View Full Version : [3.5] Planescape: Magical Items and Enchantments Thereof

2010-10-22, 03:11 PM
Here's a part of an FAQ about some AD&D rules.

Q: How are magical weapons affected by the planes?

A: Magical weapons and armour, and items with pluses are magically bound to their home plane, much like creatures. Unlike creatures, however, the further the enchanted item is taken from its home plane, the weaker its enchantment becomes. Luckily, this isn't a permanent reduction, but it can be a shock for Clueless cutters when they realise they're stranded on a hostile plane and their magic sword suddenly stops being so magic.

For each plane of separation from its home plane, the item loses one magical 'plus'. The numbers are best explained by example:

A sword from the Prime would lose one plus when taken to the Astral or Ethereal Planes, and two when on the Inner or Outer Planes. The absolute number of planes between the item's home plane and current location are counted, even if the item physically travelled through fewer planes: For example, from the Prime to Sigil through a portal counts as a -2 loss, as the portal technically moved the traveller through the Astral, even if he didn't notice it.

Inner Plane-forged items are worse off. On an adjacent Inner Plane (e.g. Air and Ice or Water and Salt) the item loses one plus, as it does on the Ethereal. On any other Inner Plane or the Prime the item loses two pluses, as the item can be traced through the Ethereal back to its home plane). In the Astral, the item's at -3, and on any Outer Plane at -4.

Outer Plane-forged items are -1 on an adjacent Outer Plane or the Astral, -2 on the Prime or a non-adjacent Outer plane (the route can be traced through the outlands or the Astral), -3 on the Ethereal and -4 on the Inner Planes.

The most useful weapons, then are those forged on the Outlands or Sigil (which are adjacent to every Outer Plane) the Astral, or Ethereal. DMs using these rules should be careful to note the plane of origin of any magic items they allow their players to acquire, especially those with pluses. It's a bit of extra book-keeping perhaps, but introduces a whole new dimension of possibilities to the game.

These guidelines are summed up more fully in The Planewalker's Handbook, page 110, and in the massive (epilepsy-inducing) table on page 157. There's also a section explaining this on page 15 of A DM Guide to the Planes.

Thing is, I wanted to introduce the same pitfalls in my 3.5 Planescape campaign. A weapon forged and enchanted on the Outer Planes would be a lot less useful in the Inner Planes, for example, dropping by -1 for each 'shift'.
It's like this:

Inner Planes <-> Ethereal Plane (also Shadow) <-> Prime Material <-> Astral Plane <-> Outer Planes <-> [possibly the Ordial Plane, tying the Outer Planes with the Inner Planes, in which case imagine it as a circle, also lowers the maximum distance between planes].

However, how would this affect other magical items, like armour, wondrous items, rods, wands, rings, etc.? I was thinking of adding cummulative failure chances (like 20% or so for each planar distance) for items which store/emulate spells, or something like that.

What do you think? I realise it would mean a bit more book-keeping (checking for each item where it was made), and is also nowhere mentioned in 3.5 rules (at least I think not). But, how then would you explain the Sword of the Planes (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/magicItems/magicWeapons.htm#swordofthePlanes)? Arguably, it's the same mechanic, only reverse, so I might instead put it down to a variant enchantment (say, twice the price, but it more than pays off if you make it on the right plane).

Opinions? I understand some would outright consider this 'game-breaking', but I'd like to think there are ways to make it work in 3.5.

2010-10-22, 03:20 PM
Not sure I can help much.

Perhaps items with a caster level, such as wands and staves would have a reduced caster level. If the CL drops below the minimum required for the spell, extra charges are required to offset the difference. It would also make the items and effects easier to dispel and counterspell.

Items that provide a saving throw against an effect could have that reduced.

Duration on some effects could also be reduced.

Thematic items could also be empowered on certain planes. Such as an unholy weapon in the lower planes. Building on the Planar Traits in the DMG might be a good start.

Hope this gives you an idea or 2.