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This question is meant to be an extension of this question on planar travel, this question on lower-level planar travel and this question on using blink and banishment to enter the Ethereal plane.

Based on how I read these, by using blink and banishment, my character can get to the Ethereal Plane... Is there a RAW way that I could get out of the Ethereal Plane onto a plane of my choosing?

I do not know of any solution beyond what was covered in the linked questions - I'm asking to confirm that no other answers exist. If the linked questions are comprehensive, this question is definitely a duplicate.


Background:

Our party wants to enter the Shadowfell, but our efforts to find portals have failed thus far. (When our characters have searched, the characters and most players didn't know where to look, so it could be our DM would let us find them if we applied ourselves better. However, we will assume that the DM is not deliberately hiding a portal).

Details:

  • I would like a solution available at lower levels than I could use Etherealness or Plane Shift.
  • I personally only have access to the PHB, DMG, MM, and XGtE, but I am open to any official (or even most 3rd party) material.
  • I am focused on 5e, but I am also curious if there is something in earlier editions that fits the bill.
  • For purposes of banishment, my character is from the Material Plane.
  • If it matters, assume my character is a Wizard. You can also assume that each member of our party is non-evil (Good- or Neutral-aligned).
  • This would be at the exclusion of solutions mentioned in other answers, such as Finding/obtaining a Scroll of Plane Shift, being a Planeswalker, becoming a Horizon Walker Ranger, or finding a Planar Portal.

(Again, if the answers to the linked questions are comprehensive, this question is a duplicate.)

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is banishment a low enough level option? What is your limit? \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Aug 15 at 14:44
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Yes, since (as I understand it) you need it to use "blink and banishment" to get to the Ethereal plane. However, since banishment sends you to your homeplane, I don't think it can be used to get to a plane of my choosing, at least not directly. \$\endgroup\$ – Joeorbob Aug 15 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ Ah. I misread the question; thought you just wanted out anywhere. Ignore me :) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Aug 15 at 14:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron No worries. Someone else might have thought the same thing. Your comment helps them, too, neh? :) \$\endgroup\$ – Joeorbob Aug 15 at 15:02
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Find an ether cyclone

The details of the Ethereal Plane are described in the Dungeon Master's Guide in the section "Creating a Multiverse". There are two regions of the Ethereal Plane, the Border Ethereal which is connected to the inner plane you traveled there from (via blink, etherealness, etc.), and the Deep Ethereal, which can only be reached by:

a plane shift spell or ... by means of a gate spell or magical portal

The Deep Ethereal is then connected to each of the Border Ethereal regions by magic curtains:

Scattered throughout the plane are curtains of vaporous color, and passing through a curtain leads a traveler to a region of the Border Ethereal connected to a specific Inner Plane, the Material Plane, the Feywild, or the Shadowfell.

So you could travel from the Deep Ethereal to any of the Border Ethereal regions, but that doesn't get you out of the Ethereal Plane.

However, there is another tidbit in the Dungeon Master's Guide:

An ether cyclone is a serpentine column that spins through the plane. The cyclone appears abruptly, distorting and uprooting ethereal forms in its path and carrying the debris for leagues.

One of he effects of these cyclones is for

all creatures in the vicinity [to be] [h]urled into the Astral Plane

There is only a 1 in 20 chance that any given cyclone has this effect, but eventually finding one is your escape from the Ethereal Plane.

Color Pools

Once in the Astral Plane, there is an abundance of portals that can take you where you need to go:

Gateways leading from the Astral Plane to other planes appear as two-dimensional pools of rippling colors, 1d6 × 10 feet in diameter. Traveling to another plane requires locating a color pool that leads to the desired plane. These gateways to other planes can be identified by color, as shown on the Astral Color Pools table. Finding the right color pool is a matter of chance: locating the correct one takes 1d4 × 10 hours of travel.

However, among the planes these color pools can lead, some are missing; these being:

  • the four Elemental Planes
  • the Feywild
  • the Shadowfell

You could instead find a color pool to the Outlands (which are a leather brown color) and make your way to Sigil which is a:

bustling planar metropolis [that] holds countless portals to other planes and worlds.

Alternatively, there are denizens, specifically the Gith, of the Astral Plane who have access to planar magic, and you could negotiate with them for passage to a plane of your choosing. More about their planar magic can be found in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes.

Planescape

If this is the path you take, many elements of the adventure would involve the Planescape setting. While this has yet to be incorporated in 5th edition, there are a lot of interesting and fun characters and societies in this setting that your GM may want to pull from.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ If the party had access to a Level 3 Horizon Walker Ranger from XGtE, finding portals may be easier. \$\endgroup\$ – Alk Aug 15 at 15:26
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Banishment (Maybe)

Apart from getting lucky with magic items, the lowest-level way that I can think of to get out of the Ethereal Plane is the Banishment spell. Banishment would return a creature to their home plane if they fail a Charisma save. If Banishment lasts for 1 minute or more, then you will remain on your home plane indefinitely, otherwise you would return.

You attempt to send one creature that you can see within range to another place of existence. The target must succeed on a Charisma saving throw or be banished.

If the target is native to the plane of existence you're on, you banish the target to a harmless Demiplane. While there, the target is Incapacitated. The target remains there until the spell ends, at which point the target reappears in the space it left or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied.

If the target is native to a different plane of existence that the one you're on, the target is banished with a faint popping noise, returning to its home plane. If the spell ends before 1 minute has passed, the target reappears in the space it left or in the nearest unoccupied space if that space is occupied. Otherwise, the target doesn't return.

Other Options

Now, this wouldn't send you to a plane of your choosing, only to your home plane. To get to a plane of your choosing, you would need a magic item. An Amulet of the Planes, Well of Many Worlds or a Cubic Gate might work, depending on your DM. A Candle of Invocation would also work via the Gate spell. Ditto for any item that gives you a Wish.

Naturally, a Staff of the Magi will work as it gives you access to Plane Shift.

Binding or Befriending an NPC

Another option is to bind or befriend an NPC or monster with the Plane Shift ability, or similar. A Djinn or a Gith might work, for example, under the right circumstances.

The Power of Plot and the Arcana Check

If your DM is on board with you going to the other plane, you will get there - it's just a matter of which tools your DM gives you access to. A successful Arcana check and some research may give you the knowledge your character needs in-character.

Keep in mind that your DM needs to prep what happens when you make it over to the new plane, so you will likely be able to travel there when he has prepped the appropriate material.

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    \$\begingroup\$ The question asks for "Is there a RAW way that I could get out of the Ethereal plane onto a plane of my choosing?". Your method just sends them to their native plane no? (don't worry if you just misread the question. I did too at first) \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Aug 15 at 15:05
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, the home plane banishing doesn't cause the Incapacitated condition (only the demiplane option does), so you could just cast banishment outright to return to your native plane if you aren't already there. \$\endgroup\$ – David Coffron Aug 15 at 15:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron Correct, and I will edit appropriately. \$\endgroup\$ – James Aug 15 at 15:11
  • \$\begingroup\$ Did you mean to talk about the Astral plane or the Etherial plane? \$\endgroup\$ – divibisan Aug 15 at 17:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @DavidCoffron As far as the Incapacitated condition, it looks like Banishing Smite also confers it. It would be interesting to know if someone could use Banishing Smite in combination with something else to create an effect like "Blink and Banishment". (Though I suspect Banishment would still be more effective, at a lower spell level, and without the damage. Ha.) \$\endgroup\$ – Joeorbob Aug 16 at 5:50
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You could try to befriend a nightmare or find an obsidian steed (figurine of wondrous power). They are capable of stepping into the ethereal plane with their rider. There may be other plane-shifting creatures that can help.

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Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you explain how exactly this is a possibility for low-level characters? \$\endgroup\$ – Purple Monkey Aug 16 at 0:13
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to RPG.SE! If you haven't already, please take the tour and visit the help center. \$\endgroup\$ – Joeorbob Aug 16 at 5:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ As far as your answer, That's a clever idea that I don't think I've seen elsewhere! Thank you for contributing! Certainly, if the plane I want to reach is the Material Plane, a Nightmare is a way to do it, and if I were lucky enough to get the obsidian steed, a Nightmare I would have. Do you know of a way to use the Nightmare (or another strategy) to get to a different inner plane? Could you update your answer to reflect that? \$\endgroup\$ – Joeorbob Aug 16 at 5:38

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