Welcome to Sirius Pontifex!
You regain consciousness slowly and painfully, and it is hard to breath and dark. You realize that the darkness, and difficulty breathing are due to bodies draped over you. As you dig and claw your way out, using the last reserves of your strength, you notice that not all of these creatures are races you recognize, some of them are from fairy tales, or out of nightmare. You collapse on top of the heap and stare up at a sun you don’t recognize. It is blue. And much smaller than it should be, but oh, it is bright, and you feel the heat from it restoring some of your vitality.
Your last memories are hazy, something about a yawning portal opening out of nowhere in the city you were in, and icy winds blowing you and others into it.
You search your belongings, and notice that half of them are missing. You also notice that this isn’t the only mound of bodies, and that there are others moving here and there, perhaps one in a thousand. Nobody looks friendly, but then, you realize the expression on your face, a mixture of confusion and consternation with maybe a little fear, probably isn’t an inviting one either.
Not at all sure what the gods have thrown at you, but determined to make the best of it, you begin to approach one of the more intelligent looking creatures to try and open a conversation.
The only people you are able to communicate with at all are represented by those gathered around this table. The gear you have on your list is what you have been able to scavenge to make up for what you lost.
You spend the next month traveling, learning each other’s languages, fending off other bands, both living and undead, and heading for the mountains in the west. You are following a river, but the water is very fouled by the dead. Even boiled and strained, the taste of rot comes through. You seek fresher water upstream. Divine spell casters, you do not have the link to deity you remember from before, and have lost your capability to cast your highest level spells. You feel it can be overcome, but you are not sure how at the moment. Arcane casters, it takes you a while, but you adapt to the slightly skewed magic in this world.
You finally escape the dead, and find a town, Sanity’s Redoubt. A local priest by the name of Amontillado gives you initial lodging and discusses some things he knows about your situation. Primarily, you are not the first.
From conversations with Amontillado, the local priest, the following information has been collected. Times, distances and some terms are Standard to reduce player confusion.
The world circles Sirius A at 2.5 AU*. Sirius B orbits at 20 AU. Every 51 years there is a celestial conjunction of all three and several random portals open, dropping sophonts from all over the planes into a “Suck Zone” roughly 600 miles in diameter.
Every 12th one appears to be the opposite, and all life on the planet is destroyed. This was the 10th or 11th conjunction.
There seem to be no planar interfaces, but hyper-dimensional spaces do work. Teleportation reportedly works with no major problems.
Astral and ethereal methods of travel are possible, but those planes are just shadows of this one, and no travel to other planes from there is possible. Spirits are reputed to go to a purgatory style plane, accessible only by the dead, although communication with it is possible. Those on this plane mostly work towards ensuring the 12th conjunction so that they may travel back to their home planes, as that is the believed to be the only way for the spirits of the dead to reach their respective final rewards.
*Astronomical Unit: Roughly 93 million miles