Physical Traits: Gravity, Time, Size, Morphic.
Environmental Traits: Life, Weather.
Elemental and Energy Traits: Water/Fire, Earth/Air, Holy/Unholy.
Alignment Traits: Good/Evil, Law/Chaos.
Magic Traits: Arcane Intensity, Divine Intensity, Green Intensity.
Relation Traits: Proximity, Accessibility.
Each trait has a numeric rating. These ratings are on a curve, not a flat scale - the farther along the scale you go, the bigger the effects of a change from one rating to the next. At certain levels along this scale, different phenomena occur on the plane. For example, if a plane's alignment to Good is high enough, Good characters gain bonuses and Evil characters are penalized.
Some traits have quirks; for example, gravity might pull in a different direction or the benefits of good alignment may only work on certain types of creatures. These quirks also have a numeric value, for use with Knowledge (the planes).
These are the fundamental traits of the plane used to determine its essential nature and place in the universe. Altering the physical traits is extremely difficult, especially as one of the physical traits is the very trait that determines how much the plane can be altered. The physical traits of most planes are very well known and carefully recorded.
This is the force that holds a traveller's feet to the ground and drags a drowning man to his death; it makes big things heavy and small things light. On most planes, gravity is directed down towards the ground, but there are exceptions.
Gravity Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||Reverse Gravity: Objects push away from each other and matter brought to this plane decays over a period of time (days for most matter, weeks for dense metal and stone) as its constituent parts fly apart. This is identical to the No Gravity trait, but approaching any object requires a Strength check (DC 5 for Medium-sized creatures and smaller, DC 8 for Large, 10 for Huge, 15 for Gigantic, and 20 for Colossal or bigger).|
|-9 to -8||No Gravity: Individuals on a plane with this trait merely float in space.|
|-7 to -5||Light Gravity: The gravity on a plane with this trait is less intense than on the Material Plane. As a result, creatures find that they can lift more, but their movements tend to be ungainly. Characters suffer a -2 penalty on attack rolls and Balance, Ride, Swim, and Tumble checks. All items weigh half as much. Ranged weapons' ranges double and characters gain a +2 circumstance bonus on Climb and Jump checks. Strength and Dexterity do not change as a result of light gravity, but what you can do with such scores does change. Falling characters on a light gravity plane take 1d4 points of damage for every 10 feet fallen beyond the first, instead of 1d6.|
|-4 to -3||Mild Light Gravity: Characters suffer a -1 penalty on attack rolls and Balance, Ride, Swim, and Tumble checks. All items weigh three-quarters as much. Ranged weapons' ranges increase by 50% and characters gain a +1 circumstance bonus on Climb and Jump checks. Falling characters take 1d6 damage for every 10 feet fallen beyond the first two.|
|-2 to 2||Normal Gravity: Most planes have gravity similar to that of the Material Plane. The usual rules for ability scores, carrying capacity, and encumberance apply. Unless otherwise noted in a description, it is assumed that every plane has the normal gravity trait.|
|3 to 4||Mild Heavy Gravity: Balance, Climb, Jump, Ride, Swim and Tumble checks incur a –1 penalty, as do all attack rolls. All item weights are effectively increased by 50%, which might affect a character’s speed. Ranged weapons' ranges are reduced by 25%. A character’s Strength and Dexterity scores are not affected. Characters who fall on a mild heavy gravity plane take 1d8 points of damage for every 10 feet fallen.|
|5 to 7||Heavy Gravity: The gravity on a plane with this trait is much more intense than on the Material Plane. As a result, Balance, Climb, Jump, Ride, Swim and Tumble checks incur a –2 penalty, as do all attack rolls. All item weights are effectively doubled, which might affect a character’s speed. Ranged weapons' ranges are halved. A character’s Strength and Dexterity scores are not affected. Characters who fall on a heavy gravity plane take 1d10 points of damage for every 10 feet fallen.|
|8 to 9||Intense Gravity: Balance, Climb, Jump, Ride, Swim and Tumble checks incur a –4 penalty, as do all attack rolls. All item weights are effectively quadrupled, which might affect a character’s speed. Ranged weapons' ranges are reduced by 75%. A character’s Strength and Dexterity scores are not affected. Characters who fall on an intense gravity plane take 1d20 points of damage for every 10 feet fallen.|
|10||Black Hole: Anyone entering this plane without magical protections is crushed to death (DC 50 Fortitude save each round to avoid dying; DC increases by 5 each round, affects even creatures immune to death effects, also affects objects). Not even light can escape; magic can, but the caster must make a Spellcraft check (DC 50) when casting or the gravity collapses the spell before it is finished casting.|
|Subjective||+5||Each individual chooses the direction of gravity’s pull. Such a plane has no gravity for unattended objects and non-sentient creatures. Characters on a plane with subjective directional gravity can move normally along a solid surface by imagining ‘down’ near their feet. If suspended in mid-air, a character ‘flies’ by merely choosing a ‘down’ direction and ‘falling’ that way. Under such a procedure, an individual ‘falls’ 150-ft. in the first round and 300-ft. in each succeeding round. Movement is straightline only. In order to stop, one has to slow one’s movement by changing the designated ‘down’ direction, again, moving 150-ft. in the new direction in the first round and 300-ft. per round thereafter. It takes a Wisdom check (DC 16) to set a new direction of gravity as a swift action; this check can be made once per round. Any character who fails this Wisdom check in successive rounds receives a +6 insight bonus on subsequent checks until he succeeds.|
|Objective||+3||The direction of gravity is not the traditional ‘down’ toward the ground. It may be down toward any solid object, at an angle to the surface of the plane itself, or even upward. In addition, objective directional gravity may change from place to place. The direction of ‘down’ may vary.|
|Selective||+2||Certain types of objects or places are not affected by gravity; this allows for floating islands made of a particular rock or rivers that flow uphill.|
The time flow of most planes is constant, although some are somewhat faster or slower. One planes influenced be Faerie or Chaos, time can run out of joint.
Time Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||Utterly Timeless: Time on this plane has stopped. Cause and effect are impossible – nothing can happen here.|
|-9||Timeless Flow: On planes with this trait, time still passes, but the effects of time are diminished. How the Timeless trait can affect certain activities or conditions such as hunger, thirst, ageing, the effects of poison and healing varies from plane to plane.|
|-8||One century on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-7||One year on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-6||One day on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-5||One hour on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-4||Fifteen minutes on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-3||Five minutes on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-2||Five rounds on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|-1||Three rounds on the plane equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|0||Normal Time Flow: One round on a plane with normal time equals one round on the Material Plane.|
|1||One round on the plane equals three rounds on the Material Plane.|
|2||One round on the plane equals five rounds on the Material Plane.|
|3||One round on the plane equals five minutes on the Material Plane.|
|4||One round on the plane equals fifteen minutes on the Material Plane.|
|5||One round on the plane equals one hour on the Material Plane.|
|6||One round on the plane equals one day on the Material Plane.|
|7||One round on the plane equals one year on the Material Plane.|
|8||One round on the plane equals one century on the Material Plane.|
|9||Infinite Time Flow: Anyone spending any time on the plane at all is swept forward to the end of time.|
|10||Utterly Timeless: All possible things happen simultaneously.|
|Erratic||+3||Time flows differently during each visit; roll 1d10 and -1d10 and add the results to see how time flows for each visit. For example, rolling a +6 and –8 would result in a 6-8=-2, five rounds on the plane equal one round on the Material Plane.|
|Backwards||+7||Time on this plane flows backwards with respect to the rest of the universe. This has no effects on cause and effect within the plane, so characters can act normally. However, it often causes temporal paradoxes when a character leaves the plane.|
|Pent-up Time||+3||This quirk only affects planes with a negative Time trait. When a traveller leaves these planes for one where time flows normally, conditions such as hunger and ageing occur retroactively.|
The physical size of planes varies widely. Some are no larger than a house and, indeed, if extradimensional spaces are counted as planes, then a plane might be no larger than a gnome's pocket. The size of the plane is extremely important when attempting to affect it with magic; the Size trait is squared and then added to the difficulty of any ritual to affect it. A planar layer is a section of the plane that can have its own individual traits, like a demi-plane, but can be accessed just by mundane travel.
Infinity would be relatively easy to handle - it is almost the same as really, really, really big and it is of no consequence to the players whether they are fighting a hundred billion demons or an infinite number of them - if it were not for abilities like greater teleport. This allows an arbitrarily large number of entities to act without regard for distance or, to put it another way, it allows the infinitely large number of demons to attack the characters without spending an infinite amount of time travelling the infinite distance to get to them.
For the sake of sanity, infinities should be arranged in such a way that they cancel each other out. An infinite number of demons can be balanced by an infinite number of angels, leaving the characters as the deciding factor. Infinities should also be restricted to the ineffable; leave infinities for the gods to handle where possible. Infinities are supposed to be more spiritual truths than logical impossibilities.
Size Trait EffectsEdit
|Intensity||Size of the Plane|
|0||Less than one inch in diameter.|
|1||A 5-ft. cube.|
|2||A 10-ft. cube.|
|3||A medium-size room.|
|4||A large house.|
|5||A huge castle.|
|6||A castle and surrounding estates – a plane can be self-supporting at this size.|
|7||Approximately three miles across; a city.|
|8||Several miles across; the size of a small island.|
|9||A small barony; 50 or so miles across.|
|10||A country; 300 miles across. Unique native species may arise.|
|11||A continent, including surrounding oceans.|
|12||A world or a land area the size of a world.|
|13||A solar system; theoretically, the whole space could be filled. There does not have to be empty space between the worlds, so a Dyson-sphere plane could exist.|
|14||Multiple solar systems.|
|15||Plane is infinite, but boundaried. If you travel far enough in one direction, you return to your starting point – the plane’s edges wrap around.|
|16||Plane is infinite, but repetitive. Although the plane is infinite in extent, the geography repeats itself in endless variations on a theme. The same castle with the same guards might be encountered again and again.|
|17||Plane is infinite in one extent – travel in one direction long enough and you will encounter everything possible in that plane. A plane might be finite along the north-south axis, but infinite to the east and west.|
|18||Plane is infinite in all extents – you can travel in any direction for infinity.|
|19||Planar layers are also infinite.|
|20||Infinity of infinities – the plane has an infinite number of layers, all of which are infinite in extent.|
|Strange Shape||+2||The plane is not a flat or spherical world, but something stranger: a tesseract (bigger inside than out), a Mobius loop, a cross, a cathedral-shaped space, or something else.|
|Layer||+3 per layer||The plane has an extra layer beyond the first. A layer normally has the same traits as the rest of the plane, but traits can be added to or removed from a layer without affecting the rest of the plane.|
The morphic trait measures how alterable the plane is. Those planes with a high morphic trait can be altered by the will of the gods or powerful spells. Extremely morphic planes descend into chaos, as even idle thoughts can reshape the geography in an instant.
Controlling a Highly Morphic PlaneEdit
If a plane’s Morphic trait is 17 or higher, it may respond to the will of a traveller. A character must make a Wisdom check (DC 16) to establish control or maintain control. Travellers who have already established control in the past get a +6 bonus to this check. A traveller’s zone of control extends for a number of feet equal to his Charisma score. Within the zone of control, the traveller can shape the raw stuff of the plane as if moulding clay, creating air, stone, metal or whatever else is desired. The appropriate Craft skills are needed to produce an item or building; however, a character can shape the contents of one five-foot cube each round.
Objects created by warping chaos melt away if they move out of the traveller’s zone of control, if the traveller falls asleep, or if taken off the plane. A traveller may make a Wisdom check (DC 20 and the +6 bonus applies) to keep one five-foot by five-foot square from melting while he sleeps. If two travellers try to mould the same area simultaneously, they should make opposed Wisdom checks to see who wins.
Morphic Trait EffectsEdit
|0||Static: These planes are unchanging. Visitors cannot affect living residents of the plane, nor the objects that its denizens possess. Any spells that would affect those on the plane have no effect unless the plane’s Static trait is somehow removed or suppressed. Spells cast before entering a plane with the Static trait remain in effect, however. Even moving an unattended object within a static plane requires a Strength check (DC 16). Particularly heavy objects may be impossible to move.|
|1||Ageing, change and decay are unknown to the inhabitants.|
|2||Slightly Morphic: This plane can change, but only slowly. Reality moves sluggishly here. The DC for all checks is increased by +10 and all creatures or objects gain damage reduction 10/-.|
|3||Empires and forces that have been established for millennia control the plane.|
|4||Change is seen as something undesirable and wrong.|
|5||Alterable Morphic: On a plane with this trait, objects remain where and what they are unless affected by physical force or magic. You can change the immediate environment as a result of tangible effort.|
|6||The pace of change here is slightly faster than normal.|
|7||Synchronicity: The plane warps and folds imperceptibly, magnifying heroic acts. Characters gain a +1 luck bonus to all rolls for every five character levels they have. Monsters receive a similar bonus based on their Challenge Rating.|
|8||Fate and prophecy become less dependable; each mortal forges his own destiny here.|
|9||Demi-gods and half-divine beings become more common.|
|10||Divinely Morphic: Specific unique beings, such as deities or similar great powers, have the ability to alter objects, creatures and the landscape on planes with this trait. Ordinary characters find these planes similar to alterable planes in that spells and physical effort may affect them. These deities may cause such areas to change instantly and dramatically, creating great kingdoms for themselves.|
|11||Strong servants of the gods or powerful mortal mages looking for their own strongholds often claim such planes.|
|12||At this level, the plane tends to slip between Magically Morphic and Narrative Morphic at certain times.|
|13||Magically Morphic: Spells can alter the traits of the plane directly, without the need for ritual magic.|
|14||Narrative Morphic: The needs of drama and belief shape this plane; it operates according to ‘fairy tale logic,’ not physics. True love literally conquers all here.|
|15||The Fey claim most planes at this morphic level.|
|16||Dreams have as much effect on the world as physical actions.|
|17||Highly Morphic: On a plane with this trait, features of the plane change so frequently that it is difficult to keep a particular area stable. Such planes may react dramatically to specific spells, sentient thought or the force of will. Others change for no reason.|
|18||There are only a handful of people on such planes: those who have the strength of will to seize control of it. All others are absorbed into the desires and fantasies of these dream-kings. Such planes often fragment into dozens of smaller demi-planes.|
|19||Sentient: These planes are those that respond to a single thought – that of the plane itself. Travellers would find the plane’s landscape changing as a result of the plane’s thoughts on the travellers, becoming either more or less hospitable depending on its reaction.|
|20||Completely Morphic: The plane is catastrophically changed by every event; the flapping of a butterfly’s wings might increase the gravity of the plane by a thousand times or summon hosts of angels. Life and sanity are utterly impossible here and these planes usually boil away into the Astral Plane within 1d100 days.|
|Limited Morphology||+3||The plane’s structure can be altered, but only within certain parameters – no trait can be altered by more than + or – 5.|
|Restricted Morphology||+8||The plane is as morphic as its Morphic trait indicates, but only to a specific group of creatures (only elves, only sorcerers, only the members of the Order of the Star, and so on). For everyone else, the plane’s Morphic trait is 5.|
|Seasonally Morphic||+X||The plane’s morphic trait varies by up to + or – X at various points during the year. Any time spent at a positive Morphic value must be balanced with time spent at a negative value.|
The environmental traits of a plane determine what sort of life exists there. Life in a magical universe is endlessly adaptable – creatures can be made of living fire, crawl across the hydrogen ice that accumulates around collapsed stars or endure living in the wrathful eye of a god. Therefore, the Life trait determines how much native life thrives there. Invasion by travellers or events on the plane can, of course, alter how much life is found on the plane.
The Weather trait measures the usual intensity of the natural weather patterns and is usually only meaningful on planes with a Size trait of 11 or less. Larger planes have much more complex weather patterns; the Weather trait can therefore only be used as a guideline in such places.
The higher the Life trait, the stronger the native creatures are and the more of them there are. High-Life planes explode with verdant plant life and are crowded with animals. Low-Life planes are empty wastelands or nightmarish, inhospitable strongholds of death.
Life Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||Antilife: Not only is this plane inhabited only by the undead, they are all utterly hateful and hostile towards all forms of life. Any life energy is instantly detected by the hosts of wraiths and spectres that choke the skies and living characters will be attacked instantly if not invisible to undead.|
|-9||Cities of undead; this plane might be a grotesque mockery of normal life, with skeletal farmers sowing dust into empty fields ploughed by zombies.|
|-8||Dead Plane: There is no life here whatsoever. Undead are the only possible inhabitants.|
|-7||Only the toughest bacteria survive here.|
|-6||Wasteland: A handful of survivors live off the decay. The only life present must be carefully tended and protected if it is to endure.|
|-5||There are large oases of natural native life in the most hospitable areas, but most of the plane is empty.|
|-4||Sickly: Life exists in many places in the plane, but it is weak and sickly. Reduce the average hit points of all creatures by 2 per Hit Die. Living creatures larger than Large are exceedingly rare.|
|-3||Life here is superficially healthy, but still fairly widespread. Reduce the average hit points of all creatures by 1 per Hit Die.|
|-2||Sparse: Life is widespread, but sparse. Plant life exists in scrublands and small copses and vast herds of animals are unknown.|
|-1||Life is marginally less common than normal, but still almost omnipresent. Choose one biosphere that is normally inhabited – it is empty of life here.|
|0||Normal: This is the level of life found in most campaign worlds.|
|1||Life is marginally more common; the density of life found in rich farmlands and forests is everywhere here.|
|2||Verdant: Vast jungles or rainforests dominate this plane.|
|3||Life here is unusually strong – increase the average hit points of all creatures by 1 point per Hit Die.|
|4||Rich: Life is everywhere; even normally unliving items like weapons or buildings might be living creatures here.|
|5||Large creatures become the norm.|
|6||Supernaturally Rich: At this level, life is so intense that the inhabitants are much stronger. Apply the dire template to all animals.|
|7||Huge creatures become the norm. Giants or titans often dominate such planes.|
|8||Universal Life: There is no non-living matter in the plane. Even rocks squirm and crawl.|
|9||As Universal Life, but a low level of intelligence is common to all creatures. This is essentially an animated realm – you can talk to anything.|
|10||Living Plane: The plane is a single huge life form.|
|intelligent Life||+3||The plane includes a race with an average Intelligence similar to that of humans.|
|Magical Life||+3||The plane includes a large number of magical beasts and other supernatural creatures.|
The Weather trait determines the intensity and frequency of unusual or dangerous weather.
Weather Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||No Weather Whatsoever: The plane’s atmosphere is perfectly still. No water flows, no sun rises or sets. There are no seasons. Even magical spells cannot affect the weather.|
|-9||The environment is utterly bland and average, lacking even fractional variations in pressure or moisture level.|
|-8||Artificial Weather Only: The only atmospheric movement is caused by magic or the passage of powerful creatures. Some groups summon air elementals to provide winds and water elementals or gates to the Water Plane for rain.|
|-7||All water becomes stagnant.|
|-6||Static: Weather does not change here. While there might still be clouds, storms, winds and other such phenomena, they are as unmoving as mountains and rivers. Meteorology becomes geography.|
|-5||Seasons become impossible.|
|-4||Failing Weather: The weather here is slowly growing less and less intense.|
|-3||No storms or blizzards.|
|-2||Mild Weather: Weather on this plane is noticeably milder and calmer.|
|-1||No natural lightning or cyclonic storms.|
|0||Normal: Average weather for the Material Plane. Obviously, the weather varies from place to place on the plane, but on average it is not especially calm or violent.|
|1||Flooding becomes common.|
|2||Violent Weather: Weather on this plane is 50% more violent than normal. Large storms are as common as rain showers.|
|3||At this level, lightning storms are common enough to be viable as a power source.|
|4||Constant Violent Weather: The weather here is always violent; storms, blizzards, hurricanes, sandstorms and so on.|
|5||Common effects at this level include eternal tearing winds, permanent storms or fast floods that engulf the whole plane.|
|6||Dangerous Weather: The weather here is dangerous enough to deal real damage, up to 1d6 points of damage per round. The exact type and conditions depend on the type of weather. Storms might spit lightning requiring Reflex saves to avoid, acid rain might require protection or Fortitude saves. Non-magical flying creatures become extinct.|
|7||Most cities are underground or encased. Plant life adapts by taking cover.|
|8||Very Dangerous Weather: As Dangerous Weather, but can deal up to 1d12 points of damage.|
|9||Overland travel becomes the stuff of heroism.|
|10||Atmospheric Chaos: As Very Dangerous Weather, but the nature of the damage changes from minute to minute.|
|Weather Feature||+X||The plane includes a well-known and powerful permanent weather system; the value and power of the system equals half the difference between the plane’s Weather Trait and the desired weather system. For example, producing Dangerous Weather (16) on a Normal Weather (10) plane is a +3 quirk.|
The primal forces of the Elemental and Energy planes influence all the planes of existence. All fire comes in some small fraction from the eternal flames; all unholy energy is the shadow of the Shadow. Some planes are more closely aligned to one of the Elemental Planes, reinforcing the connection between instances of that element and its primal source.
In large planes (Size 10+), the alignment between the plane and the elemental plane can be a local one, creating unnatural microclimates. An alignment with the Plane of Air might spawn a glacier or windwhipped frozen region in the midst of warm plains; an alignment with Earth might create towering mountains, while an alignment with Fire results in deserts and dry lands surrounded by plenty.
Aligning with one element causes an equal disconnection with the opposing element. The oppositions are as follows:
Fire opposes Water – Water opposes Fire.
Earth opposes Air – Air opposes Earth.
Holy opposes Unholy – Unholy opposes Holy.
A plane can be aspected (a lesser connection) or dominated (a greater connection) to a particular element or energy. The influence of the element on its aspected plane is quite subtle, and is generally only of interest to magicians and creatures of that element. The effects on a dominated plane, on the other hand, are quite obvious to all. For all the elements and energies, the following rules apply:
Aspected: All spells with the appropriate elemental or energy descriptor count as being cast by a character one level higher if, for example, a fireball cast by a 5th level character deals 6d6 points of damage. Creatures with the appropriate type gain one extra hit point per Hit Die. Creatures with the opposing elemental type lose one hit point per Hit Die while in the aspected plane. Opposing spells are unaffected.
Dominated: All spells with the appropriate elemental or energy descriptor are Empowered as per the Metamagic feat and have their effective level increased by two for the purposes of saving throws and other level-dependent features. Creatures with the appropriate type gain two extra hit points per Hit Die. Creatures with the opposing elemental type lose two hit points per Hit Die while in the aspected plane. Opposing spells require a spell slot one level higher than normal – an ordinary fireball needs a fourth level spell slot on a water-dominated plane. Note that all creatures with the Undead type count as being aligned with Unholy energy.
Obviously, the Elemental Planes are dominated by the appropriate element. This makes elementals considerably more dangerous on their home planes – not only as they have more hit points per Hit Die, but the opposing spells that are especially effective against them take higher-level spell slots.
The most physically dramatic of the elemental axes, the Water/Fire axis is a major determinant in what sort of life exists on the plane. Too much Water and only aquatic creatures can thrive there. An excess of fire means that only elementals, energy beings, and creatures with tough, flame-retardant hides can dwell on the plane.
Water/Fire Axis EffectsEdit
|-10||The entire plane is liquid. Non-sentient solids liquefy within 1d10 rounds unless in the possession of a creature.|
|-9||Elemental pockets liquefy within a year of entering the plane.|
|-8||Water-Dominated: Planes at this level are mostly liquid. Visitors who cannot breathe water or reach a pocket of air will likely drown. Those made of fire take 1d10 points of damage each round.|
|-7||95% or more of the plane’s volume is filled with liquid.|
|-6||Combustion becomes impossible outside of specially built chambers. Fire is almost mythical.|
|-5||Water-Aspected: Natural portals to the Plane of Water occur everywhere at this level. Only a few tiny islands break above the surface of a vast, plane-girdling ocean.|
|-4||Fires cannot exist in the open; the only flames are in protected hearths.|
|-3||Rainstorms become permanent.|
|-2||Large continents become impossible.|
|-1||Slightly biased towards Water. Large rivers and seas are common.|
|0||Balanced: This plane is equally balanced between Fire and Water.|
|1||Slightly biased towards Fire. Flames burn for 25% longer here.|
|2||Average temperature is above 110º. Water becomes uncommon.|
|3||Flames now burn without consuming their fuel.|
|4||Average temperature is above 140º. Pillars of flame are common features.|
|5||Fire-Aspected: Natural portals to the Plane of Fire occur everywhere at this level. Water becomes a rare and treasured substance.|
|6||The heat deals 1d10 points of fire damage each round to all travellers.|
|7||Flames deal 2d10 points of damage every round to unprotected travellers.|
|8||Fire-Dominated: Individuals take 3d10 points of fire damage every round they are on a Fire-dominant plane. Those that are made of water take double damage each round.|
|9||No elemental pockets can exist here for more than a month. Individuals take 6d10 points of damage per round.|
|10||The plane is a conflagration hot enough to burn anything, even abstract concepts. Travellers take 10d10 points of damage each round.|
|Common Pockets||+2||The plane includes numerous pockets of Earth or Air.|
|Opposing Pockets||+2||The plane includes numerous pockets from the other side of the axis – a Fire-dominant plane includes Water pockets.|
The Earth/Air axis has relatively little impact on a plane except at the extremes. Unlike the Water/Fire axis, a plane can be aligned to Air or Earth and still greatly resemble the common Material Plane.
Earth/Air Axis EffectsEdit
|-10||The plane is a perfectly solid block of stone, without so much as a hair’s breadth of empty space.|
|-9||There is no surface – all space in the plane is underground.|
|-8||Earth-Dominant: Planes with this trait are mostly solid. Travellers who arrive run the risk of suffocation if they do not reach a cavern or other pocket within the earth. Worse yet, individuals without the ability to burrow are entombed in the earth and must dig their way out (5-ft. per turn). Creatures of the Air subtype are uncomfortable on Earth dominant planes because these planes are tight and claustrophobic to them. But they suffer no inconvenience beyond having difficulty moving.|
|-7||95% of the plane is solid rock.|
|-6||Lichens become the only widespread form of plant life.|
|-5||Earth-Aspected: Massive underground caverns and tunnel networks make up most of the terrain on the plane; the surface is mostly choked by slowly drifting dust clouds and seas of shale.|
|-4||Floating islands of rock begin to crowd the sky. Most civilizations are underground or on these floating rocks.|
|-3||Spires and arches of stone drive up high into the atmosphere. It is possible to climb above the sky.|
|-2||Large mountains become the norm.|
|-1||Slightly biased towards Earth. The terrain is slightly rockier.|
|0||Balanced: This plane is equally balanced between Earth and Air.|
|1||Slightly biased towards Air. Winds are 10% stronger.|
|2||Flying creatures become more common.|
|3||Floating islands dot the skies.|
|4||Large empty gulfs in the land are a common terrain feature; flight is the only way to travel large distances.|
|5||Air-Aspected: Flying creatures are dominant. Underground complexes are rare.|
|6||Seas and oceans become rare; continents float free in the air, divided by wide stretches of empty sky.|
|7||Clouds are now the major geographical feature used by navigators.|
|8||Air-Dominant: Mostly open space, planes with this trait have just a few bits of floating stone or other elements. They usually have a breathable atmosphere, though such a plane may include clouds of acidic or toxic gas. Creatures of the Earth subtype are uncomfortable on Air-dominant planes because they have little or no natural earth to connect with. They take no actual damage, however.|
|9||The sheer blueness of the sky is becomes extremely disorientating. Pockets of other elements sublimate into gases within a year.|
|10||The entire plane is gaseous. Non-sentient solids sublimate within 1d10 rounds unless in the possession of a creature.|
|Common Pockets||+2||The plane includes numerous pockets of Fire or Water.|
|Opposing Pockets||+2||The plane includes numerous pockets from the other side of the axis – an Earth-dominant plane includes Air pockets.|
Planes biased towards any kind of energy are rare. At the lower levels of intensity, Holy bias helps the denizens of a plane greatly and such places are bastions of life and strength. Highly Holy planes are much more dangerous, as the frames of most creatures are simply too fragile to handle that much life energy and creatures can be consumed by the exultant energies of their own spirits.
Unholy biased planes are dangerous, even at the lowest levels of intensity. Living creatures of all kinds have their life force sapped by these planes, while the undead thrive. Highly Unholy planes are more inhospitable than the heart of the Fire Plane.
Unholy/Holy Axis EffectsEdit
|-10||There is no matter or energy at this level, only an amorphous cloud of antimatter and antienergy. Anything made of normal matter or energy that enters this plane must make a Fortitude save (DC 50 + 5 per round, affects even creatures immune to death effects, affects objects and creatures equally) or violently explode and die.|
|-9||Even death may die here. There is nothing beyond this level.|
|-8||Unholy-Dominant: Each round, those within must make a Fortitiude save (DC 25) or gain a negative level. A creature whose negative levels equal its current levels or Hit Dice is slain, becoming a wraith. The death ward spell protects a traveller from the damage and energy drain of an Unholy-dominant plane.|
|-7||Hope is forgotten.|
|-6||Dreaming becomes impossible.|
|-5||Unholy-Aspected: Living creatures not protected by a death ward take 1d6 points of damage per round. At 0 hit points or lower, they crumble to ash.|
|-4||Undead now greatly outnumber the living.|
|-3||Such places are bastions of death, destruction and despair.|
|-2||Undead are common.|
|-1||Slightly biased towards Unholy.|
|0||Balanced: This plane is equally balanced between Life and Death.|
|1||Slightly biased towards the Holy.|
|2||Paladins become more common than fighters.|
|3||Disease no longer exists.|
|4||Such places are bastions of heroism, healing, or hedonism.|
|5||Holy-Aspected: Colours are brighter, fires are hotter, noises are louder and sensations are more intense as a result of the Holy energy swirling through the plane. All individuals in a Holy-dominant plane gain fast healing 2 as an extraordinary ability.|
|6||Pain is almost forgotten here.|
|7||Undead cannot enter the plane without protection.|
|8||Holy-Dominant: A creature on a major Holy-dominant plane must make a Fortitude save (DC 15) to avoid being blinded for 10 rounds by the brilliance of their surroundings. Simply being on the plane grants fast healing 5 as an extraordinary ability. In addition, those at full hit points gain five additional temporary hit points per round. These temporary hit points fade over the course of 1d20 rounds after the creature leaves the major Holy-dominant plane. However, a creature must make a Fortitude save (DC 20) each round that its temporary hit points exceed its normal hit point total. Failing the saving throw results in the creature exploding in a riot of energy, killing it.|
|9||Creatures have fast healing 10. Inanimate objects awaken within 1d10 rounds of entering the plane.|
|10||Being in a plane this attuned to Holy is akin to trying to live in a white hole; creatures and objects are instantly and constantly bombarded with energy. Anything entering must make a Fortitude save (DC 50 + 5 per round, affects even creatures immune to death effects, affects both creatures and objects) each round or be ripped apart at the atomic level by the sheer energy present within this plane.|
Good and evil, law and chaos are more than philosophical statements; they are forces in reality just as fundamental as gravity and time. These traits cross at neutrality. Just like the elemental and energy axes, a plane can be mildly aligned to a particular alignment or strongly aligned to it. Neutrally-dominated planes are rare and often represent a conscious effort on the part of their inhabitants to devote themselves to balance above all else. Any mildly neutral world with a Good/Evil or Law/Chaos trait of 10 can be made strongly neutral.
Mildly Aligned: Creatures who have an alignment opposite that of a mildly aligned plane take a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.
Strongly Aligned: On planes that are strongly aligned, a –2 penalty applies on all Charisma-based checks made by all creatures not of the plane’s alignment. In addition, the –2 penalty also affects all Intelligence-based and Wisdom-based checks.
The penalties for the moral (Good/Evil) and ethical (Law/Chaos) components of the alignment trait do stack.
The clash between good and evil dominates the politics and wars of the planes. Between these two forces there can be no compromise, no negotiated peace; at best, there is a watchful balance and a continual smouldering hostility. When war breaks out, the hosts of hell swarm up to lay siege to the gates of heaven and dozens of planes are deluged in the blood of angels and demons. One day, there will be a great and final war and in that apocalypse one side or the other will prove the stronger. All the wars on all the worlds are just overtures to that eschatological conflict.
Good/Evil Axis EffectsEdit
|-10||At this level of goodness, purity of soul overwhelms the material world. Those who are not perfectly good are hurled out of the plane (if redeemable) or destroyed (if not). Those who are perfectly good merge with the plane. Beyond this, the mind cannot fathom and the heart cannot know.|
|-9||All things are full of awe.|
|-8||Strongly Aligned to Good: Negative emotions – jealously, hate, unrighteous anger – are unthinkable to natives.|
|-7||Aasimars are born naturally at this level.|
|-6||Heroism and self-sacrifice are instinctive.|
|-5||Mildly Aligned to Good: Those not aligned to Good suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.|
|-4||Paladins and good-aligned clerics become the most numerous characters.|
|-3||75% or more of the population are good. Crime becomes rare.|
|-2||A nice place to live. People here tend to help each other out and neighborliness is a given.|
|0||Mildly Neutral or Strongly Neutral: A plane only becomes Strongly Neutral if there is a genuine commitment to actively balancing the cosmic scales there, as opposed to merely indecision.|
|2||Not a nice place to live. Petty acts of malice are common.|
|3||75% of the population are evil. These planes tend to descend into brutal, bloody anarchy or despotic regimes.|
|4||Blackguards, assassins and evil clerics become the most numerous characters.|
|5||Mildly Aligned to Evil: Those not aligned to Evil suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.|
|6||Causing pain, suffering and sorrow become instinctive to all natives of the plane.|
|7||Tieflings are born naturally at this level.|
|8||Strongly Aligned to Evil: Positive emotions – generosity, compassion, self-sacrifice – are unthinkable to natives.|
|9||All things are full of wickedness.|
|10||At this level of evil, impurity of soul overwhelms the material world. Those who are not perfectly evil are hurled out of the plane (if they are somewhat impure) or destroyed (if pure). Those who are perfectly evil merge with the plane. Beyond this, the soul cannot endure and the heart cannot tolerate.|
The great conflict between law and chaos, between order and entropy, is older by far than the clash between good and evil. Before anything could reason, before morality could be conceived of, the crystalline structures of law and the bubbling metamorphoses of chaos were sliding through the universe, shaping and unshaping all that existed. Law seeks to bring structure to all that exists, to lock all creation into a single grand design that would open the gates to infinitely higher and larger lattices of order. Chaos desires the precise opposite – to collapse all that is into random sparks and fluctuations of energy and matter, to transform the universe into a vast incomprehensible potentiality. It is perhaps a paradox then that even the lords of law and chaos must contain a tiny sliver of the nature of the other. Pure law cannot exist while chaos exists, while pure chaos lacks any direction. This forced symbiosis is sometimes all that keeps the worlds from being frozen in order or sliding into chaos.
Law/Chaos Axis EffectsEdit
|-10||The whole plane exists in a single equation. Anyone entering such a plane is either integrated into the equation (if sufficiently lawful) or opposed with overwhelming force (if deemed an undesirable random factor).|
|-9||Entropy ceases; all things now tend towards order. Broken things repair themselves, buildings grow out of materials.|
|-8||Strongly Aligned to Law: All laws are now physical laws; theft is as difficult as flying without wings. Crystal of all kinds is especially common.|
|-7||The plane becomes organized; rivers flow in straight lines, forests in orchards and so on.|
|-6||Lawfulness becomes the dominant ethos, even among animals.|
|-5||Mildly Aligned to Law: Those not aligned to Law suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.|
|-4||Advanced clockworks and other machinery become common. The word steampunk comes to mind.|
|-3||Societies become self-organising, rapidly creating their own laws.|
|-2||Civilizations here are noticeably more lawful.|
|0||Mildly Neutral or Strongly Neutral: A plane only becomes Strongly Neutral if there is a genuine commitment to actively balancing the cosmic scales there, as opposed to merely indecision.|
|2||Large civilizations become rare.|
|3||Anarchic communes or warlords are the most common forms of government.|
|4||Logic tends to fail here; intuition is a better guide.|
|5||Mildly Aligned to Chaos: Those not aligned to Chaos suffer a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks.|
|6||Chaos becomes the dominant ethos, even among animals.|
|7||The landscape warps and changes randomly.|
|8||Strongly Aligned to Chaos: The laws of physics change randomly here.|
|9||Reality fails. Small bubbles of order exist, but most of the plane is random chaos.|
|10||The whole plane exists in bubbling nuclear chaos. Anyone entering such a plane is either absorbed into the madness (if sufficiently chaotic) or opposed with overwhelming force (if unpalatable).|
Magic varies wildly across the planes. Arcane energy surges through the weave of worlds, to have its threads plucked and rewoven by mages or channelled by sorcerers. The presence or attention of a deity can greatly enhance the prayers of clerics, while the strength of the ‘green shadow’ of druids on a plane gives its followers power.
Metamagic and the Magical TraitEdit
At higher levels of magical intensity, the plane offers a number of ‘free’ metamagic levels to casters of a particular type of magic. For example, on a plane with +3 metamagic, a character can use three levels of metamagic feats each round, even if he possesses no such feats. He could make a spell Silent, Still, and Enlarged (one level each, for a total of three levels of metamagic) or Empowered and Extended (two levels and one level). The character does not have to possess these feats in order to use the free levels. Some planes have more specific effects; all divine spells might be specifically made Silent in the Monastery of the Silent Monks.
Of all the forms of magic, it is arcane magic that varies the most. The power of magic flows like quicksilver through the planes, pooling in certain areas and draining away from others. Places of magical strength are rarely peaceful; if a plane enhances magical power, it is quickly claimed by dozens of warring mages and sorcerers. If one arcanist is victorious, he takes the plane as his own personal domain, but more often, the plane is reduced to a smoking ruin after decades of vicious magical battles. Bardic magic is also affected by this trait, as is (to a lesser extent) creativity and art in general. Magic is an art form, after all.
Arcane Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||Dead Magic: A plane with the Dead Magic trait functions in all respects like an antimagic field spell for the purposes of arcane and bardic magic. Divination spells cannot detect subjects within a Dead Magic plane, nor can a spellcaster use teleport or another spell to move in or out of it. The only exceptions to the ‘no magic’ rule are permanent planar portals, which still function normally.|
|-9||Magical beasts and other creatures with supernatural abilities die within 1d10 hours of entering this plane. 2nd level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast.|
|-8||Impeded Magic: Arcane spells and spell-like abilities are more difficult to cast on planes with this trait. To cast a spell, the caster must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). If the check fails, the spell does not function but is still lost as if it has been successfully cast. If the check succeeds, the spell functions normally. 3rd level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast.|
|-7||4th level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast. Poetry is unknown.|
|-6||5th level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast. Songs are rare.|
|-5||6th level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast. Sorcerers sicken on arrival on the plane and remain sickened until they leave the plane.|
|-4||7th level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast. Magical bindings and compulsions become undependable.|
|-3||8th level and higher arcane spells cannot be cast.|
|-2||9th level and epic level arcane spells cannot be cast. Mages become rarer.|
|-1||Spells with a spell level over 9th and epic level spells and effects fail.|
|0||Normal Magic: Arcane magic works normally.|
|1||Arcanists become slightly more common.|
|3||Simple magical items become more common; most cities have continual lights, flying guards and so on.|
|5||Magery becomes the preferred art of the nobility. Almost everyone has a level or two of sorcerer or mage.|
|7||Sorcerers are born naturally here, even to those not of the ancestry.|
|9||Everyone on the plane is an arcane spellcaster.|
|Wild Magic||+3||On a plane with the Wild Magic trait spells and spell-like abilities function in radically different and sometimes dangerous ways. Any spell or spelllike ability used on a Wild Magic plane has a chance to go awry. The caster must make a level check (DC 15 + the level of the spell or effect) for the magic to function normally. For spell-like abilities, use the level or HD of the creature employing the ability for the caster level check and the level of the spell-like ability to set the DC for the caster level check.|
|Focused Magic||+3||The plane’s Arcane trait only affects one particular color or school of magic; it is at 10 for other schools. This quirk can be taken multiple times; each time it affects a different school of magic.|
Some worlds are like panes of clear glass, through which the bright light of the divine can pass with perfect and undiminished beauty. Planes that are close to the inhabitation of a particular god are bathed more intensely in that god’s power. Other realms are choked with doubt and confusion and clerics are cut off from the greater blessings of their deities. Most Material Planes are equally transparent to all gods and no deity can give unusual powers to their followers. Few of the other planes are as perfectly balanced. The Divine trait affects the spells of clerics and paladins.
Divine Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||Dead Magic: A plane with the Dead Magic trait functions in all respects like an antimagic field spell for the purposes of divine spells. Divination spells cannot detect subjects within a Dead Magic plane, nor can a spellcaster use teleport or another spell to move in or out of it. The only exceptions to the ‘no magic’ rule are permanent planar portals, which still function normally.|
|-9||Without remove disease, plagues become more widespread. 2nd level and higher divine spells cannot be cast.|
|-8||Impeded Magic: Divine spells and spell-like abilities are more difficult to cast on planes with this trait. To cast a spell, the caster must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). If the check fails, the spell does not function but is still lost as if it were successfully cast. If the check succeeds, the spell functions normally. 3rd level and higher divine spells cannot be cast.|
|-7||4th level and higher divine spells cannot be cast. Most prayers go unheard.|
|-6||5th level and higher divine spells cannot be cast.|
|-5||6th level and higher divine spells cannot be cast. Atheism rises.|
|-4||7th level and higher divine spells cannot be cast. Divine interventions become rare.|
|-3||8th level and higher divine spells cannot be cast. Churches lose a great deal of influence.|
|-2||9th level and epic divine spells cannot be cast. Faith becomes rarer.|
|-1||Most local priests are not clerics; they are experts in Knowledge (religion). True clerics are scarce and their powers seen as wondrous.|
|0||Normal Magic: Divine magic works normally.|
|1||Clerics become more common. The church’s influence grows.|
|3||Prayers are often answered.|
|5||Divine revelation becomes common.|
|7||Emanations of the divine (celestials, angels and so on) often manifest on the plane.|
|9||Everyone on the plane is a divine spellcaster.|
|Focused Magic||+3||The plane’s Divine trait only affects clerics of a particular god or ethos; it is at 10 for other gods and beliefs. This quirk can be taken multiple times; each time it affects a different god or ethos.|
Every living thing casts the Green shadow. Invisible bright tendrils of life extend like roots through the world, forming shapes and totems of power. The druids draw on these totems, honouring them and making sacrifices to them to shape their magic. In some worlds, the Green shadow is bright, full of vitality and strength. In other worlds, there is not enough life to form a strong shadow and the Green is wan, as bitter and hungry as winter. The Green trait affects the spells of druids.
Green Trait EffectsEdit
|-10||Dead Magic: A plane with the Dead Magic trait functions in all respects like an antimagic field spell for the purposes of druidic spells. Divination spells cannot detect subjects within a Dead Magic plane, nor can a spellcaster use teleport or another spell to move in or out of it. The only exceptions to the ‘no magic’ rule are permanent planar portals, which still function normally.|
|-9||2nd level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast.|
|-8||Impeded Magic: Druidic spells and spell-like abilities are more difficult to cast on planes with this trait. To cast a spell, the caster must make a Spellcraft check (DC 20 + the level of the spell). If the check fails, the spell does not function but is still lost as if it had been successfully cast. If the check succeeds, the spell functions normally. 3rd level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast.|
|-7||4th level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast. The wilderness begins to fail.|
|-6||5th level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast. Fey become extinct.|
|-5||6th level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast.|
|-4||7th level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast. Fey become rare.|
|-3||8th level and higher druidic spells cannot be cast. Barbarian tribes become less common.|
|-2||9th level and epic druidic spells cannot be cast. The great wildernesses diminish.|
|-1||Fey and magical beasts become less common.|
|0||Normal Magic: Druidic magic works normally.|
|1||Druids become more common. The borders between civilization and wilderness become blurred.|
|3||Religion is more often found in woodland glades than in cathedrals.|
|5||Fey and magical beasts become common.|
|7||Most major zones of life (forests, oceans) become sentient.|
|9||Everyone on the plane is a druidic spellcaster.|
The Relation traits for a plane are special. While a plane has only one rating for each of the other traits, it has a Relation trait rating for every other plane. In reality, the vast majority of planes have the same Relation trait ratings – Proximity 0 (Separate) and Accessible Through Magic.
The Proximity trait measures how close two planes are to each other. This relationship is not purely spatial; currents in a transitive plane or a massive astral conduit can connect planes. The Proximity trait begins at Separate – the two planes are not connected at all. As the trait rises in intensity, the planes grow closer together until they merge.
Proximity Trait EffectsEdit
|0||Utterly Separate: The two planes are divided by the wide gulf of at least one transitive plane.|
|1-2||A single gate exists between the two planes, manifesting only when rare conditions occur on the transitive plane.|
|3-4||The greatest scholars of one plane have heard of the other.|
|5-6||A handful of gates exist between the two planes.|
|7-8||Co-terminus: The two planes touch at multiple special places, where natural portals may exist between the two.|
|9-10||Portals between the two planes appear whenever conditions on one plane mirror those on the other (portals to Fire in the hearts of volcanoes, for example).|
|11-13||The planes are now usually aspected or mildly aligned to each other.|
|14-15||Co-existent: The two planes touch at every point.|
|16-17||The planes are now usually dominated by or strongly aligned to each other.|
|18-19||Portals between the planes open randomly throughout both planes.|
|20||Merged: The two planes are merging into one.|
|Moving Planes||+X||The plane’s proximity to another plane varies. It changes by twice the value of X over time. Any time spent at a Positive proximity value must be balanced with time spent at a negative value.|
The Accessibility trait measures how easy it is to transit to the plane. Highly accessible planes can be visited just by casting plane shift or even just by walking there. Other planes require travellers to use keys or more potent spells.
Accessibility Trait EffectsEdit
|0-1||Sealed: The plane cannot be accessed by any means. Attempts to gate or plane shift to the plane fail. No one can enter or leave the plane.|
|2-3||Single Portal: There is a single way into the plane – all attempts to gate or plane shift deposit the traveller at this single point. The plane still requires a key.|
|4-5||Locked: A specific, singular item, spell, password or other token is needed to access the plane. For example, only someone wearing a crown of kings can gate to the plane.|
|6-7||Keyed: A specific type of item or other token is needed. For example, only someone wearing a crown can gate to the plane.|
|8||Planar Barrier: Anyone trying to cast a spell to access the plane must make a Spellcraft check (DC 45) to get through the borders. If the check fails, the spell fails. If the plane has a key, it automatically overcomes the planar barrier. Most portals are designed with the key in mind, so the barrier does not affect them.|
|9||Planar Barrier: As above, but the DC drops to 40.|
|10||Planar Barrier: As above, but the DC drops to 35.|
|11||Planar Barrier: As above, but the DC drops to 30.|
|12||Planar Barrier: As above, but the DC drops to 25.|
|13||Planar Barrier: As above, but the DC drops to 20.|
|14||Planar Barrier: As above, but the DC drops to 15.|
|15-16||Accessible Through Magic: The plane can be accessed normally through spells or portals.|
|17-19||Accessible Through Key: The plane can be accessed from a co-existent or coterminous plane by anyone who has the right key. For example, anyone wearing a crown can will themselves to the other plane as a standard action. In the case of coterminous planes, the character must still be at a point where the two planes touch.|
|20||Merged: The two planes are one. A character can walk from one to the other.|
|Backfire||+2||If a caster fails the Spellcraft check to overcome a planar barrier, he takes 1d6 points of points of damage per level of the spell. A failed gate, for example, deals 9d6 points of damage.|
|Multiple Keys||+1 per key||Several different types of key allow access to the plane.|
|Complex Key||+1 per component||The key is actually a combination of different parts; a physical item, a word, a spell and so on. The ‘key’ to the plane might be ‘the traveller must wear a crown and recite a specific rhyme while casting plane shift.’|
Those without recourse to their own spells or innate abilities travel the planes by means of portals, magical passages and back doors that criss-cross reality. Some portals are natural, but the majority were created in ages past. A portal can take any form, but most are in the shapes of doors, teleportation circles, gateways or other symbols of egress. Some portals are doors, leading only to an adjacent plane. Others are gateways, leading to more distant realms. The larger and more useful a portal, the better known it is. Whole cities have grown up around major portals, in the same way a mundane metropolis grows around a ford or harbour. These cities, called gatetowns, are the heart of commerce on the planes. Their portals are always kept in huge fortified barbicans, filled with traps and magical defences. Should an enemy take the far side of the portal, invaders could swarm into the heart of the gate-town unless stopped by the barbican. Some portals have been sealed inside activated barbicans for centuries, waiting for someone to navigate the death traps and passageways and shut down the defenses.
Appearance of a PortalEdit
A portal can look like almost anything. Most are doors or frames that the traveller walks through, but others are shadows cast by statues, where one walks into the shadow to pass through the portal; others are gems to be touched, boats that cross a misty lake, wells to climb into, symbols scratched into a wall or road, or chambers with only one door but two exits. Most portals only allow a single traveller to pass at any one time, but portals large enough to transport whole armies or fleets do exist.
Finding a PortalEdit
Most established portals are obvious – it is hard to mistake a jade arch encrusted with runes of travel or a glowing yellow doorway for anything other than a portal. The more cosmopolitan extraplanar cities have signposts indicating the location of the nearest portal, as well as the portal’s destination and how to activate it. However, locating an inactive, hidden or obscure portal is more challenging.
Detect magic, arcane sight, and true seeing also allow a caster to notice the presence of a portal. (A portal glows with moderate Conjuration (or Brown) when seen with detect magic.) Experienced planar travellers can sense a nearby portal naturally – a character with 10 or more ranks in Knowledge (the planes) is entitled to a Spot check to notice a portal if he passes within five feet of the portal. A portal that is simply inactive, such as a pair of standing stones, requires a Spot check (DC 10). Hidden portals such as a ring of tiny runes concealed by a layer of moss call for a much higher Spot DC (25 or more, depending on how well hidden the portal is). A tracker can notice the unusual footprints left by otherworldly creatures, especially when such trails vanish abruptly at the portal. Locating a portal by tracks alone is a very time-consuming method, but is often the only way to escape a plane without resorting to magic. Once a portal has been found, most travellers would prefer to know where it might take them before stepping through. A successful Knowledge (arcana) check (DC 25) can ascertain the portal's aura.
Portals are surrounded by a magical aura, similar to one surrounding a magical item. The subtleties of this aura cannot be perceived with detect magic, which merely shows the presence of Conjuration magic. When observed with a Knowledge (arcana) check (DC 25) or arcane sight, the colors in the portal’s aura can be seen. Each plane has its own unique color, as well as streaks and marks reflecting what sort of traits the plane has. A Knowledge (arcana) or Knowledge (the planes) check (DC 15) is needed to interpret these signs.
Portal Aura ComponentsEdit
|Gravity >= +5||The aura curls back in on itself.|
|Gravity <= -5||The aura has many spikes and flares.|
|Time >= +5||The aura shimmers and jumps much faster than normal.|
|Time <= -5||The aura changes exceedingly slowly.|
|Size >= +5||The aura is limited to a narrow band around the portal.|
|Size <= -5||The aura extends several feet from the portal.|
|Water-Aspected or Dominated||The aura leaves tiny beads of moisture behind.|
|Fire-Aspected or Dominated||The aura has scorched the area around the portal.|
|Earth-Aspected or Dominated||Tiny fragments of stone and dirt encrust the area around the portal.|
|Air-Aspected or Dominated||A breeze blows from the portal.|
|Holy-Aspected or Dominated||The aura is much brighter than normal.|
|Unholy-Aspected or Dominated||The aura is much darker than normal.|
|Arcane > 10||Tiny sparkles of energy flow through the aura.|
|Divine > 10||The aura is attracted to holy symbols, just like iron filings are attracted to a magnet.|
|Green > 10||Green streaks run through the aura.|
Activation methods vary, but there are a few common ways to activate a portal.
Command Word (swift action)Edit
Speaking the correct word activates the portal. Public portals usually have the command word inscribed on the portal; the activation words for others are closely guarded secrets.
Touch Activated (swift action)Edit
Touching a symbol, stone, or other icon activates the portal.
Touch Activated (standard action)Edit
Turning a wheel, pressing several icons in sequence, or performing some other complex action activates the portal.
Rite Activated (full-round action or longer)Edit
The portal requires a short ritual to be completed. Perhaps a particular prayer must be recited, a ring around the portal rotated into the correct position or a game of chess played against the portal.
Spell Activated (standard action)Edit
Casting a particular spell is required to activate the portal.
Sacrifice (standard action)Edit
The portal demands a sacrifice. Often, such portals have a coin receptacle or burning brazier nearby. The cost of the sacrifice can be anything from a few coins to a magic item, depending on the whim of the portal builder, but the common fee is 500 gp per traveller.
Drain (standard action)Edit
The portal feeds on ability score points, hit points, spells, or even experience. The character activating the portal can sense the drain before it happens and can pull away before it takes effect. The drain can be of any size, but the common cost is one point of temporary Constitution or Wisdom damage, 1d8 hit points, three levels of spells or 50 experience points.
Key Word (standard action)Edit
The portal requires a particular key or other item to activate it.
Proxy Activated (any)Edit
The portal uses any one of the above methods for activation, with one important difference – the person activating the portal cannot go through the portal during this activation. Summoned monsters are often used as proxy operators for such portals.
When a portal is activated, there is a surge of magical energy. This surge is obvious to anyone looking with detect magic and is often strong enough to be mundanely visible, creating a shimmering doorway. Some portals allow travellers to see the destination plane, but most are opaque. Passing through a portal can be done as part of a move action – the traveller need merely walk into the portal to travel. Most portals are one-way, but two-way portals are not unknown. Items can be thrown through a portal, and spells can be cast through as normal. Most portals remain open for ten rounds (one minute), plus one round in which a traveller passes through the portal. For example, if a party of six characters open a portal, wait two rounds, then all walk through, the portal will stay open for another three rounds. Other portals keep to their own schedules, such as staying open for a set amount of time or requiring the character who opened it to concentrate for the duration of the portal’s active period.
Some portals can be activated any number of times per day, but others are restricted to a set number of activations. Some of the most powerful portals can only be activated when a particular planar alignment comes to pass.
Minglings are rare phenomena, where one plane bleeds into another. The first sign of a mingling is in the sky, as colors and strange clouds race through the atmosphere. Portals are small, even insignificant compared to the size of even a pocket plane. A mingling can engulf an entire plane and even a small mingling is a mile or more across. Some minglings are subtle – if the Plane of Air mingles with a section of sky, or the Water Plane with a stretch of ocean, then the environments blend into each other. The winds become stronger, the surrounding sky becomes bluer and bluer until the traveller passes through the mingling and suddenly there is no ground below.
Even quite different planes can mingle in subtle ways. Often, two similar locations on two different planes will mingle. A dense forest on the Material Plane might merge with the Wood Between the Worlds, or a ruined city of fallen pillars flow into another ruin on an outer plane. In the case of such subtle minglings, use the rules for Finding a Portal above. However, instead of Spot checks, use Survival checks – a character who pays attention to the environment around him will notice tiny shifts in vegetation or terrain, as one reality blends into another.
Larger minglings are much more obvious – when two worlds smash into each other, there is never enough space for subtle blendings. Planes tend to flow rather like liquids, so the denser and stronger elements of a plane go unchanged while softer places blend. If the Plane of Fire mingles with the Material Plane (a major disaster…), then rivers of flame and gouts of plasma might turn the forests into living wildfires and scorch the fields, but the rocky mountains and stone castles would be relatively untouched. Similarly, on the far side of the mingling, the denser red fires would be unchanged, but the softer yellow and blue flames might meld with material objects, resulting in trees with leaves of blue fire, or fields of yellow burning grain.
Small minglings occur when two planes have a Proximity trait of 9 or higher. Larger minglings occur when the Proximity trait of two planes reaches 19 or 20. This is usually caused by potent magics, but sometimes two planes floating through the Astral Plane crash into each other and merge.
Each plane is described using these rules in the Category: Planar Cosmology page.