The soaring mountain of Heaven towers high above the Outer Sphere. This ordered realm of honor and compassion is divided into seven layers. Heaven’s slopes are filled with planned, orderly cities and tidy, cultivated gardens and orchards. Though they began their existences as mortals, Heaven’s native archons see law and good as indivisible halves of the same exalted concept, and array themselves against the cosmic perversions of chaos and evil.
Heaven is a realm of pure righteousness, where the forces of good gather to aid those on less virtuous planes and help worthy souls find rest.
Though inconceivably large, most viewers perceive the plane as a mountain with a mysteriously floating peak.
Heaven is as much a realm of law as it is one of goodness, and visitors unversed in its regulations may find themselves detained by its guardians. The archons who protect it are compassionate, but they also view any who have not earned their place within Heaven’s borders as lacking sufficient moral grounding to be trusted to wander freely. A visitor invited by a specific deity or other heavenly power might be welcomed and escorted to the proper realm, but told not to venture outside it. Other guests are often confined to Heaven’s Shore—sometimes called “Heathen Shore” by its residents—a city built to allow celestial beings to trade and consult with creatures from other planes without endangering all of Heaven.
Heaven’s residents see law and goodness as largely the same force. Order is the greatest good, and goodness is the greatest order. They recognize the good intentions of the azatas of Elysium, but view them as misguided children.
Similarly, they oppose the lawful evil forces of Hell, but credit them with intelligence and believe that they can at least be reasoned into truces and stalemates—and, perhaps, even redeemed—while chaotic and neutral evil forces must simply be eliminated or neutralized.
Heaven appears to most mortals and recently settled petitioners to be a great mountain. While mortal minds may conceptualize Heaven as a geographic region with familiar hallmarks like trees and buildings, it does not obey the same physical laws as the Material Plane. Mortals from vastly different worlds may even perceive the same location differently based on the environment in which they lived on the Material Plane.
Distances between areas are based as much on their philosophical affinity as they are on actual locations, and two locations may, paradoxically, be both extremely close and far away from one another at the same time.
The mountain slopes slant downward, yet also host flat plains that seem to go on forever. One glance might reveal a stately city on the other side of a shining lake, while the next shows a lush forest.
From its base, Heaven rises in seven tiers. While each tier technically exists above or below another, higher tiers do not represent greater authority within Heaven’s hierarchy.
Rather, each tier houses souls that fit its particular theme and carries out prescribed functions to ensure Heaven’s continued operations. A number of locations exist within the mountain or are otherwise not considered part of any layer. Six of the levels are governed by one or more powerful entities called stewards—leaders who do not rule in the traditional sense, but rather help organize and serve as the official authority for matters concerning their respective levels. Over time, different beings cycle in and out of terms of service as their tiers’ stewards—while an archon acting as steward might be weaker than some of Heaven’s other residents, even the gods recognize the role of government in lawful society, and thus grant the office proper deference. Though the governors are collectively called stewards, each has a unique honorific related to her tier’s focus (such as High Preceptor or Chief Moderator).
As with all the planes, Heaven’s residents may come from any number of worlds and realms of existence, though most fall into three distinct categories.
Petitioners: Souls assigned to Heaven after their sojourn in the Boneyard arrive at the mountain’s base, where they wait in orderly lines for admission and registration. Once admitted into Heaven, petitioners may travel freely throughout the plane, usually settling on the heavenly tier that most fits their nature.
Deities and Other Powerful Outsiders: Gods, empyreal lords, lawful angels, and other powerful good-aligned outsiders often maintain homes or even entire realms on Heaven’s slopes or inside the mountain. Each deity’s realm is sovereign, and may bear no resemblance to or continuity with the areas around it.
Heaven’s Native Inhabitants: Heaven’s most numerous native creatures are the archons, lawful good outsiders who serve as soldiers and administrators for the plane. Some archons are ascended petitioners, while others are generated spontaneously by the plane in the Garden. Numerous angels also reach their angelic status here, or are formed by the raw energy of the plane, and lawfully aligned celestial creatures roam Heaven’s landscapes.
Heaven has the following planar traits:
- Divinely Morphic: Deities with divine realms in Heaven can alter the plane at will.
- Strongly Good-Aligned: Heaven is home to forces of good, and a –2 circumstance penalty applies to all Intelligence-, Wisdom-, and Charisma-based checks made by creatures that are not good-aligned while such creatures are in Heaven. These penalties stack with those inflicted by the plane’s strong lawful alignment.
- Strongly Law-Aligned: Heaven is a place of law, and a –2 circumstance penalty applies to all Intelligence-, Wisdom-, and Charisma-based checks made by creatures that are not lawful while such creatures are in Heaven. These penalties stack with those inflicted by the plane’s strong good alignment.
- Enhanced Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the lawful or good descriptor are enhanced, because they are in sync with Heaven’s nature. These spells function as if the caster level was 2 higher than normal.
- Impeded Magic: Spells and spell-like abilities with the chaotic or evil descriptor are more difficult to cast because Heaven’s nature interferes with such spells. To cast a spell with the chaotic or evil descriptor, the caster must make a concentration check (DC = 20 + the level of the spell). If the check fails, the spell does not function but is still lost as a prepared spell or spell slot. If the check succeeds, the spell functions normally.