If you are standing in the Dome of Heaven, you appear to be on a large landscape, with a tall dome arching overhead. On the interior surface of the Dome, there appears to be more land (and more oceans, and more clouds). The sages teach that the Dome is actually a sphere, and the dome-like appearance is a natural illusion.
In the middle of the Dome is a huge ball of Fire called Avv. It burns for most of the day, and then the flames slowly turn black and cold, one by one. Orbiting Avv are four spheres, or moons. These are called Surpa, Abo, Creasa, and Eflorum. The moons sometimes glow at night, and the movement of Avv in the sky creates ocean tides in complex patterns.
The surface area of the Dome is huge. If you cut up the Earth and laid it flat, you could fit well over 11,000 of them on the interior surface of the Dome (13,500 to be exact).
A world so huge gives rise to huge geography. There is the Ocean of Shyssus, 300,000 miles long and 100,000 wide. Flowing into it is the Nissaganzi River, which flows over the Luminan Falls that glow in the night from the crystal caverns behind them. Or the Great Volcano of Ka, which can be seen so well at night that it is used for navigation. Then there is Enigma, a gigantic yet perfectly square structure. No one knows what it is or what it is for.
Civilization in the Dome is scattered and barely connected by teleportation networks. Pockets of civilized human society are surrounded on all sides by the Borderlands, which are filled dangerous beasts, strange ruins, and stranger not-ruins.
The ancient history of the Dome of Heaven is lost to time, destroyed by the Inquisition put in place by the False Gods. After the Assault on Heaven cast down the False Gods and broke the power of the Inquisition, there was a period of openness and exploration, but the lost history could not be recovered. What was discovered was the technology suppressed by the Inquisition, but this lead to the Technology Wars between the arcanists and the mechanists. The arcanists won, and technology was once again suppressed.
Other Spheres of Existence
There are other dimension of reality, each an echo of the Dome of Heaven. As such, these are called the Spheres of Existence.
First, there are two transitive spheres that aid travel from the Prime Sphere of the Dome of Heaven to the other Spheres of Existence. These are the Ethereal Sphere, which is inhabited by the spirits of the unrestful dead, and the Astral Sphere, the home of the Great Old Ones who have moved to life beyond material form.
There are the Elemental Spheres of Earth, Air, Fire, and Water, which are thought to provide a foundation for the existence of the Prime Sphere. These are inhabited by various elemental beings.
There are also the eight Spheres of the Dead, where souls go after life, flowing down the River Styx from the Ethereal Sphere. The realms of the dead are:
- Limbo, the first stop on the River Styx, where the dead must wait until they are accepted into another Sphere of the Dead.
- Heaven, ruled by Ayel of the Seven Forms, the land of angels and those working to become angels.
- Ysgard, where noble warriors fight the good fight for all eternity.
- The Pure Land, where the compassionate are reborn as flowers.
- Pandemonium, where the totalitarians are tortured until they become demons of chaos and destruction.
- Hell, ruled by Asmodeus, where the selfish are tortured until they can enforce order without mercy.
- Tartarus, where the cruel torture the cruel for all eternity.
- The Wylds, where beasts go when they die.
Finally there are the 16 Outer Spheres of Existence. These include the Aberrant Sphere, the Sphere of Dreams, Faerie, the Labyrinth (home to Cynos, the City of the Spheres), Talam Droach (the Sphere of Magic), Yggdrasil (the Tree that is a Sphere), and many more.
Races of the Dome
There is huge racial diversity in the Dome of Heaven. The most populous race is humans, and many are resentful of that. Humans make up about a third of the population of the Dome of Heaven.
Another third of the Dome’s population is made up of what are called the “common” races. These races include dwarves, hobytlan (halflings), goblins, gnomes, and half-orcs. In addition, there are two common races unique: the gori and the venditchim. The gori are a race of short, four-armed tree dwellers with dog-like faces. The venditchim are taller humanoid race with two extra eyes on the sides of their heads. Venditchim are well known for strong communities.
The “uncommon” races include almost all other official D&D 5E races in Volo’s, Mordenkainen’s, and Monsters of the Multiverse. Elves do not exist in the Dome of Heaven, although half-elves do. There are numerous other races in the Dome as well, and many of them are described in the Dome of Heaven Player’s Guide. Here is a brief list of the new races:
- Akepheloi: People with no heads, faces in chest.
- Anatinans: Furry duck people with nasty claws.
- Authons: Human/formian cross breeds.
- Brachians: Intellegent crabs the size of a large dog.
- Burranors: Red skinned/red haired desert folk.
- Chiropterans: Highly social bat people who sing.
- Didelphini: Furry climbers with a prehensile tail.
- Half-Gargoyle: Human/gargoyle cross breeds.
- Kitsune: Fox people with multiple tails.
- Manchi: Large, furry bipeds hiding in the woods.
- Merefolk: Human/merfolk hybrids.
- Neotomans: Hoarding, building, rat folk.
- Pumteks: Small, dark, smelly, and unkempt.
Other races are available. Talk to the DM if you want to play something else (no guarantees).
The Dome of Heaven is not just a picturesque moniker, it is also a description of the amount of divinity that is in the Dome, and in the other Spheres of Existence. In the next column is a listing of the major gods. More details on these gods, and a listing of some of the “common” gods are available in the Dome of Heaven Player’s Guide.