Planescape: The Outer Planes

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Pathfinder Outer Planes. The best from many contributors, including here.

There is no death, only a change of worlds.
        -- attributed to Chief Seattle

Truly, your deeds will be brought back to you, as if you yourself were the creator of your own punishment.
        -- attributed to Muhammad

Hell, while also a specific dimension, is primarily a state of mind. When we die, we are bound by what we think. In mortality the more solid our thoughts become, as we act upon them -- allowing darkness to develop in others and in ourselves -- the more damning they are. I had been in hell long before I died, and I hadn't realized it because I had escaped many of the consequences up until the point that I took my life. But when we die, our state of mind grows far more obvious because we are gathered together with those who think as we do. This ordering is completely natural and is consistent with how we choose to live while we are in this world. Our time is but a heartbeat in the eternal scheme of creation, and yet it is the crucial moment of truth, the turning point.

        --Angie Fenimore [near-death survivor]

I breathe sin. It seeps through every pore of my flesh, weighing my soul to the unclean earth. It blinds me to the nature of my own deeds, and deafens me to the cries of those truly in need. It tempts to me to kneel before unworthy lords, and drives me to fight when other options exist. My sins are many, but in trying to overcome them I find redemption in small doses. No man has an excuse not to do so.

Not even you, O my father.

TSR Hobbies' "Planescape" campaign milieu focuses on ideals, ideologies, and living well rather than on bloodshed and magic.

Many fantasy worlds and games portray imaginary worlds that actually mirror aspects of our own. "Planescape" develops the other-worlds theme to show the appeal of kindness and love, and the ugliness of hate, greed, and cruelty.

The planes are as alien as any science fiction scenario. And they are as familiar as our own introspection.

My cyberfriend Elton Robb, who is a Mormon, a scientist, and an adventure-gamer, tells me that his faith teaches that every person goes to the heaven that he/she wants. Many Anglicans (members of my denomination) think that in the intermediate state, our attitudes determine our experiences and we continue to grow and serve until our final entry into heaven (or our final refusal of love and entry into hell.) Perhaps these ideas are the same.

Even in this life, it's love, rather than physical pleasures, that brings happiness. The heaven of the pseudo-Islamic terrorists, with eighty zombie wives and everybody with a hateful attitude just like your own, would be hell for any decent human being. Yes, really. Think about it in terms of your own experience.

A good "Planescape" gaming session will unfold much as a good college bull session, in which young people examine various beliefs and attitudes in a setting of friendship and trust. Li Po and I believe that whenever our world is examined fairly and thoughtfully, most people will choose goodness and love over selfishness and hate.

The milieu uses the "alignments" of classic D&D. It builds them as worlds in which players can see their ethical and moral commitments lived out in adventures, and talk about what they value the most.

Li Po, who appears here as a plane-traveller, hopes you will adventure in the "Planescape" milieu, and that you will respect the rights of TSR and all other copyright owners. It's not just the law... it's what's right.

The Abyss: The spiritual home of the most depraved, debauched, and destructive criminals. A universe of weird, hateful cults that reject everything that most people call common sense and common decency. Pits in the first layer reach an infinite variety of horror, foulness, and degeneracy.

Acheron: The spiritual home of warriors who have forgotten the good ideals for which they may once have fought. Now the armies war with each other on the faces of enormous cubes. Here, militarism is embraced for its own sake.

Arborea: Woodstock. The spiritual home of the free-living, freedom-loving happy-go-lucky souls, who do random acts of kindness. Nature here is at its most prolific. Much of the area is Greek Mythology terrain.

Arcadia: The spiritual home of the decent moralists who want to force virtue on others. Here the ideals of the social engineers come true, and everyone works for the greatest good of the greatest number. Nature itself develops as formal gardens, and even the day is divided sharply into "light" and "dark", without the moral ambiguity of "shades of gray".

The Astral: The silver void, extending from our own worlds to the alignment planes. Colored pools provide entry. On the astral float the remains of history's discarded ideals and ideologies.

Baator: The spiritual home of those who use the law for wicked purposes, and those who are highly organized in order to kill and enslave others. It is a cruel, cynical, and bureaucratic police state, filled with the most effective of aggressors. In some areas, fireballs erupt and flames dominate, while in others, heartless cold entraps those for whom ruthless efficiency took the place of love.

The Beastlands: The spiritual home of those whose lives are simple, natural, and good. Here people live as animals do in idealized depictions of nature. Every visitor will acquire bodily features of some animal with similar characteristics. Here, fantasies about "noble savages" are real.

Bytopia: The spiritual home of good, hardworking, civilized, law-abiding but not-so-strict folk. The twin layers showcase the virtues of the adventuring active life, and the stable domestic life. Free enterprise thrives on this most prosperous of worlds, and everyone has his or her dream job.

Carceri: The spiritual home of wicked souls who destroy for fun, and those who cherished grudges above all else. The dark fantasies typical of our world's career criminals are real here. The red worlds offer few chances for escape.

Elysium: The spiritual home of those who were solely concerned with doing good for others, without regard to grand ethical theories. One can reach one's intended destination only by doing good. The holy river dominates this terrain. Some call it "Oceanus", some call it "Jordan".

Gehenna: The spiritual home of the world's petty tyrants and elegant gangsters. There is no level ground. Instead, the terrain is all volcanos in various states of activity.

The Gray Waste: The spiritual home of the most cynically wicked people, where greed, hate, and heartlessness drain all vitality and color.

Limbo: The spiritual home of of all who prized freedom, creativity, and self-expression above any sense of morals or concern about others. The terrain responds to mind, and a sentient being can create objects at will from the stuff of chaos. "Do your own thing" -- here, everything is possible.

Mechanus: The spiritual home of those who sought only to know the laws of nature for knowledge's sake, and of those who loved authority and organization for its own sake. It is composed of gears and machinery, but no one knows their purposes. Law and order are supreme here. In each community, the locals live together in clearly-defined social contracts, working together without altruism or malice.

Mount Celestia: Our own world as it's supposed to be. Religion, science, industry, and commerce are all actually directed toward the good of the public. This is the safest place in the multiverse, and the hardest-working. The various spiritual paths exist here as pathways up the holy mountain.

The Outlands: The spiritual home of individuals and communities who cared little for right or wrong, for kindness or cruelty, for organization or freedom, but were content merely to exist. At the center, a spire reaches up to infinity. At the top is Sigil. This city is the source of all the interpretations that people place on the fundamental experience of suffering.

Pandemonium: The spiritual home of the lawless people who cared nothing for others. It is windy, noisy, violent, and full of insane people. The glamour is that of sheer madness. Most of the terrain is craggy tunnels.

Ysgard: The spiritual home of rowdy, generally good-natured types who party endlessly. Much of the area is Norse Mythology territory. The rainbow bridge ("Bifrost") and the world-ash tree ("Yggdrasil") can be reached here.

The Inhabitants of the Outer Planes -- Role-Playing Suggestions

Plane-Born Mortals

Some living character-types are born off the prime plane. These folk are called "planars". For the duration of their natural lives, they will be subject to "dispel good" and so forth when away from their home plane. They may sometimes be whisked away by "Monster Summoning" spells (if killed during these interludes, they merely reform wherever they were called from). Their home plane is wherever their sect headquarters are located, and this can change as their morals, ethics, and beliefs change. (Sect headquarters takes precedence over faction headquarters.) If they are not strongly identified with any sect or alignment, their home plane tends to be the Outlands.

The Dead

On the outer planes, the living mingle freely with the dead. Characters who have "gone to their rewards" may be found on any plane, and areas controlled by them will resemble communities on the prime planes.

In depriving the dead of their memories, the "Planescape" authors followed Homer rather than most other writers. For role-players, this was probably a mistake. At a referee's discretion, the dead ("petitioners") might reasonably:

Some stories from world folklore and some experiences of mystics and spiritualists suggest that moral reform, and rescue from perdition, is possible even after death -- and that hard-heartedly many reject it. Some say that when the time for reflection is past, the dead soul fades, eventually returning to a normal material body. This may be:

The Holy Angels
Abashed the Devil stood, and felt how awful goodness is, and saw virtue in her shape how lovely.

        -- Paradise Lost IV 846-848

The holy angels guard the upper planes and carry out the great works of goodness. They have as their primary aim the defense and support of kindness, forgiveness, contrition, and humility, and those who exemplify and promote goodness. Each possesses intuitive knowledge as required, complete immunity to magical control, and (probably) the ability to call as much help as needed to ensure the ultimate security of the upper planes and their inhabitants. They can travel anywhere they want in the service of goodness, even to places of vilest evil -- if they have a reason, i.e., the rescue of good or contrite souls, or to keep those who are not good from tormenting each other too much. They take no harm in doing so, though unholy water or unholy items do cause damage that is regenerated normally. Probably the angels should be immune to magic missiles, electricity, negative and positive energy, normal weapons, and all attacks except magical cold and fire (half-0 damage) and unholy things. All should be immune to scrying. They often travel our world incognito, seeking to win souls for goodness.

Role-playing encounters with the holy angels can be enjoyable for players and referees alike. These distinguished, powerful minions of goodness are splendid conversationalists, always interested in ordinary people (good and not-yet-good), and able to get people to talk about their interests. They will never deceive or try to dominate those to whom they minister. They will use kindness, interest, and suggestions -- "Is that really how you want to live your life?" "Has this really brought you satisfaction?" Lawful ones will talk especially about people's opportunities to work together for the good of all. Chaotic ones will talk about developing one's individuality and promoting the rights and freedoms of each person.

The angels are not at all naive about evil, but they will not talk about it unless there is a reason. In-depth conversation will reveal that they have a greater awareness, knowledge and understanding of the wrongs of the multiverse than do even the fiends. This should be jarring to players who may have felt for a long time that they were in the presence of simple-minded goodness. It should also be most enjoyable and helpful.

According to modern ideas about angels, especially in conservative Christian circles, they have power to help in direct proportion to the commitment to good by particular communities -- expressed in prayer and in action. Whatever players and referees may think of this, it could provide a basis for some fine role-playing. Here's one idea.

The Foul Fiends

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.
          -- Ephesians 6:12

The foul fiends are most interesting as our own spiritual enemies. They have as their primary aim the corruption of souls, and as a lesser aim, the destruction of all that is good, kind, forgiving, and noble. They do this through deception, half-truths, and appeals to our bad instincts. Their power comes from our own unconfessed, unrepented sins. "Ravenloft" authors in particular remind us that few people consider their behavior to be evil -- even when it clearly hurts others. Monte Cook's "Book of Vile Darkness" is a profoundly moral work, which re-emphasizes that corrupting human beings is the chief aim of the fiends. People seem to need only a little bit of coaxing to justify unjustifiable behavior. The medieval world-view, on which most AD&D campaigns are based, also considered this to be the fiends' principal work.

Evil is more than just a focus on self-interest, the stuff of neutrality. Evil regards life as a zero-sum game, where "enlightened" beings know they must hurt others to escape being hurt themelves. Evil regards love and altruism as cynical deceptions, or rank stupidity. And it invites "superior individuals" to find meaning in the dark pleasures of vanity, hatred, depravity, and the spreading of pain.

As people choose evil alignments, the corresponding ranks of fiends are gratified and strengthened. Individual fiends in turn derive their strengths from fidelity to their alignments.

It may well be that the Lower Planes are prisons, even for their "Lords", in a universe that is ultimately well-governed and where even the vilest creatures may come to their senses. Fighting evil, in the familiar world or on its own turf, ultimately builds goodness in heroes.

Encounters with the fiends can produce some of the finest role-playing. Here are some ideas that may prove helpful.

For role-playing the fiends, and characters aligned like them, consider their possible agendas:

Lawful Evil: A universe dominated by our race / our corporation / "the true religion". We offer clear thinking, high technology, commerce, artistic enterprise, and the dark joys of cruelty.
Evil, Lawful Tendencies: Our gang stays on top. We aren't one anothers' friends, but we work together for our mutual benefit.
Neutral Evil: A universe of excellence, with no trace of love.
Evil, Chaotic Tendencies: We will take the cruellest imaginable revenge on every one of you.
Chaotic Evil: When we are done corrupting and destroying everything else, we will destroy one another, until no one is left -- the perfect society!

I do not think anybody would want to role-play these attitudes as an ongoing player character. For an examplar of the chaotic evil ideology, see Peter Sellars as the Ghost of the Christmas Yet to Come in Rod Serling's Carol for Another Christmas (1964).

A fiend uses only his knowledge and his "creation" spells to corrupt a town in Stephen King's "Needful Things". The theme recurs in Ray Bradbury's "Something Wicked This Way Comes." Evil is defeated by exposing the evil spiritual power and rejecting it. This is far more interesting than monster-bashing.

Our world's medieval milieu, the historical source for most AD&D worlds, considered that human misbehavior is driven by seven deadly sins. These are the underlying reasons that people hurt other people. The list remains strikingly contemporary.

Traditional name Better known today as... As a root of crime
PRIDE Ego-tripping There is no reason you should not enjoy your own genuine abilities and genuine achievements. You got your genes and your family by dumb luck. If you have achieved by your own efforts, be thankful for the opportunity. It is better both for you and for those around you.

Anyway, taking yourself so seriously doesn't make you or anybody else happier. It much more fun to be able to laugh at yourself.

ENVY Entitlement Genuine oppression and injustice still exist, and we do not have to accept this. But our world is far more full of opportunity than ever before. Today's street losers, and even "cultures", define themselves in terms of resentments and past injustices rather than work and achievements.

If you have the grace to rejoice in somebody else's achievement or good fortune as well as your own, you'll be far happier. Or the examples of others can spur you on to achieve by your own well-placed efforts. If you're still envious, try simply passing out genuine compliments.

WRATH Abuse; Violence; Racial / Sectarian Hatred We do not have to be passive when we are wronged. Usually there are laws to help us. But people may define themselves in terms of their individual or group hatreds. Criminals often focus on this.

People may wrong us out of weakness or stupidity, or out of actual malice. In the latter case, think about making a conscious decision to forgive, and turn any needed revenge over to the Good Lord to handle as is best, while you pray for that person to find a better life. Find somebody who has tried this, and ask what happened. You may hear an amazing story.

SLOTH Whining "Get a life." We do not have to work constantly. But the world is full of people who simply complain and do not take advantage of the many opportunities that life presents. This is typical of criminals.

You'll be a lot happier, and more fun to be around, if you grab some of the real opportunities that life offers. It's only hard for a few minutes.

AVARICE Greed; Materialism There is no reason to go without the basics that you need to live a healthy life. But today, entire cultures define your worth in terms of your possessions and earning power, and reject you if you're not making money. This is yet another root of crime.

I went to college with a lot of really rich, really spoiled boys and girls. Believe me, you're not doing your kids a favor.

GLUTTONY Addiction There is no need to explain how addictions of all kinds hurt those around the addict. The usual cure for an addiction is another addiction. I suggest Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, good religion, exercise, skydiving, or whatever doesn't hurt others.

The good addictions are as much fun as the bad ones, and are much better for you and those around you.

LUST Many synonyms. Only a few religionists insist that all sexual expression be within marriage and only for the purpose of bearing children. But many (not all) forms of sexual expression are likely to hurt people. Today we're told (wrongly, I think) that we're not complete, fulfliled people if we do not "get our loving", or that we do not need to love responsibly.

Even today, some people approach others with the understanding that they're not looking primarily for sex, and would not even consider sex except in the setting of an established, quality relationship. This makes for quality friendships, and (I'd imagine) the highest-quality romantic life as well.

If Hollywood usually shows the good people winning in the end, Madison Avenue appeals more to our evil side. "You need thus-and-so to be really you." "Be better than others by owning thus-and-so." "You should want thus-and-so." Appeals are made to each of the seven sins.

What is the "blood war"? Some ideas:

The conversation of the residents of the alignment planes is most revealing. Creatures of the upper planes speak passionately about virtues. They are generally nice and eager to help, but have high expectations. Evil-tending chaotics are crazy, good-tending chaotics want to party and fight, and good-tending lawfuls are militants. Creatures of lawful evil are always organizing for conquest, and so forth. Lawful planes in particular require careful preparation by the referee.

Good creatures visiting non-good planes make those in authority there most uncomfortable. They will not be held prisoner, at least for long. And the fiends will be unwilling to kill them, hoping instead to recruit them. As a last resort, the evil spiritual powers may send a good party back home, perhaps to a bitter welcome of some kind.

Spell Keys?

The original AD&D game introduced material components as an amusing sidelight for spellcasters. Early adventures ("Queen of the Demonweb Pits") and publications ("Manual of the Planes") discussed how magic might work differently on the various planes. This was fun and helped remind adventurers about where they were.

"Planescape" introduced keys that opened gates to other dimensions. Like material components, they were picturesque and entertaining, and could themselves be the subjects of adventures.

Wizardly magic works differently on the alignment planes. Sometimes the problem is the geography of the planes. "Shadow monsters" cannot be created on planes remote from the Plane of Shadows.

At other times, the reason for the change is the ethos of the plane itself. On Mount Celestia, all divinations give true answers. In Elysium, the land of pure goodness (and probably the other upper planes as well), the locals cannot be forced by magic to act against their will, even if brought by "Monster Summoning".

    Perhaps similar changes take place in alike-aligned places of worship on the prime plane. And perhaps there are many bona-fide places of worship that coexist on the prime and on the alignment plane, and where an action by one of the faithful can change who is present and/or where the exits lead.

Spell keys were introduced to enable wizards (and perhaps priests) to deal with the problems of using magic on alien planes. Exactly how they work is up to the referee.

Referees might want to consider these ideas.

  • Wizards manipulate the mystical forces of the universe, and these are different on different planes. It would add to the flavor of the "Planescape" milieu if ALL unkeyed wizardly spells are significantly weakened (half strength, half duration, +4 on saves, etc., etc. as applicable). If a diviner does NOT use a pool of blood on Gehenna, the divinations will surely be far less potent. That this is correct is suggested especially by the statement in the guide to Baator: A wizard on the lowest level, where there are thousands of different keys to learn, will usually choose not to cast spells.
  • Keys seem extremely appropriate to empower links to remote planes. There's something essentially right about a toy kaleidoscope to enable a chaotic-neutral wizard to overcome the distance from the plane of shadows and cast "Shadow Monsters" on Elysium. Likewise, it seems very suitable to allow some horrid piece of lower-plane detritus to allow safe casting of an "ESP" spell on a fiend.
  • A key might also reasonably be used to help spellcasters overcome minor inconveniences. Keys might reduce or eliminate the chances for spell dissipation and/or wild surges in Limbo.
  • A spell that in most cases would not fit well with the spirit of a plane, but that in some cases might be very suitable, might have a unique key. The original boxed set cites the existence of a unique key for "fear" on Mount Celestia.
  • At the same time, it seems absurd to allow keys to enable wizardly magic to work contrary to the ethos of the plane. A rock from Baator to remove the need for elaborate bindings of conjured fiends? A bit of blessed metal to enable an evil wizard to cast an "earthquake" or produce a false divination on Mount Celestia? A skateboard to enable a chaotic-neutral wizard to enslave a guardinal with a "Monster Summoning" spell?
  • Clergy serve an ideal or ideology. It seems unlikely that their spells require more than verbal and perhaps very simple somatic components. On ideologically hostile terrain, their spellcasting levels drop. Allowing them to use wizardly keys seems contrary to the spirit of their profession. A lawful-good pastor has already lost several effective spellcasting levels on Gehenna, and perhaps his spells are weaker as well. Surely he will not be rewarded for doing something horrid in order to make his divinations work better.
  • Clerical "power keys" seem best adapted either to enhance a particular spell or group of spells, and/or to allow them to be cast at the cleric's usual level when on a remote outer plane.
  • In the Third Edition "Manual of the Planes", it is suggested that in areas where particular types of magic are weaker than usual, a spellcraft check (DC15) is required to cast a particular spell. Maybe a key would render this unnecessary.

  • The same resource also suggests that in areas where particular types of magic are stronger than usual, spells are cast at the usual level but with the equivalent of a metamagic feat (presumably only one per spell). Perhaps a spell key would be required for off-plane spellcasters.
Think about how spell keys can contribute best to your own campaigns. The rules allow a lot of leeway. Happy adventuring.

Final Note

There's something else.

Like our world, only much more intense and far more extreme?

Where souls find themselves brought together by common interests and especially by shared moral and ethical commitments?

Where the terrain alters itself to match the attitudes of the inhabitants?

If you know what I'm writing about, then you will understand my special interest in the "Planescape" literature. Perhaps you were as surprised as I was. And you also know how important it is that we treat others kindly, right in the here-and-now. Be thankful.

Chaotic Results

This material is from my 1980's campaign, which inclined toward gentleness and laughter. They may provide useful ideas for referees today. The following transmutation spells will require a check for chaotic result on chaotic planes. On chaotic planes, roll once. On chaotic-tending planes, or chaotic-tending places of worship, roll twice and choose the lower value. Chaotic results are typically permanent until dispelled.

Affect normal fires: (1-2) Works normally (3) Fire never burns out (4) fire burns a hole in the pocket, most difficult-to-obtain material component falls out (5) Caster is surrounded for the rest of the day by harmless flames (6) pyrotechnics (7) pretty colors, as per fire charm, everybody who fails save vs. wisdom looks at it for one round, then snuffed (8) blows up as fireball

Animate object: (1-2) Works normally (3) Attacks randomly (4) exceptionally strong (5) runs away (6) runs and gets help (7) Becomes monster and fights for caster (8) Becomes monster and attacks caster

Burning hands: (1-4) Works normally (5) double damage, saving throw allowed (6) 1 hp damage only (7) Pyrotechnics -- bright light (8) Smoke only

Call lightning (1-3) Works normally (4) colored (5) hits and heals caster (6) heals opponent (7) hits and injures caster (8) bronze/copper/blue dragon with electric breath appears and joins party, HD and hp equal to caster

Cloudburst: (1-4) Works normally (5) perfume/cool water/stench (6) cleric pours holy water/fake holy water/unholy water (3d6 damage where applicable) (7) healing potion/paint/poison (8) rains cats and dogs, equivalent of "slow" spell on non-natives while the animals are dispersing

Comprehend languages: (1-5) Works normally (6) recipient can speak and read the language for the rest of the day (7) recipient turned into appropriate creature type for one round/level (8) recipient turned into appropriate creature type, "dispel magic" required

Create water: (1) Works normally (2) carbonated water (3) canteens (4) Gunga Din (5) monster appears and dispenses it (6) grape juice/beer/onion juice (7) healing nectar (1d8 hp worth per level)/blood/poison (1d8 hp damage per level) (8) perfume/stain/foul slime

Dancing lights: (1-5) Works normally (6) one party member per level gets a one-day flashlight (7) Permanent until dispelled (8) Explode for stun/1 point/1d4 damage in 10' radius

Darkness: (1-4) Works normally (5) sunglasses appear all around (6) the lights flicker (7) Nearest enemies are struck blind (8) Party are all struck blind

Disintegrate: (1-2) Works normally (3) Object is teleported (4) disintegrates something else (5) Object is animated and fights for caster (6) Object is animated and fights against you (7) Object disintegrated, caster assumes its old form (8) As "polymorph any object", DM's choice

Enlarge: (1-3) Works normally (4) slight effect (5) wrong object enlarged (6) gargantuan (7) reduces (8) Changes it into something else

Entangle: (1-5) Works normally (6) Fall flat (7) Plants entangle one another (8) Plants animate and demand to know what is happening

Erase (1-4) Works normally (5) changes the ink's color (6) changes to something useful (7) changes to gibberish (8) changes to hagiography/history/insults

Explosive runes (1-6) Works normally (7) form of energy appropriate to the plane (8) 1 hp only

Fabricate: (1-5) Works normally -- get what caster intended (6) Get something else that could be used instead (7) Get something useful for some other purposes (8) Get something useless for any party purpose

Faerie fire: (1-6) Works normally (7) odd color (8) heals (1 hp per level) / paints / harms (1 hp per level)

Feather fall: (1-4) Works normally (5) large pillow (6) trampoline (7) super-ball, bounces back up (8) Becomes a bird/bug/bat

Fly: (1-4) Works normally (5) Grows wings (bird/bug/bat) (6) Obtains airplane (7) Turned into large flying bird/bug/bat (8) Turned into flying monster with all abilities and liabilities

Glassee (1-4) Works normally (5) two way mirror (6) one way mirror, works the other way (7) hole (8) wall of force

Gust of wind: (1-6) works normally (7) electric fan (8) monster breath

Haste: (1-7) Works normally (8) Otto's dance instead

Heat metal: (1-4) Works normally (5-8) heats something else

Hold portal (1-4) Works normally (5) sign, "Keep out" (6) padlock (7) barricade (8) door is replaced by solid wall

Invisibility to animals: (1-6) Works normally (7) Turns into something un-interesting for 1 round/level (8) Turns into something un-interesting, "dispel magic" required

Jump: (5) Works normally (6) recipient gets pogo stick (7) recipient rides a kangaroo (8) recipient becomes a giant flea

Knock: (1-2) Works normally (3) key that fits (4) key that doesn't fit, but fits another lock nearby (5) set of useful tools (6) set of useless tools (7) assistant (8) something else gets knocked open

Levitate: (1-3) Works normally (4) grows wings and flies (5) no control, too low (6) no control, too high (7) no control, is lost (8) balloon

Light (continual light, dancing lights): (1-5) normal (6) unusual color (7) blinking light (8) sparkler. Regardless of result, on good planes it is brilliant. On evil planes it is dim.

Lower water: (1-6) Works normally (7) Giant sponge (8) Magician drinks water, can regurgitate later (equivalent of "Push" spell)

Magic mouth: (1-4) Works normally (5) adds something nice/odd/nasty (6) different message (7) won't stop talking (8) monster

Mending: (1-6) Works normally (7) Becomes something else, useful (8) Becomes something else, worthless

Move earth (1-6) Works normally (7) work crew (8) bulldozer, mage must check vs. intelligence to operate

Neutralize poison: (1-4) Normal (5) poison becomes potion, suitable for that plane (7) Recipient turns into the type of creature that injected the poison (8) Same as "7", but recipient then accidentally bites the cleric.

Obscurement (1-6) Works normally (7) stinking cloud (8) poison gas, 1d6/round damage

Otiluke's sphere: (1-7) Works normally (8) explodes in the magician's hand

Part water: (1-5) works normally (6-8) mishap, DM's choice

Plant growth: (1-6) Works normally (7-8) Plants demand to be fed or they will attack

Polymorph other (1d10): (1) Works normally, check vs. intelligence to see whether victim's mind is transformed (2) Victim's mind is automatically transformed (3) Victim's body and mind are both transformed, becomes powerless, no intelligence check (4) Victim's body unaffected, but is convinced has been transformed (5) Victim's body transformed to intended shape, keeps mind and all powers (6) Victim's body transformed to random shape, keeps mind and all powers (7) Victim's body is transformed to resemble party member, keeps all powers (8) something else is polymorphed (9) Caster's mind is transformed, but keeps own body (10) Caster is transformed, keeps own mind

Polymorph self (check for each attempt at transformation): (1- 4) Works normally (5) Assumes a random form (DM's choice), thinks like new creature (6) Assumes intended shape, mind becomes that of new shape (7) Real shape change, with all powers of new form, keeps original mind (8) Real shape change, with all powers of new form, forgets old aims

Precipitation (1-6) Works normally (7) Perfume/odd color/stench (8) cleric with holy/fake holy/unholy water (1d6/round damage where applicable)

Produce fire: (1-6) works normally (7) fizzles (8) permanent

Produce flame: (1-6) works normally (7) fizzles (8) no control, starts a fire

Project image: (1-6) works normally (7-8) damage is real

Pyrotechnics (1-6) Works normally (7) Duration of bright light is one round per level (8) Continuous display of bright light until dispelled

Regenerate: (1-6) Works normally (7-8) Monster part -- roll on reincarnation table

Repel insects: (1-5) Works normally (6) marigolds grow around caster (7) spray cans to each party member (8) Caster polymorphed to marigold 1 round/level NOTE: This seldom works on alignment planes

Reverse gravity: NOTE: This seldom works on alignment planes. (1- 6) works normally (7) sideways (8) DM's choice

Shatter: (1-5) Works normally (6) hammer (7) elephant (8) flying shards, check vs. dexterity or take 1 point damage if within 30'.

Shillelagh: (1-4) Works normally (5) Animated, fights for the caster as cleric of same level, for one round per level (6) As before, but fights as fighter (7) attacks nearest creature as cleric of same level (8) Animates, attacks caster as cleric of same level for one round

Shocking grasp: (1-7) normal (8) caster takes the same amount of damage when discharged

Silence 15' radius: (1-4) normal (5) earplugs only (6) no effect, sign appears "Quiet, please" (7) gags (8) rock band disrupts all speech and spellcasting

Slow: (1-5) normal (6) glue (7) molasses (8) The Drunkards

Speak with: (1-5) Normal (6) Cleric turns into that creature type (7) entire party (8) Creature type turns human

Spider climb: (1-5) Functions normally (6) web appears, all can climb (7) Arms and legs become those of a spider (8) Becomes spider

Statue: (1-6) Works normally (7) stone golem (8) gray ooze

Sticks to snakes: (1-4) Normal (5-8) Becomes some other animal type (DM's choice)

Stone shape: (1-4) Normal (5-8) Get something else, DM's choice

Stone to flesh: (1-5) Normal effect (6) Body is changed, roll on reincarnation table but no useful new abilities (7) becomes stone golem, no "slow", HD as before, 5 hp/HD (8) Becomes gray ooze

Strength: (1-6) works normally (7) polymorphed to ape (8) polymorphed to ox

Telekinesis: (1-6) works normally (7) wrong thing is moved (8) magician is moved

Tenser's transformation: (1-5) Works normally (6) Permanent until dispelled (7) Polymorphed into monster, keeps own mind (8) Polymorphed into monster appropriate to the plane

Tongues: (1-5) Works normally (6) change race, lasts until dispelled (7) wrong language (8) wrong content

Transmute metal to wood: (1-6) works normally (7) useful item (8) something else transmuted

Transmute rock to mud: (1-5) normal (6) colored (7) glue (8) gray ooze

Transmute water to dust: (1-6) normal (7) dust of healing (1 hp/level) / obscurement / poison (save vs. constitution or asphyxiate) (8) Sam Shock's Lyophilization

Tree: (1-6) normal (7) permanent (8) bears fruit (1/level) that heal 1d8 damage / 1 point strength / poison grenades, damage 1d6; picking each does one point damage to tree

Turn wood: (1-6) Normal (7) DM's choice, harmless (8) DM's choice, harmful

Warp wood: (1-4) Normal (5-6) Other useful item (7) Decorative item (8) wrap around nearest creature

Water breathing (1-6) normal (7) grow gills (8) monster

Wizard lock: see hold portal


"Reincarnation" by clergy or magicians requires the following tables, or perhaps others. The creature will have the form and abilities, but will not be subject to clergy (usually), will always have a mind like a person, will not transmit lycanthropy, and will progress as a monster player-character. On "tending planes", choose the plane closer to neutral-good, neutral-evil. Roll d20:

Lawful good:

    1 Blink dog 2 Couatl 3-5 Dwarf 6 Elf 7-9 Gnome 10 Guardian naga 11-13 Halfling 14-17 Human 18 Ki Rin 19 Lammasu 20 Shedu

Neutral good:

    1 Baku 2 Dragon horse 3 Dwarf 4-5 Elf 6-7 Gnome 8-9 Halfling 10-15 Human 16 Moondog 17 Phoenix 18 Pseudodragon 19 Sprite 20 Sylph

Chaotic good:

    1 Androsphinx 2 Centaur 3 Dwarf 4-9 Elf 10 Foo dog 11 Foo lion 12 Gnome 13 Halfling 14-15 Human 16 Pegasus 17 Storm giant 18 Titan 19 Treant 20 Werebear

Lawful neutral:

    1-20 Modron territory: Modron (assumes human fighter form at 5th level; strength, dexterity, constitution all 14) Other territory: As per the local laws!

True neutral: Roll d-100

    1-38 Animal (other players decide type) 39 Criosphinx 40-45 Dinosaur (other players decide type) 46 Displacer beast 47 Doppleganger 48 Griffon 49 Gynosphinx 50 Hippogriff 51-72 Human 73 Hydra 74 Leprechaun 75-81 Lizard man 82 Mimic 83 Owlbear 84-88 Pixie 89 Remorrhaz 90 Rust monster 91-92 Satyr 93 Shambling mound 94-96 Stone giant 97 Water naga 98 Wereboar 99 Weretiger 100 Yeti

Chaotic neutral:

    1 Bugbear 2-6 Elf 7-15 Human 16 Gnoll 17 Gremlin 18 Ogre 19 Slaad 20 Troll

Lawful evil:

    1 Dwarf (gray) 2 Fire giant 3-6 Goblin 7 Hellhound 8-9 Hobgoblin 10-12 Kobold 13 Manticore 14 Mindflayer 15 Ogre mage 16-19 Orc 20 Wererat

Neutral evil

    1-2 Bugbear 3 Formarian giant 4 Gnoll 5-6 Goblin 7-8 Hobgoblin 9-11 Kobold 12 Kuo-toa 13-17 Orc 18 Ogre 19 Troll 20 Wyvern

Chaotic evil: Roll d100

    1-15 Bugbear 16-18 Chimera 19-36 Elf (dark) 37-39 Frost giant 40-42 Gargoyle 43-48 Gnoll 49-51 Harpie 52-55 Heiracosphinx 56-57 Hill giant 58-60 Jackalwere 60-61 Lamia 62-63 Leucrotta 64-68 Ogre 69-71 Minotaur 72-74 Peryton 75-76 Roper 77-79 Spirit naga 80-84 Troglodyte 85-91 Troll 92-94 Umber hulk 95-97 Werewolf 98-00 Will-o-wisp

At the DM's discretion, there is a 1-100% chance that the reincarnated form will match the particular locale. In the beastlands, an animal would be likely, at the dwarven forge, a dwarf would be likely. Non-good spell-casters on evil planes may raise characters who have died unholy deaths as undead monsters.

Afterwards: A correspondent writes:

I have been stealing ideas for four years now - my latest came out so incredibly well!

Running Night Below.

The party had just been defeated by the Slavers, and went back to the Gnomes to lick their wounds.

Divination and Contact revealed that the dragon was most likely a shadow dragon, and with only one 5/4 Cleric- Mage, Negative Plane Protection is right out.

So they went back up top, and surprised the total ____ out of me by bargaining with the New Mire Green Dragon - One year of service if they could prove that she was wrong about everything by answering nine questions truthfully. The contest started with all ten characters, and if they could not truthfully prove that they had ever done, felt, or thought about her questions, they were eliminated. (Even if all failed a single question, only one would be eliminated)

  • First - Barbarian had felt indifference about almost everything except himself

  • Second - Fighter-druid is addicted to smoking da ganja, eating hallucinagenic mushrooms

  • Third - Party cleric-mage is a stickler for luxury goods, high end everything

  • Fourth - Party thief always greedy, demanding larger share of captured loot than he deserves

  • Fifth - Elven fighter-mage HATES orcs, wont ever negotiate

  • Sixth - Party bard admitted to being a pseudo-intellectual, willing to peddle anything to achieve goals

  • Seventh - Ranger admitted that war/fighting is always his answer to every problem

  • Eighth- The "Fighter" couldn't admit to others that she is really an assassin

  • Ninth - Other druid fails because her pride has caused her to betray the party several times

  • Last elf ranger-mage standing! Aware of others, altruistic, lives the simple life, is generous, kind, always finds common ground, is peaceful first, lives a good life, and is ever loyal to the party.

    Holy ____! Ten minutes on your site rapidly scribbling notes equalled a whole night of insight and opened everyone's eyes to how they play, the effect their actions have, and so much more.



  • You are most welcome, cyberfriend. I am most grateful to those people who, through my life, have helped get me back on the right track. May your dice come up 20's.

    If you like the silly artwork, help yourself. You can use your favorite graphics program to replace Li Po with your own character. Happy adventuring!

    The Inner Planes are under development, along with the Temple of Elemental Goodness, an Arabian Nights-style fantasy ministry focused on kindness and religious tolerance.


    New visitors to
    reset Jan. 30, 2005:

    Reshaping the Multiverse -- What "Planescape" could be
    The Inner Planes
    Panhistoria --Online campaigns by Chayla Hamilton
    Planescape Rules were developed by Wojciech Kozlowski for third edition. I think this is substantially better than the third-edition "Manual of the Planes". The link is now down.

    The Alignment Planes
    The Abyss -- Chaotic Evil
    Acheron -- Lawful, Evil Tendencies
    Arborea -- Chaotic Good
    Arcadia -- Lawful, Good Tendencies
    Baator -- Lawful Evil
    The Beastlands -- Good, Chaotic Tendencies
    Bytopia -- Good, Lawful Tendencies
    Carceri -- Evil, Chaotic Tendencies
    Elysium -- Neutral Good
    Gehenna -- Evil, Lawful Tendencies
    The Gray Waste -- Neutral Evil
    Limbo -- Chaotic Neutral
    Mechanus -- Lawful Neutral
    Mount Celestia -- Lawful Good
    The Outlands -- True Neutral
    Pandemonium -- Chaotic, Evil Tendencies
    Ysgard -- Chaotic, Good Tendencies
    The Inner Planes
    What "Planescape" could be
    AD&D and the Religious Right
    Li Po's Hermitage (character generators, more)

    Ed's character generators:

    [Do Justice, Love Mercy, Walk Humbly]

    Ed's home page

    Ed says, "This world would be a sorry place if people like me who call ourselves Christians didn't try to act as good as other good people ."