Gaunt Man's Guide to the Afterlife
The Gaunt Man’s Travel Boutique
While most souls can find their way to the Afterlife without assistance, some get lost and require outside intervention. The Gaunt Man is always willing to intervene in order to provide assistance and guidance to the recently deceased. When a soul becomes lost in the reincarnation cycle, the Gaunt Man has the power to summon that soul to his personal domain. Visitors thusly summoned find themselves in a deserted city street late at night. The buildings and street signs are obscured by thick, swirling mist. However, the Gaunt Man’s travel boutique is brightly lit and stands out boldly in the gloom. It is a welcoming oasis of light and color that draws visitors to the sanctuary.
Inside, the tasteful, well-lit shop, the visitor is greeted with framed images of a variety of extraplanar destinations as well as a brochure spinner with further information on the various higher (and lower) planes. While there is initially nobody at the counter, hitting the bell that reads “ring bell for service” will call the attention of the Gaunt Man.
The Lord of Death appears as a thin, handsome man in his late 50s or early 60s. His hair is salt-and-pepper gray and he has the typical countenance of a North Point native (grey eyes, pale skin, clean-shaven). His suit is the color of charcoal and neatly pressed. Of course, he can take on other appearances in order to match the expectations and comfort-needs of the visitor. For example, if he senses that the soul would be frightened by a North Point native male, he could appear as a female or a member of a different race or species.
Once engaged, the Gaunt Man is willing to spend as much time as required in order to help the lost soul find the appropriate Afterlife destination. With choices that range from the Conflagration to the Plane of Radiance, there is somewhere for everyone. Rarely, the Gaunt Man will return the lost soul to corporeal existence. This act is usually carried out when the Gaunt Man determines that the individual has critical, unfinished business or that the person’s soul has missed out on some vital experience. Usually, however, the Gaunt Man sends the soul onward in the reincarnation cycle. Most Afterlife experiences are temporary as well, as the soul usually ends up desiring to return to the material world for more life experiences without the burden of carrying the memories of the prior life. After all, one of the gifts of death is the ability to forget. While the soul remembers all lives in the state in-between incarnations, when the soul is born into a new body, it’s always as a clean slate.
Usually, a person’s allegiance to a deity is the primary guide for the soul in the afterlife. However, that is not always the case. The Gaunt Man, therefore, has provided handy informational brochures for the recently departed soul to consider. It’s worth noting that a soul is always acclimated to the destination plane of existence. For example, a soul travelling to the Plane of Water would not drown, nor would a soul travelling to the Plane of Shadow turn into a withered husk. The higher (and lower) realms are meant to offer comfort, rest, and respite in-between incarnations. The spiritual planes are places of vast places of mystery that would take many lifetimes to explore. And so, the same soul may cycle back to the same plane across many different incarnations.
For that special few – the bold, the confident, and the aggressive – Archa welcomes you! Why would you want to waste your vacation lying about on a beach or burying your nose in a book, when you can test your battle prowess against variety of foes in the Eternal War? That’s right, fellow traveler, Archa features numerous wars all over the realm, and the fun never stops!
Whether you prefer the visceral thrill of Bronze Age technology, the staccato report of a machine gun, or the crimson flash of a laser pistol, there’s a war just waiting for you to join! Do you like slaying while riding horseback? There’s a battle for you. Or maybe you’d prefer aerial combat. There’s a fight for that. You could also take to the darkened seas to battle pirates in sailing ships or mysterious foes in submarines. All you have to do is check in with the recruiter at Millitocrita – the only neutral city in the Realm. Fill out a quick questionnaire, and you’ll get sent to the front lines of your choice. This is an all-inclusive vacation, so guns and armor are on the house!
Don’t worry about your vacation getting cut short by lethal injuries. Our Resurrection Engine ™ technology gets you back to the battle before the Sergeant can say “gimmie twenty”.
Of course, it’s not all wanton mayhem and bloodshed. In-between battles don’t forget to take advantage of our seminars on advanced battle tactics, personal defense, weapons training, and field medicine. There’s also the Museum of War, which houses all manner of historical weapons and statues of famous battle commanders.
Returning to the front lines, you won’t have to worry about war crimes. There aren’t any civilians in Archa! Whether you’re blowing up a medieval castle or sinking a submarine, you can have a clear conscience knowing that you’re just killing the enemy and not innocent bystanders or children. And with our Resurrection Engine ™ technology, you might get to kill the same enemy multiple times! What a blast!
If you’re an adventure-seeker and adrenaline junkie, Archa is the vacation destination for you!
Adventure awaits in the dark and mysterious realm of the Conflagration! Start your vacation at the historic Volcano Bay. The resort is built into the side of Big Chuffer, the Conflagration’s largest active volcano. The casinos are open ‘round the clock, the bars are well-stocked with the good stuff, and the cigar shops have the finest blunts. The Management affirms your pursuit of vice. This is a judgment-free zone!
You could also leave the bright lights and glitz behind by taking excursions out to Gasoline Harbor. See all the dancing fire-sprites that sizzle and sputter over the eternally flaming sea. Whether it’s a solo trip on a sailboat or a package tour on a cruise ship, the flaming sea has many islands of mystery to explore, each with unique wonders to behold.
There’s no need to pack sunscreen in the Conflagration. Twilight is as bright as the sky gets. On a rare clear night (when Big Chuffer isn’t sending columns of smoke and ash into the sky), visitors can stargaze at the two huge moons and the alien constellations.
Want to train your fighting skills? Look no further than the Demon Dojo. The infernal masters of combat are willing and able to train our guests in all manner of martial arts and weapons. Just because you’re on vacation is no reason to turn to flab!
Of course, the adventures don’t stop with gambling and sailing. The Conflagration offers challenging mountain-climbing excursions and scenic hiking to newcomers and experienced folk alike. From multicolor beauty of the flame tree forests to the serenity of Gas Jet Park, there’s a hiking destination for everyone! So, pack your bags and head out to the Conflagration!
Want a vacation that is decidedly not “Down to Earth”? Then make way to the Plane of Air! Your trip starts in the cloud city of Cirrus, where you’ll be outfitted with your complementary Cape of Flying and Ring of Levitation. Cirrus offers a stunning view of the gas giant below and the limitless sky above. A dozen moons drift lazily across the bright blue expanse. But don’t forget your sunglasses! That star you see is spectral class A0. Don’t worry about sunburn – SPF 500 sunscreen is free at the gift shop!
Of course, Cirrus attracts bird watchers from all across the realms. And it isn’t just birds that soar, hover, and flutter. The constant updrafts and mists periodically lift floating flora up to the cloud top layer. Alongside wispy flowers and translucent fungi, observers can spot giant butterflies, colorful dragons, bats, and many other soaring creatures.
When mere observation isn’t enough, visitors to Cirrus can try their luck with Pegasus racing, hang gliding, and bungee jumping. For those who have a true heart for adventure, there’s always dragon riding.
For the scientifically minded soul, deep-atmosphere voyages launch each week. Check out the miles-high thunderstorms, violent hurricanes, and multichromatic storm fronts. You haven’t really experienced weather until you’ve been in a pressurized dirigible in 1,000 MPH gusts!
Returning to the cloud city at dusk, visitors will be astounded by nightly fireworks extravaganza! Join in with the revels – drinks and music abound!
So, whether you have a passion for meteorology, xenobiology, or a thirst for areal sports, the Plane of Air has what you seek!
Got a hankering for silver and gold? How about diamonds and emeralds? Or maybe you just can’t resist a stalactite formation that looks like a pipe organ. If so, then grab your pick and your flashlight and head on over to the Plane of Earth!
Your vacation starts at the subterranean city of Darkening Deep. Carved into the walls of the largest cavern in the multiverse, you’ll be able to admire the rugged sturdiness of millennia-old craftsmanship from the mighty Dwarves and other legendary experts. Most of the city’s lighting comes from bioluminescent moss (which also filers the air). Since there’s no day/night cycle here, you set your own schedule – on your terms!
There’s lots of adventure to be had in the Plane of Earth. From panning for gold alongside the banks of the Underground River, to slaying terrifying mutant monsters in the Forbidden Tunnels, to exploring the ruins of ancient cities on the topside of the world. And don’t forget to visit the Echo Chamber and the mysterious pipe organ that is made out of stone. If you’re looking for more intellectual pursuits, Darkening Deep offers classes on geology, gemology, weapon smithing, blacksmithing, and chemistry. But we won’t bore you with classrooms. All of our studies are hands on, so get your jeweler’s loop and sign up soon!
Since the city is located a full mile underground, you never have to worry about those pesky instant messages or whirligigs interrupting your fun. If you hang out at the pubs, there’s no telecasts, but you can still catch a fight every night! Vacationers here play hard, adventure hard, and drink hard. And what better way to close out the day (or night or whatever – time doesn’t really matter too much here) than with a few tankards of mead, a few rounds of bawdy tunes, and an old-fashioned barroom brawl! Our whisky bottles are specially engineered to easily shatter and not break skulls!
So, whether you have a lust for riches, a heart for knowledge, or just want to have a jolly old pub crawl, the Plane of Earth is the vacation for you!
Since the dawn of humanoid consciousness, souls have been drawn to light and warmth. Nothing captivates like candle flame, and nothing is as welcoming as the hearth fire on a cold winter night. If the love of flame is what brightens your thoughts, then the Plane of Fire should be your vacation destination!
Your first stop is the radiant city of Fuego, which stands proudly atop the Big Smolder Mountain. Did we forget to mention that this is a carbon world? Everything here is flammable, so you don’t have to worry about any pesky “no smoking” signs. In fact, we recommend smoking! And with our Thermal Displacement ™ clothing line, you’ll look trendy and be protected from nasty third-degree burns. Our fashion line makes 700 degrees feel like 70!
Of course, you’ll notice the peach-colored sky is lit by a lovely K2 primary. If the sun seems pretty big, that’s because it’s really close! Sunglasses are free at the gift shop. But thanks to the thick atmosphere, you needn’t worry about sunburn.
Check out Paraffin Bay to try your hand at flame surfing. Or do some sightseeing at the realms-famous Flaming Forest. Here, the flora and fauna are adapted to the oven-like environment. Looking for more stuff to see? Head out to the Blanched Desert and check out the dancing Flame Dervishes. They perform cheerful jigs with multicolor special effects each evening at sunset.
At high noon, warm thermals rush through the plains. So, get your flame wings from the sporting goods center and take to the sky! The ultra-thick atmosphere means that flight is easy. It’s almost as effortless as swimming!
Returning to Fuego, treat yourself to a boiling sauna or a hot stone massage. And the drinks selection is quite fiery – literally and figuratively! Have a hankering for arts and crafts, Fuego has kilns and glass blowing workshops that would make a Dwarf jealous. And don’t get swayed by Darkening Deeps when it comes to blacksmithing. Our forges are the hottest around!
So, whether you just want to get out of the cold, or whether you just enjoy playing with matches, the Plane of Fire is the vacation spot for you!
Ahoy, Mateys! The high seas are calling, so pack your footlocker and head out for a marine adventure! Your first port of call is the domed city of Flotilla. By day, it sits above the waves and by night, it retreats into the murky depths. You won’t want to miss surfing or sunbathing at the Archipelagos either. The beaches all exotic, black volcanic sand and twelve-foot waves! With a G3 primary in the sky, it’ll be almost like home – if home was located in an absolutely fantastic, high-end, luxury beach resort! And, before you ask, we have those drinks with the miniature umbrellas!
If you get tired of lounging around, you can also make friends with the dolphin community. They’re pretty smart and they’re all concept telepaths, so you won’t have to worry about the language barrier. If you have trouble keeping up with them, grab an impeller torpedo from the sports shack!
Looking for some sailing? We’ve got that too! Or maybe power boating is your thing. Rev up and roll out on the limitless ocean. There’s nothing like warm wind and salt air!
In the Plane of Water, you can put all fear of drowning to rest. The ocean water is so heavily oxygenated that it will actually sustain mammalian life! For deeper diving, of course, just drop by Flotilla and book one of our many deep-trench submarine tours. You too can see what hangs about at the bottom of Limitless Deep.
Returning to Flotilla, be sure to check out the nightlife. The many dance clubs have something for everyone – rave, techno, line dance, square dance, and much more. And it’s all under the shimmering dome! The city takes a break at midnight each night, so that vacationers can admire the bioluminescent jellyfish. Watch them pulse and glide, like silent Angels.
When day returns, you’ll find lots of ways to feed your mind while satisfying your thirst for adventure. Flotilla has some of the most knowledgeable marine biologists and ecologists in the known multiverse. But we won’t strand you in a school auditorium. All the lessons here are in the field! You can learn everything you ever wanted to know about fish, squids, dolphins, and everything else that swims or floats. Ditto for weather and ocean currents. It’s all very hands-on!
So, whether you’re looking to hang ten, dive deep, or just expand your knowledge, the Plane of Water should be your go-to destination! Contact Gaunt Man Travels for more information.
Are you looking for inspiration? Are you someone who wants to make your dreams manifest? Do like an ever-changing landscape that responds to your will? Then the Imaginary Realm is the vacation destination for you!
Your vacation starts in the floating city of Anchor. This is the only truly solid, permanently manifested stronghold in the Imaginary Realm. Artists, sculptors, writers, painters, and dancers of all kinds are drawn to the bright, warm, sunlit realm. Speaking of sun, the K2 primary makes a welcoming, soft glow for any kind of painting or drawing. There’s no need to worry about harsh shadows.
Anchor features a seemingly limitless (or it might actually be limitless) Avenue of Galleries, where artists of the past and present (and sometimes future) show off their favorite works. From watercolor to welding, from painting to percussion, from drawing to dancing, it’s all here. And, if you’re looking for creativity in the form of the written word, don’t forget to check out Promenade of Pulps. It features fiction of every genre and includes the newfangled “graphic novels” that have become all the rage. Of course, Anchor also features a wide array of cafes, curio shops, and trinket boutiques.
When you’re ready to explore past Anchor, you’ll find that the world responds positively to your will and intent. The air, rocks, lakes, and trees are all made of the Medium, and will shape according to your thoughts. How much can you control? It all depends on the power of your personal will. Have you ever wanted to run a medieval castle? Or maybe you want to command a futuristic starship? Or, possibly, you’d like to become the mysterious stranger out of a fiction pulp. You can be all these things and more – if you put your mind to it. Most vacationers can control at least a 500’ sphere of Medium. But powerful visitors can control up to a mile. Are you ready for the challenge of the imagination?
Just remember to drop by Anchor once in a while. After all, the food in Anchor is real. The same cannot be said of the Medium! And don’t worry about getting carried away with your imagination. Forms generated in the Medium can never be lethal. So, while the pain of injuries in the Medium may seem real, all wounds fade when you return to Anchor. Our Anchor Surveyors are also adept and finding anyone who gets lost in the Medium.
So, if you want a vacation on your terms, and no one else, or if you’ve ever wanted to play “god” on a small scale, then the Imaginary Realm is the destination for you!
Plane of Light
For members of the Fey, this place might seem like “home sweet home”. The Plane of Light features a sky packed with huge stars, visible both night and day. In fact, everything in the Plane of Light is bigger, brighter, and bolder. There’s more sunlight, more wind, more oxygen, more ocean, more gravity, more everything. And you’ll discover all this and more, once you disembark in the port city of Lumina.
Lumina is a completely modern city of chrome, steel, and glass. It’s so modern, in fact, that even some of the rare Constructs with souls vacation here! The Tech District is home to some of the most talented gadgeteers in the known multiverse. If it beeps, has lights, or runs on batteries, someone in the Tech District has either designed it or is working on it. Lumina thrives on change. If you enjoy inventing, designing, and crafting things, then you can be part of the endless change.
Of course, the world is rich in heavy metals – a must for many scientific endeavors. The deep, crystalline-like oceans offer a limitless supply of deuterium and tritium. You say you need helium and argon? No problem. The high surface gravity of this world means that all of the noble gasses are available in spades!
With Lumina being located on a super-Earth, there’s that much more to explore! Take your favorite mechanical conveyance on an overland tour of the Bright Savanah or the Shimmering Desert. Of maybe you’d prefer climbing up the Mountain of Might. If submersibles are your thing, the Crystalline Sea offers a two-mile steep descent into the mysterious depths. There’s an adventure to satisfy any scientific passion!
Returning to Lumia, don’t forget to visit the Lecture Halls. These brightly lit cathedrals of knowledge are used by some of the most knowledgeable scholars who ever lived. There’s a different speaker each night. You could find out all you ever wanted to know (but were afraid to ask) about string theory, dark matter, radioactive decay, gene editing, chaos theory, and (of course) everyone’s favorite topic of all time: Transcendental Experiential Calculus. Who wouldn’t want to know more about that?
Don’t want to sit in a lecture hall? No problem! The Library of Science not only has textbooks and journals for every known discipline, but it’s also got a damned good café with Solstice Blend coffee! You can check out any book in paper or tablet form. There’s no need to worry about late fees. Trust us, the Librarians are good at getting their books back. Besides, they know where you live!
So, whether you’re looking to start a brand-new scientific experiment, or simply want to add more disciplines to your storehouse of knowledge, the Plane of Light is the vacation destination for you! What are you waiting for? Pack up your tablet, test tubes, and books and head on over!
Plane of Radiance
Looking for that perfect place to “peace out”? Are you looking for a vacation that really lets you recharge yourself? Then the Plane of Radiance is for you! Set atop a misty mountain top, your journey begins at the craggy metropolis of Angelic Spire. It overlooks a pristine world of natural beauty that is dotted with quaint little hamlets. There are no Highscrapers or pollution-belching trucks in the Plane of Radiance. There are also no annoying interruptions from tablets and comm devices. In the Plane of Radiance, the Old Ways are still honored.
Of course, Angelic Spire has all you need for spiritual growth. You can find guided meditations, yoga meet-ups, religious workshops, and priesthood training. Really, that’s where it all starts. You can also learn about chants, sigils, divine magic, and the deeper mysteries of gods and angels.
In-between your spiritual studies, you can climb down the 3,000-step winding stone staircase to the verdant plane below. The farmers, herders, fishers, and craftsfolk of the villages follow the tried-and-true ways of their ancestors. So, if you’re looking for a relaxing day fishing, or want to sheer a sheep, there’s lots of low-key activities for you to enjoy. And, of course, every village has churches and temples to various deities and angelic beings. Don’t forget to chat with the “wise old woman who lives in the woods”. Every village has one.
Returning to Angelic Spire, don’t forget to visit the Grand Dining Hall. If simple, healthy food that fills the belly and warms the soul is your thing, then you won’t be disappointed. There’s no fancy, decadent mixed drinks here. Just honest wine and mead carefully crafted through honest work.
So, if you’re looking for a really restful vacation that revitalizes your spirit, pack up your hymnal and head out to the Plane of Radiance!
Plane of Shadow
Tired of the bright lights and never-ending rat race? Then look no further than the Plane of Shadow! Life moves at a slower pace here. Your vacation starts at Mirror Lake Resort, where you can relax in a comfortable, classy bungalow and enjoy the never-ending sunset. Your eyes won’t get dazzled by the sun here! It’s a spectral class M7.
If you don’t like uncertainty, then this is the place for you. Not much changes in the Plane of Shadow. Flowers don’t wilt, bread won’t go stale, and your coffee won’t grow cold. It’s the perfect destination for visitors who like predictable routine.
Of course, it’s not all “R&R” at Mirror Lake. Visitors can feed their minds at the multitude of libraries in Book Town. Whether you’re looking for fiction pulps or esoteric occult lore, you’re almost certain to find it in Book Town. What could be more relaxing than a reading a huge tome in the soft crimson sunlight in your favorite local café. There are no late charges on books, and the coffee refills are always fee! After all, the Undead citizens of Book Town pride themselves on the best coffee in the multiverse!
Want to take a break from the books? Scenic Labyrinth Park is the destination for you! It’s quite a-maze-ing. Don’t forget to check out the crystal fountains while you’re there! If you beat the maze, the breathtaking Petrified Forest awaits you. Not only are there petrified trees, but you’ll also find petrified bushes and petrified flower gardens as well. It's all so comfortingly changeless!
Don’t forget to check out the museums too. Since nothing ever changes, all of the statuary and paintings are in the exact same condition as when they were created. How delightful!
So, if you want a low-impact, low-stress, relaxing vacation, look no further than the Plane of Shadow!
Tired of the bright lights of the big cities? Ready to leave the concrete jungle behind? Then the Woodland Realm should be your vacation destination!
Your stay starts at Soaring Verdant, located atop the tallest and most ancient tree in the realm. The all-organic construction techniques mean that your home is truly a living thing that grows and changes as you do. And with the ever-present bioluminescent moss, there’s never a need to change those pesky light bulbs!
Don’t forget to pick up your complementary sky wings! It’s the go-to mode of transportation. There’s never a traffic jam since there aren’t any roads – just tall trees, bright sun, starry nights, and slow changing of seasons.
Of course, no visit to the Woodland Realm is complete without taking in Soaring Verdant's vibrant night life and music scene. You haven’t danced until you’ve danced wearing sky wings! Great music, great ale, great food, and great theater – it’s why souls keep coming back!
But it’s not all dance and fiddle. Take your sky wings and flitter down to the forest floor for hiking, camping, and swimming. There are dozens of nearby waterfalls, lakes, and rivers. The forest creatures are friendly and willing to meet new guests.
The changing of seasons is another reason why travelers keep coming back, With the forest stretching to the horizon, autumn colors are bright, bold and cheerful. The forest expanse in winter offers a view of stark wonder as the barren trees stand in contrast to the pure white snow. And, when the season turns back to spring, the sudden return of life to the land is a visible affirmation that all life is cyclical and eternal – just like the souls who visit Woodland Realm!
So, if you’re looking for a festive, music-filled vacation in a rustic, natural setting, choose Woodland Realm as your getaway destination!