The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

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lookatroopa
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The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by lookatroopa » Sun Nov 10, 2019 1:12 am

In all officially published descriptions of the Feywild and the Shadowfell I've found, they are referred to as parallel to both "the world" and "the Material Plane" interchangeably, exhibiting warped mirrors of corresponding landmarks. What I haven't been able to figure out, though, is whether the Feywild/Shadowfell attached to the Nentir Vale is the same as Toril's, they're completely separate realms that don't connect to each other, or they're in the same broader plane and can be travelled between via equivalents of wildspace and the phlogiston. If the first is true, could one enter the Shadowfell from the Nentir Vale, look for Evernight, and Plane Shift to end up in Neverwinter? If not, does every planet have a Feywild?

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by ripvanwormer » Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:26 am

I would rule that both the Feywild and the Shadowfell work the same way that the Plane of Shadow worked in 3rd edition.

From the 3e Manual of the Planes, page 61:
Depending on your cosmology, the Plane of Shadow might lead to alternate Material Planes and other planes of existence. This is a perilous way to travel, because the way to other planes plunges through parts of the Plane of Shadow that are not coexistent with any known plane and home to a variety of fell monsters...

...Shadow travelers may attempt to seek out a portal to an alternate Material Plane or an Outer Plane. If seeking an alternate Material Plane, the traveler forces herself out of the areas that correspond to the original Material Plane. The terrain grows extreme: Trees are more massive than anything on the Material Plane, mountains become clifflike barriers, and rivers are raging torrents. It takes 1d4 hours of constant travel to reach the spot on the alternate Material Plane that corresponds to the departure point on the original Material Plane. At this point, the traveler can open a new portal and enter the alternate Material Plane. If your cosmology doesn't include alternate Material Planes (or they haven't been discovered yet), travelers are unable to open such a portal.
Here I would read "alternate Material Planes" as meaning the same thing as "other crystal spheres," though there isn't necessarily going to be any obvious point that "corresponds" to a crystal sphere in other spheres.

If you want to make spelljamming a prominent part of your campaign, you might want to force travelers to use the Phlogiston (on the Material Plane) to travel between spheres, rather than allowing planar travel to do the same thing.

I don't see why you wouldn't end up in a parallel version of Wildspace if you flew far enough into the Shadowfell's or Feywild's sky, but the idea of a parallel Phlogiston seems wrong; the Phlogiston by its nature is outside the planar cosmology.

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:04 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:26 am
I would rule that both the Feywild and the Shadowfell work the same way that the Plane of Shadow worked in 3rd edition.
That's a very interesting take. That would mean the Shadowfell is much larger than any given world, as it has to be large enough to account for the equivalent of all worlds (or at least those that have a Shadowfell equivalent).
ripvanwormer wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 3:26 am
I don't see why you wouldn't end up in a parallel version of Wildspace if you flew far enough into the Shadowfell's or Feywild's sky, but the idea of a parallel Phlogiston seems wrong; the Phlogiston by its nature is outside the planar cosmology.
Perhaps there's just one Phlogiston "plane" (I don't think that's quite the right terminology, but hopefully it makes sense), and when you reach the edge of a crystal sphere, whether you traveled from the surface of a world in the Shadowfell or the Feywild, you always hit the same Phlogiston. The question, then, would be whether you return to the Prime Material's crystal sphere when you leave the Phlogiston, or are you still somehow tied to the Shadowfell or Feywild. I think of it a little like phasing in World of Warcraft. There are "common" areas, where characters can interact from all phases, and there are those that "stack" on top of each other, depending on your phase. If you go to a common area, you still return to your phase.

Another interesting idea would be the Shadow or Fey equivalent to the Phlogiston. They might be quite alien from what's described in Spelljammer.

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by zontoxira » Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:16 pm

My idea is that since Feywild and Shadowfell are reflections of certain worlds, they're also limited in their means of travelling beyond. If, say, you wanted to travel from Neverwinter to Nentir Vale, you could use either a planar portal or spelljamming. A similar path would exist both in Feywild and Shadowfell, albeit in their own, twisted way.
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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by Tim Baker » Sun Nov 10, 2019 8:05 pm

zontoxira wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 4:16 pm
My idea is that since Feywild and Shadowfell are reflections of certain worlds, they're also limited in their means of travelling beyond. If, say, you wanted to travel from Neverwinter to Nentir Vale, you could use either a planar portal or spelljamming. A similar path would exist both in Feywild and Shadowfell, albeit in their own, twisted way.
That's been my take as well. Not that I've had it come up in my game, but it's just the head canon that I've had ever since I read about the Shadowfell and Feywild. I can't say I can really back it up with anything explicitly stated in the books, though.

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by Havard » Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:04 pm

My impression is that 5E is making these two planes increasingly function as connections between parallell worlds. The Underdark is also becoming presented almost as a separate plane connecting worlds through its connections to the Feywild and Shadowfell versions of the Underdark.

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by Cromstar » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 am

Havard wrote:
Sun Nov 10, 2019 9:04 pm
The Underdark is also becoming presented almost as a separate plane
This physically hurt to hear/read.

-------

I personally have decided to treat the Feywild as an Alternate Prime Material Plane (I use the Planescape cosmology with additions and minor alterations). It is, specifically, an APMP where 'civilized' races did not naturally come to exist. The worlds of this APMP are primal and natural, unshaped by the hands of building races. These worlds are populated by fey, fey-touched, sylvan, and all manner of natural creatures, but lack anything along the lines of truly native elves, humans, orcs, goblins, etc. What humanoid races do exist are very unimpactful (muckdwellers, druidic lizardmen, sylvan centuars, etc).

Being an APMP means that its own cosmology can be different, but after a lot of thought, I have kind of decided to embrace the idea of parallel worlds. The Feywild is, at least in part, very 'closely' aligned to the 'standard' D&D Prime Material Plane (ie, the plane on which the worlds of Oerth, Toril, and Krynn are found). Because of the way APMPs work, I've long had a rule that 'close' planes are easier to travel between and are more likely to be similar to each other than 'distant' planes, so the Feywild being an 'unspoiled' version of the 'standard' PMP fit into my existing cosmology. Thus, in my view, it would have its own crystal spheres with their own phlogiston. Therefore, based on this view of the Feywild, one could spelljam between the various worlds and then use natural means to move from those different Feywild worlds to their normal counterparts. Of course, that would raise the question of how to do that and what one would find beyond those worlds. The first is easy to answer, but tricky to overcome for players: no civilization means no spelljammers, no helms, not boats, and not much in the way of magic items to begin with (fey are inherently magically and rarely use weapons, and few of the sylvan races dabble in metallurgy). The second is harder to answer. I've had an ongoing project to expand fae races, and I've definitely added races that would for sure be found in wildspace and maybe even the phlogiston, so I'd expect that anywhere you went there would be fey creatures.

For the Shadowfell, I just treat it as an alternative name for the Plane of Shadow. People across the planes continually underestimate the scope and breadth of the Plane of Shadow, and it has many names and descriptions (after all, shadows are ever-changing). The plane does have twisted, shadowy reflections of worlds...in fact, any place in existence where light exists, there are shadows, and thus a region in the Plane of Shadow that reflects it. But there exists much beyond those reflections that is home to the true Plane itself; think of it somewhat in terms of the Ethereal; those shadowy versions of places are the Border Shadow, touching on other planes, while the parts that don't reflect *any* places are the Deep Shadow, the actual pure plane itself.

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by Tim Baker » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:46 am

Cromstar wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 am
For the Shadowfell, I just treat it as an alternative name for the Plane of Shadow. People across the planes continually underestimate the scope and breadth of the Plane of Shadow, and it has many names and descriptions (after all, shadows are ever-changing). The plane does have twisted, shadowy reflections of worlds...in fact, any place in existence where light exists, there are shadows, and thus a region in the Plane of Shadow that reflects it. But there exists much beyond those reflections that is home to the true Plane itself; think of it somewhat in terms of the Ethereal; those shadowy versions of places are the Border Shadow, touching on other planes, while the parts that don't reflect *any* places are the Deep Shadow, the actual pure plane itself.
So given this cosmology, could an adventurer plane shift to the Plane of Shadow, travel a great distance, plane shift back to the PMP, and find themselves on a completely different world?

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by Cromstar » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:33 am

Tim Baker wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:46 am
Cromstar wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 am
For the Shadowfell, I just treat it as an alternative name for the Plane of Shadow. People across the planes continually underestimate the scope and breadth of the Plane of Shadow, and it has many names and descriptions (after all, shadows are ever-changing). The plane does have twisted, shadowy reflections of worlds...in fact, any place in existence where light exists, there are shadows, and thus a region in the Plane of Shadow that reflects it. But there exists much beyond those reflections that is home to the true Plane itself; think of it somewhat in terms of the Ethereal; those shadowy versions of places are the Border Shadow, touching on other planes, while the parts that don't reflect *any* places are the Deep Shadow, the actual pure plane itself.
So given this cosmology, could an adventurer plane shift to the Plane of Shadow, travel a great distance, plane shift back to the PMP, and find themselves on a completely different world?
Assuming they have an ability to accurately plane shift, yes. This varies across editions I'm sure, but IIRC the spell plane shift in 2nd Edition (which is what I play and am most familiar with), doesn't necessarily allow someone to end up where they want to (those with an intended destination end up a random distance from that destination on the target plane; if you don't KNOW where you are going, then its DM's discretion I assume). Spelljammer may have had a rule that dealt with using planar travel to move between crystal spheres, but I can't recall a reference off the top of my head. It might have something about needing to have your attunement rod attuned to a specific crystal sphere, otherwise you defaulted to your native sphere? It's likely I would rule, personally, that plane shifting to and from the Plane of Shadow via the spell will take you to the (general) area of a plane if you are in a projected version of it. Ie, if you are in the projected version of Toril and manage to find the projected version of Oerth, then unless you intend otherwise, shifting to the PMP would drop you on Oerth by default, simply on the basis that it makes the most sense to me that way (as the plane of shadow does have direct connections to these places, which help 'funnel' such spells unless the caster fights them).

I do, however, have a school of shadow magic, and I know that one of the spells or spell families for it does in fact allow just that: a skilled umbramancer* can use shadows as gateways to and from the Plane of Shadow and, with enough knowledge, find shadows projected from specific locations within other planes. This ability, when used properly, is much more accurate than plane shifting by other means. The highest level umbramancers* can pinpoint specific buildings, whereas most people would be lucky to spot the differences between two entire worlds or planes.

To my view of it, the way these shadowy reflections are arranged on the plane is unrelated to how they are arranged outside of it. The shadow reflections of Toril and Oerth could be next to each other...or could be separated by unimaginable distances greater than they are on their own plane, with the entirety of every Abyssal layer between them. Thus, generally speaking, using this plane to travel is much like using Yggdrasil or the Infinite Staircase in that its potential is infinite, but unlike either of those two, requires specialized skills to properly access. I might include 'natural' shadow gates that anyone can use as something that exists but are few and far between (much like portals directly into, say, one of the lower layers of Baator).

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Re: The Feywild and Shadowfell and Multiple Prime Worlds

Post by zontoxira » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:06 pm

Surely, 4e books would have more to say about those alternate material planes but then, 4e brought in a drastically different cosmology. In Planescape, you had two demiplanes that filled that role, more or less: the Seelie Court and the Plane of Shadow. They did not belong to the Prime Material Plane, but one could have access to various worlds through these.
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