Out With the Old
This realm is a dry, brittle landscape. It is filled with deadwood forests of willow, night-black poplar, and shriveled olive. Dry riverbeds snake through meadows of dead grass and shriveled flowers. The only water here comes from the Styx and even that legendary river is less than ubiquitous. The very essence of Pluton drains away all color, life, and passion.
Pluton was once the domain of the original god of death and the dead, a tyrannical, hateful being named Nerull, the Foe of All Life. Nerull was a sadistic, bitter deity who hoarded the souls of the dead jealously and often abused his status as judge of the dead to hold the exalted of other gods hostage, to punish personal slights, and to torment others for his own amusement.
When The Raven Queen cast Nerull down, she was not permitted dominion over the dead, and so she chose not to assume command of Pluton. Since then, the realm has been left to languish, much to the frustration of deities like Erathis, who see the orderly arrangement of astral realms as necessary to rebuild the Lattice of Heaven. Thus the primary inhabitants of Pluton in the present are night hags and fiends, and the few lingering shades of Nerull’s reign, many of whom have become mindless, incorporeal undead by now.
Optional Rule: The Gray Wasting
Pluton drains all life and light from the very soul. Those who dwell here for too long become Larvae, maggot-like creatures with only the faces and distant memories of their past lives. At the end of each long rest in Pluton, a mortal visitor must make a DC 10 Charisma saving throw or gain a level of exhaustion as the plane saps him of vitality. At six levels of exhaustion, instead of dying, the visitor transforms into a Larva.
Evil creatures are especially vulnerable, and have disadvantage on this saving throw, but “lower” creatures such as plants and oozes, and non-mortal evils such as fiends, the undead, et al. are immune to this effect entirely, as are the “true” exalted of Pluton, what few there are left.
Medium fiend, neutral evil
Armor Class 9
Hit Points 9 (2d8)
Speed 20 ft.
Senses passive Perception 10
Languages understands all languages known in life but cannot speak
Challenge 0 (10 xp)
Bite Melee Weapon Attack: +1 to hit, reach 5 ft. one target. Hit: 1(1d4-1) piercing damage.
Larvae found in Pluton are harvested frequently by devils and demons and night hags and other unsavory sorts, traded across the planes as a form of currency, transformed into undead servants, and consumed to power foul magic. Larvae left on their own in Pluton eventually fade away, becoming incorporeal shades, shadows, wraiths, and spectres.
Optional Rule: Despair of Pluton
Despair infects the very fabric of Pluton. Once a day, when a character is faced with some discouragement, the DM may require the character to make a DC 10 Wisdom saving throw. On a failure, the character is subject to a despair effect, either assigned by the DM or rolled on the table below:
1-3 Apathy. You have disadvantage on death saving throws and Dexterity checks for initiative and gain the flaw “I do not believe I can make a difference to anyone or anything.”
4-5 Ennui. You have disadvantage on death saving throws and on Intelligence, Wisdom, and Charisma saving throws and gain the flaw “I find it difficult to care about anything around me.”
6-7 Fatalism. You have disadvantage on all saving throws, and gain the flaw “I think this place is going to kill me, but it will only get worse if I try to escape.”
8 Absurdity. You have disadvantage on all saving throws and ability checks. You also have the flaw “I find myself unable to take anything seriously. The worse the situation is, the funnier I find it.”
A creature affected by this despair can attempt a new saving throw after each long rest to end this effect on itself. If it succeeds, it must still make a new saving throw on the following day or succumb again, possibly experiencing a different despair effect. If the saving throw fails, then the character may either continue with the despair effect noted, or roll for a new one. the despair can also be negated by calm emotions, greater restoration, or any other effect that removes a curse.
The Outer Glooms, The Archipelago of Pluton
The earthmotes emerging from Pluton’s sea of color are dry and barren. Very few things live here. Outsiders who appear in Pluton are always outsiders of other gods, since Pluton has no living deities of its own, and they appear within the plane. Those who camp on the islands are recent escapees, not waiting entrants. The most common inhabitants of these islands are night hags and their nightmare steeds. These soul-trafficking monsters frequently make forays into Pluton to collect souls, but make certain not to stay there too long themselves.