Overlap Zones

4e Cosmology

On Tuesday I posted about adding new planes to the cosmology of Exploration Age. In today’s post I’d like to discuss Exploration Age’s overlap zones.

If you’re familiar with this blog you may remember the concept of overlap zones from my entry entitled The Planes months ago. Well, I’ve tweaked/completely changed a few things and now I want to show off the new overlap zones in Exploration Age. Take a look at the excerpt from the upcoming Exploration Age Campaign Guide below.

Overlap Zones

On Canus certain planes overlap with the Material Plane in different places. These areas are known as overlap zones. Within these overlap zones there are strange physical effects on the Material Plane. Perhaps more importantly permanent portals can be created between worlds within overlap zones.

Think about creatures who might make their home in or seek to control an overlap zone. A red dragon would make great use of its breath weapon and open a permanent portal to bring forth minions in a Plane of Fire overlap zone. A necromancer might build a tower in a portion of a swamp which overlaps with the Shadowfell to create resilient undead. A demon lord might seek to open an portal in an Abyss overlap zone, in order to bring forth a mighty army.

Overlap zones vary in size. An entire forest might be a Feywild or Arborea overlap zone as might a tiny rose garden on a castle estate. The size and frequency of overlap zones is up to the DM.

Each description below gives a plane and its various overlap zone effects. Any overlap zone effects end once outside the overlap zone, unless otherwise noted in the description.

  • Acheron. A creature gains 10 temporary hit points whenever it reduces another creature to 0 hit points.
  • Arborea. Plants in the zone act at the start of the initiative order. Any evil creature within 5 feet of a sizable plant, such as a tree or bush, must make a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw. On a failed save, the creature is restrained by the plant. The restrained creature can use its action to break free by making a DC 15 Strength (Athletics) or Dexterity (Acrobatics) check.
  • Arcadia. Creatures are immune to disease and any creature suffering from a disease is instantly cured upon entering the overlap zone.
  • The Abyss. Demons know the exact whereabouts of any non-evil creature within 100 feet of them.
  • The Beastlands. Any beasts gain a +2 bonus to AC and all creatures have advantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.
  • The Blood Fields. The protection from evil and good and dispel evil and good have no effect.
  • Bytopia. At the end of a short or long rest, creatures of a lawful good or neutral good alignment gain 20 temporary hit points.
  • Carceri. When entering the overlap zone, all creatures must succeed on a DC 10 Charisma saving throw. Creatures who fail feel a rush of despair which lasts with them as long as they remain in the overlap zone and stays with the creature for a 24-hour period after leaving the overlap zone. This despair imposes disadvantage on all saving throws.
  • Elysium. Creatures in the overlap zone cannot be frightened.
  • Feywild. Spells which deal acid, cold, fire, lightning, or thunder damage deal an extra 5 damage per spell level of that damage type.
  • Gehenna. Creatures gain advantage on Charisma (Deception) checks.
  • Hades. It takes twice as long to gain the benefit of a short or long rest.
  • Limbo. Any solid ground in the area is constantly quaking. Once per hour all standing creatures must succeed on a DC 15 Dexterity saving throw or fall prone and take 1d6 bludgeoning damage and the ground around them shakes and moves.
  • Mechanus. Any creature who tries to lie must make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or be compelled to tell the truth.
  • Mount Celestia. The conjure celestial spell has a duration of 8 hours and does not require concentration.
  • Murderfall. When a creature scores a critical hit, it rolls all of the attack’s damage dice three times and adds them together with any modifiers to calculate damage.
  • The Nine Hells. Devils know the exact whereabouts of any non-evil creature within 100 feet of them.
  • Pandemonium. Strong winds in the area prevent creatures from flying higher than 10 feet off the ground.
  • Plane of Air. Creatures without a fly speed gain a fly speed equal to their walking speed. Creatures with a fly speed have their fly speed doubled.
  • Plane of Earth. While in the zone, an effect that would normally kill a creature instead causes it to regain hit points equal to its hit point maximum and become a petrified stone statue.
  • Plane of Fire. Spells and attacks which deal fire damage, deal an extra 10 fire damage.
  • Plane of Water. Creatures can breathe underwater and creatures with a swim speed have their swim speed doubled.
  • Savalization. Civilized (as determined by the DM) humanoids have disadvantage on all Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws and ability checks.
  • Shadowfell. Undead creatures resist all damage except bludgeoning and radiant.
  • Stryfe. Creatures who die are targeted by a reincarnate spell.
  • Ysgard. A creature heals 5 hit points whenever it reduces another creature to 0 hit points.

What Do You Think?

Overlap zones can be used in many campaign settings. Let me know if you plan to use them or a similar idea in your world!

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