The Astral Plane, also known as the Silver Void, is the plane connecting the Prime Material Plane to the Outer Planes. Its appearance well fits its name, as in all directions, a silvery, shimmery sky fills ones vision. But for the occasional godcorpse, on which this plane's settlements and fortress (almost always githyanki) are built, this plane completely lacks for solid ground; instead, the landmarks here are the tendril-like astral conduits that writhe in place as they cross the nondimensional region, and the glowing points of light that take the place of stars, though far too sparse to form any constellations.
Not technically a true plane, the Astral is more accurately described as the space between space. It's a largely mental realm, and those that travel within it are merely translations of their physical bodies into the mental realm of the Astral, their minds interpreting the things they see as normal width, height, and depth.
As a consequence of this, within the Astral, space and time don't truly exist. While on the Astral, people don't grow hungry or thirsty, they don't grow tired (not physically, at least), they don't even age; although, upon leaving the plane, the time they skipped out on catches up to them in an instant. Travel through the Astral is accomplished entirely by force of will, and if a fellow wants to reach somewhere, eventually they will, even if the travel time is largely arbitrary and unrelated to any true concept of distance. For outsiders, this can take some time to learn, especially for those first visiting an astral city; to those that think gravity should exist, it does, and training ones subconscious out of this habit can be quite tricky.
In this plane, physical capabilities can be supplanted by mental ones. (To those well-attuned or experienced in the plane, Intelligence can serve the role of Strength, and Wisdom can serve the role of Dexterity.) A berk's physical acuity here is based purely on his ability to think, since his body's really nothing more than a projection of his mind while within the Void.
A further result of this is the different mechanics of motion on the Astral. As mentioned earlier, to travel from one place to another, one need only think, and they will begin drifting. Objects with no mind can only move when urged on by another; when thrown, or pushed, or pulled. But once they begin moving, they won't stop until forcefully stopped, making missile combat quite the potential hazard for others traveling through the plane. Unfortunately, this property does not work for things that do possess their own mind, as stray thoughts, daydreams, and (if sleeping) full dreams act as a mental drag force, slowing them down to an eventual stop.
The strange mental nature of the plane also has its effect on the senses. Though a dull grey light suffuses the whole of the plane, preventing any sort of shadowy areas in most locations for potential hiding, things are utterly silent unless special effort is made to make noise, rendering attempts at moving silently near-perfect success. Visual ranges are limited on the Astral through some unknown mechanism, however, to a hard limit of 200 yards. This limit varies somewhat unpredictably from time to time; vision works normally when standing on the rare bit of ground in the plane, and for large such islands, they may be occasionally visible at longer ranges. But for the most part, in the open void, people seem to just emerge from a silvery fog when passing this close to one another.
Given that the Astral Plane is a mental realm, it should come as no surprise that overall, psionics — and to a lesser degree, magic — are much more potent here, with some simple exceptions. First off, given that the Astral is without dimension or physicality, spells and powers relating to these concepts fail to function. No extradimensional effects are active on the Astral, and effects dealing purely with physical matter (such as disintegrate or a sphere of annihilation) are inert. The same goes for effects relating to space or time: there/not there, time stop, reverse time, and other such related spells are also inert.
The lack of any sort of solid ground also prevents the manifestation of certain types of spells or powers on purely logical grounds: Evard's black tentacles, move earth, Tenser's floating disc, and other spells relying on the presence of a solid surface underfoot.
While psions and the like, oddly enough, don't have much to worry about on this end, the Astral does pose some unique hazards for spellcasters who ply their trade here, thanks to this enhanced potency. Two ailments are commonly linked to the Astral Plane: magical addiction and magical psychosis. Thankfully, these tend to be relatively rare, but experienced spellcasters performing a great deal of casting on the Astral are often at risk; especially those that, for whatever reason, choose to indulge in magical research here.
A further unique feature of the Astral is the existence of spellshadows; the remnant energies of cast spells drifting through the void. Any spell cast on the Prime or the Outer Planes leaves a spellshadow on the Astral; the trick is finding it. With the proper training or the proper magics, facts, qualities, and characteristics of the spell and its caster can be obtained through the analysis of a spellshadow, and such analysis has led to the development of the field of "thaumalogical forensics;" originally focused purely on spellshadows, but since branched into other, less difficult tasks. Gherthrom Shadowchaser is a well-known example of such a forensic wizard, though his skills are largely focused on pure spellshadow analysis.
|Conjuration||Summoning spells cast here can draw creatures from the Prime or any of the Outer Planes, though they have a 25% chance of failing entirely on casting. Elemental summons utterly fail to work.|
|Illusion||There is a 30% chance of the seed of an illusion being taken over by a local floating thought, changing the nature of the illusion entirely, but leaving it in the caster's control.|
|Transmutation||Change to matter-, space-, or time-related spells as mentioned above|
|Elemental||Being not only a mental realm, but entirely cut off from the Inner Planes, no pure matter can manifest here, nor can any elementals. Elemental effects, such as fireball, are still possible however.|
Mental exercises or states of mind. For a given spell key to function, the caster must clear their mind and focus in a specific manner before or while casting.
- Oerthian Pantheon
- Celestian - Stars, Travelers, Wanderers
- No Pantheon
- Guardian of the Dead Gods - Godcorpses