For my current campaign I'm exploring lore options regarding planar travel for NPCs and PCs. Where in the books can I find more information about which languages are common in which planes?*

I'm aware that the Monster Manual states which languages a creature knows and/or understands. But the details don't offer me demographics on how common certain languages are. Or am I missing something in the book?

*My campaign takes place in a personal adaptation on the planes of the Forgotten Realms.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ 5E removed a lot of this stuff, at least for now, are you open to lore from other editions? \$\endgroup\$
    – Slagmoth
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 15:22
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Yes, I am open for that. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vadruk
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 15:34

2 Answers 2


PHB 123 and DMG 43

The information on PHB 123, is similar to that on MM. Together with the information on DMG you can have your answer.

PHB shows which languages are spoken by which type of creatures. DMG talks about creating, or putting together, planes. The common language would depend on whose plane it is.

For example if the plane in question is the origin of Demons the common language there would be Abyssal. Or Celestial for the dieties, Sylvan for fey creatures etc.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ That helps, thanks. To complete your example from PHB 123: Abyssal (demons), Celestial (celestials), Draconic (dragons, dragonborn, kobolds), Deep Speech (mind flayers, beholders), Infernal (devils), Primordial (elementals), Sylvan (fey creatures), Undercommon (Underdark traders). So this is one part of the puzzle solved. \$\endgroup\$
    – Vadruk
    Commented Mar 27, 2018 at 19:51

PHB 123:

Abyssal (demons), Celestial (celestials), Draconic (dragons, dragonborn, kobolds), Deep Speech (mind flayers, beholders), Infernal (devils), Primordial (elementals), Sylvan (fey creatures), Undercommon (Underdark traders).

Going through DMG Chapter 2 as @FenrirG recommended, I came to some conclusions. For my campaign I'm mostly interested in the Death Plane, Shadowfell and the Nine Hells. But here's an overview added with other planes.

This is a work in progress, please add suggestions.

Common languages per plane

The Material Plane and its Echoes

  • Material Plane: Common
  • Feywild: Sylvan
  • Shadowfell: same languages as Material Plane

The Transitive Planes

  • Astral Plane: Gith?

The Inner Planes

  • Elemental Planes: Primordial

The Outer Planes

  • Arcadia: Celestial and Dwarvish
  • Mount Celestia: Celestial
  • The Abyss: Abyssal
  • The Nine Hells: Infernal
  • Ysgard: Giant and Draconic

The Positive and Negative Planes

  • Negative Plane (a.k.a. Death Plane): still unclear, a mixture of anything?
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    \$\begingroup\$ The Shadowfell is a semi-mirror image of the material plane but shadowy it does not have its own languages but most of the permanent residents originated on the material plane so the languages should be similar. \$\endgroup\$
    – Baergren
    Commented Mar 28, 2018 at 15:15
  • \$\begingroup\$ I think characterising "Common" as the native language of the entire material plane is a bit much. In the Realms, for instance, it isn't really a language at all - its a pidgin used for very basic things, like finding an inn or finding somebody who shares an actual language (like Chondathan, Damaran, Illuskan, etc) with you. You can't carry on a complete conversation about anything remotely complex in Common. \$\endgroup\$
    – T.J.L.
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 19:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't characterise Common as a native language, but as the most commonly spoken language on that plane. Do you have a better alternative for Common? What you share afterwards is very useful information, I wasn't yet aware that common is just a basic language. Do you have a source for that so I can read up more? \$\endgroup\$
    – Vadruk
    Commented Mar 29, 2018 at 20:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The Negative Energy plane, sometimes called the Plane of Death or the Negative Material plane, was an Inner Plane or Energy Plane of the Great Wheel cosmology and the World Tree cosmology models. After the Spellplague, the Negative Energy plane collapsed into the Elemental Chaos, mixing with all the other Inner Planes. The goddess Shar managed to channel some of this death energy into the Plane of Shadow and create the Shadowfell. Cosmologists believe that negative energy and its opposite positive energy, combined with the four elements, make up the known universe. he Positive Energy \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 1, 2020 at 19:42

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