Embracing the Chaos of the Cosmology
Anthony Zeppetella

Anthony Zeppetella

Jun 21, 2023

Embracing the Chaos of the Cosmology

Welcome to the multi-verse, yes another canon adventure within the multi-versed – but this is not a Marvel themed, multi-year, multi- phase story that will eventually make the fan base feel like perhaps the world is too diluted with superhero stories. I AM NOT BITTER!

In D&D, there are infinite planes of existence to explore, in theory. From the fiery depths of the Abyss to the pristine gardens of Elysium, planar travel opens up a world of possibilities for your campaign.However, it can be a bit overwhelming to navigate this expansive realm, even more so if you’re planning a larger campaign. Fear not! In this article, I’ll give you some tips on how to incorporate planar travel in your D&D campaign, as well as some general rules of thumb to consider.

A good jumping off point that I utilized within my campaign’s planning stage was to research all the planes that already exist in the great cosmology of Dungeons and Dragons or TTRPGs in general. I took ones that I believed I wanted to see and wrote a small description – for later use. While I didn’t use all of these planes, it gave me a concise listing of ones I had already ruled as potential viable places to visit.

Next, it's important to establish why planar travel is necessary. Maybe your party needs to retrieve a powerful artifact from the hands of a demon prince in the Abyss. Or perhaps they need to seek out a powerful spell caster on the Plane of Air to help them defeat a common enemy. Whatever the reason may be, make sure it's compelling and worth the risk of planar travel. In my campaign, my players spent the entirety of the campaign learning how the cosmology was intertwined via divine creation and in the end THEY created the spell “Plane Shift”.

Once you have a reason for planar travel, it's time to determine how the players will get there. There are a few different methods of planar travel in D&D, including spells, portals, and magical items. Spells like Plane Shift (if you weren’t in my campaign) and Gate can transport players to different planes of existence. Portals, whether permanent or temporary, can serve as a gateway to other planes. And magical items like the famed Bag of Holding can even serve as a miniature portal of sorts. Choose a method that fits the story and the players' abilities. If all else fails, Homebrew!

Now that the players have arrived on another plane, it's time to introduce them to the sights and sounds of this new world. Planes can range from extremely hostile to blissfully peaceful. It's important to set the tone for the plane as soon as the players arrive. For example, the plane of Acheron is a perpetual battlefield, with armies clashing in never-ending conflict. The players could immediately be thrust into the middle of a battle upon arrival. On the other hand, the plane of Arborea is a haven of tranquility and natural beauty. The players should be greeted by the sight of rolling hills, vibrant forests, and peaceful creatures.

In addition to the environment, it's important to introduce the inhabitants of the plane. Each plane has its own unique denizens, from demons and devils to angels and archons. Make sure the players understand the customs and traditions of these creatures. For example, on the plane of Mechanus, the Modrons are a race of clockwork beings who follow a strict hierarchy. Players should be careful not to upset the order of things in their presence. On the plane of Limbo, the Slaadi are chaotic creatures who thrive on disorder. Players should expect the unexpected when dealing with them.

Another aspect of planar travel to consider is the effects it can have on the players themselves. Each plane has its own unique properties that can affect the players in various ways. For example, the plane of Pandemonium is a place of madness and chaos, where the constant sound of wailing drives most beings insane. Players on this plane should be subject to the madness rules in the Dungeon Master's Guide. On the plane of Celestia, the air is filled with the calming scent of flowers, which can provide temporary hit points or even cure diseases.

Finally, it's important to consider the consequences of planar travel. The multi-verse is a dangerous place, and the players should be aware that their actions can have far-reaching consequences. For example, if the players inadvertently upset the balance of power on the plane of Baator, they may find themselves pursued by legions of devils seeking revenge. Conversely, if the players are able to help the inhabitants of a plane in need, they may find themselves the recipients of powerful magic items or even the favor of a deity.

Any good DM knows that there are simultaneously no rules and plenty of rules to a campaign – all of which are dependent on the group as a whole. While the world you create may be rich with stories, factions, and people, why not broaden the horizon and find what chaos there is to find in the outer realms?

Anthony Zeppetella

Anthony Zeppetella

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