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I have read questions and answers on this SE which are all specific to a Plane or ask for clarification on a set of Planes.

But what exactly are Planes in Pathfinder?

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2 Answers 2

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I am not sure this is the same for every RPG, but I think this description from the d20pfsrd holds true for all variants of dungeons and dragons, and probably everything that is derived from that systems cosmology.

What is a Plane?

The planes of existence are different realities with interwoven connections. Except for rare linking points, each plane is effectively its own universe, with its own natural laws.

You can think of planes as different dimensions, all existing within a greater cosmology. While there are means of interplanary travel, they are usually well-separated. These dimensions are distinct, rather than a split universe type (like you see in time travel stories like Back to the Future).


Pathfinder as an example

In Pathfinder, the planes

can all be categorized into five general types: the Material Plane, the transitive planes, the Inner Planes, the Outer Planes, and the countless demiplanes.

Quote continued from above.

  • The Material Plane is where usually most of a campaign takes place. It's basically the world itself.

  • The Transitive Planes (Astral, Ethereal and Shadow) overlap with the Material Plane. They largely share its topology, though differences can occur.

  • The six Inner Planes correspond to the four elemental planes (Air, Earth, Fire and Water), as well as the planes of Positive and Negative Energy. These 6 correspond to the building blocks of reality.

  • The Outer Planes lie outside of the mortal realms, being home to creatures referred to as Outsiders, as well as being the resting place of the souls of the dead. The amount of Outer Planes varies as needed, and is largely defined the the mythology of the campaign, and each is usually tied to an alignment. Typical examples are Hell (LE, home plane of Devils), the Abyss (CE, Demons), Heaven (LG, Angels),...

  • Demiplanes are whatever you need them to be. They usually represent smaller realms, possibly created by wizards for whatever reason (to hide their spellbook, for example).

For more detailed information on the planes, I suggest reading the article I quoted above. I don't think it emcompassed descriptions of all planes, but you can look at the article on the Great Beyond in the PathfinderWiki

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An interesting detail of planes is that (with the arguable exception of the Prime) each tends to reflect and re-enforce a particular concept or theme somehow important in the setting: The alignments, classical elements, and so on. (2e's Planescape setting took this further; Celestia was the plane of Righteous Wrath, the Etherial was the plane of Possibility, and so on.) –  GMJoe May 6 at 1:55

I'd suggest that you read the explanation I found in the d20 pathfinder srd about the planes It states the following:

What is a Plane?

The planes of existence are different realities with interwoven connections. Except for rare linking points, each plane is effectively its own universe, with its own natural laws. The planes break down into a number of general types: the Material Plane, the transitive planes, the Inner Planes, the Outer Planes, and the demiplanes.

Although the number of planes is limited only by imagination, they can all be categorized into five general types: the Material Plane, the transitive planes, the Inner Planes, the Outer Planes, and the countless demiplanes.

You can find further information on the site itself. The site also contains a list of some planes like:

  • Material Plane
  • Shadow Plane
  • Negative/Positive Energy Plane
  • Elemental Planes
  • ...
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