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Traits of a Plane

Source Planar Adventures pg. 58
Reality is not the constant a rational creature might like to think it is. Even on different worlds of the Material Plane, fundamental aspects of life vary—planets can have lower or higher gravity, atmospheres that are poisonous for most species to breathe, or other deviations from what might be considered normal.

These deviations expand greatly when traveling in the Great Beyond, for as you leave the Material Plane, you leave behind many of the constants of our reality. Each and every plane defines its own reality, and in some cases this reality is far from stable on its own. Aspects like the nature of gravity, the flow of time, and the size and shape of the region can vary wildly. On some planes, not even the gods can effect change, while on others, thoughts spring to truth and reality itself is alive. Even philosophical ideals like good or evil or the underlying nature of magic itself can become warped or physically manifest in such outlandish regions.

There are seven categories of traits that summarize the nature of reality within each realm of existence: gravity, time, realm, structural, essence, alignment, and magic.

Gravity Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 58
The direction of gravity’s pull may be unexpected, and it might even change directions on the plane.

Normal Gravity

Most planes have gravity similar to that of the Material Plane, either in that the plane consists of planets with their own gravitational fields or in that the plane consists of a single domain where “down” is always in the same direction: toward the ground. On these planes, the usual rules for physical ability scores, carrying capacity, and encumbrance apply.

Heavy Gravity

The gravity on a plane with this trait is much more intense than on the Material Plane. As a result, Acrobatics, Climb, Ride, and Swim checks incur a –2 penalty, as do all attack rolls. Item weights are effectively doubled, which might affect a character’s encumbrance or speed. Weapon ranges are halved. Characters who fall on a heavy gravity plane take 1d10 points of damage for each 10 feet fallen, to a maximum of 20d10 points of damage.

Light Gravity

The gravity on a plane with this trait is less intense than on the Material Plane. Characters on a plane with the light gravity trait take a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls and on Acrobatics and Ride checks. All items weigh half as much, and weapon ranges double. These advantages apply to travelers from other planes as well as natives. Falling characters on a light gravity plane take only 1d4 points of damage for each 10 feet fallen (to a maximum of 20d4).

No Gravity

Individuals on a plane with this trait merely float in space, unless other effects provide a direction for gravity’s pull. Flight is the most common mode of transport here.

Objective Directional Gravity

The strength of gravity on a plane with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but the direction is not the traditional “down” toward the ground. It may pull toward any solid object, at an angle to the surface of the plane (creating a plane that appears to consist entirely of an unending mountainside, for example), or even upward.

Subjective Directional Gravity

The strength of gravity on a plane with this trait is the same as on the Material Plane, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity’s pull for herself. Such a plane has no gravity for unattended objects and nonsentient creatures.

Characters on a plane with subjective directional gravity can move normally along a solid surface by imagining “down” below their feet. If suspended in midair, a character “flies” by merely choosing a “down” direction and “falling” that way. An individual falls 150 feet in the first round and 300 feet in each succeeding round. Movement is straight-line only. To stop, a character must change the designated “down” direction to counteract her fall, reducing her falling speed by one step (from 300 feet to 150 feet, or from 150 feet to 0 feet) each round.

Setting a new direction of gravity takes a free action and requires a successful DC 16 Wisdom check; a character can attempt this check once per round. A character who fails this Wisdom check receives a +6 bonus on subsequent checks until she succeeds.

Time Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 59
The passage of time is always subjective for the viewer. This subjectivity applies to various planes: travelers may discover that they gain or lose time while moving between planes, but from their point of view, time always passes normally.

Normal Time

This is the baseline for time flow, and describes the passage of time on the Material Plane; 1 hour on a plane with normal time equals 1 hour on the Material Plane.

Erratic Time

Some planes have time that slows down and speeds up, so an individual may lose or gain time as he moves between such planes and any others. To creatures present on such a plane, time flows normally and the shifts are unnoticed. The following is provided as an example of how time on a plane with erratic time might compare to time on the Material Plane.

d%Time on Material PlaneTime on Erratic Time Plane
01-101 day1 round
11-401 day1 hour
41-601 day1 day
61-901 hour1 day
91-1001 round1 day

Flowing Time

On some planes, the flow of time is consistently faster or slower. An individual may spend a year on such a plane and then return to the Material Plane to find that only 6 seconds have elapsed. When indicating how time works on planes with flowing time, the Material Plane’s flow of time is listed first, followed by the flow in the other plane.


On planes with this trait, time still passes but the effects of time are diminished. How the timeless trait affects certain activities or conditions such as hunger, thirst, aging, afflictions, and healing varies from plane to plane. The danger of a timeless plane is that once an individual leaves such a plane for one where time flows normally, conditions such as hunger and aging apply retroactively. If a plane is timeless with respect to magic, any spell cast with a duration other than instantaneous is permanent until dispelled.

Realm Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 59
Planes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Many planes are so large that they may as well be infinite in size, while others (particularly in the case of demiplanes) can be quite small. Regardless of a plane’s size and shape, it conforms to one of three realm traits.


A plane with this trait has defined edges or borders. These borders may adjoin other planes or may be hard, finite borders such as the edge of the world or a great wall. Demiplanes are often finite.


Planes with this trait might seem to go on forever, and indeed many are so vast that, for all practical purposes, their size is infinite. The Material Plane consists of the entire universe—an expanse so truly vast in scope that it is close enough to being immeasurable to qualify for this trait. Similarly, while the Outer Sphere has a static size, it is so unimaginably vast that it cannot be measured or traversed without powerful magic.


On planes with this trait, the borders wrap in on themselves, depositing a traveler who voyages too far onto the other side of the map. Unbounded planes can be spheres, cubes, tori, or flat expanses with magical edges that teleport the traveler to the opposite edge when she crosses them.

Structural Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 60
The underlying rules of reality that govern how the denizens and landscape of a plane function are described by a plane’s structural traits. Regardless of the nature of a plane’s structural traits, all planes can be altered on a whim by a deity’s will to a certain extent; this ability to change reality is greatest within the boundaries of a deity’s planar realm. Demigods have a lesser ability to effect such change and are limited to changing only their own planar realms. See Divine Power for more details.

Lasting Structure

On a plane with this trait, objects remain where they are (and what they are) unless affected by physical force or magic. Anyone can change the immediate environment as a result of tangible effort.

Morphic Structure

A plane with morphic structure behaves similarly to a plane with a lasting structure, but its realities and physicality can be changed with ease even by nondivine beings. When a plane has morphic structure, additional details for how that manifests are provided in the entry.

Sentient Structure

These planes respond to a single entity’s thoughts—those of the plane itself. Travelers might find the plane’s landscape changing as a result of what the plane thinks of the travelers, becoming either more or less hospitable depending on its reaction. The influence of a deity or demigod can sometimes supersede the plane’s whims, but in most cases a sentient plane constantly works to erode and transform such unwanted intrusions into its structure.

Static Structure

Static planes are unchanging, or they reset once change occurs. Visitors cannot affect living residents of the plane or objects that the denizens carry in any lasting way. Spells that would affect the plane or its denizens have no effect unless the plane’s static trait is somehow removed or suppressed. Spells cast before entering a plane with the static trait remain in effect, however. Even moving an unattended object within a static plane requires a successful DC 16 Strength check. Particularly heavy objects may be impossible to move. Often, a plane with the static trait has a duration listed—this is the amount of time that any change can persist before the plane’s reality resets.

Essence Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 60
Four basic elements (air, earth, fire, and water) and two types of energy (positive and negative) combine in various ways to make up reality. Note that some planes have no elemental or energy traits; such traits are noted in a plane’s description only when they are present.

Mixed Essence

The Material Plane is the classic example of a mixed essence plane—here, reality is composed of a mixture of all forms of essence. In certain places, one form of essence might be more dominant than others, but overall they appear in this plane in relatively equal measures.

On the Outer Planes, a different form of mixed essence composes reality: quintessence. This material forms the basis for all matter and life on the Outer Planes, and it is tied to the nature of the soul itself. See the River of Souls on pages 64–69 for more information about quintessence. Note that when quintessence duplicates another essence (such as earth or fire), effects that interact with that essence function as expected.


Consisting mostly of open space, planes with this trait have just a few bits of floating stone or other solid matter. They usually have a breathable atmosphere, though such a plane may include regions of acidic or toxic gas.


Planes with this trait are mostly solid. Visitors who need to breathe run the risk of suffocation if they don’t reach a cavern or other pocket of breathable air within the earth. Worse yet, individuals without the ability to burrow are entombed in the earth and must dig their way out (at a rate of 5 feet per full-round action spent digging).


Planes with this trait are composed of flames that continually burn without consuming their fuel source. Fire-dominant planes are extremely hostile to Material Plane creatures, and those without resistance or immunity to fire are soon immolated.

Unprotected flammable materials catch fire almost immediately, and individuals wearing unprotected flammable clothing catch on fire. In addition, all individuals take 3d10 points of fire damage each round while on a fire-dominant plane. Creatures of the water subtype are extremely uncomfortable on fire-dominant planes, while those that are made of water take 6d10 points of fire damage from the plane each round, rather than 3d10.


Planes with this trait are mostly liquid. Visitors who can’t breathe in water or reach a pocket of air likely drown. Creatures of the fire subtype are extremely uncomfortable on water-dominant planes, and those made of fire take 1d10 points of damage each round while on a waterdominant plane.


Planes with this trait drain the life out of travelers who tread upon them. They tend to be lonely, haunted planes, drained of color, devoid of plant and animal life, and filled with winds bearing the soft moans of those who died within them. Death ward provides protection from a negative-dominant plane as long as the effect lasts, regardless of the strength of that plane’s negative dominant trait.

On minor negative-dominant planes, living creatures take 1d6 points of negative energy damage per round. When this damage reduces a creature to 0 hit points or below, the creature crumbles into ash. Undead on a minor negative-dominant plane instead gain fast healing 2 (this does not stack with existing fast healing an undead already has).

Major negative-dominant planes are even more dangerous to the living. Each round, a living creature on such a plane must succeed at a DC 25 Fortitude save or incur a negative level. A creature whose negative levels equal its current levels or Hit Dice is slain and becomes a wraith. Undead on a negative-dominant plane gain fast healing 5 (this does not stack with any existing fast healing an undead already has).


Planes with this trait are characterized by an abundance of life. Like for negative-dominant planes, the strength of the positive-dominant trait can be either minor or major.

A minor positive-dominant plane is a riotous explosion of life in all its forms. Colors are brighter, fires are hotter, noises are louder, and sensations are more intense as a result of the positive energy infusing the plane. All living individuals in a positive-dominant plane gain fast healing 2. Undead instead take 1d6 points of positive energy damage per round, and at 0 hit points they crumble to ash.

A creature on a major positive-dominant plane must succeed at a DC 15 Fortitude save or be blinded for 10 rounds by the brilliance of the surroundings. Simply being on the plane grants living creatures fast healing 5. In addition, living creatures at full hit points gain 5 additional temporary hit points per round that last until 1d20 rounds after the creature leaves the major positive-dominant plane. However, a creature that gains temporary hit points in this way must attempt a DC 20 Fortitude save each round that its temporary hit points exceed its normal maximum hit point total. Failure results in the creature exploding in a riot of energy, which kills it. Undead on a major positive-dominant plane take 3d6 points of positive energy damage per round and are staggered during each round they take this damage.

Alignment Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 62
Some planes have a predisposition toward a certain alignment. Alignment traits have multiple components. First are the moral (good or evil) and ethical (lawful or chaotic) components; a plane with alignment traits can have a moral component, an ethical component, or one of each. Second, the specific alignment trait indicates whether each moral or ethical component is mildly or strongly evident. Many planes have no alignment traits; these traits are noted in a plane’s description only when they are present.

No plane can be both good-aligned and evil-aligned, nor can any plane be both law-aligned and chaos-aligned.

Mildly Aligned

Creatures who have an alignment opposite that of a mildly aligned plane take a –2 penalty on all Charisma-based checks. A mildly neutral-aligned plane applies no penalties.

Strongly Aligned

On strongly aligned planes, a –2 penalty applies on the Intelligence-, Wisdom-, and Charisma-based checks of all creatures not of the plane’s alignment. The penalties for the moral and ethical components of the alignment trait stack.

A strongly neutral-aligned plane stands in opposition to or in careful balance between all moral and ethical principles: good, evil, law, and chaos. Such a plane may be more concerned with the balance of the alignments than with accommodating and accepting alternate points of view. In the same fashion as for other strongly aligned planes, strongly neutral-aligned planes impose a –2 penalty on the Intelligence-, Wisdom-, and Charisma-based checks of any creature that isn’t neutral. The penalty is applied separately for neutrality with respect to law and chaos and for neutrality with respect to good and evil; therefore chaotic neutral, lawful neutral, neutral evil, and neutral good creatures take a –2 penalty, and chaotic evil, chaotic good, lawful evil, and lawful good creatures take a –4 penalty.

Magic Traits

Source Planar Adventures pg. 62
A plane’s magic trait describes how magic works on that plane compared to how it works on the Material Plane (which has the normal magic trait). Particular locations on a plane, such as those under the direct control of deities, may be pockets where a different magic trait applies. Natives of a plane are typically aware of which spells and spell-like abilities are affected by the magic traits of their plane, but planar travelers may have to discover this on their own.

Normal Magic

This trait means that all spells and supernatural abilities function as written.

Dead Magic

These planes have no magic at all. A plane with the dead magic trait functions in all respects as if affected by an antimagic field spell. Divination spells cannot detect subjects within a dead magic plane, and a spellcaster cannot cast plane shift or another spell to move in or out. The only exceptions to the “no magic” rule are permanent planar portals, which still function normally.

Enhanced Magic

Particular spells and spell-like abilities are easier to use or more powerful in effect on planes with this trait than they are on the Material Plane. If a spell is enhanced, it functions as if its caster level were 2 higher than normal.

Impeded Magic

Particular spells and spell-like abilities are more difficult to cast on planes with this trait, often because the nature of the plane interferes with the spell. To cast an impeded spell, the caster must attempt a concentration check (DC = 20 + the level of the spell). On a failed check, the spell does not function but is still lost as a prepared spell or spell slot. On a success, the spell functions normally.

Limited Magic

Planes with this trait permit the use of only those spells and spell-like abilities that meet particular qualifications. Magic can be limited to effects from certain schools or subschools, effects with certain descriptors, or effects of a certain level (or any combination of these qualities). Spells and spell-like abilities that don’t meet the qualifications simply fail.

Wild Magic

On a plane with the wild magic trait, spells and spell-like abilities function in radically different and sometimes dangerous ways. Any spell or spell-like ability used on a wild magic plane has a chance to go awry. The caster must attempt a caster level check (DC = 15 + the level of the spell or spell-like ability) for the magic to function normally. Failure means that something strange happens; roll d% and consult Table 2–1: Wild Magic Effects. At the GM’s discretion, other effects than those listed on this table may be possible.

Table :

1-19The spell rebounds on its caster with normal effect. If the spell cannot affect the caster, it simply fails.
20-23A circular pit 15 feet wide opens under the caster’s feet; it is 10 feet deep per caster level.
24-27The spell fails, but the target or targets of the spell are pelted with a rain of small objects (anything from flowers to rotten fruit), which disappear upon striking. The barrage continues for 1 round. During this time, the targets are blinded and must succeed at concentration checks (DC = 15 + spell level) to cast spells.
28-31The spell affects a random target or area. Randomly determine a target from among those in range of the spell or center the spell at a random place within range of the spell. To generate the direction randomly, roll 1d8 and count clockwise around the compass, starting with south. To generate the range randomly, roll 3d6 and multiply the result by 5 feet for close-range spells, 20 feet for medium-range spells, or 80 feet for long-range spells.
32-35The spell functions normally, but no material components are consumed. The spell is not expended from the caster’s mind (the spell slot or prepared spell can be used again). If the spell is cast from an item, the item does not lose charges. The effect does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
36-39The spell does not function. Instead, everyone (friend or foe) within 30 feet of the caster receives the effect of a heal spell.
40-43The spell does not function. Instead, a deeper darkness effect and a silence effect cover a 30-foot radius around the caster for 2d4 rounds.
44-47The spell does not function. Instead, a reverse gravity effect covers a 30-foot radius around the caster for 1 round.
48-51The spell functions, but shimmering colors swirl around the caster for 1d4 rounds. Treat this as a glitterdust effect with a save DC of 10 + the level of the spell that generated this result.
52-59Nothing happens. The spell does not function. Any material components are used up, the spell or spell slot is used up, an item the spell is cast from loses charges, and the effect counts against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
60-71Nothing happens. The spell does not function, but no material components are consumed. The spell is not expended from the caster’s mind (the spell slot or prepared spell can be used again). If the spell is cast from an item, the item does not lose charges. The effect does not count against an item’s or spell-like ability’s use limit.
72-98The spell functions normally.
99-100The spell functions strongly. Targets take a –2 penalty on saving throws against the spell. The spell has the maximum possible effect, as if cast with the Maximize Spell feat. If the spell is already maximized with this feat, there is no further effect.