“If Midgard and The Elflands are two sides of the same coin, then the Shadow Realm is the darkness between them.”
The Outer Planes
The Midgard Campaign will be set mainly within the confines of the great coin image of Midgard. It is however, important to be aware of the outer planes where Gods and Demons wage their wars and exert their influences:
There are Three Fates, Three Norns, just as the Rule of Three ecompasses the three main parts of all that happens in the Outer Planes:
Beyond this vague description, there need not be much call for a further understanding of the planes. DIVINE MAGIC is received through the Ethereal Mists and Astral Plane from the Powers and ARCANE MAGIC uses the power of the Elemental Indwelling that exists throughout Midgard.
It is said that The Elflands exist on “the other side of the world” and that this is where the Elves went to during the Mass Exodus of Midgard many years ago. The only way to travel to The Elflands from Midgard is through the Fey Roads. Most of these are now closed and it is thought that the only two beings left alive in Midgard with any knowledge of these are Regia Moonthorn Kalthania-Reln von Dornig and the River King of Arbonesse.
Alfheim, The Bright Lands, known locally as The Elflands, is effectively closed to mortals, but it said to be a perilous land of erratic time and Elf Magic, a place where the coin is replaced by favour and barter and where even a shard or sliver of soul is a prized commodity.
The bards sing many tales of the Lands of the Fey and many children’s stories detail various creatures and locations, but perhaps the most prominent concept is the Great Loom. It is widely believed, even by the sages of Bemmea, that Alfheim is a realm of Destiny and that no matter who you are – merchant or royal, peasant or deity – your fate is woven here. And sometimes a thread can be cut or re-woven. The Loom is so powerful that even the Gods cannot damage or change it and Mortals cannot interfere with it at all without very powerful magic….unless the act is fated to occur by the Loom itself.
The Shadow Realm
The Shadow Realm is the area of shadow between the two sides of the world – Midgard and The Elflands. It is a third land, a land of greys and darkness, untouched by Khor’s Lamp. It is a plane of long shadows and unending dusk. It is a land of nightmares, in which the unreadied and unprepared can be lost forever. And it is not empty.
This shaded desolation was pierced by the magic of the Elves, which allowed them to arrive in Midgard among the savage races living in the wreckage of Ankeshel, the ancient lost island of the Western Ocean. The Elves wove a web of passages between their world and this one. These were the FEY ROADS.
The Elven Arcanists drove their mystic passages through the dark wood and mystic tunnels of Shadow. They drove back the shade hounds and other strange beasts, laid down walls and river passages, and forged mithral bridges across bottomless chasms. At the height of their empire, they passed through Shadow at will, as readily as a human crosses a drawbridge. But there were things in the moat that is Shadow, waiting.
In the Shadow Realm, the roads cross and recross. A skilled wizard or experienced shadow lord might move from place to place within the plane and between the planes, if he knows the right passages. To travel a FEY ROAD between locations, one must know the path. For most, this means a guide to make the journey between gates safe, but once a person has made the journey, he or she might follow the road later and lead others along the path. Certain FEY MAGIC such as a Shadow Road Spell or Incantation, or a magical item, such as a Key of Veles allows movement among the gates, or even permits shifting the entryways or exits of a road. In addition, some gates require specific spells to operate, or they are bound by magical conditions, such as only functioning on a full moon.
Most of the remaining FEY ROADS are heavily guarded by The Elves of the River King or the Court of Dornig and they are used to protect the Duchy of Dornig and to transport people from The Elflands to Midgard when required. Most of them do not reach all the way to The Elflands and these are known only to the highest Elven powers in Midgard. The majority of FEY ROADS are governed by the Shadow Fey a group of ancient Elves, ruled by the Moonlit King and the Queen of Night and Magic, that have made the SHADOW REALM their home.
On the FEY ROADS that are not guarded by the Elves, the Beloved Imperatrix has treaties with the Shadow Fey that allow her messengers to pass unhindered. These she uses for moving small groups around her Duchy and, every three years, to move the Whole Court between the three Ducal Cities of Dornig.
All other fey roads are regarded as SHADOW ROADS. These are not protected by the treaties of the Beloved Imperatrix, nor are they guarded by elves of the River King of Arbonnesse. Some of them are watched over by the Shadow Fey and some of them are even wilder, being open to such horrid shadow creatures as one can imagine. Shadow Roads can be found all over Midgard wherever Ley Lines are to be found. There is a high concentration of such Shadow Roads on the outskirts of Zobeck and it is known that some traders trade with the Courts of the Shadow Fey. Nonetheless, travel on these roads requires a means to open the gates (Key of Veles or Shadow Road Incantation), a well-travelled guide and not an inconsiderable amount of good luck. MCS p191-193/DRaGH p26-28
Travel Times on Fey Roads and Shadow Roads
Travel anywhere within the Duchy of Dornig takes 1d3 days.
Across larger areas (e.g. Zobeck to Dornig) takes 1d3 + 1d6 days.
Anywhere to the Western Wastes takes 1d3 + 1d6 + 1d12 days and may include other dangers since the Ley Lines in the Western Wastes are unstable. MCS p192
Planar Effects in the Plane of Shadow
Timeless: Those travelling the Shadow feel hunger, fatigue and thirst but do not actually age or starve. Old wounds linger and resurface here. There is no natural healing in the Shadow.
Highly Morphic: Shadow locales bleed into one another, shifting and changing as fresh shadows drive older ones into the amorphous dark. Certain spells can modify the Shadow and powerful creatures such as Fey Lords can mostly stabilize their domains.
Shadow Sentience: It provokes memories of those who travel there, sometimes creating shadow creatures, and locations from visitors’ minds.
Altered Magic: – Memory Lapse acts as Hold Person; Modify Memory can be used as Baleful Polymorp or Polymorph; Memory Net funtions as Magic Jar; Any appropriate memory can be instilled into a Shadow Conjuration (DC15 + Lev of Spell) – roll of “1” causes permanent loss of own memory.
Enhanced Magic: All spells with the SHADOW Descriptor are enhanced by at least 10%.
Impeded Magic: Spells with the LIGHT Descriptor, or that primarily use or generate light are impeded.
Limited Magic: All illumination (both magical and mundane) has its range/area of effect halved in The Shadow, as do spells and abilities primarily composed of light or fire. DRaGH p27
The Shadow is perpetually dimly lit. Sometimes it’s as bright as the full moon, at other times as dark as the fearful space beneath a child’s bed, but never quite pitch black. It seems to be hiding from the light of the Creation, crouching beneath the material world.
See also Half Way