Imagine being lifted up into the sky, to fly amongst the clouds. Now, imagine some godly hand reaching in and replacing all the ground below with yet more sky. All around you, above and below, is one unimaginably vast day, all puffy white clouds and breezes and infinate, endless blue. The light comes from no discernable source; every part of the plane is equally bright. Sometimes, the clouds scud quickly across the infinite sky, driven by vicious tearing windstorms.
Getting there… and BackEdit
The natural portals to the Plane of Air are inaccessible to those without wings, and are hard to reach even for birds, as the portals tend to manifest in the upper reaches of the atmosphere or in the hearts of hurricanes. More permanent portals are said to be located at the sources of the trade winds and in the mouth of the north wind. Strong winds howl from each of these portals, so only the most determined flyer can pass into the wind’s maw and emerge on the Air Plane.
Happily, it is quite safe to plane shift to the plane. There are relatively few dangerous regions, and no chance of the traveller drowning or being entombed, incinerated or eaten on arrival. Other methods of planar travel also work equally well. There are also numerous constructed portals to the Air Plane. As the most hospitable of any of the Elemental Planes, it is the usual starting point for anyone travelling through them. Its sprawling cities are frequented by elemental guides and mages specializing in protective spells and items. The air elementals and djinn are much more welcoming and cosmopolitan than the natives of other planes.
Survival on the Plane of AirEdit
For travellers from the Material Plane, this plane is a literal breath of fresh air. A traveller needs no magic in order to breathe or to survive. Even gravity is relatively friendly here, as it is subjective, allowing everyone to ‘fly’, even if in a rather clumsy fashion. Many regions of the plane are icy cold (below 40ºF), so warm clothing or endure elements spells should be used. Places near pockets of elemental fire, however, are much warmer.
Features & PropertiesEdit
|Law/Chaos||+3||Biased towards Chaos|
|Air spells||+6||Empowered & Enlarged|
|... to Material||9||Coterminous|
|... to Fire/Water/Positive/Negative Planes||11||Coterminous|
|... to Ethereal||14||Coexistent|
|... to Astral||7||Coterminous|
The Air Plane is comparatively empty, although the air is so clear and visibility so perfect that a traveller can usually see at least one elemental pocket or other feature from any point on the plane, making it less oppressively vacant.
Massive white or grey clouds are the dominant ‘terrain’ feature. These clouds are not always made of water vapor; the majority are in fact laced with gold, forming complex lattices deep within cloud banks and it is this same substance from which most air elementals form their bodies. The clouds are solid enough to walk on (or at least provide a frame of reference to guide the instincts of those using subjective gravity), and as items in the Air Plane float unless they enter the personal gravity of a living being, the clouds are often used for storage or even as marketplaces. The substance of the clouds can be shaped merely by touching them. Bored elementals often build castles in the air, in imitation of the djinn. Visibility in a cloud bank is reduced to 1d4 x 5 feet. All creatures have concealment while within a cloud.
Pockets are especially common on the Air Plane, even from the opposing planes. The substance of air is not especially hostile; pockets are not burned away, eroded or crushed here. Indeed, the howling winds tend to help preserve elemental pockets, as they push them into calmer and safer regions of the Air Plane.
Water pockets tend to diffuse over time, turning into ‘normal’ clouds and seeding rainstorms. Fire pockets act like tiny suns, drifting across the plane bringing light and heat. Such pockets usually contain creatures from the appropriate plane, which employ spells or elementals to push the pocket in one direction or another. Other water pockets freeze into glittering diamonds of ice.
Earth pockets, also known as floating islands, are home to most of the non-elemental civilizations, from djinn landholds to trade cities. Natural earth pockets that have floated in through a portal or from one of the other elemental planes are claimed quickly, as there is such a huge demand for living space. More powerful djinni caliphs tear matter from the Material or Earth Planes using wish spells to make room for their enormous palaces.
The chief requirement for cascaders is the Concentration skill. Maintaining a cascade of water is an easy task (DC 5), but Concentration checks must also be made when the character is attacked or distracted. If a check is failed, the cascade either stops and floats in mid-air around the character, or else falls off course. A cascader can earn 3 sp a day.
The need to make the best possible use of the limited amount of solid matter on the Air Plane leads to the creation of cascades. Most of the cities on the plane use this method. A cascade is a specially aligned triad of elemental pockets. The water pocket is located above the earth pocket, and the fire pocket orbits the other two. Normally, the water would just float freely, so cascaders – creatures skilled at manipulating subjective gravity – fly up to drain off water from the water pocket, creating rainstorms or sluicing vertical rivers. In some large cities, another chain of cascaders wait below the earth pocket, and when the water filters through they rechannel it up into the water pocket.
Cascading is a tricky job – wild elementals and arrowhawks are attracted to these elemental pockets, and cascaders must be repetitive and precise. Inattentive cascaders can cause the water they channel to go off course and drench the wrong part of the earth pocket, sending a river down the main street of a city instead of into its irrigation canals, for example. Even more dangerous is the rare task of fire cascading, where the orbiting fire pocket is drained to fuel engines or provide heat for a forge. Seen from afar, a cascade is a magnificent sight, as the falling water glitters brilliantly in the fiery light, and the flying cascaders are little silhouettes guiding the river in the sky.
The falling palaces are among the most curious phenomena on the Air Plane. A great caliph of caliphs once declared that he would live in splendour of such magnitude that it would be a great weight, even on the weightless Plane of Air. He and all his caliphs were gifted with truly magnificent palaces and villas, made of the finest materials dragged from the Plane of Earth by ten thousand slaves. Proudly, each caliph sat in the throne at the heart of his new palace, and then the caliph of caliphs solemnly and gloriously planted his exalted and heavenly rear in the golden throne of thrones. Then, as one, every one of the brand-new glorious palaces and villas slipped off their respective foundations and plummeted through the plane. They are falling still. The caliphs found that each throne was coated with sovereign glue, and (just to be sure) imbued with a dimensional anchor. It is possible, with due haste and canny use of teleportation, to enter a falling palace and consult with the learned caliph trapped within (or loot his treasures in full view of the bound genie). This is somewhat hazardous, as if a character fails to align his subjective gravity with the entirely objective fall of the palace, he may find himself crushed by the finest marble.
The vizier of that unfortunate caliph of caliphs, it should be noted, is also the vizier to the current caliph of caliphs. The new caliph is much more reasonable than the old, a trait generally ascribed to his much more ascetic outlook.
Most of the hazards on the Air Plane are caused by its violent weather. Storms and winds are at least twice as intense as those on the Material Plane, and are theoretically unlimited in how dangerous they can be. Note that most creatures will be flying on the Air Plane, and so take 2d6 points of damage when blown away, not the 4d4 normally caused by being bashed into the ground.
First-time travellers to the Plane of Air are often overcome by the sheer size of the plane. Infinite spaces are two-a-copper amid the planes, but rarely can a traveller see most of an infinity at once. A flying or floating character must make a Will save (DC 12) or begin to fall in a random direction. It becomes progressively harder for a character to reorient himself (he may make another Will save every round, but the DC increases by one each time), unless he enters the gravity field of another character (in which case the Will save DC is reset to 12), or until he splatters violently against some obstacle. (Just as a reminder, the falling damage is 1d6 per 10 feet.) Setting the direction of gravity requires a Wisdom check (DC 16) and characters get a +6 bonus on this check if they have done it before.
Gas Pockets (CR1 or CR4)Edit
While the Plane of Air does contain the purest, freshest air possible, it also contains stretches of foul and tainted air. These gas pockets manifest as sickly greenish or ominous black-brown clouds. Lesser gas pockets behave just like a 3rd level stinking cloud (save DC 13), while the greater variant acts like a permanent cloudkill (9th level, save DC 17). These gas pockets are often inhabited by creatures immune to their effects, such as belkers or dust mephits.
Wildwinds are malicious, semi-sentient winds. They delight in tormenting travellers. On their own, wildwinds are not especially dangerous. They can change their strength from Light to Hurricane at will (see Wind Effects). They can also shift direction at will, and like to blow characters into portals or gas pockets. Being nothing but wind with a tinge of intelligence and emotion (if it comes up, they have Intelligence 3, Wisdom 3, Charisma 3, Will save +0), they cannot be attacked conventionally. Control winds, control weather, or similar spells can, however, drive off a wildwind.
Wildwinds are at their most dangerous when they act in concert with another creature, such as a belker. The wind shifts and adapts to the attacks of the travellers, hindering their every action. Characters suffer a –4 penalty to all attacks, while the creature gains a +4 circumstance bonus to all of its own attacks.
Charged Winds (CR3/5/7)Edit
When an elemental pocket disintegrates, its energies are released onto the winds of the Air Plane. Air currents of aquamarine, silty brown, and blazing red blow through the plane. A charged wind has all the same properties as a normal wind (of any strength), with the following changes.
Water-Charged Winds (CR3) are full of ice and snow. They are extremely cold (1d6 points of cold damage each minute, Fortitude save at DC 15 to avoid another 1d4 points of non-lethal damage, and those in metal armor are affected as if by chill metal), and full of icy shards. These shards deal 2d6 damage per round (Reflex save, DC 15 for half damage).
Earth-Charged Winds (CR5) are loaded with dust and stone fragments. A character caught in such a wind must make a Fortitude save (DC 14) each round or be blinded by the flying fragments until he gets out of the wind. Furthermore, a character must make a Strength check to move in the wind. The DC begins at 5, and increases by one per round. If a check is failed, a character is rooted to the spot this round. ‘Statues’ are often found floating in the depths of the Air Plane, the remains of unfortunate travellers encased in airborne elemental earth.
Finally, Fire-Charged Winds (CR7) are scorching hot (1d6 points of fire damage each minute, Fortitude save at DC 15 to avoid another 1d4 points of non-lethal damage, and those in metal armour affected as if by heat metal), and carry waves of flame. Anyone in the wind takes 6d6 points of fire damage each round (Reflex save, DC 15, for half damage).
Stalker Labyrinths (CR7+)Edit
On their home plane, the invisible stalkers built huge floating labyrinth-cities from walls of solidified air. These cities can contain hundreds or thousands of stalkers and stretch for miles, but are still imperceptible to the naked eye. The invisible stalkers ‘welcome’ visitors to their cities, and are greatly amused by travellers wandering through the gates and then getting lost in the maze of invisible alleys. Some stalkers even deliberately close doors and slide partitions around, to keep the unfortunate travellers confused and lost.
The Metropolis of SaahEdit
AL LN; 100,000 gp limit; Assets 150,000,000 gp; Pop 50,000; Mixed (djinn, air elementals, invisible stalkers, other). Power Centers: Sasashsahsnoos (CN), Djinni Pashas (CG, CN, CE), Amalgamated Guild of Lawyers, Sages, Mages, and Wish-Phrasers (LN).
Saah is one of the largest cities on the Air Plane. It is so large that it does not fit on a single floating island – no less than 57 islands support Saah’s edifices. The islands are linked by bridges and nets for those who cannot fly, and the slums of Saah are actually creeping out onto the nets. Saah has expanded greatly despite its punishing taxes and autocratic government because of the First Edict. The First Edict is a simple law – anyone who becomes a citizen of Saah (by paying a fee of 500 gp, building a home and getting a job within the city limits or by spending a year and a day there) is granted one wish by a noble djinni. As wishgranting is difficult and taxing, the duty of fulfilling the First Edict is assigned as a punishment. The djinn of Saah constantly squabble, trying to avoid being the one chained in the Plaza of Heart’s Desire. A lesser punishment applies to non-djinn criminals – they have their life energy (XP) drained to fuel the wishes. The chained criminals often plead with new citizens to only wish for reasonable things. (Indeed, a growing religious sect in Saah preaches abstinence, poverty, and not wishing as the three highest virtues.)
As a result of the sheer number of wishes granted to the citizens of Saah, the city is a place of many wonders. Beggars might sleep on magical beds of the finest angel-down, a merchant’s stall might be defended by a loyal shield guardian, ugly men have the most beautiful consorts, and fools are kings. The ruler of Saah is a mighty caliph named Sasashsahsnoos. He is exceedingly wealthy, as he demands a tithe of items or coins to a value of 500 gp from every transaction in Saah. Furthermore, pronouncing his name incorrectly or not adding the correct number of honorifics (Knowledge (nobility & royalty), DC 15) within earshot of his invisible stalker guards is a punishable offense.
Aeastrophus, the Sagely StormEdit
The Sagely Storm is a permanent thunderstorm of great antiquity and surpassing violence. Indeed, it is so full of lightning bolts being hurled from cloud to cloud that it has become in essence a great gaseous brain; the lightning is the flashes of electrical energy between great synapse-thunderclouds. The Sagely Storm is a master of all forms of magic and psionics (Being a 30th level caster in every spellcasting class) and an expert on all manner of abstruse subjects (Int 45, +50 in all Knowledge skills).
However, the storm can only communicate through electrical telepathy. Normal spells like detect thoughts are far too short-range to encompass the meteorological scope of the Sagely Storm, so Aeastrophus must think through those who would speak to it. Each question asked of Aeastrophus inflicts 1d10 points of electrical damage per word, and his replies take a similar toll. Spells like protection from energy work, but creatures immune to electrical damage cannot perceive Aeastrophus’ thoughts. Furthermore, Aeastrophus demands suitable gifts such as spellbooks or rare tomes before he may be consulted.
This is the fabled Castle Beyond the North Wind, and indeed it lies just beyond the gate that lets out that icy wind. The castle is surrounded by great floating icebergs and eternal snowstorms. Monsalvat hides a great treasure – an artifact known as Quest’s End. The artifact is different for everyone who sees it, as Quest’s End is the gift of knowledge – when one looks on Quest’s End, one knows what one is looking for and where to get it. To ensure that the artifact does not inspire evil deeds, the knights of Monsalvat have built a Moral Dungeon beneath their castle. Travellers must run the gauntlet of traps, monsters, and moral tests to prove their worthiness to look upon Quest’s End.
Auran is relatively easy to speak, but the words run into each other to such an extent that taking a breath in the middle of a sentence completely alters the meaning. Therefore, a character can only say a number of words at a time equal to his Constitution score x 5. Air creatures are not affected by this rule, while the djinn speak a tongue that draws from the best of Common and Auran, which eliminates this restriction.
A character who speaks Auran gets a +2 synergy bonus to Diplomacy, Sense Motive and Knowledge (the planes) checks relating to the Plane of Air and its denizens, and a +1 inherent bonus to Fortitude saves to hold his breath.
The native creatures of the Plane of Air include belkers, air, dust, and ice mephits, arrowhawks, cloud giants, air elementals, invisible stalkers, and djinni. Belkers are most commonly on the borders of both the Negative Energy and Fire Planes, but they occasionally colonize floating fire pockets and sail deeper into the Air Plane. Arrowhawks can be found throughout the Air Plane. They try to claim calm, almost windless oases in which to lay their eggs. Spotting an arrowhawk clutch requires a Spot or Survival check (DC 25). Mephits crawl over the various elemental pockets that drift through the plane, while the elementals can be found throughout the realm.
The Eight Divine BreathsEdit
The Eight Divine Breaths are the religious beliefs of the air elementals. As befits their mercurial nature, air elementals gleefully hold to some, none or all of these tenets at the same time, even when such beliefs are contradictory.
The Wind from the Winter: The Winter Wind is harsh and hateful. Winter Wind Elementals despise other creatures, and are willing to be summoned only when they get to freeze flesh and crack stone.
The Wind from the Summer: By contrast, the warm Summer Wind is gentle and kind. Summer Wind elementals welcome travellers and willingly serve as guides.
The Wind from the Autumn: The melancholy Autumn Wind cares little for non-elemental things, and prefers to drift in the open reaches of the Air Plane, untroubled by any matter.
The Wind from the Spring: The curious and inquisitive Spring Wind wishes to learn, and happily accepts summoning if it gets to explore another plane.
The Wind from Above: The Wind from Above is pure and free of taint. It hates being infected with any impurities and restricts its contact with ‘muddied’ or mixed-element creatures.
The Wind from Below: The Wind from Below is foul, and carries all sorts of noxious gases. It gleefully mixes its airy nature with other elements, and welcomes traffic with outsiders.
The Wind from the Void: Also known as the Vacuum or Negative Wind, the Wind from the Void is the absence of motion, life and breath. It is inherently hostile to all things.
The Wind from the Star: The Wind from the Star expresses the freedom and energy of the air. It exists solely to fly and breathe.