The Kiss of Luck
The Flame Void
The Globe of Raging Chaos
- It is where everything, and nothing, is possible.
- It is where raw chaos seethes.
- It is where the elements come to die.
Limbo is a plane of pure chaos. Untended sections appear as a roiling soup of the four basic elements and all their combinations. Balls of fire, pockets of air, chunks of earth, and waves of water battle for ascendance until they in turn are overcome by yet another chaotic surge. However, landscapes similar to ones found on the Material Plane drift through the miasma: bits of forest, meadow, ruined castles, and small islands. Limbo is inhabited by living natives. Most prominent of these are the githzerai and the slaadi. In Limbo, most petitioners take the form of unthinking, ghostly spheres of swirling chaos. Limbo has no layers. Or if it does, the layers continually merge and part, each is as chaotic as the next, and even the wisest sages would be hard-pressed to distinguish one from another.
- Subjective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity is the same as on the Material Plane, but individuals choose in which direction it pulls. Limbo bas no gravity for unattended objects, but worn, held, or carried objects share the subjective gravity of their owner. This can be very disorienting to the newcomer.
- Normal Time.
- Infinite Size: Limbo goes on forever, though it has finite components (including big chunks of stabilized earth and githzerai monasteries and cities).
- Highly Morphic: Limbo is continually changing, and keeping a particular area stable is difficult. A given area, unless magically stabilized somehow, can react to specific spells, sentient thought, or the force of will. Left alone, it continually changes. For more information on stabilization, see Controlling Limbo, below.
- Sporadic Element-Dominant: No one element constantly dominates Limbo. Each element (Earth, Water, Air, or Fire) is dominant from time to time, so any given area is a chaotic, dangerous boil. The elemental dominance can change without warning.
- No Energy-Dominant Traits.
- Strongly Chaos-Aligned: Nonchaotic characters suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-, Wisdom-, and Intelligence-based checks. However, the strongly chaosaligned trait disappears within the walls of githzerai monasteries (but not githzerai cities).
- Wild Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities in Limbo function in wildly different ways. They function normally within permanent structures or on permanently stabilized landscapes in Limbo. But any spell or spell-like ability used in an untended area of Limbo, or an area temporarily controlled, bas a chance to go awry. The spellcaster must make a level check (1d20 + spellcaster level) against a DC of 15 + the level of the attempted spell. If the caster fails the check, roll on Table 1–1: Wild Magic Effects.
Permanent portals exist between various planes and Limbo. However, a huge ball of fire, a pile of boulders, or a terrible windstorm could surround the Limbo side of the portal. Thus, entering Limbo can be quite dangerous for visitors unprepared to deal with the plane of chaos.
Slaadi and githzerai are commonly associated with Limbo. Of the two, only the slaadi have been natives since time began. The githzerai arrived far later, seeing the entire plane as a challenge to their indomitable spirit. Limbo is also a harsh proving ground for their particular ethos: “Pain is weakness leaving your body.” Even though they're natives, the slaadi control Limbo just like travelers do. However, a slaad's control never falters even if the slaad is unconscious, and the area of control surrounds the slaad tightly. To viewers, it seems as if a slaad lolls unhurt in a bath of fire. The few githzerai who follow a monastic calling also follow the dictates of law, and such monks are particularly challenged by the chaos of Limbo. However, the strongly chaos-aligned trait of Limbo is neutralized by the walls of githzerai monasteries. Most githzerai do not follow a monastic calling and congregate in large cities. The petitioners of Limbo are those who revere chaos above all else. Some come to embody the plane, while others linger as insane spirits composed of shifting limbostuff
Petitioners who reach Limbo gain the following special qualities: Additional Immunities: Fire, cold. Resistances: Electricity 20, acid 20. Other Special Qualities: The petitioners of Limbo who are not absorbed back into the plane often appear as swirling masses of chaos-stuff, gibbering and laughing without regard to their surroundings. Like slaadi, Limbo's petitioners automatically control the chaos in their personal vicinity even if unconscious or flat-footed, rendering them immune to their tempestuous environment.
Movement and Combat
Like everything else in Limbo, movement depends on the local conditions. Where air is dominant, a traveler can take advantage of the subjective gravity trait to fall in a desired direction at a maximum speed of 300 feet. Travelers in firedominant areas can also take advantage of subjective gravity, assuming the traveler can survive the trip. Swimming through water and burrowing through earth are also possibilities. Normally, travelers attempt to gain control of a particular area, turning it into an air-dominant or earthand-air-dominant area. From the edge of each controlled area, they gain control of an adjacent area, then move there, repeating the process as they make their way across the plane. A comforting method of travel is to allow gravity to pull one's feet toward a chunk of earth (over which hovers an atmosphere of air) and walk upon it normally. Maps are useless in the chaotic expanse. Over time, even solid, permanent structures drift in the chaotic currents of Limbo. The time it takes an individual or group of individuals to reach a particular area depends on how familiar they are with that area.
In a combat where all participants use the same direction of subjective gravity and stand on a solid surface, nothing differs from standard combat. However, those who know how to take advantage of subjective gravity can use it to make amazing leaps, to quickly flyaway if threatened, and to run along floors or ceilings. An attacker who shoots or hurls a ranged weapon imparts subjective gravity to the ammunition.
Githzerai Cities and Monasteries
Githzerai who call Limbo home congregate in cities and monasteries. Those githzerai who congregate in cities do not follow the monastic tradition the race is most known for. Instead, they revere straightforward martial prowess and all the deadly arts of a fighter or spellcaster. However, even cityborn githzerai look with favor on those githzerai who have the strength of spirit to leave the city behind to train in a free-floating monastery adrift in chaos.
This is the githzerai's largest city. A fighter/wizard general called the Great Githzerai rules the city and is revered as a deity-king. The city is an austere place with massive iron gatehouses piercing seven concentric rings of high, thick granite walls. Quarters inside the city are rather cramped, though an open market is broad and filled with produce grown on stabilized earth as well as other items mundane and wondrous.
Monastery of Zerth'Ad'lun
One of many monasteries, Zerth'Ad'lun follows the teaching of Sensei Belthomais, a 16th-level monk. Belthomias teaches a specialized martial art (as do many monasteries), and those students who fully embrace his teachings are also called Zerth cenobites. Those who practice zerthi—“Zerth's teaching” in the githzerai tongue—claim to peer a moment into the future in order to aid their martial expertise. From the exterior, the monastery appears almost like a small glade of stone spires and towers layered around a sphere about a quarter-mile in diameter. Taking full advantage of the subjective gravity of Limbo, the interior of the monastery possesses winding stairs that connect “floors” to “walls” or “ceilings.” All the surfaces are really floors for those who don't mind adjusting their own subjective orientation. Vast halls provide room for mass martial arts training, while hundreds of tiny cells lighted by dim candles provide privacy for individual meditations. The schedule of a monk at Zenh'Ad'lun is strict and harsh, but the rewards of the spirit are considered sufficient compensation. The monastery welcomes visitors and may put them up for as long as a week in quarters set aside for hospitality. Nongithzerai who are interested in studying at the monastery are allowed to do so, although the supplicant must be willing to spend a few months in the monastery learning the basics and abiding the schedule of a cenobite.
Slaadi in Limbo
The slaadi freely roam the length and breadth of chaos, unharmed by all but the most severe chaos storms. Generally, slaadi range in nomad gangs of two to five or larger packs of six to ten slaadi. They hunt the drifts of chaos for food, and they are ready to fight off other predators (many of which are rival slaad nomads). Ravening chaos beasts pose more dangerous threats; when encountered in the plane of Limbo, chaos beasts are always Large (at least 13 HD).
The primordial home of the slaadi, the Spawning Stone is located in a realm of their greatest dominion. Each race of slaad converges on the Spawning Stone for a season of mating. The hermaphroditic slaadi mate at the stone in turn, fertilizing each others' internal egg sacs. When the next slaad race in the cycle wrests the Spawning Stone away from the previous group, the slaadi carry around these seedlike fertilized eggs for later implantation into host bodies. Sometimes, however, young slaadi are produced right there at the stone because the slaadi implant each other in their mating frenzy. Thus, dead adult slaadi routinely float about the stone until destroyed by the chaos of Limbo. Though the stone drifts from place to place, currents of chaos-stuff always flow away from the stone. Slaadi can recognize these currents and follow them “upstream.” The currents grow into tsunamis and give birth to chaos storms when the stone changes hands among the slaadi. One death slaad guards the Spawning Stone at all times against potential nonslaad visitors. This sentinel, called the Guardian of the Stone, is a 45 HD death slaad who has several levels of fighter and sorcerer. The slaadi believe that wresting control of the stone from the Guardian allows the victor to be reborn as a death slaad with the powers of an anarch. The level of control possessed by the anarch can bring into being buildings, vegetation, and animals—an entire ecosystem, if desired.
Some say that powerful slaad lords named Ssendam and Ygorl are representative of true slaadi. As the story goes, slaadi are beings of ultimate chaos, and their forms follow no set pattern. But when Ssendam and Ygorl rose to power long ago, they did not want to someday face a slaad spawned by random mutation greater than they. Thus, they altered the Spawning Stone to limit future slaadi generations to the handful of “races” that they now take. Burning white runes that gird the Spawning Stone speak of these limitations, although no slaadi but the slaad lords know their true purpose. However, because of the inherently chaotic manner in which slaadi breed, sometimes slightly (and occasionally greatly) mutated slaadi are born anyway. The greatly mutated slaadi look absolutely nothing like the base slaad form.