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The 5e Dungeon Master's Guide has this fluff at the start of Chapter 2: Creating a Multiverse:

When Adventurers reach higher levels their path extends to other dimensions of reality: the planes of existence that form the multiverse. The characters might be called on to rescue a friend from the horrific depths of the Abyss or to sail the shining waters of the River Oceanus. They can hoist a tankard with the friendly giants of Ysgard or face the chaos of Limbo to contact a wizened githzerai sage.

It namedrops three Outer Planes that get described later, but also one location that is not a plane and never gets mentioned again. What plane is the River Oceanus on?

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1 Answer 1

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The River Oceanus flows through Elysium and two other, more chaotic Upper Planes

The River Oceanus is the good-aligned equivalent of the River Styx, but while the Styx links all seven Lower Planes of even slightly evil alignment, the River Oceanus is only described, in older editions, as linking three Upper Planes to each other, spanning from the neutral good plane down to the second layer of the chaotic good plane.

1e Manual of the Planes (1987):

The River Oceanus links the planes of Elysium, Happy Hunting Grounds, and Olympus in much the same way that the Styx links the lower planes. Like the Styx, the Oceanus disappears and reappears a number of times in different layers of the planes, but it seems to follow a course that begins in Thalasia, the third layer of Elysium, flows through the second and first layers of that plane, then across the topmost layer of the Happy Hunting Grounds, then into the topmost layer of Olympus to its final rest in the second layer of that plane, which is called Ossa.

The Oceanus is a more natural river than the Styx, and no harm comes to those who drink of it. The Oceanus, however, does pose all the normal dangers of a large river, and does not have the supernatural boatmen of the lifeblood of the lower planes, the Styx.

Thalasia is the great sea from which the Oceanus flows and eventually returns to after it reaches its destination in the realm of Poseidon in Olympus. A traveler passing through the barriers into this realm likely finds himself swamped in the Thalasian sea, for dry land consists of a few small islands scattered throughout this layer.

Krigala is the topmost layer of the plane, closest to the Astral. Through it the Oceanus flows in a relatively straight course (compared to its tortured winding in Elysium) into Olympus.

Ossa (called Aquallor by the elves) and its barriers are usually found in the watery domains of Sashelas of the elves and Poseidon of the Greeks. It is the outflow of the river Oceanus which began in the farthest layer of Elysium, Thalasia. (There are often reports of huge, funnel-like maelstroms that lead directly back to Thalasia in an unending circle.) Unlike Thalasia and the waters of Lunia in the first of the Seven Heavens, the seas of Ossa are for the most part shallow, no more than three feet in depth over most of the realm. Great chasms open up in places there, and it is in these that other chaotic good sea gods make their domains.

2e Planescape Campaign Setting (1994):

Like its sister the Styx, the Oceanus is a worldspanning river, a waterway between realms, layers, and planes. Its headwaters lie in Thalasia, on the plane of Elysium. From there it flows through all of Elysium's layers and eventually breaks through the boundary between the planes, passing through the top layer of the Beastlands. After this, it crosses another boundary and enters Arborea, passes through the first layer, and finally disappears somewhere in that plane's second layer, Ossa.

• OSSA. The second layer in Arborea is called Aquallor by the elves. It's one vast yet shallow sea, scattered over with islands. In the waters lie portals to the other layers of the plane, which are guarded by elf petitioners. Those gateways on the islands are watched by Greek petitioners. Sashelas of the elven pantheon swims these waters, as does Poseidon of the Greeks. The River Oceanus flows into Ossa from Thalasia (on Elysium), too. Watch out for the huge, funnel-like maelstroms that can suck a cutter into Elysium in the blink of an eye.

• KRIGALA. The first layer of the Beastlands is a place of continual noon. Here are found the creatures that live and hunt under the glare of the sun. In some places it burns hotly, creating savannahs, while in others it barely penetrates the thick canopy of jungle. Running almost straight through the center of this layer is the River Oceanus, headed between Elysium and Arborea. The jungles and forests are thickest along it. Moving away from the river, the land becomes plains, then dry veldt, then desert, only to rise into coniferous wooded mountains and arctic tundra.

• THALASIA. Here is the source and end of the River Oceanus, rising out of the sea that is Thalasia, which fills this layer. Small islands dot the waves, but the majority of the realms of interest on this layer lie far beneath the surface. It's said that many of the sea deities make their home here. The islands are home to those petitioners who in their previous life died in the cause of pure good.

3e Manual of the Planes (2001):

The River Oceanus: The water of Oceanus is sweet and fragrant, as befits its headwaters in the Blessed Fields of Elysium. This plane-spanning waterway provides a path between realms, layers, and neighboring Outer Planes.

The River Oceanus flows through each of Elysium’s layers, passes through the top layer of the Wilderness of the Beastlands, streams across the top layer of the Olympian Glades of Arborea, and finally drains away somewhere in Arborea’s second layer.

Oceanus is a commonly used path between planes and the layers of the planes. Trading vessels sail up and down its length, and small towns line its banks. Travelers can usually find a boat to hire somewhere along its shores.

Elysium consists of four layers strung together by the myriad courses of the River Oceanus. The first layer is most like the Material Plane, with sweet-smelling pines and flowering trees along its banks giving way to open meadows and rolling fields. The second layer is rougher and more mountainous, and rapids and falls are common along the channels of the river. The third layer is a great marsh awash with life. The deepest layer is the sea itself and the headwaters of the great river, dotted with islands where veteran heroes of good relax for eternity.

The River Oceanus originates in the deepest layer of Elysium and flows through all four layers, emptying from the first layer, Amoria, into the Beastlands. There are rapids at the border where the river crosses the boundary between layers, but no serious waterfalls or other perils. Most of the activity on Elysium takes place along the borders of the great river.

The Beastlands’ top layer is Krigala, split in two by the River Oceanus. The river flows through the layer in a strong torrent, flanked by verdant forests that often bridge the great river with intertwined branches above. Small side channels depart from the river, and there are numerous bayous and oxbow lakes formed whenever this extraplanar river alters its banks.

Aquallor is the ending point of the River Oceanus, which weaves its way through many of the upper planes. Yet there are maelstroms within Aquallor’s depths that might lead back to the river’s headwaters, so perhaps the river is like a snake swallowing its own tail, endless in nature. Those seeking to escape Aquallor can be swept away by one of the maelstroms, but only at the risk of encountering more unfriendly creatures elsewhere.

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