Jeremy Morgan

Written by Jeremy Morgan, tabletop games editor, gamer, and software developer.
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Planescape 4E - Don't Waste the Gray Waste

20 September 2011

The Lady of Pain's Crest

Here, I talked about a framework for the planes. Today, we’re going to put some meat on those bones with regards to one of the planes, the Gray Waste. Why it? Honestly, because it doesn’t have much treatment in 4E, and my mind started working immediately on some interesting mechanics for it.

Today, I’ll introduce the plane and give its 4E counterpart (such as it is). Then I’ll get to the heart of the first item in our list of planar mechanics, the overall planar effect.

Gray’s My Favorite Color

The Gray Waste is only mentioned in two books (to my knowledge). The first is the Manual of the Planes, and the other is a paragraph in Secrets of the Astral Sea. It is called Pluton, and it was the realm of Nerull, the now-deceased god of the dead.

The Gray Waste of the original Planescape material was a much different place. It had three layers (called “glooms” due to their nature), of which Pluton was the third gloom (the others being Oinos and Niflheim). Oinos was ruled by a yugoloth (think Neutral Evil equivalent of a demon) lord. Niflheim was ruled by Hel, the Norse goddess of death, and Pluton was the realm of Hades, the Greek god of the dead. The plane’s alignment was Neutral Evil, and everything there was gray: the sky, the ground, plants, even the residents and creatures. Visitors to the plane would even find the color slowly draining from them and their possessions!

A Touch of Gray

“Why ya wanna go to the Gray Waste? Many a blood went into the gray and never returned. Chant is that you can survive the place, but it ain’t easy. You’d have to be barmy or addle-coved to stay there long.” - Planar to a Clueless Prime

In the Planes of Conflict boxed set, travel in the Gray Waste is laid out. Specifically, let’s focus on the following quotation (which falls under fair use):

To travel anywhere on the Gray Waste outside a power’s realm, a body has to learn the trick of not concentrating on his destination. Only the lack of desire or care to reach a place allows a body to make much progress. He moves about ten times faster than if he’s intent on reaching a certain point.

I’m going to leverage this mechanic by bringing the essence of it forward into 4E to create our planar effect. Simply, everything takes longer in the Gray Waste. Extended rests require more than the normal eight hours. Overland travel causes a journey of days to take weeks instead.

Next time, I’ll discuss the horizon (timer) for the Gray Waste.