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The Olympian Glades of Arborea,[10] sometimes simplified to just Olympus or Arborea,[11][12] was the Outer Plane in the Great Wheel cosmology model embodying the chaotic good alignment.[6] A plane of joy as well as sorrow,[9][13] Arborea was the home of the dreamers, [6] a seemingly delicate sylvan realm of astounding heartiness and deep-seated enchantment.[14] Its beauty was almost overwhelming, the landscape embodying the lovely and peaceful, and the passionate and wild, all at the same time.[9]

In the Realms, the entire plane was known by its elven name, Arvandor, since the Olympian powers were not known there.[15] Its many names failed to truly capture its scope, Olympus and Arvandor only being two massive realms within it,[1][11] and Arborea being a misnomer given its many environments.[9] In the World Tree cosmology, the realms of Arvandor and Brightwater in the first layer were considered celestial planes in their own rights,[16][17] and the realm of Arvandor survived the Spellplague and became part of the World Axis cosmology.[18]

Arborea! A more wondrous place I could not ask for. Nowhere in my mortal life did I find a place of such great passion... such splendor... The beauty of the land, the people — magnificent. I tell you truly, I miss it even now!
— The spirit Asonje.[19]

Description[]

Arborea was first and foremost a land of emotions, running high, deep, and far.[11][20] These were not all positive emotions; Arborea was a place of powerful love and hate, where rage and joy were equally common and equally honored.[20][12][21] Like Limbo, it could be considered the opposite of Mechanus, not in the sense that it countered rigid order with formless chaos, but in that its deep-seated feelings were the antithesis of Nirvana's mechanical logic.[21]

Arborea was most accurately described as "boisterous",[11] favoring melodrama as opposed to stoicism.[20] Vibrant energy filled the plane, the air tingling with excitement and constant anticipation in the literally emotionally charged atmosphere.[9][13][22] It was not merely a place where the emotional gathered, but a place that made those present short-tempered, passionate, and, at times, hammy.[21] It was a larger than life realm of huge appetites that changed as quickly as the heart, where the violent moods and whims were backed by steel and the fervent affections and passions blazed bright before burning out.[12][21][20]

Greed, envy, lust, and wrath were strong on Arborea, and emotions could be released with dangerous consequences, but that was not to say that the plane was an evil one.[13] Arborea was as much a plane of good as it was one of chaos, disavowing the notions of those who saw chaos as destructive disharmony or a tumultuous maelstrom.[23] Rather, the Olympian Glades were a realm of individuality and independence, a good-natured place of celebrations and strong desires where personal freedom was paramount.[23][24] As strong as the vices were, charity, justice, love, and kindness were equally rampant on Arborea.[13]

Despite their rowdy and chaotic nature, Arboreans were bound by superstitions, ancient tradition, codes of conduct, and systems of respect that no one would dare violate.[20] All Arborea was permeated by a supernatural power of oath-binding, more concentrated in some places than others, that prevented others from going back on their word lest they suffer horrible consequences, the worst of which could include a painful death.[25]

One of Arborea's more subtle aspects was its addictive quality. The longer one stayed, the more likely one would never want to leave, and after about a month would possibly need to be dragged back home by well-meaning friends. Just because they left Arborea however, didn't mean they had escaped its pull; they would need to be confined until the intense yearning subsided and its influence had waned.[12][26]

Geography[]

Compared to its depraved counterpart in the Abyss, which had, if not literally then effectively, an infinite number of foul layers, Arborea could seem small since it possessed only three. However, while the Abyss was a chaotic cluster of miniature realms, its individual, warring worlds each horrific and harsh in their own unique ways,[27][28] the comparative cohesiveness of Arborea's layers was not to be mistaken for a lack of diversity.[9]

In truth, Arborea was a fantastically patchwork plane, a crazy quilt of thriving climates and environments with endless abundance.[9] Though named after its endless, rolling forests, that was a mere fraction of the plane. Settled landscapes were pleasant and pastoral, with gently rolling hills, meadows, vineyards, fruit orchards, and fields of oats, barley, wheat, and millet, all passing by in quaint succession. Unlike the neighboring Beastlands it was not totally given over to wilderness, and it wasn't an obvious deathtrap like the Abyss, the emotional journeys likely being more dangerous than the virtually harmless environment.[13][29]

However, in the hinterlands between settlements, Arborea's wilderness could be almost impassable, increasing in hostility the deeper in one went and not just because of prowling predators.[13][29] Normally even the Arborean winter was mild,[21] but the weather of the plane was as whimsical and unpredictable as the inhabitants.[9][22] The plane lacked the serenity of its lawful counterpart Mount Celestia, its pleasant breezes turning to violent storms in an instant and death on the plane coming mostly from lightning and hail.[21] Still, one normally had to go looking for trouble in Arborea to find it, and even the weather at its most extreme didn't soil the overpowering and bewildering beauty of the plane.[21][26]

Arborea's larger than life aspect was both figurative and literal, the big emotions reflecting the big plane. The sheer extravagant size of everything simply couldn't be understated: every craggy mountain was stupendous, every ravine unbelievably deep, every lush forest filled with monstrously huge trees, every ocean unimaginably deep, every river mighty, and every plain a wild stretch. Never doing small, Arborea's immensity made it difficult to traverse due to steepness and distance.[11][29] Realms aside from those of common knowledge potentially laid hidden, ruled over by unknown beings.[9]

Nature Spirits[]

The ladies of the oaks wield one of the most powerful enchantments known to men. They like to use it on men they find to their liking. And here in Arborea, where passions tend to run strong, it's even easier for their enchantments to succeed.

The Abyssal layers were said to be sentient, though unintelligent and dormant, each with their own primal urges and hungers (other layers not precluded from their tastes).[31] Likewise, Arborea itself was determined to remain true to itself, wild and pure.[21] Though most visitors to Arborea were unaware of it, the very land was alive with nature spirits.[29] Some of these were the better known sylvan guardians such as dryads, sylphs, and sprites, but the actual spirits of the land itself were far greater.[29] Every forest, glade, mountain, stream, and cloud had a guardian, and carving through virgin lands before polluting the environment was sure to provoke a reaction.[12][29]

Exactly what that reaction would be varied from place to place, but the less tame the terrain, the more severe the results would typically be. A river might flow backwards or simply vanish and an angered spirit of a grove might move all the landmarks around while the offender slept. Spirits were immortal unless one planned to destroy the entire land they were protecting, but luckily such things weren't likely to be needed.[29] Though they tolerated no infringement, the nature spirits were typically either too shy or too benevolent to actually be dangerous, and could instead be reasoned with.[21][29] Most of them would create a shape to communicate through resembling the other party, a forest for example taking on a humanoid form with leafy hair, twigs for fingers and eyes of sap.[29]

Layers[]

Arvandor (layer)Arvandor (layer)AquallorMithardir

A representation of the layers of Arborea, according to the Great Wheel Cosmology. Hovering over the map will reveal main features. Clicking will link to the article for that location.

Arborea's three layers each had unique landscapes, the first being the most well-known and the others being difficult to get to, with most travelers not bothering to.[32]

Arvandor[]

Main article: Arvandor (layer)

The layer of Arvandor was sometimes referred to as Olympus. Its two realms—so vast and influential that their names became synonymous with the plane and the layer they occupied—coexisted with little conflict: Olympus, home of the Greek pantheon, and Arvandor, domain of the Seldarine. Even before the World Tree cosmology became popular, the influence of the Greek pantheon was primarily focused on other Prime Material Planes and had minor contact with the Forgotten Realms. Indeed, the two domains were separated by thousands of miles/kilometers of unclaimed wilderness[8] and, due to the slight curvature of the landscape, were not visible to each other despite being located at the highest peaks of their respective lands.[1]

Arvandor contained the great forests for which Arborea was known, towering assortments of monstrous maple, birch, oak, lindens, and other deciduous, broadleaf trees rivaling the redwoods of the Material Plane in height.[9][32] The height of the trees left the forest floor relatively bereft of brush, the rolling land beneath the canopies a great open space of velvet moss and ferns. Clear glades were as common as briar patches and tangles, but paths snaked through what undergrowth existed, and even without it one could climb and brachiate (swing from branch to branch) through the trees without touching the ground.[9]

Various plant-life was exclusive to Arvandor, such as serren trees, vessels for nature spirits with branches that, once fallen, could be used to create bows, arrows, and bolts imbued with a portion of the spirit, granting them the ghost touch property.[33] Also rare were a kind of large reddish fruit known as thane's pears, which could cure various maladies including viruses and infections when eaten.[23]

While not as wild as the Beastlands, Arborea still had its share of ancient groves,[13] and would quickly grow untamed away from claimed territories.[32] Towns were rarely needed either way,[21] for the lush layer was almost paradoxically bountiful, far more so than most planes. Flowers bloomed and bore fruit simultaneously, and even in the wildest regions plentiful food could be found if one was clever.[9][29]

Generally even an urbanite could live off the land so long as they could pluck fruit from the bushes (which were almost invariably edible) and summon the will to climb trees.[29] Where the forests broke away were open glades of wildflowers, naturally neat rows fruit trees, fields of swaying, wild wheat and barley, and untended orchards heavy with bounty.[11][9][1] The naturally fertile climate gave Arborea its reputation for first-quality foodstuffs as the "breadbasket" of the planes.[29]

The day and night cycle of mimicked that of the Material Plane, a crystal blue sky with a golden sun above the trees in the day and a white moon amongst a river of stars on the warm nights. Arvandor's unpredictable weather might manifest as sudden squalls beating the paths with heavy winds, leaving sunny arcs of warm light filtering down from above minutes after it passed. There was seemingly always the faint sound music in the distance, as often the playing of instruments as the tune of wind curling through the holes in the trees.[9]

Arborea was also a layer of steep mountains cut by great passes, all massive enough to make those from the Prime Material Plane stare slack-jawed. What would be mountains there were hillocks in Arborea, the actual mountains larger than all but the floating earthbergs of Ysgard.[32][8] The uplands were covered in snow that shined beautifully beneath the sky.[9]

Aquallor[]

Main article: Aquallor

The second layer of Arborea was also known by many names; it was Ossa to the Olympians, Aquallor to the elves, the Endless River to the selkies and the Green or Abiding Sea to those of Araunthys.[34] Regardless, the layer was an endless, emerald ocean,[9][35] an entirely aquatic plane that few travelers could make their way through.[9] It was disputed whether or not the plane had any land above surface, whether in the form of scattered islands or coastlines, but even stranger was the depths.[11][9][35][36]

Unlike Lunia's Silver Sea or Thalasia in Elysium, the seas of Ossa were ironically shallow for a plane of otherwise great size, no more than 3 ft (0.91 m) deep over most of the realm. The shallow seabed was occasionally broken by cavernous trenches that opened up in random places,[1][34] and the lower depths of the plane were pitch-black.[9] By traveling through the underwater chasms, one could reach the undersea domains of various sea gods.[1][34] The weather changes in Aquallor were as quick as those in Arvandor, taking the form of titanic storms that wracked the surface of the mighty sea, as well as great undersea currents that threw travelers miles off course.[36][9]

Mithardir[]

Main article: Mithardir

Also known as Pelion, Mithardir was a fitting name for the third and deepest layer of Arborea, its name meaning white dust in the Elven language. [32][1] It was a borderless plain of fine, chalky grit, a white desert nearly devoid of all life.[9][32][37] The particles in the air were as cold as ice and so easily mistaken for snow at first glance, though snow was also potentially present along with the sand.[11][1][38] The desert was neither hot nor particularly cold either way, just temperate in most places, but it was extremely dry.[11][38][39] So long as the air was still, not much of the choking grain would lift off the ground,[38] but more often than not the incessant winds ended up grinding the bones of unprepared explorers to powder. Mithardir's dramatic weather manifested as lightning storms that regularly swept the desert, driving huge storms of dust ahead of them that could bury travelers alive.[9]

Pelion was sometimes called 'the realm now known only for dust" and for good reason.[40] Once upon a time, like Arborea above it, the layer was a great forest, home to beings alternately described as giants or titan-like gods.[9] Whatever powers once dwelt there had long since died or departed to elsewhere in the multiverse,[38][41] the remains of their disintegrated domain little more than a few scattered ruins of towers and tombs peeking out from the ever-shifting sand.[39][9] Those of Olympus believed Pelion was once home to the entire Mulhorandi pantheon before their followers faded away, their realms withering with them. Seladrine stories said Mithardir was once under the complete control of the Animal Lords before they lost the most vital parts of their realms to the Beastlands and so eventually migrated there, leaving only badlands behind.[39]

The time of the ancient powers of Pelion had long since past, and the whole layer projected a sense of emptiness, like an abandoned house.[37] Whole ages had gone by, with entire races having completely disappeared since they vanished, and even in those eras Pelion had been a land of legends and dust for untold centuries. Whoever they were, they were undoubtedly might beings with great powers of divination and access to True Words, words of power so potent that to utter them could destroy mountains, create life, and slay anything (though even the words predated them).[41][42] Their realms, treasures, and ancient secrets laid hidden beneath Pelion's surface,[39][38] the remnants of their once great cities consumed by the march of time,[41] but perhaps still uncoverable by those with the foreknowledge and patience.[38][43]

Cosmography[]

Dominating the Greek-controlled realms was Mount Olympus, a towering edifice larger than all Outer Planar mountains in size and significance (with the obvious exception of Mount Celestia) and that served as home to many of the Greek gods. Part of why the Greek pantheon was considered so important was that the Mount was a multiplanar conduit directly connecting Olympus to Hades, Gehenna, Tarterus, and Prime Material Plane worlds where those gods were worshiped, both in the past and present.[44][45][11]

The River Oceanus (the upper planar counterpart of the River Styx) found its end in Arborea. After weaving its way through Elysium and directly carving through the surface of the Beastlands, it passed through Arborea before outflowing into Aquallor. However, that wasn't necessarily the end of the conduit; there were often rumors of vast, funnel-like maelstroms in the darkest depths of Aquallor that would send travelers back to Thalasia, where the river began, implying that the multiplanar river moved in an unending circle.[1][36][11][9] There were also portals between Aquallor and the Elemental Plane of Water.[9]

Near the lower, darker, regions of the Seldarine realm was a root of the World Tree Yggdrasil. The root and settlement around it, protected by the self-appointed guardians of Yggsdrasil known as the ratatosk, were both named Gnarl, and travelers to and from Alfheim were common there.[46]

Natural portals between the bordering Beastlands and Ysgard were common in Arborea, as were shifting borders between planes that could cause a traveler to instantaneously cross between one and another.[9] Silver-plated beeches and the centers of lightning-blasted oaks in the Beastlands always led to Arborea,[47][48] and one entered Arborea through Ysgard using marked wells (although a fifth of the time the portals were marked incorrectly).[49] The usual color pools existed for Astral travelers, in Arborea's case being bright, sapphire blue.[5][50][3]

Inner Portals[]

In contrast to the many ways in and out of Arborea itself, portals between layers were rarer on the Olympian Glades than they were on other Outer Plane. Such portals took the form of spinning crimson disks, but divination magic was required to determine where they would deposit a traveler. The gods of Olympus located and identified all permanent portals within a few thousand leagues of their realms in all directions, and such places were guarded by them and petitioners and sometimes with stone walls and iron gates.[1][11]

This tight control wasn't so much to stop travelers as it was to slow the curious and prevent dangerous and/or stupid creatures from wandering where they didn't belong.[1][11] Neither the Olympian nor Elvish pantheons particularly cared about extraplanar viewing points in their realms, but particularly irritating ones (such as those that stayed in one place too long as if someone was planning to break in), were dispelled and the caster brought in and lectured.[1]

Portals to Aquallor in other areas of Arborea often went to the watery domain of Deep Sashelas of the elven pantheon or the undersea realm of Poseidon. Undersea gateways were often guarded by elven petitioners while the gateways on islands were watched by Greek petitioners.[1][11][34]

Inhabitants[]

More wine? Thank you, I think I will.
— Aidan of the Sensates.[51]

Though their recklessly released emotions sometimes had devastating consequences, the denizens of Arborea were mostly good-natured and dedicated to fighting the forces of evil.[12][21] Often the Arboreans enjoyed lives of unrestrained hedonism, and they valued emotional reactions over more sober responses.[20][13] They played, fought, lived, and loved hard, and depending on how they felt about a given individual, that person would either be in serious trouble or great success.[13]

Celestials[]

Celestials were common in Arborea,[9] though they were more unpredictable than their counterparts elsewhere and often kept to themselves unless asked to serve as an agent for a god or powerful entity.[22][20] Agathia, devas, planetars, solars, hollyphants, and foo creatures formed the usual cohort of creatures ubiquitous to the Upper planes,[1] and celestial lammasu, einheriar, and whole herds of buraq roamed the plane.[20] Many lillendi thrived on the emotions rippling through the plane,[9] and balaena could be found in the Oceanus, the Arborean stretch being their winter feeding grounds. They could be found on the coasts of Arvandor and were common modes of transport on Aquallor.[20]

The most common celestials in Arborea were the eladrins,[9] natives to Arborea just as demons were to the Abyss. The wild, fey-like celestials constantly moved from place to place on the plane, exulting in their own free existences.[14] The best known and most commonly encountered breeds were the ghaeles, that were often found hunting through the wilderness.[9] Coures, firres, ghaeles, shieres, and tulani all preferred the 1st layer of Arborea, while noviere favored Aquallor and the bralani raced across Mithradir.[14]

Monsters[]

Pegasi were found in Arborea.

Some of the most common creatures in Arborea were monsters from the legends of its most famous pantheons. Chimerae, gorgons, harpies, medusae, sphinxes, and pegasi all made nests or lairs in the mountainous terrain, or lived and lurked in the wilderness of the first layer.[1][20] Fey spirits lurked everywhere, easily provoked and utterly unpredictable compared even to those who would draw blood at the smallest insult.[26]

Titans dwelt and roamed in the hinterlands of the infinite plane, some rebellious and still bitter over past grudges, and some (in a few cases) completely oblivious to the fact that many of their kin had been imprisoned in Carceri. Giants (including giant-kin like cyclopses) also wandered the plane looking to challenge those seeking adventure, sometimes including various deities.[1][20][32] Both the titans and giant gods made use of agents and proxies to torment and spy on their ancient enemies. The wilderness and size of Arborea, for both them and others, presented many hiding places and opportunities for vengeance.[21]

Arborea's fauna was just as bountiful and abundant as its flora, and its game was both plentiful and trusting.[29] Massive, wild cattle roamed free,[1] herds of red deer and elk filled the meadows, The streams were brimming with enormous (but wily and not easy to catch) fish, and a trapper could always expect a fat hare or thick-furred fox in their snares.[29] However, the great size didn't stop at the prey, for Arvandor was also the home of great beasts, including giant bears, boars, eagles, lions, serpents, and wolves.[20][1] Ossa was filled with sea life, its larger beasts and even aberrations lurking in the depths.[36][9] Even beneath the trees, great fireflies arranged themselves in ever-shifting constellations at night.[9]

Though fell beasts stalked the plane[1][32] and hungry predators would make easy prey out of injured travelers,[21] the giant animals of Arborea were no more aggressive than usual varieties, and they typically left groups of mortals or petitioners alone.[20] Celestial and anarchic monsters and animals were present there, the former fighting with relish only if disturbed and the latter being predictably unpredictable.[9] In general, the creatures of Arborea were bigger, tougher, had more powerful bearing and demeanor, and, in the case of humanoid monsters, had a 5% chance of possessing incredible magical powers. However, those qualities were reduced when Arborean native creatures entered other planes.[1]

Petitioners[]

The petitioners of Arborea were as diverse as the trees to be found in a forest. Most were the elves of Arvandor or the humans of Olympus, but almost all sylvan races, including gnomes, centaurs, satyrs, nixies, and harpies, could be found there.[20][13] Petitioners of Arborea were hearty folk, quick to react with personal vice and/or virtuous deed.[11][13] They grinned wide, slapped backs, and sang epics when happy while excessively drinking and wailing like banshees when saddened. Though ready to fight without hesitation if angered, conflict in Arborea wasn't so much a matter of battle as it was brawl, since despite the violence, death was seldom the result. Never dull, with constant, swashbuckling bravado, the Arboreans always had hunts, fights, contests of strength, tests of bravery, and long, loud parties.[11]

These were effectively the plane's commoners, and they tended to the woodlands and meadows of Arborea with the same care and diligence of a peasant anywhere else.[20][13] Just because Arborea was lush didn't mean they didn't farm, for grain and hay was needed for livestock and the best and biggest bounty was more easily grown than gathered. The inhabitants liked to claim credit for Arborea's bounty; merchants went through the Outlands gate-town of Sylvania to bring various foods and stranger ingredients like ram's blood, fermented fish, and wine of oak sap to Sigil.[29] Many ancient groves still needed care,[20] and arsonists, woodcutters, sport-hunters, and even those who cut a path through untouched wilderness, could often find themselves suffering from lethal attacks by the protectors of the ancient wilds.[21]

Not all of the elven dead incarnated as elves again when they reached Arborea. Some, as happened to most petitioners at the end of their "lives" infused the plane itself, while others reformed into celestial or anarchic creatures. Worthy souls were rewarded by Corellon with elven form, and were known as the "Chosen of Arvandor". Within the canopied clearings where they made their settlements, the Chosen engaged in an idyllic elven life. Hunts and challenges, trysts and celebrations, feasts and tales around the fire, and other wondrous pastimes filled the afterlives of such elves.[9] In a single day there, lifelong friends could laugh over a meal before fighting over a mutual lover, then end the evening celebrating each other's bravery and integrity.[26] There was also service in Corellon's oak-lined halls, duty as scouts, wardens, and servitors in the magic glades and magnificent castles of the Seladrine.[9]

The souls of elves in Arborea were similar to those elsewhere, differing only in the intensity of their emotions. In Arborea, their passions ran unrestricted, joy, love, and contentment on spectacular display in their myriad extremes as much as rage, lust, and jealousy.[26] They expressed their elation and sadness by pouring it into heart-achingly beautiful music, and their rage with cold, hard vengeance.[11] In the day, the splendor of the Seladrine illuminated the lives of the elves there, and their elven trances were intoxicating blissful due to their closeness to Corellon. Elves of all kinds could be found in Arborea, including seasonal fey eladrin,[26] sea elves dwelling in Aquallor,[36] and even a few special drow.[26] Elves born on Arborea were celestial creatures, wild at heart and ready to fight evil in an instant,[12] but the plane could be dangerous for mortal elves not born there. Their boisterous and mercurial native kin might wish to fight over the slightest lapse in tradition or ill remark.[26]

Unique to Arborea were the petitioners known as the bacchae, the spirits of gluttons and gourmands, well-intentioned drunks, and those that otherwise relished living. Somewhere between man and animal, the satyr-like creatures were equal parts chaotic and good, for they lived in the moment and strove to make that moment the best.[9] While not intentionally destructive, they were incredibly irresponsible in their pursuit of wanton pleasure, roving Arborea in wild mobs of revelry.[52] Almost anything could provoke their ire, but they were generally nonviolent, more likely to offer bread and drink to an attacker if not simply flee, and they might suddenly stop a fight out of genuine appreciation of the opposition's skills (or to get a second-wind). If an outsider enjoyed their company and were accepted in turn, whether petitioner or planar traveler, they would be at risk of turning into a bacchae as well.[9][53]

Powers[]

If the petitioners of Arborea were its commoners, then the nature spirits were the rulers.[13] The elfin asrai were water spirits that protected the watching over streams, rivers, springs, lakes, and seas of Arborea. Oreads were tied to mountains, protecting their peaks and valleys from harm, with the legendary snowhairs being the guardians of entire mountain ranges.[13][54] Dryads were ruling protectors of whole oak forests and woods, and sylphs were the masters of the heights. The spirits required sacrifices in the many sacred groves, ancient caverns, and other natural landmarks of prophecy and judgement. Small shrines forewarned of nearby spirits; failing to appease them was to invite bad luck, and to not just ignore, but outright mock them, was sure to bring a price.[13]

The feuding gods of Arborea were not ashamed to use their followers to settle vendettas, and though some would be flattered by the personal attention, being a pawn in such games could likely result in disappearance or a martyr's death.[20] To avoid the attention of the gods, the Arbroean residents devised many elaborate rituals and tributes to appease and distract them, including libations poured from all cups onto the ground, gifts of gold, perfume, spice and impressive vegetables, and the sacrifice of animals (particular prize animals) at midsummer and midwinter.[29][20]

The hedonistic lack of restraint of the Arboreans was partially due to the fact that even the rituals didn't always keep the powers that were from meddling.[20] The gods, and even some nature spirits, could bring about curses on those that crossed them, including jinxes as benign as spoiled rations, spooked animals, untied knots, and as serious and tragic as blindness, exile, enslavement and death. To break a vow, compare oneself favorably to gods, or give an insufficient offering (if any), was an action with potential consequences, and anyone could make a mistake.[20][55]

Magic[]

The gentle slopes of Mount Olympus hide a thousand silent deaths. The sacrifices to the spirits of Arborea have claimed many thousands more.
— Minorus, keeper of the grove.[55]

Using magic on Arborea required small sacrifices, ritual offerings to the spirits. Wine, milk, olive oil, oat cakes, gold, well-made idols, untouched animals, or a mage's blood were typical offerings, but each school of magic, and sometimes individual spells, could require specific gifts. Despite the rules on sacrifices, Arborea was relatively benign as far as spell-casting went so long as the nature of the plane was respected, but the backlash of a spell gone wrong could be worse than having not cast one at all.[13][20]

Summon monster spells were answered by nature spirits, and trying to summon a creature of the lower planes would bring down the wrath of the Greek Furies on the transgressors. Summoning spells that called creatures in Arborea typically required a bit of food for the entity summoned, more powerful spells needing carved images, and the greatest requiring one to speak its language. Those that conjured forces rather than creatures could be cast without issue.[20]

Divination was a respected art across Arborea, but required some external props to perform, such as entrails to read, signs to draw from the stars, or some other form of omen to interpret, and thus took longer than normal depending on the strength of the spell. Divinations often used inanimate offerings like gold, gems, or wine for weaker spells, a living sacrifice (but this could be freeing rather than slaying a creature) for more powerful spells, and required a particularly valuable item from the caster (like a sacred object or magic item) for high-level magic.[20]

Enchantments regarding emotions were stronger in Arborea, but could accidentally fill the target with berserker rage that would disperse upon the caster's death or the feeling of pain, after which they typically fled. Enchantment magic required the target's attention to be caught (such as through a joke or riddle, though puns were bad form), for weak spells, the target's name or a group name for middling magic, and an offering of something the subject wanted for higher magic.[20]

Being a vigorous plane with little patience for disruptions of the natural order, necromancy involving death or the undead typically didn't function, while positive healing spells worked normally. Low-level necromancy needed a few dark gems, more powerful spells a small goblet of life-related liquid like a goblet of blood or sap, and in the highest cases, pure life energy.[20]

Except in Ossa, that had a strong link to the element of water, elemental magic required a sacrifice to the opposite element proportional to the effect of the spell, for instance a bucket of water for burning hands or lighting a small forest fire to balance out a minor flood.[20]

Realms[]

Both the Greek realm of Olympus and the elven realm of Arvandor were utterly massive, containing the domains of individual members of the pantheons larger than the realms of most gods on other planes. Regardless, or perhaps as a result, the two pantheons managed to get along well enough due to a lack of competition, neither requiring the other's land nor fighting for the same followers.[1] Despite the Olympians being practically unheard of in Faerûn, it was possible that some of their gods had moved to Toril under different aliases. Sune was possibly the same deity as Athena,[note 1] and Tyche had abandoned Olympus in favor of becoming a single-sphere god, splitting into Tymora and Beshaba.[15][56] Aside from the two major pantheons, various other powers made their homes in Arborea, in particular the trinity of Torilian goddesses that were Sune, Tymora, and Lliira.[20]

Some rare and powerful creatures of Arborea lorded over vast regions of the plane so large that they were practically realms in and of themselves. [20] The benevolent, resident titans had developed a culture similarly to that of the greeks, and dwelt in great palaces and mansions where they lived with hearty whimsy.[57] There were also the twilight courts of the tulani, the greatest of the eladrin, demiplanes that touched the border ethereal and drifted throughout Arborea invisible and intangible to non-eladrin (taking any chosen form ranging from cloud castles to forest hideaways).[58] Greatest of all of them was Morwel, the Faerie Queen of the eladrin, whose Court of Stars could instantly appear anywhere in Arborea, whether in the home of a pantheon, the bottom of Ossa, or somewhere in the wastes of Pelion.[59] Nearly all the known realms of Arborea existed on the first layer.[32]

Olympus[]

It is a place of towering passions and blinding rages, a land that exemplifies Arborea and the savagery of goodness.
— Poetry describing Olympus[60]

The sloping hillsides of Olympus were covered in olive groves, fertile vineyards, and small orchards of apples and oranges. In its mountains, defiles, woodlands, and long grass, the laughter of satyrs, sylphs, and nymphs filled the cloud-covered air, while the foothills echoed with the bleating of sheep and the pipes of shepherds. A great ocean dotted with reefs and islands lapped lazily at the shore on the edge of the realm, with salty air brought to the land by strong winds.[60][61][62]

Pleasant towns with white-washed walls rose above the landscape of Olympus while great marble temples reach towards the sky, towering over all other places in the realm. Each temple had a small outer shrine for offerings in the form a great statue of the deity in question made of ivory, silver, gold, or precious stone. The actual entrance to a god's personal domain was usually well-hidden, and the roads of Mount Olympus were protected by spirits, monstrous hounds, and other watchmen, making the realm something of a maze. If lucky, one could get a glimpse of the gods far above the clouds.[60][61][62]

A map of Mount Olympus.

Not all in Olympus was peaceful and pastoral however, for when the gods grew furious, the winds and storms blew fiercely. More than that, many monsters called the realm home, from hydras and hags to manticores and medusae, as well as giant beasts and similar creatures, some of which often troubled the residents. The gods weren't unaware of their presence and the threat they presented, and could easily wipe such creatures out, yet chose not to. Without such fell horrors, those below would have little way to prove their heroism and few incentives to keep their wits sharp or hearts sincere.[60]

Short-tempered, wild, lustful and partying, the Greek pantheon was more chaotic than nearly any other, having made themselves synonymous with Arborean passion. Even the incredibly rational Athena was supremely emotional, and the various Greek gods sought to advance themselves over their peers or otherwise cause trouble for each other. Though petty, prideful, and fractitious, the Olympians could and would gather together when needed to perform truly titanic feats,[62][1][63] and the majority (at least those living on Olympus) were benevolent.[64] Most of them remained together at the head of Mount Olympus for the sake of mutual benefit and protection, the individual domains of even the minor ones often larger than whole nations. Various other deities lived around the Mount and other Olympian gods dwelt elsewhere according to their needs and whims, but all would come to meet there.[63][62][1][65]

  • Aphrodite: The Lady of Dawn, Aphrodite was the Greek goddess of beauty and love and a close friend of Hanali Celanil of the Seldarine. She dwelt near Zeus's domain in a in a palace of mirror-like quartz and gems, all polished so keenly one could see their reflection in the glass, meaning every surface reflected her beauty. The entrance was hidden in a magic mirror, and the few who could find their own way out were supposedly vain forever.[62][1][61][66][67]
  • Apollo: The Light-Bringer, Apollo was the Greek god of light, prophecy, and poetry, and his temple was also his home, a house of worship with amphitheater in the back. The entire temple was made of beaten gold that always radiated with the sun's mellow glow, while the stage, carved into the southern mountainside, was a semi-circle of white, polished marble, where the finest playwrights were always preparing some drama.[62][1][61][67]
  • Ares: The Jealous and The Unfortunate, Ares was the Greek god of war and killing, ruled by rage and protective of "his" sphere (earning him the wrath of Maglubiyet and Gruumsh). His lair was a massive battlement, a dark, gloomy fortress of bloodstained bone near the Portal Defile, the chasm that held the portals to all Prime Material Plane worlds in which the pantheon was worshiped.[62][1][61][67][68]
  • Artemis: The Huntress, Artemis was the Greek goddess of hunting and beasts and a friend of Solonor Thelandira of the Seldarine. Hunting only to feed herself or others, Artemis considered all Olympus her home, and had no real personal dwelling. The closest to a realm she had was a small complex of caves to the side of Olympus.[62][1][61][68]
  • Athena: The Protectress, Athena was the Greek goddess of war and wisdom, and the antithesis of Ares, a matron of courage rather than carnage venerated for strategy rather than strife. Her realm was on the far, opposite side of the Portal Defile, a bright, shining palace of enduring iron where generals sought wisdom and philosophers the sharp minds of warriors.[62][1][61][68][69]
  • Demeter: The Fertile Mother, Demeter was the Greek goddess of agriculture, one that had always gotten along with Chauntea the Earth Mother. Her home was an average cottage surrounded by a vast field of golden grain where her petitioners toiled all day before returning to their own cottages scattered across the lands, working hard yet loving the labor.[62][1][61][68][69]
  • Dionysus: The Twice-born, so called for his father Zeus protecting his nascent form when his mother was destroyed, was the Greek god of mirth and madness, a patron of drunkards. His palace of constant, comfortable warmth was in the middle of a vineyard and overrun with vines that, as he decreed, would always be ripe with grape for plucking and juicing. Even if away, bacchae kept the hearth burning and the party going.[62][1][61][69]
  • Hades: Lord of the Dead, Hades was the Greek god of death and wealth and ruler of the The Underworld in the Gray Wastes. He only rarely visited Olympus.[61][72]
  • Hecate: The Lady of the Night, Hecate maintained a realm in the Gray Wastes and in the Nine Hells. Though wicked, she was the only Olympian deity of magic, necromancy being her province, and she only allowed such spells to be cast on Olympus (despite not living there) if some fatted black livestock was sacrificed to her and if it was used for evil purposes (despite most denizens and visitors being good).[20][72][73][74]
  • Hephaestus: The Lamed, so called for being crippled due to crashing down onto the Material Plane, Hephaetus was the Greek god of smithing and craftsmen, one who the gnomish tinkering god Nebelun occasionally visited to offer help and advice in forging incredible items. His realm of Olympus was in a volcanically active region, he himself working in the very heart of a volcano.[73]
  • Hera: Matron of Heaven, Hera was the Greek goddess of marriage and intrigue, an insanely jealous (but otherwise cordial and friendly) deity. She shared the realm of her husband Zeus, whose constant infidelities frustrated her to no end.[73]
  • Hermes: The Messenger of the Gods, Hermes was the Greek God of travel, trade, and theft, a lovable rogue of the pantheon gentler than most. The entrance to the god of travel's gambling den inside the Mount could lead somewhere unexpected, and the realm was shrouded in darkness to all but his own followers. Though getting pickpocketed was a possibility, no one would dare harm a traveler under Hermes's roof.[62][1][61][73][75]
  • Nike: Known simply by the title of "Victory", Nike was a Greek Goddess that brought her titular phenomenon with her. She had no home of her own in Olympus, maintaining quarters in the palaces of Ares and Athena. Both gods tried to get Nike to ride with them, but she was a fickle goddess that would only accompany either when she so desired.[75]
  • Pan: Called The Satyr, Pan was the Greek god of nature and passion, having fully given over to his desires with complete awareness and intent. He lived on the outer edges of Olympus, making his infrequent visits to the Mount all the more special, and at such times he himself (not an avatar) played his pipes while wandering the slopes.[75]
  • Poseidon: Known as The Tempest, Poseidon was the Greek god of the waters, and though he maintained a seaside shrine near Olympus, his actual realm, Caletto, was almost entirely under Ossa, and he rarely left. Astoundingly beautiful and usually sunny, the warm waters of his realm could become peaceful or stormy in an instant depending on his mood, for Poseidon was quick to anger but quick to forgive.[62][1][61][34][76]
  • Prometheus: A rebel titan of supposed omniscience, Prometheus was bound by chains unbreakable until Zeus decided otherwise, tied to a rock within the Olympian realm. Said stone was at the summit of Mount Aetna, a colossal slope filled with howling winds, exotic life, and unearthly majesty, and he was said to share his wisdom with those that fended off the undying vulture who fed on his ever-regenerating liver.[77]
  • Rhea: Mother of the Gods, Rhea was not actually an Olympian deity but one of the greater titans, having created the senior members of the pantheon long ago. Though given a massive palace by the Olympians, she didn't really have her own realm or religion, drawing strength from the entirety of the pantheon.[78][79]
  • Tyche: Known as Fortune's Smile, Tyche was the Netherese (formerly Greek) goddess of fortune and fate, begrudgingly forced to flee to Toril to escape her increasing irrelevancy. Her Olympian relam, a former grand villa and gambling hall, had been slowly disappearing, becoming dusty and filled with cobwebs, although that didn't mean her luck still couldn't turn around.[62][76][78][80]
  • Zeus: The Thunderer, Zeus was the leader of the Olympians, his home the most magnificent of all of them. At the summit of Mount Olympus was his grand citadel of polished gold and marble, its halls inlaid with precious gems. Only worshipers of Zeus could see the entrance, and the statues of Zeus and Hera able to animate and dispose of intruders without attracting too much attention (at least compared to the Thunderer).[62][1][61][66]

Arvandor[]

Arvandor is the only civilized wilderness.
— Elmoriel the Enchantress[46]

Arvandor was less pastoral than Olympus, a realm of deep woods with ancient trees and cathedral-like groves of towering green.[32][81] Canopies were sometimes divided into multiple layers, with sun-loving trees at the top and shade-loving vines and scrub trees closer to the earth. The upper layers were inhabited by giant squirrels and bats, aarakocra, and a few elven tribes that avoided the ground, believing it to be unclean or unlucky.[32]

The undergrowth and rotting trunks of fallen trees could make certain sections almost completely impassible, and completely hide the ground floor, and creatures of darkness, including spiders, ettercaps, and shadows, lurked within the dense foliage.[32] Rogue predators or fell monsters that wandered in from other realms or planes could end up hiding in the forest, prompting the declaration of a hunt.[46][82] Contrasting these darker areas were the beams of sunlight in Arvanor's meadows, where babbling brooks were common. Crashing giants opened up clearings that flowered all-year around, sporting bluish snowblossoms in winter that heralded spring.[32]

A map of Arvandor.

Though praised as a land of untouched by civilization, the High Forest was a tame wilderness. There were almost no villages because the residents lived with nature rather than apart from it, living in favored glades, groves and treetowns that were more a part of the land than urban centers.[32][46] Similarly, some would say Arvandor, with its unearthly beauty and wild passion, exemplified all of Arborea, but the elves had colored their realm more than the plane had colored them. Non-elves that entered Arvandor were at risk of losing themselves to the beauty of the place, compelling them to seek out elves to dance, sing, and indulge with, (though the elves there normally acted this way regardless) requiring others to guide and lead them.[81][46]

The elvish pantheon were similar to the Greeks in outlook but even more chaotic and more goodly, showing less organization and regimentation[1][83] and displaying their equally fervent passion with greater elegance.[11] Each member of the Seldarine valued their independence and often worked separately, but when needed they would work together without having to be told. Once per year, all members gathered in a huge grove in the High Forest to discuss elven activity on the Material Plane, followed by a grand, weeks-long festival.[84]

Not taking much interest in the governance of Arvandor, the Seldarine delegated rulership to proxies and emissaries, with the High Kings and Queens of Arborea ruling entire races of elves.[81][46][82] They lacked the mighty fortresses of the Olympians, but nonetheless ruled Arvandor with an artistic hand. Their ornate homes could be huge cathedrals grown from living plants, wondrous palaces of gems and stones, or simply small shrines or circles of natural stones in the middle of their domains.[9][1][83]

  • Aerdrie Faenya: The Winged Mother, Aerdrie was the Seldarine goddess of air and avians, and shared her domain with the aarakocra goddess Syranita. The Aerie, as it was known, consisted of clouds and floating islands, and she usually kept it calm despite delighting in changing its weather. The Aerie philosophically bordered Arvandor and Alfheim, and Aerdrie often left to wander the winds of both accompanied by several birds.[20][85][83][86]
  • Araleth Letheranil: Known as the Prince of Stars, Araleth was the Seldarine god of light and stellar bodies, one dedicated to the endless war against the shadowy powers of the Dark Seldarine. His dwelling in Arvandor was known as the House of Glowing Stars, and was constantly beset by the drifting luminaries.[87]
  • Araushnee: Formerly known as the Weaver of Destiny, Araushnee was the original name of Lolth when she was the Seldarine goddess of art and fate. Her realm was once an autumn grove of trees with silver-stems, with a spring at the center that saw great merriment and reflection. After her betrayal and rebellion, it was reduced to a series of dead trees with a sludge pool at the center, haunted by giant spiders and banshees.[46][88]
  • Corellon Larethian: Coronal of Arvandor, Correlon was the Seldarine's leader and primary elf deity. His home was Gwyllachaightaeryll (meaning The Many-Splendored and often called so), a magnificent tower of white marble and golden spires in the heart of Arvandor. The castle rose in and through the trees, smaller towers spinning off in patterns of whimsical confusion, and all rooms but the throne room constantly changed places.[9][81][85]
  • Deep Sashelas: Lord of the Undersea, Sashelas was the Seldarine god of knowledge, creation, and the ocean. Depending on his mood, his realm of Elavandor laid either in the Sparkling Sea on Arvandor's edge, or somewhere in Aquallor, with many gates between the two existing in his domain. His coral, gold, and marble palace was surrounded by glowing, crystal blue water, and sat at the floor of a deep sea chasm.[83][46][9][34][85][89]
  • Erevan Ilesere: Called The Trickster, Erevan was the Seldarine god of mischief and change. His resting place in Arvandor, built next to the Gnarl, was a sprawling palace made of whatever material suited him and that always changed when one returned to it. Visitors were invited to test their wits and skills there, against every trap that ever amused or confused the Trickster, and even to try and steal the treasures from its shifting halls.[89]
  • Fenmarel Mestarine: Known as the Lone Wolf, Fenmarel was the Seldarine god of solitude and outcasts. Normally he resided in his realm of Fennimar in Limbo, but despite his voluntary removal, he still had a home in Arvandor when he decided to stay there. Only Sehanine Moonbow's kindness drew him back to Arvandor on rare occassions.[89][90][91][92]
  • Hanali Celanil: Known as the Heart of Gold, Hanali was the Seldarine goddess of love and beauty, and an intense, but friendly, rival of Sune. Her splendorous crystal palace in Arvandor was so well-made that a single candle, if properly placed or slightly readjusted, could brighten or darken the entire structure. One couldn't look inside from the outside, but from within it was like looking through exceptionally clear glass.[83][90][93][94]
  • Kirith Sotheril: Known as The Magess, Kirith was the Seldarine goddess of magic, specifically the subtler schools of enchantment and divination, and she resided in the realm of Tethridar with her lover Tethrin Veraldé. It was a small, pleasant domain with an open field, a large copse of trees, and a fruit orchard.[87][26][95][note 2]
  • Labelas Enoreth, Known as The Lifegiver, Labelas was the Seldarine god of longevity and time. Aside from Corellon's, only his whims determined if wizardly necromancy would work in Arvandor. The exact location of his home was a mystery, some saying it was under one of Arvandor's huge hills and others claiming that it was a vanishing tower that appeared as an omen of trouble or new elf leadership.[83][90][20]
  • Melira Taralen: Known as The Songstress, Melira was the Seldarine goddess of bards and music, and the daughter of Hanali Celanil, who sent her to Corellon to serve as an apprentice. She was most often in her mother's domain, singing and playing while Hanali relaxed.[87]
  • Mythrien Sarath: The Watcher over Mythals, Mythrien was the Seldarine god of the titular elven wards. After losing much of his power, he never left Arvandor, remaining cloistered in his palace of Mythralan. Invisible but tangible mythal fields swirled around the palace as it levitated off the ground, and only Corellon and Sehanine could bypass the barriers without his permission.[96]
  • Naralis Analor: The Watcher of Souls, Naralis was the Seldarine god of the afterlife, as well as healing and easing pain. His realm was known as the Healing Glade, and it was where he performed his divine duties.[26][97][98][note 3]
  • Rillifane Rallathil: Known as the Leaflord, Rillifane was the Seldarine god of the woodlands and the harmony of nature. At once his corporeal form and his realm, he was depicted as a great, ethereal oak tree in the heart of Arvandor similar to the Yggdrasil, so huge that his roots penetrated reality and reached into the Prime Material Plane.[83][99]
  • Sarula Iliene: Known as the Nixie Queen, Sarula was the Seldarine goddess of fresh water, including lakes, rivers, and rain. Her residence was at the bottom of a huge lake in Arvandor called Brythanion, a palace of glass and marble where she was served by nixies and fresh water creatures.[100]
  • Sehanine Moonbow: The Daughter of the Night Skies, Sehanine was the Seldarine goddess of death and dreams and the mightiest of the female elven deities. She shared Corellon's tower in Arvandor, spinning webs of illusions and omens from behind its marble walls.[101]
  • Shevarash: The Black Archer, Shevarash was the Seldarine god of vengeance and loss. He had no realm of his own, but he often visited Arvandor.[102]
  • Solonor Thelandira: Known as Keen-Eye, Solonor was the Seldarine god of archery and hunting, whose domain in Arvandor was thick with forests and fast-flowing streams. The center of this region was the Pale Tree, a magnificent (possibly mystical) white arbor with silver leaves and muddy gray roots that contrasted the surrounding deep green grove. Solonor usually prowled his domain looking for creatures that had to be slain or relocated.[46][101]

Brightwater[]

Brightwater was no less beautiful than Arvandor for its civilization, being a well-settled realm of quaint cottages and elegant manors bustling with constant movement and activity, all of it fun. Gaudy structures were built besides shacks, for it was a domain of short-term spending. Merchants dressed like princes and workers dressed like paupers (and vice versa) crowded the streets, and some of the greatest and wealthiest beings of the planes could be found there. Any diversion imaginable could be found there, including music, dancing, drinking, gambling, horse races, festhalls, and nearly any earthly pleasure, with each form of entertainment excellent, plentiful, and available at one of the hundreds of taverns and gaming halls.[17][103][104]

The sprawling, urban realm lived by the motto of carpe diem, priding itself on taking stupid chances and living for today. Three times as reckless and daring (and lucky) than three ordinary towns, Brightwater often succeeded at what it did and was respected for trying even if it failed. Though much of its glamour was surface level glitter, the entire plane was permeated with a sense of freewheeling adventure, frolicking joy, exotic delight, and youthful excitement. Joy, fortune, and beauty were its focus, and those elements shined from every structure. Scams and cons were common, but the gods of the realm didn't look kindly on dishonest rogues, and oaths were especially sacred there. Though taking chances and living life to the fullest were phrases sometimes spoken cynically in Faerun, they were at the heart of Brightwater.[17][103]

Brightwater was a relatively recent realm, founded by the Torilian trio of Lliraa, Sune, and Tymora. Given their respective youth, the three had a greater sense of adventure than other pantheons, uniting them together, and weren't as bound by tradition, their city being the least tame and predictable in all Arborea. Brightwater was far enough away from Olympus that the Greeks, though most considered it an eyesore, left it alone, and others sometimes visited. Hermes and Erevan were even said to visit when they wanted to party without upsetting their pantheons.[103]

Sune was the leader of the group, with the others deferring to the eldest and most respected member, although the younger two received more attention. Tymora had brought the drive to create Brightwater and most of the real planning, and Lliraa was just happy to be included.[103] Later on Waukeen, whose power and portfolio Lliira had held onto while she was imprisoned by Graz'zt, and Sharess, who Sune had rescued from being absorbed by Shar, joined Brightwater.[105][106] Originally the city was divided into three sectors, but it later expanded to include more districts.[106]

  • Lliira: The Lady of Joy, Lliira was the Faerunian goddess of dancing and merriment. Her realm, the Quarter of Orange Lanterns, was the most notorious district of Brightwater, a place of unceasing celebration with milling crowds, picnics, summer dances, and courtships by day, and a loud carnival of music, dance, drink, and revelry by night. Those rich with coin spent huge sums on luxuries, and Lliira's followers spread the joy.[20][106]
  • Sharess: The Lustful Mistress, Sharess, Faerunian goddess of hedonism and sensuality, joined the trio of Torilian gods in Brightwater after the Time of Troubles, establishing her own quarter of the city. Between Lliira and Sune's realms, both in terms of location and philosophy, was her quarter of Rapture. It was the city's darkest district, a sector filled with shadowy alleys and somewhat shady establishments.[106][107]
  • Sune: Known as Lady Firehair, Sune was the Faerunian goddess of love and beauty. Her realm, the Heartfire Quarter, was the smallest sector of Brightwater, and more quiet and private, consisting of hidden courtyards and tiny rooms surrounded by festhalls, inns, and matchmaking shops. It was a place of mystery and bliss, and its inhabitants searched the unexplored paths for the perfection found in passion and the truths of love.[20][106]
  • Tymora: Known as Lady Luck, Tymora was the Faerunian goddess of good fortune and victory. Her realm, The Quarter of the Great Wheel, was the largest and most popular (if not heard of) district, a grandiose place where adventurers and daredevils gathered to boast of feats past and to come, and wagers of all sorts were made. It was also the judicial district, where criminals had to try their luck and attempt to win themselves a pardon.[20][106]
  • Waukeen: Known as the Merchant's Friend, Waukeen was the Faerunian goddess of wealth and commerce, and had placed her realm in Brightwater after the Time of Troubles. Her realm, the Marketplace Eternal, laid in Brightwater's center, and its streets were packed with buyers and sellers at all times. Though it was the only district dedicated to business besides pleasure, in the realm of enterprise, trading was its own intoxicating form of fun.[106]

Others[]

  • Chih-Nii: Goddess of weavers and love, Chih-Nii was the shy daughter of the Celestial Emperor of Kara-Tur. Though she had a realm on Olympus, called the Loom of the Celestial River, she preferred to dwell amongst the bariaur of Arborea, tending to sheep and silkworms while watching over star-crossed lovers.[20][108]
  • Hlal: Known as the Jester, Hlal was the draconic god of humor and messages, and was known to lair in some secret site within Arborea.[109]
  • Iallanis: giant goddess of love, beauty and mercy, Iallanis's realm of Florallium was on Arborea's 1st layer. Consisting of crystal springs and quiet gardens, Florallium was, by the tacit consent of the gods and petitioners, a neutral ground for giantish beings. It was where peace was negotiated in times of conflict, and where fortuitous events could be celebrated in times of peace.[110][111]
  • Morwel: The Faerie Queen, Morwel was the leader of the eladrins, and controlled the seat of their power, the timeless demiplane known as the Court of Stars. Not even gods could enter without her consent, and so long as nightfall covered the land, it could go between the layers of Arborea, even in and out of divine realms, at her whim. She reigned from a crystal palace within the autumnal, sylvan forest, under its starry sky.[112][9]
  • Nephthys: The Lady of Sands, Nephthys was the Mulhoranidian goddess of wealth, guardian of the dead, and sole deity residing in Pelion. Her home, a palace of dun-colored stone, was located in her realm of Amunthys, a vast desert with ever-shifting boundaries. It was unknown if she had caused Pelion's condition or was holding it back, but she nonetheless protected its many crypts, tombs, crematoria, and mausoleums.[83][39][37]

One of Arborea's most attractive features was an enigmatic fountain that could hardly ever be found. Called Canathas by the Greeks, Evergold by the elves, and alternatively called the Fountain of Beauty or Fountain of Youth, it was a pool of crystal blue water surrounded by golden sand. Its sheen was so bright that it hurt the eyes to gaze upon it, and by bathing in its waters, one could enhance their appearance for a limited time.[9][46][82][62][112][104][20]

The reported location of the Evergold was highly variable. Some said it rested in the center of Hanal'i's crystal palace in Arvandor, where she used it as a kind of crystal ball. Others claimed it could be found in Sune's Heartfire district, Aphrodite's palace in Olympus, or that it could only be accessed through the eladrin Court of Stars. In truth, all of these answers were correct; Evergold was not a stationary site but a phenomenon that shifted throughout Arborea on a pattern that few but gods had deciphered, appearing wherever it was needed.[9][20][46][82][62][112][104][103][94]

Regardless of where it was, the various like-minded goddesses of beauty and glamour shared its bountiful waters. The Norse goddess Freya, and many other deities not known in Faerun made use of the fountain. Sharress began frolicking in and around the Evergold with other goddesses after the Time of Troubles.[94][107] Sune's access to the pool also went to ensure that the raucous youth of Brightwater's deities would stay strong for an eternity.[103]

Rumors and Legends[]

Arborea was not always home to the Elven and Olympian pantheons, the two divine groups having asserted themselves after banishing two other pantheons from the plane.[20]

First were the Seldarine, a comparatively tiny and emaciated group next to the brawny giant pantheon, who, under Corellon, challenged the giants for dominion. Seeking glory, the elven pantheon abandoned their former home of Ysgard and took Arborea in a battle of gigantic proportions, leaving the giants to flee to the lands they had once occupied, and leaving behind many of their treasures. One could still find the stone cities and halls of the giants scattered throughout elven lands, massive stone buildings with 50 ft (15 m) or higher walls (a scale matching that of the plane) more like hills than products of artifice. Iallanis, who had stayed at the hearthside during the war, was allowed to stay, though the Seldarine didn't respect her much.[20][81]

The Olympians arrived later, having gathered together to defeat their forefathers, the greater titans, and cast most of them into Carceri. The leader of the greater titans, Cronus, having heard that his own children would cause his downfall, devoured nearly all of them, only for his wife Rhea to trick him into swallowing a stone before allowing their sixth son, Zeus, to escape. Eventually Zeus returned and poisoned Cronus, causing the titan to vomit back up his siblings, the catalyst that allowed the Olympians to exile them to the Tarterian Depths. After establishing a foothold on many Prime Material worlds, they later made their permanent mark on Arborea, where they either created or took control of the titan-created Mount Olympus.[1][20][116]

Pelion's one of those wonderful places with no explanation. The places we haven't figured out are always the most interesting.
— A planar sage[117]

Arborea was a plane of secrets and enigmas, from the unpredictable path of the Evergold, to what entities and secrets once and still resided in the sands of Pelion.[9][82] There was also the timeless Faerie Queen Morwel, who had always ruled over the manifestations of chaotic good that were the eladrin and had existed since the Age Before Ages when the multiverse was still nascent and forming, and no one dared ask her age.[22][118] The elven domain of Arvandor was the region of Arborea best known to Material Plane visitors, and it too was a mystery, even to the elves themselves. Beyond that domain were even more hidden matters, perhaps realms ruled by deities unknown.[9][81] It was said that only the gods knew the secrets of the Olympian Glades,[81] and even then the more adventurous deities could still be stumped by its greater mysteries.[1]

Appendix[]

Notes[]

  1. Although the text says "Athena", it more likely means Venus or Aphrodite, as they are all goddesses of love and beauty, while Athena is not. Furthermore, "Sune" is the final four letters of "Venus" reversed.
  2. Kirith Sotheril and Tethrin Veraldé are placed into Arvandor by Dragon magazine 155 and it is implied the whole Seldarine lives in Arborea by Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Dragon magazine 236 places them into Elysium instead, but is the only source that names their realm. This article assumes that their realm in Arvandor also has this name.
  3. Similarly to Kirith and Tetrin, Naralis is stated to dwell in Arborea in Dragon magazine 155 and implied to lives there by Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. Dragon magazine 236 places him into Elysium and is the only source that names his realm.

Appearances[]

Novels
Tymora's Luck

References[]

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Connections[]

The Olympian Glades of Arborea
Layers and their Realms
Arvandor Aquallor Mithardir
Arvandor
(The AerieGwyllachaightaeryllEvergoldErevan's changing palaceHanali's crystal palaceHouse of Glowing StarsLolth's GrovePale TreeTethridar)
Brightwater
Fermata
Florallium
Olympus
Whistledge
Caletto
Elavandor
Amun-thys

Wandering: Seelie Court

Demiplanes: Court of Stars



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