Water, water everywhere, and far more than a drop to drink. To the eye and tongue of an inexperienced traveller, the Plane of Water resembles a vast ocean. Stepping through a portal to the plane is like being weighted down and dropped into the depths – and to a degree, this is true. The Water Realm, however, is more than that; it contains multitudes. Every conceivable droplet of moisture, from the saltiest wave to the freshest spring, from the morning dew to the blood running in your veins exists here, circulating in an eternally renewing current.
Getting there... and BackEdit
Of all the natural elemental portals, those to the Water Plane are the best known and most frequently travelled. Most of the portals form in the deepest parts of the oceans, where the sheer pressure of the water above crumples and crushes the barrier of reality, allowing currents to flow between the planes. Such portals are usually guarded by one of the undersea races, such as the tritons. Other natural portals exist at the sources of certain great rivers. Deep under the mountains, the river spills out of a portal, flowing down the slope and gathering strength as it goes, until it finally tumbles into the sea and a little of the water flows back into an undersea portal. The Material Plane and the Water Plane are intertwined in hundreds of places.
Magical portals to the Water Plane are actually much more common underwater; the aquatic races have their own arcane spellcasters and clerics, and the Water Plane is just as hospitable for them as the Air Plane is for surface folk. The few portals that exist above the waves are almost always imbued with water breathing spells to aid travellers.
Survival on the Plane of WaterEdit
The spell of choice is obviously water breathing, and thanks to the magical properties of the plane, it is automatically Extended. Any other spells for aquatic survival, such polymorphing into a merman, also works perfectly well here. Surprisingly, there is little danger of being crushed by the weight of water when swimming in the infinite ocean; while the water does exert pressure on creatures, it never goes above that found a few fathoms below the surface. The fluidic nature of the water somehow gathers the pressure, creating the hazards known as crushspheres (see below). The whole plane is lit by an eerie rippling radiance with no detectable source. The Dungeon Master should review underwater combat.
Features & PropertiesEdit
|... to Material||9||Coterminous|
|... to Air/Earth/Positive/Negative Planes||11||Coterminous|
|... to Ethereal||14||Coexistent|
|... to Astral||7||Coterminous|
The Immiscible OceansEdit
The waters of the plane are not all salty – every conceivable form of water is found here; salt, fresh, hot, cold, every possible consistency and taste. These different oceans flow and twine together, divided by almost-invisible (Spot check, DC 25) membranes. A character can push through one of these membranes easily, but they are strong enough to keep the different waters separate. Sometimes, these membranes break and the waters merge. Then, later, the two seas will spontaneously separate again, salt dividing from fresh, every droplet knowing the way home, and a new membrane will form between them.
While characters using water breathing are unlikely to be affected by changes in salinity, some aquatic creatures can only live in fresh or salt water. Characters are, however, likely to be affected by changes in temperature – some of the immiscible oceans are fractionally below boiling (10d6 damage per round) or freezing (1d6 non-lethal damage per minute if the character fails a Fortitude save (DC 15 + 1 per previous check) metal armor is affected as if by chill metal).
A character can destroy a membrane by precisely striking it with a slashing weapon (AC 25) and dealing at least 15 points of damage in one round. This slices the membrane open and the water flowing from one side to another widens the cut, ripping along the seam for miles and merging the two oceans. A damaged membrane can be repaired by a wall of force spell.
Elemental pockets float through the Water Plane. Earth pockets are by far the most common; these huge chunks of stone slowly drift through the ocean, being colonized by genies and other creatures. Earth pockets are usually inhabited by ooze mephits, although a rare few are colonized by aboleths, who find the silty, dark waters to their liking.
Air pockets rarely last long; they manifest as huge bubbles of air, bobbing on the current. The magical forces keeping the ‘bubble’ intact slowly degrade over time, until the air pocket collapses. Some spellcasters reinforce the bubble with spells and use the bubbles as unlikely vessels in which to explore the Water Plane.
Fire bubbles are the rarest of all pockets on the Water Plane, as they only arise when a portal opens to the Fire Plane or when a fire pocket traverses the entire Plane of Air. Fire pockets last only a few days at most in the ocean, but they boil the water around them and create vast clouds of steam (1d10 points of damage per round for anyone touching the steam).
Coral and seaweed were imported from the Material Plane aeons ago. The weightless, light-rich, and fertile seas of the Water Realm proved to be a perfect environment for such organisms, and they flourished. Indeed, in many regions of the Water Plane, seaweeds of truly colossal proportions grow thousands of miles long, and coral grows so fast that its progress can be seen with the naked eye. To prevent the whole plane from being choked by seaweed and coral, the water elementals regularly launch massive pruning missions on particularly large obstacles.
As most of the cities and landholds of the Water Plane’s inhabitants are located on these coral islands and seaweed forests, the water elementals’ pruning meets with hostility and resistance. Of all the planes, the water elementals are among the most unfriendly.
Near the border with the Plane of Air, the water has frozen into icebergs and gigantic mountains of frost. These regions are dry, as almost all the water vapour has frozen out of the air. Frost giants and other creatures of cold dwell on these bergs. On the far side of the icelands, on the Plane of Air, there is an infinite cliff of ice dropping down forever.
Magic Dilution (CR2)Edit
This odd phenomena occurs rarely and is of little consequence to most aquatic creatures, but can be lethal to travellers relying on magical protection. When magic dilution occurs, the waters begin to carry off fragments of magic from a spell woven around a swimmer. It looks like tiny threads of light are drifting off from the enchanted character, and then dissolve. When viewed through detect magic, these little threads glow with the same aura as an active spell. A magic dilution makes a spell run out five times faster than normal – its remaining duration is reduced to 20% of its current total as long as the character remains within the magical water. Stretches of magic-diluting water are rarely more than 300 feet in diameter, but they hold together with their own membranes and are often located at the entrance to djinn fortresses, to sap attackers of their spells.
|Table: Crushsphere Sonic Damage|
|Range in Radii||Sonic Damage||Fortitude DC|
Crushspheres are rolling zones of almost infinite pressure. They are a natural phenomena that are the accumulation of the water pressure from the rest of the plane. They look like globes of frosted glass that move through the ocean, occasionally emitting bursts of noise like thunder. Crushspheres range in size between ten feet and several miles in radius. Any character within five times the sphere’s diameter of the sphere (i.e. 50 feet for a 10-foot diameter sphere, ten miles for a two mile diameter sphere) may be struck by one of these sonic bursts. These bursts happen every 1d100 rounds, and deal sonic damage as show on Table: Crushsphere Sonic Damage.
A character struck by a sonic pulse may make a Fortitude save to take half damage. The pressure within a crushsphere increases every five feet as the character moves towards the centre, and begins at the pressure equivalent of 100 feet below the surface. For example, in a forty-foot crushsphere, the pressure would deal 1d6 points of damage per minute if a character were five feet within the sphere, 2d6 at ten feet, 3d6 at fifteen feet, 4d6 at twenty feet. A character may make a Fortitude save (DC 15 + 1 for every previous save) to resist the pressure. However, a character can only move at one-fifth normal speed within a sphere, and a new Fortitude save must be made every time the character moves any deeper into the sphere.
Small crushspheres are dangerous enough, but the larger spheres have internal pressures so high that no living creature could hope to survive. They are often used as prisons for powerful beings. As crushspheres float on the current, they are often redirected by magic and used as siege weapons and many underwater cities have been destroyed by a bombardment of crushspheres.
All locations on the Plane of Water are fluid; cities float like leaves on the current. All directions are therefore given in terms of currents and likely travel times, and all maps change constantly.
The Pool of ReflectionEdit
This is a stretch of still water, a holy site for the local elementals. The Pool of Reflection is like a giant crystal with infinite facets, although it is entirely liquid. Anyone who swims into the Pool of Reflection and floats at the centre can see all of the memories of countless others who have done the same in the past, and can ask one question of one of these memories. However, when the question is answered (and it is always answered truthfully and to the best knowledge of the memory), the questioner’s image-memory is added to the ranks of those preserved for all time in the Pool. Visiting the Pool of Reflection can answer the heart’s innermost question, but also leaves the questioner open to others.
The Choking City of Y’hanithleiEdit
This was once one of the greatest cities of the Water Plane, a glorious marble metropolis attached to a living strand of mighty seaweed. Tens of thousands of genies, elementals, mephits and
Y’hanithlei (Large Town, was Metropolis):
AL N; 3,000 gp limit; Assets 600,000 gp; Pop 4,000; Mixed (mostly djinn and mephits). Power Centres: Ysamira Ildemar, First among Marids (LG), Genie Nobility (CG), Druid Gangs (CE)
stranger creatures thronged the streets and air canals of Y’hanithlei. The lords of the city even brought a fire pocket to warm the waters. However, the light and warmth triggered a spate of growth in the seaweed supporting the city. The marble plazas splintered and broke; weeds pushed up every flagstone and slab.
Now, the much-reduced population of Y’hanithlei face a constant battle. The seaweed grows at the rate of four to ten feet a day, so a man who falls asleep in an empty room wakes up entwined in a lush growth of kelp. The city is too valuable and extensive to simply abandon, so the citizens are resigned to constant, frantic gardening and blight spells. Having an estate entirely free of weeds is a mark of high status in the city, to the extent that unscrupulous druids run protection rackets targeting rich genies, threatening to use plant growth to shame the genies if they do not pay up.
The Pumphouse is a bizarre accumulation of metal and pipes; imagine if a sea-spider orgy was dipped in brass and attached to a steam engine. The Pumphouse is the creation of a powerful level 35 druid triton named Hiradi who claims that his machine is responsible for the continued flow of every river and the fall of every raindrop on certain worlds, and that the whole hydrological cycle is in his charge. It is a most stressful task, and the poor triton and his summoned helpers (mostly octopi) must dart through the inner tubes of the Pumphouse, adjusting dials and opening valves to ensure that some obscure rivulet does not stop dead.
It is entirely possible that Hiradi is insane. Any attempt to prove that his contraption does nothing will only draw his wrath, and he cannot put it to the test. If he were to falter in his duty for a moment to prove that his machine works, why, it could start a disastrous cascading failure with water falling everywhere!
The Pumphouse does have some use; it is capable of opening a gate to the source of any river in the Planes. If characters can sneak past Hiradi or win his trust, the Pumphouse can be a useful shortcut through creation.
The native inhabitants of the Plane of Water include chuul, sea cats, marid genies, ooze and water mephits, tojanidas, tritons and water elementals. The tojanidas swim in great schools through the plane, feeding on tiny elementals and plant matter. The mephits are usually found clinging to elemental pockets, while the genies have colonized the seaweed and coral islands. The elementals are almost indistinguishable from the rest of the plane.
Aquan is one of the easier elemental tongues, and is probably the most widespread – most of the underwater races on the Material Plane speak it, and they have passed it on to the scholars and mages of the dry lands. It is a mellifluous and liquid language; emotional content is passed on by means of ‘currents’.
A character who speaks Aquan gets a +2 synergy bonus to Diplomacy, Sense Motive and Knowledge (the planes) checks relating to the Plane of Water and its denizens.
The Twenty Joyous CurrentsEdit
These are twenty beliefs espoused by the water elementals. Most of the differences between the currents are almost incomprehensible to outsiders, but the elementals consider them to be utterly fundamental. The Twenty Joyous Currents are divided into three groups – two ‘stillnesses’, nine ‘rivers’ and nine ‘seas’. The rivers and seas are divided based on alignment, so there is a Chaotic Neutral River, a Chaotic Neutral Sea, a Lawful Good Sea and River, and so on.
The Rivers: Elementals following the river current believe that water is at its best when flowing through other elements. They enjoy being summoned and visiting other realms. Good rivers-elementals tend to be found in irrigated farmlands, where water is brought to the dry places. Evil river-elementals are more interested in invasively pushing water into other places, by flooding lungs and breaking dams.
The Seas: The contrasting philosophy of the sea holds that water should be perfectly pure, and that leaving the embrace of the ocean is wrong. These elementals despise summoners who drag them away from their perfect ocean. Good sea-elementals welcome travellers and hope they will learn to see the beauty of unbroken water. Evil sea-elementals see travellers as little specks of grit that must be driven out of the water.
The Stillnesses: The ‘stillnesses’ are halfway points between the rivers and the seas. The stillness of calm is a momentary pause before an elemental chooses one of the other philosophies, while the stillness of death is a form of elemental ennui when the elemental decides that all water will one day evaporate and be destroyed.