View Full Version : Knowledge: The Planes expansion

2014-01-02, 08:42 PM
I have been doing a great deal of looking into the planes ever since Afrokuma has started his planar questions threads, and I have come to a conclusion. Knowledge: The Planes is utterly oversimplified. When dealing with over 40 infinite expanses, all rich with detail, a single knowledge check falls utterly short of capturing them.

At the same time, introducing more nuanced skills such as Knowledge: Inner Planes or Knowledge: Plane of Fire seems absurd. There aren't enough skill points to go around, especially if you want a decently canny planar traveler. Thus, I have come up with a subsystem to account for it. This is very rough, and probably needs a great deal of adjustment an input from my fellow playgrounders. Alternate ideas entirely are also welcome, as my goal is to simply give my players a way to appreciate the vastness of the D&D universe.

Knowledge: The Planes

You can identify Outsiders, Elementals, Mephits, and extraplanar magic. The DC for creatures is 10 + HD to remember a single useful piece of information, and another piece for every 5 beyond the check you roll. If a creature (such as an elemental) has a lesser form, you know details of the highest form that your check will allow only. To identify a magic or effect that is extraplanar, you must make a DC 10 + the equivalent spell level. If you succeed, you may roll a Spellcraft check to identify the spell or ability.


While ranks in this skill give you a fundamental overview of the creatures and magic of the planes, each of those ranks must also turn into a specific field of study. Thus, each plane of existence has five levels of mastery called subranks. Untrained(0), Adept(1), Journeyman(2), Expert(3), and Master(4). Whenever a new rank is gained in Knowledge: The Planes, or whenever a feat would grant bonuses to the check, you may go up in subrank on a single plane of existence, provided you meet other criteria. You do not get to increase your subrank based on your stat modifier to the skill. By default, you are Untrained for all planes other than your home plane, of which you are a Master. Only one plane may count as your home plane, and once chosen, it cannot be changed.

These ranks allow access to specialized knowledge of the planes that only a native would ordinarily understand. As you go up in subranks, you will find that the potential for survival and comfort go up dramatically. Also, your Knowledge: The Planes check gains new uses in regards to your plane of study, and you can use Knowledge and Survival checks in relation to it.

Untrained: You have no special knowledge of this plane. You may or may not have even heard the name of the Plane before. Alignment and composition are completely unknown.
DC 20 - You have heard the name of the plane somewhere before.
DC 40 - You know whether it is an inner, outer, or transitive plane.

An untrained individual may know of concepts such as ďHeavenĒ or ďHellĒ, but that is about all. If a Fire Elemental can be identified but the check is not high enough to know the name of the plane, it is not even verified to be a planar creature.

This subrank has no prerequisites.

Adept: You have picked up a small amount of planar knowledge, and can readily identify this plane by name. You may roll Knowledge and Survival checks with a -20 in regards to this plane.
DC 10 - You know the Alignment or Composition of the plane, and whether it is inner, outer, or transitive.
DC 15 - You know the common dangers of the plane.
DC 20 - You can name a handful of creatures who commonly inhabit the plane.
DC 30 - You can name the most famous inhabitant or location in the plane.

This subrank has no prerequisites.

Journeyman: You are knowledgeable in the ways of the plane, either through study or experience. You may roll Knowledge and Survival checks with a -10 in regards to this plane. You have all the benefits of being an Adept, and more. Adept DCís are set at -20, and any that are reduced to 0 are known automatically.
DC 20 - You can name the major players and locations on the plane.
DC 25 - You know the ways magic is affected by the plane.
DC 30 - You can list all but the most rare creatures on the plane.
DC 40 - You can identify a rare hazard.

Prerequisites - You must have had access to a great library or other plentiful source of information and have visited the plane in question for at least a day, making contact of some sort with at least one native creature.

Expert: You are an expert in this plane, fairly experienced and very knowledgable. You may roll Knowledge and Survival checks with no penalty in regards to this plane. You have all the benefits of being a Journeyman and more. Journeyman DCís are set to -20, Adept DCís are set to -40, and any that are reduced to 0 are known automatically.
DC 15 - You know the intricacies of the natives of the plane, able to understand the subtypes of creatures and the powers they grant, whether or not you can identify the creature in question.
DC 30 - You know the spellkey (if any) for the plane.

You must have spent at least a week total on the plane in question, and spent at least one day at a major location.

Master: You know this plane intimately, being as comfortable here as on your home plane. If fact, this probably is your home plane. You have all the benefits of being an Expert and more. Expert DCís are set to -20, Journeyman DCís are set to -40, and any that are reduced to 0 are known automatically.

DC - Still thinking on what to do here.

You must have spent at least a year on the plane in question studying the natives, or else have been raised here.

Inner Planes
{table=head]Earth | Fire | Air | Water | Positive | Negative
Earth | - | Magma | - | Ooze | Mineral | Dust
Fire | Magma | - | Smoke | - | Radiance | Ash
Air | - | Smoke | - | Ice | Lightning | Vacuum
Water | Ooze | - | Ice | - | Steam | Salt

The inner planes can be leaned thusly. The elemental planes have no prerequisites, but a para or quasi elemental plane can only be understood by having a base understanding of the two that make it up. Thus, in order to take a subrank in adept for dust, you must first take a rank in adept for earth and negative. The same applies to Journeyman. For expert and master, you need not have the equivalent ranks the planes that make it up.

Transitive Planes
{table=head]Astral | Ethereal | Shadow | Mirror | Temporal

The transitive can be learned thusly. Astral, Ethereal, and Shadow have no prerequisites. To learn of mirror, you must have at least Journeyman knowledge of all three. Temporal is only able to be learned if you have mastered Mirror, any Inner Plane, and any Outer Plane. Even then, getting beyond Journeyman may be impossible, as the Chronomancers will not allow the uninitiated to live on the Temporal Plane long enough to gain its secrets.

Outer Planes
{table=head]Celestia | Bytopia | Elysium | Beastlands | Arborea
Arcadia | - | - | - | Ysgard
Mechanus | - | Outlands | - | Limbo
Acheron | - | - | - | Pandemonium
Baator | Gehenna | Hades | Carceri | Abyss

The Outer Planes can be learned at any time as long as prerequisites for the subrank are met.

These prerequisites do not reflect inherent value of the information (necessarily), but rather the difficulty in finding the information due to the relative obscurity of certain planes. Naturally, this may change based on lineage or training. Any creature who was raised on a certain plane automatically knows a great deal about it, and thus has Master subranks in a single plane in which they were raised. Only one plane can be selected for this ability.

There are, of course, a number of Planes and Demiplanes that are not mentioned above. Access to these is at the discretion of the DM.