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Ethereal curtains, also called curtains of vaporous color, were the barriers between the Deep Ethereal and the various Border Ethereal regions of the Ethereal Plane.[1][2] Some scholars instead reported a single infinite curtain that separated the two regions of the Ethereal, in which case it was called the Wall of Color.[3][4][5][note 1]

DescriptionEdit

See!? It does look like a wall of chocolate! Xanxos likes chocolate, especially when it's dribbled over raw elf. Are you an elf? Hey, come back here!
— Xanxos the slaad, showing off the ethereal curtain to the Plane of Ooze before lunch.[5]

Ethereal curtains appeared like enormous sheets of colored vapor, which continuously were in motion.[1][2][3][4][5] The motion had been described as the flapping of a world-sized flag.[5] Motes of sparkling light flickered over their surfaces.[1] Some who had seen ethereal curtains described them as looking something like the northern lights found on some worlds.[3]

The curtain or curtains were only visible from the Deep Ethereal side and never from the Border Ethereal.[5]

Anyone separated by a curtain from the Border Ethereal was completely protected from any harm by any force or being on the other side, whether on the Border Ethereal or the bordered plane.[1][5]

Curtain ColorsEdit

The color of an ethereal curtain indicated to which Border Ethereal region it led.[1][2][5] To those who believed in a single ethereal curtain, the curtain had separate colors in different areas, which indicated the destination.[5] Trusting in the color of the curtain to lead you to your desired target, however, was considered risky.[5] The colors of the curtains to most of the major planes are listed in the table below, along with other methods of planar travel:

Plane Planar Fork[6] Color Pool[7][8][9][10] Ethereal Curtain[11][12][13][14]
Material Pitch or Chord
The Prime Steel Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolMaterial Silver EtherealCurtainMaterial Metallic silver or turquoise
The Feywild Emerald green Opalescent white
The Shadowfell ColorPoolShadow Spiraling black Silver or dusky gray
Elemental Planes
Fire Copper Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolFire Fire emerald EtherealCurtainFire Flickering green or red
Earth Zinc Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolEarth Moss granite EtherealCurtainEarth Flickering gray or brown
Water Lead Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolWater Dark blue EtherealCurtainWater Flickering blue or green
Air Tin Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolAir Pale blue EtherealCurtainAir Flickering white or blue
Para-elemental Planes
Smoke Bronze Loudspeaker listen Pearl
Magma Brass Loudspeaker listen Maroon
Ooze Zinc/lead Loudspeaker listen Chocolate
Ice Pewter Loudspeaker listen Aquamarine
Quasi-Elemental Planes
Radiance Copper A♯ Loudspeaker listen Shifting rainbow
Mineral Zinc A♯ Loudspeaker listen Milky pink
Steam Lead A♯ Loudspeaker listen Ivory
Lightning Tin A♯ Loudspeaker listen Violet
Ash Copper A♭ Loudspeaker listen Dark gray
Dust Zinc A♭ Loudspeaker listen Dun
Salt Lead A♭ Loudspeaker listen Tan
Vacuum Tin A♭ Loudspeaker listen Ebony
Energy Planes
Positive None known ColorPoolPositive Shining white EtherealCurtainPositive Shining white
Negative None known ColorPoolNegative Cold ebony EtherealCurtainNegative Glossy black
Transitive Planes
Ethereal Glass[tbl 1] Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolEthereal Spiraling white
Astral Quartz[tbl 2] Loudspeaker listen Swirling gray
Shadow ColorPoolShadow Spiraling black Silver or dusky gray
Outer Planes
Outlands Platinum Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolOutlands Leather brown Brown
Cynosure None None None
The Fugue None None None
Mechanus Silver Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolMechanus Diamond White
Arcadia
  Abellio
  Buxenus
  Layer 3
Gold
C♯ Loudspeaker listen
C♯ major Loudspeaker listen
C♯ minor Loudspeaker listen

ColorPoolArcadia Saffron

Pale yellow
Celestia
  Lunia
  Mercuria
  Venya
  Other layers
Gold
Loudspeaker listen
D major Loudspeaker listen
D minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolCelestia Gold


Brilliant yellow
Bytopia
  Dothion
  Shurrock
Gold
E♭ Loudspeaker listen
E♭ major Loudspeaker listen

ColorPoolBytopia Amber
Dark yellow
Elysium
  Amoria
  Eronia
  Belierin
  Thalasia
Gold
Loudspeaker listen
E major Loudspeaker listen
E minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolElysium Opal


Dark green
The Beastlands
  Krigala
  Brux
  Karasuthra
Gold
Loudspeaker listen
F major Loudspeaker listen
F minor Loudspeaker listen

ColorPoolBeastlands Emerald

Emerald green
Arborea
  Arvandor
    Arvandor
  Aquallor
  Mithardir
Gold
F♯ Loudspeaker listen

F♯ major Loudspeaker listen
F♯ minor Loudspeaker listen

ColorPoolArborea Sapphire
Dark green

Bright blue
Ysgard
  Ysgard
  Muspelheim
  Nidavellir
Gold
Loudspeaker listen
G major Loudspeaker listen
G minor Loudspeaker listen

ColorPoolYsgard Indigo

Purple
Limbo Nickel C[tbl 3] Loudspeaker listen ColorPoolLimbo Jet Swirling black
Pandemonium
  Pandesmos
  Cocytus
  Phlegethon
  Agathion
Iron
C♯ Loudspeaker listen
C♯ major Loudspeaker listen
C♯ minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolPandemonium Magenta


Crimson
The Abyss
  Layer 1
  Other layers
Iron
Loudspeaker listen
Unknown[tbl 4]

ColorPoolAbyss Amethyst
Swirling red
Carceri
  Orthrys
  Cathrys
  Minethys
  Other layers
Iron
E♭ Loudspeaker listen
E♭ major Loudspeaker listen
E♭ minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolCarceri Olive or red


Gray-green
Hades
  Oinos
  Niflheim
  Pluton
Iron
Loudspeaker listen
E major Loudspeaker listen
E minor Loudspeaker listen

ColorPoolHades Rust

Iron gray
Dark red
Gehenna
  Khalas
  Chamada
  Mungoth
  Krangath
Iron
Loudspeaker listen
F major Loudspeaker listen
F minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolGehenna Russet


Bright red
The Nine Hells
  Avernus
  Dis
  Minauros
  Other layers
Iron
F♯ Loudspeaker listen
F♯ major Loudspeaker listen
F♯ minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolBaator Ruby


Red & black
Acheron
  Avalas
  Thuldanin
  Tintibulus
  Ocanthus
Iron
Loudspeaker listen
G major Loudspeaker listen
G minor Loudspeaker listen
Unknown

ColorPoolAcheron Flame


Metallic red
  1. Glass always breaks in casting of spell.
  2. Quartz breaks about half the time in casting of spell.
  3. Precise determination of destination layer not possible.
  4. Lower layers may be reached through random chords.

TravelEdit

If a traveler faced an ethereal curtain, desire alone was all that was necessary to enter through the curtain and find oneself on the other side, at the border of another plane able to see into it from the Ethereal.[1][4] (Strangely, something prevented anyone from reaching the Border Ethereal of the Material Plane around the Krynnspace; the ethereal curtain to this part of the multiverse was somehow blocked.[15])

EtherealPlane-1e

A diagram depicting ethereal curtains at the barriers between the Deep Etheral and the Border Ethereal regions of an Inner Plane and the Prime.

Likewise, any planar traveler desiring to leave the Border Ethereal of any plane needed only to will it, and she or he would immediately appear facing an ethereal curtain of the appropriate color. To an observer still remaining on the Border Ethereal, the traveler would appear to vanish in an enveloping, roiling mist.[1][4] (An exception to this was found on the Border Ethereal of the Demiplane of Dread, from which it was impossible to enter the Deep Ethereal.[15]) Later scholars believed that the only way to enter the Deep Ethereal from the Border Ethereal was with a plane shift or gate spell.[2]

Traveling along a curtain before entering it would allow one to appear at a point overlapping a different location on the bordered plane, but since it was not possible to see through the curtain, it was generally not possible to predict which direction of travel along the curtain would lead to which location,[1] nor did distances traveled in the Deep Ethereal in any way correspond to distances in the Border Ethereal.[4] Some travelers of the planes argued that those who were clever enough could recognize patterns in the flashing lights in the curtain to find previous sites of entry.[4]

Traveling to another curtain or area of a curtain could feel like a journey of anywhere from 10 to 1,000 hours,[1][2][4][16] though the time that had actually passed in the Material Plane would not be as long.[1] Traveling to the place where passage through a curtain would take one exactly to the desired destination in the Border Ethereal always took longer than if someone simply had willed to reach a given border in general.[1]

If a visitor to the Deep Ethereal was under the effects of a magic item or spell, such as etherealness, and the duration of the magic wore off, the traveler would immediately be forced through the nearest ethereal curtain and would materialize on the corresponding plane of existence.[1][17]

AppendixEdit

NotesEdit

  1. The Great Wheel cosmology presented in Manual of the Planes for the core setting of 3rd edition Dungeons & Dragons has a simplified Ethereal plane, with no separation between Border Ethereal and Deep Ethereal. However, it also presents the Deep Ethereal as an alternative set of rules, more in line with the earlier 1st- and 2nd-edition descriptions. Core 3rd edition furthermore alters ethereal curtains, such that they can travel to any plane, not only Inner Planes—although the optional rules for the Deep Ethereal seem to suggest a restoration of their previous behavior. They are described as functioning much like color pools, in contrast to their function in the two earlier editions. Fifth edition restores the earlier distinction of Border and Deep Ethereal and restores the function of ethereal curtains as barriers not portals.
    The Forgotten Realms setting does not strictly follow core rules, and in novels written for both 2nd and 3rd edition, the Border Ethereal is explicitly mentioned, strongly implying that the optional 3rd-edition rules for the Deep Ethereal should be used, not the standard set of simplified rules.

See AlsoEdit

  • Mount Olympus, from which similar shimmering curtains among the trees and rocks on its slopes led to other planes.[18]

AppearancesEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), pp. 12–14. ISBN 0880383992.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A DM Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 23. ISBN 978-1560768340.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Bruce R. Cordell (1998). A Guide to the Ethereal Plane. Edited by Michele Carter, Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 14–15. ISBN 0-7869-1205-7.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 Bruce R. Cordell (1998). A Guide to the Ethereal Plane. Edited by Michele Carter, Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), pp. 20–21. ISBN 0-7869-1205-7.
  6. Jeff Grubb (April 1987). “Plane Speaking: Tuning in to the Outer Planes”. In Roger E. Moore ed. Dragon #120 (TSR, Inc.), pp. 42–43.
  7. Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 62. ISBN 0880383992.
  8. Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  9. Richard Baker, John Rogers, Robert J. Schwalb, James Wyatt (December 2008). Manual of the Planes 4th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 16. ISBN 978-0-7869-5002-7.
  10. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 47. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  11. Jeff Grubb (July 1987). Manual of the Planes 1st edition. (TSR), p. 12. ISBN 0880383992.
  12. Bruce R. Cordell (1998). A Guide to the Ethereal Plane. Edited by Michele Carter, Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 20. ISBN 0-7869-1205-7.
  13. Jeff Grubb, Bruce R. Cordell, David Noonan (September 2001). Manual of the Planes 3rd edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 57. ISBN 0-7869-1850-8.
  14. Mike Mearls, Jeremy Crawford, Christopher Perkins, James Wyatt (2014). Dungeon Master's Guide 5th edition. (Wizards of the Coast), p. 49. ISBN 978-0786965622.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Bruce R. Cordell (1998). A Guide to the Ethereal Plane. Edited by Michele Carter, Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 16. ISBN 0-7869-1205-7.
  16. Bruce R. Cordell (1998). A Guide to the Ethereal Plane. Edited by Michele Carter, Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 19. ISBN 0-7869-1205-7.
  17. Bruce R. Cordell (1998). A Guide to the Ethereal Plane. Edited by Michele Carter, Keith Francis Strohm. (TSR, Inc.), p. 9. ISBN 0-7869-1205-7.
  18. David "Zeb" Cook (1994). Planescape Campaign Setting, A DM Guide to the Planes. Edited by David Wise. (TSR, Inc), p. 45. ISBN 978-1560768340.
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