As a high-level cleric, I would like to use the spell etherealness and build a hidden temple of the gods on the ethereal plane at the same spot where I have a normal house in the material plane.
I cannot find any good information on what happens if I attempt that.

Will the temple drift away in the ethereal plane (can some funny NPC traveler push it away), or is it a fixed position? Will the spell fail because there is no real firm ground? I need to have a better understanding for how this works before I go to my DM.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Well the base question is. Would the spell work in the Ethereal plane. I understand now that there is no firm ground so the spell would fail but with some effort I could transport stone and with the shape stone spell make a ground to cast the temple on. I am wondering now if the temple would be always at the same spot where me house on the material plane would be. Or if some plane traveller can put a chain on and drag it away \$\endgroup\$ – Don Nov 1 '18 at 17:19

This is perfectly possible to do...but there is a gotcha

D&D is an exceptions based game.

Specific beats General

(PHB page 7)

You need to have a rule to justify something exceptional. A place where people can walk and travel (explicitly) not having ground is exceptional.

The general rule is that the Border Ethereal is a mirror of the relevant plane:

Its “shores”, called the Border Ethereal, overlap the Material Plane and the Inner Planes, so that every location on those planes has a corresponding location on the Ethereal Plane.

(DMG page 48)

So, what is a location?

Oxford Dictionary defines location as

A particular place or position.

Next we ask what is a place?

Oxford Dictionary defines a place as:

A particular area on a larger surface.

Thus in order for there to be a "corresponding location" there has to be ground for that location as the originating plane has ground (the Material Plane, Feywild, Shadowfell, Elemental Planes all have ground).

Finally nothing in the DMG description of the Ethereal Plane, or Border Ethereal, states that there is no ground on the Ethereal Plane. As there is no specific rule removing ground from the Ethereal Plane, it has ground.

This means the first line of the spell

You cause a temple to shimmer into existence on ground you can see within range

is satisfied.

The potential "gotcha" of the spell for your plan is this line (emphasis mine)

The temple is made from opaque magical force that extends into the Ethereal Plane, thus blocking ethereal travel into the temple’s interior.

As a result, unless you make the temple appear around you, you won't be able to enter your new Ethereal Temple while you are on the Ethereal Plane. The only way to enter your temple will be to go back to the bordering plane, go to a spot inside the temple and either cast "Etherealness" again, or "Plane Shift".

Aside: Dale M's answer relies on an interpretation of this line from the DMG:

[...] solid objects on the overlapped plane don’t hamper the movement of a creature in the Border Ethereal.

(DMG page 48)

that the ground is an Object.

The DMG defines an Object as:

For the purpose of these rules, an object is a discrete, inanimate item like a window, door, sword, book, table, chair, or stone, not a building or a vehicle that is composed of many other objects.

(DMG page 246)

Thus the ground is not an object for the purposes of the rules.

  • \$\begingroup\$ To the downvoters it would be nice to leave a comment explaining why the downvote was given \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Nov 1 '18 at 22:42
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ha i understand..but being in the ethereal plane yourself makes yourself material there I thought. A ethereal being cannot go ethereal through another ethereal being on the plane of ethereal I would imagine. So there for there would not be a ethereal travel through the the temple..and besides the rule is to hedge our ethereal being for not going through the walls..I assume the door can just be opened...if the temple is standing in the material world I still could open the door and let a ghost fly in ,or not? \$\endgroup\$ – Don Nov 2 '18 at 6:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Don ethereal hurricanes being a danger to a structure physically in the Ethereal Plane is a separate question. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Nov 3 '18 at 12:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ From the spell description you cannot create the temple around you as it appears in an unoccupied space, but the door would open for you. \$\endgroup\$ – Alk Apr 27 '19 at 1:39

No, this is not possible

The spell must be cast "on ground" and there is no ground on the Ethereal Plane - the ground in the Border Ethereal is actually on the Material and you can move right through it.

If you can work out a way to do it you can cast it on the Material plane and then shift it to the Ethereal.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Let us continue this discussion in chat. \$\endgroup\$ – illustro Nov 1 '18 at 22:49
  • \$\begingroup\$ (that discussion ^^ regards whether or not there is "ground" in the Ethereal Plane) \$\endgroup\$ – nitsua60 Nov 2 '18 at 2:41

May not be possible RAW, but I would say "Yes" as a DM

I believe Dale M's answer about there being no ground in the Ethereal Plane, but given that the spell itself specifically states that the temple appears also in that plane I don't think it is subverting the intention of the spell too much to allow this.

That said, this is MY interpretation as a fairly lenient DM (At least when it comes to RAW), so; ask your DM :)

  • \$\begingroup\$ My DM can be lenient sometimes :) \$\endgroup\$ – Don Nov 1 '18 at 11:02

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.