawful neutral/lawful evil-aligned plane of existence.

Acheron is conformity at all costs, cold iron law with a tinge of evil. The armies, clans, and cliques of the plane believe that identification with their group is the highest of goals, and those not of their group are to be subjugated or destroyed.

Description

Acheron is an eternal battlefield of endless conflict. It is a plane of law where conformity takes precedence over any thoughts of good. Unending battles take place across the entire plane between huge armies, with no chance of victory or cease-fire. Each layer of plane consists of a huge numbers of iron cubes of varying size, from continent-sized to small islands. Not all of these are actually cube-shaped, but they are generally called cubes nonetheless. The cubes float in an air-filled, infinite space, occasionally colliding with each other. If a cube drifts too far from the others, time becomes temporarily suspended there until it crashes back into the main mass; in this way, ancient armies have returned unexpectedly to resume long-forgotten battles.

Every cube face is habitable, with gravity always being directed towards the cube's center; furthermore, the cubes are filled with caverns and tunnels.

The light on Acheron varies between that similar to bright moonlight to that of a dark and cloudy day. The sound of battle resonates around the plane and can always be heard in the distance.

Structure

As with other outer planes, Acheron is spatially infinite, consisting of four infinite layers or sub-planes. Acheron's first layer, Avalas, shares borders with the neighbouring planes of the Nine Hells of Baator, the Outlands, and the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus; travel is possible between Acheron and these planes at certain locations.

The plane's portals take the form of spheres that hum when they're activated; Acheron's cubes slowly orbit around them. Discordant spheres lead to Baator, harmonious ones lead to Mechanus, and silent spheres lead to the Outlands. Planes of Law says there are also portals on the surface of the cubes, so you don't always have to get there by flying or falling; the portal from the gate-town of Rigus in the Outlands is one of those, periodically found on the surface of the Battle Cube, the Blue Cube, or in the Mercykiller city of Vorkehan. Exactly where the portal leads seems to be dependent on timetables set based on the number of deaths in the town of Rigus during the previous week.

Portals to Mechanus are found in the Mines of Marsellin on the second layer, and in Zoronor, the shadowed city of the bladelings in Ocanthus. Zoronor is rumored to contain numerous gates to Baator as well.

Layers

Acheron has four layers:

Avalas

The first layer of Acheron, Avalas, is also called The Battlefield. It contains the highest density of metal cubes and is thus host to the most fighting on the plane. The cubes are dotted with fortresses and covered with battlefields. Collisions between the cubes causes them to break apart in to smaller cubes, hence the smallest cubes are the oldest on the layer.

The Battle Cube is place of continual battle between the orc realm of Nishrek and the goblin realm of Clangor. Nishrek and Clangor are eternally at war, the souls of dead orcs and goblins battling for supremacy ever since the orc gods were driven from the Nine Hells.

Nishrek is home to the orc deity Gruumsh and several of the other deities of the orc pantheon, including Bahgtru, Ilneval, and Luthic. Clangor is home to the deities Maglubiyet, Khurgorbaeyag, and Nomog-Geaya. The city of Grashmog in Clangor includes a portal to Forgegloom in Hammergrim, the duergar pantheon's realm in Thuldanin.

Approximately 700 miles away from the Battle Cube is Kolyoral, the so-called Lost Cube, a relatively small cube with no known portals. It's the home of a small hive of formians as well as the Iron Fortress of Zandikar.

Bralm's realm, the Hive Fortress, is in Avalas.

Another prominent realm is the citadel of Scourgehold. Here Hextor presides over his legions as they train in The Great Coliseum. Avalas also contains the realms of Amatsu-Mikaboshi (The Brilliant Land) and Lei Kung (Resounding Thunder). Resounding Thunder contains Nihao, the gate-town to Mechanus, and Eight-Devils-Laughing, the gate-town to Baator; the outskirts of the realm are said to contain a portal to the Palace of Judgment in the Outlands.

Thuldanin

Thuldanin.jpg

Compared to Avalas, Thuldanin has a relatively small population. Geographically it is very much like the first, consisting of numerous huge cubes. On this layer the cubes are scarred and pitted by battle. Many pits lead down to labyrinths containing the refuse of the endless battles of the plane. The remains of broken war machines and other devices line the interiors of the cubes, even some finely crafted weapons can be found amongst the rubble.

Thuldanin has a preservative quality that results in the petrification of objects and creatures that spend too long on the layer; savvy visitors spend no longer than 29 days here.

The realm of Hammergrim is located on Thuldanin. It is the realm of the duergar god, Laduguer. The town of Hopeglimmer in Hammergrim has a portal that leads to the Mines of Marsellin, which also contains a portal to Mechanus.

Tintibulus

Tintibulus contains a large number of four-sided, five-sided, eight-sided, and other solids in preference to the six-sided cubes that predominate the other layers. A layer of thick dust coats the surface of the solids here, which are made of a grey volcanic stone. Magicians' libraries are scattered here, and is the best place in the Multiverse for magical research.

The Patterned Web, one of the two realms of Wee Jas, is located in Tintibulus. The Patterned Web is shaped like an octagon and laid out like a spiderweb. Those visitors who do not propitiate Wee Jas with appropriate gifts are trapped within the web for a full year, or until the goddess decides they have paid off their debts to her.

Ocanthus

The fourth layer contains no regular shapes, but many shard-like solids of black ice with razor sharp edges. The shards fly about in violent motion, referred to as a bladestorm.

Zoronor, known as the City of Shadows, is the home of the bladeling race. These strange creatures, who resemble humanoids with blades of wood and ice and steel protruding from their flesh, are ruled by their priest-king and prophet, known as Iron Feather. Iron Feather led his tormented, neglected people to this place long ago and built Zoronor at a large cost of lives and magic. Zoronor is surrounded by the Blood Forest, a hollow shell of wood and thorns that protects Zoronor from the ice shards of Ocanthus. The bladelings worship the Blood Forest as a lesser goddess they name Hriste, the Gray Whisper, and stories have it that new bladelings are born from the fleshy wood of the goddess. The bladelings are xenophobic and bloodthirsty, frequently sacrificing victims by impaling them on shards of dark ice protruding from their goddess's body, hoping to thus feed the Blood Forest and create more of their kind.

At the extreme of Ocanthus is one huge, perhaps infinite shard of black ice. Here lies the Cabal Macabre, another realm of the goddess of death and magic, Wee Jas. This domain takes the form of a huge and intricately carved ice castle that glows with a pale light.

Fauna

Creative origins

Acheron is named after Acheron, one of the tributaries of the Styx, and an alternate name for Hades in Greek Mythology.

See also

Bibliography

  • Collins, Andy. Lord of the Iron Fortress. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2001.
  • Cook, Monte. The Planewalker's Handbook. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • McComb, Colin, and Monte Cook. The Great Modron March. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997.
  • McComb, Colin, and Wolfgang Baur. Planes of Law. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Noonan, David. Complete Divine. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.