Gray Waste

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Greyhawk Plane
Gray Wastes of Hades
Type Outer plane
Layers 3
Alignment Neutral evil
Native Inhabitants Yugoloths, hordlings, diakka, larvae, night hags, nightmares, pack fiends
Greyhawk Powers Abbathor, Anthraxus, Cegilune, Charon, Incabulos, Kuraulyek, Mydianchlarus, Panzuriel, Pyremius, Syrul, Typhus, Yurtrus

The Gray Waste (more fully, the Gray Wastes of Hades; also, Hades, The Three Glooms, Hope's Loss or The Nadir) is a strongly Neutral Evil-aligned plane of existence.

The Gray Waste is despair, a plane of horrible greed that sucks the passion, identity, and will from those who enter it and gives nothing in return. There may be equal suffering on other planes, but other planes don't rob those who suffer of their very essences while they find themselves being transformed into writhing worms or mournful shades. Even in Baator, there is hope: in the Waste there is nothing, only endless insulting gray. Cause and effect are an illusion here: things happen because they must, because Evil demands it.

Description

The Gray Waste is the plane of strongly focused evil within the D&D cosmology; its main theme is that of hopelessness and despair. In the Gray Waste, colors fade to muted shades of gray (except for the occasional portal, which are colored bronze, silver, or gold, depending on where they lead) and the land itself works to remain as soulless as possible. Extended visits to the plane cause travelers to lose interest in leaving; soon after, the entrapping effect of the plane takes over, causing increased apathy and despair. Eventually their sanity and memories fade away, and they become permanent petitioners of the plane.

Inhabitants

The plane is used primarily by the tanar'ri and the baatezu as the battlefield for the Blood War. Native creatures include Yugoloths, diakka, hordlings, larvae, and night hags. Several deities live here, including Hades of the Greek pantheon, Cegilune the mother of night hags, and others.

Structure

The Gray Waste is a spatially infinite plane, consisting of three layers or sub-planes, sometimes referred to as the Three Glooms. The River Styx flows through the first layer, Oinos, connecting it with the other evil-aligned Lower Planes. The Gray Waste shares its borders with the neighbouring planes of the Tarterian Depths of Carceri, the Outlands, and the Bleak Eternity of Gehenna; travel is possible between the Gray Waste and these planes at certain locations. Portals to Gehenna are great spinning coins of copper, while silver coins lead to the Outlands, and gold coins lead to Carceri. They're visible for miles, and often have iron fortresses built around them.

Layers

The Gray Waste has three layers, sometimes referred to as the Three Glooms:

Oinos

Oinos is the most prominent battlefield of the Blood War, filled with constant guts and carnage. It is also a place of nightmares and virulent plague. Oinos is the location of a number of godly realms, including Incabulos' realm Charnelhouse, Kelemvor's realm the Crystal Spire (formerly Myrkul's Bone Castle), the orc deity Yurtrus' realm of Fleshslough, the dwarf deity Abbathor's realm of Glitterhell, and the urd deity Kuraulyek's realm Urdrest. It also holds the majority of Blood War battlefields and Khin-Oin, home to most leaders of the mercenary yugoloths.

The River Styx flows through Oinos on its endless journey through the Lower Planes. Khin-Oin, the Wasting Tower, a fortress built and maintained by the yugoloths from the forty-mile-long spine of a dead god on what is said to be the site of their creation, can be found in Oinos.

Niflheim

Niflheim is a place of cold and mist, home of frost giants and the dead. The world ash Yggdrasil has its roots here. Niflheim is the location of a number of godly realms, including Hel's realm of Niflheim, after which the layer is named, Pyremius's realm the Black Volcano, Shar's realm the Palace of Loss, Panzuriel's realm of Rezuriel, Mask's realm of Shadow Keep, Arawn's realm of Annwn, the Isles of the Cursed, and Ratri's realm Dark of Night. Niflheim is also the location of Mictlan, a land of the dead associated with Mictlantecuhtli.

The River Styx also penetrates into this layer. Iggwilv currently dwells in a manor here on the river's shore.

Pluton

Pluton is a place of darkness and shadows, home of the dead. Pluton is the location of a number of godly realms, including the hag goddess Cegilune's realm of Hagsend, Hecate's primary realm of Aeaea, and the god Hades' realm of Hades, the Underworld. Furthermore, Mount Olympus rises from Pluton, and the River Styx flows through the Greek underworld.

Fauna

  • Gloom dragon
  • Pack Fiend

Creative origins

The Gray Waste is based on the underworld of Hades in Greek mythology.

See also

Bibliography

  • Baker, Richard, Travis Stout, and James Wyatt. Player's Guide to Faerun. Renton, WA: Wizards of the Coast, 2004.
  • Cook, Monte. 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.
  • McComb, Colin, and Monte Cook. The Great Modron March. Renton, WA: TSR, 1997.
  • -----. Hellbound: The Blood War. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1996.