log in or register to remove this ad

 

5E Etherealness, Deep Ethereal, and Plane Shift.

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Looking for an interesting discussion, fluff and/or rules references are fine...but no right/wrong derails please. (see those other two threads... :D )

Set up: A big part of my campaigns were "lower" level characters using the ethereal to get to the deep ethereal, and thus travel to other worlds. You could use the shadow realm similarly.

Then at higher levels, they would astral travel, and eventually with known locations, start teleporting/gating semi-directly.

"We" like the travel / encounter aspect of the planes.

So, long story short (tooooo late!) I replaced the Deep Ethereal, which no longer exists in 5e, with Limbo. No problem so far.

Here's the "fun" part;

Etherealness is a 7th level spell, affects 1 person without up casting. I add the "step away from reality and enter Limbo" part back in. Peachy right? One Person.

Plane Shift is a 7th level spell, affects up to 8 people.

Nobody in their right mind will choose Etherealness (for planar travel). My Faerie Realms and Shadow are also locations in the ethereal, but once again plane shift trumps that.

----------------------------

I was thinking of reducing the spell level of Etherealness to 5th level, and having it affect up to 8 people. This would put it on the same level as Teleportation Circle.

So for exploration its either the circle for known locations you learned, or etherealness for exploring the cosmos.


Pros/Cons, brilliant ideas I didn't think of, etc?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

ardoughter

Adventurer
Supporter
Etherealness will allow parties to by pass all mundane obstacles. I would be more inclined to create an alternate to allow plane shift at lower levels or a divination spell to locate planar portals at great distance. At least the general area of a portal and perhaps other means to find the portal once the party is close, depending on how much of an adventure you want to make of it.
 

You didn't ask, but sharing these because I made some 5E rules for going through the ethereal plane. Maybe one of these will inspire or help you?

INTANGIBLE WEAPONS
Weapons are intangible inside of the Ethereal Plane. However, their purpose is not. Weapons now only do damage equal to any magical bonuses on them as well as your ability score.

ETHEREAL HIT POINTS AND ARMOR
Your hit points and armor are warped in the Ethereal Plane. Your maximum hit points now equals your Constitution score. Likewise, your AC is 10 + your Dex modifier + your Wisdom modifier.

SLOWED TIME
Time is slowed in the Ethereal Plane. Spells have a duration equal to x10 their normal duration, and effects on a timescale take x10 as long to apply.

ETHEREAL RESTS
Resting in the Ethereal Plane is only possible at a Waystation or if a spell such as Tiny Hut is cast.

GHOSTLY MOVEMENT
Inside of the Ethereal Plane, you have a fly speed equal to your walking speed. Additionally, you do not take fall damage, as the ground itself is ethereal too!

PHANTASM WARFARE
Illusion spells create real, magical objects in the Ethereal Plane. They last until dispelled by some method, even if the illusion spell ends.
 


SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Hmmmm missed that.

Still Etherealness being same level as Plane Shift is problematic.

Edit to Add: Yeah, whole section there. Guess when I saw Etherealness had no description of Deep when we started 5e, I never looked back. Still might keep Deep=Limbo though, its become kinda... intriguing in its ramifications.*

Limbo manifest zone on the world, lets you create new lands, extend the world etc.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Just for fun, current cosmos layout....

Endless Sea Planar Layout.jpg
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
I noticed it may not be apparent...the galaxy in the center of the pic is the material worlds. One cosmos, you can physically travel from star to star, but each "system" is considered its own world/plane for rule purposes.
 

Looks like your cosmology is different (mine is basically 2e (including quasi and para-elemental planes) but with the later additions like Shadowfell and Feywild), but your basic goal of starting campaign planar journey with travel through the Deep Ethereal, then through the Astral, then finally directly plane shifting is the same.

Here's the house rules I made to make it work.

First, for some really odd reason the description of the Ethereal Plane in the DMG doesn't give any way to shift between the Border Ethereal and Deep Ethereal. They are completely unconnected as far as the rules go. I simply add back in the 1e/2e rule that you spend an action to go from one to the other or back. I rule that if you got into the Border Ethereal by means of the etherealness spell and then will yourself into the Deep Ethereal, when the spell end you remain in the Deep Ethereal if you are there. In addition, I allow you to cast etherealness within the Border Ethereal to shift into the plane it borders (and the duration is instant, so it doesn't pull you back). That would fix the issue as far as ethereal travel goes, if the spell wasn't so high level that you can't even get a spell slot high enough to use it for party transport.

So with those house rules in mind, here are two spells I've created:

etherconduit.PNG

astralaccess.PNG


I think this should do a pretty good job of setting up the sort of travel options I'm looking for.
 

Asisreo

Archdevil's Advocate
Hmmmm missed that.

Still Etherealness being same level as Plane Shift is problematic.

Edit to Add: Yeah, whole section there. Guess when I saw Etherealness had no description of Deep when we started 5e, I never looked back. Still might keep Deep=Limbo though, its become kinda... intriguing in its ramifications.*

Limbo manifest zone on the world, lets you create new lands, extend the world etc.
Not just that, the spell Etherealness never mentions the Deep Ethereal precisely because you cannot enter the Deep Ethereal using Etherealness. To enter the Deep Ethereal, you need a portal, Gate, or Plane Shift. One is DM fiat directly, another is DM fiat via material components, and the last should be reserved for only 17th level casters.

You can run your game however you want, but by RAW, you cannot enter the Deep Ethereal using Etherealness.
 

andargor

Rule Lawyer Groupie
Supporter
Nobody in their right mind will choose Etherealness (for planar travel). My Faerie Realms and Shadow are also locations in the ethereal, but once again plane shift trumps that.

You underestimate the power you have as a DM to control Plane Shift: tuning forks are required for each destination. I haven't found 5e references on how to obtain or make tuning forks, which means that it is entirely up to you. So if it's a PITA to get (very rare, only certain destinations, or even unique), then in your cosmology Etherealness becomes much more interesting for planar travel.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Here's the house rules I made to make it work.

First, for some really odd reason the description of the Ethereal Plane in the DMG doesn't give any way to shift between the Border Ethereal and Deep Ethereal. They are completely unconnected as far as the rules go. I simply add back in the 1e/2e rule that you spend an action to go from one to the other or back. I rule that if you got into the Border Ethereal by means of the etherealness spell and then will yourself into the Deep Ethereal, when the spell end you remain in the Deep Ethereal if you are there. In addition, I allow you to cast etherealness within the Border Ethereal to shift into the plane it borders (and the duration is instant, so it doesn't pull you back). That would fix the issue as far as ethereal travel goes, if the spell wasn't so high level that you can't even get a spell slot high enough to use it for party transport.

So with those house rules in mind, here are two spells I've created:
....

I dont quite get the point of the paragraph I outlined below.
 

Attachments

  • etherconduit.jpg
    etherconduit.jpg
    156.8 KB · Views: 7

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
So if you are standing on the Border...it makes a portal on the adjoining plane AND in the Deep and moves you to the Deep?
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Hmmm, considering dumping/folding the Astral into the Ethereal.

Astral Projection could let you travel the stars via projecting....and at first, when standing next to your body could be like etherealness.
 

I dont quite get the point of the paragraph I outlined below.
So if you are standing on the Border...it makes a portal on the adjoining plane AND in the Deep and moves you to the Deep?

It might actually be more straightforward if I changed it so that you actually can't cast it from the Border Ethereal, and instead have to cast it from the Deep Ethereal when standing in front of the wall of color. I think the reason I didn't do that initially was dimensionally to give the caster a bit more grounding in their intended destination, and for convenience, since you are probably already going to be popping into the Border Ethereal to find out where you are before you decide to cast the spell, which is the same reason why you got shifted to the Deep when it appeared, since you'd have to go there to use it. The volatile nature of the conduit is the in-world justification.

Here's a better version:

etherconduit3.PNG


The most important thing is that it doesn't reliably open in the exact same place on the bordering plane (which would make it more of an ether rend than an ether conduit), because that makes it more useful than the highly limited 7th-level etherealness in some use cases that etherealness is designed to focus on (such as scouting) but ether conduit isn't.
 
Last edited:

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
It might actually be more straightforward if I changed it so that you actually can't cast it from the Border Ethereal, and instead have to cast it from the Deep Ethereal when standing in front of the wall of color. I think the reason I didn't do that initially was dimensionally to give the caster a bit more grounding in their intended destination, and for convenience, since you are probably already going to be popping into the Border Ethereal to find out where you are before you decide to cast the spell, which is the same reason why you got shifted to the Deep when it appeared, since you'd have to go there to use it. The volatile nature of the conduit is the in-world justification.

Here's a better version:

View attachment 126806

The most important thing is that it doesn't reliably open in the exact same place on the bordering plane (which would make it more of an ether rend than an ether conduit), because that makes it more useful than the highly limited 7th-level etherealness in some use cases that etherealness is designed to focus on (such as scouting) but ether conduit isn't.
Cool, thanks. I understand better.

Here is a present for you. (just in case you need it)

Shadow Walk.png
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
Hmmm this is tricky @Sword of Spirit , we don't want to give away the abilities of the 8th level Etherealness.

But I could cast Ether Conduit, get on the other side of the Wall of Color, then just step back into the curtain. (As far as I know, there is no spell requirement for entering a Color Curtain, or stepping out of the Border into the world.)

I will find myself in the Border Ethereal, with no duration to worry about. Basically Etherealness unless I am missing something.

Could add the provision (since spell duration is 1 minute) that as soon as you enter any Border Ethereal, you have "X" time before you are shoved back onto the adjoining world/realm.
 
Last edited:

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
So your house rules, wording and spell examples were very helpful for me to delve into the concepts.

I tried to distill it down a bit, let me know what you think and if you see any flaws.

Ethereal Jaunt.png
 


Hmmm this is tricky @Sword of Spirit , we don't want to give away the abilities of the 8th level Etherealness.

I had forgotten it was 8th rather than 7th level. Such...a...bad...spell. In any event, you're right, I don't want to obsolete it.

But I could cast Ether Conduit, get on the other side of the Wall of Color, then just step back into the curtain. (As far as I know, there is no spell requirement for entering a Color Curtain

Absolutely!

or stepping out of the Border into the world.)

This, alas, one can't do. When inside the Border Ethereal you need to have some sort of special ability to just step across into the bordering plane, which this spell doesn't grant you. (Actually, nothing but seemingly some monster abilities or gate does let you do that.) It spell has a 10 minute duration, so you can pop back to the Deep Ethereal and go back and forth through that conduit to your heart's desire within that 10 minutes. But that doesn't grant as much power as it seems at first glance.

There is a balance and a constraint. The balance is that it can't actually replicate the intended use cases of etherealness, and the constraint is attached to why it can't do that.

Etherealness is basically undetectability plus phasing through walls and objects. It's best uses are for infiltration, escaping combat, or scouting. Its limitations make it non-ideal for anything else.

The important fact that prevents these uses for ether conduit is that you don't appear precisely where you want to. Each location on the Wall of Color corresponds to a location in the Border Ethereal, which overlaps precisely with a location on the bordering plane, and only 70% of the time does the location of the other end correspond with your casting location. I'm implying something like the way the PHB describes the plane shift spell without a teleportation circle as a target: "If you are trying to reach the City of Brass, for example, you might arrive in its Street of Steel, before its Gate of Ashes, or looking at the city from across the Sea of Fire, at the DM's discretion." While my intent with "corresponding vicinity" is that you don't go too far afield, you are almost certainly going to be dozens to hundreds of feet away in a random location--and 30% of the time you are going to be 2 to 200 miles away. The spell also has a 10 minute casting time.

The 10 minute casting time means you can't use it for escaping combat. The unreliable destination means you can't use it for infiltration, because even if you end up close to your current location and travel to where you want to return to your original plane from, when you cast it again you're not going to get exactly where you want to be. Forget about using it to get into the vault, etc. You can use it for scouting, but all of that travel is going to be a big hassle and gamble. You can easily roll poorly casting the spell to pop back and forth a few times in a row and end up hundreds of miles from where you wanted to be. Skirting the Curtain can help you get back to where you started half of the time, but each time you cast the spell you're still potentially 200 miles off.

Given those limitations, I lean against having a duration of stay. The point of this one is to get you into the Ethereal Plane, and then let you go wherever you want from there, but not be useful for the things etherealness is designed for. It's like a more limited, lower level plane shift.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
I had forgotten it was 8th rather than 7th level. Such...a...bad...spell. In any event, you're right, I don't want to obsolete it.
I mistyped...its 7th.

Your premise that folks in the Border need an ability to step onto the Material is very interesting. I had never looked at it that way before.

Let me do some research...and get back at yah.
 

COMING SOON! Halloween Horror For 5E

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top