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THE PLACE THAT IS NOT, THE PLANE OF SHADOWS

 

This plane is of a transitive nature, as stated in the great Manual of the Planes.

Working with this axiom I will now try to prove that this plane actually doesnít exist. There isnít any place in the multiverse that the plane of shadow exists on, because it is a place of denied belief. Itís a place in the soul where people deny the things that exist. Itís a place of banished facts and truths. A place where no one wants to be, and no one actually is on.

Itís a lie.

 

This might seem vague and hard to grasp, that a place that is doesnít exist, but within these words are simple truths.

Imagine you donít want something to be true. Imagine this to be a memory of abuse from your father. To banish this memory you try to place it deep down in the bowels of your mind. The place no one knows and where you donít associate anything with it. A place you donít want to exist. When you do this your mind touches something that isnít, it touches the shadow.

But this doesnít cause you to actually banish your father, but the memory of your father is so banished, until something happens that wakes the shadows back to life.

 

But to see the actual effects of the shadow plane on the multiversal structure, one has to consider tools much more powerful and versatile then the simple workings of a single mind. One has to consider powers beyond description, and limitless space too vast to speculate. Consider societies of millions of minds working together to form one coherent belief, and the gods to govern them.

 

I will also try to bind the different thoughts of the multiverse into one, guided by the simple fact that they are all bound together by this strange place that exists, but still does nothing to state this fact.

Take an example like a prime world that is called Athas. Athas is a place long considered to be separated from the rest of the multiverse by a strong planar abnormality called the Black. The black envelops Athas and denies it access to the rest of the worlds. When encountering this place on the Plane of Shadows you can only see a large, spherical force of impossibly strong Darkplace (described in further detail by the MotP). Despite all my magical efforts I have yet failed to enter this world, but I have visited strange, savage elves on Arborea that seems to have some tribal memory of this place and through these facts and other consultations by fellow planewalkers I have divined some of the secrets of this strange world.

Athas is a nearly dead place, and it is very old. Iíve never encountered something that cannot be dated back to some long-forgotten place in the degree that Athas seems to be in.

I digress. This place has no gods. It has a strange magical working that reminds me somewhat to a group of halflings I discovered in a forgotten layer of the Abyss, and there are powerful dragons that rule every aspect of this place. But there are no gods. They have no concept of other places except for the Black and something strange they call the Gray, which is a layer underneath the black. They have however some of the inner planes in their mythology. These elements are worshipped as gods. It is a possibility that some of these elements once were gods, which were reduced to more primal forces later in the history of the place, loosing the intelligent cultural influence as they corroded. (maybe a connection to the Elder Elemental God)

It is however possible to find this place in the Shadowplane, as previously mentioned. This leads me to speculation, but let us broaden the evidence before we draw further conclusions.

 

On the other hand we have Faerun. This place needs little introduction, as it is one of the Prime worlds most opened up to planar influence. What strikes me as peculiar however is this worldís reluctance to acknowledge the Great Ring as the organization of the multiverse, and instead cling to the great wheel that is an older and less comprehensive philosophy. This is, however, a lesser concern.

 

Seeing how these two worlds are totally different in their view of the multiverse can easily lead to the conclusion that they are indeed separated into different cosmologies as newer ideas on the multiverse speculates in, but letís take on the Sigillian thoughts of the multiverse before any further conclusion is drawn.

Sigil proclaims itself as the center of outer planar belief, or the center of the wheel in faerun thoughts. Any of these suffice as basis for further speculation.

Sigillians organize the different planes according to differences in ethics and morality. The ďgoodĒ planes, dominates the upper portion of the ring, and the ďevilĒ planes dominates the lower portion. To either side is organization and anarchy, respectively.

In the middle we find the Outlands that claims to be the absolute balance, and in the middle is Sigil. This is well known, but it is only one way to see the whole it would seem.

Athasians do not believe in anything, and thus their world is constrained within a gigantic lie.

 

All these visions are correct. The many different ways of seeing the multiverse is as correct as any other. If some ysgardian wants to see it as the Great Three, or some Stygian wishes to see it as two rivers, or a Wanderer wants to see it as the Great Road, it doesnít matter. The Plane of Shadow allows for everything.

 

Here is the conclusion I would draw:

The Plane of Shadow limits and allows. It separates and collides. It merges and diverges. It is, but cannot be.

If the driving influence in you childhood told you there where only two place one could find himself after death, this being Mt. Celestia and Baator, these places exists within your mind and they are the only places that exist. If you become a powerful spell-slinger after your childhood and transcend this place, the only places you would visit were the places that your mind told you existed. If you wanted revenge of your abusing father you would have to go to Baator. If wanting explanation for some forgotten memory from your mother you would go to Mt. Celestia.

Now comes the difficult part. The people and sites you visit exist simultaneously on all the different belief-structures of the multiverse. When you meet a person talking about Bytopia on Mt. Celestia, your mind can do two things:

Lie, and include Bytopia as just another secret place within Mt. Celestia (or Baator), or if youíre opened minded, or easily influenced, your belief has just been adjusted accordingly and allowed Bytopia into your belief.

This must be the reason many of the natives of the planes are vague and cryptic in answers when dealing with primes. Too much information creates too much confusion.

The force behind these barriers is the ShadowPlane. It keeps things in the dark. It hides and separates. Itís the thing that denies us knowledge to everything. Itís our collective bag of forgetfulness. If you see something that doesnít fit, it hides it and keeps it from you. Itís the mother of lies, the place of ultimate deceit.

For all I know, this place I live in called Sigil, might only be the inside of a bracelet, worn by a peasant girl. It might be the inside of a cosmic wheel, with all the planes just underneath itís ground, it might be that all the houses in Sigil is shadow houses that have their counterparts on the material and all the other places in the multiverse.

It might even be that the Lady is only a little girl stabbed to death with multiple daggers, trapped between life and death, forever dreaming of this city and itís inhabitants and itís many vices!

The Plane of Shadow is not transitive like the Astral and Etheral. It is the opposite. It is the denial of everything. Itís the force that wishes us to be small and insignificant, but maybe also guards us from ourselves, and the many others out there.

Whether it is a force for good, or a force for evil, yet remains to be seen.

 

Variant: The Shadowlie

With this variant, any mortal that comes over something that seriously challenges her view and philosophy suffers from a new taint called the Shadowlie. This taint creeps into her mind and makes it choose between truth, lie or madness.

 

Roll a Will save and refer to this table, when a belief is contested:

Examples

Madness

DC

Lie

DC

Truth

DC

A small addition to the truth like discovering a new plane or a very powerful outsider that conflicts with your beliefs

5

10

15

Seeing a belief-structure such as a mass of communities worshipping a strange deity or demon, where the worshippers have widely different looks and behavior in addition to using strange and unfamiliar supernatural effects.

10

15

20

Someone with intelligence debates your entire belief-structure, making you reconsider your faith.

15

20

25

 

Madness: ††††††††††† A person becomes mad as effected by the feeblemind spell permanently.

Lie:†††††††††††††††††† The Shadowlie affects your mind and tries to integrate the new sensation into your personal belief.

Truth:†††††††††††††† Your mind tolerates the sensation. You can make up your own opinion as to what to believe.

 

See also The Deep, and Silvery Thoughts.

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