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In several editions of Dungeons and Dragons, the Plane Shift spell requires a forked metal rod, the design and material of which varies depending on the destination plane. Is there any canonical list of which rod designs are required for different planes—in particular, the Prime Material?

(I'm using 3.5, but I'll accept sources from other editions.)

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Though there is no such a list in 3.5 sources, you may want to check 2ed Planescape books for inspiration. – Jeor Mattan Jan 20 '13 at 11:21
@JeorMattan Unfortunately, the Planescape material I have access is silent on the issue. That said, the absence of a '3.5' tag on this question is deliberate - I'll accept answers from other editions. – GMJoe Jan 20 '13 at 11:25
up vote 12 down vote accepted

No, there is not.

The foci for plane shift do not have a listed cost: they are considered negligible and therefore are covered by a Spell Component Pouch:

Spell Component Pouch

A spellcaster with a spell component pouch is assumed to have all the material components and focuses needed for spellcasting, except for those components that have a specific cost, divine focuses, and focuses that wouldn’t fit in a pouch.

If you have a Spell Component Pouch (or the Eschew Materials feat), then you have the requirement covered. As has been addressed elsewhere, spell components and foci, other than those that cost actual gold, are a bad joke. They’re supposed to be funny (your mileage may vary on that), and provide a bit of flavor to arcane spellcasting.

They are not intended to be a balancing mechanic and it is not intended, in 3.5, that a spellcaster should keep track of each one. The Spell Component Pouch and Eschew Materials were introduced to Dungeons & Dragons for the express purpose of eliminating those issues, which were a part of older editions (which, in general, made a much bigger deal of keeping track of supplies, since dungeon-delving was the more central focus, as I understand things).

However, it should be noted that plane shift itself does have a caveat in that certain planes may not have easily-available foci. Generally speaking, a well-stocked Spell Component Pouch should include all major planes, but, for instance, the personal demiplane of a recluse wizard, probably not so much. A DM may choose to make this more or less of an issue, but this is always a matter of plot and not of balance.

In any event, there is not a canonical list of the metals associated with each plane, even if just for fluff reasons. You’ll have to ask your DM if it is relevant to you. On some level, there is supposed to be a specific metal for each, but what exactly is the DM’s call.

For reference, I’ve checked the Manual of the Planes, the Planar Handbook, and searched online for any kind of list, official or otherwise. I could not find any, nor have I ever heard of one. I’ve also checked with a friend who knows a lot about Planescape, and he stated quite definitively that no such list exists.

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From the spell description, on page 262 of the PHB: "Forked rods keyed to certain planes or dimensions may be difficult to come by, as decided by the GM." Specific exceptions trump general rules, and this sounds like a specific exception to me. Are you sure about there being no cannonical list? – GMJoe Jan 20 '13 at 6:57
@GMJoe: You are correct that the DM may decide to make certain planes difficult to enter via plane shift; it is assumed, however, that the major planes are readily accessible. Of course, anything can be changed if the DM wishes. Anyway, I've looked pretty hard for a list and I'm reasonably sure there isn't one. – KRyan Jan 20 '13 at 7:05
Cool, thanks. I'll wait a bit in case someone else knows an answer. If not, I'll accept this answer. (Oh, and incidentally, I'm the GM in this case.) – GMJoe Jan 20 '13 at 7:29
@GMJoe: I added another citation from a friend, who goes by afroakuma on Giant in the Playground. He's quite certain no such list exists, and there's very little about Planescape that he does not know. – KRyan Jan 20 '13 at 16:58

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