CAUTION: Spoiler Ahead--Out of the Abyss, hard cover

In a recent game, mentioned above, the party had all their NPC's banished to the NPC's home planes, including a couple of pet Death Slaads. At some point thereafter, the party time-traveled back in time, which was a possible outcome in the campaign as written.

I'd like to use a Gate spell, or something similar, to retrieve my pet using the control gem I still possess, but the DM claims this is impossible because when we time traveled, the pets were left on a time-line which is no longer accessible from the time-line we are currently on. I've asked him to explain RAW how his parallel time-line concept (he admits this is his own creation) makes a plane inaccessible via a 9th level spell, which is RAW specifically designed for planar travel/portal creation. So far he hasn't.

By the way, this is an Adventurer's League game where the rules more clearly define the limits of play, not a homebrew where the DM can willy-nilly justify anything he feels like.

The question then, is whether there is any RAW justification for invalidating a Gate spell, similar magic, or another means of planar travel and retrieval, on a basis of a time-line distinction?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Reminder: please don't answer in comments. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2018 at 5:38
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, I'll check that reflex from here out. Any thoughts on this question? \$\endgroup\$
    – Conrad
    Feb 7, 2018 at 5:39
  • \$\begingroup\$ Oh, no fault of yours there: you were just responding to the comments. They shouldn't have been using them for tackling the substance of the question in the first place (saving you the aggravation, among other reasons). I don't have a solution to the situation immediately in mind, so I'll leave that to others. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2018 at 5:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I agree with that, and it has prompted me to consider a way to preempt the usual 'DM can do anything he wants' answers. \$\endgroup\$
    – Conrad
    Feb 7, 2018 at 5:43

3 Answers 3


The closest thing commonly to time travel for fantasy is divination magic of some sort, revealing the mysteries of the past, present, and future. The hardest part about this is that time travel is more of the sci-fi realm. Time travel is so hard to explain even when there is some illusion of science, there are no two exact ways that time travel actually works. Understand that this is the best explanation of time for a fantasy setting: as linear as possible.

To answer your question, No, RAW spells will grant you access to any dimension. However, there are no spells that will handle that much difference in time travel... safely...

Gate will take you whatever realm in which your beloved Death Slaads were banished to, but unless you had those pets before you started Out of the Abyss, you will arrive in that plane before they were banished, and even before you even acquired them. RAW, OotA states that the Characters, XP, and equipment are transported back to the beginning. This doesn't include pets.

What should be more accurate, is that you can immediately travel to where you think your pets were at the beginning of the adventure, and reacquire them then, at whatever power they were at that time. Remember, only you and your gear moved back. The entire universe that is in Out of the Abyss is back to where it was at the beginning of the adventure. Those months and years you spent getting to a level where you had the ability to have Slaads, none of that happened for them. The control gem you have in your inventory stays with you. So if there wasn't some other event listed in the campaign guide that put those matching control gems inside those Slaads, then it's very likely that they are still in them at the start, and you can control them again.

Time Stop is the only 9th level spell that really deals with time travel. Even then, the most you can affect is 1d4+1 rounds. 5 rounds max X 6 seconds per round = 30 seconds! Not even a full minute!

Wish Would be the only spell that would be able to do what you ask.

You might be able to achieve something beyond the scope of the above examples. State your wish to the DM as precisely as possible.

Seriously. Seriously think about it though. DM has full discretion on how a custom wish plays out. You're already playing with a DM that didn't want you to get your pets -as they were- back.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'll edit my answer accordingly. Basically you first started this adventure as a level 1 character, or so the book says. How many levels did you exactly get through to have the ability to have Slaads as pets, and even level 9 spells? If it was years, then you have to account for that in their experience, if the DM improved them during your ownership of them. If the DM didn't, and your pets' stats stayed the same as in the Monster Manual, then you're fine. You just have to find them again, wherever they were kicking it before you showed up. \$\endgroup\$ Feb 7, 2018 at 6:43
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    \$\begingroup\$ Thanks for the clarification, and I agree with your interpretation. Finding them should be a whole lot easier than the DM is making out. How they might respond is, of course, another matter, as you suggest. \$\endgroup\$
    – Conrad
    Feb 7, 2018 at 6:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Conrad They won't be your pet -- they'll be the being that, at some point later in time, you tamed through whatever mechanism. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Feb 7, 2018 at 14:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ @as.beaulieu Given the scheme you outline, would it be reasonable to expect that the control gems would retain their power over the Slaads? \$\endgroup\$
    – Conrad
    Feb 7, 2018 at 16:10
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Conrad The gem is still in the old Slaad. You have a future version of that gem. What happens when you try to control a Slaad with a time-shifted version of its own gem, given the chaotic nature of the Slaad, is probably madness. \$\endgroup\$
    – Yakk
    Feb 7, 2018 at 16:22

Gate doesn't enable time travel, which your scheme requires

Gate states,

You conjure a portal linking an unoccupied space you can see within range to a precise location on a different plane of existence.

The implication here is that the portal that's opened is contemporaneous with your plane--you can't open a gate across time, since spells only do what they say they do.

The relevant text from Out of the Abyss states,

All player characters are transported back in time as they are now, to the moment when the adventure began.

Because your Death Slaads are not PCs, they are not transported back in time.

Time travel is always weird, but the logic here is sound: your Death Slaad pets returned to their planes in the future, but you're in the past. If you open a Gate, you could conceivably summon the same Death Slaads that were your friends in the previous timeline, but they would not have encountered you or remember anything, and would therefore not be your pets.

For your scheme to work, you would need some method of planar travel that is also able to pluck creatures out of the future, but there is no RAW spell or item that lets PCs do that (something like that would be quite broken and impossible to adjudicate, I think).

Also, if your DM is just being cruel, he could invoke this clause in the spell to shut you down:

Deities and other planar rulers can prevent portals created by this spell from opening in their presence or anywhere within their domains.

You could try Wishing for your pets back, but again, he's justified in rejecting you:

The DM has great latitude in ruling what occurs in such an instance, the greater the wish, the greater the likelihood that something goes wrong. This spell might simply fail, the effect you desire might only be partly achieved, or you might suffer some unforeseen consequence as a result of how you worded the wish.


Wish should allow you to get back on your own timeline

Wish is also a 9th level, spell, and there is precedent in the rules for this. The Sphinx in 5e has this lair action:

The flow of time within the lair is altered such that everything within moves up to 10 years forward or backward (sphinx's choice). Only the sphinx is immediately aware of the time change. A wish spell can return the caster and up to seven other creatures designated by the caster to their normal time.

So, if a wish can return the charactet to their normal timeline if he was set onto another one by a sphinx, it stands to reason a wish can do the same thing to a character set onto a different timeline for other reasons.

Still, these are such exotic effects that I would be surprised if AL has any specific ruling on this, and of course, it is in the DM's power to adjudicate that the time travel that happened in his game works differently, in line with the admonishion in the DMG, page 4:

[A]s a referee, the DM interprets the rules and decides when to abide by them and when to change them.

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    \$\begingroup\$ -1. "Returning to your original time" != "returning to your original timeline." Or at least, those two things are not necessarily equivalent. In many models of time travel, timelines ae created by time travel, so additional time travel will (at best) get you further away from the timeline you started in. Unless you have some citation indicating that wish-based time travel uses a model of time travel that avoids this issue, of course? \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Sep 6, 2022 at 21:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Thanks for the downvote explanation. I'll let this stand. I do not see the difference -- when you get moved to a different time (maybe even in the past), you then are on a different time line, with all the paradoxes that time travel entails. The intent of wish here is clearly putting things back to normal, it does not say "your original time" it says "your normal time". \$\endgroup\$ Sep 7, 2022 at 4:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hmm. While I guess you could read it that way, it seems a bit of a stretch to say that "return to their normal time" unambiguously means "return to the time they came from and eliminate all paradoxes and changes caused by their time travel." \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Nov 1, 2022 at 1:42

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