Elemental Plane

A setting that represents or is made of a concept/thing. It may be sentient, in which case it may also have an avatar running around. Often, they will be pocket or parallel dimensions separate from the physical world where mortals live, but they'll sometimes be discrete parts of the main setting. They are likely to come in sets, with multiple worlds for various elements or concepts. The four classical elements are the likeliest to get such planes, but this is by no means an exclusive rule.

Compare Elemental Nation, for when it's a society rather than a physical place that embodies and element or concept, which may still be an example. Compare and contrast Anthropomorphic Personification, for when it's a person rather than a place, and Elemental Embodiments, which are likely to have come from this place.


Examples:

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     Literature 

  • The Five Forbidden Regions in the Xanth series: the void, the region of water, the region of fire, the region of earth, and the region of air. Each region is filled with terrain and weather that represent it: the region of water, for example, contains a lot of lakes and it rains often.
  • Death's Domain and the Palace of Time in Discworld. Both symbolizing their concepts as much as the Anthropomorphic Personifications who inhabit them do.
  • In Robert Silverberg's 1970s-era novel Son Of Man, the entire world is like this, billions of years in the future.
  • The Tygrine Cat On The Run has the three realms at the heart of Fiåney: the Harakar, which contains Primordial Chaos and represents the virtue of Instinct; Sienta, home of the first cat ever to exist, which represents the virtue of Judgment; and Ra'ha, the equivalent of Heaven, which represents the virtue of Spirit.
  • In the The Death Gate Cycle, after the Earth is destroyed, the demigod-like Sartan remake it into four worlds, each based on classical element: Arianus, the world of air (a World in the Sky where people live on floating islands); Pryan, the world of fire (a Hollow World of sweltering temperatures and towering jungles); Chelestra, the world of water (another hollow world but full of water, where people live in hollow spaces within artificial floating structures); and Abarrach, the world of stone (a massive volume of rock honeycombed with caverns and tunnels, highly volcanic).
  • In The Great Tree Of Avalon trilogy, each of the seven roots of the World Tree is attuned to a different element which dominates its landscape (Woodroot is heavily forested, Waterroot consists of a system of rivers leading to a vast ocean, Stoneroot is very mountainous, Mudroot is nothing but mudflats, Airroot consists entirely of open skies, Fireroot is nothing but volcanic mountains and Shadowroot is shrouded in darkness) and is home to races attuned to that element (elves in Woodroot, gnomes in Mudroot, dragons in Fireroot, etc.), even though they usually aren't its sole inhabitants (this depends mainly on how inviting it is to other races; you won't find many humans willing to settle in Shadowroot or Waterroot, but you’ll find plenty in Woodroot and Stoneroot, for example).

     Live-Action TV 

  • There's the "land of the trolls," "land of perpetual Wednesday," "crazy melty land," "world without shrimp," and "world with nothing but shrimp" mentioned as a gag on Buffy/Angel.

     Mythology  

  • In Norse Mythology, most of the Nine Realms can be seen as one of these, though their elemental connotations are believed to be metaphors for the human psyche.
    • The realms that can be considered elemental planes are Alfheim, home of the Light Elves; Svartalfheim, home of the Dark Elves and the Dwarfs; Muspellheim, the primordial realm of fire and light and home of the Fire Giants; Niflheim, the primordial realm of ice and darkness and sometimes conflated with the land of the dead; Vanaheim, home of the Vanir gods (typically seen as marshes or wetlands); and Jotunheim, home of the giants, trolls and ettins (very mountainous).

     Tabletop Games 

  • In Dungeons & Dragons, there are a great many of these in the canon multiverse:
    • This comes especially to the fore in the Planescape setting, which takes place in the multiverse at large. The most notable are the “inner planes”, which represent physical matter, and the “outer planes”, which represent more philosophical concepts.
      • The inner planes, the ones actually referred to as elemental planes in-lore, include the traditional planes of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, as well as the planes of Positive Energy (which animates living creatures and from where healing spells draw their power) and Negative Energy (which animates the undead and from where necromancy draws its power). There are also the quasielemental planes (formed by an element interacting with either positive or negative energy) and paraelemental planes (formed by two elements interacting)note . They take the form of a spatially infinite expanse of their element (so an endless volume of soil, or a sea with no bottom or surface) with occasional "pockets" of other elements here and there. They’re home to both their associated Elemental Embodiments and whatever creatures can adapt to their conditions (for instance, the Plane of Water is home to all sorts of sea life and aquatic races, while the Plane of Earth is home to plenty of dwarves).
      • The outer planes include a plane representing each of the Character Alignments plus the borderline areas between them. For example, the infinite, nightmarish and demon-haunted layers of the Abyss represent the Chaotic Evil alignment; the heroic battlefields of Ysgard represent the meeting of Chaotic Neutral and Chaotic Good; and the orderly, worlds-sized three-dimensional gearscape of Mechanus represents the Lawful Neutral alignment.
    • Module WG7 Castle Greyhawk. The Queen of the Honeybee Hive on level 7 opened a gate to the Demi-Plane of Flowers, a gigantic plain covered with every imaginable type of flower and plant.
    • 4th Edition takes the elemental planes, the Chaotic Evil Abyss and the Chaotic Neutral Limbo and mixes them into one plane, the Elemental Chaos. The 5th Edition reinstates the separate Elemental Planes, with the Elemental Chaos occurring where they break down and mix together as one heads "away" from the mortal world and towards the Outer Planes.
  • Pathfinder has the same elemental planes as Dungeons and Dragons, forming the inner part of the Inner Sphere of outer planes immediately around the material world, with Air closest to it, then Water, then Earth, then Fire. Unlike D&D, while elementals are present and common, the true rulers of the planes are the various races of genies, as well as the four breeds of primal dragon associated with the elements.
    • Air is an endless sky filled with clouds and storms big as worlds, floating masses of ice (coming from the Air-Water border, where massive storms and icebergs calve off into Air), floating cities and massive metal spheres of unknown origin. It is home to the djinn and cloud dragons, and to immigrants like sylphs, white and silver dragons and gnomes where solid ground exists.
    • Water comes in the form of a vast ocean, kept oxygenated by the Plane of Air and salty by the Plane of Earth, dotted by bubbles of air, massive whirlpools, bodies of freshwater and brine and floating rocks and islands. It was ruled by the marids before their empire collapsed, and is also home to brine dragons and aquatic creatures like mermaids, krakens, Fish People and assorted sealife.
    • The Plane of Earth is a massive volume of earth and stone riddled with tunnels, caves and abysses and shot through with veins of metal and minerals. Elemental Water intrusions manifest as salt and limestone deposits and buried oceans and flooded caverns, while elemental Fire manifests as plumes of magma. The shaitan live here, as do the crystal dragons, elemental beings such as xorn and oreads and immigrants like dwarves.
    • The Plane of Fire consists of seas of flame, plasma, molten lava and liquid metal interspersed with masses of volcanic stone, volcanoes, burning deserts and clouds of smoke, ash and toxic fumes. It is ruled by the efreeti and the fire mephits, and is also home to creatures such as magma dragons, phoenixes and salamanders.
  • All of the Titans seen in Scion, as of yet. Of those that haven't been, it's safe to assume that the vast majority also are.
  • Exalted: The Flat World of Creation is "pinned" in place by the Elemental Poles of Fire in the south, Water in the west, Air in the north, Wood in the east and Earth in the center. The closer you get to the pole, the more prominent the element becomes; the South is a vast desert and then volcanoes, the West opens to a vast ocean, the North is frozen and windblown tundras, and the East is thicker and thicker forests. The Elemental Pole of Earth, in the center of Creation, is a colossal mountain.

     Video Games  

  • In World of Warcraft the elemental lords who served the Old Gods would be constantly reborn so the Titans chose to seal them into the Elemental Plane, which in turn was split into four regions. They played a major role in Cataclysm.
    • Deepholm, the plane of Earth, made of mostly shiny rocks and crystals.
    • Firelands, the plane of Fire, with lots of magma, ash, lava and hot air.
    • Skywall, the plane of Air, consisting of mostly clouds and wind.
    • The Abyssal Maw, the plane of Water, typical underwater flair everywhere.
    • The Emerald Dream is a plane representing Azeroth as if sentient life had never evolved. It is a lush wilderness populated by green dragons and their druidic allies.
    • The Realm of Twilight is a shadowy realm harmful to creatures not of the Twilight Dragonflight, often used by them as a defense or weapon.
  • EverQuest has a bunch of these. Indeed, an entire expansion is called "The Planes of Power", and contains something like 15 different planes. And there are more planes from other expansions.
  • The old Might and Magic universe had (at least) four Elemental Planes (the classic Fire, Water, Air and Earth). While an important background element right from the start of the franchise (as the Ancients' method of world/ Nacelle-creation involves manipulating both elemental energies and the four Elemental Lords), the planes themselves only play an important role in VIII (portals to them have opened, and they're preparing an invasion for reasons at first unknown) and Heroes Chronicles: Masters of the Elements, where the main character has to sojourn to the planes in an attempt to stop an invasion (motivated by entirely different things than the one in VIII).
  • Rift: The planes, where each one of the six elements (Fire, Water, Earth, Air, Life and Death) rules unrestrained. Closing portals that their inhabitants can get through is a core part of the game.
  • NetHack: The late game.
  • Ultima VIII: The world of Pagan is divided roughly into four regions, each dominated by a Titan (an elemental demi-god). Unsurprisingly, each region is heavily characterized by the relevant element. Additionally, an actual Elemental Plane of Aether exists outside of Pagan.

     Webcomics 

     Western Animation  

  • The Family Guy episode "Road to the Multiverse" featured quite a few of these.
  • One episode of The Fairly OddParents! had several. When Timmy wishes to become a fairy and attempts to get to "Fairy World", he first ends up in "Scary World" and "Hairy World". A cow then shows up in Hairy World asking if she's in "Dairy World".
  • One of several D&D references in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy involved Grim trying to take Billy and Mandy to the elemental plane of fire.
  • The Invader Zim episode "Room With A Moose" has two consecutive examples of this trope, with Zim showing Dib other places he could have used the wormhole to send him. The first is "a dimension of pure itching" which is only shown as a green mist, Zim assuring Dib "that stuff's really itchy", while the second is "a dimension of pure dooky" which isn't shown at all, only Dib's horrified reaction visible.


Alternative Title(s): Plane Of Whatever

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ElementalPlane