Bytopia


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Though commonly known on the Prime as the Twin Paradises, Bytopia is hardly such. It has much in the way of pastoral splendor, yes. Its sights, though not as beyond imaginable as some planes, are quite beautiful. And yet this is no plane for a person to relax and enjoy things as they come. Bytopia stands for the peak of civilization, the manifestation of the very concept of social contract. Here, everyone is expected to work for the sake of all. This is the plane of community, and no community can survive if everyone doesn't play their part.

Bytopia
Rune of Bytopia
Alignment Neutral (Lawful) Good
Number of layers 2
Associated Faction None
Gate-Town Tradegate
Inhabitants of Bytopia
Previous
Mount Celestia
Next
Elysium

Physical Conditions

The most striking aspect of Bytopia is its physical form. Unlike other planes, its two layers manifest in the same space, parallel surfaces facing one another, each with its own gravity. Though separated by nearly 5 miles of open air with drifting cloudbanks in the space between, at some spots the mountainous terrain of the two layers merges together, like the natural pillars in many caverns, allowing for passage on foot from one side to another; so long as a person's comfortable with a few miles-worth of mountain climbing, at least. Obviously this structure prevents any sort of sun from existing. Instead, like on many other planes, the natural light of this environment seems to simply be, with no visible source from which it comes (although some stories credit Savitri with the light). At night, rather than stars, a person sees the glowing flames of the settlements above.

As the plane standing for the peaks of civilization, Bytopia is quite simply covered with settlements, though mostly of small size. In fact, unlike many planes, Bytopia (though mostly Dothion) is one of the few places outside the Prime where one will find legitimate nations — kingdoms, republics, benevolent dictatorships, any form of government devoted to the well-being of its people can be found here. Much in the way of the study of politics, diplomacy, and simply the ways of people occurs here; most agreements between the celestials are brokered here, and a number of guardinals both study and teach the ways of diplomacy on this plane. Economics has a good deal of emphasis amongst its people and petitioners as well, given the key role it plays in understanding the interactions between various states of all sizes. Given these, in many ways, Bytopia is the closest thing the planes have to a Prime world writ large.

One must keep in mind, given this, that though Bytopia is focused on ensuring people work for what they need, "work" is not defined as narrowly as it is in some areas. Rare for the planes, here work of the mind is placed on the same level as work of the body, with academics, craftsmen, and laborers kept as equally important by its petitioners, and from their influence its natives, as no nation could survive without the support of both. Nor is charity truly seen as a negative here. Those that take merely to have are looked down upon, yes, but Bytopia understands that not all can always do well, and sometimes a person might need a little aid until they can achieve their goals. A small initial investment into a person can often, properly nurtured, balloon into amazing things.

Of course, the richness of resources and products in Bytopia does attract the attention of many who would pursue wealth purely for its own sake without consideration of those beneath. While the pursuit of profit is not seen as a negative in Bytopia, the pursuit of profit at the expense of others is; as such, most of the largest trade organizations — including the Planar Trade Consortium — keep their headquarters in the nearby gate town of Tradegate (helping through their influence to keep it out of Bytopia in the process). There are, lucky for them, more than enough people and guilds in Bytopia that are either blind to their activities, or that see no problem with trading with objectionable sorts so long as they themselves refrain from such.

Physically, each layer is divided up into a number of mountain valleys, with plains and meadows slowly becoming more and more hilly, eventually breaking into mountain chains before giving way to the next valley over. Rivers tend to be the best way for transport from one valley to another, with a strong ferry business for goods and passengers alike taking people across Bytopia; travel on foot is possible, but hazardous. For the most part, it's the pastures of Dothion that tend to be emphasized in that layer, while in Shurrock it's the mountains that are most prominent; likely befitting their roles of settlement and resources.

As for transportation across layers, one means is — as mentioned previously — simply walking across over one of the spanning pillars. Centerspire is the most prominent (and largest) means by which this is done; at least 200 feet thick, it was long ago carved with a winding staircase along one side, a winding ramp on the other, to allow for easier transport, with a crossing, spiraling tunnel through the pillar at the flip point where one layer's gravity gives way to the other. For faster transport, flying is the most reliable means, with many various industries across the plane, both magical and technological, devoted to just such a means. The most common of such (for transporting goods, at least) is a simple unmanned hot-air balloon between opposing stations. When properly filled and released, it has just enough lift to reach the flip point, at which point it has lost enough heat to slowly sink to the new ground beneath it. Of course, any means of transportation will have to be wary of the various natural predators that live within the intermediary, but such concerns are an issue anywhere.

Magical Conditions

Abjuration No change
Conjuration Conjurations spells fail unless they manifest things which already exist on the plane in some form. Creatures from outside Bytopia cannot be summoned.
Divination All divination spells must incorporate some Bytopian product in order to function.
Enchantment No change
Evocation No change
Illusion No change
Necromancy Spells to heal: heightened by 1 spell level; spells to harm: impeded.
Transmutation No change
Elemental Any elemental spell relating to large, wide-ranging changes (move earth, control weather, part water) requires a concentration check at DC 25 to cast. Otherwise, spells with an elemental modifier are unaffected on Dothion, and enhanced on Shurrock.

Layers

Powers

Reference

  • Planes of Conflict - Liber Benevolentiae, pp.28-45
  • On Hallowed Ground
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