Oerth's Plane of Shadow (map)

Gary Gygax's original D&D world, where Dungeons & Dragons came to life in the greatest show on Oerth!
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Oerth's Plane of Shadow (map)

Post by ripvanwormer » Wed Aug 01, 2018 2:39 am


This world is the shadow cast by Oerth.

Here's a key to the locations:

City of Onyx: This is the capital of the khayal genie race, described in 3rd edition's Tome of Magic, page 163. "Most khayal make their homes in the City of Onyx on the Plane of Shadow. This is a community of twisted spires and high minarets, protruding in all directions and paying no heed to the laws of architecture or physics. The Malik al-Khayal, the King of Shadows, rules the khayal from the Grand Palace of Endings. The city’s marketplaces bustle with all manner of races and travelers, individuals who make use of the Plane of Shadow as a byway between other planes, but the center of the city is off limits to nonkhayal." I arbitrarily placed it where Zeif is.

Gol Mountains: This mountain range is mentioned in 4th edition's The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond Campaign Guide, where it's described as a gray-black mountain range, the source of death ore, a blackened form of iron. Here, I made it the equivalent of Oerth's Yatil Mountains.

Caves of Deadly Shadows: Described in From the Ashes' Atlas of the Flanaess, page 71, on the Material Plane this is a cave system deep in the Yatils known for being infested with slow shadows and the like. Connections to the Plane of Shadows are likely, so they're listed here.

Citadel of the Nightshade Covenant: The Nightshade Covenant is detailed in 3rd edition's Tome of Magic, page 167. I placed it where the Stone Citadel of Dawn (From the Ashes Atlas of the Flanaess, page 72) is. Tome of Magic describes the Nightshade Citadel this way: "This fortress bristles with towering spires of basalt stone, each twisting upward into the perpetual gloom of the Plane of Shadow. Situated high in a range of shadow-drenched mountains, it exists in absolute darkness, with no lights and nothing to suggest anyone lives there at all. Blind gargoyles, maws opened wide, decorate the citadel. No windows offer glimpses to the inside. Doors are weirdly placed on the exterior walls, seemingly at random on every level. Overhead, shadow dire bats flutter and squeak, looking for prey. The citadel stands at the site of the pact made between the drow and the shadar-kai. Built from the dark rock prevalent throughout the plane, it is a rare testimony to the architectural skills of the plane’s inhabitants. For those seeking contact with the elusive Nightshaders, this stronghold is an ideal goal, even if the road to this place is hidden and perilous."

Shadowmoor: This is the shadowy equivalent of the Archbarony of Blackmoor.

Vale of the Mage: On Oerth, this is the home of Jaran Krimeeah, Mage of the Vale, who Greyhawk Adventures gave ambitions of transformation into a shade using shadowstuff from the Plane of Shadow. According to Oerth Journal #18, Jaran opened a permanent gate to the Plane of Shadow and established a fortress there in 590 CY.

Dim Forest: According to "Backdrop: Hochoch" in Dragon #418: "During the battle to protect the elven village of Derelion from the invading giants, the desperate defenders resorted to shadow magic in an attempt to turn the tide on the brutish interlopers. In an unforeseen accident, the wayward spell opened a rift to the Shadow Plane, through which the shadow dragon Hasforenses entered Oerth. Cloaked by the Dim Forest’s natural gloom, Hasforenses slew all mortal combatants within his reach and set out to explore his new dominion." Oerth Journal #18 also mentions a planar bleed between the Dim Forest and the Plane of Shadow.

Mountains of Loathing (Lortmils). The genocidal rage of the Hateful Wars affected the physical structure of the mountains. There are ruined reflections of dwarven and elven settlements that continue to thrive on the Material Plane, but on the Plane of Shadow show every evidence of being destroyed by war, filled with shadowy corpses of dwarves and elves. Orc and goblin settlements that were destroyed during the Hateful Wars are whole on the Plane of Shadow, busy with the shadows of humanoids. Shadow goblins and banderhobbs are the only sentient inhabitants, and these sometimes travel to the Prime to harry the demihumans. Like other mountain ranges on the Plane of Shadow, these mountains are low hills at noon and towering peaks at dawn and dusk. At night they are infinite columns of black rock rising into the sky.

The Forest of Whispers on the Plane of Shadow includes the Suss and Welkwood and sprawls almost to the ruins of Shadowhawk. Filled with umbral bayans, banderhobbs, susseri, and more. The whispers make coherent words. In the center is the City of Whispering Shadows, corresponding roughly to the Lost City of the Suel.

Twilight Mansion: "Twilight's Last Gleaming" in Dungeon #35 only requires a mountain pass with a city on each end. The pass through the Yatils between Krestible and Molvar would work fine. Anna's map calls this Wyrm Tail Pass; "Twilight Mansion" in the adventure would be the same as "Don Craggen Keep" on Anna's map. Or maybe Twilight Mansion is "Hoch Dunglorin" between Tringlee and Anyanes. Almost any mountain pass will do, but those two have convenient maps that match the Dungeon map closely. On the Plane of Shadow, this keep corresponds to the fortress of the rakshasa maharaja Loliadac.

Bleak Sea: Detailed in 3rd edition's Tome of Magic, page 185. "a vast body of liquid rot on top of which floated bits of animated flesh. This sea of disembodied parts splashed against the shores, twisting and writhing in eternal suffering. In the center stood an island, and a strange and twisted tower whose structure defied all logic perched atop it." Here, it corresponds to the Nyr Dyv.

Nightcrawler Canyon: This tear in the surface of the plane was first described in Dragon #322. It's filled with hordes of nightcrawlers and undead. Here, it corresponds to Rift Canyon in the Flanaess.

Balefire: This is the City of Lanterns detailed in Dragon #322, page 14. It's balanced on the precipice of Nightcrawler Canyon and frequently the victim of its nightshades and undead. It corresponds to the ruins of Veralos on Oerth, which was destroyed by some enigmatic dark power, its inhabitants transformed into greater shadows. Perhaps the attack on Balefire by nightcrawlers coincided with Veralos's destruction, the two disasters somehow linked.

Dunswych: This is a small village encountered by Gord the Rogue in the novel City of Hawks by Gary Gygax. "Gord learned more of Dunswych. The community was one of only a score or so that existed on the Plane of Shadow. All of them were populated by the phantom folk. There were decayed towns and vast, ruined cities too, but gloams and their servants, the shadow-kin, inhabited these desolate places. While phantoms sought to dwell in peace, the gloams were baneful and destructive parasites."

The Beckoner in the Dark: This is one of the adventure cards in From the Ashes, detailing a tomb in the Cairn Hills inhabited by slow shadows and a soul beckoner. It was built by some mysterious human race unlike any living today in the Flanaess.

Plain of Sighing Stones: This is from the 4th edition Manual of the Planes, page 61. "Vast expanses of shifting dunes alternate with stony wastelands. The ever-present wind alters the sandy terrain at its whim, making navigation treacherous. The rushing air more slowly sculpts the mesas and boulders, but has created incredible shapes. Its passage sounds an eerie, desolate moaning that carries for miles and gives the desert its name." Here, it's the equivalent of Oerth's Bright Desert.

Gloomwrought: Detailed in the 4th edition Manual of the Planes, page 57, and in The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond, this is a "dismal, crowded seaport." I placed it approximately where Nessermouth is in Nyrond. It's surrounded by treacherous bogs called the Skins and ruled by inhuman creatures known as Keepers.

Oblivion Bog: Detailed in The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond Campaign Guide, this is a deadly swamp north of Gloomwrought on the way to the realm of Letherna.

Dead Man's Cross: Detailed in The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond Campaign Guide, page 76, this is a nexus of roads with the undead corpse of a priest of Nerull crucified in the center. This Dead Man can point parties to their destinations. The crossroads also serves as a crossing between the Plane of Shadow and the Material Plane. An inn called the House of Black Lanterns can be found here.

Darkreach Mountains: Detailed in The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond Campaign Guide, page 80, here I made it the parallel to Oerth's Griff Mountains and Rakers. The northern branch of the Darkreach Mountains, corresponding to the Griffs, is called the Teeth. To the south, corresponding to the Rakers, are the Claw. Dividing the two ranges is a valley of impenetrable fog called the Gorge of the Mourning Mist. The pass through the Teeth, corresponding to Thunder Pass between Stonefist and Tenh, is called the Frozen Path.

Letherna: Corresponding to the Corusk Mountains on Oerth, this is the realm of the Raven Queen. See 4th edition's Manual of the Planes, page 60, and The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond Campaign Guide, page 86. See also Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, page 58, for thoughts on how the Raven Queen fits into the Great Wheel cosmology.

Chiaroscuro Palace: Described in Gary Gygax's City of Hawks, the Chiaroscuro Palace moves around throughout the plane, passing by Dunswych "perhaps four times in a hundred sleeps." Arbitrarily, I placed it where Rauxes is for now.

Lacc: (Dungeon #136, "Gates of Oblivion"). This is a city of monoliths ruled by a mage called Tenaris Xin, who eons ago traded his soul to the Plane of Shadow in exchange for power and immortality. He commands the Cult of the Monolith, an apocalyptic sect that travels from world to world to convert the locals to his nihilistic creed. The three gates of Lacc are believed to have the power to swallow entire worlds.

Spinward Mountains: This is a range of "shadow volcanoes" mentioned in Races of Destiny, page 88. "Each volcano spews a massive amount of shadow-stuff into the dark sky for about 2 minutes, then the next volcano in the ring (going clockwise) erupts for 2 minutes, and so on."

Elirhondas: From Races of Destiny, page 88, this is the city of the illumians, a race of once-humans notable for the glowing sigils that float above their heads. It's nestled in the center of the Spinward Mountains.

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Re: Oerth's Plane of Shadow (map)

Post by Cthulhudrew » Wed Aug 01, 2018 3:16 am

Wow- I didn't realize there were quite so many canonical locations. The only plane of shadow stuff I recall explicitly for Greyhawk was in the Gord series (and it looks like you got that already).

The black lettering is really hard to read in some places on the map, though. Maybe try something in either white or a lighter shade of grey? That would probably make it easier to read and identify the locales.
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Re: Oerth's Plane of Shadow (map)

Post by Big Mac » Wed Aug 01, 2018 1:00 pm


This one is even more awesome than your Plane of Fire map, because there is more detail.

I know that Forgotten Realms did some stuff about there being alternate Plane of Shadow versions of towns in the Realms. I wonder if that would apply to Oerth too.
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