Broken Machine (3.5e Environment)
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The Broken Machine
This plane is intended to be used as part of the Fortress Celestia Campaign Setting.
This is a plane of broken legal systems and pointless war. In other words, bad things happen here all the time. The sort of things that make you want to give up reading the news in the real world. This plane may be best left as only a mysterious external source of trouble for groups who are uncomfortable with going into the details.
Obviously this plane is inspired by cannon planes from various versions of D&D, particularly the Planescape setting. It is not meant for profit, and I do not own any D&D - related intellectual property other than some ideas for homebrew settings like this one.
A universe of destruction
The plane consists a vast space, through which drift massive geometrical shapes: cubes, spheres, cylinders, cones, gears, etc. These objects range from the size of small castles to a few larger than any prime world. A faintly glowing haze, resembling an emission nebula, hides more distant worlds. Lighting ranges from midday on a lightly overcast day to a moonless night. It is said that this plane is the collected remains of ancient planes destroyed in battle. The conflicts apparently continue. While inhabitants of the Barrens of Evil make acts of depravity into an art form, the people here are arguably even worse, for they seem to commit evil by means of deliberate stupidity. Natural, manmade, and military disasters, especially collisions between worlds, are so common here that people hardly notice. Occasionally even entire armies and cities are lost to these. It is a wonder the population continues to survive. Apparently they do so by keeping portions of society in underground shelters and having a very high reproduction rate.
Objective Gravity. Gravity is normally perpendicular to each face so that one appears to be standing on a vast plateau; if one reaches a great enough depth or height from that surface, it declines to zero. On some worlds, the gravity is in another direction so (for example) it seems the entire plane is on the slope of a great mountain.
Normal (mostly). In a few places, time seems to run at odd, unpredictable rates, or according to a mathematically predictable, but complex, pattern.
Infinite, or at least seemingly so.
Divinely Morphic / Marginally Morphic. Quasi-divine beings and above alter their own realms at will. For anyone else, any significant alteration requires the use of vast quantities of labor, or powerful magic or technology.
Magic, Alignment, and Energy/Elemental Traits
None; however, certain elements may be affected by local conditions. Some "worlds" seem to be made entirely of stone, metal, or even woodlike materials. The space between the worlds is filled with air rather than vacuum.
None; however, some areas have much higher presence of negative energy than normal.
Mildly Lawful, Somewhat Evil; chaotic creatures take -2 to charisma based skill checks.
Alignment effects. Chaos - based spells are cast as if the caster were 4 levels lower in many regions. If that would be impossible, the spell simply fails. Law - based spells are cast as if the caster were 2 levels higher in those areas.
Movement and Combat
Works normally except as per the conditions listed above. Many of the locals love fighting and regard courage, honor, and a suicidal lack of concern for their own death among the highest virtues. Causes aren't important, only lifestyle: the important thing is that one both lives and dies by the sword.
Features of the Plane
Islands of Solid Material
Home to the most war - obsessed locals. Occasionally a battle will be fought here with no survivors on either side, because there was no point in withdrawing to fight another day. Collisions between worlds are most common in areas where cubes dominate.
Home to the most chaotic and vile locals. These people seem to regard causing other people to suffer as something of a duty.
Home to the most lawful - stupid locals. On one, the rotation of the gear results in the periodic and entirely predictable destruction of a major city. The people don't bother to avoid building there, redesigning the buildings, or fully evacuating the area, even though they know exactly when and where the path of destruction will occur. On another, convicted criminals are sometimes simply released and told to report back for execution on a certain date.
Home to the most money - grubbing, apathetic locals eager to prey on their foolish neighbors.
The Great River
The Great River flows across several of the largest 'worlds', apparently passing through gigantic portals. This plane is connected by the great river to the Barrens of Evil and the Plane of Ideological Conflict.
Portals to The Transit Plane and the Celestial Courts are found in various secret locations.
Every sort of lawful or evil - aligned outsider or fiendish creature probably can be found somewhere on the plane. In addition humanoids commonly associated with underground places, armies, and toughness, such as orcs, goblinoids, gnolls, humans, and non - good dwarves, are found here.
a small band of heavily armed orcs, gobins, humans, or mid - ranking fiends off to win fame in glorious battle. May decide to challenge visitors to a one - on - one fight to the death.
a large force consisting of many squads of disciplined troops, preparing to march to their glorious destruction.
a trader leading a mixed group of fiends and humanoid adventurers transporting a wagonload of slaves. May attempt to kidnap anyone they meet.
a fiendish emissary from The Barrens of Evil, accompanied by its most trusted bodyguards and servants, seeking to procure slaves and armies to fight the enemy on The Celestial Fortress instead of fighting on The Broken Machine.
a tiny outpost or hamlet with a bar and inn, and possibly a casino, brothel, infirmary, and market, all both serving and preying upon travellers. The owner(s) are mostly only interested in wealth and don't care exactly how they end up making it.
Occasionally one finds a society dedicated to higher ideals, with carefully planned laws and construction projects, fighting a defensive campaign to protect their people, or an army with a smart, long - term strategy. But almost inevitably these prove to have completely unrealistic end goals and ideals, place no value on the lives of individuals, or in some other way disappoint those who hope for something better.
A few innkeepers, traders, etc, are semi - honorable people who help others escape enlistment or execution, hide spies and fugitives, provide truly healthy and pleasant room and grub, etc., usually only for a stiff fee, but sometimes showing mercy to the destitute as well. One town, with a mostly orcish population, is known for its expertise in, of all things, baking fine pastries.