Cosmology is the study of the nature and orientation with respect to one another of the planes of existence within the Wisterian Multiverse. Most cosmologists in Ahren adhere to a model of cosmology promulgated by Atarlie schools of magical thinking, which themselves have been influenced by knowledgeable sources such as the the Schola Sylvestri, known as the Wisterian Model.
The Wisterian Model proposes a modified Great Ring cosmology, centering the Concurrent Planes, with a nearby ring of four Dogmatic Planes, a further ring of eight Essential Planes, and bounded on its utmost by the four Cardinal Abstractive Planes, all mediated with within an interplanar medium known as the Astral Plane, which links the planes together in ways where they not directly touch, allowing for interplanar travel.
The Concurrent Planes
Ahren - the Prime Material Plane
While Ahren is held by many to be the center of its solar system and with many mortal species holding Ahren as home, there is some debate as to whether the planet Ahren is also at the center of its own plane. The plane itself, referred to properly as the Prime Material Plane, refers to the physical universe which Ahren exists within. According to the Wisterian Model, this universe is at the center of many additional multiverses, which each rotate through the Astral Plane around the axis of the Prime Material Plane.
The Ethereal Plane
See Also: The Ethereal Plane
The Ethereal Plane, at least in respect to the portion of the Prime Material occupied by Ahren and its immediate celestial environs, is fully coterminous with the Prime Material Plane. Home to outsider species such as dopplegangers and ethergaunts, this strange, otherworldly plane is a shadow of a memory of Ahren, often alien to those who transit from Ahren into the Ethereal. This is the medium through which many teleporation effects transit.
See Also: Bardo
The Bardo is a spirit world, a coterminous plane with that of Ahren, in which all is in its natural state - cities have not been raised, forests have not been razed by mortal hands, and so forth. Some mortal souls - those who are touched with the knowledge of Awakening, however mild, do not travel to any of the Dogmatic Planes, but instead linger for a time in Bardo before divinity or nature draws them back into Ahren via rebirth. A few gods; those who reached their zenith through Awakening or those whose connection to nature is stronger than any particular ideology, call The Bardo home. As a truly neutral plane, it is pulled upon equally by the four Cardinal Abstractive Planes.
The Four Dogmatic Planes
Nearest to the Concurrent Planes in Celestial Terms, the Dogmatic Planes are home to some of the deities most influential upon Ahren and the ultimate destination for many souls who die upon the Prime Material Plane. They are comprised of Heaven, Elysium, Hell, and the Abyss.
See Also: Heaven
Heaven is a plane strongly aligned with good and law and is therefore tidally locked to the Cardinal Abstractive Planes of Vita and Axioma. Strongly colonized by much of the Bastonian Pantheon, Heaven is the native plane of Archons and the ultimate resting place of the souls of many believers in the faith of Bastonia.
See Also: Elysium
Elysium is a plane strongly aligned with good and chaos, locking it tidally to the Cardinal Abstractive Planes Vita and Pandemonium. It is strongly colonized by (and occasionally the origin of) several of the High Elven Pantheon, Gnomish Pantheon, and Halfling Pantheon, and the place where many High Elves, Gnomes, Halflings, and other folk believe their souls will go when they die, with varying strictures on how that process should function. It also plays host to the Bastonian god San Sylvester. Azatas are native to Elysium.
See Also: Hell Hell is the cosmological antepode of Elysium, being therefore strongly aligned with evil and law, which locks it in cosmological relation to Stasis and Axioma. The Enemy of the Bastonian Pantheon claims to have created hell, along with the Princes of Hell, who are the ruling caste among the native inhabitants, a race of infernals known as Devils. Bastonian belief centers hell as a place of damnation and the souls of wicked Bastonians as well as others who have made deals with or earned the attention of Devils often end up here in the afterlife.
See Also: The Abyss
The Abyss is the cosmological antipode of Heaven, a plane of vacuous emptiness punctuated by occasional bursts of hellish surrealism, whose cosmological position is entrained closes to Stasis and Pandemoneum. While neither evil-aligned Dogmatic Plane is particularly easy to live with for mortals, the Abyss is perhaps the most hostile, and few gods, if any, call it home.
The Eight Essential Planes
The Eight Essential Planes are further removed from the Concurrent Planes, and are not reached directly from the Concurrent, but rather through transit across the Astral Plane - despite appearances through the use of Gates or Wild Portals, which nonetheless cover some distance across the Astral to connect each end of the portal. These eight essential planes, sometimes called the primordial planes, are bastions of each of the Elements, or Essentia, common to the understanding of Ars Magica. These planes move at different rates through the cosmos, occasionally wandering nearer or further in relation to each other.
See Also: Pyrenum
Pyrenum is the essential antepode of Akara, and is the Essential Plane of Fire. It is often said to be more or less proximal to Hell, and its regions are almost entirely consumed in fire burning endlessly and without fuel, though some metastable pockets appear when and where it has drifted near to more stable planes like Petrii. Never the less it has its own stable regions to which the Ifriti are native.
See Also: Akara Akara the essential antepode of Pyrenum, and is the Essential Plane of Water. A vast expanse of open water without surface or floor, it is a difficult plane to navigate, made more complicated when it is in near conjunction to Petrii or Antistasis, which introduces new elements into the occasion. This plane is said to be the home of the Marid and several other species of water spirits, some of whom mingle with the races of Ahren.
See Also: Petrii
Pyrenum is the essential antepode of Antistasis, and is the Essential Plane of Earth. A vast expanse of stone, sand, and the like, occasional pockets of air and caverns within it are peopled by the hearty Shaitan, and other earth-elemental outsiders. Petrii, though dangerous, is one of the most often visited Essential Planes owing to its material richness, especially if it is in conjunction with Antistasis, which is seen as a safe time to explore it.
See Also: Antistasis The essential antepode of Petrii, Antistais is known as the Essential Plane of Wind, a vast and often featureless sky riven by weather, sometimes more destructive than ever seen on Ahren, and occasionally dotted with flying/falling islands of solid land where various species live, including the indigenous Djinni.
See Also: Lumina
The essential plane of light, Lumina brings with it many dangers, as it is perpetually illuminated from almost all sides, to the point of being hazardous to normal mortal health. It is antipodal cosmologically to Tenebaria. Home to an elusive and insular race known as Luminaria, the light of Lumina is believed to be the source of the spark of sentience.
See Also: Tenebaria
Tenebaria is the Essential Plane of Shadow, making it the antipode to Lumina within Wisterian Cosmology. Though shrowded in perpetual darkness and considered a near ascendant of the Abyss, Tenebaria is not actually good or evil aligned, and is simply a place of darkness. The Mesmerites, a species of dopplegangar native to Tenebaria, hale from here and often travel to other planes in search of new experiences.
See Also: Tindalos
Tindalos is the Essential Plane of Time. Like its close cousin, Xeno, it is unique among the Essential Planes in that it cannot be reached by normal means of extraplanar travel, and it is extremely rare even on cosmological time-scales for wild portals to bring travelers to Tindalos. Coterminous with all points in time that have been, are, shall be, or never were, across all planes in the cosmos, Tindalos is the subject of speculation, ambition of the occasional power-hungry wizard or sorcerer, and chiefly known only by the evidence of its impact on other planes. Several strange and aberrant species are said to be native to Tindalos, none of which are known conclusively to exist, chiefly the Hounds of Tindalos, a race of shape-shifting beasts who police the multiverse against those who would thwart fate or alter the flow of time too severely.
See Also: Xeno
Xeno, sometimes known as the Great Between, is the Essential Plane of Space. Alongside its cousin, Tindalos, it is known by the effects of its movement through the cosmological cycle rather than direct travel, and is nearly impossible to reach. It is said to be the plane between other planes and the Astral Plane - a theory often challenged. In the same sense that Tindalos is coterminous with all points in time, Xeno is said to be coterminous with all points in space. It is unique among the Eight Essential Planes in that no species is said to be native to it, though there are rumours of a god of many bodies who calls the plane home.
The Four Cardinal Abstractive Planes =
On the furthest edges of the cosmology are four planes that each represent, in its purest form, a moral or ethical ideal: Vita, Stasis, Axioma and Pandemoneum. Each has their own hazards, and apart from the occasional stable pockets in their own domain, are possibly the most dangerous planes of existence in this cosmological model. These planes can be reached from the Astral with varying degrees of difficulty.
See Also: Vita
Vita is the Plane of Goodness, sometimes known as the Plane of Positive Energy. Here, the spark of life and vitality is so strong that undead are destroyed immediately and mortals elevated to nearly godly power, though unless they are possessed of extraordinary ability to control the flow of positive energy into themselves, they are often just as quickly destroyed. Some have proposed Vita as the true plane of origin for the Almighty.
See Also: Stasis
Stasis is the Plane of Evil, sometimes known as the Plane of Negative Energy. The plane is a hungry void, empty by even the standards of the Abyss, in which no life can survive for long without extreme magical intervention. Some have proposed Stasis as the true plane of origin for the Enemy.
See Also: Axioma
Known by some as the Clockwork Plane, Axioma is the Plane of Law, known for its seemingly artificial expanse of clockwork terrain moving in constant lockstep with each other, marking out a perfectly orderly universe. The Inevitables are known to be native to this plane, and several other gods maintain realms here.
See also: Pandemonium
A plane of primordial chaos, Pandemonium is in a state of constant flux, of explosions of enormous reserves of arcane energies and the birthplace, in its more or less stable pockets, of many Aberrations. Where it is more or less stable, often stabilized by their own intervention, a few Gods are known to maintain realms here.