Plane of Souls (3.5e Environment)
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The Plane of Souls
The Plane of Souls is a dark, misty void, filled only with silence and the souls of the departed. All creatures within the Material Sphere, even those who normally would never die, will eventually find themselves released from their tangible forms, whether through death, deific influence, or other occurences, and will find their way to the Plane of Souls. It part of the outer-most layer of the material sphere, and therefore serves as the final barrier between the Deific Sphere and the Material Sphere.
Souls can take many forms; Humanoid apparitions, Wisps of Blue fire, or small glowing orbs. These are a reflection of the beings they belong to and a great many shapes have been recorded by those who have been allowed a chance to glimpse the plain. Any characters who find themselves wandering the plane will find a great many souls moving about in the world, though discernible forms almost always seem to indicate that the motion is more akin to that of floating, as if they were suspended in liquid. The souls themselves are often depicted as inanimate or sleeping; only the most willful or disturbed of souls can remain awake, often requiring Hel who watches over the plane, to seek out the soul and remove obstructions to its slumber. The importance of the soul remaining asleep is the practice of the Great Sleep, which is a required in order to preserve the ideals within the individual until they can be reborn, and the Great Sleep provides a means where those ideals can continue to thrive, via dreams.
In cases where a soul cannot be placated by simple means, Hel will often task her followers or other parties to find the source of the disturbance on the Material Plane that keeps the soul so disturbed. This can often require fulfilling a soul's last desires, or showing that their loved ones are taken care of, or even avenging their deaths.
This is also the plane where all creatures must be resurrected from, and thus, those who attempt such resurrections, even deities, must often barter and negotiate with the Hel in order to gain the soul's release. Deities typically do this for their champions, if such dire circumstances warrant such intervention; If a mortal transcends his existence sufficiently, they may also become a demigod upon death, provided they have the blessings of the Pantheon, and will join the gallery of the Pantheon, along with other Quasi-deities.
- Gravity: Subjective. While rare that any creature visits the Plane of Souls consciously, one can move in any direction at will.
- Time: Special; Time doesn't exist on the Plane of Souls as it would in the Material Plane. Instead, it exists independent of time and without its' effects, though it simultaneously has access to all points in known time. This allows for souls to be received from any point in time, and also to be released back into worlds further along in time. Typically, however, a living entity cannot enter the plane of souls and exit to any other point in time, at least not without Hel's support, as it requires use of the Stream of Time, a godly realm belonging to Fate.
- Size: Infinite and Boundless. The Plane of Souls appears to be infinite and without bounds. Given that it completely surrounds all other planes of reality within the Material Sphere, this is assumed to be true.
- Morphic: The Plane has no real form, besides being a misty void, and cannot be changed. Sleep is watched over by Hel who also watches over the plane, to seek out the soul and remove obstructions to its slumber. The importance of the soul remaining asleep is the practice of the Great Sleep, which is a required in order to preserve the ideals within the individual until they can be reborn, and the Great Sleep provides a means where those ideals can continue to thrive, via dreams.
Magic, Alignment, and Energy/Elemental Traits
- Alignment Trait: Strongly Neutral
- Magic Trait: Dead Magic. No mortal magic can function here, leaving only deities to contend with it. Entering and Exiting the Plane of Souls requires divine intervention, or the power of magical artifacts.
The Plane of Souls connects with no other planes; It can only be entered through direct intervention of deific figure, usually through Hel's welcoming of deceased souls. This essentially means that only deities can allow parties to enter or exit the Plane of Souls, for any and all purposes. Some artifacts exist, however, that could theoretically allow such travel, however, though entering the plane in such a manner could result in inciting the Goddess of Death.
Besides the countless souls that reside in the plane, kept in slumber, Hel is typically the only permanent resident. While she does not typically take on companions or champions, those who do serve the goddess well enough to earn her favor assist her in maintaining the plane. After enough time, these inhabitants will ultimately become demigods.
Movement and Combat
Most characters and creatures can move normally on the Plane of Souls, though because of the lack of physical matter or firm ground, most creatures suffer a -4 to attack rolls when in combat. Furthermore, any creature that arrives on the plane treats all movement as difficult terrain for 1d4+1 rounds, as it takes time getting used to.
Hel and her champions are the immediate encounters to any intrusion into the Plane of Souls, and they are quite formidable. Unauthorized access to the plane is considered to be a threat and is often neutralized in short order without question. In other situations, such as when at the behest of a deity, characters might entreat Hel in order to bargain for the release of a soul, or in order to assist them in a particular endeavor, such as speaking to the dead in order to obtain lost information, or requesting travel to a different period of time.
If a character makes physical contact with an inanimate soul, there is a 75% chance that they will be mentally thrust into the dream of that soul, leaving their bodies standing comatose. A character can make a will save to disbelieve with a DC of 15. This check can be made every four rounds while trapped in the dream. While in the dream of an inanimate soul, it is treated as if it were real, and therefore, dying in a dream can cause a character to die in reality.