Shade

INTRODUCTION

The realm of Akahar is a dry, near-lightless wasteland lit by a dying star whose vast red form is somehow both dim and pervasive. Many scholars believe that Akakhar was once very similar to Athwei at a time before its oceans and forests were reduced to briney deserts and rocky plateaus. Few things live on Akahar Few live there, though millions of prisoners once toiled in the ruins and hillsides, 'dungeoneers',

so reliablat a global scale, over short distances one often finds that the landmarks of Akakhar correspond with the most persistant of structures in Athwei. The great pyramids of Mizram still stand, albeit beaten and worn. Small enclaves of humanoids even seem to live within the realm,

have over the years come to populate this world, including the Ashar Dejwe. Many live in the familiar, and often under the protection of cult leaders, supernatural entities or minor gods of darkness. It is not uncommon for dark priests, sorcerers and wizards to maintain temples and laboratories in these settlements, essentially trading protection of the community for the ability to perform their experiments outside the bounds of civilization or the sight of gods of mercy and light.

ruined cities are invariably familiar yet somehow wrong versions of those found on Athwei, and aside from the Ashar Dejwe, they remain almost entirely uninhabited.

Some rare fragments of a complete world remain mostly in the forms of recognizable plants and animals that seem to have acclimated to the darkness and squalor. Displacer Beasts and Shadowcrabs fare well as apex predators, tangling only with rogue wizards and intelligent undead who find Akakhar to be a very suitable realm for all manner of unregistered and unsanctioned magical experiments.

In terms of travel, Shade offers a compromise between safety and ability, allowing well-equipped travelers to not only access Far Realms, but also nearby locations as though under the effects of a Shadow Jaunt. This means that from the perspective of a wizard on the Mercatian plane, it may only take a few hours for a colleague to reach them from the distant country of Budao. Downsides abound. Shade is almost pitch black even when its pale brown sun is high overhead, which can be problematic given that the plane is strewn with the wreckage of ancient cities pulled to the plane by dark gods. Travellers often stick to the dry, craggy ocean floors, trading the threat of life-hungry undead for encounters with whatever native life might still scuttle or dragg itself across oceanic plateaus.

The Netherworld

At the core of Shade lies the Netherworld, causing the two terms to essentially be interchangeable. Despite this, the Netherworld has a slightly different set of rules. Since the Netherworld is concurrent, just like Shade, portals to many other planes exist within it.

As a result, the Netherworld has a twisted economy of its own, where the evil souls who try to linger must feed on the souls of the good who are too afraid to release from their putrifying bodies. While outsiders are strictly forbidden from traveling through the netherworld, Upper and Lower beings wait in Baraka and Abgal'la at the nexii in the sky and sea for those who stray beyond safe borders. The court of Belaqan's legitimate business in the realm of Shade is to arbitrate between heaven and hell, arranging a fair distribution and grading of souls.

Preparation of the Dead

Burial customs vary wildly, but those deprived of the proper preparations, incantations and procedures usually find themselves lost within Shade's extensive territories.

Those buried ceremonially but without toll or material goods to offer to the Court of Belaqan may find themselves mistreated, temporarily held back, or insufficiently protected against the hungry damned.

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