View Full Version : The Planes

08-19-2009, 12:24 PM
"A landscape sweeps out before you: a pockmarked, lunar expanse of geisers on the purple landscape, as far as you can see. In the distance, blue-crystal towers waver and blink, as though they are struggling to exist. What certainly does exist is the roaring flames of sunset, rushing from the horizon to meet you, and cover the land in its daily ritual of burning."

To me, the other planes of existence are full-on departures from the physics of the prime plane. They are so foreign, that if a character wants to go to one, the magic required not only sends him there, but it acts as a lens that helps the character interpret the unimaginable environment.

Plus, completely different physics means the game master can do fun stuff like treat all solids like jello, allow ubiquitous teleportation, or use vampires (!?).

What does "planes" mean to you?

08-21-2009, 08:07 AM
The comment about jello brings to mind Yakov Smackof: "In Soviet Russia, Jell-o eats YOU!" Same with D&D Yakov.

Anyway, I see the planes as planets in a vast sea of space where some portion of the known universe is controlled by what is called the Elemental Chaos and some the Astral Plane. The Far Realms are beyond the edges of known (or knowable) space. It doesn't completely mesh with a fantasy setting all too well contextually, but its a starting point. But more to the point, it is how Magic the Gathering explains the Planes, and I played Magic before I ever learned about D&D.

08-21-2009, 11:34 AM
I always, at some point, bring my characters to Ysgard. never ending battles, valkyries, etc. makes for some great 'training' before they go to fight some horrible evil. Also helps group tactics in a "safe" environ. usually take them there between 11th and 14th levels. sometimes as early as 8th.

But on topic:
I like using the foregin planes as the prime material seen through a prism, a geographical mirror, with environmental, cultural, and bioligical changes. It gives the players something familiar to hold on to, but also throws them through a loop when things aren't 100% as planned.

08-21-2009, 05:57 PM
Another thing about the planes; I don't like to think of the material plane as a single option. I like to see it as though the material planes are all accessable in my games; a game set in Forgotten Realms can take the players to Dragonlance or Eberron or Dark Sun or all of them. If the world has a Shadowfell, it does in my games. Same with Feywild. Means that I don't have to create whole worlds over if something happens in the campaign that fits better in a different plane.

08-22-2009, 12:20 AM
What does it mean? Inner outer, alternate reality? It can be as strange as the above or as seeming normal as you wish. I agree, it can be what you make it and the normal rules of physics do not need to apply.

08-27-2009, 04:43 PM
Certainly you can do what you wish with other planes. The fiction literature out there certainly suggests that physics takes on a whole new meaning in other planes for instance. So have fun with it and hope your players do too.

I agree with the sentiment that the material plane consists of all the material planes (or rather that each world is in some sense its own material plane) and that you CAN travel from one to another. I've never done it personally, but I've often thought about it. Part of me wants to do an adventure that sends a FR (or similar world) party into a modern-day Earth-like world just to see how the players would react. The larger part of me though has found it nearly impossible to avoid making it cheesy. :P

08-27-2009, 05:28 PM
The way I've always looked at it is that we live in one Prime Material Plane with the physics and cosmology that we are familiar with, while places like the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk and Dragonlance's Kyrnn are all in an alternate Prime Material Plane, each within their own Crystal Spheres of Realmspace, Greyspace and Krynnspace as per the Spelljammer campaign, where the physics and cosmology are very different from ours.

So if Elminster wants to leave the Realms and visit with his bud Mordenkainen in Greyhawk, he stays in the same plane but travels to a different sphere. However, if Elminster wants to come and visit Ed Greenwood here on Earth, he's traveling to another plane altogether.

The 1e book, the Manual of the Planes has some cool rules on how to make up other kinds of alternate Prime Material Planes (or alternate realities) where things like physics and magic have varying degrees of potency and are not just strange worlds where physics and magic work the same way (which in my point of view would indicate a different world perhaps but still the same Prime Material Plane).