Category:Cosmology

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The cosmology of GemStone IV is ill-defined in the sense of systematic schemes of categorization and theory. The Shadow World cosmology of the I.C.E. Age was somewhat more concrete, with separate kinds of planes and entities such as the Pales. There were plans for an onion shell kind of model of planes surrounding our world, formed by tensions of kinds of forces and dualities. This was the original sense of the word "valences." Strictly speaking, not every "other reality" should be called a "plane" or "plane of existence", if the metaphor of a surface plane or "existence" is not meaningful.

Properties

Known Properties

Some basic facts of the multi-planar setting from documentation and reinforced by observed phenomena:

  • The world is separated from other planes or realms by "veils" surrounding it. (source)
  • Veils in a local region can be permanently weakened or damaged from tears. (e.g. Maelshyve, The Rift, Elemental Confluence)
  • These other realities shift and move around in some higher space. (source)
  • Intersections of planes move around as planes move around. (source)
  • Intersections allow foreign energy and properties to bleed through the two worlds. (source)
  • Very large intersections may form a whole planar nexus or demi-plane. (e.g. Elemental Confluence)
  • Intersections/veil weaknesses are attracted toward and anchor on concentrations of related energy. (source)
  • Creatures can be corrupted, cursed, or transformed by foreign energy. (e.g. 1, 2)
  • Physical properties, including time, can vary greatly. (source)
  • Veils can be "pierced", allowing planar transport. (source)
  • Rifts can happen accidentally under intense magic. (e.g. Melgorehn's Reach, Bleaklands, Elemental Confluence, etc.)
  • Some realms are "near" while others are "outer." (recurring motif but not explicitly stated in documentation)
  • Parallel worlds exist with other Elanthias and other versions of the same people in them. These are very difficult to access or communicate across, and swapped individuals can become stuck in the new world. The balance is maintained by very powerful individuals (who are not eternal or immortal) known as the Meek, where there is one Meek for each of the worlds. (The Nazhor Chronicles, Elspie)

Unknown Properties

There are numerous disputable or not explicitly known questions on how the greater world system works which should be defined by the cosmological model(s):

Fundamentals

  • Whether extraplanar beings are (always) here materially in their native form or only take on a form according to the laws of our reality.
  • Whether extraplanar beings are inherently coalesced out of the energy types of a plane, and that planes are formed by such energies.
  • Whether some extraplanar beings are formed on other planes from what happens on this plane, or formed here and were banished. (e.g. Althedeus)
  • Whether what we see on other planes is their true form or if travelers see renderings formed by their own physical properties.
  • Which properties or energies of our world are native and which came from other planes? How far into this universe do the latter reach?
  • Is the many-veil situation local to our world, and similarly is magic? Is it possible to do this from distant planets in our universe? How far?
  • Why does rote magic work on other planes of existence, with even patterns released on other planes imprinting our world?

Extraplanar Beings

  • What does it mean that extraplanar beings can convert beings of other realities into their own or other kinds or hybrids? (e.g. glistening cerebralites, necleriines, Larsya, Rodnay, etc.)
  • Why is it seemingly impossible or very difficult to make portals to this world starting from other planes? (e.g. Is there a still-working Eye of the Drake near the south pole?)
  • Why are beings of this world seemingly never summoned against their will by beings from other planes?
  • Whether extraplanar flora and fauna are indigenous or if there was some pre-historical transplanting by either accident or design.
  • Whether killing extraplanar beings on this plane sometimes banishes them to their world or always destroys them entirely.
  • What precisely distinguishes "demons" from "non-demonic" entities, and categories of demons other than valence origins.
  • Why the same demonic types appear on multiple planes, or their clearly related cousins.

Corruption

  • Whether "anti-mana" is the same thing as corruptive demonic energies, and whether this is equivalent with "unholy" power.
  • Whether corruptive demonic energies are the same thing as the evil essence tainting the undead.
  • Whether this unavoidably corrupts races, the fey/nature spirits, and Lornon Arkati.
  • Whether such "dark energy" is corrupt mana that can be produced by sorcerers without summoning it from another realm.
  • What does it mean for "sorcery" to use extraplanar energies as "elemental/spiritual hyrbids"?

Spirits

  • To what extent the power of the Arkati reaches into other planes and can be used.
  • Whether the Arkati mostly reside in this material world or other planes.
  • Whether the Arkati in a spiritual plane sense are "extraplanar beings."
  • Whether uncursed souls inherently tend to be moved off this plane.
  • Is the "soul" immutably part of this plane's properties, or in terms of its constitutive energy, can it be fundamentally transmogrified into another-planar being?
  • What does it mean that there are extraplanar undead, and given the prior question, the distinction between non-corporeal undead and non-corporeal demons?

Planes

These are unofficial and wide categories of the planes that have been witnessed or implied to exist based on shared common properties. Some of these other-realities may fit in multiple categories and the categories may overlap. There would likely be multiple planar model schemes in the in-character sense based on different organizing principles. It may not even be possible to uniquely classify all of them. For the purposes of this index "coterminous" means "sharing the same boundary as part or all of another plane" and "coexistent" means "the same place existing in two or more spaces or times simultaneously."

Elemental Planes

The known elemental planes correspond to the four primary elements. The elemental planes would likely be considered "near planes" rather than outer realms.

There has not been reference to other pure elements that exist in some world settings, such as Planes of Light, Darkness, Aether, Nether, and so on.

Prime Elemental Planes

It is unclear if there are multiple elemental planes of the same kind, or only a single plane for each "prime element."

The Prime Elemental Planes consist of:

Composite Elemental Planes

When two or more elemental planes collide, an interplanar nexus may be formed, combining the properties of those planes. (See Elemental Confluence (plane) for illustration.)

  • The Elemental Confluence (elemental planes intersection with our plane; claimed by Alusius to be our primary original source of elemental mana)

Spiritual Planes

These are very loosely other planes of (or storing) spirits, whether fey or undead or souls. They might be able to be traveled to astrally or materially through portals.

Near Planes

These seem to be comparatively near (but separated) planes which spirits easily move between under the right conditions.

Coexistent Planes

Fey otherworlds and realms of lesser spirits seem to be coexistent with other planes. Summoning them and transport does not require portals, rifts, or veil piercing.

These could all be special cases of the "ethereal plane" mentioned in game messaging. Reim is saturated with "ethereal energy."

  • Shadow Valley (semi-archaic; the fey otherworld intersecting Silver Valley, the shadow steeds returned through a sky portal)
  • Castle Anwyn (the fey otherworld intersecting Castle Anwyn; it pulls the castle all the way into it sometimes)
  • Red Forest (the fey otherworld intersecting Red Forest; the forest coexists in mirror images on both sides of the DragonSpine)
  • River of Life (Reim death mechanics, body is pulled off material plane into ethereal realm)
  • Non-corporeal undead phase (they only partly exist in the given plane, but they are pulled all the way in with Phase (704).)
  • Symbol of Transcendence ("the space between the corporeal and ethereal realms"; take damage as non-corporeal creatures do)
  • Major Sanctuary (220) (constructed by local spirits or spirit servants of Arkati, can be dispelled by magic of area)

Astral Planes

These are very loosely other realms involving the mind or spirit moving between worlds, or the body de-materializing and re-materializing, or thoughts manifesting reality.

They might tend to be "Near Planes." The dream realm is accessed by some sleeping people, purgatory is accessed by the dead.


There may be a distinction between an astral method of accessing or entering other planes and a plane that is itself purely "mental" or immaterial.

Temporal:

  • The Rift (possibly esoteric planes in the mind of Koar, multiple overlays coexisting in the same places; related to temporal rifts)
  • The Broken Lands (semi-archaic; loosely based on Lovecraft's Dreamlands, seemingly a transplanar nexus; has time paradoxes)
  • Shadow Valley (semi-archaic; loose dream and temporal flavors, nightmare manes were later an ingredient in the seal of the Schism of Dreams)
  • The Endless Light (mindscape of Prelate Chaston Griffin, accessed through Rodnay in 5116 Modern Era; resembles temporal rifts)
  • Paragons (horcrux-like prisoners in a bubble space tied to a location and time, manifests things like in Schism of Dreams; possibly also demonic)
  • Melgorehn's Reach (there have been situations of using the Reach to bleed the timelines of individuals into the present, manifesting their memories)

Demonic:

  • "Echo" of the Shadow Realm (accessed by Quinshon and through Teuriz in 5117 Modern Era; Quinshon is a mentalist, Teuriz a spirit caller)
  • Mind Rot (full immersion hallucinations of the same places when subjected to oculoth venom)
  • Darkness (where your consciousness goes while possessed by oculoths)
  • Mind Jolt (706) (mind is briefly "opened to an unspeakable valence of being")

Demonic Planes

It is unclear if the Faendryl use "valence" as a synonym for "all planes", or only "demonic" planes, or a subset of such realities. It seems to mean "all planes."

The "sorcerous valences" may simply be the "outermost realms" in contrast to the valences considered "near planes."

Valences

Known demonic "valences" include: (i.e. named in the abridged Enchiridion Valentia)

Other Demonic Planes

These might all just be "valences" as well, except for the I.C.E. Age planes. It is known from documentation and earlier precedent that most "outerplanar beings" are demons who hate the living.

Other Planes

The universe Elanthia is set in is called the Plane of Abiding in DragonRealms, and is a material universe with ordinary laws of physics in the absence of planar bleedthrough in Shadow World. It is unclear which planes with solid matter should be considered "material planes", and if these are natural kinds or inherently low-grade composites. The following are other potential ways of categorizing the planes:

Ithzir Planes

The Ithzir live in material plane worlds and apparently travel to others conquering them.

Known Ithzir worlds include:

Temporal Planes

Coterminous Planes
These are time warps outside the given space, but they are contiguous with it. They intersect with it at various fixed points in a region.

  • Temporal rifts (e.g. glyph traps and Familiar Gate (930) without a familiar; temporal warrior and worm invasion creatures)
  • The Rift (was related to the temporal rifts; depicts multiple realities it touches upon, based heavily on Tarot cards)
  • Planar Shift (740) (the rift is a temporal warp; spells follows the "flow patterns" of a plane, seems limited to this plane and coexistent realms)

Coexistent Planes
These are situations of places with time warps that exist in two or more places and/or times simultaneously.

  • Melgorehn's Reach (below Melgorehn's Reach is a time warp, the place can transform into past events and even trap people there in the past)
  • Bleaklands (regions of frozen time or two times converging into the same place with temporal rifting; the related Wizardwaste also has ambiguous time warping)
  • Lorae'tyr (speculatively; temporal warping is immanent in the plane, unknown how it works in detail because studying it is illegal)
  • Lich's Landing (Goblyn's Workshop is temporally warped and she has Lich's Landing out of phase with our reality)
  • Isles of transfer (archaic; more a phenomena where some islands were like coexistent temporal demi-planes)
  • Paragons (temporal pocket realities tied to specific times and locations, including overlapping ones; manifesting the mind of horcrux-like prisoners called paragons)

Demi-Planes

These are loosely speaking smaller planes (if distance is meaningful), possibly artificially made, that may be pocket realities contiguous with other planes.

  • Temporal rifts (accessible from any spatial point in a plane, exiting back to the same point or sometimes a set of fixed points)
  • Major Sanctuary (220) (constructed by spirits, fixed to a spatial location; may be dispelled by location's magic)
  • Sign of Darkness (Council of Light teleportation ability, demi-plane exits to spatial locations)
  • Ithzir sanctuary (Ithzir armor escape ability, possibly mind power oriented)
  • Elemental Confluence (possibly, depending on its true spatial extent)
  • Broken Lands (semi-archaic; possibly, depending on its true spatial extent)
  • Shadow Valley (semi-archaic; it moved to another location, seems to have limited spatial extent)
  • Lich's Landing (possibly, Goblyn has Lich's Landing out of phase with our reality)
  • Labyrinth of Zenon (archaic, I.C.E. Age but unique to GemStone III)
  • Paragons (temporal bubble reality; the spatial extent is probably limited to the region of relevance to the horcrux-like prisoner in it)

Alternate Elanthia

These are other versions of Elanthia, or maybe illusions of some kind, or possibly the same Elanthia under another history or later times.

  • Parallel worlds (The Nazhor Chronicles storyline establishes there are parallel Elanthia worlds inhabited by other versions of us all)
  • Orb vision in the Sheruvian summoning chamber (Town Square Central at this moment, but mass slaughter and flames)
  • Sorcerer Guild on Teras Isle (Crossroads from DragonRealms, possibly a time rift)
  • The Rift (some rooms correspond to places in Elanthia in twisted darker forms)

Not Really Planes?

These are situations of places that sometimes get considered to be other planes or dimensions but seemingly are not really or have been treated inconsistently.

  • Bre'Naere (Aelotoi homeworld; has been called "extra-planar" in a much later document and treated as a "planet" in this plane in a storyline)
  • The Broken Lands (archaic documentation called it another plane of existence; widely taken to be "the moon" by players, was treated as Lornon in Miracle (350) release event)

Miscellaneous Planes

These are unsorted planes that may fit in the other categories or some other category.

Links

These are GemStone specific links related to lore for the planes:

These are comparative examples of cosmology in other related or similar world settings.