Some planar shepherd questions won't generate good answers when the questions are about the class's abilities' interactions with planes outside the Eberron campaign setting. Even the planar shepherd's own Adaptation section is unhelpful, saying, for example, "If manifest zones do not exist in your campaign, the 10th-level ability to create one could instead allow creation of a planar touchstone (Planar Handbook 153)" (FE 109). That ability to create apparently permanent manifest zones was, I assume, excised in editing. Thus, as always, ask the DM when considering using such classes in campaign settings other than home ones.
Questions & Answers
The planar shepherd (FE 105-9) is largely considered one of the most powerful prestige classes in the game. When a druid takes a prestige class, it must be good.
Question: Does the planar shepherd's extraordinary ability planar attunement render the shepherd immune to the normal magic, impeded magic, and limited magic traits that occur the closer he gets to the Outlands' central spire?
Answer: No. The planar attunement extraordinary ability reads
At 1st level, you must choose a single plane of existence other than the Material Plane.... Once selected, your planar shepherd features are forever attuned to this plane. You cannot choose a plane with an alignment trait opposed to any component of your own alignment. [...] You and your animal companion ignore any harmful effects derived from your chosen plane's elemental or energy traits, as well as any natural environmental affects
associated with the plane. [...] You are also immune to the entrapping effects of planes .... If you choose, you can share this benefit with a number of allies equal to your class level; these allies must remain within 100 feet of you to gain this benefit.
This immunity does not extend to the plane’s physical traits (including gravity and time), alignment traits, or magic traits.
Q: What creatures are the Outlands' natives for the purposes of the planar shepherd's supernatural ability wild shape?
A: Not many. The planar shepherd's supernatural ability wild shape reads
Your druid levels stack with your planar shepherd class levels for the purpose of determining the number of daily uses, the maximum HD and size (but not creature type), and the duration of your wild shape ability.
At 3rd level, you are able to use wild shape to change into a magical beast native to your chosen plane, with the same size restrictions as for animal forms. [...] This includes creatures whose type changes to magical beast as the result of applying a
template (such as celestial or fiendish).
When you attain 9th level, you become able to use wild shape to change into an elemental or outsider native to your chosen plane, although it costs two of your daily uses of wild shape to do so. [...] In addition to the normal effects of wild shape, you gain all the elemental or outsider’s extraordinary, supernatural, and spell-like abilities.
Unlike some other planes, no template exists to make, for example, animals into magical beasts by making them more Outlandish. Worse, while the outlands is home to countless creatures because of its position on the Great Wheel, few published creatures are native to the Outlands.1 Even residents from other planes who've lived there a long time--or were even born there--still aren't native to the Outlands. Dungeons and Dragons's immigration policy is horrible that way; there are very few ways to make oneself native to plane if one's race is from another plane; such creatures are usually unique.
Finally, the elemental or outsider forms into which the planar shepherd can wild shape remain restricted by the druid's wild shape which is, in turn, restricted by the special ability alternate form, which reads, "A creature cannot use alternate form to take the form of a creature with a template." Thus the planar shepherd could not, for example, use his wild shape ability to assume the form of any creature via the template petitioner (MP 199-200).
What remains, then, are printed creatures like the following:
- The concordant killers (MM4 34-5) are outsiders native to the Outlands.
- Illurien (MM5 90-1) is a unique being who resides in the Outlands; if she's native is the DM's decision.
- The kuldurath (FF 116) is a Large 9 HD magical beast native to the Outlands.
- The rilmani (FF 140-3) are the iconic outsiders native to the Outlands.2
- The simpathetic (Dragon #351 52) is a Tiny 1 HD magical beast native to the Outlands.3
Undoubtedly other creatures exist in more obscure sources.
Q: What does the the supernatural ability planar bubble and the spell-like ability intensify manifest zone do when the planar shepherd's picked the Outlands?
A: For the supernatural ability planar bubble, not much. The special ability reads
Beginning at 5th level, once per day you can create an area around yourself that emulates the environment of your chosen plane. This area mimics all traits of your chosen plane, including physical traits, elemental and energy traits, alignment traits, and magic traits. This area has a 20-foot radius and lasts as long as you concentrate (up to a maximum of 1 hour per level) plus 1d10 rounds. At 10th level, you can use this ability three times per day.
The outlands has the following traits according to the Dungeon Master's Guide (2013)
- Divinely morphic. This trait disappears close to the center of the plane, and in that area even deities are affected by the nature of the plane.
- Mildly neutral-aligned. Unlike on the other Outer Planes, all alignments are equally welcome on the Outlands.
- Normal magic, impeded magic, and limited magic. The Outlands has the normal magic trait far from its central spire, but as one approaches the hub of the plane, spells, spell-like abilities, and even supernatural powers are further and further restricted. Where the surface of the plinth is near vertical, almost no abilities (and few deity-level powers) function. Far from the spire, magic functions normally.
The only interesting trait is the last, but as that trait's dependent on proximity to the spire, it has no effect. Nonetheless sometimes it's worthwhile to have the ability to create a safe zone when planar traits are otherwise dangerous.
For the spell-like ability intensify manifest zone, it's unclear what happens when the Outlands is picked. The ability will likely have an effect similar to one of those created by an orrery of the planes (ECS 271), but the DM must determine what effects--if any--occur.
- Seriously, a player who picks the Outlands for his planar shepherd should encourage the DM to create or adapt more.
The rilmani got a raw deal in Dungeons and Dragons, 3rd Edition. While never more popular than any other minor iconic (there were more 3rd Edition yugoloths than rilmani but an equal number of demodands), they're nonetheless important planarly... planally... to the planes and received a lot more attention in Dungeons and Dragons, 2nd Edition. A fan's conversion of 2nd Edition rilmani to 3rd Edition is here, and more about the rilmani can be learned from Timaresh: The Mirrored Library, a Web site taking its name from a rilmani institution. The Web is a strange place.
The article containing the creature is Todd Stewart's "The Gatetown of Ecstasy," likely of interest to one considering a trip to the Outlands.