The world of Vesturvi is a flat plane roughly 10,000 miles (16,100 kilometers) in diameter. It is ringed in massive glacial ice around its edges. Planes are layered one atop another in this world, and around the edges where the world becomes icy each plane begins to compress and meld with the others.
The Prime Material Plane is the plane of existence in the middle of this ‘planar sandwich.’ All the planes are connected to each other through the Prime Material Plane and aspects of all the planes are used in the Prime Material Plane’s formation.
Layered above the Prime Material Plane is the plane of Ether. It is so close that the two planes overlap and the ethereal plane often functions as a ghostly reflection of the Prime Material, except at the edges where the world is covered in glacial ice; in the ethereal plane instead that is the location of the 4 fey courts, one in each of the cardinal directions.
Layered below the Prime Material Plane is the plane of Shadow. It is so close that the two planes overlap and the shadow plan often functions as a darkened reflection if the Prime Material, except at the edges where the world is covered in glacial ice; in the shadow plane instead that is the location of the Ring City of Gorachus.
Above the ethereal and material plane lays the plane of water, and above that is the plane of air. Above that is the plane of Heaven, or the positive energy plane. Above that is the endless astral sea, stretching beyond the positive energy plane as far as it is possible for a mortal to know – and possibly for eternity.
Below the shadow and material plane lies the plane of fire, and below that is the plane of earth. Below that is the plane of Hell, or the negative energy plane. Below that is the endless solid void. Attempting to travel into or beyond this space (if there is anything beyond it) results in instantaneous death for all who attempt to do so.
The Ice Ring
Around Vesturvi in the Prime Material Plane is a ring of ice and snow. The further you get from the center of the world, the colder it gets, until the oceans are covered in gigantic glaciers and icebergs. If you travel further beyond that, walking along the ice, reality begins to bend and warp, as the planes are all compressed along that edge of the world. Time and space cease to have meaning. Many who have tried to venture into that space come back twisted as monstrous beings, others insane and babbling, their mind no longer capable of comprehending reality. Most do not return at all, their physical form dissolved into nothing – or into its component elemental parts – and never reconstituted.
On the ice ring live the selkies, the glacial end of the world their mostly undisputed domain. There they hunt sea creatures like whales and penguins and fish, and the monsters that come screeching in from the twisted space beyond the ice.
The Sun, The Moon, and the Sky
The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. As it rises in the sky, the default blackness above the earth and sea of the Material Plane slowly transitions through purple to blue to cyan. The sun is a massive ball of fire, bathing the world in heat and light. Wherever it rises from, it seems to come from beyond the ice and the twisted planar wilds.
The moon rises in to west and sets in the east. As it rises in the sky, the default blackness above the earth and sea of the Material Plane transitions to a deep purple/black or blue/black. Stars fill the night sky, shimmering lights forming constellations , which rotate around the central pivot of the moon. The moon is a massive structure of black and white, one side darker than the night sky around it, the other reflecting a beautiful light down on the world. When the moon is New, it is just a black hole in the center of a star-filled sky. When it is a full it is a bright light illuminating the world at night.
When neither the sun nor the moon are in the sky, the sky of Vesturvi is dark and black as a void. People who stare into that darkness often fall prey to Void Madness, a sense of paranoia and agoraphobia that will afflict someone for several days before they mentally recover. People stay indoors at night, or illuminate their settlements with bright colorful lanterns, to avoid accidentally staring into the pitch black void of a moonless, starless night.
When the sun and the moon are in the sky at the same time, the sky becomes a lilac/cyan color, and the stars can faintly be visible at the edges of the world, shimmering behind aurora borealis. If the moon is new, it is a dark black rock floating in the cyan/lilac sky, If it is full, it is a pale white orb, easily hidden amongst the clouds.
The Sun and the Moon follow roughly the same paths in the sky, in opposite directions. The Moon varies in its path slightly, being as far north of the solar path as it can be in the Spring Equinox and as far south of the solar path as it can be in the Fall Equinox. The moon follows the same line as the solar path on the Summer and Winter Solstices. Once every 5 years or so the moon covers the sun along this path on the day of the solstice, Once every 100 years it does so at the apex of both their paths, above the center of the world. This is a Lunar Century. Once every 1000 years these centennial eclipses coincide to a full moon or a new moon. This is a Lunar Millennium.
The Southern Continent is in the southern half of Vesturvi, and is the homeland of the orrin. They spread their civilization all over the continent before the dwarves of the empire discovered them. It borders the glacial Ice Ring on its southernmost edge of the landmass, and has arctic or temperate climate. The continent suffered some sort of massive desertification millenia ago, and compared to the rest of the forests on Vesturvi these are considered fairly ‘new growth’ It is difficult to pinpoint the start of the orrin civilization, as whatever wiped out the forest and plant life on the Southern Continent also devastated the geologic table, making dating archaeological finds before this time unreliable.
The Eastern Continent lies to the eastern half of Vesturvi and is covered in thick old growth forests. It is covered by the Ice Ring in its easternmost edges, and has an arctic or temperate climate. This is the birthplace of the elven people, and contains their oldest cities and settlements.
The Continent of the Holy Mountain is in the middle of Vesturvi and is bordered on all sides by ocean. It is the home continent of a number of species, as far as anyone can guess, and was the location of both the Gnoll Empire and the Dwarven Empire. It has temperate to tropical climates, generally getting warmer the deeper into the land you go.
The Holy Mountain
A massive mountain, highest in the world, in the middle of a range that bisects the Continent of the Holy Mountain along the solar path, is known as the Holy Mountain. The mountain features in a number of legends and cultures, hence its name. The mountain is currently called Uberg Gagan in common parlance, dwarven for Holy Mountain, though the historical name for the peak as used by the dwarves is Ogenfuge, or Ogendar’s Forge.
The mountain was once volcanic, long ago in the time Ancient and Imperial ages. Several millennia ago the two dragons which claimed the mountain and the peaks around it during the Zmenerach cursed the mountain to erupt on their death. It has been inactive since, but the eruption caused a lot of destruction to the people living in the region.
Many of the Races of Vesturvi have different legends about the mountain:
- The dwarves believe the mountain to be the birthplace of the dwarven people, where Ogendar smelted their souls and fashioned their bodies in the heat of the volcano.
- The gnolls believe it is where the souls of all people are reincarnated from Gorachus and brought back through this world.
- The kitsune call the mountain The Beacon, and say they can see its magical influence anywhere in the world and thus orient themselves to the mountain, if they learn how. All spiritual energy radiates outwards from Uberg Gagan in ley lines, like a spider’s web.
- The bastin say the mountain has a guardian spirit, a member of their Warriors of Light pantheon, and it is actually a gate to the dark world of the Kiramhet, guarded by this spirit for all eternity to prevent more demons from entering.
- The orrin say the mountain was the final piece of the world created by the Mother of Earth, the high note at the end of the song with which she sung the stones into being, and you can still hear her voice in the crack and rumble of the earth there, if you listen.
- The tengu say it is where War died, and one day she will come back to life, rising from the volcano as a phoenix rises from the ashes of its death, causing an eruption that will destroy the world. The less war and conflict exist in the world, the longer she will sleep, and if true peace can ever be obtained, she will sleep forever.