The Mind's Eye07/25/2003

The Demiplane of Ectoplasm

It is the matter found between -- coalesced.
It's a psion's paradise.
It's the psion's nightmare.

The Demiplane of Ectoplasm is a small pocket dimension found within the Astral Plane. Its dome shape is divided into three main areas based on terrain. The entire demiplane is quite dark, since either burning ectoplasm or the bioluminescence of the organisms provides the only light sources found here.

The central section of the demiplane is a mountainous region of solidified ectoplasm and metals. The ground here is very brittle and jagged, and most of the landscape is barren, with the exception of small shrubs and a lichen-like plant. An active volcano stands in the center of this part of the demiplane. While it is generally calm, it does have violent eruptions every couple of weeks. This area also suffers earthquakes and landslides, since the mountains shift against each other. Vents of hot gasses and whitefire commonly burst forth from the ground when the earthquakes occur. Although uncommon, random mindstorm and surge activity occasionally accompany the eruptions throughout this area of the demiplane.

The next section, or middle ring, appears very similar to that of a hilly, mixed forest. This region is the most stable of the demiplane, since the effects of the earthquakes in the central core are greatly diminished. This area is also not subject to the extreme winds found in the outer ring or high in the sky. Generally, if one seeks refuge from the harsher aspects of the demiplane's environment, this is the region to find it.

The outer ring gives way from forest to swamp. The ground becomes spongy and liquid ectoplasm forms a bayou. Low trees and vines are common, and standing pools of acidic ectoplasm can be found. Travelers quickly learn to spot the acid pools, since they usually give off a faint glow. This area is also wracked with high winds. Several times a day, a hurricane force gale will rip through this section, bowing over trees and sending large amounts of liquid into the air. This wind is strong enough to carry away unattended objects, such as the adventurers. On the positive side, the wind gusts usually last only a couple of minutes.

The outer edge of the demiplane is easy to find. A wall of burning ectoplasm extends from the ground surface and arcs over the entire demiplane in a dome shape. Coming within 10 feet of this wall causes 1d4 points of fire damage from the heat, and making contact with the wall causes 5d4 points of fire damage per round. The wall burns with a deep reddish hue, giving off little light and providing the equivalent light of a starry night to the demiplane.

Other than the natural hazards found here, the main concern for travelers are the lack of food or water. The ecology found here is based on ectoplasm and psionic energy; the indigenous population feeds off these. So, if a group wishes to make a visit, they must bring their own source of nutrition or face starvation.

Demiplane of Ectoplasm Traits

  • Normal Gravity.
  • Normal Time.
  • Finite Size.
  • Alterable Morphic.
  • No Elemental or Energy Traits.
  • Mildly Neutral Aligned.
  • Enhanced Psionics: Psionic powers cost 1 less power point to a minimum of 1 power point to manifest here. This is in addition to any other power cost reductions the being may have.Also, some powers work differently while on this demiplane. Any astral constructs created here have maximum hit points. Dismiss ectoplasm causes 3d8 points of damage to ectoplasmic creatures and characters on a failed saving throw instead of them being destroyed or displaced. If used on the terrain, dismiss ectoplasm evaporates or disintegrates the targeted area. Characters who use ectoplasmic form are recognized by the denizens of the plane as a native and the denizens are indifferent instead of hostile. Finally, wall of ectoplasm is permanent unless destroyed.

Ectoplasmic Links

Currently, there are only two established ways to reach the Demiplane of Ectoplasm. A third method exists, but it is not totally reliable.

The first is to find the border it shares with the Astral Plane. On the Astral Plane, it appears as a 10-foot circular disk of greenish fire. This fire is the outer edge of the demiplane, which is burning ectoplasm. Traveling through this access point causes 15d4 points of fire damage and deposits the individual at the top center of the dome. Unless the creature can fly, it falls several thousand feet to the waiting mouth of an active volcano. In addition to the falling damage, it takes 20d6 points of fire damage per round until it can get out of the ectoplasmic lava. This route tends to be fatal for the unprepared.

The second route is through the portal established by the githyanki queen. The githyanki stumbled across this demiplane a long time ago and now use it as a source of raw materials. Their portal connects one of their cities in the Astral Plane to the fortress they maintain on the demiplane.

The third method requires the use of psionics. The demiplane can be reached through the use of a plane shift, but only if the individuals are in ectoplasmic form or encased within ectoplasm. In addition, if some of the group cannot link hands, they must be mind-linked with the manifester of the plane shift. The problem with this method is that it is not entirely accurate. Those attempting the journey have only a 30% chance of reaching the demiplane. The rest of time the group finds themselves in the Astral Plane.

Ectoplasmic Inhabitants

The Demiplane of Ectoplasm is home to many 'plant' and 'animal' life forms, though all are comprised of ectoplasm and metals. While most of these creatures are small and harmless, some do pose a threat to travelers. Within the mountainous central region, both living ferroplasms and argent spiders are found, while the ectoplasm elementals generally stay to the swampy outer ring. Ecto fragments are found just about everywhere on the plane, drifting along with the winds.

The only other dangerous encounter a visitor is likely to face is the githyanki presence. The githyanki view this demiplane as theirs, and they tend see visitors as intruders and deal with them as such.

Argent Spiders: Resembling normal spiders, these crystalline creatures look as though they have been sculpted as a perverse sort of art, but they are living creatures. It's uncertain how this vermin came into being, but it is a fairly common sight on the demiplane of ectoplasm.

Ecto Fragments: Resembling small floating orbs of goo, ecto fragments are created by the latent psionic energy found in the Demiplane of Ectoplasm. A small portion of the plane becomes charged with energy and forms an ecto fragment.

Ectoplasm Elementals: Generally found on the Demiplane of Ectoplasm, ectoplasm elementals also can be found wandering elsewhere on rare occasions. There are rumors of psions and sorcerers who have discovered ways to summon them.

Living Ferroplasm: In its natural state, living ferroplasm appears as a large pool of quicksilver around 12 feet in diameter. Because it feeds off of psionic energy, it seems quite at home on this plane.

Movement and Combat

Both movement and combat tend to be as normal per the rules of the Material Plane. Other than the geography, and the fact that the place is shrouded in eternal twilight, normal combat and movement rules apply here.

Features of the Demiplane of Ectoplasm

Given the harsh nature of the demiplane, why do psions seek it out? An abundance of raw materials for psionic items is found here. The central region has several large veins of pure crystal and crystalline metals for use in all sorts of items. In addition, it is the home of the living ferroplasms, which is a source of the very rare ferroplasm. Finally, the Canath tree grows only on this demiplane, and its fruit is prized by all psions. These resources are why the githyanki created their portal, and why they maintain a fortress here.

Ginden Bali

Ginden Bali is the githyanki fortress found on the Demiplane of Ectoplasm, and it is named after the one who originally found the demiplane. At all times, a full regiment of githyanki is stationed here, with the exception of their dragons. For some reason, the reds refuse to come to this place and also refuse to explain why. In addition to the githyanki, several hundred slaves are housed here from assorted races. The slaves are used either to mine or to transport raw materials and food through the portal.

Githyanki stationed here usually stay only three months at a time due to the difference in time flow from the Astral.

Ginden Bali is an expanded version of the fortress presented in the Map-a-Week feature. The githyanki have used psionic powers known to them to enhance the fortress with the flying augmentation to keep the fortress off the ground and to avoid the earthquakes. The fortress uses its slothful locomotion and drawbridges to minimize the effects of the winds. (See the flying mobility and slothful locomotion descriptions on the Stronghold Builder's Guidebook for more information.) The fortress floats approximately 50 feet above the surface and has three 200-foot long drawbridges made of ectoplasm that can be extended to the surface.

The Ruins of Rokehold

Long before the Githyanki came to this demiplane, a great dwarven mine once existed deep beneath the surface. Some say it extended to the very edges of the demiplane. Legends describe a period of violent eruptions and earthquakes that collapsed most of the tunnels and destroyed the dwarven stronghold along with the portal that linked the demiplane to the dwarven homeland. Occasionally stones that bear the name Rokehold or Roke inscribed in ancient dwarven ruins are found, and they are unearthed by earthquakes or mining. Nobody knows why the dwarves abandoned the demiplane.

Canath Tree

This small tree grows to around 12 feet tall and has leaves similar in shape to that of a maple. It usually grows in groves of ten to twenty trees, and each tree has two to five fruit on it. A Canath fruit is actually a rondure of crystal, which is highly prized by psions. The Canath fruit stores psionic energy that can be tapped by a psion the same way a psion would tap the power of a crystal capacitor. The amount of energy stored within the fruit is shown on the following table:

Fruit Age Power Points
1 month 1
2 months 3
3 months 5
4 months 7
5 months 9
6 months 11
7 months 13
8 months 15
9 months 17
12 months seedpod

Initially, the Canath fruit is a milky white in color. As it matures, it grows darker in color, and if allowed to stay on the tree for a full year, the fruit becomes an opaque seedpod and sprouts a pair of leathery wings. The fully mature fruit drops from the tree and the psychic energy in it allows it to fly in a random direction for up to a mile. The fruit blunders along blindly until it hits something or runs out of energy and falls to the ground. While the fruit can be used anywhere, the seeds themselves cannot. Canath tree seeds will germinate only if planted on the demiplane.

By collecting the Canath fruit, the psion has a source of psionic energy for later use, similar to using crystal capacitors. A psion may use the power points from it to activate powers, items, or psionic combat modes. The fruit can be used only once though, so if she uses a 7 point fruit to activate a 3rd-level power, the other 2 power points are lost. After using a fruit, it crumbles to dust.

About the Author

Mark A. Jindra has been a fan of Dungeons & Dragons for the past 25 years and has organized RPGA Network events for many conventions and game days, including Origins and Winter Fantasy. In 1998 he landed his dream job as a web developer for Wizards of the Coast and is currently the developer of the D&D website. Mark has authored or coauthored various tournaments for the RPGA Network, and he also coauthors the monthly Mind's Eye feature on the Wizards of the Coast website.

Scott Brocius has been "kicking around" with the D&D game since being introduced to it 1980. He's been an RPGA member for several years and has helped organize and run RPGA events for several conventions, including Origins. The new edition of D&D has renewed his love for and interest in the game. Scott also coauthors the monthly Mind's Eye feature on the Wizards of the Coast website.

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