Nervesnap (3.5e Environment)
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This layer, personally crafted by Shilah floats around like a ship within the Negative Energy Plane. A cloud as dark as the night churns and shifts, producing numerous eyes, mouths, and tentacles on the surface as often as they diminish. Those who walk upon this cloudy ground is soon overcome by fearful image of themselves being engulfed by the layer, which becomes reality in the next second. They will never reach the castle of Shilah...or so they thought.
This cloudy realm, as huge as it is, is actually said to be able to move completely into other planes. This rare travel of the entire realm into a different plane happens when Shilah notices an interesting event capable of changing the entire multiverse as it is. When this happens, the approach of dark clouds hissing and glaring and reaching for anything that comes near is horrifying even for the devils of Baator or the demons of the Abyss.
A rumor about this realm is that the entire realm is actually a part of the physical body of Shilah. Whether this is true or not only this vampire goddess knows. The more a traveler wanders on this plane puts them in more danger, but at the same time they feel safer because of the merciless hostility of the Negative Energy Plane.
- Gravity: Gravity is felt somewhat lighter than that on Material Plane, although not light enough to make any too much difference than that on the Material Plane. The gravity is directed towards the center of this realm, which is usually located somewhere deep underneath the central castle.
- Time: Time flows somewhat faster than that of the Material Plane. Those who are unaccustomed to this realm feels as if there is 25 hours in a day, instead of the usual 24.
- Size: Finite, although it looks like an infinite plane from the central site (Shilah's Castle of Everdusk). It is roughly the size of a Pangaea.
- Morphic: Magically morphic. Non-deities can change the features of this realm with magic, but such change are usually never permanent as Nervesnap changes itself back after a while. Shilah is the only one who can make permanent change. She feels no need for that, for this layer constantly changes shape and formation as though to meet her needs. Others who try to change this realm must continue to exert force to retain such change, even if the change is made by a greater deity.
Magic, Alignment, and Energy/Elemental Traits
- Elemental Dominance: The realm is mostly filled with air-based elements, such as smoke, dust, and cold. Most other forms of elements are found around the Castle of Everdusk. Visitors can breathe almost freely, unlike most other regions of the Negative Energy Plane.
- Energy Dominance: Although the layer is in the Negative Energy Plane, it seems that this realm has no negative-dominant trait. However, when it moves off of the Negative Energy Plane and makes its move to another Plane, it takes on a minor Negative-dominant trait, or even major Negative-dominant.
- Alignment Trait: Slightly Chaotic and Evil. Good creatures and Lawful creatures have -1 to their Will and Fortitude saves. Lawful Good creatures instead have -3 for Will and Fortitude.
- Magic Trait: Anyone who casts a spell gains sadism (for every 10hp damage a caster deals, he gains +1 on attacks, saves, and checks) until the next round. A spell with the law descriptor has 20% miss chance. An evil spell with stunning effect is enhanced with two of the following of the caster's choice: disguise, enlarge, extend, quicken, reach, silent, still, or subdual. The caster can also choose persistent, but in doing so the caster cannot choose another enhancement. A spell with negative energy is maximized if used against an undead or other creatures that may benefit from negative energy.
The Nervesnap itself can form holes at a random moment, dropping adventurers off to a different place of the Negative Energy Realm. This random disposal can often end up in unwanted fatalities.
Most of the inhabitants are found in Shilah's Castle of Everdusk, including relatively young vampires, golems made of unnatural materials, and the souls abducted by the layer itself, to be the subjects of merciless tortures.
Creatures not living near Shilah's castle include undeads and aberrations that can withstand the ever-changing ground.
Movement and Combat
Movement is mostly unchanged, but travelers are treated as carrying only 80% weight of all equipment because of light gravity. Every hour of travel outside of Everdusk has one of the following happen to them:
- 01-10%: Cliffs of 100ft suddenly rise on all sides, trapping the travelers in a pit of 50ft by 50ft for 1d4 hours. These cliffs are numbingly cold, and its surface either is slippery as grease, thorny as a cactus, or easy to tear as a piece of bread. Climb checks are made at -5 and every successful check makes the penalty for the next climb check increased by 1. For every check made the climber takes 1d4 points of cold damage.
- 11-20%: Suddenly, a wave of dark clouds rolls onto the travelers. Every breathing creature makes a DC17 Fortitude save or takes 1d6 Constitution damage and become fatigued as the cloud tries to rupture the breathing organ.
- 21-30%: The ground below shrieks as if in extreme pain for 5 minutes. Everyone in the vicinity has -8 to listening checks and cannot use spells with verbal components unless the caster makes a concentration check of 18. If someone attempts to use the silence spell or similar spell-like ability while this effect is taking place, the caster will be attacked by destructive harmony of horrific screams. The caster and all creature within 20 feet of him must make a reflex save of DC 17 or take 3d8 points of sonic damage and become deafened for 5 minutes.
- 31-40%: The ground below suddenly grows a tentacle that tries to steal the ability to see from travelers. If a creature fails both Fortitude save and Reflex save at DC 20, the creature becomes blinded as if by the blindness spell.
- 41-50%: The layer curses the travelers with a nightmare. Those who fail DC17 Will save will suffer effects similar to the nightmare spell, if they attempt to sleep within 24 hour of this incident.
- 51-60%: The grounds around grow rapidly into balloon-like formations, which soon rupture and release matters of pure chaos. Everyone must succeed DC20 Fortitude save or lose 1d4 points from both Strength and Dexterity. From then on, additional Fortitude saves must be made every minute until those affected succeeds one, and for every failure it deals the same type of damage. Every failure makes the DC lower by 4.
- 61-70%: The ground becomes airy and sticky like a giant spiderweb. All creatures moving on the ground have their speed reduced to 5ft per round, for 5 minutes.
- 71-80%: The ground spews a misty, ghostly version of the travelers. These figures look like the travelers with all their equipments, and they are no where near to active. If the travelers attack these figures, the same damage is immediately dealt to the original. Likewise, destroying one will result in the death of the original. Once these copies are formed, they will not go away until the travelers leave them behind in the distance.
- 81-90%: One or more random individuals (but never more than half of the group) becomes target of dominate person spell, cast from one of the eyes on the ground with DC15 Will save to negate. It orders the individual to slay all creatures around him with the same size category, and this effect lasts for 5 minutes. After that, the individual regains his own senses. This effect does not happen if the group consists of only one individual.
- 91-100%: A portal starts to open in the place they are. Centered upon one random individual, a 10ft radius portal takes everyone who fails a DC19 Reflex save to another location in the Negative Energy Plane. Those who make the save manages to reach the edge of this portal and avoid falling through. This portal remains for 1d4+1 rounds, and is one-way.
Combat is as on Material Plane.
Features of the Plane
Castle of Everdusk
The castle is the only form of shelter and civilization on this layer. This castle is actually collections of many buildings, each piling on top of each other like bricks. The castle is actually the size of a megalopolis, although there are barely any living residents. Travelers can enter any of the "rooms" without permission, and reside there as long as they wish. Every 8 hours they reside in a single building, there is a 10% chance that it collapses, burying all residents alive. Some crumbled buildings form covers for creatures hiding from Shilah's servants, otherwise staying outside buildings might be safer than being inside.
The central structure is the actual castle, which towers mighty like a mountain. Trespassers are intercepted with groups of vampires and golems, who welcomes followers of Shilah but tries to take a bite out of everyone else. After that, they enter a garden covered with terrifying plant monsters and spider webs. A straight path leads through the plantations that talk gibberish and to the entrance of the castle. Within the castle are hallways filled with doors, which leads to more hallways of doors. Knowledge (architecture and engineering) check with DC ranging from 20 to 30 is required to find a room that does not contain other doors. Successful check leads to the following room:
- 1-20%: The room is a library, containing many books piled on top of another. There are so many books that one may find the right kind of book for just about any topic. While in this room, given 10 minutes an individual can find such book.
- 21-30%: The room is a storage, containing shelves of beakers. Many of them seems to contain priceless components such as furs of a tarantula or a feet of a gecko, but some of them are actually valuable potions.
- 31-50%: The door leads to a hallway, which ends with the barred door of a jail. This jail holds different sorts of intelligent creatures, ranging from humanoids to dragons to aberrations to demons. They are eager to make a deal in order to escape from the place.
- 51-80%: The room is a bedroom, containing within it 2 coffins and its inhabitants consisting of either one or two vampires.
- 80-95%: The room contains a treasure chest, guarded by some of Shilah's most horrid servants. Once upon entering the room, the door shuts and is locked, and the guardian of the chest fights to the death. The chest holds a number of copper pieces equal to the number of people who entered. The door cannot be opened by any Strength check, but an Open Lock check with score higher than 10 can open it.
- 96-100%: The door is actually part of the castle wall, and upon opening it the landscape is revealed. Usually this door is located some stories above the ground, and people must climb some distance down if they are to exit from that door.
Nervesnap has one "sun" that illuminates the plane. This sun is located straight above the highest building of the castle. Although this sun is almost as bright as the sun on the Material Plane, it seems to give no warmth. In the 25 hour day cycle, this sun continues to change its brightness so at "noon" it is at the brightest and at "midnight" it goes out. If a creature with true seeing observes the sun, they realize that this sun is actually not a sun at all. This glowing orb is a huge orb of raw stuff of Negative Energy Plane, cloaked with a coat of powerful illusion spell. This illusion spell gives any traveler the visual image of Nervesnap being lit by sunlight, and thus creatures can see as if an actual sun is here.
This sun's illusion, and what's contained in it, is thought to be controlled by Shilah. Were it to go out, then vision would go out only up to 5 feet even with dark vision, just like the Negative Energy Plane. It is said that when Nervesnap makes its move out of Negative Energy Plane, the sun sinks into Nervesnap and merges together. After Nervesnap retuns, the sun rises again and continues to shine as if the plunging never happened. The illusory effect of this sun extends only so far, so the outermost edge of Nervesnap may actually not have as much of its phantasmal illumination. Elsewhere on the Negative Energy Plane, this sun is almost impossible to spot because vision goes only so far.
Shilah's Castle of Everdusk has a portal that connects to any plane, including the Material Plane, which can open or close at Shilah's will. This portal is seldom used, one of the more favored moment of use of this portal is when her follower has done a deed of great importance to her. This may be anything from creation of a new spell to destruction of a kingdom.
The portal is in a room accessibly only by magical transportation by Shilah, or by an effect of Greater Teleport or Gate spell.
Because this realm is hostile to many living creatures, some random undeads are the most likely enemy encountered here. Shadows, Spectres, Wraiths and Allips are among few of the undeads who can hunt on the churning ground. Occasionally, a dimensional opening will release creatures of any kind that would most likely bewildered by the realm and go berserk. On a rare occasion, even creatures as powerful as Nightshades make appearance on this realm in order to get rid of the disturbance this realm poses, and is not hesitant to attack anything nearby.
Vampires of any sort may arrive towards a party. Aberrations such as Destrachans, Ettercaps, Gibbering Mouthers, and Fihyrs (MM2) may be within vicinity, as well as several enigmatic oozes such as Tetramorph (MM2), Reason Stealers (MM2), and various types of Living Spells (MM3). Occasionally, Erythropines and Kastighurs (MM4) may show up to hunt down an escaped prey.
In garden, an Agony Golem might be on the patrol, or possibly some Bloodthorn (FiendFolio). Some Monstrous Spiders, Araneas, Darkweavers (FiendFolio), Harpoon Spiders (MM3), Bloodsilk Spiders (MM4), and Tomb Spiders (MM4) might also be on a search for easy meal. Chasmes (BoVD), Wrackspawns (MM4), Devourers, Allips, Fihyrs, and Vaaths (BoVD) are released in mass when there are many prizes to claim.
Every time a party opens a door that leads to more doors, there is a great chance of encountering Shilah's special minions. It might be an Agony Golem, Gloom Golem (MM3), Shadesteel Golem (MM3), Firebloom Golem, Prismatic Spider, or an Uttervoid Slosh. There are also chances of encountering Erythropines, more vampires and monstrous spiders, while "guests" welcomed into the Castle such as Rukarazylls (MM2), and Sorrowsworn Demons (MM3) appear in some rare coincidences.