Spirit World = Ethereal Plane



Feb 15, 2007 8:16:44
I noticed that Traianus uses this assumption in his 3E conversions. This makes sense to me, but I am wondering how other people feel about making these two planes the same.

It is weird that this was never adressed in WotI.



Feb 15, 2007 8:31:54
I find very hard to find a place in AD&D cosmology for the Spirit World.

I think there are a lot of matching with the Beastlands of Planescape setting.

I also know from the Shaman handbook that Spirits are not real ones, but forces living in the Prime Material Plane and that there isn't any Spirit World.

So I found it confuing. Is there a real Spirit World? Could it be an ethereal demplane?

And what about the "place" one can reach climbing the World Mountain?
Gaz mixes spirits, undeads, evil spirits, animal spirits...

Last time my players brought their characters in the World Spirit, I sent them in Krigala (Beastlands). It was a good choice. Players don't even know the name of the place they were in... they think it was the Spirit World


Feb 15, 2007 8:43:31
Complete Divine has a list of creatures that are affected by Spirit Shamans including IIRC Spirits, Undead and Fey. Makes sense to me.

The Spirit World doesn't strike me as a typical example of a demiplane or Outer Plane. It should be connected closely to Prime. If not the Ethereal, then it should be something very close to it.



Feb 15, 2007 9:10:58
Is it possible that the Spirit World/Ethereal Plane connection is somehow linked because the Ethereal is the connection between the Prime Plane and Limbo? In this case, it is more common for the spirit of a deceased to travel directly through the Ethereal to Limbo - practically instantly. But sometimes a spirit gets stuck in the Ethereal Plane and perhaps this is the origin of most of the Ethereal/Spirit World's inhabitants.

It's been a while since I've read through Bruce's article on Limbo but I don't think this possibility goes against anything there. Can anyone confirm?


Feb 15, 2007 9:53:36
The presentation of the Spirit World in Gaz12 has it, IIRC, as an Outer Plane, though if I am remembering correctly, I don't think that's a particularly satisfying answer either.

I tend to view it as another Transitive Plane, one separate from the Ethereal and Astral Planes, but which has connections to the Astral. It also provides access to other worlds, in a manner similar to how the 3E Plane of Shadow functions (I don't use a Plane of Shadow IMC)- generally such worlds are accessed via dolmens and stonehenges.

Also of note, in the cosmology I use, is that the Spirit World is a transitional plane connecting the Normal and Nightmare Material Planes.

One thing about the Spirit Plane is that, again, IIRC, in Gaz12 it mentions that certain types of undead (notably, spirits) originate in the Spirit World/Plane, but that is contradicted by the later creation of Limbo in the VotPA articles, which ties the undead to Limbo (an Outer Plane) instead. And of course, both versions don't seem to work terribly well with certain types of undead (the haunts) which are closely connected to the Ethereal (with their ectoplasmic nets).

That last bit, too, doesn't seem to work too well with 3E cosmology, which ties ectoplasmic manifestations to the Astral Plane, rather than the Ethereal.

I'm just making things more complicated, aren't I?


Feb 15, 2007 9:58:36
Certainly the easiest way to view the Spirit World is that it simply is the Ethereal Plane as viewed through the lens of Ethengarian culture. The top of World Mountain is a large scale gate into the Ethereal. Virtually all inhabits would technically be spirits (even characters that are encountered while ethereal or become ethereal during an encounter) in the eyes of the Ethengars, but only some spirits actually respond to the Ethengars.

I prefer to view the Spirit World as a secluded part of the Ethereal, one that cannot easily be reached, unless you are familiar with the Ethengarian shamanism. True Ethengarian spirits have existed there and on the Prime long before the Ethengars as a people existed and as long as or before the immortals existed. Ethengar shamans over time learned of them and the Spirit World and over time, they came to understand their place in the world. I'm not sure I explained that clearly

In short, I used the simplest connection for the conversions, but as with anything, DMs can change it to suit their campaign.


Feb 15, 2007 13:23:42
There's an essay called The Mutable Ethereal that presents a theory of exactly how border ethereal planes evolve into spirit worlds.


Feb 15, 2007 15:18:44
I've always had the spiritual world and Limbo be the same. Anyone see a reason they shouldn't?


Feb 15, 2007 16:01:19
Another possible model could be:

Spirit World = Ethereal Plane
Limbo = Astral Plane

Different methods of travelling/different states of being could explain the differences in how the planes are perceived by travellers.



Feb 15, 2007 16:03:36
I've always had the spiritual world and Limbo be the same. Anyone see a reason they shouldn't?

There is, but I can't recall what it is offhand. I only know because I used to make them the same myself, but then when I was reading about Limbo in Dragon, I realized that the two (as written) were incompatible. I'll try and see if I can recall why that was when I get home and can check my Dragon issues.

[EDIT- To clarify, what I'm saying is that- IIRC- there is a specific reason(s) for the two not to work under the descriptions of the planes as written. If you're willing to tweak the "canon" descriptions, there is no reason they shouldn't be compatible, and in fact, I think actually do work pretty well together.

Of course, I may be mistaking one of my intentions that was incompatible with the two being incompatible, so my point may be moot.]


Mar 11, 2007 15:11:08
Here is a random non-canon idea:

The Spirit World equals the Ethereal Plane and Limbo equals the Astral Plane.

The differences in appearance and rules are explained by differences in perception depending on how you get there (ie whether you are dead or not).

If nothing else it would be a good way of streamlining and shrinking the cosmology should that be interesting...



Mar 11, 2007 15:19:36
Agreed. Myself, although I enjoy the variety of detail associated with Mystara... There is a bit too much info, IMO, on the areas which adventures are less likely to take place.. such as the planes.

Maybe I'm just weird, but I've always considered Mystara's cosmology as a Mystaran sage's imperfect and incomplete understanding of the simpler and more accurate Great Wheel cosmology.
The only MAJOR difference betwen the two is the location of the Astral and Ethereal are swapped. Other than that, the plethora of Mystaran planes might simply be different levels of the Great Wheel's outer planes.
This idea is supported by WotI's planar addresses--if you have to go to one plane in order to get to another, you might as well say you have to travel thru level 1 of a plane to get to level 2.



Mar 12, 2007 3:15:40
How many people still use the Immortals box set cosmology? I believe it was Gold Box which had an infinite number of outer planes, instead of the wheel, like your standard AD&D or Planescape.

I believe GAZ12 just used an unidentified outer plane because that fit default D&D cosmology easily. It isn't a problem unless you try and map it to something more fleshed out and constrained, ie basically every other cosmology used in D&D editions.