Research:The Rift (planes)
This is a research page for studying The Rift in terms of its content rather than hunting properties. It is related to the Research:Temporal rift page will be related to a future page Research: The Vvrael Quest. The Rift was released in April 1998 at the end of the Vvrael quest, when Terate sacrificed himself to prevent the Rift from expanding to swallow up the world. The Vvrael is a corruption within it, and wishes to feed on our magic and souls. Vvrael family creatures are extraplanar beings mechanically, but the ghost of Malaphor said they were corrupted servants of this world, who had wandered into the rift over thousands of years. The Vvrael itself is a collective sentient awareness of anti-mana. The nebulous sphere was called the Eye of the Drake, whose "circles" Lorminstra claimed led to "worlds unknown."
For the purposes of this page the concern is trying to interpret the source material in terms of its original context. In the event such an interpretation were correct in its comparative mythology and hidden references, it would not mean that it should be considered "correct" presently, especially for cryptic meanings. Things from the late 1990s do not necessarily gel that well with later lore development.
- 1 The Great Drake
- 2 The Rift
- 3 Tarot
- 4 Creatures
- 5 Messaging
The Great Drake
There are numerous things suggesting that the "Great Drake" (heavily implied to be Koar) morphed into the mountain to slumber in non-corporeal form and that "The Rift" is literally inside him. In this view the Eye is the one eye Koar supposedly keeps open while he sleeps and the Rift's "circles" are astral planes in his mind. The following are examples of things insinuating the Rift is inside his magical "body". The Drake's Shrine, Castle Anwyn, and most of Pinefar were primarily created by GM Talairi, including the design and concept, and she was also the pilot of the Terate character in the Vvrael quest.
The Eye of the Drake
In the Vvrael quest the "Eye of the Drake" was an ancient artifact sealed away in Mount Aenatumgana. In the end it was clear that this was a dragonsbreath sapphire floating over an ornate pedestal, which shattered revealing a nebulous sphere pulsing throughout the color spectrum. Lorminstra continued to refer to this as the Eye of the Drake after the gem shattered. "The Rift" is inside "the Eye."
You hear the quiet whisper of a young woman, "The time is upon us my Chosen, the Rift tears at the very fabric of our reality..." [Breach, Cavern of Ages] The chamber's walls are modulated with the same large recesses that pocket the walls of the chamber to the north. Inside each, the red stone is polished to an indulgent surface that highlights the striations in the rock. On the cavern's eastern wall however, something went horribly wrong. The undulating niches are blasted into shambles around a central oval just behind a golden pedestal. There, the rock looks like it has melted, running down the side of the cavern in eddies of molten stone. You also see a golden pedestal with a flawless dragonsbreath sapphire hovering above it. Also in the room: Lord Berr, Lord Beldin, Lord Jala, Lord Krackenstar, Lady Merry, Lady Nyte, Lord Terate who is lying down, Lady Heathyr, Lady Risper Obvious exits: north. Merry reaches towards the floating sapphire. It bobbles in the air as it evades her, rotating slightly. Beldin seems to be trying to figure out how to turn a golden pedestal with a flawless dragonsbreath sapphire hovering above it. Suddenly, the sapphire drops. Just as it is about to strike the pedestal beneath it, it stops, then slowly levitates back to its previous position. >l at sapp Amazingly, the dragonsbreath sapphire hovers in mid-air over a golden pedestal near the center of the room. It has been cut with precision, forming it into a perfectly symmetrical octagonal sphere. Colored a pale, watery blue, the stone bears no blemishes to mar its beauty. Tiny sparks play within its core, kindling a soft light that illuminates the room. Before it can evade her, Risper grasps the dragonsbreath sapphire and gives it a good spin. It rotates freely in the air, quickly gathering momentum until it is nothing but a blur. A soft luminescence begins to emmanate from the spinning gem, bathing the room in light. Without warning, the sapphire explodes with a brilliant flash, leaving you momentarily blinded! As your vision returns, you can no longer see the sapphire. Where it once was, a small nebulous sphere now hovers in mid-air. Terate exclaims, "ha!" Beldin tries to manipulate the sphere. The sphere flares, sending brilliant blue sparks arcing across the room! As the sparks flicker out, you notice that the sphere has shrunk a little. The nebulous sphere pulses with a red light. The sphere flares, sending brilliant blue sparks arcing across the room! As the sparks flicker out, you notice that the sphere has grown in size considerably.
The Nebulous Sphere:
The sphere after the sapphire was destroyed. Terate called the sphere in this form "the Eye." Note that the archaic lore for Koar described him as having grey eyes. This may or may not be intentional.
[Breach, Cavern of Ages] The chamber's walls are modulated with the same large recesses that pocket the walls of the chamber to the north. Inside each, the red stone is polished to an indulgent surface that highlights the striations in the rock. On the cavern's eastern wall however, something went horribly wrong. The undulating niches are blasted into shambles around a central oval just behind a golden pedestal with a nebulous sphere hovering above it. There, the rock appears to have melted, running down the cavern wall in eddies of molten stone. Obvious exits: north >look pedestal You see nothing unusual. >look sphere Glowing softly with a subtle radiance, the sphere hovers above a golden pedestal near the center of the chamber. Formed of a wispy cloud-like mass, it does not appear to have any solid structure. Looking into its depths, you can only see a swirling grey ether.
Eye of Koar Emeralds:
In addition to the "Eye of the Drake", there are Rift gems called "Eye of Koar" emeralds with magical properties. The gist of the silver tithes is dragons sleeping in treasure hordes.
10,000+ Silver (inside Rift, teleports group to the Drake's Shrine) >raise emerald You close your eyes and concentrate as you raise your Eye-of-Koar emerald. The emerald flickers brightly, and the natural navette shape of the gem makes it resemble the blinking eye of a great wyrm. Your skin begins to tingle as the eerie feeling of being watched steals over you. You get the pleasant feeling that one of life's burdens has been lifted from you. The surroundings ripple, tinted with a vibrant green light, and your vision begins to fade as you feel yourself being pulled away. [Altar of the Elder] The ledge is more generous than it appeared from the lower stone platform, which now looks extremely narrow and far below. The view from here of the monumental ice sculpture reveals its top to be as superbly detailed as its other aspects. Incongruously, a pool of clear, sapphire-colored water lies between the ledge and an immense statue of a sleeping drake, its recumbent body curled around a large throne on the pool's northern edge. You also see a flight of steps. Obvious exits: up The Eye-of-Koar emerald in your hand crumbles into fine, sparkling dust. Roundtime: 5 sec. 20,000+ Silver (anywhere, grants anyone in group with 20k silvers 1 deed) >raise my emerald You close your eyes and concentrate as you raise your Eye-of-Koar emerald. The emerald flickers brightly, and the natural navette shape of the gem makes it resemble the blinking eye of a great wyrm. Your skin begins to tingle as the eerie feeling of being watched steals over you. You get the feeling that the gods are pleased with you, and a heavy burden has been lifted from your shoulders. (note: does not crumble, unless used inside Rift which activates teleport power as well)
The archaic lore for vaalin was that it only existed on the moon of the dark gods, though this was never in official documentation. Its use in the Drake's Shrine could be implying the time preceding the Liabo/Lornon split. The contemporary metals lore was not released until a few years after the Vvrael quest, but vaalin may merely have been meant to imply a rare and expensive metal.
A young lass glances at the sphere. A young lass says, "But..." A young lass says, "The Vvrael still exist..." A young lass says, "This sphere..." A young lass says, "Leads to worlds unknown." A young lass says, "Only the bravest and strongest should even dare attempt to enter the Eye of the Drake" A young lass says, "Many have crossed the circles only to go mad" A young lass puts a clear vaalin orb pendant in its black satchel. A young lass says, "I will leave you now to explore this most magnificent Shrine. " A young lass touches a large set of golden keys. A young lass says, "Be careful through the sphere..." A young lass curtsies. A young lass just went north.
The Cavern of Ages
The Cavern of Ages itself is described as having red stone throughout, with one room comparing it to "an immense rib cage." The Great Drake in the Book of Revelation is the "Great Red Dragon." (The Drake's Shrine contains several references to the Book of Revelation and possibly Dante's "Divine Comedy" as well.) The Cavern of Ages itself is likely also a reference to the "Wisdom of Ages", with the Lake of Tears as the Well of Urd at the roots of the World Tree (the first room on Planes 1 through 3), which is when Odin gained cosmic knowledge by sacrificing one of his eyes to drink from the water.
[Heated Sands, Cavern of Ages] After the bitter, numbing cold of outside, the luxuriousness of warm air is all encompassing. Then the surroundings creep upon one's consciousness, like a panoramic view emerging as fog lifts. Red stone walls arch in ridges overhead, reminiscent of an immense rib cage. The cavern's higher regions are remote and dark, however, soft light radiates from a fine, ivory-colored carpet of sand that stretches from wall to wall. Heat rises from the sand as well, lending a shimmering quality to the air. You also see a dark lake bordering the cavern's southern expanse. Obvious exits: northeast, southeast
The Chosen Orbs
Lorminstra gave these orbs to the Chosen. There is one on the throne in the Drake's Shrine. The Arkati "facing each of the four compass directions" is probably a Book of Revelation allusion.
[The Dragon Sleeps] An elaborate throne sits before the swirling water of the pool. The thing is so large it would dwarf the tallest giantman. However, the huge shape of the stone drake behind it makes the chair look small and fragile. It seems to be made of the same stone as that of the wyrm, and its ornamentation is a mantle of carved, interlocking sigils. Incised upon the throne's backrest is a crown within a circle. Obvious exits: up, down >look throne The workmanship is breathtaking, every minutiae carved with precision. On the chair's seat rests a stone pillow, embossed with an overall pattern of small crowns. The water of the pool laps at the feet of the throne like an obeisant supplicant. >look on throne On the stone throne: Special : a clear vaalin orb >look orb You see a long, veil iron chain, each heavy link obviously hand-forged and intricately etched with a scale pattern. Carried on the chain is an orb made of crystal-clear vaalin. The sphere appears to be hollow, for inside you see a minute cosmos, with twinkling stars and tiny planets surrounded by their orbiting moons. In the center of the amazing conglomeration floats an eye with a serpentine pupil, golden in color as a yellow sun. It hangs like an anchor in the midst of the surrounding firmament. Loresong: "Your eyes cloud over as a vision begins to flood in, cascading out of the small orb like a tidal wave. You see an immense mountain encased in vicious cold and savaged by roaming storms that carry death in their howling song. At the top of the peak, huge slabs of granite rise slowly up out of the snow, lifted by the mind power of a group of four individuals. The tall, lithe beings stand back to back, facing each of the four compass directions with a globe of power encircling them like a glowing sphere. Their faces are set in concentration. They stand motionless as a huge shrine rises into the clouds, granite slab settling on top of granite slab. Finally, the magic pulses a last time throwing reflections into the clouds, and as light settles back into the grey overcast sky, a monumental shrine stands majestically, topping the mountain like a gem." "Your eyes cloud over as a vision begins to flood in, shooting out a snaking finger of images, which spread themselves across your sight like a panorama. A vast shrine sits atop a blizzard-wracked mountain, piercing the shifting clouds disdainfully. A group of four individuals stands before the temple, as silent and rigid as the building's ramparts. They send out an unwavering stream of power, which flickers over the structure like static electricity. Suddenly, immense wings descend from out of the clouds supporting a drake so large, it dwarfs the mountaintop. The energy immediately stops and the four entities nod, in perfect unison, to the leviathan crouched over them. Snow and wind then seem to pause motionless in the air, and in the next heartbeat, the dragon melts down into the shrine in a blurred funnel as the elements resume their onslaught. Four shapes silently fold into flat images and fade into nothing."
The bottom of Lorminstra's "Lake of Tears" in the Drake's Shrine has a dragon skeleton. This is circumstantial but suggestive with the above loresong. It is consistent with the Odin / Well of Urd subtext.
[Lake of Tears] The currents kick up sand into a shifting curtain. Light from above barely intrudes, splicing into the gloom in weak shafts, which flicker as the currents assault them. An array of curved spines rises out of the sands on the lake's floor, looking like a huge arching fan in the wavering shadows. Obvious exits: up Roundtime: 5 sec. R>look spine As you swim closer to the spines, a bleached collection of bones becomes visible. The skull is immense, tapering from a wide forehead down a long muzzle to flaring nostril ridges. Behind the skull, a long vertebra is curled in repose, ending in a barbed tail which circles the lake's floor. The bones of a wing lie fanned across the sand in a graceful triangle, while its partner rests buried beneath the huge flare of the ribs.
The following is the wording of the Koar documentation at the time of the Vvrael quest. It is the same now except for the "chuckle-headed" line, which now says it cannot be confirmed by anyone living.
Koar Greater God, King of the Gods Spheres of Power: Justice, Loyalty, Law Humanoid Manifestation: A huge man upon a throne, contemplating fate of all things. Flowing grey hair and beard, shaggy brows, a deeply creased forehead, and weary eyes. Koar wears a golden crown. Manner: commanding, detached, weary Koar is the King of the Gods. Once he ruled all the Arkati and he is still the titular head of both the Light and Dark Gods. In practice, however, his direct control is only over the Gods of Light. Not since the fall of the Drakes in the Ur-Daemon War has Koar rallied all the gods too him, and none knows for sure if he could unify the Arkati now, no matter what the cause. Still, it is said that as long as Koar lives, the Gods of Light and Dark will never face each other in open war. Legend holds that Koar sits on a great throne carved from the stone heart of the world extending up through the tallest mountain in Elanthia. He rarely leaves his throne, and spends most of his time slumbering or brooding. Even when he sleeps, one eye is always slightly open, and while Koar may not intervene in the affairs of gods or mortals often, there is little that escapes his notice. The sages say that the mountains of Elanthia rise and fall as Koar's brow furrows. One day, it is said, when the Gods of Darkness no longer vex their king, and when mortals no longer wage petty wars, the mountains mountains will sink back into the ground and all the world will be a fertile plain. Earthquakes are attributed to Koar shifting restlessly, and before Koar's brow is smoothed, legend holds he will rise from his throne in wrath, shaking the greatest fortresses to rubble. The prophecy is silent as to who or what will be the object of his ire. Some common folk believe that Koar is not an Arkati, but actually the last of the Great Drakes. No respected scholar actually believes such nonsense, obviously born of chuckle-headed nostalgia. Koar's blessing is often invoked during coronation ceremonies, and it is not uncommon for rulers to claim that their particular right to reign bears Koar's approval. Koar's symbol is a golden crown, often set on a circle of white.
Exiting The Rift
When you are carrying more than 10,000 silvers, they are taken from you and your mana is restored. The messaging strongly implies you are inside the Great Drake.
You feel the presence of the Great Drake folding you into himself. Pleased that you have brought a tithe, the Great Drake restores your power unto you.
Heart of the Rift
Plane 5 is literally an enormous worm-ridden diseased heart. This presumably represents the Vvrael and its anti-mana corruption of The Rift within him.
[The Rift] A mass of pulsing and twitching tissue sits to the west. At first, the booming that rolls through the air sounds like thunder, but a moment of listening proves it to be too regular and rhythmic to be a storm. Thump-thump... thump-thump.... All at once the source comes to you, and as you gaze at the tissue you realize it is a giant heart. Grey-green worms chew through the flesh, and listening to the beating it becomes obvious that they are killing the heart, and whatever creature it belongs to. Obvious exits: out
There is a "gaping maw" on Plane 1 that swallows people, and "fangs" made of precious metals. These are at least vaguely draconic motifs. There is also a "Maw of the Drake" in the Drake's Shrine. You pass through the "Maw" of the dragon to the "Lake of Tears" to "the Eye." These are all suggesting an "anthropomorphic" (except for dragons) interpretation of the shrine as a body in the mountain itself.
- Plane 1
XXXX walks into a gaping maw. A moment later the gaping maw closes and a giant slobbery tongue slips out and licks its lips. The gaping maw opens wider for a moment then closes in upon itself. Within moments, it's gone!
- Drake's Shrine
There are numerous anachronistic details in the Drake's Shrine, such as the ancient-but-modern writing, that make no sense unless the creators could see the future.
[Chamber of the Maw, Ice Shrine] The chamber's center aisle is spanned by an impressive pointed barrel-vault, emphasizing the ceiling's lofty height. Light falls at the north end, illuminating a twisted form of ice so large, it reaches to the ceiling, as if lifting arms of ice in supplication. Where the massive ice form begins, side aisles branch to the northwest and northeast. Curiously, the frozen formation resembles a gigantic dragon's head, its mouth open to reveal curved teeth taller than a giantman. You also see a carved flagstone. Obvious exits: northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest >look ice The curious formation boasts intricate detail, as delicate and precise as the finest statue. However, the immense size of it disputes the possibility that mortal hands could have yielded such a work. As you peer within the depths of the striated colossus, admiring the swirl of color running through its frozen heart, you begin to make out forms caught within it. You see figures out of the past, primordial creatures now regarded as more legend than fact. The idea of such antiquity is staggering! Yet -- if you can believe what you're seeing -- there they are, caught in twisted postures of death within the ice. At the foot of the leviathan, words are carved into one of the flagstones. >look flag The stone is sheathed in ice, as is most of this frigid structure. Yet there, in archaic letters that are remarkably discernible, a legend is carved into the rock floor. It reads, 'Maw of the Drake'.
When entering the nebulous sphere your body is ultimately ripped apart and dematerialized into nothingness. It is reformed inside The Rift. This allows the possibility that inside the Rift the adventurer is a kind of astral body within the Great Drake who is sleeping in the heart of the world with its mind dreaming upon "worlds unknown." Koar is in this sense brooding and contemplating the fate of all things. There is a great deal of comparative mythology which will be addressed in Research:The Vvrael Quest. This is particularly relevant given its potential cryptic "purgatory" references and the game's death mechanics.
Every direction except East and West lead to Plane 1. The first movement determines the destination. "Out" only works on the first movement.
|Nebulous Sphere Direction||Destination Plane|
This is a particularly interesting set of messages because the rarer one overtly speaks of the mind being stretched across time and space in the nebulous sphere.
First Person: (ending up in The Rift)
>e A black tendril of anti-mana reaches towards you... You feel drained! You feel your soul twisted up and spit out by anti-mana! You are surrounded by an ethereal fog. >e You feel every shred of yourself torn to tiny pieces and reformed... Bodyless and mindless you float...waiting for some semblance of normality... >look [Heart of Black Nothingness] You are within the black heart of nothingness. >e You can do nothing... you can feel nothing... you are nothing... > You open your eyes and blink twice to find yourself hovering about six feet off the ground. As soon as you become cognizant of where you are, you drop hard like a sack of potatoes. [The Rift] A cold, grey mist swirls around you, making it difficult to gain any sense of what is here. Through the haze a huge, gnarled hand stretches upward reaching grimly for something past your vision. As you move closer, it turns out to be only a dead tree, the bent and gnarled limbs twisting toward a blood eagle hovering just out of reach. Obvious paths: east
First Person: (returned to the Cavern of Ages)
You are surrounded by an ethereal fog. >e You close your eyes as your mind stretches out over time and space, but when you open your eyes, a sense of normalcy returns. [Birthing Sands, Cavern of Ages - 2635] This part of the cavern seems intimate after the expansiveness just around a bend of the red stone. Recesses all along the east wall give the rock a filigreed appearance which belies the vast size of each enclosure. The fine sand is a constant carpet, however, the light it expends is much dimmer here, fading to a soft twilight within the eastern niches. To the south, the walls swirl to create an oval passageway into another cavern where more of the recesses can be glimpsed. You also see a jagged stone ledge with some stuff on it, a narrow fissure and a stiff sandy pack. Obvious exits: south, southwest
Third Person: (exiting the sphere, seen from the Rift)
You see a black speck appear high in the sky above you. It comes hurtling down at an alarming rate. Right as it is about to smash into the ground, it stops. Suspended in midair for a moment you identify XXXXX before she comes tumbling to the ground.
Ash and Fog:
Both inside the nebulous sphere and "The Rift" itself, jumping and sneezing reveals a prevalence of "ash." This may refer to the world tree, symbolically represented by the first room on the three entry planes, having supposedly been an ash tree. The Rift rooms as symbols of cosmic knowledge in this context likely refers to the runes of Odin. The Rift being in the Eye may be implied by the ubiquitous fog in both.
[Lost in an Ethereal Fog] An ethereal fog all surrounds you. >jump You leap high into the air and come crashing back down to the ground with both feet firmly planted. A large cloud of ash billows around you! >sneeze You sneeze, raising a small cloud of ash from your face. >yell You open your mouth and immediately it fills with the dense fog that surrounds you and you close your mouth quickly to avoid breathing the fog in...
The Rift changes the third-person view on some verbs. Chuckle is seen as chuckles menacingly, laughing is laughing maniacally.
The word "planes" was not used in the context of The Rift. Lorminstra referred to them as "circles." One possible meaning of this is the arguable presence of allusions to Dante's "Divine Comedy" in the Vvrael quest. However, given the astral messaging along with the implications of watching or permeating throughout the solar system, these could be planes in the mind of Koar. The "planes of existence" in esoteric cosmology are often represented as concentric circles existing throughout the world. The first three planes are ideal solid geometric shapes. Plane 1 is a triangle, Plane 2 is a square, Plane 3 is circular.
These are a sequence of directional constraints through the same places, arriving at them in different orders. However, when viewed from the top down as a holistic shape, these places are all in the same order. When the planes shift causing the adventurer to be "rifted", they end up in the same place on a different layout. These rooms predominantly or perhaps almost entirely correspond to Tarot cards. The pattern of a nested circle, square, and triangle has occurred in multiple contexts in Tarot occultism, so it is difficult to discern the more specific significance if it exists due to the lack of uniqueness.
When "rifted" there is always a regularity in which planes drop into which planes. Plane 1 rifts to Plane 2. Plane 2 rifts to Plane 3. Plane 3 rifts to Plane 2. Plane 4 rifts to Plane 5. (It is unclear if it always worked this way, or was changed when the creatures were moved around and new ones were added in October 2009.) Creatures that would ordinarily only exist on one plane end up on the other.
Example: Plane 3 to Plane 2
[The Rift - 12226] A wide stretch of forest opens before you, the huge border of trees giving the impression of stoic guards protecting their land and secrets. Packs of ghostly dogs run toward you at the will of a huge, antlered man commanding them at the forest border. His bony finger points to you, and the dark gleam in his eye tells you he will not allow passage further into the woods. Obvious paths: southeast, northwest > Suddenly you feel sick and queasy, and your world seems blurry and indistinct. You fight an intense vertigo for a moment before the sensation leaves you. You regain your senses, blink once and look around. [The Rift - 12150] A wide stretch of forest opens before you, the huge border of trees giving the impression of stoic guards protecting their land and secrets. Packs of ghostly dogs run toward you at the will of a huge, antlered man commanding them at the forest border. His bony finger points to you, and the dark gleam in his eye tells you he will not allow passage further into the woods. Obvious exits: east, west Roundtime: 5 sec.
There is no reason to think that later developments would be consistent with this mythological view of the Great Drake and coexistent (perhaps emanationist) esoteric planes. The Scatter is not likely to fit into the mold that applies to the original Rift planes. Likewise, in the Ta'Illistim crystal storyline, the Rift was referred to as an "outer plane." That might be considered a misleading phrase if this view is correct.
The Rift itself is not overtly "temporal" in flavor, other than rare messaging in the nebulous sphere. It is instead based very heavily on Tarot decks, which are used for divination and prophecy. The temporal rift mechanics were made more violent and anti-magical around the time of the Vvrael quest. It implicitly explained the time gap of Malaphor, a refugee royal mage of House Ashrim, opening a Familiar Gate (930) for his apprentice Tindal who arrived in Wehnimer's Landing. The following are the twelve exit points for the temporal rift inside The Rift. There is no obvious discernible pattern to the room choices.
[Temporal Rift] You are trapped in a time rift! You catch brief glimpses of events both past and future. Beyond these strange and confusing visions extends a vast, ever-changing field of stars, pinpoints of light against unfathomable utter blackness. It is very cold here. Obvious paths: north, northeast, east, southeast, south, southwest, west, northwest, up, down
With the same locations existing on Planes 1, 2, and 3, you discern which plane you are on by the available paths. These planes arguably coexist with each other in the same places, so things from other hidden dimensions are spontaneously appearing. In some sense, however, they were already present. Every fifth room is a unique description. The following are their Lich # on each plane:
|Number||Room||Plane 1||Plane 2||Plane 3||Plane 4||Tarot|
|1||World Tree||2579||12118||12093||X||The World|
|3||Summoning Circle||2581||12120||12175||X||Ace of Pentacles|
|4||Ten Swords||2584||12121||12176||X||Ten of Swords|
|5||Varies||2583||2619||12177||X||The Fool, Justice|
|6||Metal Rod Pit||2582||12123||12178||X|
|7||Rolaren Chains||2585||12101||12179||X||Eight of Swords|
|10||Varies||2588||2634||12182||X||The Magician, The Hanged Man|
|12||Killer Boy||2592||12129||12184||X||The Lovers [maybe]|
|15||Varies||2589||12112||12187||X||High Priestess, Death|
|17||Many Doors||2595||12132||20882||X||The Universe (The World) [maybe]|
|19||Undead Giantman||2597||12128||20880||X||The Green Knight (The Devil) [maybe]|
|20||Varies||2598||12126||12189||X||The Empress, Temperance|
|22||Dance of Death||2606||12115||12191||X||Four of Spears (Wand) [maybe]|
|23||Sinking Couple||2605||12089||12192||X||Two (or Six) of Cups|
|25||Varies||2603||12113||12194||X||The Emperor, The Devil|
|26||Icemule Dark Elf||2602||12158||12195||X|
|29||Outpost Under Siege||2607||12144||12198||X|
|30||Varies||2608||12137||12199||X||The Hierophant, The Tower|
|33||Giant On Poles||2611||12104||20879||X||Prometheus (The Hanged Man)|
|34||Pitch Black Hiss||2612||12169||12202||X|
|35||Varies||2613||12100||12203||X||The Lovers, The Star|
|36||Impaled Bodies Cliff||2614||12147||12204||X|
|40||Varies||2620||12107||12214||X||The Chariot, The Moon|
|41||Trolls Giants Sled||2617||12163||20878||X|
|42||Bounty||2618||12171||20877||X||Four of Swords|
|44||Huge Dead Giant||2616||12143||20876||X||The Green Knight (The Devil)|
|45||Varies||2615||12154||12094||X||Strength, The Sun|
|47||Krolvin Scimitar Cell||2625||12117||12091||X||Eight of Swords|
|49||Immense Boulder||2627||12164||12221||X||Atlas (King of Wands)|
|50||Varies||2628||12109||12222||X||The Hermit, Judgement|
|51||Winged Humanoid Beach||2629||12088||12223||X|
|53||Scale of Blood||2631||12149||12225||X||Justice|
|54||Antlered Man||2632||12150||12226||X||The Horned God (The Devil)|
|55||Varies||2633||12110||12227||X||Wheel of Fortune, The World|
|56||Impaled Snake||X||X||X||12095||Page of Swords|
|58||Courtyard Blood Basin||X||X||X||12156||The Hanged Man|
|61||Walls Under Siege||X||X||X||12151|
|63||Two Harps||X||X||X||12152||Nine of Spears (Wands)|
|64||Ambush Camp||X||X||X||12248||Seven of Swords|
|67||Skeletons Drinking Blood||X||X||X||12138||Nine of Cups|
|68||Crippled Men Church||X||X||X||12146||Five of Coins (Pentacles)|
|69||Dead Flower Bed||X||X||X||12153||Ace of Coins (Pentacles)|
|70||Dead Koar||X||X||X||12122||Four of Swords|
|71||Blindfolded Woman Gauntlet||X||X||X||12157||Eight of Swords|
|72||Boy vs. Six Men||X||X||X||12145||Seven of Wands|
|73||Wax God Statues||X||X||X||12125|
|76||Black Knight Riding||X||X||X||12119||Six of Wands|
|77||Skull Walls||X||X||X||12252||Four of Shields (Coins/Pentacles)|
|78||Dead Wedding||X||X||X||12103||Two of Cups|
(Note: The "varies" rooms have almost two dozen unambiguous Tarot cards. The other rooms are more stylized and harder to identify.)
There are exactly 100 unique room descriptions on Planes 1 through 4. This may be meaningless, or it might have been intentional. In the context of Lorminstra's "circles" it could be matching the 100 Cantos of Dante's "Divine Comedy", which include: the circles of Inferno, the terraces of Purgatory, and the spheres of Paradise. Plane 5 has 14 rooms, 13 regular and a hidden room, which is inside the heart. The significance of these numbers is that there are 78 cards in a Tarot deck (22 Major and 56 Minor Arcana), with 14 cards in a suit. Plane 5 is shaped like a heart with maybe a pentacle in the center.
The Vvrael quest had a number of subtle references to prophecy. The Rift is not overtly temporal in nature, but its rooms heavily correspond to Tarot cards. The Rider-Waite and Arthurian "Legend" deck are unquestionably present. Others may be as well, such as "Arthurian Tarot", and the Mythic deck. The last is a Greek mythology deck. There is a room that seems to represent Atlas, and another with a Prometheus (or perhaps Loki) figure as Hanging Man. It is difficult in general to identify specific decks as influences, because of the high overlap of similar imagery for the corresponding cards. It is cases where rooms are almost identical to very specific versions that allow you to be certain, such as the "Wind Harps of War" imagery for the Nine of Spears card from the Legend deck on Plane 4.
There were a great many subtle allusions to Grail legends throughout the Vvrael quest, and there is an old association with the legend objects (Grail cup, Grail sword, etc.) and the suits of Tarot decks. The extent to which the latter point was self-consciously intended is ambiguous. All of the Major Arcana cards are present in the Rift and many of the Minor Arcana are as well. (This is not purely OOC. Finvale's Crystals are not only an Elanthian tarot script, some of the imagery is taken from the Rider-Waite deck. It is fair for a divination oriented character to recognize Tarot in The Rift.)
Many of these are strikingly the same as the corresponding Tarot card in a given deck. Others are adaptations that take more effort to recognize, or are references to some as yet unidentified deck. Not all of the rooms are necessarily part of this thread. Some might simply by mythological or other references tossed together. The room painting of the Rift was primarily GM Varevice and GM Ursus. It is important to be cautious against reading too much continuity of subtext or meaning into related areas that were created by different persons. The styles of the Drake's Shrine and The Rift are entirely different.
Planes 1, 2, and 3
The rooms of the first three planes are all laid out in a regular sequential pattern. When rifted you end up in the same room on the adjacent plane, or the unique room in the same order. The fifth room of every plane when properly sequenced is a unique room description. For Plane 1 and 2 each represents a Major Arcana card in order of its trump. The other rooms appear in the same order on all three planes. The fact that the assortment is non-random helps identify the cards in ambiguous cases, though it is possible they could be hybridized representations (e.g. Tombstone Elanthia is "Death" and not "World.")
It might be argued that since each plane of the Rift is the same deck, the paths between rooms on each plane amount to drawing different hands of cards, since only the third plane is entirely straight. The planes themselves seemingly imply filled-in, solid areas of ideal geometric shapes: triangle, square, and circle. The fourth and fifth planes are more twisted, maybe more corrupted by the rift.
|1||World Tree||A cold, grey mist swirls around you, making it difficult to gain any sense of what is here. Through the haze a huge, gnarled hand stretches upward reaching grimly for something past your vision. As you move closer, it turns out to be only a dead tree, the bent and gnarled limbs twisting toward a blood eagle hovering just out of reach.||Plane 1, 2, 3||World Tree (The World)
The Seeker (Fool)
|Major Arcana (#21)
Major Arcana (#0)
|2||Death||The sound of hoofbeats approaches rapidly. When you whirl around, a white horse emerges from the surrounding mist with a black robed figure on its back. As the horse gallops by, the sound of a blade cutting the air fills your ears, and a burst of wind brushes your neck. The horseman quickly fades into the mist before you, a scythe the last thing you see as it disappears.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Death||Major Arcana (#13)||Rider-Waite|
|3||Summoning Circle||Your wandering brings you to a small clearing. The ground is dry and parched, and there are large lines scratched into the surface and coated in a red, sticky substance. Following the lines a moment, you realize they make a rune covered circle, and that you are standing in the center of it. A cold wind whips around you at that point, and you hear howls in the distance.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Ace of Pentacles||Minor Arcana, Coins (#1)||Rider-Waite|
|4||Ten Swords||Mist swirls and flows around a small monument here. A man lies on the ground face down, quite dead. There are ten longswords protruding from his back, from the tip of the neck to the back of the knees. Small rivulets of blood have dried as they left the body, forming an unusual pattern in the dirt.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Ten of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#10)||Rider-Waite|
|5||Skeletal Dog||A jagged chasm opens up nearly beneath your feet. Before you can step into it, a sharp barking sound startles you, catching your attention and bringing you to a halt. Looking down, you see a small skeletal dog at your feet. He dances nimbly before you, halting your forward progress into the pit. Blinking, you look again, and both the dog and the chasm are gone.||Plane 1||The Fool||Major Arcana (#0)||Rider-Waite|
|5||Hung Jury||The courtroom is packed with shambling corpses, filling the jury box and judge seat. A living person sits in the spot reserved for the defendant, chained to the desk with thick irons. He looks nervous, glancing around at the dead surrounding him with a wild look in his eyes. At the back of the courtroom hangs a blindfolded woman, head lolling grotesquely to the side as if the noose had broken her neck. Her dead fingers clutch a set of balance scales.||Plane 2||Justice||Major Arcana (#11)||Rider-Waite|
|5||Iridescent Slime||Iridescent grey slime crawls over the walls, ceiling and floor, seeming to pulsate and almost breathe. The air is heavy with moisture, and thick with the scents of jasmine and decay. Your head swims with the conflicting scents, too sweet to inhale easily and too strong to clear from your lungs fully.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
|6||Metal Rod Pit||A small wooden sign sits before you, ancient writing scrawled across the surface. Just behind it, a huge pit extends deep into the ground. An unusual silence hangs heavily over the area, broken occasionally by a metallic squeak from the pit. Looking inside, you see thousands of small, grooved metal rods imbedded in the walls rotating slowly. The further down the pit extends, the more narrow it becomes until you can see no more.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Fool (maybe)||Major Arcana (#0)||Arbitrary|
|7||Rolaren Chains||Chains creak and strain under the load they are holding in the center of this stone-walled room. Eight rolaren chains reach up, entangle, and reach down to the ground on the opposite side of the large shadowy mass hovering just above the floor. It shifts and moves, as if alive and seeking an escape from the bindings. The chains glow slightly in the dim light, throwing unusual shadows on the walls while keeping the mass from growing too much.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Eight of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#8)||Arbitrary|
|8||Asylum||A large, decrepit building stands on the top of a small hillock here. Vines cover most of the building, avoiding only the dark stains running from the windows and roof. The stains are a dark red or brown, giving the appearance the building has been sweating blood. A weathered metal sign hangs just above the entryway, creaking in the non-existant breeze.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|9||Lava Pool||A volcano erupts in the distance, spewing molten lava and ash all over. The lava flies high into the air, carrying with it chunks of mountain and clouds of ash. In the large crater the eruption created, you see figures moving about in the lava itself. They splash in it and throw it on each other, howling and laughing. Above the mountain, dark red birds of some kind dodge flying lava and debris, screeching in contentment.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Six of Cups||Minor Arcana, Cups||Legend (maybe)|
|10||Infinity Symbol||In the distance walks a tall man. His robe is grey and tattered, but the frame beneath it remains strong. Above his head floats the symbol of infinity, black and tarnished as the path he walks. No matter how rapidly you proceed towards him, you cannot seem to catch him, although he moves no faster than a saunter.||Plane 1||The Magician||Major Arcana (#1)||Legend (maybe)|
|10||Hanging Man||The path you travel upon winds its way through the scrubby ground. Amid the bushes hangs a man, suspended from his ankle. His face is a purple crimson from the blood pooled within, and his eyes have rolled back into his head. While this is not uncommon, perhaps more remarkable is the fact that the rope is anchored in the ground, and the man hangs upwards.||Plane 2||The Hanged Man||Major Arcana (#12)||Arbitrary|
|10||Eternal Battle||The battlefield is carpeted in bodies, littering the rolling hills and making it nearly impossible to walk. Still the battle rages on, with men in bloodstained black plate mail battling against a struggling band of warriors in silver. Waves of the dark knights ride over the field on immense ebon steeds, herding the argent-clad fighters into certain death. A feeling of hopelessness permeates the area as those in shining armor forever fight a battle they cannot win.||Plane 3||Gwyn ap Nudd (Death) (May Day Battle)
Ten of Swords (Camlann Battle)
|Major Arcana (#13)
Minor Arcana, Swords
|11||Ghost Girl||A dilapidated yellow house sits just to the west of you. It is surrounded by a small, white fence, and a pebble walkway flanked by withered flowers leads to the old domicile. Sitting in the windowsill is a large, orange cat that looks at you with spectral eyes. Just behind it is a small, ghostly girl with her hair in pigtails, stroking the fur of her long departed friend. She looks at you with large eyes, seeming to see through you into some other realm altogether.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|12||Killer Boy||Before you stands a large green house, with smoke billowing out the chimney and the windows broken out. In front of the worn domicile, an older man and woman lie dead, chests slashed open and eyes staring sightlessly into the sky. Above them stands a young man, resembling them. He regards you in a cold, calculating manner, hand clenching and unclenching a bloody blade.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Lovers||Major Arcana (#6)||Rider-Waite (maybe)|
|13||Blood Geyser||A huge fountain of blood erupts from the ground here, gushing hundreds of feet into the air and raining back down hard. At its apex, the thick fluid holds the pattern of a pair of eyes, watching your movements as you pass through. The eyes hold your own a moment, and a wave of nausea passes over you. When it fades, they have wavered and fallen with their medium.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|14||Screaming Colossus||Screaming wind tears through this area, filling the air with a dreadful howling. Just ahead a cavern looms, offering a bit of solace from the biting wind. As you move closer to the safehaven, you see that the cavern is actually the open mouth of a massive, long-fallen statue - the wind, an eternal scream.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Stone Eight||Minor Arcana, Pentacles||Arthurian (maybe)|
|15||Footless Dead Queen||An immense structure stands before you, built of now-ruined white marble columns. In the center sits a crumbling throne, flanked by two pillars. Each may have had a symbol at one time, but ages of decay have erased any decoration. Upon the throne sits a rotting zombie. Her sightless eyes stare out into nothingness, and her feet have fallen into the bowl of the stone crescent at the base of her seat.||Plane 1||The High Priestess||Major Arcana (#2)||Rider-Waite|
|15||Tombstone Elanthia||Headstones of grey marble seem to grow from the ground, placed in neat rows. A pall of silence hangs over the graveyard, and not even a breath of wind disturbs the serenity. Set slightly apart from the rest of the graves is a large black tomb. Carved upon the face of the stone, in the place reserved for the identity of the departed, is the name "Elanthia."||Plane 2||Death||Major Arcana (#13)||Arbitrary|
|15||Unfamiliar Constellations||Above you the sky is black, dotted with shimmering stars. The constellations hold no familiar patterns, creating a strangely eerie feeling of disorientation and aloneness. Beneath your feet crumbles brown-red dirt the consistency of coarse flour. Around you the air is thin, barely breathable and reeking strongly of sulphur.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
|16||Statue Graveyard||A graveyard lies before you. Unlike a normal graveyard, however, the things that now rest here never were alive. Hundreds of broken statues litter the field, some gazing sightlessly off into the distance, others reaching with stone hands up to whatever salvation waits for them beyond. The forgotten relics' final resting place gives an eerie air to the surrounding areas, as if you could share their unfortunate fate.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Ozymandias?||King card?|
|17||Many Doors||A long field stretches before you, covered by dark clouds. The field is lined with rows and rows of long metal poles, each of which is situated near a stone door. While you look over the field, lightning flashes down from the clouds and strikes one of the poles. As the pole absorbs the burst of energy, the door nearest to it slowly swings open, revealing a black stone passage behind. The door stays open a few seconds, then slowly swings closed again.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Universe (The World)
The Round Table
|Major Arcana (#21)||Legend (maybe)
|18||Gouged Wall||The granite wall before you is covered in a huge mural of gouges and scratches. The pattern spreads from the bottom of the wall upwards, branching much like a tree into various parts. Studying the damage a bit more, you realize it was all very carefully planned, although why isn't immediately apparent.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Stone Seven||Minor Arcana, Pentacles||Arthurian (maybe)|
|19||Undead Giantman||Climbing a small hill, you now look over a long valley filled with warriors. A huge giantman in plate-mail stands at the front of the vanguard, holding a battle axe in each hand. His skin is rotted and mildewed, and the hollow eye sockets drop bits of goo and small bugs. The entire host of undead soldiers shifts anxiously behind him, as if waiting for a command from their chieftain.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Green Knight (Devil)
|Major Arcana (#15)||Arthurian (maybe)
Legend (maybe, Battle of Badon)
|20||Flowers Dead Queen||A throne sits in the middle of an open field. Dead and dried flower bushes grow over it, lacing thistles through the hair and bones of the half-rotted woman sitting within it. Enough flesh remains to identify her gender, but the rest is gone, devoured by the plants and elements.||Plane 1||The Empress||Major Arcana (#3)||Rider-Waite|
|20||Winged Mummy||Rows of sarcophagi line the rough stone walls of the corridor. They remain tightly shut, although hopeless moans emanate from within the sealed boxes. At the head of the hallway leans a mummy. His arms are crossed over his chest, bound by the shrouds that cover the large frame. From his back sprout two wings, also wrapped within the bandages. Although perhaps a trick of the dim light, you could swear you saw one of the wings move.||Plane 2||Temperance||Major Arcana (#14)||Rider-Waite|
|20||Medic Tent||Moans and shrieks of agony fill the large brown canvas tent. Chirurgeons walk between the cots, attempting to tend the wounds of those who lay bleeding on the rude beds. Suddenly, the flap of the tent is torn down, revealing a knight in bloody black armor. He raises his gargantuan claidhmore...and the scene fades, leaving you standing on the crumbling red earth.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
|21||Burned Hamlet||Despair and desolation hang heavy in the air over the small plain before you. Off in the distance, near the coast, what was once a small city lies smouldering in ruins. The thick, black smoke from the razed hamlet lies heavy near the building tops, as if the weight of the carnage held it fast. A huge stack of bodies is piled near the western gate, some of which almost look familiar.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|22||Dance of Death||A small, faded festival tent has been set up in a patch of grass here. The tent covers several long tables with cakes and pastries arranged on them. Behind and to the sides of the tent, couples dance together, completely oblivious to your presence. The crowd of revelers moves stiffly, like puppets under the hand of a new master. Slowly they all turn and look at you, lifeless eyes pleading for release from this grim masquerade, then return to their partners in resignation as the dance continues.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Four of Spears||Minor Arcana, Wands (#4)||Legend (maybe)|
|23||Sinking Couple||The path is flanked on both sides by black water, thick and sluggish with salt. A tiny boat is beached on the shore, but the waves and tide still reach beyond its bow. As the waves break around it, the dinghy rocks slightly and shifts in the swirling, bubbling sand. Two people relax in the boat, a young man and woman, talking and laughing. While they sit, however, the boat lurches sickeningly and begins to take on water. They look sad, and stare into each other's eyes as the sea claims them.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Six of Cups||Minor Arcana, Cups (#6)
Minor Arcana, Cups (#2)
|24||Endless Stairways||The fog you wander through parts to reveal thousands of stairways surrounding you. Sets of stairs lead to unknown destinations around you, up and down, horizontal and vertical. The bizarre monument fills your vision as far as you can see, none of the stairs really appear to be going anywhere except to other stairs.||Plane 1, 2, 3||M.C. Escher?|
|25||Kill Them All||Crimson veins run through the black marble of the walls of the throne room. The streaks seem to pulse, as if it they were not streamers of red lacing the black stone, but actual arteries carrying blood through the rock. Upon a massive, corroded silver throne sits a man whose eyes are pools of black essence. They seem to pull the light into themselves, allowing no spark of brightness or hope to escape. "Slaughter them," he is saying. "Kill them all and leave their corpses for the maggots."||Plane 1||The Emperor||Major Arcana (#4)||Rider-Waite|
|25||Horned Gold Pile||The sounds of battle cut through the air. Melee rages around you, threatening to draw you in. People, dressed only in shreds of clothing, beat each other into the ground, climbing over the bodies of their fallen comrades in an attempt to reach a pile of gold and gems at the far side of the field. From this distance, the pile seems to be shaped like a mocking horned head, looking on at the destruction with evil glee.||Plane 2||The Devil||Major Arcana (#15)||Rider-Waite|
|25||Stairway to Heaven||A set of stairs carved from the purest white marble spirals up...into nothingness. No landing, no floor, simply a darkness so deep it seems to consume the light around it. The stairs rest on a floor of dark black onyx, making the twisting white column the only spot of light in the area.||Plane 3||The Spiral Tower (The Tower)||Major Arcana (#16)||Arthurian (maybe)|
|26||Icemule Dark Elf||Four banks of mist flow together, a distant scene forming within them. A bustling town comes together in the square. Halflings dressed in old style clothing stand about, some yelling angrily, others slain as they lay on their cloaks on the ground. One ancient dark elf leans against the base of the large frozen statue of a pack animal, smirking arrogantly.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|27||Falling Trees||Deep in the forest rests what was once a small shrine carefully carved of the butchered haon wood that surrounds you. Screams and the violent falling of trees fill the air with a strong sense of destruction. From somewhere nearby, the angry sound of a river rapids completes the unusual symphony. Little else alters the disquiet save for an occasional muted plea drifting in on the breeze.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|28||Conquered City||A battered wooden gate rests against the pitted stone walls surrounding a small city. Mail-clad guards with pikes and heavy crossbows pace back and forth atop the walls. Members of an invading force, beasts of burden, and captives travel the broken street leading into the remnants of town. A bestial military squad drills on the rocky parade ground just inside the gate. Fog obscures them as they march to and fro, and the gruff barks of their sergeant blend in with the din of the prisoners at the gate.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|29||Outpost Under Siege||The horizon is scrutinized by cautious sentries as you arrive at the wide gateway guarding the land route to a wildland outpost. The frantic preparations of the citizens to the south are a far cry from the deceptive calm of the mists around you. Two charred and beaten towers survey the countryside and hold silent vigil over the town, flanking the road to the east and west.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|30||Despairing Priest||The immense cathedral is dark. The candles have melted to their holders in deformed blobs, and the torches have long since burned out. At the pulpit kneels a high man of the church. He faces the splintered and destroyed pews, the desecrated place of worship, and weeps brokenheartedly, staff on the ground before him.||Plane 1||The Hierophant||Major Arcana (#5)||Rider-Waite|
|30||Lightning Tower||You stand at the base of an immense tower. The spire seeks to pierce the heart of the heavens, reaching into the center of a horrible lightning storm. Bolts play over the black stone surface, illuminating it with a blinding blue light. Winds howl about the structure, and the screams of those it throws from the top of the tower barely rise above the sound of the tempest. Rain pours from the sky, as if the world wept at the wound created by the stabbing spire.||Plane 2||The Tower||Major Arcana (#16)||Rider-Waite|
|30||Thousands Black Wings||Thousands upon thousands of black wings cover the walls, moving restlessly in an almost deafening whisper of feathers. Eyes wink out from beneath the ebon pinions, glaring malevolently at you before being covered once again.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
|31||Shifting Skull||A circular marble pillar sits in the middle of a room with thick grey tapestries for walls. Above this pillar floats a large skull that appears to be serpentine or lizardlike in nature, slowly rotating in a sphere of blue energy. The skull rotates, morphing into an elven one, then gently spinning again and changing into a human one, then a krolvin skull, then a giant one, and finally back to the serpent one.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|32||Hovering Ship||A huge three-masted ship floats in midair here just above the ground, sails rippling gently in the slight breeze. Deck hands from on board make noise as they move about, adjusting cargo and preparing for voyage. From the crow's nest high above, you can see the ship's falconer directing large hunting hawks through aerial warm-up exercises.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|33||Giant On Poles||A giant hangs on an elaborate set of poles and straps here. Two thick poles set crossing each other are framed by two vertical and two horizontal ones. Violet eyes shrouded in shadow float near the giant's head, watching the expressions that pass there with great interest. A pair of winged snakes hover near the giant, flying idly about and occasionally striking him.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Prometheus (The Hanged Man; in some decks this card has snakes, it could represent Loki)||Major Arcana (#12)||Mythic Tarot (maybe)|
|34||Pitch Black Hiss||The fog parts revealing a pitch black area. Blackness wraps around you like a velvety greatcloak as you step tenatively into the dark. A slithering hiss surrounds you, circling you several times before retreating into the heavy silence and darkness.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|35||Storm Cloud Man||The sky boils with dark black clouds. Lightning flashes across the sky, and wind howls across the barren landscape. Within the clouds, you can see the form of a man, standing in the center of the tempest. He stares down upon the ruins of an old shrine, where a man and woman huddle in a corner, cleaving to each other for comfort.||Plane 1||The Lovers||Major Arcana (#6)||Rider-Waite|
|35||Women Treading Water||A line of women walks through here, moaning and weeping softly to themselves as they dip the jugs they carry into the waters of the river to the east. As they walk back to the well south of you their jars begin to leak, water streaming onto the ground until there is none left in the containers. Still the women trudge on, going through the motions of pouring the liquid into the well before returning to the river for a refill.||Plane 2||The Star||Major Arcana (#17)||Rider-Waite|
|35||Men Bound Trees||A forest of large trees stretches in all directions. Their bark is an ashen grey, and their leaves almost glow crimson in the dim light. Tied to each tree is a man, arms over his head and bound tightly against the rough bark. Each man is alive, if only barely, emaciated and weak from lack of food or water. Every head is bowed, awaiting the sacrifice each knows he must make.||Plane 3||Castle Perilous (The Hanged Man; also refers to Odin acquiring the runes)||Major Arcana (#12)||Legend|
|36||Impaled Bodies Cliff||A huge cliff looms before you, stretching far into the sky above. About halfway up the face an immense red-skinned man rides the air currents, flapping his leathery wings to hold his position. On the wall next to him are crude columns made of bodies impaled to the wall, each column topped off with a different type of weapon resting on rough hooks.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Sword Nine||Minor Arcana, Swords||Arthurian (maybe)|
|37||Skull Castle||A long line of robed monks walks solemnly, fading off into the distance. They seem to be traveling toward the largest mountain of a set which runs across the distant horizon. Two bursts of flame shoot up from an opening in the mountain occasionally, illuminating a skull-shaped castle and a line of supplicants several miles long moving towards it.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Temperance||Major Arcana (#14)||Rider-Waite|
|38||Gargoyles||Gargoyles hover above a huge, dark pit in the ground a small distance off. They occasionally swoop into it, then shoot out on a burst of air, screaming with excitement. All manner of bugs and small creatures swarm around the lip of the hole, the thick ring oozing slowly outward from its point of origin.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|39||Immense Tapestry||An immense tapestry hangs here in midair. Thin magical threads create the shimmering cloth, almost seeming to move and adjust themselves as they hang. Several long, shadowy outlines hover near the tapestry, attending to the minor knots and slips. At this position you are too close to see the entire work of art, but it does seem somehow familiar.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|40||Chariot||A chariot sits in the center of the path. The horses pulling it run hard, sweat and foam flying off their bodies as their hooves churn. The driver whips them on, leaning into the wind. He occasionally glances over his shoulder, as if watching for some threat from behind. Despite the running horses or windblown driver, the chariot is going nowhere, simply spinning its wheels in the middle of the road.||Plane 1||The Chariot||Major Arcana (#7)||Rider-Waite|
|40||The Moon||An immense moon the color of drying blood dominates the sky. It sheds ruddy crimson light over the broken world, seeming to swallow every other color in its red glow. Horrible beasts crawl over the ground, looking like giant lobsters which raise their claws in tribute to the lunar glow, while man-wolves raise their eerie voices in a primal tribute.||Plane 2||The Moon||Major Arcana (#18)||Rider-Waite|
|40||Road of Headstones||The road beneath your feet is made of grey stone, polished smooth and slick save several deep gouges in each cobble. Looking more closely, the scratches form words...names of those beloved to you. With a start, you realize the cobbles are not paving stones after all, but headstones, laid flat to create a path of the dead.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
|41||Trolls Giants Sled||A large snow-filled valley with rough sloping sides opens up before you. On the ridge tops from one end to the other stand two main groups of creatures. The north ridge holds huge clans of ice trolls standing ready with large slabs of ice, while on the south ridge groups of frost giants mutter at each other, holding equally large slabs. In the center of the valley a lone storm giant stands, arms up to signal the racers.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Chariot||Major Arcana||Arbitrary|
|42||Bounty||A stout wooden wall impedes your progress forward. In the center of the wall, on a large yellowed parchment, is a poster. The poster is a side view of a man laying in a coffin or box of some kind. Small arrows point to parts of the picture, and in an unknown language describe some of the things in it. A second, older poster next to the first has the picture of an old, one-eyed dark elf with the number "12000" below it.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Four of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#4)||Rider-Waite|
|43||Morphing Ooze||Thick mist covers the ground in this small cemetery. Moss-covered headstones and graves placed in a chaotic order stretch as far as the eye can see. Several tombs rest on a small hill in the center of the quiet graves, on which three shapeless collections of ooze gather. As you watch them, they morph into various shapes and sizes, speaking amongst themselves in some deep, flowing tongue.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|44||Huge Dead Giant||Even for a giant, the body laying on the ground before you is huge. It lies face down, a pool of blood widening slowly around it. The giant's outstretched arms clutch a battle axe in one hand and a thin veil iron circlet in the other, as if to keep hold of them even in death. Fortunately, the pack of wild dogs ripping at the body doesn't seem to care about them, only about their dinner.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Green Knight (Devil)||Major Arcana (#15)||Arthurian|
|45||Three-Headed Lion||Rows of cages line the walkways, bars rusting away in the damp air. Within each is a deformed and horrible creature, stalking behind the metal grills. The cage in the center contains a three-headed lion, frothing and drooling in snarling rage. A woman stands within it, desperately attempting to hold the maws of the lion's heads shut, but her chances look slim at best.||Plane 1||Strength||Major Arcana (#8)||Rider-Waite|
|45||Skeleton Horses||A herd of horses plays in the dead grass of the meadow. They frolic in the thin light that filters through the clouds, bending their heads to graze or simply standing with their herdmates. Upon the back of the leader sits a small child whose giggles seem to brighten the day. With a second look, the skin melts from the horses to leave nothing more than equine skeletons playing in the sun.||Plane 2||The Sun||Major Arcana (#19)||Rider-Waite|
|45||Blinding Snow||All the world is white, covered in a snow so pure and crystalline that any light that strikes it is reflected back one-thousandfold. The reflections are then reflected back, magnifying and growing in intensity until anyone unfortunate enough to wander in could possibly be struck blind. Unfortunately, the sun is shining.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
|46||Headless Statue||An immense statue stands before you towering hundreds of feet high, giving you an excellent view of its ankle. The statue has a large, muscular frame, and is resting his hands on the pommel of a two-handed sword. As you look up the statue's length, you realize it has one fatal flaw - it's headless.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Stone Eight||Minor Arcana, Pentacles||Arthurian (maybe)|
|47||Krolvin Scimitar Cell||The sound of blades violently whipping through the air fills your ears. As you move a bit further, the fog churning around you parts, and you see an unusual type of cell before you. Scimitars whirl through the air of their own volition, holding a roughly circular pattern. Inside the cell sits an old Krolvin warlord missing a few chunks of flesh, probably from attempted escapes.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Eight of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#8)||Arbitrary|
|48||Two Mirrors||A white pillar stretches up into the vast reaches of the dark sky here. On either side of the enruned pillar are two full length mirrors, slowly rotating horizontally. One mirror is lined with a white haon frame, the other with a black thanot one. A small pool of blood has coagulated around the white pillar, and while something appears to be written in it, the letters are too messy to make out.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Spiral Tower (The Tower)||Major Arcana (#16)||Arthurian (maybe)|
|49||Immense Boulder||A portrait rests against an immense boulder here. The boulder seems to have a vaguely familiar shape, but exactly what is too difficult to place. Leaning against the base of the boulder is a modwir-framed picture, depicting an incredibly strong man wrestling with a heavy burden. The rock he holds appears to grow heavier, and he looks tired and pained by the weight of it. At the base of the painting before you are two footprints imbedded deeply into the ground.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Atlas (King of Wands)||Minor Arcana, Wands||Mythic Tarot (maybe)|
|50||Huge Skeleton||Mountains rise on either side of you, black peaks reaching for an angry red sky. The ground beneath your feet is broken and rocky, making you stumble uncomfortably. On the western side of the path stands a skeleton at least thirty feet tall. His bony hands clutch a staff from which hangs a lantern, filled with odd stones that glow in the dim light. The ripped remains of a black robe hang from the bones, fluttering in a slight breeze.||Plane 1||The Hermit||Major Arcana (#9)||Rider-Waite|
|50||Half-Angel Half-Demon||A woman stands at the head of the huge cavern. The right half of her is perhaps the most beautiful woman you have seen. Her skin is the color of milk, and blonde hair streams down over one feathered wing. The other half of her body is the opposite. The skin is rough, with matted hair tangled with a wing like leather. In her right hand she holds a staff of light, with which she gestures towards a field of surpassing beauty. Her left bears a scythe, pointing towards a pit of angry flames.||Plane 2||Judgement||Major Arcana (#20)||Rider-Waite|
|50||Mirrors of Death||Fragments of fine glass mirrors line the walls, floor and ceiling here. Each reflects back your face and form, but no two images are the same. To your left you lie dead, body broken and mangled. To your right you hang from a gallows, struggling for your last breath before the noose steals it from you. No mirror grants reprieve from the horrific reflections, and it seems you cannot look in any direction without seeing yourself frighteningly deceased.||Plane 3||Judgement, Justice, or Hanged Man||?||?|
|51||Winged Humanoid Beach||A shoreline stretches before you, the sea dark and thick with salt. Just a small way up the beach, an unusual sight catches your eye. A small child walks the beach, holding hands with a large winged humanoid. One of its reddish wings is wrapped protectively around the child, and her small hand is tightly clutching one of his large fingers. She appears to be talking, although what she is saying is too difficult to understand to any except her unusual companion.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|52||Rat Ship||A beached ship lies in the middle of the field here, no clues or explanation as to how it arrived. The once shiny maoral wood has dulled now with age, and the ship's ribs and masts have split and fallen. The only passengers of the vessel are the rats, which number in the thousands. It's almost as if the boat itself writhes with their movements. High above, on the one remaining mast, flies a flag bearing a rat skull and crossbones.||Plane 1, 2, 3|
|53||Scale of Blood||A marble wall stretches for some distance to either side of you. In the center of the wall hangs a golden scale, with a small shelf on either side of it. On each of the shelves lies a shiny razor and a white towel. The bowls of the scales are spotless, although they have a slight coppery odor.||Plane 1, 2, 3||Justice||Major Arcana (#11)||Arbitrary|
|54||Antlered Man||A wide stretch of forest opens before you, the huge border of trees giving the impression of stoic guards protecting their land and secrets. Packs of ghostly dogs run toward you at the will of a huge, antlered man commanding them at the forest border. His bony finger points to you, and the dark gleam in his eye tells you he will not allow passage further into the woods.||Plane 1, 2, 3||The Horned One (Devil)||Major Arcana (#15)||Legend|
|55||Wheel of Fortune||A line of people empties out of a pass to the north, too clogged for you to use as a route away. They all await their turn at spinning a wheel, at least twenty feet across and lying flat on the ground. Upon the wheel stand various figures: a reaper with a scythe, a being made entirely of light, and other oddities. Each person spins the wheel in turn, and each in turn receives their fate according to the figure chosen on the wheel.||Plane 1||Wheel of Fortune||Major Arcana (#10)||Rider-Waite|
|55||Stars Devoured||A sphere of delicate glass encases you, moving as you do. Outside the sphere sits the wide, starry universe. Stars and galaxies stretch before you, spinning in the deep silence of space. At the edge of your vision, something nags. Looking, you see a dark shadow passing over the stars, the worlds, creeping and devouring all it touches. It does not seem to have intentions of stopping, and far too rapidly for comfort, it will overtake all of the glittering motes of space before you.||Plane 2||The World
|Major Arcana (#21)||Rider-Waite
Mythic Tarot (maybe)
|55||Burning Darkness||The darkness seems to wrap about you, seeking to hold you and bind you to it. But the darkness is cold, burning and scalding you with its icy touch. Too alien to be the comfortable darkness of the night, too hungry to be the peace of a room with curtains drawn, it leeches and draws the strength from you, threatening to leave you a dried husk.||Plane 3||?||?||?|
(Note: Blank spots in these tables might be force fitted to some Tarot cards, but they are only listed when there is a clear basis.)
The Fool in the Arthurian deck is called The Seeker, representing Percival who is at the center of the Grail quest subtext of the Vvrael quest. Seekers are undead on Mount Aenatumgana who foolishly sought the Eye of the Drake themselves. The Eye pulses through the color spectrum. The Seeker card has Percival stepping on a rainbow leading off a cliff, with birds flying over a tree behind him. It is similarly possible that this is the first room on Planes 1 through 3, since you start in the Eye which pulses through the rainbow and plummet from high up, landing by a dead tree with a bird hovering above it.
This could be partial, or coincidental. The imagery might instead refer to Norse mythology, which has an unnamed eagle perched on the world tree Yggdrasil, whose roots are being gnawed by the dragon Nidhogg. It is not likely that every feature is related to Tarot. The interdimensional portals on Planes 1 through 3, the plain windows and sturdy wooden doors, could easily be Twilight Zone references.
Each room in Plane 4 is a unique description and many have Tarot correspondences. These are often Minor Arcana cards. When rifted on Plane 4, you end up on Plane 5, which has a smaller number of rooms. The fourth plane seems to be a Celtic knot pattern if drawn the right way, where the Celtic Cross is the layout for the Legend deck. It symbolizes the World Tree, Room #1 on other planes. There are 23 rooms on Plane 4. This number is not significant in itself. It brings the 55 rooms (not unique descriptions) on Planes 1, 2, and 3 up to 78 total. This is the total number of cards in a Tarot deck.
The Celtic knot image is a non-ideal force fit to illustrate the general idea of Plane 4 as interlaced. The distance of the directionals, the extent to which they stay straight, and whether or when they cross over and under each other is not pinned down. The zig-zag quality of the paths, rounded curves, and sharp inflections can easily be drawn as interlaced "knots." Unconnected rooms may be on the same tubes. In contrast to the Tarot thesis, say if the shape were chosen for entirely different reasons, it might resemble a Chutes and Ladders game board as this is the plane with the chute for dead bodies on it.
|56||Impaled Snake||Mountains surround you, stretching high into the bright green sky. Before you, towering at least thirty feet into the air, is a giant snake. It has been impaled on a pike, blood trickling down the pole and seeping into the grain of the wood. The tip of its tail still twitches, as if its death were a recent happening.||Plane 4||Page of Swords||Minor Arcana||Legend|
|57||Glass Room||The ground beneath you is white, strangely grainy and light. Tunnels lead off to the northeast and southwest, winding erratically through the odd earth. Walls made of a hard, transparent material close about you, distorting the images beyond them. Looking carefully, it almost seems that a small human sits just beyond the glass, staring at you with great interest.||Plane 4|
|58||Courtyard Blood Basin||A stone basin sits in the center of the castle courtyard. Standing within it is a man, badly wounded, up to his knees in blood. The crimson liquid pours from his cuts, trickling into the pool with a happy sound reminiscent of a burbling fountain. He holds his hands above his head, as if bound by an invisible cord, although his face registers no emotion at all.||Plane 4||The Wounded King (Hanged Man)||Major Arcana (#12)||Arthurian Tarot|
|59||Black Sands||Black sand dunes stretch out to infinity. No plants grow from the ebon ground, and you can hear no small animals or insects going about their business nearby. In the distance, a triangular shape moves along the ground, breaking the surface of the sand and winding its way towards you before disappearing beneath the surface once again.||Plane 4|
|60||Raining Upwards||Rain pours from the ground. It falls upwards, drenching the clouds with moisture and forming small puddles in the sky. The occasional bolt of lightning strikes upwards, and thunder rolls through the air, bouncing off distant mountains to echo back with a faint roar.||Plane 4|
|61||Walls Under Siege||The smell of fresh mortar is in the air, thick and moist. Rough brick walls surround you, each roughly four feet wide and as high as a giantman's head. From behind the structures come muffled cries, and one blockade trembles with the rhythmic pounding it is taking from within.||Plane 4|
|62||Lonely Spirits||Spectres crowd around you. Their ghostly hands reach out to touch you, seeking the warmth and vitality only the living have. But as each grasping figure makes contact it draws back, wailing in pain as if burned. Still the others seek to feel you, expressions of hunger on their haunted faces.||Plane 4|
|63||Two Harps||Rain pours from the molten lead sky, and winds whip the ocean into a froth of vicious foam. The waves crash against the rocky shore, upon which rest two immense harps. Entrails take the place of strings, and with each crash of the waves, the harps sing out in a wail of anguish and pain.||Plane 4||Nine of Spears||Minor Arcana, Wands (#9)||Legend|
|64||Ambush Camp||The camp slumbers. All the soldiers rest soundly in their tents, and even the night sentries have dozed off, chins resting against their chests. As the seven guardsmen sleep, a man clad in a cloak bearing the symbol of the slumbering army creeps outside the camp, bearing the seven swords of the watchmen. He gives a nod towards a copse of trees, and out rides a raiding party, thundering into the unprotected camp.||Plane 4||Seven of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#7)||Rider-Waite|
|65||Lava Bodies||Lava boils over the ground, leaving you only narrow trails to walk between the streams of molten stone. Sticking out from the liquid rock are grasping hands, seeking assistance although surely the people they are attached to are dead. Suddenly, a body erupts from the magma. A scream of agony tears from its lips before the roiling river drags it back under.||Plane 4||Arthur's Dream (Wheel of Fortune)||Major Arcana (#10)||Legend|
|66||Ash||Ash covers the ground, deep as a halfling's waist. For miles around, all there is to see is grey dust. The air is full of the smell of sulphur and decaying flesh. In the distance sits a large mountain, belching smoke and grey flakes like the ones beneath you.||Plane 4|
|67||Skeletons Drinking Blood||The dining hall is full of shadows, lit only dimly by guttering candles. Around the table sit nine skeletons, each holding a golden cup. The undead seem to be chatting, drinking from their chalices only to have the liquid flow out and over their ribcages. With a wave of disgust, you realize that the skeletons are drinking blood.||Plane 4||Nine of Cups||Minor Arcana, Cups (#9)||Rider-Waite|
|68||Crippled Men Church||Two crippled men, limbs horribly deformed and faces covered in pox, hobble past a grand cathedral. All about them the street is littered with the dead and dying, moaning and writhing in pain as the epidemic wracks their bodies. Glittering from the eaves of the church are five gold coins, casting golden motes of light upon the diseased men as if mocking their tortured existence.||Plane 4||Five of Coins||Minor Arcana, Pentacles (#5)||Rider-Waite|
|69||Dead Flower Bed||The garden about you is dead, as dead as the rubble of the castle it sits behind. Dead branches overhang the paths, their bark scorched and marred by deep gashes. Flowerbeds contain dried blossoms, trampled beneath a multitude of uncaring booted feet. Upon a cracked and battered pedestal resting in one of the flowerbeds rests a gold coin, still strangely bright.||Plane 4||Ace of Coins||Minor Arcana, Pentacles (#1)||Rider-Waite|
|70||Dead Koar||A white bier rests in the center of a copse of dead trees. Four swords stand about it, one at each corner. Resting upon the cold stone bed is a man. His grey hair is held back by a golden crown, and his beard flows down his broad chest. Upon the side of the stone is carved a set of characters. Most of the letters have been lost to time, leaving only "---r, K--g of -h- -od-."||Plane 4||Four of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#4)||Rider-Waite|
|71||Blindfolded Woman Gauntlet||A woman in a tattered shift, bound by strips of cloth and blindfolded tightly, staggers wearily up the beach. She walks a path lined by swords, four on each side. With each step she trips and fumbles, bouncing against the blades and cutting herself badly. Still she staggers on, seemingly unable to find her way out of the deadly steel trail.||Plane 4||Eight of Swords||Minor Arcana, Swords (#8)||Rider-Waite|
|72||Boy vs. Six Men||A fair-haired boy stands upon the battleground. His wounds are grievous, coating him in blood and gore. In his hands he holds a staff, fighting valiantly to hold off six men also armed with sharply pointed sticks. In a sweeping movement he overextends, falling to the ground with a cry of pain and frustration. As the first staff descends upon his head the scene fades, leaving you alone upon the field of war.||Plane 4||Seven of Wands||Minor Arcana, Wands (#7)||Rider-Waite|
|73||Wax God Statues||The chapel walls are lined with statues, one for each of the Lords of Liabo and Lornon. The statues seem to have been carved from wax, detailed to the long eyelashes of Ivas and the polished claws of Andelas. It is impossible to see the detail of the Gods of Light, for the wax has melted, turning them into misshapen and twisted replicas of what they once were.||Plane 4|
|74||Desert Plants||The surroundings are harsh, dusty and dry. Strange plants with spines like thick sewing needles cover the ground, their pads oddly segmented and waxy. The air is unbearably hot, stealing all moisture from your body and driving all thoughts from your mind.||Plane 4|
|75||Crystalline Blocks||Crystalline blocks of some unknown substance float in the air, providing passage to the northwest and southeast. They ring like bells of flawless glass when stepped upon, filling the air with a light, musical sound. In the center of the area sits a small field of them, gleaming strangely in the light.||Plane 4||Stone Hallow (Ace)||Minor Arcana, Pentacles||Arthurian (maybe)|
|76||Black Knight Riding||A knight in black armor rides through a crowd, his black steed prancing with ringing steps. In his hand he holds a staff, topped with the head of a vanquished foe. Five footsoldiers march beside him, holding similarly adorned staves. Despite the hard and cruel expression on the knight's face, the crowd seems to adore him, cheering and throwing dead roses in his path.||Plane 4||Six of Wands||Minor Arcana, Wands (#6)||Rider-Waite|
|77||Skull Walls||Walls comprised of stacked skulls rise into the starless black sky. The ground below seems to cradle you as you move, and a quick glance downward explains the reason. Skeletal hands make up the floor, reflexively clutching and releasing as the weight they carry shifts. In the center of the room stand three staves of tall femurs, bound together by still-bloody veins.||Plane 4||Four of Shields||Minor Arcana, Pentacles (#4)||Legend|
|78||Dead Wedding||The wedding revel is in full swing. Men and women clad in bright attire swirl over the floor in a breathless dance beneath fluttering ribbons and sweet smelling flowers. Foods with mouthwatering aromas line the walls, served by smiling butlers in finely tailored clothing. At the head of the table sit the bride and groom, holding a golden cup to each other's lips. By the advanced stages of decay, you estimate that the happy couple has been dead for several hundred years.||Plane 4||Two of Cups||Minor Arcana, Cups (#2)||Rider-Waite|
(Note: Blank spots in these tables might be force fitted to some Tarot cards, but they are only listed when there is a clear basis.)
Plane 5 is an enormous heart that is diseased with worms. When the weird directions are ignored and only the straight-forward ones are mapped, Plane 5 is shaped like a heart. This is represented in solid black lines. The strange directions can be looped somewhat arbitrarily. However, if the paths are curved through the middle of the heart, it is trivial to construct a pentacle out of them. There is a hidden room in the heart of the rift where the only exit direction is "out." There is not much to say about this level of The Rift in the context of Tarot. Pentacles are a whole suit in the Tarot deck, making these Minor Arcana.
There are fourteen cards in a suit, and there are fourteen rooms on Plane 5, including the hidden one in the center. This was written many years prior to there being enormous rift crawler creatures in The Rift. The symbolism is that the heart of the Great Drake is diseased by the rift. This is consonant with Koar and ailing Grail King subtexts. The Rift in this sense is a "Dolorous Stroke" except in his heart. If the pentacle shape is an unintended coincidence, the twisting paths might instead represent arteries in three dimensions. The suit of hearts corresponds to cups in Tarot, so this could symbolize the Grail.
|1||Purple blood flows over the floor, making footing hazardous and slick. As it moves to the south, it slowly turns red, brought to life by the breeze flowing through. The walls squeeze in and out, forcing the blood to move south and east. The floor ripples beneath your feet as worms burrow through, tooth-filled maws breaking the surface violently then diving back below.||12215|
|2||Worms practically cover the walls and floor. The rhythmically collapsing walls shake some from the ceiling as well, dropping them around you to chew their way into the floor. A disconcerting, whistling wheeze sounds throughout the area, as wind howls through the holes in the chamber. Blood oozes over the floor northward.||12209|
|3||The river of blood moves through a hole to the east. Your feet squelch and squish with each step, and you are forced to place them carefully for fear of slipping. The walls are crawling with worms, greenish grey and horrible, slowly weakening the structure. The squeezing of the walls is not as strong here as in other places, as if the creepers had already damaged them.||12170|
|4||The corridor is narrow, difficult for anyone taller than the average human to make their way through. Very little light filters in to illuminate your path. Your feet splash with each footstep, and the floor is slick, made not of stone or soil, or anything else you have likely encountered before. A low pulsing sound fills your ears, rhythmic and oddly familiar.||12207|
|5||The walls are a deep red color, pulsating and constricting. At times you wonder if they will crush you, but you are only soundly squeezed between them as they contract and release, over and over. Blood flows in rivers over the floor, forced out of the chamber by the movement of the walls and into a corridor to the north.||12162|
|6||Grey-green worms tunnel in and out of the crimson walls of the chamber. In their wake pour miniature waterfalls of blood which sluice north with the liquid running over the floor. The walls squeeze in on you, in predictable rhythm, but it almost seems that each constriction is less forceful than the last, as if whatever force is driving them weakens with each push.||12210|
|1'||A group of worms has created a large hole in the ceiling. Through it pours a torrent of blood, washing over the room and flooding the already overworked walls. The smell is horrible, although you cannot tell if it comes from the worms or the decaying flesh.||12160|
|2'||The floor beneath you gives way, nearly trapping your foot in the stringy substance. Looking down, you see a pocket of blackened tissue, destroyed by the hungry mouths of the worms. Black ooze wells up from it, and the smell is horrible, making you choke and gag.||12173|
|3'||A nest of worms writhes in a pocket to the south. They seem to be breeding here, then moving into other parts of the area to eat and destroy. The walls hardly constrict here, although the loud thump-thump from the other chambers is still loud and strong. Blood moves over the floor, forced northward by the weak contractions of the walls.||12206|
|4'||Slime and liquid drip from the close walls of the circular tunnel. Your footing is precarious, as a rivulet runs through the area. Low, regular thudding fills your ears, and a smell not unlike a slaughterhouse drifts in on a breeze.||12165|
|5'||Blood pours in from the corridor to the northeast. Unlike the blood you are used to seeing, this blood is blue, the color of suffocation and death. Indeed suffocation is a good metaphor, for the walls close in on you in regular constrictions, only to move back out and repeat the process. The azure slime is forced southward, turning a deep violet as it moves.||12159|
|6'||Purple liquid oozes over the floor, moving southward as the walls contract in on you and out again. Slowly, it dawns on you that this is blood, turning from indigo to a more healthy red. Worms an unwholesome shade of grey-green play in the liquid, drilling through the pulsing scarlet walls with sharp teeth.||12211|
|6||A mass of pulsing and twitching tissue sits to the west. At first, the booming that rolls through the air sounds like thunder, but a moment of listening proves it to be too regular and rhythmic to be a storm. Thump-thump... thump-thump.... All at once the source comes to you, and as you gaze at the tissue you realize it is a giant heart. Grey-green worms chew through the flesh, and listening to the beating it becomes obvious that they are killing the heart, and whatever creature it belongs to.||12208|
|666||A mass of pulsing and twitching tissue sits to the west. At first, the booming that rolls through the air sounds like thunder, but a moment of listening proves it to be too regular and rhythmic to be a storm. Thump-thump... thump-thump.... All at once the source comes to you, and as you gaze at the tissue you realize it is a giant heart. Grey-green worms chew through the flesh, and listening to the beating it becomes obvious that they are killing the heart, and whatever creature it belongs to. Obvious exits: out|
|*||[Inside, Organ Grinder] The interior of the box is heavily shadowed, however, the gloom isn't sufficient to hide the grisly environs. Slime covers the sides, punctuated with bits of gore too hideous to contemplate. Odorous pieces of cadavers have been left within, deserted by the previous owners to pursue a solitary decay. Obvious exits: none.|
(Note: Strictly speaking, the polished modwir box is a room with a wandering entry point, but it is an organ grinder only accessed by dead bodies.)
In spite of appearances Plane 5 is actually highly symmetric, with most rooms having exactly three exits. The left and right sides are almost mirrors of each other. The central axis of knot rooms are also symmetric with each other in where and how they branch. This becomes clear when the rooms on both sides are numbered in parallel with each other and the knot rooms are separated out.
The Scatter was released 11 years later in 2009. There was a story of Master Hierophant Haukragg from Icemule's Cleric Guild delving into its "planes" and "dimensions" (not "circles"), because of increased chaos and the threat of the rift expanding once again and consuming the Drake's Shrine. The Rift was called a "world between worlds." He was lost for some time with notes being found, describing the then unfamiliar monsters he was encountering. In the end some of these spilled over into Plane 4, and the previous residents were no longer present. Haukragg was rescued by adventurers led by Quiggan.
The details of this storyline are found here: Rift expansion preview (storyline). It happened along with the alchemy for the lichbane talismans. The Scatter's rooms do not seem to follow the internal logic of Planes 1 through 4 in terms of hidden subtext. The Scatter was described as a "new bleeding wound" in the scar of a hallowed place. Haukragg was trying to seal it with a ward and nullify the dark power.
|1||A plain of porous black rock stretches out as far as the eye can see. The sky is an angry red near the horizon, fading into washed out pinks and blues overhead. Steam rises out of the ground, hissing violently as some of the larger pockets of superheated vapor are released from below.||12240|
|2||Dull, grey stone is slick with dampness underfoot. Someone or something flits around in the distant shadows, with only a faint whirring indicating its presence. A bower crafted of sticks and twine stands in the cavern's center, singed black.||12232|
|3||Thick, perfectly clear glass forms the ceiling, walls, and floor of this small room. Beyond the transparent enclosure is a sea of water that boils violently from an unknown source of heat. The lifeless bodies of fish swirl chaotically throughout the briny deep.||12235|
|4||Ambient heat emanates from the crypt's marble walls, steam rising from the seams between the stones. Pillars of ice stand at the corners of a giant square pit in the middle of the floor. Within the depression, silvery grey rats clamor upon each other in a sea of squeaks and hissing, slavering with bloodlust. Several arrows have been imbedded into a nearby arch's keystone.||12229|
|5||Overturned desks lie in disarray on the bloody floor of an old classroom. All along the weathered walls, school books have had their pages stabbed through with daggers, securing them to the wooden panels beneath. The scorching wind rushes in through an open window, howling and moaning like a spirit possessed.||12230|
|6||A white-washed baby's crib stands alone in a circle of glowing coals, illuminated with a reddish hue against the darkness. The tortured cries and wails of an infant can be heard clearly, though there is no child to be found anywhere.||12236|
|7||Countless variety and number of tattered sock puppets have been impaled upon steel pikes planted in a burnt field. Only a few patches of the once lush wildflowers remain; islands upon the sea of scorched earth. Button eyes and some of the stitching have been torn forcefully from the toys, lying scattered around the barren ground.||12228|
|8||Mirrors upon mirrors crowd the stone floor, with barely enough room to navigate around the obstacles. Each mirrored surface shows a hellish inferno with flames of brilliant red; the fiery environment is not visible within the physical room. A shadowy figure flits between the mirrors, though its form is not visible in any of the other countless reflections.||12220|
|9||An enormous pile of candlesticks and service ware has been fused together through some source of incredible heat; though the entire room has been scorched save for the three feet space surrounding the clump. Reaching out of the floor is a bleached skeletal hand, clutching a warped, silver serving tray.||12231|
|10||Curved black iron walls rise up all around in a very large circle. The metal floor glistens with oil and grows increasingly hotter as time passes. An immense forked shadow looms overhead, never drawing nearer.||12234|
|11||Oak crates riddled with scorch marks have been stacked precariously high around a cramped stock room. Several of the teetering piles threaten to collapse with the slightest movement. While the cast iron furnace in the back of the room appears empty, the air is ripe with heat and humidity.||12238|
|12||Petrified black trees enclose a quiet grove within a dead forest. A dry, hot breeze wends its way through the stone-like flora. Hoof prints occasionally emerge out of nothingness upon the ash-covered ground, tracks that remain only for moments before fading out of existence once again.||12219|
|13||Skeletal birds circle a giant black marble statue depicting a winged demon. The earth at the feet of the statuary has been scorched of all life, both plant and animal. A reddish mist lingers in the air, ebbing and flowing like the tide over time.||12217|
|14||Reinforced steel walls glow red hot, enclosing this spacious storage area for meats. Large animal carcasses hang upon shiny hooks from the ceiling, dripping blood and fluids onto the slightly warped floor with distinct sizzling sounds. The intense heat and overwhelming scent of cooking meat threatens to overpower the senses.||12233|
|15||A thin layer of white ash coats the ground as far as the eye can see. Piercing the horizon is an erupting volcano. A dark cloud of debris hangs in the sky, causing ash to rain down upon the plain in every single direction.||12237|
|16||A brilliant purple stone formation with veins of orange towers overhead. Desiccated humanoid corpses lie around the base of the formation in supplicated positions. Tiny bright red insect-like creatures surrounded by a subtle, yet distinct flame scavenge the dead, skittering to and fro from an unseen nest.||12239|
|A||Stretching as far as the eye can see are dunes of stark white sand. Discarded windows, violently ripped from their frames, are littered across the bleak landscape. Some of the shattered glass takes flight in the harsh wind, glittering across the grey sky. The air wavers like water in the presence of great heat.||12249|
|B||Tall, glass-tiled spires crumble under the mighty grasp of a multi-eyed creature wreaking havoc upon a city beyond the nearby forest. Even from this distance, terrified screams can be heard, oddly as loud as if they were originating from a few feet away. A searing hot wind rushes from the direction of the city, carrying with it the sounds of destruction.||12256|
|C||Humanoid shadows float across the otherwise empty alleyways of a desolate marketplace. The fruit in stands are rotten, and several of shop fronts have been burnt down to ashes. An eerie silence pervades the area, occasionally broken by soft mumbling.||12254|
|B'||Steam rises from crevices in the dark earth, making the air swelter and the leaves on the ironwood here withered. The air ripples with the heat, creating a dizzying distortion. From the tree hangs an elf, his arms splayed and affixed to branches, his weight left to bear on his ribcage. Nearby is an emaciated man in a jester's suit of black and purple. His thin lips stretch in a raucous grin of crooked teeth. A long knife in the merryman's spidery digits jabs at the elf as the jester sways and giggles.||12247|
|C'||A giant pair of stone hands clasped together forms the immense platform underfoot. In the distance, a blazing red sun illuminates the rocky landscape, glistening off the crimson water of a magnificent cascade from a cliff to the east. Hot steam drifts from the base of the waterfall towards the hands, coating everything in a thin layer of sweat-like mist.||12241|
|1'||Burning white sand assaults any exposed skin in a shower of abrasive grittiness. The storm obscures everything around, making visibility even a few feet away impossible.||12246|
|2'||Underfoot, the ground is slippery, slopped with a sort of brown goo -- it resembles a heavy sort of gravy. Beneath the sludge are strips of meat, the smell of which wafts upward in waves of warmth. Looking over the edge of this platform of meat finds a crust of bread all around, and instead of a sky above, there is the color of wheat on a substance that looks soft and porous.||12245|
|3'||Eyes of various shapes and sizes peer out from the soft pink ceiling above, blinking and following every movement within the room. Hands from different beasts and humanoids protrude from the walls, grasping for anything within reach. The floor is composed of molten rock, with only a few slightly raised stones providing safe passage from one end to the other.||12244|
|9'||Crumbling stone walls that appear ready to topple at a moment's notice rise taller than a mighty oak's height in myriad directions. An old teddy bear has been impaled by a rusty dagger in the shadow of a nearby corner. Sparks flit through the air, dancing aimlessly across the field of view.||12251|
|12'||An array of yarn crisscrosses throughout the entire area, making navigation and travel difficult. Razor sharp shrapnel lies hidden beneath much of the tangled web, their presence only evident from the many blood stains that mar the strands. A charred body has become trapped within a cocoon of ash-covered string only several feet away.||12253|
|13'||Every hint of green is gone from the landscape and brown blades of grass are all that can be seen stretching to the horizon. From the darkness of that line, the sky opens up in shades of crimson and orange, streaked with clouds of saffron. Against the sky, small figures flit to and fro, back and forth, some huddling in groups so large they blot out the sunset hues. Closer to the ground, sprites flitter by, their wings ragged, their bodies deformed, and their tiny mouths full of needle-like teeth.||12255|
|14'||Blackened and charred, an assortment of wooden chairs and tables sit upon the ceiling in this disorienting dining hall. A full banquet has been set, though none of the settings or food succumb to gravity's pull. Tangled in the enormous crystal chandelier immediately ahead, a yellowed skeleton wears a macabre grin while clutching a rusty saber.||12250|
|15'||Peaks rise into the sky, and valleys fall low between, while the foreground stretches out in a sea of mismatched socks. The mounds in the distance are made of the same, and occasionally, a spark will flare from the sky, setting a sock aflame. It will burn away, and others tumble to the valley in its wake. There are woolen socks and cotton socks, some with designs and some without. Some have holes, while others have been carefully darned. But, nowhere in sight are two that match.||12242|
|16'||Grizzly animal skeletons in polished silver cages moan in pain along a narrow corridor. Tiles of slippery ice compose the floor, with small spikes rising out from several of them.||12243|
The Scatter flips from "hot" to "cold." There does not appear to be any symbolic content in the Scatter, though some rooms resemble others on Plane 4. Its navette shape with slit down the middle could be read as similar to the Eye-of-Koar emeralds. However, there is no real reason for thinking this possibility is intentional, and if it were it would make more sense if rotated 90 degrees. There are three vertical paths. There are 30 rooms in the Scatter; 16 on the north side, 14 on the south. The central row counts as the southern half. There are partial horizontal and bilateral symmetries, but the southern side is missing several rooms needed for true symmetry. The map imposes a row with no corresponding rooms to keep the overall shape. The number scheme in the following map highlights the parallel rooms.
The creatures in The Rift are largely based on words in other languages. GM Aephir confirmed he used archaic languages and comparative mythology in the Vvrael quest design.
The following are best guesses at the root words of the Rift creatures:
|1||seraceris||Latin||sera + ceris||Bound wax seal. (Seraceris are two dimensional undead.)|
|2||csetairi||Latin||ceteri (as in "et cetera")||And so on. (Csetairi are constantly waving their hands.)|
|3||Vvrael||Vrtra + Veil?||World serpent. Comparative mythology reasons.|
|6||vaespilon||Latin||vespillo||Ghoul, grave robber, undertaker of paupers.|
|7||naisirc||Latin||nais + iris||Naisirc are green clouds forming bodies. Wrathful nymph, the "c" read as soft. (Naisi is also a figure in Celtic mythology.)|
|8||aivren||Latin||aevum + ren||Eternal + kidney. Aivren swoop down and claw you. May be implying Prometheus and his liver endlessly torn out by eagles. (Aivrin is also an obscure word for port.) This may simply be overthinking it, as aivren is evocative of "avian" and "raven.")|
Numbers 7 and 8 are probably wrong. The messaging on the creatures themselves, such as attacks and ambients, might be a safer basis for speculating intent than the describe verb. Assuming they are unchanged. Sometimes creature descriptions were not implemented until after the fact. The Vvrael witches and warlocks, for example, did not have them yet two years after the Rift was released.
- Room Changes
|1||Suddenly, the shadows cloaking the area in darkness fray into nothing, releasing the light like a prisoner freed from a dank cell.||Indoor -> Outdoor (Some rooms seem inherently indoors or outdoors. e.g. #12166)|
|2||A haze of shadow descends, cloaking the area in a twilight that obscures sight.||Outdoor -> Indoor|
|3||A burst of ethereal light above your head brightens the area considerably.||Hiding Penalty?|
|4||A spectral fog rolls through the area.||Increases DS|
|5||The spectral fog blanketing the area slowly drifts away.||Decreases DS|
|6||An unearthly moaning echoes around you, dispelling any sense of peace and security from the area.||Sanct breaking|
|1||A blast of wind whips through the area!||Dispels clouds|
|2||A swirling breeze blows through the area!||Dispels clouds|
|3||A flurry of air blows by you!||Dispels clouds|
|4||A strong gust of wind blows by you!||Dispels clouds|
|5||A swirling wind blows through the area!||Dispels clouds|
|6||You feel a gentle breath of fresh air brush across your face.||Dispels clouds|
|1||Black tendrils of anti-mana climb over you as you sense your mana being drained away!||Dispels non-native spells, Drains mana|
|2||An ethereal light washes over you as you sense mana collecting around and in you!||Dispels non-native spells, Gives mana|
|3||The air undulates with a dizzying intensity!||Dispels non-native spells|
|4||The air crackles with potent energy!||Dispels non-native spells|
|5||The air ripples in sickening waves, distorting the surroundings!||Dispels non-native spells|
|6||The air shakes and twists as waves of irreality wash through the area!||Dispels non-native spells|
|7||Waves of black anti-mana wash through the area.||Nothing|
|8||Spectral bursts of energy erupt in the air!||Dispels non-native spells|
|9||The air crackles with ethereal energy!||Dispels non-native spells|
|10||The atmosphere crackles and sparks of energy snap across the area(/room)!||Dispels non-native spells|
|1||The ground shudders and shakes, jostling everything furiously!||Knock down?|
|2||The ground roils tumultuously beneath your feet, jolting everything wildly!||Knock down?|
|1||You hear a loud *POP* as a mirror enlarges before you!
The softly glowing mirror begins to shrink. Steadily the mirror shrinks down to the size of your palm. Then with a loud *POP* it's gone!
|2||You hear a loud *POP* as a door unfolds before you!
The door suddenly tips on end and flattens like a two-dimensional rendering. It begins spinning faster and faster, as though it were a madly rotating pinwheel. Abruptly, it collapses into a thin, fine line that folds in on itself in segments until it is scarcely more than a black pinhole. The dot of darkness disappears with a near-silent *POP*.
|3||You hear a loud *POP* as a silvery thread appears suspended in the air before you!
The silvery thread drops to the ground suddenly. The thread writhes and twists for a moment, then slithers off!
|4||The black void is a jagged tear in the fabric of space. You can see nothing but blackness beyond the threshold.|
The Rift has a number of rare ambient effects which only happen in certain places.
These happen when you are mindless and bodyless in the blackness, after being ripped into tiny shreds.
|1||Multi-colored dots appear before you as you blink back your confusion...|
|2||[the shadow that passes by you]|
|3||A cloud of red dust moves purposely towards your nose and mouth...|
|4||A bolt of pure white mana goes sizzling by your left ear...|
|5||You are suddenly covered in tiny luminescent spiders...|
|6||You see a twisted reflection of yourself melting like hot wax...|
|7||Black tendrils of anti-mana crawl slowly towards you...|
|1||You hear the sound of a distant lyre being plucked slowly. The tune reminds you of something from your childhood, but as you strain to make it out it fades away.|
|1||Ethereal energies buffet the surrounds shoving a wall of air before it!||Dispels non-native spells?|
|1||Brilliantly coloured ribbons stream by you in slow motion, fluttering off into the distance.|
|2||Far overhead you see a single winged humanoid, his massive feathered wings slowly beating. His arms are folded across his chest and his eyes are closed, but you can hear a soft humming coming from that direction. As you strain to hear, the humming and the image fade away.|
|1||A bloodthirsty-red sun rises above the horizon, it quickly scales the heights to high noon and then disappears, leaving the world in blackness once again.|
|2||A large red bubble floats by you and fades into the horizon.|
|3||A deep indigo cloud coalesces above you. Moments later, a shower of glowing yellow rain begins to fall. Then, as suddenly as it started, the rain stops and the cloud disperses.|
|1||A tune that's more of a screech than a melody cuts through the air like a knife.|
- There is what appears to be a modern mechanical car/automobile that zooms by and hits you.
- "A fine red mist rolls through the area covering everything with a sticky red goo."