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Lhondaras

by John Calvin

Lhondaras - The Plant Mother, The Green Womb
Normal gravity.
Normal time.
Finite size.
Divinely morphic.
Earth and water elemental traits.
Plant magic enhanced. All plant spells cast on this plane act as if Maximised, although they are not cast at a higher level.

Lhondaras is a plane formed from a gigantic tree growing from a rich loamy basin. There is no central trunk, rather a ring of trunk like branches sprout up from the earth and reach toward the sky above. Near the basin the branches grow so close together that they form a solid wall, and it is difficult to tell where one ends and another begins. Further up the trunk separates into separate branches and eventually fans out into a vast leafy canopy.

The majority of canopy growth is toward the center of the plane, although long spindly branches also grow in the opposite direction. The sun hangs directly over the center of the plane. As one travels from the center toward the ring of trunk branches it appears as though the sun is setting. Thus the trunks that form the ring around the plane are bathed in constant twilight. Once on the outer limbs, the sun is no longer perceived and individuals find themselves looking out at a starry void.

The center canopy growth is not complete and there are patches here and there that allow the sun to shine down to the basin below. Where it does vast forests spring up and thrive.

Links:

Portals exist at the ends of the long spindly branches that grow away from the plane. Branches that grow far enough will deposit travellers onto the Astral plane, although the immortals who dwell here keep most branches trimmed so as to limit access to the plane. Djaea has also nurtured one of the branches so that it produces a portal to her ally (and lover) Khoronus' home plane. It is possible that the other immortals living here have done the same. It may also be possible for (extremely powerful) mortal magic to shape the outer branches so that they open up into other planes, although the immortal inhabitants of the plane would surely be aware of any such attempt.

Inhabitants:

Three immortals make their home on this plane. Djaea dwells in the canopy, while Terra and Ordana have established their realms on the basin. Terra's realm is located in the very center of the plane, built into the earth of the basin. Ordana rules over a kingdom at the base of the ring of trunks, nestled away in the valleys of its enormous root system.

Elves and Sylvan Creatures:

Many elves and other sylvan creatures have been lured here by their immortal patrons. Some few have even found the way by themselves. Most of these creatures worship and serve one (or more) of the immortal rulers of this land.

The elven populations tend to be centred in the canopy. Other sylvan creatures dwell in the canopy or on the basin, wherever they feel most comfortable.

Treants:

Many varieties of treants dwell on the basin of this plane, each forming their own distinct culture and nation. They are migratory, following the patterns of the Fruit (see below). When a fruit begins to grow they establish a new kingdom, and once it matures they move on, looking for a new bud.

Petitioners:

Those devoted to Djaea, Terra, or Ordana in life may find themselves drawn to this plane after death. Others who were drawn to the power of nature may also find themselves here in the afterlife.

Movement and Combat:

Movement and combat are resolved normally on this plane. Though many of the branches of the Plant Mother are wide enough to support comfortable travel (and in some cases even structures and communities), it is possible to fall from them. Those that fall from the inner branches plummet to the basin (and almost certain death) below, while those that fall from an outer branch face a grimmer fate. Falling from an outer branch places one in a timeless limbo between the planes.

Features:

Canopy Cities:

Many sylvan races, both mortal and petitioner, make their homes high up in the canopy. Djaea herself makes her home here in a vast city grown from the Plant Mother herself.

The Great Basin:

The basin of earth is almost bowl shaped. Most of it lies in shade, and is sparsely populated by both plant and animal life.

Basin Groves:

Vast kingdom sized patches of light break through the canopy in several places.

Where they hit the basin below vibrant forests sprout and take life. These forests become home to sylvan creatures of all types, and many are ruled over by nations of treants.

The groves grow in conjunction with the Fruit (see below) and the main task of their inhabitants is to prepare to harvest the precious seed that will come as the Fruit matures.

Dead Groves:

The Plant Mother is constantly growing and changing. Sometimes new holes open up in the canopy as branches dies, but eventually those breaches are closed by new growth. When this happens the forests that grew below are deprived of their life giving light and they die. Many still maintain a sparse amount of life, although some harbour darker secrets. Foul and dark forest spirits have been known to take up residence in these places.

The Fruit of Lhondaras:

The fruit of the Plant Mother starts out as a green bud the size of a small cart or wagon. These buds always form on the underside of branches that grow over the center of the plane (and never on those that grow out into the void), and are always found singly. Over several centuries the buds mature, growing to the size of a large castle keep. During this time many of the branches around the fruit wither and die, allowing the sunlight to reach the basin floor below.

As the fruit grows overhead, a forest grows below it. Once the fruit ripens it falls from the now dead branch and lands in or near the forest below it where its single seed is harvested and tended by treant caretakers below. As soon as the fruit has fallen from its branch new growths begin to form, slowly replacing the vegetation that died off earlier. Below the canopy, the once vibrant forest begins to fade and wither away.

The seeds of the Fruit of Lhondaras are greatly prized by the immortals that dwell here, for within them is the power to rejuvenate scarred and dead locales, and even to germinate the beginnings of a new plane.

Campaign Ideas:

Mortal Campaigns:

The Fruit of Lhondaras is the only thing that can save the Canolbarth Forest from its twisted fate. The PCs must negotiate with one of the immortals who dwell on the plane in order to acquire the prize. If the negotiations go sour then the PCs will have to sneak onto the plane and acquire one of the Fruit by other means, a near impossible task. Even once they have their prize their troubles are by no means over. Agents of dark immortals have been wanting to get their hands on one of the Fruit for millennia, and they may sense their chance now.

Djaea has discovered a wasted plane, and here clerics have been given the task of taking one of the seeds there and using it to restore life to that lifeless world. However other forces are at work. The agents of Entropy who corrupted this plane will not let it go easily.

Immortal Campaigns:

Newly raised immortals usually spend some time on their sponsor's home plane learning the ropes and doing various tasks for their immortal patrons.

Immortals who are sponsored by either Ordana, Terra, or Djaea will spend their formative years on Lhondaras. At the end of their time of service they are usually rewarded with a matured Fruit of Lhondaras. This seed can be used to germinate a new home plane. Both Calitha Starbrow and Faunus were gifted with such a prize.

Any immortal with such a gift will have to protect if from forces who would steal it. Once planted, they will need to guard it and nurture it until the seed blooms into a full fledged plane.