Spelljamming in the Planes

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Seethyr
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Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Seethyr » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:52 am

This thread got me thinking about Spelljamming in other planes.

What a fun concept to explore. If you could somehow get a ship onto another plane, what would the variety of wildspaces be like? I mean, I know some planes have had descriptions about what would happen if you flew off into the sky, but do the planes that have a clearly defined land have other planets too?

I don’t just want to explore this for the Shadowfell, how about the Feywild, some outer planes? Inner planes? We are talking weirdness that multiplied exponentially.
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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by MacGuffen » Mon Nov 11, 2019 5:44 pm

Mirror planes (feywild and shadowfell) would probably have mirrored wildspaces, and if they have a phlogiston,I expect they would be representative of those planes- phlogiston in the shadowfell would be very muted, almost gray, and in the feywild it would be EVEN MORE vibrant.

As far as the inner and outer planes, I don't think they have wildspace or phlogiston. They probably all have their own weird rules, like being able to travel between one layer of Bytopia and the other.

I suspect if you can see/normally travel to another layer/plane, you can travel via a spelljammer ship.

And in addition to a Planescape sourebook mentioning a spelljammer salesman in Sigil, I am 100% sure spelljamming helms have made their way to other planes (I'm currently working on such a supplement for the DM's guild!)

Edit: Dang, and now I really want to spend the rest of the day researching how spelljamming might work on all the planes...

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Big Mac » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:04 pm

Seethyr wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:52 am
This thread got me thinking about Spelljamming in other planes.

What a fun concept to explore. If you could somehow get a ship onto another plane, what would the variety of wildspaces be like? I mean, I know some planes have had descriptions about what would happen if you flew off into the sky, but do the planes that have a clearly defined land have other planets too?
There is a fan term for mixing Planescape and Spelljammer. It's "Planejammer". (You might find some interesting discussions or resources online, if you search for that.)

There is actually a bit of "Planejammer" embedded into the original Spelljammer canon, as the Pirates of Gith are known to live in the Astral Plane and come to the Material Plane to make raids on Wildspace.

Pirates of Gith are able to Plane Shift some ships between the Material Plane and the Astral Plane. They actually need to use living ships to do this, which is why they like to hunt down and steal elven ships.

Spelljammer was published after the (1e) Manual of the Planes but before the (2e) Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set, so the main problem with the Planejammer stuff is that Spelljammer was not designed to do it all.

This means you either have to look to Planescape (and later soruces) for mentions of ships on the planes or try to infer additional details from the canon that we do have.
Seethyr wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:52 am
I don’t just want to explore this for the Shadowfell, how about the Feywild, some outer planes? Inner planes? We are talking weirdness that multiplied exponentially.
The main "problem" with the Feywild is that it (appears to be) something that was invented for 4th Edition. And as 4e had some stuff that looks like reboots, it's a tiny bit hard to line up exactly with the way that Spelljammer worked in 2e. The best way to deal with this is to look at the intentions of Wildspace travel and Phlogistion travel and then look at the intentions of the Feywild and the Shadowfell and see what gives you a vibe that fits in best with both sets of rules.

Richard Baker's Blades of the Moonsea trilogy has a magic user character that says that the Shadowfell is simply a new name for the Plane of Shadow, so I'd be tempted to treat both planes as the same thing.

And if the Feywild is like an opposite of the Shadowfell, then you can do the same thing as the Plane of Shadow, but add in reboots to fit in with the differences between the Shadowfell and the Feywild.

It won't be exact, but it should get you over the differences between D&D editions.

If you are using the "One Material Plane model"* then Wildspace, the Phlogistion and the land on every celestial body in every crystal sphere are all part of the Material Plane. And things work like this:
  • Celestial bodies (planets, suns, etc) are more massive and it is easier for elementals to get to the Material Plane on them,
  • Wildspace is a void and elementals summoned into Wildspace are generally less comfortable than elementals summoned on a world and
  • The Phlogistion blocks access to all other planes, so elementals can not be summoned there (although they can travel into the phlogistion via a portal in a crystal sphere.
* = If you don't want to use the One Material Plane model, then every Spelljammer crystal sphere becomes a different Alternate Material Plane and everything else works differently.

If you want to avoid the "One Material Plane" model, then you need to have:
  • One Alternate Material Plane per crystal sphere,
  • Wildspace and all the celestial bodies in a crystal sphere become part of that Material Plane,
  • Each Alternate Material Plane ends at the crystal sphere wall and
  • The Phlogistion switches from being part of the Material Plane and becomes something similar to a transitive plane...but still blocks acccess to all other planes, except crystal spheres.
I personally find the "Multiple Alternate Mateial Plane model" does not feel right to me, but I'll mention it here, as it might suit you better. However, all my other advice is going to assume the One Material Plane model is being used, as that is what I've been trying to figure out, in my head.

As for other planes, you have three groups of planes in Planescape/Manual of the Planes:
  • Transitive Planes (Astral, Ethereal and Shadow)
  • Inner Planes (Air, Earth, Fire, Water, etc) and
  • Outer Planes (Concordance of Opposition/Outlands and Sigil, various Upper Planes and various Lower Planes)
From what I recall of AD&D, people wanting to access the Inner Planes from the Material Plane go there via the Ethereal Plane.

And from what I recall, people wanting to access the Outer Planes from the Material Plane go there via the Astral Plane.

4e did some rebooting of how the planes mixed up, but I think you still have Transitive Planes, Inner Planes and Outer Planes. As long as you have those three roles, and you keep each role separately, you can infer details across the changes between AD&D and 4e. (And minor changes, like the ones that exist in 3e Realms canon are easier to work with.)

The old way of dealing with planes seems to be abstract. You can get from anywhere to anywhere else within X amount of hours.

This goes against the Spelljammer thing where it takes days or weeks to travel between celestial bodies. And longer to travel from one crystal sphere to another crystal sphere.

If you really want to have ships flying around in the Transitive, Inner and Outer Planes, the first thing you need to ask yourself is: How fast should they get around? Do you want to slow things down to spelljamming speed? Or do you want to make some planes faster to travel through than others?

A lot of the older rules suggest that you can "get anywhere within X hours" on certain transitive planes. Spelljammer does the same sort of thing with Phlogiston travel, but it is a much longer amount of time. So ask yourself: Do you want Planejamming to be super-fast? Do you want to slow things down?

Alternatively do you want to make entire Shadowfell maps of crystal spheres and have spelljamming ships move faster, as if they have a Shadow Walk spell cast on them, or somesuch.

I mentioned the thing that the Pirates of Gith use to move a spelljamming ship onto the Astral Plane. That's called a "key". Planescape has different keys to get to different planes. So you could open up one plane (like the Astral Plane) but keep the others locked (until the PCs figure out another secret) and change a Planejamming campaign over time.

If you want to visit the Inner Planes, you will find some (like the Plane of Air) easier to fly through than others (like the Plane of Earth).

If you go down the Elemental Chaos route, you are pretty much visiting all the Elemental Planes in one go. So you could combine locations from various Planescape sources to turn them into Elemental Chaos locations.

There were some bespoke cosmologies in 3rd Edition and 4th Edition. You need to decide if you want to use them as things that only apply to single crystal spheres (so the World Tree Axis would only apply to "Nerathspace"/Nentir Vale's crystal sphere and the Outer Planes would be inaccessible in "Manifestspace"/Ghostwalk's crystal sphere).

Or would you rather go for the traditional Great Wheel of Planescape and bend every campaign setting to fit the Great Wheel.

The third way to go is something I call the "Wonky Wheel Cosmology", where the Great Wheel does exist, but there are bespoke restrictions for each and every crystal sphere. (Entire planes could be hidden and others could be revealed.) A Wonky Wheel model might work if you are trying to use things like Rokugan (from the 3rd Edition Oriental Adventures) and need to add in something like the Plane of Metal. That then becomes "normal" and "expected" in that sphere, but something that other people can not directly access.
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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Cromstar » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:06 pm

The biggest issue on the Outer Planes as written in the Planescape boxed sets is that magic changes between planes, and that this can effect magic items, which would include helms. I'm not sure which planes this could be an issue for exactly, but there's a chance entire planes would prevent the helm from functioning at all.

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by ripvanwormer » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:23 pm

Cromstar wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:06 pm
The biggest issue on the Outer Planes as written in the Planescape boxed sets is that magic changes between planes, and that this can effect magic items, which would include helms. I'm not sure which planes this could be an issue for exactly, but there's a chance entire planes would prevent the helm from functioning at all.
Note the tso, planar cousins of the neogi introduced in the second Planescape monstrous compendium, use spelljammers to travel the outer planes.

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by night_druid » Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:49 pm

Seethyr wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:52 am
This thread got me thinking about Spelljamming in other planes.

What a fun concept to explore. If you could somehow get a ship onto another plane, what would the variety of wildspaces be like? I mean, I know some planes have had descriptions about what would happen if you flew off into the sky, but do the planes that have a clearly defined land have other planets too?

I don’t just want to explore this for the Shadowfell, how about the Feywild, some outer planes? Inner planes? We are talking weirdness that multiplied exponentially.
BM handled planejamming fairly well, so I won't cover that ground. An alternative approach is to use the planes, inner and outer both, as inspirations for worlds and even whole spheres. For example, I've given thought about using one or more lower plane as the inspiration for a crystal sphere, populated by tieflings and even creatures similar to classic demons, only mortal with fewer powers. AKA a race might look like a huge gargoyle-like creature similar to say a pit fiend, but they are not especially related and would be very different creatures with radically different abilities. Or a race of winged females might be called succumbi, with somewhat similar abilities, but they hail from a remote world, not the Abyss, and lack innate plane-hopping abilities. They wouldn't even have to be evil, either.

In a way, one might argue that planets are little more than other planes "leaking" into the prime material; suns are generally connected to either the elemental planes of fire or radiance, as are stars. Air and water worlds might connect to their respective planes. Asteroid islands might form when portals to the Elemental Plane of Magma open and leak into wildspace, becoming space volcanoes. Likewise, there's no reason you couldn't link other worlds to planes. For example, a wild, untamed frontier world might be an aspect of the Beastlands leaking into the Prime, while a clockwork world might connect with Mechanis and a third honeycombed world might connect to Pandamonia. My Moon of the Month Nine Plate reflects this, connecting with several Outer Planes.

Just some food for thought.
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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Cromstar » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:51 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:23 pm
Cromstar wrote:
Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:06 pm
The biggest issue on the Outer Planes as written in the Planescape boxed sets is that magic changes between planes, and that this can effect magic items, which would include helms. I'm not sure which planes this could be an issue for exactly, but there's a chance entire planes would prevent the helm from functioning at all.
Note the tso, planar cousins of the neogi introduced in the second Planescape monstrous compendium, use spelljammers to travel the outer planes.
Implied, yes. They fly around in them somewhat normally, though they stick to...Ghenna (maybe) through Mechanus mostly.

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Seethyr » Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:49 am

Here’s a thought to consider, and let me use an example to do so but extrapolate this further to the other planes.

Perhaps other planets that have their own cultures and own Hell (for example) correspond roughly to distances on the planes.

It would make sense for this to happen or we’d have a very busy Avernus. I mean, if thousands of worlds all have the exact same portion of hell, think what probability would do? There would be heroes at Tiamat’s door every moment, or the Maggot Pit or the Pillar of Skulls and every other important landmark. With a “different hell-world that corresponds this wouldn’t necessarily be a problem.
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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by ripvanwormer » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:27 am

Seethyr wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 12:49 am
Perhaps other planets that have their own cultures and own Hell (for example) correspond roughly to distances on the planes.
That's a possibility. You could also give every sphere its own cosmology, completely separate from that of other spheres. It's not my preference, for a number of reasons.

First, it's a lot of extra work to develop entirely new planes for each world or sphere, unless you make them all identical (which seems kind of boring). Secondly, each Hell seems less significant if it's only one among many. Thirdly, I prefer the more cosmopolitan feel of an outer plane where the inhabitants or souls of many different worlds rub shoulders. It feels bigger and more textured, more interesting and impressive.
I mean, if thousands of worlds all have the exact same portion of hell
The concept of thousands of worlds is pretty unworkable anyway. I mean, long-running science fiction franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars don't have thousands of worlds. Maybe in theory they do, but in practice they have a few major worlds that are significant to the franchise and then they kind of cheat and assume there's are miscellaneous unnamed worlds that you never really see. I think you have to cheat that way. It seems much better to focus on a few interesting worlds to lavish with detail than to worry about long lists of names the players are never going to remember.

Even a single world is kind of overwhelming if you consider the millions of people who inhabit it and the thousands of years it's been around. But consider that the outer planes don't necessarily follow the same logic as mortal planes. One idea from the 1st edition Manual of the Planes (in the way it potrayed Concordant Opposition especially), hinted at in the 2nd edition DMG, that unfortunately didn't get followed up on in later editions is the idea that the outer planes can be completely subjective experiences. A party from a Viking culture may perceive a plane completely differently than a party from a Chinese culture, even if they're standing in the same space. Travelers from thousands of different worlds might all be milling in the same area but perceive themselves as being entirely alone. As discussed in 2nd edition's Faiths & Avatars, powerful planar entities and gods might be multifaceted beings who present one aspect to visitors from one culture and another aspect to visitors from another culture, and one aspect could even die while leaving their aspects on other worlds unscathed.

That's not to say that you can't depict vast, interstellar-scaled distances in a campaign where spelljamming on the outer planes is a thing. I just like the idea that a single planar ruler (Zariel or Tiamat or whoever) watches over souls from many different worlds, rather than each world getting its own purely local otherworldly hierarchy.

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by lookatroopa » Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:58 am

Perhaps not exactly what you're looking for, but spelljamming vessels do get sucked into the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum now and then, and lack of air notwithstanding, according to the writeup for the plane in 1998's The Inner Planes they should still be functional.

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Jaid » Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:47 am

not all deities are in all worlds, so tiamat isn't being bothered by an infinite number of heroes constantly because she isn't known to many, or probably even most, of those worlds. instead, those worlds have heroes going after the evil deities that they know about. furthermore, it is pretty obvious if you look at, say, takhisis (AKA definitelynottiamat) and paladine (aka definitelynotbahamut), it seems like god A in sphere A is not necessarily the same as god A in sphere B. likewise, tyr in the forgotten realms doesn't seem to know much if anything about odin or thor, but the norse pantheon tyr definitely would. likewise, vecna seems to be known in multiple worlds, but is not a recognized deity in all of them.

meanwhile, the planes are for the most part also infinite, which means that no matter how many people go there it isn't going to get crowded, and there are an infinite number of fiendish minions to kill off most of those heroes before they get anywhere important.

infinity works both ways ;)

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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Sturm » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:47 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:27 am
hinted at in the 2nd edition DMG, that unfortunately didn't get followed up on in later editions is the idea that the outer planes can be completely subjective experiences. A party from a Viking culture may perceive a plane completely differently than a party from a Chinese culture, even if they're standing in the same space. Travelers from thousands of different worlds might all be milling in the same area but perceive themselves as being entirely alone. As discussed in 2nd edition's Faiths & Avatars, powerful planar entities and gods might be multifaceted beings who present one aspect to visitors from one culture and another aspect to visitors from another culture, and one aspect could even die while leaving their aspects on other worlds unscathed.
That's such a great concept that also solves a lot of problems in contradicting canon of published material :)
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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Seethyr » Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:55 pm

Sturm wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 1:47 pm
ripvanwormer wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:27 am
hinted at in the 2nd edition DMG, that unfortunately didn't get followed up on in later editions is the idea that the outer planes can be completely subjective experiences. A party from a Viking culture may perceive a plane completely differently than a party from a Chinese culture, even if they're standing in the same space. Travelers from thousands of different worlds might all be milling in the same area but perceive themselves as being entirely alone. As discussed in 2nd edition's Faiths & Avatars, powerful planar entities and gods might be multifaceted beings who present one aspect to visitors from one culture and another aspect to visitors from another culture, and one aspect could even die while leaving their aspects on other worlds unscathed.
That's such a great concept that also solves a lot of problems in contradicting canon of published material :)
I like it a lot too, but it somewhat cuts down on adventuring opportunities. I am more of the mind that you can cross cultures for really strange experiences, but don’t make it easy. In other words, Quetzalcoatl has interactions with Odin but in vastly separated kingdoms. This maximizes adventuring opportunity because then it could stand to reason that your Aztec character ends up in a foreign heaven or hell just like he might end up in a foreign land.
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Re: Spelljamming in the Planes

Post by Sturm » Tue Nov 12, 2019 2:11 pm

Yes that's true too. But still it can be partially used for example to solve any contradiction between editions cosmologies.
About the rest I am indeed inclined to have all planes as somehow mirroring the prime with more or less comparable distances up to a certain point. This also solves a lot of problems in planebuilding because imagining a planet sized portion of an outer plane it's much easier if you mirror it on a prime planet.
So I would mostly have in all planes the equivalents of suns, planets and systems, even if maybe very different and strange. Spelljamming in the Lower Planes could be quite interesting even if extremely dangerous :)
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