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Greyhawk Plane
Tarterian Depths of Carceri
A diagram of Carceri, as depicted in Manual of the Planes (2001).
Type Outer plane
Layers Six
Alignment Neutral evil/chaotic evil
Native Inhabitants Demodand, yugoloth, gautiere, odopi, vaath
Greyhawk Powers Apomps, Beltar, Cronus, Grolantor, Faluzure, Karontor, Nerull, Parrafaire, Vhaeraun

Carceri (more fully, the Tarterian Depths of Carceri; also, Tarterus or The Red Prison) is one of the Lower Planes, conceptually placed between the Gray Waste and the Abyss, representing pure evil with undertones of chaos. It is a prison of the gods and the spiritual home of traitors.

A written language used in Carceri is known as death tongue. (Fate of Istus, page 88)


Carceri is inhabited by sadistic, reptilian/insectoid creatures called vaath. It is the prison of the demodand race, who were banished with their patron Apomps long ago. It is one of the three planes claimed as homelands by the yugoloths.

The ostrichlike abrian, jackal-like vorr, bloodthorn, razorvine, khaasta, mephit, night hag, vagouilles and their abominable cousins the shrieking terrors, wormlike slasrath, sharklike terlen, the hideous odopi, evil titans and hecatoncheires, and demons of all sorts can be found in Carceri, as can petitioners made from the souls of liars, rebels, and traitors.


Carceri has six layers, contained inside each other not unlike the shells of a matryoshka doll; each layer consists of a series of orbs floating in an infinite black void. Light is provided by the orbs only; as one progresses through the layer, the light diminishes, and the orbs are separated by larger and larger distances. The first layer, called Othrys, touches the Astral Plane, the Abyss, the Outlands, and the Gray Waste; travel is possible between these planes at various locations. Portals in Carceri, which are much scarcer than on most other planes, are obelisks. Those taller than they are wide lead to the Gray Waste. Those wider than they are tall lead to the Abyss. Those with equal heights and widths lead to the Outlands.

Those who have been banished to Carceri are trapped there, unable to use its portals, until they become more powerful than their captors.


Beltar dwells somewhere on the plane, though her realm has not been named in canon.


The first layer, Othrys (spelled Orthrys in 3rd edition), is the spiritual home of corrupt politicians and those who betrayed their country. It consists of a war-ravaged landscape of swamps and stagnant rivers crossed only by spotted ranges of mountains. Several Greek Titans live on Othrys in the realm of Mount Othrys; furthermore, Raiden maintains his Palace of Thunder on Othrys. The Bastion of Lost Hope, a fortress controlled by the Revolutionary League faction, can be found on this layer, as can the demon-ruled fortress of Harrowfell and the asylum Skullrot where the demon prince Adimarchus is imprisoned.

The Stones of Draedilus are a ring of stones that contain portals to Sigil, Gehenna, and the Prime Material Plane (see Hellbound: The Blood War, The Dark of the War, page 57).


The second layer, Cathrys (also called The Crimson Jungle), is the spiritual home of those who gave in to their animal lusts. It is a layer of thick jungles and open plains of razored grass. Talona's realm Palace of Poison Tears can be found on Cathrys, as can The Steading, the realm of hill giant deity Grolantor.


The third layer, Minethys, is the spiritual home of hoarders, those who could have aided others with their wealth but decided not to. It is a parched layer of crimson glowing sand and biting, desiccating sandstorms. Notable locations on Minethys include Coeus' Temple, dedicated to the Titan of the same name; the Mausoleum of Pain of the dragon god Faluzure; Karontor's The Rack of Injustice; and Trickster's Delight, the realm of the naga deity Parrafaire.

The buried city known as the Sand Tombs of Payratheon can be found in Minethys as well. Local fauna include sand gorgons and mummy lords.

Minethys is the home of the gautiere race, a group of humanoids who betrayed their deity long ago, becoming corrupted into a race of fiends.


The fourth layer, Colothys, is the spiritual home of liars who hurt others with their falsehoods. It consists of jagged, unforgiving mountains and sudden chasms with little flat ground to find refuge. Crius' Temple, dedicated to the Titan of the same name, can be found here; furthermore, Ellaniath, the realm of the the drow deity Vhaeraun, and The Land of the Hunt, realm of the god Malar, are located on Colothys.


The fifth layer, Porphatys, is the spiritual home of the shallow and self-absorbed who refused to aid others when they had the chance. It is a cold layer dominated by a shallow, acidic ocean, cut only by sand bars and drifts of semi-solid acid snow. Oceanus' Temple, dedicated to the Titan of the same name, is located on Porphatys.


The last layer, Agathys, is the spiritual home of those who falsely pretended friendship. It consists of a single orb of black ice alone in the void, almost completely devoid of light and sound, with only the shifting and breaking of ice and the slow, crushing agony of petitioners frozen into it being heard. Apomps' Three-Sided Palace, realm of the demodand (gehreleth) lord Apomps, can be found on Agathys. The god Nerull from the World of Greyhawk setting also makes his home on Agathys.


  • Demodand
  • Tarterian dragon
  • Gautiere
  • Odopi
  • Sand gorgon
  • Vaath

Creative origins

Carceri is based on Tartarus in Greek mythology. Its descending layers, each associated with a different sin and terminating in a sea of ice in which a three-faced fiend is imprisoned, are inspired by Dante's Inferno. Carceri is the Italian word for prisons. David Cook renamed the plane Carceri (from Tartarus) because he was inspired by the artwork of Giovanni Piranesi.[1]

See also


  • Cook, Monte. Dungeon Master's Guide v. 3.5. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2003.
  • -----. The Planewalker's Handbook. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1987.
  • McComb, Colin. Faces of Evil: The Fiends. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997.
  • -----. On Hallowed Ground. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • -----. Well of Worlds. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1994.
  • McComb, Colin, and Monte Cook. Hellbound: The Blood War. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.
  • McComb, Colin, Dale Donovan, and Monte Cook. Planes of Conflict. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995.
  • Perkins, Christopher. "Asylum." Dungeon #116. Bellevue, WA: Paizo Publishing, 2004.
  • Vallese, Ray. Something Wild. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.