Astral Plane

It is the space between everything. It is the road that goes everywhere. It is where you are when you aren’t anywhere else. The Astral Plane is the space between the planes. When a character moves through an interplanar portal or projects her spirit to a different plane of existence, then she travels through the Astral Plane. Even spells that allow instantaneous movement across a plane, such as dimension door, briefly touch the Astral Plane. The Astral Plane is a great, endless sphere of clear silvery sky, both above and below. Large tube-shaped clouds slowly coil into the distance, some appearing like thunderheads and others looking like immobile tornadoes of gray wind. Erratic whirlpools of color flicker in midair like spinning coins. There are occasional bits of solid matter here, but most of the Astral Plane is an endless, open domain.

Both planar travelers and refugees from other planes call the Astral Plane home. The most prominent denizens of the Astral Plane are the githyanki, an outcast race that preys on travelers throughout the plane. The Astral collects the flotsam and jetsam of great events that have shaken the foundations of the cosmology itself. The shattered, fused bodies of dead deities, forgotten by their worshipers and banished from the divine planes, can be found here. Some say they are not truly dead, only sleeping.

Astral Traits

Of the three Transitive Planes, the Astral Plane is the most alien to natives of the Material Plane. The first-time traveler from the Material Plane finds almost nothing familiar.

The Astral Plane has the following traits:

• No Gravity: Those traveling through it move by thought (see below). Objects and creatures with no Intelligence score cannot move in the Astral Plane, though they may be pushed.
• Timeless: Age, hunger, thirst, poison, and natural healing don’t function in the Astral Plane, though they resume functioning when the traveler leaves the Astral Plane.
• Infinite Size.
• AlterableMorphic Trait.
• No Elemental or Energy Traits: Some small regions on the plane may have one or more of these traits, but the plane as a whole does not.
• Mildly Neutral-Aligned.
• Enhanced Magic: All spells and spell-like abilities used within the astral may be employed as if they were improved by the Quicken Spell feat. Already quickened spells and spell-like abilities are unaffected, as are spells from magic items. Spells so quickened are still prepared and cast at their unmodified level. As with the Quicken Spell feat, only one quickened spell can be cast per round.

Astral Links

The Astral Plane is omnipresent and can potentially have links to every other plane in cosmology. Simply put. the Astral Plane connects everywhere. Many individuals pass through the Astral Plane without realizing it when they cast certain spells or use interplanar portals. They find themselves on the Astral Plane only when something goes wrong, such as a badly cast dimension door spell or a bag of holding stuffed inside a portable hole. When something has to go somewhere else but has no other direction to go, it usually ends up on the Astral Plane. There can be permanent portals between various planes and the Astral Plane. Outsiders that otherwise lack plane-traveling abilities use these portals to get to the Astral Plane. A number of openings known as color pools connect the Astral Plane to other planes. Color pools are irregular disks of a particular color floating in the vastness of the Astral Plane. The color of the pool tells the astral traveler what plane is on the other end of the color pool. Seven out of every ten color pools are one-way portals leading only to the plane in question. The remaining three out of ten allow two-way access.

The astral projection spell still connects through such color pools regardless of their direction, so an individual moving onto a new plane can still retreat to the Astral Plane through a one-way portal. Portals that pass through the Astral Plane to other planes form conduits, which appear as large trails of dark gray against the astral sky. Travelers can reach a particular location on another plane by latching onto one of these conduits and following it to one of its destinations, although this can be a perilous way to travel. Conduits flex and weave as they move through the Astral Plane, and successfully catching one of them is akin to hitching a ride on a tornado. Grabbing a conduit requires a Will saving throw (DC 20). Failure means the individual is flung violently away from the conduit and takes 1d10 points of damage from the astral turbulence. Success indicates that the traveler has latched onto the conduit and moves instantly onto one of the two planes the conduit connects.

Conduits tend to flow either in one direction or the other, but they do not change their direction of flow frequently, so individuals who hitch a ride on a conduit in quick succession wind up on the same plane. An astral form that joins a conduit forms a new body at the destination plane. The advantage of using a conduit is that the traveler likely has a way back out of the destination plane. The disadvantage is that it’s impossible to tell by looking where a conduit is coming from or where it’s going. Conduits are often used by astral travelers who have no other means of transportation and need to get off the Astral Plane quickly.

Random Color Pools

d% Plane Color
01–05 Heroic Domains of Ysgard Indigo
06–10 Ever-Changing Chaos of Limbo Jet
11–15 Windswept Depths of Pandemonium Magenta
16–20 Infinite Layers of the Abyss Amethyst
21–25 Tarterian Depths of Carceri Olive
26–30 Gray Waste of Hades Rust
31–35 Bleak Eternity of Gehenna Russet
36–40 Nine Hells of Baator Ruby
41–45 Infernal Battlefield of Acheron Flame
46–50 Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus Diamond
51–55 Peaceable Kingdoms of Arcadia Saffron
56–60 Seven Mounting Heavens of Celestia Gold
61–65 Twin Paradises of Bytopia Amber
66–70 Blessed Fields of Elysium Opal
71–75 Wilderness of the Beastlands Emerald
76–80 Olympian Glades of Arborea Sapphire
81–89 Concordant Domainof the Outlands Leather brown
90–95 Material Plane Silver
96–97 Elemental or Energy Plane make a second d% roll
01–20 Elemental Plane of Fire Fire emerald
21–40 Elemental Plane of Earth Moss granite
41–60 Elemental Plane of Water Dark blue
61–80 Elemental Plane of Air Pale blue
81–90 Positive Energy Plane Shining white
91–100 Negative Energy Plane Cold ebony
98 Plane of Shadow Black spiral
99 Ethereal Plane White spiral
100 Demiplane of the DM’s choice Any other color

Astral Inhabitants

The Astral Plane has few native forms. It does have a lot of travelers, and some natives of other planes have taken up permanent residence there. The most notable of the “almost natives” are the githyanki, a race that long ago fled their mind flayer masters and established their own tyranny almost as bloodthirsty as that of their illithid enslavers. The astral dreadnought may be a form of native life, but that creature’s origin is difficult to study. Travelers may be encountered either in physical form or in astral form. In the latter case, travelers appear as ghostly, silvery images of themselves. A silver cord trails behind each one for a few feet, then disappears into the astral haze. In general, an astral form is more dangerous than a physical one, because it takes a high level of magical proficiency to cast an astral projection spell (as opposed to just casting plane shift).

Astral Form

An astral form has the same general abilities as its native body, including the same Armor Class, hit points, and ability scores it has on the Material Plane. But an astral form differs from its Material Plane counterpart as well.

Dying

An astral form cannot be slain normally. If an astral form is killed (reduced to –10 hit points or otherwise slain), the astral traveler’s soul returns to its original body, which remains unharmed.

Traveling Elsewhere

If an astral form passes through a color pool or otherwise manifests on another plane, it forms a new body from the building blocks of the plane itself. That body is identical with its natural form, except it is immune to the natural hazards of that particular plane. An astral body that travels to the Elemental Plane of Fire is immune to damage from the fire-dominant trait, for example. If the astral form is slain, the soul returns to the unharmed original body and location.

Items

Worn, held, and carried items possessed by the original form are not harmed if their astral forms are damaged or destroyed on the Astral Plane. When the traveler leaves the Astral Plane, those items fade into oblivion, even if the traveler intended to leave the items on the Astral Plane. If someone removes an item from an original form while its owner is traveling astrally, the astral copy of the item disappears as well. If the traveler’s astral form employs magic items with a limited number of uses (such as potions, scrolls, and wands), the uses are expended on the real items as well as on the astral copies. Objects picked up by an astral character can be brought back to his or her original body as long as the astral form returns to that form normally. If the astral form is slain, then astral objects picked up along the way remain where they are and don’t return with the soul.

Healing

On the Astral Plane, natural healing does not occur. Magical healing functions normally on astral forms.

Silver Cord

An astral form may always return to its original body as a standard action. When an astrally projecting form passes through a color pool or other portal, the silver cord bonds with the portal, allowing the traveler to return to the original body even if the pool or portal has properties such as one-way transit that would otherwise prevent such movement. Severing the silver cord that connects the form to the main body kills an astral traveler’s normal body. The cord usually appears at the base of an individual’s skull and stretches back 5 feet before merging with the Astral Plane.

Only a few circumstances, such as the psychic wind, an attack from an astral dreadnought, or a blow from a powerful githyanki sword, can sever this cord. Monsters, items, and circumstances cannot sever a silver cord unless this ability is specifically noted. An astral traveler is automatically aware if his or her silver cord is threatened—but not automatically warned if his or her original body is threatened, so many leave guardians or spells to protect the original body or alert the owner if something threatens it.

Movement and Combat

The Astral Plane’s lack of gravity makes it a tricky place to get around in. Most of the plane’s inhabitants move by merely thinking themselves in a particular direction. This is akin to flight with perfect maneuverability and a maximum speed of 10 feet per point of Intelligence. When one is maneuvering through astral space, “up” and “down” are determined solely by the traveler’s orientation (down is beyond your feet, and up is above your head). Unlike normal flying, climbs and dives on the Astral Plane don’t change a character’s speed, and there’s no minimum speed to avoid a stall. An astral character may double move, but his maneuverability drops to average. An astral character may move at four times his speed (effectively running), but maneuverability drops to clumsy.

Individuals with an Intelligence of 0 or without a listed Intelligence score (golems, for example) can move very slowly, and then only by pushing off other solid objects. Their maximum speed is 10 feet, and they cannot double move or run. If they are somehow grounded by localized gravity and able to walk, they move normally. Distances are deceptive on the Astral Plane, and maps are almost completely useless in the hazy expanse. The time it takes an individual or a group of individuals to reach a particular part of the Astral Plane depends on how familiar the travelers are with that area. Travelers on the Astral Plane suffer no movement penalty for armor or weight, but they can carry no more than a heavy load while moving. Movement through the Astral Plane is silent.

Travel Table

Familiarity Travel Time
Very familiar 2d6 hours
Studied carefully 1d4×6 hours
Seen casually 1d4×10 hours
Viewed once 1d6×20 hours
Description only 1d10×50 hours

“Very familiar” describes a place the traveler has been to very often and feels at home with.

“Studied carefully” is a well-known place from regular visits, including most color pools the traveler has used before.

“Seen casually” is a place known from occasional visits, including a color pool of a particular type but not a specific color pool (any color pool to Ysgard as opposed to a specific color pool to Ysgard, for example).

“Viewed once” is for a place seen one time only, or a place that has been seen only by magic.

“Description only” can be verbal or written, although a map to the location would be useless on a plane so devoid of landmarks.

Astral Combat

The Astral Plane has no gravity, so attackers may approach from all sides. And without gravity or anything else to affect it, an arrow can effectively fly forever. The penalty for each range increment beyond the first is –1 instead of –2. There is no maximum range, except the limit of the attacker’s vision. The Astral Plane has the timeless trait with respect to such things as poison and disease, so a poisoned wizard on the Astral Plane would be unaffected until she moves to another plane. A traveler in astral form would not be affected at all, because damage taken by the astral form isn’t transferred back to the original body on another plane. The Astral Plane is also timeless with regard to natural healing, so only magical healing works. Travelers on the Astral Plane suffer no penalties to speed for armor or encumbrance. Armor check penalties and arcane spell failure chances still apply, however.

Features of the Astral Plane

While mostly empty, the Astral Plane has some features of interest to the planar traveler. There is no day or night on the Astral Plane. Instead a gray radiance lights the entire plane from all directions. While there seems to be nothing in the area, vision fades at about 600 feet. Other senses function normally.

Psychic Storms

There are winds in the Astral Plane, but they do not usually affect the astral traveler. Clothing and hair tends to flutter backward during astral travel, but rarely do the psychic winds blow more strongly than a light breeze. But occasionally, part of the Astral Plane flares up into a psychic storm that whips through the area, delaying travelers or driving them onto other planes. Psychic storms may also affect the minds of travelers. The storm itself usually brews up without warning. The Astral Plane darkens in one direction, and the darkness quickly engulfs everything in its path. Only those who move directly away from a psychic storm at a speed of 320 feet can outrun it. Others are overtaken by the storm. Those caught within the grip of a psychic wind might be blown off course and suffer mentally from the psychic turbulence of the storm. Though they are violent, psychic storms have consistent winds, so several travelers caught in the same psychic storm are blown to the same destination. Consult the following table, rolling once per group for location effects, and once per individual for mental effect:

Psychic Storms Table

d% Location Effect, Travelers in Physical Form Effect
01–40 Diverted. Add 1d6 hours to travel time.
41–60 Blown off course. Add 3d10 hours to travel time.
61–80 Lost. Begin travel again as if starting anew.
81–100 Sent through random color pool. Roll on next table

Random Color Pools Table

d% Location Effect, Travelers in Astral Form Effect
01–40 Diverted. Add 1d6 hours to travel time.
41–60 Blown off course. Add 3d10 hours to travel time.
61–80 Lost. Begin travel again as if starting anew.
81–95 Silver cord takes 2d10 points of damage Then traveler diverted (as above).
96–100 Silver cord takes 4d10 points of damage Traveler blown off course (as above).

Mental Effects Table

d% Effect Mental Effect
01–40 Stunned (no saving throw) for 1d6 minutes.
41–50 Confused (Will save DC 20 negates), as confusion spell, for 3d8 minutes.
51–60 Unconscious (Fort save DC 20 negates) for 1d10 hours.
61–80 Fear (Will save DC 20 negates), as spell, for 2d10 minutes.
81–90 Feebleminded (Will save DC 20 negates), as feeblemind spell, for 2d10 hours.
91–95 Pain (Fort save DC 25 negates), as symbol of pain, for 2d10×10 minutes.
96–100 Insanity (Will save DC 25 negates), as the spell.

Astral Objects

Bits of solid matter are strewn through the Astral Plane. Most of these objects have been sucked through color pools or left behind by careless (or deceased) adventurers. It’s easy for travelers to spot such items (subject to the usual maximum vision range) and maneuver toward them. Natives of the Astral Plane, in particular the githyanki, often sail the astral winds looking for bits of debris to add to their own fortresses and hoards. About 10% of found debris may be valuable. Such treasure may be in the form of a locked chest, a dead body, or a bag of holding that met an ugly fate when it was put inside a portable hole and cast onto the Astral Plane. Valuable treasures found in this manner often have powerful owners who want their valuables back.

Dead Deities

If your cosmology has deceased deities in it (forgotten powers of the ancient past, deities worshiped by now dead races, or even full pantheons that lost a power struggle), the Astral Plane is where the physical forms of those deities can rest—the deities’ graveyard. A dead deity cannot be visibly moved, nor taken out of the Astral Plane. Attempts to force a dead deity elsewhere results in it snapping right back to where it sits on the Astral Plane.

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