The Astral Plane
An Addition to the In Nomine Setting

On the Celestial Plane, there's Heaven and, at the other end of infinity, Hell. And in between? Well, there's not much, but there is a "between" area; it's not like you can look over Heaven's wall and into Hell.

This vast emptiness is the Celestial equivalent of intergalactic space or Outer Mongolia. It's thinly inhabited and seldom thought about. But it's not totally empty. Even though it's not a "plane" in the same full sense as the Celestial, Ethereal, or Corporeal ones, it's sometimes called the Astral Plane or the Bardo Plane (from the Tibetean word for "between"). Sometimes, it's called a "sub-plane," and then Heaven and Hell are given that label, too. Sometimes it's called Upper Limbo.

There are communities in the Astral Plane, all of them dominated by human souls. Near these places, the Astral looks like a vast prairie or steppe, under a sky that, day and night, is always slightly overcast. Sunsets and sunrises are never colorful there, but great, superterrestrial swarms of misty stars blaze down through the thin cloud.

As you get away from the cities, the steppe gives way to silvery desert, the overcast lifts, the sun and moon become fainter and eventually disappear, and the stars crowd in piercing, glittering hordes. Then the desert developes dunes, which become more and more surreal in their contortions until they fall away, leaving you in a void of stars.

The Astral communities are far-flung, but some of them are quite large. The largest are Shambala, Bardo, Patala, and (the newest) Limbo City. The inhabitants are quite various:

The Doomless

These are human souls who achieved neither Fate nor Destiny and are waiting for their next incarnations. They form the largest population on the Astral Plane, even though any individual is guaranteed to have only a temporary stay. The Doomless may also include those who are not slated for reincarnation, but simply haven't disbanded yet – a theory very unpopular with the Doomless themselves.


These are the souls of human species and races that pre-date Adam and Eve and their descendants. They are the next largest population, and are quite stable. The later, smarter species tend to dominate the Doomless. (After all, the Doomless are guaranteed by supernatural selection to be rather wishy-washy people.) The earlier ones, like Homo habilis and Homo erectus, are rather too dim to be socially dominant, but they're very old and have often become very powerful, acquiring Songs, things like Attunements, and other tricks over the ages. And even slow learners can learn a lot, given enough time.

Ethereal Refugees

Sometimes Dreamshades find their way from the Ethereal Plane to the Astral, and stay there for a while, ultimately wandering back to the Ethereal or being pulled on to Heaven or Hell. A more stable group are the pagan dead, whose souls used to reside in Ethereal afterworlds until their pantheons were destroyed or shattered by Uriel's Purity Crusade. These pagan refugees include the Aztec dead, many Egyptians and Mesopotamians, and some Greeks and Romans. There are also many from the afterlives of pantheons that faded into oblivion ages before Uriel's Crusade.

Grey Spirits

These are celestials who are not standard angels or demons. Technically, most are angels, but they serve no Word and have no Hearts, but neither are they Outcasts. Almost all are very old. Some just wandered out here long before the Fall and never went back to Heaven proper. Some ran away in fear during the War in Heaven. Some were fence-sitters during the contentious times just before the Fall and, being unpopular with both sides, left. Most left Heaven shortly after the Fall, because they did not like the the rigid Archangelic hierarchy that was forming.

Few demons are Grey Spirits. They were all bottled up in Hell for ages, until freed by Lilith, so nearly all were assigned to Demon Princes.

Grey Spirits include a relatively high percentage of non-standard Choirs (and sometimes Bands) – the literally unearthly things that almost never go to the Corporeal realm, or creatures that seem to date from a time when the choirs were less well-defined than they are now, or perhaps they have slowly evolved away from their original natures, here where they are neither Fallen nor Unfallen. These are things that look sort of like seraphim, cherubim, etc., but not quite. They may have atypical behaviors, resonnances, or dissonance conditions.

There is a rumor of a Great Grey Spirit, an Archspirit of the Astral Realm, a Grey Word-bound whose Word is the Astral itself. But this being is as unsubstantiated on the Astral Plane as Bigfoot is here, and the Grey Spirits are not its servitors, nor anyone else's.

Death Angels

There are real angels in the Astral realm, servitors of the mysterious, reclusive (but canonical) Archangel of Death. They are here to guard the Doomless and the Pre-Adamites from any depredations by Hell. They heavily patrol the perimeters of Astral cities and other communities, and have Songs and Attunements for finding wanderers in trouble. Most are cherubim, though with a healthy salting of ophanim, malakim, and a few of all the other Choirs, even Mercurians (who, after all, have no trouble kicking demonic ass).


Not all the servants of Oannes, Raphael, Uriel, and Eli were willing to serve new masters.

The Disfavored

Sometimes Outcasts and Renegades head off to the Astral Plane instead of the Corporeal. A great number of Grigori have made their way here, over the ages.


Saints, angels, and demons are present in small numbers, on business trips or, more rarely, vacations. And, just as Blandine's Tower sits on the border between the Celestial and Ethereal Planes, so do some places in the Astral. Limbo City, in particular, is a port on a great, dim sea over which Ethereals come sailing. Ethereal spirits can disembark and move around freely in much of the city.

So how do people spend their time on the Astral Plane? They try to enjoy themselves, bearing in mind that they do not need to eat, sleep, or rest, need no shelter, have no one torturing them for their Essence, ripping Forces off them, or illuminating them with divine light.

So a lot of it amounts to entertainment. But some people's idea of a good time is bossing others around, or fighting, and there's only so much Essence being generated so there is a certain amount of politics and economics, too, though not so much as on Earth.

Also, and here's where gaming hooks come it at long last, there's education and research. These are undertaken mostly as cerebral forms of entertainment, for the Astrals, but they can turn out to be useful to one side or the other. The Astrals have no pressing business, the way Heaven and Hell do, so a relatively high percentage of work-hours go into finding new Songs, new designs for artifacts, obscure information. This is just enough to keep a few spies from both Heaven and Hell (and an even smaller number from the Marches) circulating in deep cover through the Astral cities.

Other gaming hooks include:

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