Shatter dawns and the Pit flashes through a rainbow of colors. The defender's hands grip his weapon tighter when the flash is red or black or, gods forbid, yellow. Will it be an army of demons, a wall of screaming flesh or a parade of fairies today?
A hole in reality 30 miles wide ringed by walls and fortresses and cities. The Kirinal Pit is both the greatest threat and the greatest resource in the world.
Every day at dawn, a different plane from the Great Wheel, and beyond, manifests within the confines of the Pit.
The Days of the Week have been re-named according to which plane manifests on that day.
The first day of the week. Shatter's name comes from the Night of the Shattered Moon. Any plane has a chance of appearing. Before the creation of the Orrery of Worlds, random planes would appear for random amounts of time. Now, the Orrery’s design includes only one day of chaos in exchange for order every other day of the week.
The great fortresses prepare for war. The troops stand ready on the wall. The sky ships float overhead, weapons turned towards the Pit. The streets of the embassy cities empty as the populace hides in shelters, waiting for the horns to sound. One blast for peace, two for war, three to flee.
As the sun cracks the horizon the entire Pit flashes through a rainbow of hues before settling on one color. The Kirinal Divers take to the air from Chagroth's Tower on the northern edge. The Surveyor of Worlds, the soulforged known as 2, makes the call and the horns sound.
Day of Shatter
On the morning of Shatter, the armies of the Zone prepare for war.
Day of Elements
On Elemental the fundamental building blocks of the universe manifest. The lords of air, earth, fire, and water follow the treaties they have made with the Zone.
On the second day one of the Elemental planes manifests. Normally a day for trade or recreation, the merchants of the Pit can exchange goods in the City of Brass or negotiate with the courtiers of the Citadel of Ice and Steel.
Genasi often serve as the go-betweens for the two realms that they call home. Cross breeds between mortal races and extraplanar visitors are common and referred to as Pit-Blood.
Red flames streak into the sky at dawn. A wave of intense dry heat turns winter into summer. Towers of dull gold climb into the sky and fiery beasts streak into the air. Bells ring along the walls and crowds gather on both sides of the gate for the visit. The City of Brass has arrived.
The Treaty of Trade
The Kirinal Pit, while massively dangerous, was also an incredible opportunity for interplanar trade. Over the centuries, they have established trade treaties with most of the elemental powers.
Day of Shadows
On the Day of Shadows the Lords of the Dark Domains are bound by treaty with the Zone not to encroach on the mortal realm. As always, there is a price for this.
Day three ushers in a time of caution. The denizens of Shadow arrive. Underneath the Treaty of Passage, they cannot cross the border into the world, but the beings of shadow are not known for following mortal rules. The wards on the wall suffice to keep all but the most powerful at bay.
Shadow sneaks in with the fog. The darkness of night shifts slightly. An obscured sun rises. A deep horn blares. The bass of it pulsing up from the ground through your feet. The defenders on the wall carry silvered weapons. They wear necklaces of garlic and wolvesbane.
The gates open. The shadow merchants ready to trade. The predators ready to feast. Only the brave, the foolhardy or the hopeless brave the darkness.
The Treaty of Passage
After centuries of war between Lozar and the Shadowfell the last Tridenser King made a peace treaty with the Raven Queen and other Lords of Shadow. The creatures of Shadow are forbidden from crossing into the world. In exchange, any who wish it cannot be prevented from walking into the Shadowfell.
Day of Prime
Another world from the Prime Material Plane manifests in the Pit. Will the mortals there be friend or foe?
On the fourth day the Pit manifests another mortal world. Next to Shatter, Prime is the most unpredictable day. The Orrery is not always exact and the folk of the Pit, the Kirinalos, have discovered that mortal worlds and mortal people can be just as dangerous as the demons of the Abyss.
Kirinalos wait with cautious anticipation for the horns to sound. The Navigator steers the Orrery and another world of the Prime appears. He has a few seconds to choose the manifestation point. Treaty worlds have a designated point, but if it's a strange plane he errs on the side of caution. But sometimes what appears safe is anything but.
Crystal Spheres and Strange Horizons
Most worlds that manifest come from crystal spheres similar to Erathia. They usually have differing combinations of familiar races and monsters. They are worlds with names like Toril and Oerth, Athas and Krynn.
Some worlds differ oddly. Populated by humans or strange creatures with wildly varying levels of technology. A stunning variety of places from across the dimensions manifest with names like Coruscant and London, Rivendell and Gotham.
Day of Bifrost
On Bifrost the space between appears in the Pit and the roads to the Multiverse open to those who dare to travel them.
On the fifth day the Kirinalos can rest when the Bifrost comes. The Pit becomes a portal, the entire expanse a doorway into the Ethereal or Astral Planes.
The sun climbs into the blue sky as a night sky opens up inside the pit. Rainbows arc into infinity and the Walkers prepare to journey. The hopeful wait at the gates, praying to the Withdrawn Gods that their loved ones will return.
Rainbow Roads Home
Named after the Asgardian Bifrost, rainbow roads throughout the planes arc through the Ethereal and Astral. Bifrost is a day of returning. Savvy Kirinalos, lost in the dimensions, know to follow the rainbow home. Every Bifrost returnees missing for weeks or months or years arrive home.
Ships of the Astral Sea
In the past year, as new moons rise in the sky, the character of Bifrost has begun to change. The void of the Astral Sea has become less lifeless. The rare fauna and flora of that realm have discovered the regular appearance of the portal to Erathia and they come to bask in the sunlight and air of the Material Plane. Strange ships can be seen in the far void and the Kirinalos have begun to prepare for their arrival.
Day of Faerie
At the Faerie Market everything is for sale as long as you can meet the price.
On the sixth day, by treaty, the Pit opens on the Market in Faerie.
The mortal man asks, “Which market are we in this week?”
The faerie merchants always respond “THE Market! There’s only one, you silly mortal.”
The elf walks by with a sly grin, perfectly at home.
Befuddled mortals visit a forest potion stall. It sat in a swamp last week, an ice field the week before. The terrain is different. The stalls are in the same place. They are manned by the same merchants.
Anything you can think of, and some things that you can’t, are on sale in the Market. Will you pay the price?
The Treaty of Passage applies equally to the Feywild as it does to the Shadowfell. And for the same reasons.
Day of Heaven
Before the Day of Heaven dawns, crowds gather to visit the realms of the gods.
On day seven the Heavens open up. One of the upper planes manifests in the Kirinal Pit. The Withdrawn Gods make their presence known. Their worshippers know that they still watch over their creation. The Divine Gate still stands between the world and direct godly intervention.
The troops and the wizards defending the world stand down for a day. They rest, for tomorrow brings Shatter.
Vibrant horns sound over the hymns of the faithful. The largest crowds of the week gather. The bright sun cracks the horizon of a clear blue sky. With a cheer the gates open. Everyone who wants, gets to go to heaven for a day.
On the seventh day pilgrims from all over the world time their journey to arrive at The Kirinal Pit on Heaven. They seek healing or to commune with the Withdrawn Gods.
Days of the Week in the Kirinal Pit
Map art by: Cartographer Ellysium. Days art by: grandfailure
Fortresses and Concordant Zones
Each fortress and the city aligned with it is run by a different grouping of the Concordance for Survival. The fortress, city, and land are embassy territory owned by the members of each grouping.
This tower houses the Orrery of Kirinal, the mechanism that controls the manifestation of planes through the Kirinal Pit. The Tower is the linchpin around which the rest of the world rotates.
Wizards and eldritch knights freshly graduated from Wizard's Peak University serve a 2 year tour of duty here.
Fortress of Kirinal
The stone walls and covered turrets of the Fortress guard the western edge of the Pit. Hippogriff riders and war wizards of Eniam Tal provide air and arcane cover for the Kirinal Defenders.
The Maharlika, the elite knights of Lozar draw from the elite ranks of that ancient nation.They count among their numbers Horse Lords of the Red Plains, knights of Cantreval, and archers from the Duchy of Arro.
Citadel of Anam
The holy fortress dedicated to Anam stands proudly on an easily defensible plateau on the Pit's edge.
The clerics of The Church of Anam and the paladins of the Order of Tridensers provide strategic and religious leadership for the Kirinal Pit. Many Soulforged, fresh from the Soul Forge, choose to serve here.
Bulwark of Light
The Order of Light commands the Bulwark for the human and tiefling lords of the Grand Duchy of Molndal. They see the Pit as the ultimate resource to fill their coffers and expand their power.
Embassy of Hell
The official ambassador of Asmodeus has his offices here.
The dwarves of the Kingdom of Nathal-nalir in the Ironspike Mountains stand strong against chaos. Their proudest engineering feat is their motorized city, The Tortoise, that moves 10 miles further from or closer to the fortress depending on the day.
The elves of the Kingdom of Amredhel and the druids of the Duchy of Tarfydd keep watch over the southwestern rim. They manage the insanity of the Anomalous Forest and the River of Kirinal.
Bastion of Borthakar
The unlikely alliance of the orcish Empire of Borthakar and the Alian Tribes savagely defend their section of the Pit.
Their spiked stone fortress juts out like a tooth from the rock on the northwestern edge of the Pit. They marshal warriors that run the gamut from backwoods warriors with handmade arms to sophisticated orcs in top hats bearing stainless steel axes.
Fortification of Kiris
The arcane nation of Kiris is led by dark elf wizards, necromancers, and sorcerers. They wield an army of goblinkin bondsoldiers, undead, and monsters in defense of the world.
The Fortifications dark tower rises from the southeastern edge, a dark skeletal finger raised in defiance against otherworldly invaders.
Before the Disintegration, Kirinal was a land of rolling hills and lush forests. The Kirinal River flowed through it all. Now, only the River remains, flowing into the pit on it's northeastern edge, but also flowing up, unnaturally, from the southwestern edge.
More than 200 years after the Disintegration and the Explosion, the lands around Kirinal are a wasteland of broken hills covered with strange forests.
The Kirinal River flows in clean from the north. The waters flow out from the southern edge, tainted or blessed by the plane of the day.
Fauna & Flora
The natural wildlife of Kirinal suffered mightily after an onslaught of apocalypses every few decades. Only the mightiest trees and the craftiest animals have survived, even thrived, under the circumstances. Here and there in the wasteland, pockets of "natural" landscapes, oak and elm or harts and boars, persist. Usually under the protection of druid groves.
The wastelands around Kirinal harbor a cacophany of strange beasts and plants from all the varied planes. The walls and wards, the patrols and treaties, keep out most large beasts and intelligent creatures. Small animals, birds, and seeds are another matter. Kirinalos know to be cautious when traveling. They know that entering the wastelands unprepared is a death sentence.
The southwestern wilderness of Kirinal is completely unpredictable. The waters of the Kirinal River flow up out of the Pit's rim, carrying the detritus of other planes into the world every day. Over the decades, the Anomalous Forest emerged from the banks of the river with the greatest concentration of new unpredictable species around the Pit.
The elves and druids of Tol Acharn do their best to balance and manage the lands under their purview.
Hunters flock to the Bulwark of Light for the chance to hunt the interplanar beasts on the lands managed by the The Order of Light.
Latitude 21.66931, Longitude -30.29888
Fortresses of the Kirinal Pit
A hole in reality 30 miles wide ringed by walls and fortresses and cities. The Kirinal Pit is both the greatest threat and the greatest resource in the world. This map depicts the fortresses shortly after they were built in the early days of the Concordance for Survival.
History of the Kirinal Pit
Kirinal was the capital of Lozar, an empire ruled by paladins and known for maintaining stability on western Krosia for 900+ years, the Pax Lozaria. Called the Shining City and the City of Light, Kirinal was the greatest, most peaceful, most beautiful city in the world.
The Disintegration of Kirinal - 3005
When the Lich King of Safara completed his conquest of eastern Krosia he turned his armies of undead and goblinkin west. Complacent after centuries of peace, the Tridenser King and his knights could not hold off the onslaught. The armies of the Lich King darkened the City of Light.
The concentration of energies engaged in direct conflict were too much. The fabric of reality itself tore, destroying the city and disintegrating soldiers and citizens alike. In its place was a bottomless 20-mile wide pit filled with wild magic and a million dead souls.
Discharging the Kirinal Pit - 3030
The first attempt by Chagroth Durinhelm to tame the wild magic surging out of the Kirinal Pit. The necromancer Dolgathan interrupted the ritual. He drew off a portion of the wild magic to empower an enormous zombie made from the Dead of Kirinal. As the Lords of Greystone fought the Dead he used the distraction to accomplish his real goal. His transformation into a dracolich.
In the end, the Dead were put back to rest and the new dracolich was driven off. The Ritual of Discharging succeeded, stabilizing the Pit, for a time.
The Kirinal Explosion - 3040
The darkest point of the War Against the Far Realm. Multiple planar breaches opened simultaneously in the Pit. A massive explosion destroyed the fortresses on it's rim, widening it from 20 miles to 30 miles.
The Day of Concordance - 3043
As Lozar and its allies faced defeat against the Far Realms, their greatest enemies arrived to turn the tide and throw back the interplanar invaders. In exchange, Kiris and Borthakar were given a place at the Kirinal Pit and control of two fortresses and the lands associated with them.
Creation of the Orrery of Kirinal - 3200
After two centuries of interplanar invasions and horrible tragedies, Chagroth finally harnessed the power of the Kirinal Pit. He brought it under a semblance of control.
He built the Orrery of Kirinal, also known as the Great Planar Orrery, on the new northern edge of the Pit and brought the interplanar rift into a stable, even beneficent pattern. Through his constant engineering, a different plane manifests in the Pit every 24 hours.
Using the Orrery, he navigates the Great Wheel of the Cosmos. The path mostly travels through relatively peaceful planes. The price is one day of chaos, once per week. No one knows what Shatter will bring.
I really enjoyed reading all the little blurbs about your world. I also really enjoy your world's concept with a rotating pit of varying planes. Very cool. Cheers!
Just imagining the unique effects this would have on the culture surrounding the pit and the slow but sure differences that would form inevitably between the outposts around the pit and their parent nations is fascinating to me. Great article.
Thank you! This is one of my older articles on WA and my concepts for the Pit are always changing. Especially happy to be switching out my old janky art with Midjourney generated images!
My world and three articles have been nominated for World Anvil's Worldbuilding Awards 2022. Please look over the candidates and I'd love your vote if you like my work!