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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Tampa, FL

    Default Elemental planes and planetary systems

    Note: this is D&D specific, but not edition specific.

    How do the elemental planes correspond to the planetary systems across "standard" settings (so ignoring Dark Sun for now)? Is there one set of inner planes for the entire metaverse (all planets in all connected settings share an elemental plane of fire, etc)? Or does each planet get their own set? Each system? I'm assuming the first, but I've never been quite sure.

    I'm almost positive that the outer planes are shared, at least at the system level.

    I'm assuming SpellJammer will have the most information here, but I'm curious as to how that's been handled throughout the various editions and settings.
    The Council Lands: a 5e setting.
    Thematic Spell-List Overhaul: Bringing meaning and specialization to spell-casters for 5e.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Ettin in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jan 2015

    Default Re: Elemental planes and planetary systems

    The same Inner Planes are for the entire Multiverse.

    Or all the worlds on the Prime Plane all share the same Inner Planes.

    This has been true with all Editions and Settings....except ones like Dark Sun and Eberron, as far as I can think of.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Bugbear in the Playground
    Join Date
    Jul 2015

    Default Re: Elemental planes and planetary systems

    The Spelljammer explanation - which was retained as canon for Planescape and at least some subsequent editions - was that there was only one set of Inner Planes connecting - via the Ethereal Plane - to the Prime Material.

    The Prime Material itself was divided into two parts: the Crystal Spheres and the Phlogiston. The former was each star system, while the latter represented interstellar space. If my recollection is correct the Ethereal Plane did not contact the Phlogiston and the rules for planar travel to and from there were rather weird.

    You can conceptualize this as the Prime Material Plane is a big tank filled with alcohol - the Phlogiston (it was a flammable medium) - in which are floating countless marbles - the Crystal Spheres. Each of those marbles has a little tendril of fog wrapped around it - this is the Border Ethereal portion that encompasses that Crystal Sphere - which is tethered to a much larger cloud of fog - the Deep Ethereal - that hovers above the entire tank. The elemental planes would then be a large spherical structure floating in the top of the fog comprised of many components, each of which would be surrounded by its own fog tendril - the Border Ethereal region for each Elemental Plane.
    Resvier: a P6 homebrew setting

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jun 2013

    Default Re: Elemental planes and planetary systems

    I would say that the Prime Material consists of an entire "normal" universe, whatever size that might be in each particular crystal sphere. All the inner and outer planes are shared, lying parallel to that entire unuverse.

    In the Spelljammer-verse, some crystal spheres might be only one solar system, or even only one planet. Different crystal spheres have different cosmologies, some have the same or similar great wheels, some don't (Mystara).

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Troll in the Playground
    Join Date
    Oct 2015

    Default Re: Elemental planes and planetary systems

    The "Great Wheel" cosmology works with one prime material plane, one of each outer and elemental planes, and so on.

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground

    Join Date
    Mar 2012

    Default Re: Elemental planes and planetary systems

    Known World / Mystara - The elemental planes have their own planetary systems - so there will be gaseous, liquid and solid fire forming the 'planets' in the plane of fire. I have no idea how the "sun" equivalents work in the planes other than fire.
    Note: there are no demi or quasi elemental planes in this setting. It also does not use the 'Great Wheel' cosmology or anything like it for the Outer Planes unless the DM converts it across (which is very easy to do).
    There were a few official postulated alternative worlds (e.g. Averoigne & its enviorns) but no serious exploration of them was done to say how they fitted in to the Mystaran Universe. Three exceptions to this - Blackmoor was the same world several thousand years in the past; the orignal Alphatian planet was in the same universe several light years away ("was" because it's now an area of breathable air with a number of small asteroid-type objects in it) and, before the documentation of the Hollow World, the real world is several hundred thousand years later on the same planet (i.e. Known World = Earth).

    Great Wheel / Spelljammer:
    The elemental and outer planes are infinite so it is usually assumed that the various alternate primes have the same elemental and outer planes, however those planes are usually not listed as methods of crossing between the worlds (usually only Shadow and Astral planes) so this may be misleading and they may actually have different inner and outer planes too.

    The standard Prime Material plane is discontinuous - being that which fills the Crystal Spheres of Spelljammer (OK it is continuous if you count the Pholgiston as Prime Material, but there is no planar access there). Most of the standard published worlds are assumed to be in the same prime material, just in different soheres so they definitely share the inner and outer planes.
    There are a few special cases
    Athas is usually supposed to be part of the standard Spelljammer & Planar cosmology, but access is pretty much blocked.
    I believe the world of Birthright has a different planr set-up so is presumably an alternate prime.
    Faerun in its own books actually has a modified Great Wheel for the outer planes so either the inhabitants can perceive a couple of extra planes or their sages were a bit high when they documented the planes.
    Ebberon has a very different cosmology so pretty much has to be in an alternate prime plane.
    Council of Wyrms - I have no knowledge to comment.
    Ravenloft (Domains of Dread) is a demi-plane that is liable to cheat - it can snatch people from anywhere so it seems to be the same plane regardless of the prime plane people are on.
    Ghostwalk is a one-off and seems to be completely separate.

    4th Ed re-wrote the outer planes Great Wheel (or so I understand) so Forgotten Realms 1st Ed to 3rd Ed and 2th Ed have to be treated differently despite the shared history.
    5th Ed did some resets so ????

    To be honest, for this sort of information your bestsource is Afroakuma if you can attract his interest, though he discounts everything 4th Ed and later and tends to go with the "everything is part of the Great Wheel" version which makes linking the worlds easier. He has his onwn Q&A thread in the 3rd Ed sub-forum.
    Last edited by Khedrac; 2018-01-14 at 06:19 AM.

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