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Rune of Limbo
Alignment Chaotic Neutral
Number of layers 1
Associated Faction Xaositects
Gate-Town asoX
Inhabitants of Limbo

The center of pure chaos, the Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo is the essence of malleability. Within Limbo, not only is matter malleable, but things of all sorts. Here there are no universal laws, no reliable constants, only disorder. Any attempts at quantifying Limbo are doomed to fail, as whenever someone seems to pin down something about Limbo, a counterexample is quick to manifest itself; even this observation itself has its counterexamples in things that have never seemed to change once determined. Limbo is proof that to any rule, there is an exception, even those rules that drive the very nature of reality itself, and as such it stands in opposition to Mechanus, realm of perfect order. While any description of Limbo is thus doomed to be incomplete, this article will attempt to do so anyway.

Physical Conditions

Many refer to Limbo as an infinity of chaos matter, and though not entirely inaccurate, this does miss the heart of the issue. Limbo isn't all any one thing (it'd be too predictable, after all), but it isn't everything either. It's both at once, with the aforementioned chaos matter constantly shifting, taking the form of other types of matter before eventually dissolving back to normal. Or not. It's best described as a massive soup or stew, a broth filled with bits of meat and vegetables, those islands of sustenance breaking off and merging with the broth, air bubbling through it and stirring up a bit of froth in the mix. All things yet not.

Unfortunately for most, this shifting plasm tries to bring other matter down with it, with any objects left loose in the liquid eventually being eaten away to nothing. Creatures as well suffer this, taking 1d6 points of damage per turn, though a protection from lightning spell can hold off this effect. Some creatures are immune to the entropic nature of Limbo, able to swim freely through the mass, even breathe it (as it's only breathable if you happen to luck into a node of air or, for some folks, water). Any being of chaotic alignment, upon first entering Limbo, must pass a Wisdom check, and then fail a Fortitude save vs. DC 15 to possess this quality; if they are successful, then they can exist in the soup as a native.

A far more reliable method of spending time in Limbo, however, is the art of chaos-shaping. Those with strong force of will can form the matter around them into whatever form they desire — a peaceful meadow, a sandy beach, a city street, anything they want. The range and accuracy are, of course, limited by the strength of their will, as shown in the table here. On stable terrain, people can walk safely, breathe "real" air, and avoid the deteriorating effects of Limbo. Shaped terrain lasts only as long as the individual concentrates on it, however, and such activities require full attention to the exclusion of any other activities besides walking and conversing, and even that's to a fairly limited degree. There is a githzerai sect trained in the ability to chaos-shape unconsciously, the anarchs, but such a proficiency can only be taught by someone already trained in the art. Even this ability allows only natural terrain to be maintained in such a manner; artificial structures muct be concentrated on or else they fade away. Even conscious shaping, however, requires training in the skill of Control; while those without it can still shape to some degree, their skills are incomprable to those with practice in the art.

Even in stable terrain, the effects of Limbo aren't completely avoided. The phenomenon known as "miniflux" is still a factor for all dwelling within Limbo. Items carried by a person that are usually at the forefront of ones mind — a wizard's spellbook, a soldier's weapon, a thief's picks — are immune to this effect. However, less-commonly used items are well susceptible to this; any such items carried by someone traveling in Limbo have a chance to shift in form, becoming something else entirely. A set of extra clothing, a whistle, some chalk, any of those items most travelers carry but few use can fall prey to miniflux. A successful Wisdom/Willpower is required on each such attempted use to prevent it from occurring to that item.

Magical Conditions

Abjuration No change
Conjuration No change
Divination A Spellcraft check on DC 20 is required to gain any useful information from any divinations cast on Limbo; if failed, the divination result is too chaotic and jumbled to gain any useful information from it.
Enchantment No change
Evocation No change
Illusion Thanks to the churning chaos matter of Limbo, every illusionary creation brought about from a spell cast on Limbo has a 10% chance of becoming real as a chaos-shaped creation.
Necromancy No change
Transmutation See below
Elemental Elemental spells have double the normal duration and area of effect on Limbo; instantaneous spells have a duration of 1d6 rounds and one target spells have an area of effect of a 1d10 foot radius.

As strange as Limbo is on the whole, it has an even greater effect on the arts of spellcasting. Any attempts at casting an arcane spell in Limbo require a concentration check vs. DC 20; on a failure, the spell fizzles, lost from the caster's memory. Further, if the check is failed by 5 or more, or the caster is in the chaos matter of Limbo rather than stable terrain, the spell causes a wild surge to erupt.

Transmutation Magic in Limbo
≤20 No special effect
21-40 Slightly modified appearance
41-60 Slightly modified appearance and properties
61-80 Moderately modified appearance and properties
81≥ Highly modified appearance and properties

Transmutation spells are also especially dangerous on Limbo, with the effects of such a spell under much less control here than on other planes. If an transmutation spell is cast successfully, a percentile check is made, with the spell being modified as the following table.

Slightly modified appearance means that the end result of the spell is unchanged, but the effect is tweaked in a manner that doesn't interfere with its functioning; a magic mouth having fangs, for example. Slightly modified appearance and properties means that the spell's functioning is shifted to a small degree as well, though still not so far as to interfere with it; the same magic mouth possessing a lisp.

Moderately modified appearance and properties provides a great difference in functioning, but still essentially under the control of the spellcaster; infravision granting scent-vision rather than heat-vision.

Highly modified appearance and properties means the spell is entirely out of control, ofttimes manifesting as the caster's greatest fears (though of course, nothing is guaranteed in Limbo); stoneskin transmuting the caster into a living yet immobile glass sculpture.

Spell Keys

Spell keys on Limbo, if found, allow the prevention of spell failure and wild surge possibilities in addition to the normal protection from local effects. They are most commonly one of two types; those representing change and those representing balance.

Keys that represent change take the form of some malleable and temporary construct. A smoke ring slowly drifting away from the caster as it expands, a few grains of salt dissolved in a bit of water, a smoldering ember only minutes from dying to a cinder. These keys are most often those for the schools of Transmutation, Enchantment, and Illusion.

Those that represent balance, however, take the form of some object close to losing its stability. A spinning coin, a vase of water balanced on the head, a dagger kept upright on a fingertip; those with some element of potential destruction are the most effective. These keys are most often those needed for the schools of Abjuration, Conjuration, and Evocation.

Because of the nature of Limbo, spell keys here are by their very nature transient. What works once is by no means guaranteed to work again. They're most often qualities of some insight by the spellcaster at the time of casting, realizing what could work at the time to protect his spells; a Knowledge (Arcana) check vs. DC 25 is necessary to identify the key at any given time.


Limbo, being an infinitely-differentiated mass, has no layers (or if it does, they are in constant flux).



  • Manual of the Planes, 3rd edition, pp.92-96
  • On Hallowed Ground, pp.172-182
  • Planes of Chaos - Book of Chaos, pp.58-79
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