Elemental Chaos

The Elemental Chaos is the raw material of creation, that from which the universe arose. Untouched by the stabilizing divine influence that formed the world into a more or less permanent state, the Elemental Chaos is a roiling tempest of matter and energy. At times, areas coalesce into coherent shapes and terrain, but much of it resembles a stormy sea of churning destruction. The Chaos is at once the foundation of the world and the greatest threat to its existence. By its nature, the Elemental Chaos seeks to pull the created world into its embrace, and return it to its component parts.

Most of the inhabitants of the Elemental Chaos share a primal drive toward entropy. Many are creative in their own ways, building structures and civilizations, tearing them down, then beginning anew. Demons, however, driven by an insatiable thirst for destruction, seek to draw the entire universe into the vortex of annihilation that is the Abyss, their home.

At the foundation of the world, the Elemental Chaos churns like an ever-changing tempest of clashing elements – fire and lighting, earth and water, whirlwinds and living thunder. Just as the gods originated in the Astral Sea, the first inhabitants of the Elemental Chaos were the primordials, creatures of raw elemental power. They shaped the world from the raw material of the Elemental Chaos, and if they had their way, the world would be torn back down and returned to raw materials. The gods have given the world permanence, a quality utterly alien to the primordial’s nature.

The primordials are no longer a major power in the Elemental Chaos. In the wake of the Dawn War against the gods, most primordials were imprisoned or otherwise diminished, and others were slain. In their stead, titans – the mighty giants who served as the primordial’s laborers in crafting the world – rule over tiny domains scattered across the Elemental Chaos, and the evil fire spirits called efreets lord over fortresses and even cities, such as the fabled City of Brass. Their subjects include an assortment of elementals, creatures formed of raw elemental matter and animated to life and some measure of sentience. Among the most fearsome elemental creatures are archons – humanoid soldiers formed of a pure elemental substrance.

For any other plane or world in the infinity of existence. The “ground” might be bare elemental rock, hardening magma, a smooth sheet of ice or glass, or a field of jagged crystals or crumbling ash. Above, mountains of stone drift through the air or float on currents of lightning, while storm clouds collide with sheets of flame. Not far away, the ground comes to an end—a sheer cliff drops into an infinite abyss, or a river of magma cuts across the landscape. Another island might drift nearby, perhaps far below or just above—but sometimes on a collision course. The resulting cataclysm annihilates both landforms and creates something entirely new.

The substance of the Elemental Chaos is raw matter, unworked and unrefined. Air fills most expanses between masses of elemental material, making the majority of the plane at least theoretically hospitable to travelers from the world. In places, though, air is a hazard—swirling in ceaseless whirlwinds that grasp and never let go, or flowing as a liquid, cold enough to freeze fire.

Rock, iron, ice, crystal, and sand provide surfaces to stand on. Magma, molten metals, and even running flame stream through rivers or pool in great blazing lakes. Sometimes stone moves like water even without the heat of magma—an earthflow can carry away anything built on apparently solid ground. Blinding storms of sand or ash can arise at any moment, scouring flesh from bone.

Water flows in valleys cut through rock, but it also streams through empty air. It churns in vast tumultuous seas, floats in clouds of scalding steam, blows in storms of snow or hail, or drifts along as majestic icebergs.

Raw energy defies the constraints of material form. Sheets of fire dance across the sky, and liquid flame flows in canals through the City of Brass. Lightning flashes so constantly that those suitably protected find it to be solid footing. Thunder rolls like tidal waves across the expanse of the plane, flowing about or shattering whatever stands in its path. All these substances and forces are in constant motion, subject to collisions, tides, and storms of raw chaos energy. The only constant within the Elemental Chaos is change—an eternal cycle of creation and annihilation. Within this instability are islands (some as large as continents) that enjoy a temporary reprieve—places where communities thrive and monsters dwell. Here, in these drifting realms, adventures in the Elemental Chaos typically unfold.

All these substances and forces are in constant motion, subject to collisions, tides, and storms of raw chaos energy. The only constant within the Elemental Chaos is change—an eternal cycle of creation and annihilation. Within this instability are islands (some as large as continents) that enjoy a temporary reprieve—places where communities thrive and monsters dwell. Here, in these drifting realms, adventures in the Elemental Chaos typically unfold.

Near its bottom, the Elemental Chaos turns into a swirling maelstrom that grows darker and dealier as it descends. At the bottom of that maelstrom is the Abyss, the home of demons. Before the world was finished, Tharizdun, the Chained God, planted a shard of pure evil in the heart of the Elemental Chaos, and the gods imprisoned him for this act of blasphemy. The Abyss is as wild as the Elemental Chaos where it was planted, but it is actively malevolent, where the rest of the Elemental Chaos is simply untamed. The demons that infest it range from the relatively weak and savage carnage demons and dretches to the demon princes, beings of nearly godlike power whose names – Orcus, Demogorgon, Baphomet – strike terror into mortal hearts.

Keening Delve

Elemental Chaos

FR Scales of War caneton