D&D General the elemental planes are trash

ZEITGEIST has worlds with elemental vibes, but that are more than just chunks of raw element.

Caeloon is entirely floating islands, most of them covered with meadows or forests, with storms roiling in the center. Monks attempt to create places of respite and beauty, to weave together a world that was once in the brink of destruction.

Stuff like that.
 

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Incenjucar

Legend
As an aside, Pathfinder has a lot of elemental stuff and a recent book on it, including the addition of Wood and Metal planes. It's not my ideal take but it's somewhat adventure-friendly.

I've mentioned this before in other threads but the elemental planes need more gradients so you can ease into the severity. Nothing says that fire has to start at the temperature of burning wood, for example. If the first entry point into fire is around 120F that's still enough to kill the unprepared but survivable with effort and resources. The deeper you go, the more you need to rely on magic, technology, or the natural supernatural to keep from burning or suffocating and to keep moving forward. You would get the same flying higher and higher toward space or deeper into the crushing ocean depths, or into tighter and tighter caverns in the earth's embrace.

Gate Towns play a similar purpose, providing players with just a touch of the planes without having to handle the full force of the abyss.
 

MarkB

Legend
I may agree they aren't "playable", at least for low level PCs. I can't imagine the infinite ocean without sunlight for the algae.
It's a different plane, it doesn't need the same light source. Maybe there's ambient light, maybe there are giant incandescent leviathans that create their own ecosystem.
And what is the underwater pressure?
Pressure is the result of gravity. In an infinite ocean, why would you even need gravity?
 



Oofta

Legend
I've always had an issue with the "infinite" part of the planes lore as well because people don't really think of the consequences. If you have an infinite hell plane filled with infinite fiends than just by random chance you're going to have copies. So somewhere out there is a devil just like Asmodeus. Not just one, but an infinite number. It just gets weird.
 

EzekielRaiden

Follower of the Way
oh i was aware of that much, i was more asking about what elements the para-elemental planes tempest was referring to were, and alas i don't have a DMG so i'm unable to neglect reading it properly.
The "paraelemental" planes are the intersections between adjacent planes, making four new ones. So Air touches Fire producing the plane of Smoke (or sometimes Ash/Dust, depending on book, but see below) and on the opposite side Water producing the plane of Ice (or sometimes "Cold"). Earth+Fire is the plane of Magma, and Earth+Water is the plane of Ooze (or sometimes "Vapor").

Then there are the "quasielemental" planes, where each elemental plane touches the Positive/Negative Energy Plane. There are eight of these (element + Positive and element + Negative). In earth/air/fire/water order, positive then negative:

  • Minerals
  • Lightning
  • Radiance
  • Steam
  • Dust
  • Vacuum
  • Ash
  • Salt

In other words, it's an extremely overcomplicated relationship between a whole bunch of things that are all equally ultra-hostile to the vast majority of living beings, and don't really serve any purpose other than to be a nasty place adventurers can't go but that elemental creatures can.

This is why I prefer 4e's Elemental Chaos. It's a single plane, but it can have any of the special features that all eighteen "inner planes" offer. Near-infinite seas of fire, vacuous stretches of nothingness, places where the ambient life-energy is so strong you'll explode if you linger too long.....while ALSO still having places that even a 1st-level adventuring party could theoretically visit, it'd just be dangerous, not "every breath is lethal unless you're continuously protected by magic."
 

No, though I love that image (big proponent of 4e Cosmology). I'm not talking about the image. I'm saying that in 5e, the Elemental Chaos is described as the place where the 4 Inner Planes meet. If the further you go out, the more hostile and monoelemental the Inner Planes get, the closer to the center the more churned up they should get, until you're in the Chaos itself.
Opposite actually. The Elemental Planes consist of three parts, the inner ring or border region elemental planes the map I linked which are closer to the material plane if dominated by a certain element. If you go past the border you get to the Outer Ring where the elemental planes become pure and almost exclusively made of their element. If you go past that you reach the Elemental Chaos were they start chaotically mixing as the pure elements start to dissolve.
 

I've always had an issue with the "infinite" part of the planes lore as well because people don't really think of the consequences. If you have an infinite hell plane filled with infinite fiends than just by random chance you're going to have copies. So somewhere out there is a devil just like Asmodeus. Not just one, but an infinite number. It just gets weird.
That’s generally not the case for lots of the planes, the inhabitants of the planes tend to be finite. There is one Asmodeus and he has no equals in Hell, the Nine Hells are only infinite in a spatial way, once you go past certain areas there is nothing of value or just emptiness, room for the devils to expand if needed.

How Infinite the Abyss is, is something of debate, as only a limited number of layers have been observed. And while it’s true a super powerful demon could pop out of it at any moment, currently none have emerged that can best Demogorgon for his title of Prince of Demons.
 

Oofta

Legend
That’s generally not the case for lots of the planes, the inhabitants of the planes tend to be finite. There is one Asmodeus and he has no equals in Hell, the Nine Hells are only infinite in a spatial way, once you go past certain areas there is nothing of value or just emptiness, room for the devils to expand if needed.

How Infinite the Abyss is, is something of debate, as only a limited number of layers have been observed. And while it’s true a super powerful demon could pop out of it at any moment, currently none have emerged that can best Demogorgon for his title of Prince of Demons.
But there's no reason for there to be only one. If the plane is truly infinite it's basically impossible. Whether or not the planes are truly infinite we have things labeled the infinite staircase and infinite layers of the Abyss.

But if it doesn't bother you then it doesn't. I think it's illogical and unnecessary so I don't use it. Same as planes dedicated to elements. 🤷
 

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