Cosmology

To the average inhabitant of Urth, all that exists is what lies before them: the ground beneath their feet, and the heavens above wherein the sun, moons, and stars linger. But for those willing to glance beyond the mirrored surface of reality, a seemingly endless series of new horizons becomes apparent. These are the far realms, the other planes of existence which connect in various ways to the mundane world.

The existence of other planes is a mystery to most people. To the layman, the presence of other planes and dimensions is meaningless. Besides the hope of a pleasant afterlife to look forward to, the farmer, carpenter, or soldier has very little use for metaphysical hearsay about invisible worlds beyond their own. Some, such as the church of Ao, even actively suppress the knowledge of other planes, believing such knowledge to be dangerous. In any case, the presence of the far realms cannot be denied to those who know of them. While the exact nature of these other planes is still largely a mystery, there is some basic knowledge that is available to most who would pursue it.

The Planes

The Firmament/The Prime Material Plane
The dimension in which Urth and the surrounding heavens exist, believed to be the nexus by which all other planes are connected. Surprisingly little has been discovered about the prime plane, which is known to scholars as The Firmament, aside from simple advances in natural science and magic. To scholars and astrologers, it is known that Urth is a celestial body much like the moons, sun and stars, and that other celestial bodies like Urth exist nearby. It is theorized that there is much more to the prime material plane that mortal eyes cannot see, but no such theories have been proven as of yet.

The Reverie/The Astral Plane
Known to scholars as the transitive plane or The Reverie, the astral plane is believed to be the space between all known worlds. There is a possibility that the astral plane envelopes the prime material plane, but this is a matter of debate. It is commonly accepted by theologians that mortal souls travel through the astral plane upon death, in order to reach the afterlife. It is also believed by many that mortal souls disembark from their bodies while they sleep and journey through the astral plane, creating dreams. The Reverie is believed to be the native realm of magic, of the fey, and many other spiritual entities. The astral plane is intrinsically linked to the prime material plane, and parts of The Reverie bleed through seamlessly into Urth in some areas. These zones are not entirely physical but not wholly of The Reverie, but are something different altogether. The laws of nature and magic are warped in these areas and are best avoided.

It is possible for mortals to willingly travel to the astral plane, by way of astral projection. This process causes the soul of the being to leave its body while retaining full cognition. While away from the body, the soul is linked to its physical form via a silver cord. This cord is an ethereal bond between the spirit and the body, and can be used to retrace one’s journey through The Reverie so as not to become lost within the seemingly infinite plane. Though this cord is highly resilient to damage, should it become severed, the adjoining soul would be left without a clear way back its point of entry, and is bound to be lost forever inside the astral realm.

The Elemental Wastes
It is theorized that there is a plane comprised almost entirely of raw elemental substance, primarily the four “cardinal” elements of fire, earth, air, and water. This plane is said to contain vast pools of lava and flaming, sulfuric lakes; crystal clear oceans and mucky swamps; vast mountains and seemingly endless expanses of soil and sand; and above and between them all enormous voids of open air where gales and storms constantly squall. Creatures like elementals and other element-touched beings are said to originate from this plane. According to some religions, the gods created the elemental wastes before any other plane and used its primeval substances to build the foundation of the prime material plane. The wastes are of particular interest to alchemists, who study the world’s natural elements and seek to utilize them for higher purposes. Magics which conjure elemental matter do so from this plane.

The Afterworld
To many people, the idea of an afterlife is just as important as the idea of a mortal one. Religion, of course, is explicitly tied to this belief. Some religions teach that a life well-lived will be rewarded with a continued existence after death. Some refine this ideal further by stating that a “good” person will go to a peaceful, pleasurable afterlife while an “evil” person will be condemned to eternal suffering. The concept of reincarnation, which says that a mortal soul will be forever reborn again and again into an endless cycle of mortal lives, also relies on an afterlife. Each religion claims its own version of an afterlife. If there are so many places for one to go after death, and nearly all of them exclude each other, can they all be true? Of all of the far realms, the afterlife and its many, many iterations remain the most mysterious and thought-provoking.

Demiplanes
There are rumored to exist any number of lesser planes. These demiplanes are small, self-contained pockets of existence which obey by their own natural laws, and may be quite different physically from Urth. Demiplanes likely have only a couple of portals one can use to access them, or have very strict conditions which must be met to enter or leave them. Perhaps the most well-known of these rumored planes is the Demiplane of Dread, which is a dark, foreboding mirror of Urth where the cursed and the damned are said to dwell.

Extraplanar Beings

Angels
Beings of pure good and positive energy are believed to come from the “higher” realms of the afterlife, places of unequaled joy and happiness. These beings, known to some as angels, are the agents of good deities and protectors of those who do good in life.

Demons and Devils

Elementals

Cosmology

Templore Campaign Setting Illusees