In the planar cosmology, the Ring of Elements surrounds the three inner rings of Law, Colors, and Chaos, and is the only plane bordered by both The Ethereal Plane
(on its inside) and The Astral Sea
(on its outside). Sometimes called the Primordial Plane, the Ring of Elements is four intersecting planes that are at once different and all the same. In much the same way The Animatic Plane
and The Mortalic Plane
are each thought to be some aspect of the Prime deities they are named for, the Ring of Elements is intrinsically connected to The Fourfold
. As that Prime argues among its aspects, the plane that it influences shifts between seasons according to who seems to be 'winning.' These seasons are the most intense on this plane, but all the planes within the ring follow the same schedule due to the connection.
The Primordial Planes
As they shift, the dominant primordial plane comes into its own, while the others retreat to a more dormant state. All of the primordial planes are reachable at any time of the year, but only one tuning fork exists for The Ring of Elements, and it always takes one to the dominant plane, where they must find a natural portal elsewhere if they desire travel. The only way around this is if one knows the location and sigil sequence for a particular teleportation circle on a dormant plane, but these are highly prized and well-guarded things reserved for those who carry favor with the planar lords.
The Plane of Fire
When the plane is dominant, the central city of Electrum rises from the mire, providing the only shelter in this scorched wasteland. Its markets are second only to those of The Hells
, and its efreeti overlords are said to be brutal taskmasters and ruthless politicians. When the plane is dormant, Electrum is replaced by Xrah, the capital of the Plane of Air, and its people scatter to the wastes to survive until another summer.
The Plane of Air
When the plane is dominant, the capital of Xrah (pronounced Chi-rah) floats freely hundreds of miles in the air, borne aloft by gale-force winds that push it on a journey to its eventual destination. Its djinni masters freely welcome any that wish to do trade, and offer comfort for all but the storm giants that constantly threaten the free city. When the plane is dormant, Xrah crashes amid waves to become C'Vahr, the capital of the Plane of Water, and its people return to their smaller cloud cities and airships until the autumn blows in again.
The Plane of Water
When the plane is dominant, the sunken city of C'Vahr serves as its seat of power. From there, the plane's marid rulers engage in the largest slave trade in all of the planes, bringing riches and decadence at the cost of many lives. When the plane is dormant, the slaves revolt against their masters, driving them out and sinking C'Vhar into the muck and mire where its stone is worked to form Gestalt, the capital of the Plane of Earth. Those that escape find shelter beneath the waves until another winter comes.
The Plane of Earth
When the plane is dominant, the labyrinthine city of Gestalt is decorated with rich carvings, gems, and exotic alloys to please its dao princes. They work tirelessly to rebuild the city and improve its life, boosting trade with other planes and emancipating its workforce. By the time the plane is dormant, it has risen to the surface of the soil as Electrum, the capital of the Plane of Fire. The princes and their people go further underground until the next spring brings a new city to rebuild.