The Luminiferous Aether

Luminiferous Aether

Gravity0 Normal (Subjective)
Time-2 Three rounds on plane = one round on Material
Size20 Infinite
Morphic5 Alterable
Life10 Normal
Weather10 Normal
Water/Fire10 Balanced
Earth/Air10 Balanced
Negative/Positive10 Balanced
Good/Evil0 Mildly Neutral
Law/Chaos0 Mildly Neutral
Arcane0 Normal
Divine0 Normal
Green0 Normal
Quirk: All spells are quickened
Accessibility13 Through Magic
…to All7 Coterminous
  • Gravity: 0 Normal (Subjective)
  • Time: -2 Three rounds on plane = one round on Material
  • Size: 20 Infinite
  • Morphic: 5 Alterable
  • Life: 10 Normal
  • Weather: 10 Normal

  • Water/Fire: 10 Balanced
  • Earth/Air: 10 Balanced
  • Negative/Positive: 10 Balanced
  • Good/Evil: 0 Mildly Neutral
  • Law/Chaos: 0 Mildly Neutral

  • Arcane: 0 Normal
  • Divine: 0 Normal
  • Green: 0 Normal
  • Quirk: All spells are quickened
  • Accessibility: 13 Through Magic
  • Proximity to All: 7 Coterminous

The Celestial Sphere is not the entire universe. Beyond the sphere’s edge lies an expanse of a glowing swirling substance called Luminiferous Aether.

The Luminiferous Aether is chaotic mix of raw elemental matter and ether. It has no actual density or substance to it, and permeates everything outside the Celestial Sphere. However, it can only exist outside of a Celestial Sphere. If a ship with an astral keel goes through the sphere and into the aether, it will take its air and gravity envelopes with it; but the air—while breathable—will be mixed with Luminiferous Aether. If the ship then re-enters the Celestial Sphere, it will bring its air envelope with it but leave the Luminiferous Aether outside the sphere.

Sages and philosophers—after discussion with Immortals capable of creating entire Celestial Spheres—have concluded that when a Celestial Sphere is created the inside of the Celestial Sphere becomes a region of order where the Luminiferous Aether cannot exist in its raw chaotic state. Instead, within the confines of the sphere, the Luminiferous Aether is split into its constituent parts—the four elements plus ether—and these parts are sorted into their own planes leaving the inside of the Celestial Sphere full of Void.

Whether this is true or not, Luminiferous Aether does have properties similar to each of the four elements, and it is true that Luminiferous Aether can never be brought into a Celestial Sphere. It simply ceases to exist.

The Luminiferous Aether may be infinite in size. At least, no-one has ever reached any kind of edge to it. It is dotted with innumerable Celestial Spheres, each of which has its own set of astronomical bodies and its own set of inner and outer planes.

Since the inner planes are attached within each Celestial Sphere, they do not extend out into the Luminiferous Aether and cannot be reached from there.

Similarly, no outer plane can be anchored in the Luminiferous Aether and no Gate spell will reach it.

Commune and Contact Other Plane spells cannot be used in the Luminiferous Aether, and those spells will not contact creatures who are there when cast from within Celestial Spheres.

Air & Breathing

Breathing within the Luminiferous Aether is not possible except for within the air envelope of an object; much as in the void. Similarly, the rules for foul air apply.

However, any living creature that runs out of air in the Luminiferous Aether does not suffocate. Instead, the Luminiferous Aether itself supports them in some strange way. The creature loses consciousness and turns to a stone like substance. The creature remains that way until they are in an area with breathable air, at which point they return to normal.

This effect only happens to living creatures. Dead bodies, and undead creatures (as well as non-breathing things like golems) are unaffected.

The Luminiferous Aether is also incredibly flammable. Any spark will immediately burst into a 1’ radius fireball doing 1d6 damage. If this catches other items alight, then take the normal damage done by such an object when burning and do three times the damage in an area three times the size of the object. For magical fires like a Fireball spell, use a similar guideline—although such spells will always explode around the caster as they are cast, rather than going off once they reach the desired target point.

Strangely, the Luminiferous Aether has the same inhibiting effect on red powder as large quantities of red powder has on itself. While in the Luminiferous Aether, red powder simply will not burn or explode.

Movement & Travel

Getting to the Luminiferous Aether is relatively straightforward. It can be reached from any Celestial Sphere by simply flying to the edge of the sphere and then opening it in some manner.

A Travel spell will open a temporary hole in the crystal of the sphere wall that will last long enough to fly a ship through; or for creatures travelling without a ship, a Dimension Door or Magic Door spell will allow passage through the crystal of the sphere wall.

Once in the Luminiferous Aether, travel is handled in a similar manner to in the Void. Creatures cannot fly using winged flight, but all forms of magical flight work as normal.

However, the problem of distances is even more pronounced in the Luminiferous Aether than in the void. In fact, because of the immense distances involved, the lack of landmarks, and the fact that the Celestial Spheres drift around and do not stay static, distance is a largely meaningless concept for anything other than short range flight.

For long range travel, simply striking out in a random direction is completely pointless. It may take years or even centuries of travel to find another Celestial Sphere.

However, the Celestial Spheres are naturally tied together by “rivers” of flowing Luminiferous Aether that wind through three dimensional paths. These rivers are huge things, around a thousand miles across, and always both start and end at particular spheres. They may flow in a single direction or flow in both directions with the two flows twisting around each other. By travelling along a river, a ship flying at voidspeed can both know that it is travelling towards another sphere and also take advantage of the river’s flow to get there quicker.

As far as anyone knows, there are no “orphan” spheres with no rivers flowing to them, and there are no “dead end” spheres with rivers flowing towards them but not away from them.

The rivers also have a secondary advantage— the flow of the river will attract debris that would otherwise simply drift randomly. This is particularly the case for debris and objects that are lost from a ship that is travelling the river, and means that on well travelled rivers a lost object has a much greater chance of being found than if it were simply drifting through the vast sea of Luminiferous Aether.

Unfortunately, the rivers twist and bend over a period of time; so while it is possible to map out which spheres are connected to which other spheres (and whether such connections are single or bi-directional), it is not possible to map any kind of meaningful length or distance for a river, since this will change over time (and by how well the navigator manages to keep to the centre of the river where the flow is strongest). The time taken to travel along a river is therefore wildly unpredictable. It will take 10d10 days to travel the length of a river at voidspeed in the direction of its flow, although that may include one or more stops when another gravity mass is encountered such as a particularly large piece of flotsam or another ship.

Travelling against the flow is difficult but not impossible, providing one sticks to the outer edge of the river where the flow is least strong. Travelling against the flow in this manner makes a journey from sphere to sphere take five times the normal duration.

The Game Master is encouraged to create a “sphere map” for the region of space around the world on which their campaign starts, showing what spheres exist, and how they are connected.

No-one knows how many spheres there are in total. There even be an infinite number of them. Some Immortals have spent centuries exploring and have never managed to run out of new things to find and new places to see.