Planar Primer #4: Divine Sanctuaries
Surrounding the Spectral Swamps of Gehenna, below the starlit sky of the Astral Sea, and above the Endless Pits of the Abyss spread out an infinite realm of heavens and hells. The seat of faith and belief in the multiverse, these regions mark the places where gods, goddesses, and those beings of similar power hold court. The exact location of any given domain is ephemeral and dynamic, with only relative consistencies over time. It is here where those who were once alive spend the rest of their existence in whatever realm they earned or petitioned for.
Hallowed Halls Of Ardor
One half of this infinite landscape is dedicated to those beings who seek to better the cosmos through their followers. Deities of good, order, law, and mercy hold courts here and heavens are among the most plentiful type of realm. Through these lands winds the Vaitarna River where mistakes and regrets are cleansed and the soul can find its rest among those who fell before. Within the borders of these domains mortal creatures find aid and succor, though there is a temptation never to leave. Some believe an inherent cruelty exists here, for not all are easy to find in the afterlife and cruelty is not rare among those who fail to resist the temptation of heaven before one’s time.
Flensing Fields of Perdition
Where kindness and order do not old sway, there are the lords and ladies of cruelty, exploitation, and savagery. Opposite the Hallowed Halls and the heaven of goodly gods are the hells where souls are punished for their negative acts. Unless, of course, they managed to please an evil deity sufficiently in life or petition one while in Gehenna. Fed souls by the Acheron River, the Flensing Fields are better known as The Hells to most mortals, though this is not entirely accurate. The Hells, proper, are the nine circles or domains ruled over by the strongest of Archdevils who managed to take out the tyrannical Mephistopheles. Other evil deities and Archdevils rule throughout the Fields but the Hells lie at the center of evil, selfish cruelty.
Belief Above All
It is the strange but powerful nature of belief that grants gods and other deities their powers. The more followers, the stronger their fervor, the larger a domain might become. As worship and belief in gods change, so do the domains of the Divine Sanctuaries. Some fall to ruin, forgotten and lost as the dust of dead souls build up. Others are subsumed in stronger domains and some gods become one while others split themselves apart. It is often better to leave the technical intricacies to philosophers and historians.