Plane (Dungeons & Dragons)

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The planes of the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game constitute the multiverse in which the game takes place.

The concept of the Inner, Ethereal, Prime Material, Astral, and Outer Planes was introduced in the earliest versions of Dungeons & Dragons; at the time there were only four Inner Planes and no set number of Outer Planes. This later evolved into what became known as the Great Wheel cosmology.[1] The fourth edition of the game used a different, very simplified cosmology with just six main planes called the World Axis Cosmology. The fifth edition has brought back a new version of the Great Wheel cosmology.

In addition, some Dungeons & Dragons settings have cosmologies that are very different from the "standard" ones discussed here. For example, the Eberron setting has only seventeen planes in total, most of which are unique to Eberron.[2]

Great Wheel cosmology[edit]

The 'Great Wheel' model of the planes, as described in the 5th edition Player's Handbook

This standardized layout of the planes was presented for the first time in Volume 1, Number 8 of The Dragon, released July 1977.[3] The known planes of existence were presented again in an appendix in the original (1st edition) AD&D Players Handbook, published in June 1978.[4] The planes were expanded upon in the original Manual of the Planes, released in 1987.[date missing] It was the core cosmology in both editions of AD&D and the 3rd and 3.5 editions of D&D. The 5th edition reintroduced a modified version of the Great Wheel.[5][6]

Many Outer Planes were renamed in Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Second Edition in the Planescape campaign setting, released in 1994. In the Third Edition Manual of the Planes, published in 2001, the old and new names were combined together, the Demiplane of Shadow was promoted to the Plane of Shadow, the Prime Material Plane was shortened to the Material Plane, and it was stated that each Material Plane is connected to its own unique Ethereal Plane.

The cosmology is usually presented as a series of concentric circles, with alternating spatial and transitive planes; from the center outwards, they are ordered as follows: Inner, Ethereal, Material, Astral, Outer Planes, and the Far Realm. The Shadow Plane and the Dimension of Time, if they are included, are separate from the others, and usually represented as being connected to the Material Plane. Demiplanes, although most commonly connected to the Ethereal Plane, can be found attached to any plane. All planes, save the demiplanes, are infinite in extent.

Inner Planes[edit]

The Inner Planes are made up of elemental matter and forces. They consist of the Elemental Planes and the Energy Planes.

In his review of the Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set, Gene Alloway mentioned that the set gives players a solid sense of "the sheer force of nature that drives all the Inner Planes. The Inner Planes don't have anything against you—they're hard on everyone."[7]

Material Planes[edit]

The Material Planes are worlds that balance between the philosophical forces of the Outer Planes and the physical forces of the Inner Planes—these are the standard worlds of fantasy RPG campaigns. The Prime Material Plane is where the more 'normal' worlds exist, many of which resemble Earth. The 2nd edition Dungeon Master's Guide states there are several Prime Material Planes, but several other 2nd edition products say there is only one Prime Material Plane rather than several.

Introduced in the Spelljammer setting, the Phlogiston is a part of the Material plane. It is a highly flammable gaseous medium in which crystal spheres holding various Prime Material solar systems float, traversable by Spelljammer ships.

Outer Planes[edit]

Alignment-based planes. The home of gods, dead souls, and raw philosophy and belief.

Outer Planes
Celestia Bytopia Elysium Beastlands Arborea
Arcadia ↑Good↑ Ysgard
Mechanus ←Lawful Outlands Chaotic→ Limbo
Acheron ↓Evil↓ Pandemonium
Baator Gehenna Hades Carceri Abyss

Transitive planes[edit]

The transitive planes connect the other planes and generally contain little, if any, solid matter or native life.

Astral Plane[edit]

The Astral Plane is the plane of thought, memory, and psychic energy; it is where gods go when they die or are forgotten (or, most likely, both). It is a barren place with only rare bits of solid matter. The Astral Plane is unique in that it is infinitesimal instead of infinite; there is no space or time here, though both catch up with beings when they leave. The souls of the newly dead from the Prime Material Plane pass through here on their way to the afterlife or Outer Planes.

The most common feature of the Astral Plane is the silver cords of travelers using an astral projection spell. These cords are the lifelines that keep travelers of the plane from becoming lost, stretching all the way back to the traveler's point of origin.

A god-isle is the immense petrified remains of a dead god that float on the Astral Plane, where githyanki and others often mine them for minerals and build communities on their stony surfaces. Tu'narath, the capital city of the githyanki, is built on the petrified corpse of a dead god known only as "The One in the Void". God-isles often have unusual effects on those nearby, including causing strange dreams of things that happened to the god when it was alive. God-isles are also the only locations on the Astral Plane that are known to possess gravity or normal time flows.

Part of Baldur's Gate II: Shadows of Amn takes place on the Astral Plane.[8]

Trenton Webb for Arcane magazine comments that A Guide to the Astral Plane "breathes life into what had hitherto been little more than a planar motorway. Essentially infinite and filled with few 'solid locations' or indigenous species, the Astral Plane should by rights be a dull place. Yet with some deft imaginative touches and sleight of logic, the guide transforms this dead zone into a wonderfully different 'world'." He adds that "By expanding the accepted 'physics' of the Astral plane and applying classic Planescape thinking, the Silver Void is made solid and comprehensible."[9]

Ethereal Plane[edit]

The Ethereal is often likened to an ocean, but rather than water it is a sea of boundless possibility. It consists of two parts: the Border Ethereal which connects to the Inner and Prime Material planes, and the Deep Ethereal plane which acts as the incubator to many potential demiplanes and other proto-magical realms. From a Border Ethereal plane a traveler can see a misty greyscale version of the plane from which they are traveling; however, each plane is only connected to its own Border Ethereal, which means inter-planar travel necessitates entering the Deep Ethereal and then exiting into the destination plane's own Border Ethereal plane. Many demiplanes, such as that which houses the Ravenloft setting, can be found in the Deep Ethereal plane; most demiplanes are born here, and many fade back into nothingness here. Unlike the Astral Plane, in which solid objects can exist (though are extremely rare) anything and everything that goes to the Ethereal Plane becomes Ethereal. There is also something here called the Ether Cyclone that connects the Ethereal plane to the Astral Plane.

In the 3rd Edition, each Material Plane is attached to its own unique Ethereal Plane; use of the Deep Ethereal connecting these Ethereal Planes together is an optional rule.

Plane of Shadow[edit]

A fictional plane of existence in Dungeons & Dragons, under the standard planar cosmology. A dimly lit dimension that is both conterminous to and coexistent with the Material Plane. It overlaps the Material Plane much as the Ethereal Plane does, so a planar traveler can use the Plane of Shadow to cover great distances quickly. The Plane of Shadow is also conterminous to other planes. With the right spell, a character can use the Plane of Shadow to visit other realities. It is magically morphic, and parts continually flow onto other planes. As a result, creating a precise map of the plane is next to impossible, despite the presence of landmarks.

Publication history[edit]

In first edition AD&D, the Plane of Shadow was the largest Demi-Plane of the Ethereal Plane.[10]

  • The ephemera, including the dusk beast, the ecalypse, and the umbral banyan, appeared in the third edition in the Manual of the Planes (2001).[11]
    • Dusk Beast: A human-sized, two-headed lizard composed of dark shadow.
    • Ecalypse: Equine creatures that gallop across the Plane of Shadow in great herds.
    • Umbral Banyan: Dark trees at the heart of many a dangerous forest.

Mirror planes[edit]

Mirror planes were introduced in the Third Edition Manual of the Planes as an optional group of transitive planes. They are small planes that each connect to a group of mirrors that can be located in any other planes throughout the multiverse. A mirror plane takes the form of a long, winding corridor with the mirrors it attaches to hanging like windows along the walls. Mirror planes allow quick travel between the various mirrors that are linked to each, but each plane contains a mirror version of any traveler that enters it. This mirror version has an opposite alignment and will seek to slay their real self to take their place. All mirrors connect to a mirror plane, though each mirror plane usually has only five to twenty mirrors connecting to it.

Temporal Plane[edit]

The Plane of Time was known as the Temporal Prime in the 1995 book Chronomancer. It is a plane where physical travel can result in time travel.

In 3rd edition products, some of the detail of Temporal Prime became incorporated into the "Temporal Energy Plane" mentioned in the 3rd edition Manual of the Planes. Dragon Magazine #353 associates it also with the "Demiplane of Time" that has appeared in various forms since 1st edition.


Demiplanes are minor planes, most of which are artificial. They are commonly created by demigods and extremely powerful wizards and psions. Naturally-occurring demiplanes are rare; most such demiplanes are actually fragments of other planes that have somehow split off from their parent plane. Demiplanes are often constructed to resemble the Material Plane, though a few—mostly those created by non-humans—are quite alien. Genesis, a 9th level arcane spell or psionic power, and the 9th-level arcane spell Demiplane Seed are among the few printed methods for a player character to create a demiplane.

Among the most notable of demiplanes is the Demiplane of Dread, the setting of Ravenloft.

Neth, the Demiplane That Lives, was first presented in A Guide to the Ethereal Plane, a sourcebook for the Planescape setting of AD&D Second Edition.


Neth, the Plane That Lives, is a living, sentient plane of finite size that has an immense curiosity. The only access Neth has to the rest of the multiverse is through a single metallic, peach-colored pool on the Astral Plane. Those who look into the pool from the Astral Plane might notice a huge eye flash into focus on its surface, which quickly fades.

Sometimes, Neth will choose to encapsulate its visitors. Two folds of membrane will come together and ensnare and seal off the victims. Neth will then flood the compartment with either preservative or absorptive fluid. The preservative fluid will put the victim in temporal stasis, and the victim can be revived if the fluid is drained away. If the compartment is flooded with absorptive fluid, the victim will dissolve and be absorbed into Neth itself, including the victim's memories.


Neth is a living membrane the size of a continent. It is folded upon itself and resembles an enormous paper ball with a radius of about twenty-five miles. The spaces between the membrane's folds can be a hand's span across or larger than a city. The spaces are filled with air-saturated fluid, but visitors can still breathe in them. If the plane were spread flat, it would be about five hundred miles in diameter, and the average thickness would be approximately thirty feet.

Air- and water-breathing visitors to Neth can breathe and speak in Neth's fluid normally. If they swim around unnoticed, they might see organ buds larger than city blocks, beings behind membranous capsules, and the humanoid antibodies of Neth mindlessly going about their business. Every part of the living demiplane has a soft, pink glow. Neth can also flush the fluid wherever it wants, carrying visitors along with it, usually to the Visage Wall to be questioned.

Gravity on Neth is the same strength as that on the material world; however, Neth chooses the direction of gravity's pull and may change it at will. Time is normal on Neth. Neth can move its interior membrane at will, creating or destroying fluid-filled spaces.


The only thing native to Neth is the plane itself. Neth creates humanoid subunits of itself called Neth's Children, sometimes for specific short-term purposes before reabsorbing them.

Neth's Children are usually identical to flesh golems and resemble a vaguely humanoid mass of flesh. Though they are free-moving, Neth's Children react to stimuli according to the preprogrammed will of Neth. Sometimes, Neth creates his children to serve as antibodies, but they are more often sent to other planes, instructed by Neth to explore and return for reabsorption, thus giving Neth more knowledge.


On Neth, the portal to the Astral Plane appears as a twenty-foot-wide, mouth-like cavity, which Neth can open and close at will.

At Neth's center is a thick knot of membrane at least a mile across where all the folds come together. This serves as Neth's brain. Other parts of the membrane also serve specific functions, which include areas where the membrane can be easily deformed for communication, encapsulation, and budding Neth's Children.

The Visage Wall is an area of Neth's membrane where Neth communicates with visitors. It contains thousands of head-shaped bumps that resemble the likenesses of those previously absorbed by Neth. Neth speaks to its visitors from about five or six of the heads simultaneously, questioning them in order to learn more of the outside universe.

Other planes[edit]

Far Realm[edit]

The Far Realm is an alien dimension of cosmic horror. It is the home plane for many aberrations and strange monsters.

The Far Realm's mix of horror, madness, and strange geometries was largely inspired by the work of American writer H. P. Lovecraft.[12][13] It is particularly inspired by Lovecraft stories like "Through the Gates of the Silver Key".[citation needed] It was created by Bruce Cordell, and introduced in the Second Edition Advanced Dungeons & Dragons adventure module The Gates of Firestorm Peak (1996).[14][13] James Jacobs later called Cordell's work an "adventure with a distinctly Lovecraftian feel", noting that "Deep inside Firestorm Peak lies a portal to an insidious region beyond sanity and light known only as the Far Realm, and the unknowable but hostile entities of this hideous region prepare to pass through into the world."[12] The adventure featured a magical portal that produced creatures and energies from the Far Realm.[15]

In Third Edition, the Far Realm was incorporated into the Realm of Xoriat in the Eberron campaign setting.[13] In Fourth Edition, the Far Realms were included in the new cosmology design of Dungeons & Dragons.[14] In this edition, members of the Warlock class can forge a pact (called the Starpact) with the entities from or near the Far Realm in order to gain power.[16]:32 The Far Realm's association with the new setting has been detailed in various supplements. The Far Realm contains an infinite number of layers, these layers range from inches thick to miles, and it is often possible to perceive multiple layers simultaneously. These layers can grow, spawn further layers, breathe and possibly die. The Far Realm is home to many powerful and unspeakable beings ripped from the nightmares of the darkest minds of the waking world, beings so unfathomable that their very existence is a perversion of reality itself. These beings are governed by lords of unimaginable power and knowledge completely alien. The Far Realm is a plane far outside the others and often not included in the standard cosmology. It is sometimes referred to simply as "Outside", because in many cosmologies it is literally outside reality as mortals understand it.

In the Fourth Edition, an anomalous plane, the Far Realm is bizarre and maddening. Creatures native to or connected with the Far Realm have the aberrant origin. Distant stars have been driven mad by proximity to the Far Realm, resulting in the abominations known as starspawn. The Far Realm also breaks into reality at various points in the Underdark, leading to the rise of the aboleth and mind flayer empires. Natural humanoids tainted by the Far Realm are known as foulspawn. The Far Realm was originally sealed off from reality by a construction known as the Living Gate, which lay at the top of the Astral Sea. The Living Gate awoke and opened during the Dawn War between the gods and primordials, and was destroyed in the same war, thus allowing the Far Realm to break into the D&D universe. Psionics are believed to have developed as a means to fight the Far Realm, in the same way that a body develops antibodies to fight an infection. Many of the Far Realm's inhabitants are too vast and inchoate to even notice visitors to their domain. Others take an interest in mortals, communicating with them through the veil between realms and sponsoring magic-users called alienists. Gibberlings, gibbering mouthers, illithids (mind flayers), kaortis, uvuudaums, grell, wystes, foulspawn, and other aberrant creatures have their origins in the Far Realm.

Plane of Dreams[edit]

The Plane of Dreams is a plane far outside the others and often not included in the standard cosmology. As its name suggests, all true dreams take place on the Plane of Dreams.[citation needed]

Portals, conduits and gates[edit]

Portals, conduits and gates are all openings leading from one location to another; some lead to locations in the same plane, others to different planes entirely. Although the three terms are often used interchangeably, there are notable distinctions. Portals are bounded by pre-existing openings (usually doors and arches); the portal is destroyed when the opening is. Portals also require portal keys to open; a key is usually a physical object, but it can also be an action or a state of being. Naturally occurring portals will often appear at random (a common occurrence in the city of Sigil, "City of Doors", in the Planescape campaign setting); some portals only exist for a brief period of time, or shift from one location to another. Conduits are also naturally occurring, but they are natural phenomena, the planar equivalent of whirlpools and tornadoes. Conduits are only known to occur in the Astral and Ethereal Planes. A type of conduit known as a color pool is a common gateway from the Astral Plane to the Outer Planes. A vortex is a link from a Prime Material world to the Inner Planes, which begin in areas of intense concentration of some element (e.g., the heart of a volcano might be a vortex to the Plane of Fire). There also used to be living vortices which the sorcerer-monarchs of Athas have managed to maintain, like syphoning water through a hose, and use to empower their "priests," the Templars. Gates are portals that are not bounded by physical apertures; gates are rare, and usually appear as a result of magical spells and rare planar phenomena. Lastly, planar bleeding occurs when regions of two planes coexist; such phenomena are usually short-lived, and disastrous for their environments.

Planar pathways are special landscape features appearing in multiple planes or layers of a plane. Travel along a planar pathway results in travel along the planes. Pathways are crucial tactically, because they are very stable compared to portals or gates, and do not require magic spells or portal keys. One notable planar pathway in the Planescape campaign setting is the River Styx, which flows across the Lower Planes and parts of the Astral Plane. Another is the River Oceanus, which flows through the Upper Planes.

Mount Olympus[edit]

River Oceanus[edit]

The first edition Manual of the Planes by Jeff Grubb describes the River Oceanus as one of the features of the Outer Planes, which "links the planes of Elysium, Happy Hunting Grounds, and Olympus in much the same way that the Styx links the lower planes". The river disappears and reappears a number of times in different layers of the planes, but it seems to follow a course that begins in Thalasia, the third layer of Elysium, flows through the second and first layers of that plane, then across the topmost layer of the Happy Hunting Grounds, then into the topmost layer of Olympus to its final rest in the second later of that plane, Ossa. The Oceanus is a more natural river than the Styx, and no harm comes to those who drink of it. The Oceanus does still pose all the normal dangers of a large river, and does not have the supernatural boatmen of the Styx.[17]:84 The book goes on to describe how Oceanus appears on specific Outer Planes. The first four layers of the plane of Elysium "are dominated by the River Oceanus, which beings in the fourth (outermost) layer of this plane and flows down to the innermost layer (the layer nearest the Astral). From there Oceanus meanders into the Happy Hunting Grounds and then into the innermost layer of Olympus." These three good planes are linked by the Oceanus in the same manner as the lower planes are linked by the River Styx. By contrast, the Oceanus is a slow, peaceful flow, navigable by mere mortals (though its peaceful flow is often broken by rapids, cascades, waterfalls, and occasional fallen trees). The river separates and recombines many times in its passage, so travelers often find themselves journeying down side channels that soon rejoin the main stream. There are creatures that live in the Oceanus, including nymphs. The lands of Elysium are fertile along the banks of the Oceanus, filled with pines and sweet-smelling flowering trees. Most of the realms of Elysium are found along the banks of the Oceanus. A traveler on the Oceanus can usually reach another layer by traveling downstream (or upstream, for the flow doubles back several times). Portals to the other planes on Amoria, the first layer of Elysium, appear as dark caverns, with no clues as to what plane they lead to; those caverns that swallow the flow of the Oceanus always lead to the Happy Hunting Grounds after an underground passage, though there is no guarantee that the passage is navigable by boat. The second layer, Eronia, is a mountainous region where the Oceanus is often broken by falls and cascades; the banks of the Oceanus here are sheer and of grey rock, though the life around the banks is as profuse as in Amoria. On the third layer, Bellerin, many of the large islands in the Oceanus contain huge nations of extraplanar beings. Thalasia, the fourth layer, is the great sea from which the Oceanus flows and eventually returns to after it reaches its destination in the realm of Poseidon in Olympus.[17]:90 The Egyptian goddess Isis holds sway over a large realm of the layer of Amoria, including several paths of the Oceanus. The god Seker and his moveable realm Ro Stau spend most of their times adjacent to Isis's realm on the Oceanus. The Sumerian moon god Nanna-Sin travels the Oceanus in a great barque that is shaped like a crescent moon; in passing he provides a moon-like radiance to all on the banks of the river.[17]:91 Krigala is the first layer of the plane of the Happy Hunting Grounds, closest to the Astral, and through it the Oceanus flows in a relatively straight course (compared to its winding through Elysium) into Olympus.[17]:91 Ossa, the second layer of the plane of Olympus, is the outflow of the river Oceanus. There are often reports of huge, funnel-like maelstroms that lead directly back to Thalasia in an unending circle.[17]:93

River Styx[edit]


The first edition Manual of the Planes by Jeff Grubb describes Yggdrasil as an astral landmark, noting that it is normally encountered by travelers from worlds that worship the Norse mythoi, but travelers from other Prime Material worlds can encounter the tree. It is a long-standing conduit from the Outer Planes to alternate prime worlds that was created by a group of deities and worshippers in the Prime Material plane. Yggdrasil is the "World Ash" that links several outer planes to the Prime Material plane, in the Norse mythos. It runs from Gladsheim, home of most of the Norse mythos, to Nifflheim, the center layer of the three Glooms of Hades and the dwelling place of the goddess of the same name. Roots and branches of Yggdrasil wind through most of the Prime worlds where these deities are recognized. The tree is a solid and permanent conduit that weathers the waxing and waning of faiths in the Prime Material and the fortunes of gods in the outer planes. The traveler is confronted with a huge tree rising from the mist of the Astral and disappearing far into the distance. The traveler can then climb the tree to the appropriate outer plane, descend to the reachable lower planes, or explore the alternate Prime worlds that the conduits touch upon. At the true terminus, the tree ends in a color pool similar to that of a fixed portal. The traveler can then pass into the outer plane as if moving into an alternate Prime Material or the Astral plane. Yggdrasil and Mount Olympus are the best-known of the permanent conduits that link the outer planes with the Prime and with other nonlinear outer planes.[17]:72 Magical interplanar portals generally only appear in the top layer of the outer planes, although some free-standing portals that pass through the Astral, like the Yggdrasil, pierce the lower reaches of some planes.[17]:77 The Norse gods are bound together, both by the permanent portal of Yggdrasil and by the highly dangerous nature of the plane of Gladsheim itself. The realm of Asgard is a conglomeration of many smaller realms and domains of the various gods near the permanent multiplanar portal that is Yggdrasil, the World Ash.[17]:94 The plane of Gladsheim is the topmost point of Yggdrasil. The roots of this mighty tree lie in the second layer of the plane of Hades, and its branches touch every alternate Prime Material world where the Norse pantheon has been or is being worshipped. The World Ash is the home of many giant stags who browse upon its leaves, and it also contains numerous nests of giant eagles. A giant squirrel named Ratatosk scales the tree continuously, conveying threats to the eagle and others from the dragons of Niflheim. The apertures that the Yggdrasil causes in the Prime worlds are fixed and limited to those places where the Norse gods are known.[17]:95 Yggdrasil reaches the lower layers of the plane of Hades. Niflheim is the second layer of Hades, the layer reached by the Yggdrasil in its course from Gladsheim. The main barrier between the layer of Oinos and Niflheim leads to the roots of the Yggdrasil, in full view of Hel's feast hall. The Yggdrasil (and the main barrier region from Oinos) decamps at the base of a low hill. At the base of the Yggdrasil is Nidhogg, a huge, very ancient red dragon, and that dragon's innumerable brood. Nidhogg's task is to gnaw at the roots of the World Ash and eventually cut the link from Niflheim to Asgard, but the ash sets down new roots even as Nidhogg consumes them.[17]:105–106 The Norns are said to have their well of souls at the very edge of the center of the plane of Concordant Opposition. They identify this area as an unattainable part of the Yggdrasil, though the behavior of this area is unlike that of any other part of the World Ash conduit.[17]:116

Alternative interpretations[edit]

In the context of the game, there are many theories of the organisation of the planes. For instance, in some lands it is believed that there are multiple Prime Material planes, rather than one containing all the worlds or planets. In these lands the Ethereal planes are believed to surround each Prime Material plane.

Coterminous versus coexistent[edit]

Planes may border (be coterminous) or may be coexistent. In particular, the Ethereal and Shadow planes are coexistent with the Material Plane. In effect, the "boundary" between the two extends through all of space. Thus a ghost in Dungeons & Dragons, which is an ethereal creature, has a location on the Material Plane when it is near the border of the Material and Ethereal planes. It can "manifest" itself into the Material, and force attacks launched from the Material can hit it.[18][19][20]

Basic Dungeons & Dragons[edit]

The "Basic" edition of D&D had a separate, though similar, cosmology from that of its contemporary AD&D game, which is more open and less regulated than that of its counterpart.

The D&D multiverse was expanded with the D&D Immortals Rules set. The Astral Plane permeates and connects the rest of the Multiverse. Plane sizes can vary from the Attoplane (one-third of an inch across), through the Standard Plane (.085 light-years across), to the Terraplane (851 billion light years across), with stars and planets varying in size accordingly.[21]

The World Axis cosmology[edit]

4th edition uses a simplified default cosmology with only six major planes, each of which has a corresponding creature origin. The Astral Sea, Elemental Chaos, Feywild and Shadowfell are covered extensively in the Manual of the Planes, while the Far Realm is covered briefly.[22][23] Supplemental sourcebooks relating to the Elemental Chaos (The Plane Below) and the Astral Sea (The Plane Above) were released in 2009 and 2010, respectively. The Ethereal Plane has been removed entirely.

Fundamental Planes[edit]

The fundamental planes are two vast expanses from which the other planes were formed. It was the conflict between the inhabitants of each fundamental plane that constituted the Dawn War. The two Fundamental Planes are theoretically infinite; it is implied that if one departs the world of one campaign setting and sets out through either the Astral Sea or the Elemental Chaos, they will eventually reach the worlds of other campaign settings.

The Astral Sea[edit]

The Astral Sea corresponds to the Astral Plane of earlier editions. The Astral Dominions, counterparts to the Outer Planes of earlier editions, are planes which float within the Astral Sea. The majority of the gods dwell in Astral Dominions. The Astral Sea itself is spacially infinite, but the Astral Dominions are all finite. Creatures native to or connected with the Astral Sea (such as angels and devils) generally have the immortal origin. The plane is described in The Plane Above: Secrets of the Astral Sea, released in 2010. In the Forgotten Realms setting, the Astral Sea was formed from the collapse of the Outer Planes into the Astral Plane after Mystra's murder, while in Eberron, the Astral Sea is equated with Siberys, the Dragon Above.

Astral Dominions in the Points of Light setting

The Elemental Chaos[edit]

The Elemental Chaos corresponds to the Inner Planes of earlier editions (excluding the Positive and Negative Energy Planes), also containing some aspects of Limbo. The Elemental Chaos contains Elemental Realms, which are themselves planes; the Abyss is one such realm. The only god who dwells in the Elemental Chaos is Lolth, who resides on the 66th layer of the Abyss. The Elemental Chaos is spacially infinite, the Elemental Realms are not. Creatures native to or connected with the Elemental Chaos (including demons) generally have the elemental origin. The plane is described in The Plane Below: Secrets of the Elemental Chaos, released in 2010. In the Forgotten Realms setting, the Elemental Chaos was formed from the collapse of the Inner Planes after Mystra's murder, while in Eberron, the Elemental Chaos is equated with Khyber, the Dragon Below.

Locations within the Elemental Chaos
  • The Abyss: A place of utter evil and corruption, the result of a mad god's attempt to control the whole cosmos. Lolth's home, the Demonweb Pits, can also be found here.
  • The City of Brass: The Efreeti capital and a major trade hub planar trade and travel.[24]
  • The Keening Delve
  • The Ninth Bastion
  • Zerthadlun

Parallel Planes[edit]

The World[edit]

The equivalent to the Prime Material Plane or Material Plane of earlier editions. This plane lacks a formal name and is most often referred to as the World, although titles such as the Middle World and the First Work were also presented in Manual of the Planes. Creatures native to the world generally have the natural origin. The gods Avandra, Melora and Torog have their homes in the World. The god Vecna wanders the whole cosmos (Sehanine is prone to doing this as well). In the Forgotten Realms setting, the world is named Toril (there is another, inaccessible world called Abeir), while in Eberron, the world is equated with Eberron, the Dragon Between.

The Feywild[edit]

One of the two parallel planes, the Feywild is a more extreme and magical reflection of the world with some thematic links to the Positive Energy Plane and the Plane of Faerie of earlier editions and settings. Creatures native to or connected with the Feywild (such as elves and gnomes) generally have the fey origin. According to the 4th edition Manual of the Planes, this plane has some sort of unspecified connection to Arvandor, and is suspected that the Dominion of Corellon can be reached by here. Important locales within the Feywild are known as Fey Demesnes.[25] In the Forgotten Realms setting, the Feywild is also known as the Plane of Faerie and has come into alignment with Toril after countless millennia of drifting away, while in Eberron, the Feywild is equated with Thelanis, formerly known as the Faerie Court.

Locations within the Feywild
  • Astrazalian, the City of Starlight
  • Brokenstone Vale
  • Cendriane
  • The Feydark (Underdark of the Feywild)
  • Harrowhame
  • The Isle of Dread
  • Mag Tureah
  • Maze of Fathaghn
  • Mithrendain, the Autumn City
  • The Murkendraw
  • Nachtur, the Goblin Kingdom
  • Senaliesse
  • Shinaelestra, the Fading City
  • Vor Thomil

The Shadowfell[edit]

The Shadowfell is a type of underworld, and the thematic successor to the Negative Energy Plane and Plane of Shadow from earlier editions. The Raven Queen makes her home here rather than the Astral Sea. It also incorporates the Domains of Dread, areas created by the shadows cast by great tragedies in the world. Creatures native to or connected with the Shadowfell (such as undead) generally have the shadow origin. The plane is described in the boxed set The Shadowfell: Gloomwrought and Beyond, released in 2011. In the Forgotten Realms setting, the Shadowfell was formed from what was left of the Plane of Shadow after Mystra's murder, while in Eberron, the Shadowfell is equated with Dolurrh, the realm of the dead.

  • Gloomwrought, the City of Midnight
  • Letherna, Realm of the Raven Queen
  • The House of Black Lanterns
  • Moil, the City That Waits
  • Nightwyrm Fortress
  • The Plain of Sighing Stones
  • The Shadowdark (Underdark of the Shadowfell)


Demiplanes are relatively small planes which are not part of larger planes. The most prominent demiplane is Sigil, the City of Doors, which is largely unchanged from earlier editions.

Anomalous planes[edit]

Anomalous planes are planes which do not fit into other categories. The most prominent of these planes are the Realm of Dreams, which can be reached via the Astral Sea, and the Far Realm, which breaks through into the remote parts of the Astral and the world.

The Far Realm[edit]

An anomalous plane, the Far Realm is a bizarre, maddening plane said to be composed of thin layers filled with strange liquids – at least, that is what the most coherent descriptions say, for though some escape the Far Realm with their lives, most do not do so with their sanity. Visitors to the Far Realm can only exist in one layer at a time, but large Far Realm natives can exist in multiple layers at once. Creatures native to or connected with the Far Realm generally have the aberrant origin. A crystalline structure connected to the Far Realm, known as the Living Gate, once stood in the Astral Sea, but has since shattered, enabling freer transit between the planes than should be allowed. Classic creatures such as aboleths, beholders, and mind flayers originate in the Far Realm. The Far Realm is occasionally referred to as "Outside", because it seems to exist outside of reality as defined by the world, the fundamental planes and the parallel planes. In Eberron, the Far Realm is equated with Xoriat, the Realm of Madness.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Carbonell, Curtis D. (2019). Dread Trident : tabletop role-playing games and the modern fantastic. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. p. 86. ISBN 978-1-78962-057-3.
  2. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)
  3. ^ Gygax, Gary (July 1977). "Planes: The Concepts of Spatial, Temporal and Physical Relationships in D&D". The Dragon #8. Vol. I no. 8. TSR. p. 4.
  4. ^ Gygax, Gary (1978). Players Handbook. TSR. ISBN 0-935696-01-6.
  5. ^ Says, Michael Christensen (17 February 2015). "Planes Update". World Builder Blog.
  6. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ Alloway, Gene (May 1994). "Feature Review: Planescape". White Wolf. White Wolf Publishing (43): 36–38.
  8. ^ Cappellini, Matt (November 30, 2000). "Blockbusters Make Christmas Bright". The Beacon News. Aurora, Illinois. Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved November 21, 2012. – via HighBeam Research (subscription required)
  9. ^ Webb, Trenton (January 1997). "Games Reviews". Arcane. No. 15. Future Publishing. p. 68.
  10. ^ Jeff Grubb, Manual of the Planes (TSR, 1987).
  11. ^ Grubb, Jeff, David Noonan, and Bruce Cordell. Manual of the Planes (Wizards of the Coast, 2001)
  12. ^ a b Jacobs, James. "The Shadow Over D&D", Dragon #324 (Wizards of the Coast, October 2004).
  13. ^ a b c Cordell, Bruce R. "Enter the Far Realm", Dragon #330 (Wizards of the Coast, April 2005)
  14. ^ a b Shannon (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. p. 299. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
  15. ^ Cordell, Bruce. The Gates of Firestorm Peak (TSR, 1996).
  16. ^ Heinsoo, Rob, Collins, Andy and Wyatt, James. Player's Handbook (Wizards of the Coast, 2008), ISBN 978-0-7869-4867-3.
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Grubb, Jeff. Manual of the Planes (TSR, 1987)
  18. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)
  19. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)
  20. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)
  21. ^ Davis, Graeme (November 1986). "Open Box: Master Rules". White Dwarf (review). Games Workshop (83): 4.
  22. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)
  23. ^ "" (PDF). External link in |title= (help)
  24. ^ "". External link in |title= (help)
  25. ^ Manual of the Planes (2008)

External links[edit]