Elemental Plane Of Air

It is as open as the eternal sky. It as solid as a child’s breath. It is falling forever. The Elemental Plane of Air is an empty plane, consisting of sky above and sky below. Clouds billow up in bank after bank, swelling into grand thunderheads and dissipating into wisps like cotton candy. The wind pulls and tugs around the traveler, and rainbows glimmer in the distance. The Elemental Plane of Air is the most comfortable and survivable of the Inner Planes, and it is the home of all manner of airborne creatures. Indeed, flying creatures find themselves at a great advantage on this plane. While travelers without flight can survive easily here, they are at a disadvantage.

Natural vortices connect the Elemental Plane of Air and the Material Plane, usually on high mountaintops or in the middle of severe weather conditions (such as the eye of a hurricane).

Elemental Plane of Air traits

The Elemental Plane of Air has the following traits.

• Subjective Directional Gravity: Inhabitants of the plane determine their own “down” direction. Objects not under the motive force of others do not move.
• Normal Time.
• Infinite Size.
• Alterable Morphic.
• Air-Dominant.
• Enhanced Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities that use, manipulate, or create air (including those of the Air domain) are both empowered and enlarged (as if the Empower Spell and Enlarge Spell had been used on them, but the spells don’t require higher-level slots). A cloudkill spell would thus have its range doubled and its damage (to those it did not kill outright) increased by half. Spells and spell-like abilities that are already empowered or enlarged are unaffected by this benefit.
• Impeded Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities that use or create earth (including the summoning of earth elementals or outsiders with the earth subtype) are impeded. This includes spells of the Earth domain. These spells and spell-like abilities can still be used, but a successful Spellcraft check (DC 15 + level of the spell) must be made to do so.

Air Inhabitants

Most of the life on the Elemental Plane of Air is on the wing, and it is a realm where the swift and the maneuverable survive. Most common on the plane are the elementals that have emerged from the winds and weather of the plane itself. These generally free-willed beings include air elementals and half-elemental analogs of many Material Plane creatures. Ice and smoke paraelementals dwell in the more extreme parts of the plane, in vast clouds of ash and among storms of ice and hail. (See Chapter 9 for the paraelementals and the half-elemental template.) Such beings consider the Elemental Plane of Air their own and do not hesitate to harass (at best) or destroy (at worst) travelers from elsewhere.

A small number of outsiders make the Elemental Plane of Air their home; the best-known are the djinn. The scavenging arrowhawks and omnipresent dust, air, and ice mephits can be found here as well. Creatures from the Material Plane can be found here, especially if they have wings. But the plane’s lack of obvious ground tends to disorient and confuse many natives of the Material Plane, making them easy prey for more powerful Elemental Plane of Air natives. Material Plane creatures encountered on the Elemental Plane of Air include hippogriffs, pegasi, beholders, sphinxes, and sprites. Common birds and unintelligent fliers do not survive long on this plane.

The native language of the Elemental Plane of Air is Auran, a breathy, leisurely tongue that sounds like a long, slow exhalation. When other languages are needed, the Common language of the Material Plane is often used, and Celestial is sometimes used as well.

Movement and Combat

Movement on the Elemental Plane of Air is described in the section on subjective directional gravity in Chapter 1. Creatures that have a fly speed have their maneuverability improved by one grade on the Elemental Plane of Air, from clumsy to poor, from poor to average, from average to good, and from good to perfect. In addition, any flying creature can dive, moving in the same fashion as other, nonflying creatures.

Air Combat

On the Elemental Plane of Air, a larger number of attackers may assault an target, being able to attack from above and below, as noted in the Combat in Three Dimensions sidebar in Chapter 1. Characters might want to dive toward their opponents as a form of charge. If they do so, treat it as a regular charge (straight-line movement only, a +2 attack bonus, and a –2 penalty to Armor Class for 1 round). Alternatively, characters can simply plummet toward a helpless or stationary target. In this case, use the Falling Objects section in Chapter 3 of the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide, to determine damage from falling objects. Apply that damage to both attacker and target.

A maximum of 20d6 points of damage can be inflicted in this fashion.

Features of the Elemental Plane of Air

For travelers arriving on the Elemental Plane of Air for the first time, the greatest danger is the panic of finding themselves in midair without even the sight of ground beneath you. Some travelers have plummeted to their deaths, never realizing where they were and how a simple thought could stop their descent. Setting the wrong direction as “down” can be fatal in such cases if there’s a solid object along the path of descent and if you fall far enough, there always is). But other than that risk, the Elemental Plane of Air offers no inherent danger. There are regions of extreme weather, but they are a danger to natives as well as visitors.

Spells such as avoid planar effects that provide planar protection do not help against such storms. On a long-term basis, obtaining food and water is a problem. Rainfall can provide water, but food is always scarce. Elemental creatures, made of the substance of the plane itself, tend to dissipate when slain, and real food is hard to come by. The djinn are welcome allies to many travelers from elsewhere, because they can create food, water, and wine.

Barring clouds, fog banks, rain, and other impediments to sight, vision on the Elemental Plane of Air is unaffected, as is darkvision. The entire plane is limned with a pearly radiance of no definite source, as if the base matter of the plane held its own inherent radiation.

Winds and Weather

The Elemental Plane of Air is constantly in motion, ranging from gentle breezes that tug on a traveler’s cloak to mighty tornadoes that spiral through the empty skies. The majority of the winds are light or moderate, and only in specific situations will winds be sufficiently large to impede or damage travelers. The Weather Hazards section in Chapter 3 of the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide, provides rules for the effect of winds of various strengths. In almost all cases, creatures are airborne on the Elemental Plane of Air (so they are treated as one size smaller for the purpose of wind effects). Creatures that find something of sufficient size to hide on or behind avoid this penalty, but if blown away are thrown into the wind itself, taking damage each round until the wind dissipates.

The clouds themselves, common features on the plane, have the same effect as fog, obscuring all sight, including darkvision, beyond 5 feet. Creatures within 5 feet have one-half concealment, so attacks against them suffer a 20% miss chance. Arrowhawks and other scavengers often hide in clouds to ambush their prey better. Extreme weather is also common on the Elemental Plane of Air, including snow, rain, sleet, hail, duststorms, thunderstorms, blizzards, and hurricanes. Despite the lack of objective gravity on the plane, rain does occur, falling for miles before dissipating and being swept up into new clouds.

Smoke Banks

Often the result of long-forgotten battles, clouds of choking smoke hang in the calmer regions of the plane, backwaters of the greater air currents. Occasionally they are swept up into great moving walls, but in general the smoke banks are relatively stationary. Large amounts of fire also generate smoke banks that hover around the source of the flame. Characters who enter areas of heavy smoke are affected as noted in the Smoke section in Chapter 3 of the DUNGEON MASTER’s Guide.

Flying Castles

The weightless nature, empty disposition, and hospitable environment makes the Elemental Plane of Air ideal for powerful individuals seeking privacy. These individuals include wizards and sorcerers who want uninterrupted time for long-term studies, clerics of all alignments escaping the threats of more dangerous planes, and even monasteries and libraries whose users seek solitude and reflection. Any chunk of rock or mineral large enough to support a building’s foundation is the site of some structure (or at least it has been in the past).

Given the nature of subjective gravity, the rooms within such a structure may all have the same direction of gravity, or the structure may be a crazy quilt of rooms with shifting gravitational directions. Often this depends on the needs of the users. Those who expect visitors provide a common “down” direction for reference. Settlers on the Elemental Plane of Air have to provide their own method of acquiring food and water, so many strongholds are set up near gates and vortices that allow easy access to other planes. In addition, the wizards, clerics, and monks who make these floating fortresses their homes must make peace to some degree with the local elemental and outsider population, either by negotiation or force. Not all invaders do so successfully, and travelers may discover the empty towers and citadels of wizards whose flesh has been ripped from their bones by angry invisible stalkers, or whose strongholds are frozen solid after crossing a foul-tempered ice paraelemental.

Djinni Strongholds

The djinn are among the most accommodating of the outsiders that make the Elemental Plane of Air their native realm. They tend to settle the larger chunks of physical matter on the plane, shards of rock and earth ranging from a thousand feet to several miles across. Each of these islands has its own gravity, and the guests of the djinn move around as on the Material Plane. A typical djinn community on the Elemental Plane of Air consists of 3d10 of these creatures (some of whom have undoubtedly earned levels in character classes), 1d10 jann, and 1d10 elemental creatures of low intelligence who act as servants, pets, or guardians. The most powerful of the djinn in the stronghold is known as the sheik. The sheik may or may not be a noble djinni.

Such strongholds are often nothing more than opulent pleasure domes, but the djinn also raise livestock (often horses for racing) and maintain gardens and fountains. Djinn gather strongholds into larger, allied confederations. In case of an attack, a stronghold sends one of its members to the nearest allied stronghold, which in turn sends two more messengers to its allies. In a short time, a horde of djinn have been rallied for the fight. As a result, successful attacks against djinni strongholds must be rapid strikes.

Powerful caliphs rule the confederations of djinni strongholds, with each caliph holding titular sway over all strongholds within two days flight. These caliphs, in turn, swear fealty to grand caliphs. The most prestigious and puissant of these grand caliphs dwells in the Citadel of Ice and Steel, advised by all manner of sheiks, emirs, beys, and maliks. This citadel is a constructed thing, made of magic steel and ice that is cool to the touch but harder than stone. The Citadel of Ice and Steel consists of level upon level of gardens, courts, and labyrinths. It is a palace without stairs, and visitors who can’t fly get genie guides to escort them through the citadel. Smaller citadels orbit the Citadel of Ice and Steel, each the home of a trusted advisor or powerful lesser caliphs. At the heart of the citadel is said to be a prison cell for the grand caliph’s greatest enemy. This being’s crime and identity is unknown, and the unlit cell is protected from planar access and magical tampering.

Air Encounters

The Elemental Plane of Air is continually aloft. Most of the creatures found within are comfortable while airborne, either as natives of this plane or as creatures that naturally fly. Even creatures that require continual action to fly, such as birds, learn to sleep aloft on the Elemental Plane of Air.

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