Planescape in 5e: Special Features, Other Planes

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  • Elemental Air: This item is almost invisible, woven of frozen air currents that flicker with subtle mists and electricity. Its weight is negligible, adding no encumbrance, but it might also be blown away in a stiff breeze if not firmly held or stowed. This lightness somehow doesn’t limit its effectiveness as arms or armor. This item also usually has the Tempestuous keyword.
  • Elemental Darkness (Negative): This item is perfectly black, absorbing all light, making it difficult to truly gauge its shape except by feel. Living characters that wield it lose one healing surge after a long rest. The first time you are struck by Radiant damage each day, you act as if you had resistance (as the item absorbs some of the energy). This item also usually has the Dark keyword.
  • Elemental Earth: This item is entirely made from metal, gems, and stone. When set upon the earth (or a stone embedded in the earth) it will not move from its position without great effort (Strength (Athletics) DC 15) unless you choose to pick it up again. This item also usually has the Stonelike keyword.
  • Elemental Fire: This item seems to be made from congealed fire, somehow given permanent physical form. It is always slightly warm, which can be helpful in a dangerously cold environment. This item also usually has the Hot keyword.
  • Elemental Radiance (Positive): This item is perfectly mirrored, reflecting all light that touches it. Undead characters that wield it suffer a point of Radiant damage each minute. Living characters that wield it gain an additional +1 HP for each die of healing they receive. This item also usually has the Bright keyword.
  • Elemental Water: This item seems carved out of ice, though it is only slightly cold. It floats in water as if it was made of wood, unless you are deliberately swimming beneath the surface (in which case, it floats at about your level within the deeps). This item also usually has the Fluid keyword.
  • Paraelemental: This item appears to be a strange hybrid of two materials based on which paraelemental plane produced it. It demonstrates whichever ability is most applicable to the current situation, but likely also suffers some unexpected drawback from the combination of elements.
  • Quasielemental: This item appears to be a brighter or darker version of its core element. It has the powers and drawbacks of items from either realm.
  • Astral: This item seems to be woven through with faint silver threads and, when looked at in the correct state of mind, only the threads seem truly real, the rest merely an illusion strung between them. You retain this item even when having an out-of-body experience, and it may be wielded by or used to strike creatures of pure thought. This item also usually has the Mental keyword.
  • Ethereal: This item seems slightly immaterial, hinting at translucency, its interior a flowing mist. It is able to be used/carried/worn by beings that are incorporeal, and has no difficulty striking them.
  • Ravenloft (Ethereal): This item likely carries a Baroque flair to its design, hinting at a culture with a strangely deep artistic tradition. While wielding this item, if you are about to commit a deeply evil action—or sometimes about to start down that path with something that seems to have good, but flawed, intentions—you can feel the attention of vast powers regarding you with anticipation.
  • Feywild: This item has no ferrous components, and it is made entirely from nigh-eternal materials that resist corrosion and decay. It has resistance against acid damage and other attacks that seek to unmake it with decay.
  • Beyond: This item doesn’t seem to use a standard geometry in its construction, all curves and hints at additional dimensions, made of materials that aren’t quite natural to any known realms. Powers and Proxies of the Great Wheel have a hard time even seeing it, granting advantage on rolls to conceal it from gods, celestials, or fiends.
  • Athas (Dark Sun) (Prime): This item is made without metal, replacing normal metal elements with bone, stone, or crystal. It maintains its magical nature by slowly draining the life from nearby plants, and dangerous plants will usually avoid you while you wield it.
  • Khorvaire (Eberron) (Prime): This item appears too-well-made, as if mass-produced by purpose-built machinery. It may feature subtle mechanisms beyond the technology level of most worlds. It slowly repairs itself if broken, and attempts to speed the process of mending have advantage.
  • Krynn (Dragonlance) (Prime): This item is likely illustrated with symbols of dragons and white, red, and black moons and any components that should be steel are instead iron or other metals. The item seems attuned to tidal forces, making it easy for you to, with some practice, sense the rough time of day and phase of the moon.
  • Oerth (Greyhawk) (Prime): This item seems like a real classic, well-but-simply made out of durable materials that keep their shine and luster. If used conspicuously in your adventures, it quickly finds itself becoming a significant element in your personal legend and may gradually accrue heroic powers from this acclaim.
  • Toril (Forgotten Realms) (Prime): This item appears to be an exemplar of its form, as if an illustration of the item was brought to life. Having lived through multiple magical upheavals, this item continues to have its same abilities even on planes with unusual rules for magic.

Planescape in 5e: Special Features, Outer Planes

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Items tend to have special features, one per keyword, when they do not have an actual special power for that keyword. These replace or supplement the special features starting on page 141 of the DMG. The features may not function when on a plane without the associated keyword, at the GM’s option.

  • Abyss (C E): This item’s edges are essentially fractal, infinitely complex the closer you look. It tends to buzz angrily in the presence of lawful Proxies, particularly devils. This item also usually has the Chaotic and Evil keywords.
  • Acheron (L E/N): This item’s appearance is geometric, likely divided into squares and cubes. It is surprisingly easy to carry on campaign, generating half the encumbrance its weight would otherwise specify. This item also usually has the Lawful keyword.
  • Arborea (C G): This item is made of bronze, brass, and natural materials that have not been heavily worked, and it is slightly larger than other examples of its kind. If lost, it will eventually find its way back to you if you have used it for great deeds. This item also usually has the Chaotic and Good keywords.
  • Arcadia (L G/N): This item is a statistically average (though high-quality) example of its form, not exceeding normal tolerances for dimensions or using flashy patterns. It resists being hidden by illusion, always looking like itself no matter the magical disguise, and it remains stubbornly visible even if you are invisible. This item also usually has the Lawful keyword.
  • Baator (Hell) (L E): This item is black and red in color, made of materials that naturally have these colors. It cannot be stolen from its owner, whether by dexterity or legal trickery. As long as you live, you must drop it through true accident or deliberately transfer ownership to lose it. This item also usually has the Lawful and Evil keywords.
  • Beastlands (N/C G): This item is made as much as possible of ostentatious furred leathers. While you carry it, animals are likely to treat you as an apex predator and avoid you or cower before you unless desperate or compelled. This item also usually has the Good keyword.
  • Bytopia (L/N G): This item is well-made and perfectly, perhaps ostentatiously, symmetrical, likely including patterns that are hard to mirror properly by inexperienced craftsmen. Damage that does not extend to both halves of the item will slowly fade as it returns to quality and symmetry. This item also usually has the Good keyword.
  • Carceri (C/N E): This item seems hastily created by repurposing some other item, filing it down and potentially affixing it to an unrelated object. You have advantage on checks to keep the item hidden. This item also usually has the Evil keyword.
  • Elysium (N G): This item has a nautical theme, likely incorporating motifs and materials used for sailing or found near the sea. When you are on a quest to accomplish a good deed, you and your allies travel to your destination 10% faster than you otherwise would. This item also usually has the Good keyword.
  • Gehenna (L/N E): This item’s hard surfaces are made of igneous rock and sharp, black obsidian, while its softer materials seem suffused with ash and soot that never cleans out but blackens the hands of wielders. If you present it, you gain advantage on Charisma checks to convince fiends to leave you alone, as it serves as a token of neutrality in the Blood War. This item also usually has the Evil keyword.
  • Gray Waste (N E): This item is dull gray in appearance, as if all its natural colors have washed out. You have advantage on saving throws to resist effects that try to cause emotions (including Charmed and Frightened), but you also have trouble feeling natural emotions while wielding the item. This item also usually has the Evil keyword.
  • Limbo (C N): This item never looks exactly the same twice, slowly flickering between examples of its form when no one is looking. If you suffer a Wild Magic Surge while wielding it, you may choose to flip the 10s and 1s digits to get a different result on the chart. If you are attuned, you may make a Charisma saving throw (DC 15) to call the item to your hand from anywhere within the same plane. This item also usually has the Chaotic keyword.
  • Mechanus (L N): This item appears to be a complicated mechanism that has been disconnected from its original machinery and frozen in its current function. Modrons may be able to incorporate it into their own bodies, and skilled mechanics might be able to unlock additional functions. This item also usually has the Lawful keyword.
  • Mount Celestia (L G): This item’s metals are silver and gold, while its other components are brightly colored. When wielded by someone Chaotic and/or Evil, its colors fade, but they shine brightly, giving off a faint but cheery light if you are Lawful Good. Those that can confirm the item’s provenance know that there is no way to fool its assessment of your morality. This item also usually has the Lawful and Good keywords.
  • Outlands (N N): This item seems well made, but is worn as if it has seen years of hard use and come through them still in perfect working order, merely comfortably broken in. When reality is against you, it will see you through; you gain a point of Inspiration when you enter an anti-magic area.
  • Pandemonium (C E/N): This item’s dimensions don’t quite add up, creating an unease in the viewer that only increases if it is carefully examined. Screaming faces sometimes appear in the material out of the corner of the viewer’s eye. No mental effects, be they compulsion or insanity, can make you forget that the item is yours, or give it away/discard it if you wouldn’t when in your right mind. This item also usually has the Chaotic keyword.
  • Ysgard (C G/N): This item is etched or woven with numerous runes speaking of its history and abilities, and it likely features rich-hued wood cut from the world tree in its construction. It takes you one minute less than normal to cast a Ritual when wielding the item. As a free action you may willingly take a point of damage (e.g., to prolong a Rage). This item also usually has the Chaotic keyword.
  • Sigil (Outlands): This item seems to have a slight tarnish or patina no matter how much you try to make it shine. If it is the key for a portal or gate, it will vibrate noticeably when brought within a few feet of the bounds of the doorway (as a warning you’re about to travel unexpectedly, or clue to where the doorway is).

Planescape in 5e: Resonance Keywords

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This is an alternate way to capture the idea of magic items changing from plane to plane without simply tracing a path to the home plane and reducing the item’s bonus. I always liked the idea of magic items varying away from home, but the implementation was a lot of math for no real benefit to the player.

Each plane (or distinct realm within a plane) has a collection of up to half a dozen keywords. Magic items created in that location tend to acquire the same set of keywords. Additionally, spells have at least one keyword that is salient to the spell’s effect. Some special abilities may have similar resonance to equivalent spells.

Magic items may have special powers that are only active when in a plane/realm with matching keywords, or may just be more generally effective when more of the keywords match. This might be a specific ability mapped to a given keyword, or may be that certain powers are only active when specific keywords are active.

Spells are generally treated as being cast at +1 slot level if they have at least one matching keyword with the local plane/realm (e.g., fireball is always cast as at least a 4th level spell in a Hot realm).

Some spells or other magical effects may temporarily apply a keyword to a local area (e.g., the darkness spell might create the Dark keyword within its area).

Keywords

In addition to the keywords below, each plane is its own keyword name.

Energy

  • Bright (Radiant, Light, Sun)
  • Cold (Cold, Ice, slowing effects, winter)
  • Corrosive (Acid, disintegration)
  • Cutting (Slashing, effects that cause DoT)
  • Dark (Necrotic, Darkness, Night)
  • Energetic (Lightning, energy buffs)
  • Hot (Fire, heating effects, summer)
  • Invisible (Force, Invisibility)
  • Mental (Psychic, Mind-Affecting, Telepathic)
  • Penetrating (Piercing, effects that bypass defenses)
  • Smashing (Bludgeoning, effects that destroy objects)
  • Sonic (Thunder, sound illusions, silence)
  • Toxic (Poison, physical debuffs)

Misc

  • Bestial (Animal effects)
  • Colorful (Color effects, visual illusions)
  • Confining (restrictive/paralyzing effects)
  • Disjointed (teleportation effects)
  • Fluid (Water-related effects)
  • Metallic (Metal conjurations/transmutations)
  • Motive (Imbuing motion to things)
  • Mystic (meta-magical effects like anti-magic, detection, etc.)
  • Prophetic (many divinations)
  • Protective (defensive effects)
  • Restoring (Healing effects, restorations)
  • Stonelike (Stone/earth conjurations/transmutations)
  • Tempestuous (Air and storm-related effects)
  • Transforming (Physical transmutations)
  • Wooden (Wood/plant conjurations/transmutations)

Alignment

  • Chaotic
  • Evil (includes Evil spells like animating dead)
  • Good
  • Lawful

Known Realms

  • Sigil: Outlands, Confining, Cutting, Dark, Disjointed, Metallic

Example Item Resonance

  • Bag of Holding: If all keywords are matched, the bag only weighs 5 pounds. Each keyword not matched increases the weight by 5 pounds (up to 35 pounds in realms that don’t match at all).
  • Folding Boat: If no keywords are matched, this item cannot change from its current configuration. If two or more keywords are matched, it can become a small boat (or return to its collapsed configuration). Only if four or more keywords are matched can it expand into its vessel configuration.
  • Goggles of Night: The goggles grant Darkvision with a range of 30 feet plus 10 feet per matched keyword (e.g., up to 90 feet when six keywords are matched).
  • Immovable Rod: The rod can hold up to 6000 pounds of weight plus 1000 per matched keyword. The Strength check to move it is DC 26, +2 for each matched keyword.
  • Potion of Climbing (and others with a normal 1 hour duration): The potion lasts for 30 minutes, plus 10 minutes for each matched keyword.
  • Potion of Healing (and improved versions): The flat add of basic points of healing is equal to the number of keywords matched (e.g., heals 2d4+3 with three matched). This is multiplied for the improved potions (x2 for greater, x4 for superior, x10 for supreme).
  • Ring of Swimming: You have a swimming speed equal to 30 feet plus 5 feet per matched keyword (e.g., 60 feet with six matched keywords).
  • Weapon +1: This item retains its +1 bonus no matter how many keywords are matched. However, any special abilities may come and go based on the resonance.

Serial Numbers Filed Off: Will Working

Comments Off on Serial Numbers Filed Off: Will Working

Minor Artifact: Ring of the Beacon

Aura strong evocation; CL 20th

Slot ring; Weight

Description

The Beacon is one of Sigil’s oldest and most reclusive factions. Their leadership is a closely guarded secret, and their membership is highly limited. They have but one ethos: prime material planes should remain free of exploitation by planar travelers until they have developed their own spellcasters that can join the multiverse voluntarily. To that end, developing realities each have one of their members of strong moral fiber offered membership in the faction. Those that accept gain possession of one of these rings and the mandate to defend his or her plane from interlopers. Only the owner of the ring can wield its powers. Upon the death of the owner, the ring will attempt to seek out another worthy bearer; failing that, it attempts to Plane Shift back to the Beacon stronghold in the Outlands.

This ring functions as a Ring of Protection +5. Additionally, it has the following abilities:

  • The bearer can activate or deactivate Fly at will as a spell-like ability (with an unlimited duration and a caster level equal to character level)
  • The bearer can cast Plane Shift 1/day (CL equal to character level). If in any plane other than the Outlands, this power automatically goes to the Beacon stronghold. If in the Outlands, the power automatically goes to a place of the bearer’s choice on his or her home plane.
  • The bearer is immediately aware of any planar intrusion on his or her home plane, and can identify the spell cast and the approximate location (to within 100 miles divided by spell level).
  • The ring functions as a staff (with 10 charges). Unlike a normal staff, the ring regains one charge per day and can regain charges faster if the bearer has access to a charging device provided by the faction. Also unlike a staff, the bearer must succeed at a Will save to successfully activate the spell (failure consumes the charges with no result). All spells appear as colored light that matches the color of the ring. The spells available to the bearer are:
    • Light (0 charges, DC 10)
    • Shield (1 charge, DC 11)
    • Mage Armor (1 charge, DC 12)
    • Scorching Ray (2 charges, DC 13)
    • Dispel Magic (2 charges, DC 14)
    • Dimensional Anchor (2 charges, DC 15)
    • Lesser Globe of Invulnerability (3 charges, DC 16)
    • Dismissal (3 charges, DC 17)
    • Interposing Hand (3 charges, DC 18)
    • Wall of Force (4 charges, DC 19)
    • Telekinesis (4 charges, DC 20)
    • Shadow Evocation (4 charges, DC 21)
    • Greater Dispel Magic ( 5 charges, DC 22)
    • Globe of Invulnerability (5 charges, DC 23)
    • Forceful Hand (5 charges, DC 24)
    • Banishment (6 charges, DC 25)
    • Grasping Hand (6 charges, DC 26)
    • Forcecage (6 charges, DC 27)
    • Clenched Fist (7 charges, DC 28)
    • Telekinetic Sphere (7 charges, DC 29)
    • Crushing Hand (7 charges, DC 30)

 

Serial Numbers Filed Off 4: Gates

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Originally posted April 2008

Planescape: Ascending Primes

The greatest of the Sensates have begun to hear a new noise, a ripple from the fabric of creation. The greatest of the Fated have deciphered it, revealing a ritual of great power. The greatest of the Athar are certain that it’s a ritual to contact the true gods beyond the Powers.

The Powers are silent on the issue, strangely so. The streets of Sigil must be inked with the runes of the spell, turning the city of doors into one single gate. Standing at the center of the Outlands, where no magic should function, the ritual will send a single seeker through the torus of Sigil and into the unknown.

Assuming you can even gather all the materials needed for the ritual, how do you get a city full of factions, much less the Lady, to let you enact such a working? And what will you find beyond?

Fading Suns: The Fading of Men

Three Keys for the noble-kings under the sky,
Seven for the church-lords in their naves of stone,
Nine for guilded men doomed to die,
One for the builder on his dark throne,
In the gates of Sathra where the shadows lie.
One Key to rule them all, One Key to find them,
One Key to bring them all, and in the darkness bind them,
In the gates of Sathra where the shadows lie.
— From the Eskatonic Scriptures

Many have forgotten the sad affair of the Keys, which hastened the fall of the Second Republic. A brilliant pilot and engineer, it was said, discovered twenty philosophers stones in an ancient cache, and worked out how to turn them into universal jumpkeys with the help of human and Ur tech. They could open any jumpgate, no matter to where, no matter if it was locked, no matter if it was in the middle of reset. Some say they had other abilities built in, too: not the least of which was the power to adjust the Sathra dampers and jump engine of a ship to render it effectively invisible to all sensors.

Such power is dangerous enough alone, and great battles broke out over the upset balance of power. Then the builder revealed his master stroke: the one key he had kept for himself was bound to the others, and he could monitor them and selectively control their access to extort obedience from their owners. Eventually war was made upon him and his allies, and his ship was destroyed, the Key seized by a great leader, one of Alexius’ ancestors. He never made it home, and the One Key was lost to the jumplanes.

Now the Key has been found by unlikely travelers. And the Builder is somehow moving once again: the church elders say that the manipulation of the Sathra field by the Keys left him and others open to the demons between the stars, bound by the gates. His consciousness seems stretched across the gates, and the lesser Keys, seeking to bend men to another war and to open the gates to the dark between the stars.

The only way to stop him is to return the One Key to the Ur ruins from which it came, and hope that the ancient tech is enough to purge his consciousness from the jumpweb. But the ruins exist deep in lost space, and the Builder’s old allies are even now marshaling there for a great assault on the known worlds.

Pray that men have not faded with the suns, for their greatest strength is needed today.