20
\$\begingroup\$

I know that in the Astral Plane children don't age (or more specifically no one ages), but is there anything regarding how children would age in the outer planes? I'm wondering specifically about a child native to the material plane and brought to the outer planes, not one born there, if that makes a difference.

This could change an important plot point in an adventure I'm preparing for publication, so "DM Fiat" won't quite solve this for me if I've missed something in one of the rulebooks, or an article or supplement. Basically the players are sent to one of the nastier outer planes to rescue a child from a terrible fate, and if they play their cards right, will learn that an equally terrible fate awaits her when she reaches a certain age back in the material plane. If the characters can just stay put in the outer planes once they rescue her, knowing she won't age there, it changes the ending of my adventure, and the motivations of the villains.

Although I'm writing for 5e, I'd be interested in anything from previous editions- if this wasn't addressed yet in 5e, I'll follow the last edition that has an answer. Also, I understand there may not be one answer to this question- different planes might have different rules: in that case, I could set my adventure in Carceri, The Nine Hells, or Gehenna without making drastic changes.

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Keep in mind that the characters (and maybe even the players) might not know whether time passes or not. They'd have to research, ask, take a chance, or somehow figure it out. \$\endgroup\$ – Roflo Jul 10 '18 at 16:29
14
\$\begingroup\$

Unless otherwise specified, time passes normally on the outer planes (and any other plane)

As a general rule, you should assume that normal rules of reality apply except where it is clarified that they do not. The Dungeon Master's Guide describes the environment of various planes in the "Creating a Multiverse" section, and specifically of the Astral Plane on page 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 explicitly refers to creatures on the Astral Plane, and should not be extrapolated to other planes that are not the astral plane. If all of them had this kind of property, they would all state so in their descriptions, or it would have been clarified as a general property of the collection of planes in prior description. No such statement exists - so the conclusion is that time passes normally on other planes. Indeed, we're explicitly given that normally Astral-dwelling creatures will send children to live on other planes - often, but not exclusively, the material plane - so we must infer that time passes normally on at least some of the other planes of existence.

Referring to the 3e Manual of the Planes...

This is consistent with older material. In 3e, for instance, the Manual of the Planes handbook explores the matter of adventuring on the other planes of existence in some detail, and qualifies the different rules on different planes of existence by a system of "planar traits". The "timeless" planar trait, in this system, is a physical trait which is described so:

Timeless: On these planes, time still passes, but the effects of time are diminished. Those effects should be specifically defined for timeless planes. Such conditions as hunger, thirst and aging might not be affected in a timeless dimension...

In this material the Astral Plane is timeless, but the inner and outer planes are explicitly described as generally having "Normal Time", meaning time passes as it does on the Material Plane, unless specified otherwise by the plane's individual description. None of the outer planes described by the manual actually do so, so the normal passage of time is the general rule. Even the chaotic realms of Limbo and the Abyss apparently follow normal time (though the Abyss gets a mention that there are rumours of a layer where time actually flows backwards). Besides the Astral plane, the Timeless trait usually only comes into play when dealing with unique/custom demiplanes.

There's no particular reason to believe that this particular rule of the planes should have changed significantly between editions. As written, they seem consistent with each other - the Astral Plane is explicitly timeless/ageless, but time passes normally in most other places.

\$\endgroup\$
0
\$\begingroup\$

It is reasonable to assume "Yes"

This is a difficult question as it's answer requires full knowledge of everything ever published by WotC in order to rule out something you've possibly missed in the rulebooks, an article, or supplement. I do not possess that level of information, but believe we can reason our way to a conclusion.

You ask if children age normally in the outer planes. I would draw your attention to The Beastlands, a "plane of nature unbound, of forests ranging from moss-hung mangroves to snow-laden pines, of thick jungles where the branches are woven so tight that no light penetrates" - the gist is that we're talking about unchecked, natural growth. Vines cannot climb without aging. Trees cannot grow without aging. There are young, mature, and old beasts to be wrestled with on the plane. It seems reasonable to assume creatures native to this plane undergo normal life-cycles, and it certainly follows, then, that creatures not native to the plane would still be effected by the usual laws of the passage of time (as this entire plane appears to be).

I know this doesn't directly address the locations you've listed, but point being "aging" certainly feels like it exists in at least one of the outer planes, and I can cite no publications that says aging does not occur in the planes you've listed, thus I fall into "normal laws of physics unless otherwise stated."

\$\endgroup\$
  • \$\begingroup\$ Downvoter; let us assume no such material exists, and aging in the outer planes is simply unaddressed by WotC. Is this question better left entirely ignored forever, since nobody can really answer it by saying "you didn't miss anything, I am positive it is unaddressed"? This is a genuine question, I'm not being bitter about the downvote - if this is the consensus of the community I will delete this answer, which I readily admit is not optimal. \$\endgroup\$ – Euch Jul 9 '18 at 21:00
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ I'd submit that the point of putting this question to the community is that together, we do potentially have full knowledge of everything WotC has written- it's just that no one of us has it all. Having said that, your logic about the Beastlands adds value to the discussion- clearly there is growth there, and things are not static, which suggests that on at least some of the outer planes there is a life cycle in place. \$\endgroup\$ – The Grumbleputty Jul 9 '18 at 21:35
  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ @Euch I suspect the cause of downvotes is that such material does exist - quite a lot of it, in fact, when you are willing to refer to previous editions - and definitely doesn't require total knowledge of all WotC publishings. Your answer would probably be improved by omitting that first paragraph and re-ordering the latter two, sort of like: "normal laws of physics unless otherwise stated", "for example, time clearly seems to pass in The Beastlands". \$\endgroup\$ – Carcer Jul 9 '18 at 23:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.