As the World Burns
Most Athasians know nothing of the worlds and planes that exist beyond their own. Very few scholars have studied such topics at length, and their writings are locked away in the vaults of the sorcerer-kings. All Athasians know the night sky and its familiar constellations, and many peoples assign different meanings to the motions of the stars and planets.
Athas has two moons, Ral and Guthay. Ral, a mottled green in color, is the closer of the two. Sages who have scried Ral report that it is covered in great green seas and mountain-islands of dizzying heights. Guthay, the smaller and more distant moon, is a golden orb mantled in steaming mists beneath which lie scarlet jungles and marshy seas. Stories tell of ancient moon gates on Athas that lead to both Ral and Guthay, but they function only at unpredictable intervals.
Travelers in the wastes tell of the Lands Within the Wind, an otherworid of magic and enchantment that exists alongside the material world. Known in some ancient texts as the Feywild or the Kingdoms Invisible, this otherworid seems to be an echo or reflection of Athas. It is absent from most places around the planet, but pockets of this realm lie in remote deserts and mountains, especially the Forest Ridge. These pockets are small; scholars believe that the total amount of the plane remaining in existence, combining all fragments scattered across Athas, would fit inside the walls of Tyr. The Lands Within the Wind are home to the eladrin, an elflike race of mysterious powers. A traveler could walk right past an eladrin palace and never see it because it lies in the other plane instead of on Athas.
The Gray is another echo of Athas, an otherworld of shadows and ghosts. In this realm, the restless spirits of the dead linger amid the haunted ruins of great cities. Some sources call this otherworld the Shadowfell or the Plane of Shadow. Like the Lands Within the Wind, the Gray is home to strange and powerful creatures, including mighty shadow giants, fearsome nightmare beasts, and a race of devils that traveled to the Gray when the connection between their home plane and Athas withered. Unlike the eladrin of the fey realm, the denizens of the Shadowfell are much more hostile to mortals who venture into their domain.
Many erudite thinkers believe that the Gray acts as a barrier between Athas and other realms beyond, and that long ago, the domains of the gods could be found in starry seas beyond the Gray. But the Astral Sea has been empty for ages. No godly domains remain within reach of mortal travelers, and the easy connections between the plane and Athas have been severed. The few Athasians who have journeyed beyond the Gray into the depths of the Astral Sea (usually agents of the sorcerer-kings, dispatched to seek long-lost treasures) have found little more than desolate ruins and terrible abominations.
Underlying the rest of existence is the Elemental Chaos, a vast, churning realm from which all the energy and elements of the world were formed. Some sources call this realm the Elemental Planes or the Inner Planes. In cosmological terms, Athas is close to the Elemental Chaos, and vortexes such as volcanoes, sand gyres, and desert flats known as anvils link the planet to corresponding parts of the seething realm. Elemental influences grow steadily stronger and more chaotic as one travels farther away from the Tyr Region, suggesting that the presence of civilization or natural life holds true elemental power at bay (or that in the distant past, the region was shielded from unchecked elemental manifestations). In the depths of the Elemental Chaos lies the Abyss, from which come the demons that plague Athas when they are summoned by reckless rituals or planar rifts.