Though not in opposition to each other, elementally or temperamentally speaking, they are still treated as a rival pair: The Empyrean a plane of "righteousness" as the home of the Celestials and theer Virtues; the Inferno a plane of "wickedness" as the home of the Fiends and their Vices. This is not the dichotomy of good and evil however; it is closer to Freud's pairing of the Superego and the Id--with he Material Plane as the Ego caught in between.
Both the Empyrean and the Inferno are composed of an otherworldy form of matter called aether (sometimes luminiferous aether). This is the matter through which light travels. In the Empyrean the aether in infused with light, while in the Inferno it is devoid of light. These planes have therefore also been called the Aetheric Planes: distinguished as the Empyreal Aetheric and the Infernal Aetheric. As such, they are the Ethereal Planes of Monvesia, bound in part by the solar dominion of Helyon.
Generally speaking, spells and creatures that make use of the Ethereal Plane do so through the analog of the Empyrean. Should a spell effect be destructive, however, or a creature malignant, then the analog of the Inferno is used. For each unique instance, if it is necessary to know which Ethereal Plane is used, this is at the DM's discretion.
Ethereal CurtainsThe far reaches of the transitive planes contain gateways of energy that act as gateways to the worlds beyond. On the ethereal planes, these take the form of curtains of vaporous color. These gateways can be identified by color:
- White, Hierosphere (elemental plane of light) [Empyrean]
- Purple, Orvemondt (material plane)
- Electric Blue, Olympia [Empyrean]
- Blue, Aerosphere (elemental plane of air)
- Indigo / Navy Blue, Dis [Inferno]
- Lavender, Bedlam
- Hot Pink, Elysium [Empyrean]
- Red, Pyrosphere (elemental plane of fire)
- Maroon, Gehenna [Inferno]
- Black, Necrosphere (elemental plane of void) [Inferno]
Dominion: the Sun
This plane is filled with luminous clouds. Since the aether here is charged with light, this plane can be blinding to anyone unprepared. Its inhabitants and structures the epitome of beauty. The beauty can be so intense that is seems alien and unsettling. The Empyrean is a place is enlightenment--physical (illumination), mental (understanding), and spiritual (joy).
The High Empyrean (this plane's equivalent of the Dee Ethereal) extends away from the Material Plane. It is a place of elation and euphoria; and it is here, not the "Border" Empyrean, that Celestials and their Virtues call home. Any who visit this region are consumed with a sense of peace, and often find it difficult to leave.
The rules presented in chapter 2 of the Dungeon Master's Guide relating to the Ethereal Plane apply to the Empyrean; however, there are no ethereal curtains leading to other inner planes. The optional rules presented in the same chapter for Elysium, and Arborea both also apply to the High Empyrean: Overwhelming Joy and Intense Yearning.
Dominion: the Sun
This plane is a filled with swirling mists of smoke and fire. Flickering shadows dance in he distance. Every one and every things you encounter here is grotesque--both terrifying and beautiful. In all ways that the Empyrean is light, the Inferno is dark. It embodies emptiness over enlightenment. The rule of "law" here is the rule of passion, desire, and will; for this reason, the plane is also known as the Plane of Desire.
The Deep Inferno descends quickly into chaos and madness. Truly, only the strong an survive here--particularly those concerned strictly with their own survival. This is the region that Fiends and their Vices live. The dark winds here are disorienting and maddening; while here, one's compassion for others will diminish over time.
The rules presented in chapter 2 of the Dungeon Master's Guide relating to the Ethereal Plane also apply to the Inferno; however, there are no ethereal curtains leading to other inner planes. The optional rules presented in the same chapter for Acheron, and Gehenna both also apply to the Deep Inferno: Bloodlust and Cruel Hindrance.
[A]Ether CyclonesAether cyclones can be encountered in either the Empyrean or the Inferno. Use the table below to determine the effect on all creatures in the vicinity.
- 1 - 12, Extended journey
- 13 - 17, Blown to one of the borders of the plane
- 18, Hurled into the Elemental Plane of Air
- 19, Hurled into the Elemental Plane of Fire
- 20, Hurled into the Elemental Plane of Light or Void