D&D General the elemental planes are trash

Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
I do not hate them as ideas but they are all boring and toxic to explore or filled with just boring one-note guys
the para elemental planes are just built wrong and some are just wrong, water and earth equals ice from a thematic level also ice is legally a mineral.
Air and fire is lighting the celestial fire also way more useful than smoke.
Magma and air water I got nothing for yet but better replacements are likely out there.

The middle overlapping area seemingly does nothing and seems to serve no purpose.
it lacks real plots it just seems to be the land of elemental summons which seems a waste it needs factions with goals beyond genies enslaving people for some reason.

Is there some better elemental plane to steal ideas from?
 

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MarkB

Legend
I'm not sure I do like them in principle. Being one-note is inherent in their nature, which will lends a sameiness to any extended adventure through one of them.

Maybe instead have a primordial plane in which all the elemental forces exist in their purest forms across regions of the plane, so you can transition from lava fields to deep ocean to floating sky-islands all within the space of a few dozen miles.
 

CandyLaser

Adventurer
What @MarkB is describing is basically the 4e Elemental Chaos, which I prefer over the way the elemental planes are portrayed in Great Wheel cosmology. I like it because it is somewhat more hospitable to PCs than the standard planes are; dangerous elements are discrete hazards to be overcome when encountered instead of just background environmental conditions. In the Great Wheel, if you're headed to the plane of Fire you know everyone's going to need to be fireproof, so everyone will find some way of becoming resistant/immune to fire before you go, and if you can't manage that, you can't go to Fire (absent some narrative reason that the place is survivable, e.g. you're going to a cooler part of the plane or you're on board a magic ship that protects you). There's no interesting decision to be had there; either you're protected against fire or you're not. The Elemental Chaos turns this from a boring binary to a question about what you're prepared for, given that you might encounter loads of different elemental forces and threats.
 

Mind of tempest

(he/him)advocate for 5e psionics
I'm not sure I do like them in principle. Being one-note is inherent in their nature, which will lends a sameiness to any extended adventure through one of them.

Maybe instead have a primordial plane in which all the elemental forces exist in their purest forms across regions of the plane, so you can transition from lava fields to deep ocean to floating sky-islands all within the space of a few dozen miles.
it is more a problem of the relevant spells and magic items for survival and making it interesting.
maybe the center should be 4e's elemental chaos just with an impossible tower to call back to the outlands just it is a land of merging and conflict rather the neutrality.
 

Oofta

Legend
I don't use elemental planes, but I simply describe elementals as creatures formed from elemental forces. They tend to appear in and inhabit realms that are heavily influenced by those forces. After that? I just made a cosmology that made sense to me loosely based on the nine worlds of Norse Mythology.
 


CreamCloud0

One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
I do not hate them as ideas but they are all boring and toxic to explore or filled with just boring one-note guys
the para elemental planes are just built wrong and some are just wrong, water and earth equals ice from a thematic level also ice is legally a mineral.
Air and fire is lighting the celestial fire also way more useful than smoke.
Magma and air water I got nothing for yet but better replacements are likely out there.

The middle overlapping area seemingly does nothing and seems to serve no purpose.
it lacks real plots it just seems to be the land of elemental summons which seems a waste it needs factions with goals beyond genies enslaving people for some reason.

Is there some better elemental plane to steal ideas from?
while i am aware of the elemental planes in concept i know little of their actual execution, would someone mind elaborating?
 

Oofta

Legend
while i am aware of the elemental planes in concept i know little of their actual execution, would someone mind elaborating?
Apparently you haven't read the DMG like everyone else. ;)

Details are in Chapter 2, Creating the Planes. But basically there's a plane for the elements Air, Earth, Fire, Water. So for example the plane of air "...is an open expanse with constant winds of varying strength. Here and there, chunks of earth drift in the openness — the remnants of failed invasions by denizens of the Plane of Earth. These earth motes serve as homes for the creatures of elemental air, and many motes are covered with lush vegetation. Other creatures live on cloud banks infused with enough magic to become solid surfaces, strong enough to support towns and castles."

So the earth is dominated by mountains, fire is hot, water is all ocean.

It honestly never made a lot of sense to me so I've always ignored it although some realms (or sections of realms) do take inspiration from them.
 

the Jester

Legend
I do not hate them as ideas but they are all boring and toxic to explore or filled with just boring one-note guys
the para elemental planes are just built wrong and some are just wrong, water and earth equals ice from a thematic level
What? How do you figure that?

also ice is legally a mineral.
What law does this? More importantly, what does the law have to do with the Elemental Planes as presented in a game where we pretend to be elves and dragon-people?

Air and fire is lighting the celestial fire also way more useful than smoke.
Lightning, in D&D lore, is where the Plane of Air and the Positive Energy Plane intersect. This is a much better match than air + fire = lightning, at least in my mind.

Magma and air water I got nothing for yet but better replacements are likely out there.

The middle overlapping area seemingly does nothing and seems to serve no purpose.
Are you talking about the Elemental Chaos?

I'm not sure what you're looking for here. A complete reworking of the D&D cosmology? Go ahead, make one up and use it in your game. But I am fine with the planes as presented, especially in 2e. Of course they are hostile, they are alien planes that aren't there to be explored like a dungeon; they are cosmology. There has been a lot of movement in the 4e and 5e days to make them more accessible, easier to adventure on, but I am fine with them being places that only the high level dare venture because it's too dangerous.

You can run complete campaigns and totally ignore the other planes. You don't need them. And if you want them to be more like the Prime Material Plane, why not just... use exotic PMP locations instead?

it lacks real plots it just seems to be the land of elemental summons which seems a waste it needs factions with goals beyond genies enslaving people for some reason.
Why?

Perhaps the Primordials and super-elementals are just too alien for a mortal being to understand. The line between environment and creature blurs in the Elemental Planes. Whatever schemes and factions there are - and the Inner Planes have plenty, it's just dispersed over decades of lore- are often so inhuman that you and I wouldn't even understand what they're about.

(Obviously, that's all my opinion.)
 

Richards

Legend
Well, if the elemental planes are indeed trash, that at least explains where the garbage elementals come from.

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Johnathan
 

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