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Would the Spillworld have affected the Planes?by Håvard
Several Milennia ago, the Spillworld was created when large rifts opened into the Prime Plane from the Plane of Earth and the Plane of Air (Dote p 106). In this thread I made a few speculations to what might have caused these rifts to happen. It could have been an artifact, some major magics at work or perhaps simply an odd natural phenomenon. Another option is that it was caused from within the Elemental Planes themselves. Perhaps less likely since it would have had to be coordinated from within two planes at more or less the same time.
In any case, a major rift like that is bound to have been felt on the two elemental planes as well, right? The occasional summon spell might be annoying for inhabitants of the planes, but loosing enough elemental material to cover a large region of space? Did local elemental clerics and elemental rulers have to make an effort to seal the rifts? Are these parts of the elemental planes still being watched to this day to make sure it doesn't happen again?
The Dungeon Master's Sourcebook in Dawn of the Emperors says that "the rift led to a spot partway between the elemental planes of Earth and Air, and a vast cloud of air filled with tumbling planet-sized boulders was released into this galaxy."
In the Mentzerian interpretation of the elemental planes, the planes contain individual planets corresponding to planets in the Prime Plane, each composed of a single element. There's no "spot partway between the elemental planes" other than the Ethereal Plane. Perhaps the rift cuts through two planes simultaneously, though, resulting in a mix of both. Any rift massive enough to pull hundreds of planets from the planes of Earth and Air must have been truly vast, encompassing hundreds of solar systems and many light years of distance, or powerful enough to pull all of those planets across light years of distance and spit them out into the Prime.
Imagine the consequences of this: entire solar systems torn from the elemental planes, their Prime equivalents now with no elemental counterparts. With no air counterparts, hundreds of planets might lose their atmospheres. With no earth counterparts, planets might lose their tectonic activity and mineral resources.
Another interpretation of the text is that the planes of Earth and Air do touch each other and blend together, and that there is a place somewhere in the planes where air and planet-sized bolders already exist in close proximity. This is easier to imagine, but would work better in an AD&D-style multiverse in which the elemental planes contain an infinite amount of material in a solid mass without light years of void in between them. On the other hand, the planes of Earth and Air don't touch in the Planescape/AD&D/3e/5e planar models either (they're at opposite ends of the elemental wheel), so you'd still need a rift that extends across many planes.
The 3rd edition Manual of the Planes describes planar rips on page 221. Planar rips are identical to ether gaps from A Guide to the Ethereal Plane but more broadly applied; they can connect any two planes, not just the Ethereal. That said, the Gap to Might Have Been described in the MotP is exactly the ether gap in the 2e module Dawn of the Overmind, complete with illithids attempting to exploit a rip to a parallel universe where their empire never fell.
The rift that created SpillWorld is most similar to the MotP's planar rips. "Planar rips are holes in existence—holes that want filling. A planar rip stresses the fabric of coterminous and coexistent planes, and the hole starts to consume the plane's edges. In time, a planar rip can irrevocably swallow entire portions of a plane... Some planar rips form when a plane is subject to massive energies concentrated in a very small area. The planes are robust, and almost every instance of great energy or magic use leaves them none the worse for wear. But sometimes planes break, and the result is a planar rip."
This is similar to what the d20 book Portals & Planes calls a malignancy, which can be created deliberately by casting wish or miracle every day for ten consecutive days, focusing on the same point, the same targeted plane, and the same desired effect, using phrasing from an ancient tome called The Codex of Infinite Bindings. A malignancy can be halted using a ritual of mending.
If the rift was created accidentally, one possibility was a war between the elemental planes of Earth and Air, elemental rulers on each side damaging reality with their spells and Immortal Power. Perhaps Terra herself accidentally played a role in creating SpillWorld back before she became Immortal.
Another possibility: SpillWorld was created a side-effect of the Great Rain of Fire in Mystara, or a side-effect of the destruction of Alphatia. Either cataclysm could theoretically have generated a planar rip or two.
I lean towards not using the Blackmoor cataclysm mainly because it has been used for so many things already and also not the Alphatian Air magic. The latter I think is too recent, though both are possible if they fit the needs of the campaign.
The idea I do like is having this be caused by events on the Elemental Planes. The Elemental Wars are perhaps too long ago, though they could be connected to what I have in mind:
Several milennia ago (BC3700?) King Spathrax was a rogue Elemental Ruler on the Plane of Earth. He was bitter about the peace established following the Elemental Wars by Terra and others and was a constant nuissance for his Elemaster. Spahtrax hated all creatures from the other elemental planes. This got him into a conflict with his "neighbor" on the Plane of Air. Things got out of hand and the result was the elemental/magical equivalent of a small Nuclear War. The damage resulted in a massive rift in both the Plane of Earth and Air and elemental mass was blown into the Prime Material Plane creating what Alphatians now call the SpillWorld.
The Head of Spathrax (Artifact)
Spathrax was killed in the incident, but his head was preserved as a kind of Entropic Artifact. It can still be found hidden somewhere in the Spillworld. A secret order nourishes the Head seeking to draw power from it.
On the elemental planes the Elemasters and local Elemental Rulers rushed to try to seal the Rift and repair as much damage as possible. However, that region of the Elemental Planes is still known as the Spillwound. It is a festering wound in the fabric of reality, appearing as a dark whirlpool of air and blood red earth. Occasionally it still "bleeds" into the Prime Plane so the region is avoided by most Elementals. This area is strong with the Sphere of Entropy. Note that this is far from Mystara, so most Mystarans will never encounter this part of the Elemental Planes. However, someone trying to access the Elemental Planes from the Spillworld will most likely end up somewhere near this region.