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In the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game, the Beastlands (more properly, the Wilderness of the Beastlands, formerly the Happy Hunting Grounds in early versions of the game) is a neutral (chaotic) good-aligned plane of existence. It is one of a number of alignment-based Outer Planes that form part of the standard Dungeons & Dragons (D&D) cosmology, used in the Greyhawk and Planescape campaign settings, as well as some editions of the Forgotten Realms setting.
The plane known as the Happy Hunting Grounds was mentioned for the first time by name in the article "Planes: The Concepts of Spatial, Temporal and Physical Relationships in D&D", in The Dragon #8, released July 1977. The plane was mentioned again in an appendix of the known planes of existence in the original (1st edition) AD&D Players Handbook, published in June 1978, where it was described as "The Happy Hunting Grounds of neutral good chaotics".
The Beastlands is a plane of nature and animals, and is also known as the Happy Hunting Grounds. Peaceful alpine forests and groves of giant mushrooms can be found here. A varied climate exists across the plane, providing a suitable environment for many species of animals and plants. The number of traditional settlements is very small, with most inhabitants living beneath the trees out in the wilderness.
In a critical review of Planes of Conflict for British RPG magazine Arcane, Trenton Webb described the Beastlands as "a bright, simple plane that stirs the beast in players' hearts. Here the moral ambiguities of the civilised world are replaced by the simplistically honest urges to eat, sleep and mate."
The mortal souls that come to this plane after death take on animal traits soon after they arrive, developing pelts of fur and growing horns or pointed ears or other such features. Over the course of centuries they continue to slowly change, becoming celestial beasts.
As an Outer Plane, the Beastlands are spatially infinite, further consisting of three infinite layers (or sub-planes). The Beastlands first layer shares borders with the neighbouring planes of the Olympian Glades of Arborea and the Blessed Fields of Elysium; travel is possible between the Beastlands and these planes at certain locations.
The Beastlands consists of three layers:
The River Oceanus flows through the first layer, Krigala. Many lakes dot the plains in between the lush forests. Day and night does not occur normally on Krigala, but a continual late afternoon sun fills the sky. Gentle rains occur once per day allowing some measure of time passing.
- The Grove of the Unicorns is the divine realm of Ehlonna, (the Greyhawk deity of forests and woodlands), and Mielikki (her Forgotten Realms counterpart). It exists at the base of several giant sequoias forming a natural cathedral between the branches.
Day and night on Brux is still static like Krigala, but here it is eternally dusk. A silver moon can be seen in the opposite direction to the sunset. The temperature here is naturally lower than on Krigala.
- Al Karak Elam-Jhankhal, realm of the avariel.
- The Cat Lord's Prowl, domain of the Cat Lord, who shares his realm with Ferrix, the goddess of weretigers, though Ferrix usually prefers to wander.
- Reastweal, home of the Indian deity Puchan.
- The wandering Seelie Court frequently appears on Brux, though never in the same place twice.
The lowest layer of Karasuthra is in continual night, with a single moon providing some illumination to the layer. The most dangerous creatures exist here, hunting their quarry through the night.
- The Misty Valley, home of the Japanese deity Kura-Okami.
- Zhan, the Grand Forest beyond the World, shared realm of the Dragonlance deities (Chislev, Zivilyn, and Habbakuk).
- Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes (TSR, 1987).
- Grubb, Jeff, David Noonan, and Bruce Cordell. Manual of the Planes (Wizards of the Coast, 2001). ISBN 0-7869-1850-0