Arborea (Dungeons & Dragons)

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In Dungeons & Dragons, fantasy role-playing game, Arborea or more fully, the Olympian Glades of Arborea, is a chaotic good-aligned plane of existence. It is one of a number of alignment-based Outer Planes that form part of the standard Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) cosmology, used in the Planescape, Greyhawk and some editions of the Forgotten Realms campaign settings.

Arborea is also referred to as "Olympus" or "Arvandor", though technically those names describe separate realms within the plane. Arborea is stylised as a peaceful plane of natural beauty with a multitude of thriving environments. Much of the plane is dominated by vast tall forests, but also includes glades of wildflowers and fields of grain. As a plane that also embodies chaos, it has a wild and often sudden nature. The weather can change drastically at short notice, changing from warm sunshine to raging winds and back again in just a few minutes.

Publication history

The plane known as Olympus was mentioned for the first time by name in the article "Planes: The Concepts of Spatial, Temporal and Physical Relationships in D&D", in The Dragon #8, released July 1977.[1] The plane was mentioned again in an appendix of the known planes of existence in the original (1st edition) AD&D Players Handbook, published in June 1978, where it was described as "The planes of Olympus of absolute good chaotics".[2]

Inhabitants

The eladrin, powerful elf-like celestial creatures are the protectors of Arborea, the most common of which is the Ghaele. Lillends are also common on the plane. Many types of celestial and anarchic version of common animals, natural creatures suffused with tendencies of good or chaos, are found in Arborea. Also, primitive Orc-Baboon hybrids known as Losels dwell in its wilderness, occasionally migrating between it and the Beastlands.

Arborea has two main types of petitioner, the first of which are the spirits of the elven dead. Some take the form of celestial creatures or others simply merge with the plane itself, as a final reward after death. The second main type are the bacchae, drunken revellers who perpetually indulge in wild celebrations, enticing visitors to join with them.

Structure

As an outer plane, Arborea is spatially infinite, further consisting of three infinite layers (or sub-planes). Arborea’s first layer shares borders with the neighbouring planes of the Heroic Domains of Ysgard and the Wilderness of the Beastlands; travel is possible between Arborea and these planes at certain locations.

Layers

The wandering realm of the Seelie Court often appears on the plane of Arborea, always in a different location.

Arborea has three layers:

Arvandor/Olympus

In previous editions, this layer was known as Olympus, but the most recent edition of Manual of the Planes refers to it only as Arvandor. Principally, it is the home plane of the Seldarine, the good Elven deities, headed by Corellon Larethian. This layer is mostly endless canopies of forest with huge clearings containing many idealized elven settlements. Arvandor has a day and night cycle matching that of the material plane. The goddess Eilistraee also resides in the forests of Arvandor, despite her banishment.

The realm of Brightwater, a separate plane in the third edition Forgotten Realms cosmology is located on Arvandor. Four goddesses have domains here, including Lliira, Sharess, Sune, and Tymora.

The actual realm of Olympus is found here, and is home to many deities of the Greek pantheon, including Zeus, Aphrodite, Apollo, Ares, Artemis, Athena, Demeter, Dionysus, Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, and the titan Rhea.

There are several other realms located on this layer, including:

  • The aarakocra goddess Syranita's realm of Whistledge;
  • The giant goddess Iallanis's realm of Florallium;
  • Trithereon's realm of The Forking Road;
  • Chih-Nii's realm of Loom of the Celestial River.

Aquallor/Ossa

When not with the Seldarine, Deep Sashelas also has his own realm of Elavandor on Ossa.

Poseidon's realm of Caletto can be found on Ossa.

Mithardir/Pelion

Nephthys has her realm of Amun-thys on Pelion.

Fauna

Arboreal dragon

Historic influences

Arborea is based loosely on Mount Olympus in Greek mythology. Its name may be borrowed from the medieval Sardinian state of the same name, or may be independently derived from "arboreal".

References

  1. Gygax, Gary (July 1977). "Planes: The Concepts of Spatial, Temporal and Physical Relationships in D&D". The Dragon #8 (TSR) I (8): 4. 
  2. Gygax, Gary (1978). Players Handbook. TSR. ISBN 0-935696-01-6. 

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