Inhabiting the Planes

Copyright Phillip A. Ellis © 2013

Edited by Terence Wynne for The Guild Companion

"The earthen whale, in its native plane, swims through the stone and directly filter feeds on lesser elemental beings."

One way of creating encounters for other planes is to adapt creatures and monsters from the world of the adventurers, giving those appropriate abilities and flavor, and putting them in a similar or differing niche in their new plane. They need not be exactly like the original being; the first of the two sample creatures appended below is one such a being, an analogue of the earthly whale rather than a whale in its own right. The second is an example of a creature that has adapted to its new environment, and has been changed as a result.

Given time and thought, it can be very easy to populate a given plane with many creatures and monsters, whether those planes be elemental, demonic, or other.

Earthen Whale (Entity)

Level: 15G
Size: H
MS/AQ: MF/MF
Base Move: 100
Max Pace: Sprint
MM Bonus: +10
Hits: 750H
Crits: SL
AT (DB): 20 (50)
Attacks: 80 HGr 50 / 75 HBa 50 / [Impact C]
#Enc: 2-10
Treasure:
Bonus XP: G
Habitat: (–) K, U-5
Outlook (IQ): Passive

Description

The earthen whale is about the size and shape of a blue whale, yet it is a dull, earthy grey color. As it is an elemental beast of the elemental plane of earth, it does not swim in water, but effortlessly through the elemental stone that makes up its domain; on other planes it does likewise, displacing the stone so that, as it travels, it creates a whale-sized and whale-shaped bulge where appropriate, then a trail of broken and cracked stone directly behind it.

Lifestyle

The earthen whale, in its native plane, swims through the stone and directly filter feeds on lesser elemental beings. Quite often it has been encountered in pursuit of large schools of earth whisplings and animated gemstones, as they swim through the planar stone, and it has occasionally been encountered near vortices to the elemental plane of stone. In the latter case, it does not like to move far from the living stone of its home plane, and it rarely breaches above the surface of the rock, despite its ability to move unhindered through the stone.

Combat

The earthen whale is not an aggressive being. Rather, it either accidentally swallows another, non-elemental being whole (the Huge Grapple) or it strikes a glancing blow with its body, flukes or tail. If attacked it will attempt to strike its attacker head on, maybe once or maybe twice, until it can escape to heal. So it attempts to incapacitate rather than to kill.

Background

The earthen whale is not a whale as such. Rather, it is the result of convergent evolution, being a whale-like being that has adapted to a whale-like lifestyle and ecological niche. As it prefers the environment of the elemental plane of earth, rather than on other planes, it is rarely encountered on the ordinary planes on which the mortal beings live and strive.

Observations

These beings, I have found, are majestic in their own way, and best left alone to thrive and flourish. Only a cruel tyrant would seek the destruction of a being of pure elemental energy that is reminiscent of its flesh and blood analogues, with their shared grace and beauty.

Demonic Rat

Level: 0A
Size: T
MS/AQ: MD/MF
Base Move: 25
Max Pace: FSprint
MM Bonus: +20
Hits: 12A
Crits:
AT (DB): 1 (25)
Attacks: 20 TBi 100
#Enc: 2-20
Treasure:
Bonus XP:
Habitat: (f)-EKN-2
Outlook (IQ): Normal

Description

These are ordinary rats that have been transported to the world of the First Pale. There, they have grown slightly larger, certainly hairier, and their fur tends to camouflage them from distances greater than one or two yards away.

Lifestyle

Demonic rats eke out a perilous and, some would say, miserable existence. They eat whatever they can find that is edible, be it plant matter, molds and fungi, or rotting and dead flesh. They have lost the timidity that marks their terrestrial brethren, and they will happily bite and feed on a sleeping being if they can.

Combat

Demonic rats rely on their tiny bites for the most part. If their prey happens to be smaller, and able to be held in their forepaws, they will attempt to hold it still while they feed upon it. They do not act in coordinated groups, unlike pack animals, and if there are easier pickings elsewhere they will happily go to them.

Background

Sometimes ordinary animals are accidentally transferred to other planes. This, undoubtedly, explains the demonic rat. The demonic rats are in most ways ordinary rats, except as noted above.

Observations

In my travels in the First Pale, I was not aware of these creatures at first. On subsequent trips, and with more careful observation, I found many of them living and thriving. It is amazing how and where an ordinary animal can adapt to alien circumstances.