Thursday, September 17, 2009

Pellatarrum: Cosmology & Geography Overview

Are you ready to have your puny minds broken? Good, let's begin. And remember, if at any time you find yourself asking, "But why?" please remember that the proper answer is "Because fantasy, that's why."


The world of Pellatarrum is a disk of infinite size with a spindle rising from its center, like a child's toy top. (The technical term would be "gyroscopic rotor".) This spindle is colloquially known as the Dayspire, because it is responsible for providing Pellatarrum with a day/night cycle.

There are no moons, stars, or suns in the sky above Pellatarrum. Instead, light and darkness are handled by the Positive and Negative Energy Planes, respectively, who are perpendicular to Pellatarrum's disk and are equidistant from it. The Dayspire is precisely large enough to eclipse the two energy planes.


Behold my crappy art. I spent literally minutes on this thing, just for you.


As Pellatarrum rotates upon its spindle, different parts of the disk are exposed to positive or negative energy, or a combination of both. This gives Pellatarrum a cycle of 6 hours of dawn, 6 hours of daylight, 6 hours of twilight and 6 hours of night. A later post will explore in greater detail the ramifications of this cycle.

A note for the scientific-minded: In this cosmology, darkness and cold are things which can be radiated, as opposed to merely being the lack of light and heat.


Pellatarrum slowly rotates within its own pocket universe, which is a prolate spheroid, or what we Americans would call a football. To continue the metaphor, the energy planes would be the tips of the football, stopping at the white painted rings, and the air inside it would be the Astral Plane.



The four panels of the football (sans tips) would be the four Elemental Planes of Air, Fire, Water, and Earth. Each element is created by the Positive Energy Plane and processes towards its destruction at the hands of the Negative. As an example, Water would begin its existence as Steam, coalesces into Water proper, and then turns to Salt shortly before destruction.


This is a picture of airflow around a thrown football. It is here because it is pretty.


Seasons are the result of the Elemental Planes rotating about the football's axis. Spring is Air, summer is Fire, fall is Water and winter is Earth. Yes, the elemental plane of the season actually occupies the sky above Pellaterrum. Yes, during the summer, fire is known to fall to the ground. Yes, it falls through an infinite void and yet somehow strikes the ground of another plane. Because FANTASY, that's why.

Behold the power of color fill.

Another post will cover seasons in more detail. This has just been a brief overview so that I can blow your minds now and clear up any confusion you may have before I delve into the trippy ramifications of this universe.

10 comments:

Nathan said...

I just shit bricks.

Kenneth Raymond said...

I love it. Seriously. Crazy cracked-up "because it's fantasy, dammit!" worlds and cosmologies are awesome. Again I bring up Planescape, where the Outlands also had an infinitely tall Spire, one with a definite top and definite bottom -- it's the middle that's infinite, see. Another favorite is from Swashbucklers of the 7 Skies, where the whole world looks like a big snow globe, a dome of open sky with rocky islands floating on clouds in it; and apparently the designer's original conception of the world was even more bonkers.

Chgowiz said...

That's just all sorts of awesome. So what happens when the BBEM goes after the Spire? Where are the gods?

Oh, and my response to the airflow picture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kmv3WlKa6U8

trollsmyth said...

I love this! It's suitably insane.

I would have swapped Earth and Water, but that's just the traditionalist in me.

I'm curious what you've done with the Ethereal Plane. Just chucked it? I used to do that a lot. Still do, actually, now that I think of it. But if you have, in what realm do dreams happen?

Looking forward to hearing the implications of this setup. That's where ideas like this tend to rock hard. Also lookingforward to hearing what, if anything, is outside the football.

Erin Palette said...

@Kenneth: It's true, when I first started this project 4 years ago I used the Outlands as a base model, because I thought it had potential. Of course, I've since gone completely whackadoodle since then and the Dayspire is the only part that remains.

@Chgowiz: To be answered in later posts, I promise! Also, that clip is hilarious.

@Trollsmyth: I just felt that Earth matched the stasis of winter better. *shrug*

The Ethereal Plane still exists, as it and the Plane of Shadow are coterminous with the Prime Material (which in this case is the disk of Pellatarrum). I just took it as a given and therefore made no note of it... but you're right, I should see to that.

What's outside the football? I'm inclined to say "a god of creation, quarterbacking a friendly post-Thanksgiving game."

mxyzplk said...

Wait, I don't understand - do people live on the flat part of the disk or the outside edge? The disk, right, or else the season scheme doesn't work right?

I like the craziness, but one of the real questions becomes how much stuff is really "logical ramifications of the new setup" because logically the new setup would make a lot of things really really different. Like, if I understand this correctly, there could not be such a thing as a shadow - light isn't really "shining" from the PMP like it would from the sun, it's just emanating and filling the world in that sector. (If it were shining, then any tall thing "outside" would put the interior in permanent darkness.)

Erin Palette said...

@Myx: Yes, they live on the disk. Since it is an infinite plane -- Pellatarrum IS the totality of the Prime Material -- an edge exists only as a cosmological abstraction.

I confess I'm a bit baffled as to the next part of your statement. The Positive Energy Plane does indeed shine like a sun, because everything I have read about it in various D&D source material says that it's brilliant, radiant, causes blindness, etc. Likewise, the Negative Energy Plane radiates darkness across the face of the disk, and where they meet, there is shadow.

"If it were shining, then any tall thing "outside" would put the interior in permanent darkness."

Yes, that is how the Dayspire produces a day/night cycle. There is nothing taller than the Dayspire, as it has infinite height. But I fear I haven't properly answered your question, as I can't determine exactly what you're asking. When you say "interior" do you mean the other side of the disk?

Or perhaps you feel that Positive Energy doesn't behave like sunlight does and therefore doesn't scatter and bounce? (It does, in my universe at least.)

mxyzplk said...

Just trying to figure it out... So light is always coming in at a super low angle, right, like it's always sunset or sunrise? Isn't most of ground level "dark" then? Since any mountain or forest or whatnot basically makes everything spireward of it in shadow? And the facing of a house that is "spireward" never gets direct light at all, right?

I thought maybe positive energy just kinda suffused because you talked about how negative energy can radiate and such too. So that the line of twilight wasn't so much where the light can't reach to as where the positive and negative just cancel out

Erin Palette said...

OK, this is clearly the subject of my next blog post, since people are confused and the explanation will probably be longer than a single comment deserves. :)

mordicai said...

The football shape is a clever tough.

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