D&D General the elemental planes are trash


Having an infinite amount of something doesn't guarantee there will be copies of anything. There are an infinite number of whole numbers, for example, but only one of them is 1. You can keep randomly selecting whole numbers until the end of time, but every time you pick the number 1, it's the same number 1 you picked last time. There will never be some other, identical number 1 somewhere else on the number line.

That doesn't really mean anything though. I mean, we can say the each snowflake is unique, but if you have infinite snowflakes you will have infinite number of snowflakes that are exactly the same. Except of course they aren't exactly the same because they're made of different atoms. Yet for all practical purposes they are identical.

In any case, calling things infinite is just a philosophical pet peeve. People don't think about the consequence of things that are truly infinite. On the other hand if you can imagine why it doesn't matter then it doesn't. For you.

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Dungeon Master of Middle-earth (He/him)
In the cosmological scheme to which I generally default in my games, the elemental planes have a lower placement conceptually within the Ethereal Plane than does the Material Plane and are where the elementals "fell" when they were driven out and banished from the Material Plane by the gods just before their completion of the creation of the world in its original perfect state. They are most closely analogous to the asura realm of Buddhist cosmology.

Think of the Elemental planes as metaphysically being a sphere with Fire-Earth-Water-Air, so Earth and Air and Fire and Water are on opposing sides. Where each plane meets, you get a mix of the two elements in a para plane. Fire+Earth= Magma, Earth + Water =Ooze, Water + Air = Ice and Air + Fire = Smoke.
Pathfinder's take on the Elemental Planes has it where each plane rests inside the other. The innermost sphere is the Elemental Plane of Air. The outermost sphere is the Elemental Plane of Fire, which to most inhabitants of PF's Outer Planes resembles a sun.

As for PF2's Elemental Plane of Wood and Elemental Plane of Metal, I would prefer a more Asian take on the Elemental Planes.*
That's how it is in World of Warcraft. Elementals are natives to the world, but were imprisoned in the elemental plane/planes (it's a bit uncertain if it's one segregated plane or four different planes) by the Titans in the ancient past.
One segregated plane that resembles a Material Plane world with a Pangaea-like super-continent and a vast super-ocean. ;)

A quick glance at Wikipedia reveals to me that there are two different interaction systems: one "generating", in which one element creates another, and one "overcoming," in which one element lessens another. Instead of having quasi- and para-elemental planes, then, perhaps you could have more dynamic Generating and Overcoming planes, combining aspects of the quasi- and para- divisions.

Picture, then, the five elements arranged in a ring: Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal, Water. On the pole above them is Yang (positive energy) and on the pole below them is Yin (Negative Energy). Truth to tell, of course, there's no such direction in the ethereal: every elemental plane in this arrangement shares a border with every other elemental plane, even Wood with Earth and with Metal. You could arrange the ring Wood, Earth, Water, Fire, Metal, and in so doing more clearly show the arrangement of Overcoming planes, which normally have to be shown on a separate map for two-dimensional mapmakers, or hung between the planes in the shape of a pentacle for three-dimensional orreries.

So we'd have the following ten, oh, let's call them hemiplanes:

Generating Hemiplanes:

Wood generating Fire: Hemiplane of Air. Winds rustle through reeds and shake branches as you pass toward the plane of Fire; gradually, the winds become faster, the grasses dry out, the branches rub harder... and then they burst into flame all around you. (There seems to be a large inhabited portion of this plane far away from any wood at all. How very strange, think the wu jen.)

Fire generating Earth: Hemiplane of Coals. Follow the cinders as they collect, from specks into rivers of red-hot boulders, cooling and solidifying into a wall in front of you. Rich ash fertilizes the soil that surrounds you, volcanic obsidian glimmers. (Negative energy? When ash is so good for plants and volcanos create whole islands? What strange notions foreigners have of the elements. This plane is touched by Yang, not Yin.)

Earth generating Metal: Hemiplane of Ore. Gems are pretty, yes, we see why you call this the Plane of Mineral, but really, ask any dwarf and he'll tell you it's the veins of metal he's after here.

Metal generating Water: Hemiplane of Rain. Down it pours from pure Yang, gentled into droplets by the elemental nature of Water, to be collected here by Metal and poured into its native plane.

Water generating Wood: Hemiplane of Muck. Yang enriches water with nutrients, which thicken until you slow from swimming to a crawl through mud and lush soil oozing with vitality, to emerge in the great forest of the Plane of Wood.

Overcoming Hemiplanes:

Water overcomes Fire: Hemiplane of fumes. You can get from Water to Fire, if you're willing to pass close to Yin, and go through a choking hemiplane of gradually dirtier steam and smoke to get straight to your destination.

Fire overcomes Metal: Hemiplane of Magma. Metal in this plane has fallen under the relentless assault of fire. It may be a necessary step in the process of purification, but the wu jen can be uncomfortable so near a manifestation of Yin. (Even if you don't think the plane is near Negative Energy at all.)

Metal overcomes Wood: Hemiplane of Vacuum. To travel from Metal directly to Wood, you must pass in the track where the blade has struck, through this plane the wu jen call the Wound. Launch yourself from the point of the metal's wedge; if you know the way, you will land in a notch of wood on the other side.

Wood overcomes Earth: Hemiplane of Dust. Travel to where the forest thins, where Wood has taken the nutrients it needed from Earth, and in this border region you see the dry, lifeless dust that is left behind. To dig down here is the fastest route from Wood to Earth, but don't hope for a pleasant trip.

Earth overcomes Water: Hemiplane of Salt. If you must cross the abyss between Earth and Water without passing through Metal, you will pass through the realm where the Earth has sucked up the water that reached it.
This is something that a friend of mine had shared with me back in 2013. It's from the defunct Planewalker.com website.


One day, I hope to actually play DnD.
if i were picking the quasi-planes for between the four cardinal elements, maybe not all as organically natural inbetweens but more interesting a place to explore than the plane of salt i think.

I appreciated the elemental planes, although I had similar concerns with a certain level of accessibility and survivability. My current planar scheme was influenced by the Arduin Grimoire, in that I started thinking of each plane as a "planet", and what level of fidelity to typical physics they would have.

Salandron was modeled after a Hadean-age Earth. Classically, Fire dominant, Water absent. Salamanders are the native sophonts, with efreet being a semi-spiritual invasive species. Continual cloud cover reflects the light emitted from basaltic floods and volcanic eruptions, granting the moniker "Plane of the Molten Skies". Life gains energy from ambient heat rather than light, and utilizes metallo-sulfuric metabolism schemes similar to our ocean vent life.

You still need to prepare to come here, but all is not lost if you get banished here somehow. In 130 degree heat and no water what so ever you are in a lot of trouble! But, if you can survive the heat, ashfall, fire tornadoes, and the local fauna long enough you can find an efreet outpost that has a clime that is survivable. They are also partial to wine, of all things, and likely have something to quench your thirst. Avoiding becoming a slave or entertainment is a valid concern, but regardless often better than slow roasting.

Also, and this shows more with the other planes, I also tried to find other themes to blend with them. Acheron is Earth dominant, Air absent. While there is an atmosphere, sound carries poorly and "sea level" is considered alpine in elevation. There are extensive cave networks, teleportation is difficult (Earth resists movement), and it is the realm of the Lost, Broken, and Forgotten. Many treasures can be found here, all things that are lost in the Prime Material. If you stay too long, the Earth potency of the plane petrifies nearly all things. If there were ever natives, like the salamanders in Salandron, they have since gone extinct. The "natives" now are the blood, bile, gristle, and nerve demodands that wander about. They having spawned from the desiccated corpses of dead and forgotten gods like corrupt and vengeful maggots.

Returning to the classic 1/2e D&D planes, I did greatly appreciate that rings of elemental command were made for the various para- and quasi- elemental planes. While not in the same scope of power as the original four, they were still very interesting and excellent idea-fodder for making a variety of other alien planes.

That doesn't really mean anything though. I mean, we can say the each snowflake is unique, but if you have infinite snowflakes you will have infinite number of snowflakes that are exactly the same. Except of course they aren't exactly the same because they're made of different atoms. Yet for all practical purposes they are identical.

In any case, calling things infinite is just a philosophical pet peeve. People don't think about the consequence of things that are truly infinite. On the other hand if you can imagine why it doesn't matter then it doesn't. For you.
Well the Elemental Planes are at the very least not Infinite. As you can travel far enough to reach other ones.

I am thinking about other crazy idea, like the alternate cosmology of myriad planes but for elemental planes.

The material plane has got the echo planes, the Feywild and the Shadowfell, but also the Astral Sea, and mabye the mysterious plane of the mirrors. Then the elemental planes would enjoy a "echo layer" that helps the relatively ordinary life. For example sea life could survive in the water plane thanks the air and sunlight... from the adjacent planes. Or the salamanders catch a lot of slaves but these couldn't survive in the fire plane, and then they go to a "ghost-fire" plane where they don't suffer damage by fire. Even they could "work" in the fire plane in the same way a wizard in the Astral sea thanks special trick could interact with objects from the material plane. Other adventage would be the slaves would age slower and they would need less food and water. And if they tried to rebel then they could be easily suffer some effect like banishment spell. Or the ordinary mortals could use "elemental-touched" construct, like the "gigai" from Bleach manganime.


A suffusion of yellow
This is the Material World -
Where the heart of fire burns at the core of all things, fierce in passion and blazing with power. Thus fire must be contained in the mantle of stone, stable and defending. Yet fire heats stone and the mantle cracks so the mantle of stone must be washed by the layer of water that cools the earth and soothes the heart of fire. And Fire and Water and Stone release then the rising vapours that spread like a sphere moving across the layer of water to envelop the mantle of stone and contain the heart of fire within.
This is the Living World

- anyway thats one concept I had of explaining the Elementals based on the structure of our own planet


Rotten DM
Can anyone tell me when the shift from elemental planes shifted from the following? Ex Air
1. When i first started the Air elemental planes where the home of Air Elementals but had all different terrain and features. You could plane shift to Air elemental plane and have a supper of hot dogs roasted over an open fire served to by an Person name Hoover.
2. Only air. No islands to dock your plane hopping ship. Just air.
Hmm. Not explaining well.
1. Past. Air Element plane was the birth place of them and they were strong there but it could look like Earth. Or some floating islands.
2. Current. Only Air.

Voidrunner's Codex

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