Plane of Entropy
The “falling-down place” is where lost and forgotten things sometimes go. Memories, objects, sometimes people and whole villages are caught in the weave of the cosmos and slip through to the plane of entropy, where all directions are down.
The plane of entropy is a transitive plane where all points are down; debris of all sorts tumble through and within it. Scavengers and planar pirates lurk in the falling-down place, particularly in the spinning city of Vertigo, and other settlements like it.
- Objective directional gravity (subjective option): any direction of movement is treated as “down,” so objects suffer falling damage on a regular basis. Everything “falls” 150 feet in the first round and 300 feet in each succeeding round. Movement is in a straight line, but may be changed by impact with other objects. Intelligent beings can override the direction of gravity through act of will. It takes a DC 16 Wisdom check to set a new direction of gravity as a free action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a +6 bonus on subsequent checks until he or she succeeds. Drifters receive a +4 to these checks.
- Timeless: while on the plane of entropy, characters do not age. They must, however, eat and sleep. The passage of time is somewhat erratic compared to most other planes; 1 in 6 days on this plane pass in only a round as measured on the material plane. Occasionally, the reverse will occur.
- Impeded magic. Conjuration (summoning), Conjuration (calling), and teleportation spells and spell-like abilities are impeded if their target or destination is beyond Long range (400 ft. plus 40 ft. per level). This does not include a drifter’s ability to cast planeshift.
- Special atmosphere. The open spaces of the plane of entropy are filled with a fine planar dust, which impedes visibility as per rain. Though it is not terribly comfortable, this medium is arbitrarily breathable and navigable (it is treated as air for air-breathers, water for water-breathers, etc.). If the creature has a swim or fly speed, it may do so in this medium. There are, however, pockets of material in this plane that are actually air, water, or other specific materials. These are not arbitrarily breathable and navigable.
Material and memories from other planes slip naturally between cracks in the cosmos, where they tumble until they are caught, stuck in something, or smashed to smithereens. Eventually, all incoming materials become “bleached” by the castaway essence of the plane, becoming driftware. Without special preparation, driftware is highly unstable outside the plane, breaking within hours or days, and decaying at an alarming rate thereafter.
Creatures, too, are subject to this bleaching effect. Even if they survive and take shelter, the scouring dust of entropy does more than irritate the skin and eyes — it bleaches the body and soul. In less than a year, those who survive the vagaries of the falling-down place become drifters, outsiders native to the plane of entropy.
Drifters are living beings who have become steeped in the essence of the falling-down place. Memories and planar dust fall from non-natives (or can be extracted by force), until a year has passed, or a year of memories have been removed (each day spent on the being’s home plane reduces this count by one). Non-natives find it hard to glean enough food and drink (for mortals) and essence (for outsiders) to survive. They can gain nourishment as the natives do, by consuming memories, but absorbing memories further hastens their transformation.
Drifters scavenge the bounty of the falling-down place, prospecting for dust, memories, and saleable goods. They must share or acquire memories to survive, at least five minutes’ worth every other day. To satisfy their hunger and bolster their trade, they often lurk around thin spots in the planar membrane, whether to catch anything that slips through or to launch raids on other planes for slaves, memories, and goods.
Suffused with the essence of the falling-down place, drifters slowly lose their original purpose and sense of self as they lose and absorb memories. Their appearance drifts over time, becoming indistinct and hazy. Their flesh also becomes flexible, allowing them to adjust their mass and even squeeze ooze-like through small spaces. They can scan surface thoughts and extract memories with a touch. Such extracted memories become ectoplasmic “pearls” that they can consume or trade. Particularly vivid memories resemble an open lotus, but all extracted memories eventually lose their potency. Lotuses close to pearls, and pearls shrink and become dull and listless until they resemble peppercorns.
All drifters can slip from other planes into the plane of entropy, and potent ones can even push themselves and others from their home plane into other planes (particularly in places of great entropy or magical alteration).
Only drifters and their gods have the skill to fortify driftware against the weight of other planes. Those who travel outside their plane are festooned with ribbons, bandages, and scraps that fortify their flesh. They are skillful traders and bargainers who ply the planes. While they have few allies, there are even fewer who would turn them away. Their goods and information make them valuable contacts, if dangerous company.
Drifters speak a dizzying array of languages, but most learn Drifter’s Cant, a patois of most of the languages in history. Drifter’s Cant borrows words from many languages, particularly Elven, Kelnorian, Ancient Orichalan, Draconic, the elemental languages, and Karakhan. Its word order is flexible, and most words have suffixes (more rarely, prefixes) that denote case, tense, and mood. The Cant’s lexicon permits free borrowing from almost any spoken or gestural language. Since even the most erudite scholar could not hope to have such a prolific vocabulary, drifters often make redundant compounds to reinforce or clarify their meaning. The depth and flexibility of vocabulary formation, combined with the polyglot compounds, makes Drifter’s Cant a very identifiable language. The first rank purchased, and every multiple of 5, yields a +1 synergy bonus to all spoken languages. Drifter’s Cant has no written form, but can be written with some difficulty in many scripts. Classic Karakhan, Draconic, Elven, and the elemental scripts are the most commonly adapted.
Since everything native to the plane of entropy is essentially imprisoned there, other planes hold a special allure. Even the most foreboding regions of the Shadowlands are dripping with memories and raw materials that enterprising drifters can harvest, and lost tidbits of lore (and even objects and architectural remnants) find their way into the falling-down place regularly enough to fuel a rich mercantile economy both within the plane and with the residents of other planes. Powerful drifters typically lead bands of pirates, spy networks, or slaving rings, or run pearl houses.
Drifters often refer to other planes as terra firma, regardless of the actual plane.