Per this question (How much time passes on the Astral plane relative to the Material plane?), time in the Astral Plane passed relatively normal to Material time back in 3.5E days, but is this still true in 5E? If it matters, I'd like to know specifically for Forgotten Realms.

The reason I suspect it might be different is because of this Unearthed Arcana article.

If you look at Astral Refuge and Astral Sequestration, class features of the Seeker warlock, it implies time is passing slower in the Material plane than in the Astral plane. Is this actually true of the plane, or just some kind of time-warping warlock magic?


Time passes normally, but creatures don't age there

From the entry on the Astral Plane in the DMG:

Astral Plane, DMG 47

Creatures on the Astral Plane don't age or suffer from hunger or thirst. For this reason, humanoids that live on the Astral Plane (such as the githyanki) establish outposts on other planes, often the Material Plane, so their children can grow to maturity.

This explains some of the apparent time-stopping strangeness that visiting this plane gives you. However, there is no mention of time itself flowing differently in this plane relative to the Material Plane.

Contrast this with the Feywild, which explicitly states that time in there may pass differently from the time in the Material Plane. There is no language like this for the entry on the Astral Plane.

Time Warp, DMG 50

While time seems to pass normally in the Feywild, characters might spend a day there and realize, upon leaving the plane, that less or more time has elapsed everywhere else in the multiverse.

There is, however, similar language for the Ethereal Plane. This is further evidence that, had the designers intended for time to pass differently in some plane, they would have made a specific mention of that.

Deep Ethereal, DMG 49

Distance is meaningless, so although travelers feel as if they can move by a simple act of will, it's impossible to measure speed and hard to track the passage of time.

  • \$\begingroup\$ So I wonder what WotC was doing with that UA article? It has phrases like "[..] enter the Astral plane, taking advantage of its timeless nature" to seemingly justify getting 2 actions in 1 turn. Also, in the other ability: "You then return to the spaces you all occupied when you used this ability, with no time having passed in the world." \$\endgroup\$
    – TVann
    Jun 16 '17 at 16:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TVann Technically, the Astral Plane has timeless properties in that it seems not to affect the creatures there (no aging). Also, the UA is non-official material, and it doesn't trump the DMG. That flavor text could have slipped based on the writer's knowledge of previous editions, we don't know to what degree they check the UA articles in terms of flavor. \$\endgroup\$
    – user27327
    Jun 16 '17 at 16:17

Time technically DOES NOT PASS AT ALL in the astral plane. The answers in the 5e DMG are relative simplifications of the elaborate explanations from earlier editions. One thing to note, officially, a player may think they can go to the astral plane to cheat time... spending a millennium training or whatnot... it doesn't work like that. As soon as a body leaves the astral plane time catches up. Poisoning in the astral plain doesn't kick in until they leave and natural healing does not occur in the astral plane. Upon departing the astral plane to a prime or otherwise, a body will be incredibly hungry. (More or less citing A Player's Guide to the Astral Plane).

That being said... time is 'experienced' in the astral plane and the subjective time experienced could be whatever the DM desires it to be. A body in the astral plane is technically experiencing events, it is up to the DM to simply consider the nature of those events and whether to apply parallels to what that observation of time would be in a different plane or to come up with something radically different.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour. I think this answer may be improved by including a justification for citing the AD&D, 2nd Edition source A Guide to the Astral Plane. A lot's been written about the Astral Plane since 1996; explaining how an over-2-decade-old text remains authoritative may be in order. No matter what though, thank you for participating and have fun! \$\endgroup\$ Nov 7 '18 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ "The answers in the 5e DMG are relative simplifications of the elaborate explanations from earlier editions." - DMs of 5e games can choose to apply the rules of older editions if they want (particularly when there are no rules for something in 5e but the DM wants to use defined mechanics), but older editions' rules inherently have no bearing on a 5e game otherwise. So... If a 5e rule/description conflicts with a description in an older edition, and you're playing 5e, only the 5e description really matters. \$\endgroup\$
    – V2Blast
    Nov 8 '18 at 2:53

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