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This spell honestly has me scratching my head with the way it's worded.

Astral Projection states the following:

If you enter a new plane or return to the plane you were on when casting this spell, your body and possessions are transported along the silver cord, allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane.

As this is worded, can I remain in my astral body if I so choose?

To clarify the uses, let me list some potential applications derived from this:

If your material body and astral body remain apart upon entering a plane other than the Astral Plane, you could:

1. Have a Gore-free clone:

Use the astral body as a gore-free multi-creature version of the Spell clone that has all astral copies of the gear you had when casting Astral Projection. You can stash your real body in a secret, hard to find location (kind of like a phylactery for a lich, only it's your own body) The only "telling" factor is the 1-foot Tether between your shoulders pointing to your body like a compass. You can "safely" run into danger fully knowing your tether to your material body is exclusively located on the plane you are on. When you die you return to where you hid your body. Best case scenario nobody managed to find or rob your "bunker". Ideally you (and your associates) have amassed a stash of material components to simply cast Astral Projection all over and weasel your way back onto the plane, doing the hiding thing all over again and running back into danger. A long-term plan with lots of bumps (like finding your way through the astral plane to the same portal over and over), but this would work for some BBEG-ish type.

2. Become Practically Immortal:

Keep in mind: Mental health is not factored into this example.

While Astral Projection is in effect your material body stops aging, decaying requiring sustenance, even air. While you walk the earth within your astral body you still require anything your mortal form does and age according to the rules of the plane you're on (agelessness is strictly linked to your material body and the Astral Plane). You can live out a full life in your astral body; even die of old age and you would snap back into your up to then time-locked body, the mind of an old man inside a young body. Assuming the caster has a life expectancy of 50-ish years from when Astral Projection was first cast (and he prepares a new set of components for every future casting of the ritual) the caster could - assuming he wakes up in his true body and immediately begins casting the spell again - live up to 438000 lives (as many hours as there are in 50 years), meaning he could theoretically live 17 520 000 years altogether. And that doesn't even factor in the potential of supplying his material body with a few Potions of Longevity (which have an upper limit of de-aging uses, but still hold the chance of de-aging him 9 times for an average(from 1d6+6, 4+6 = 10) of 90 years).

3. Escape from a "BRING HIM TO ME, ALIVE" situation.

Stuck in a bad bind? Does some powerful bad person want you or something stuck in your head? Not a problem if you are currently using your astral body and put your real body away safely. Just kill yourself. Your soul will return to your real, unharmed (and potentially younger, differently groomed body and the people after you will tear their hair out since Locate Creature only goes out for a mile. If your astral body aged significantly / you changed your clothes, hair, etc. they're also going to have a damn hard time recognizing your true self (or your new astral body after casting Astral Projection yet again). Infinite hijinks.

4. Have an "evil" twin

Assume your best friend died. Sad. Further assume he escaped the afterlife to haunt you. Amazing. Just give your material body to your ghost pal.(A minor stretch). A ghost can possess your material body without any resistance (due to your suspended animation your material body is functionally incapacitated, thus failing any checks automatically. Your material body's perfectly operable as per the description of a ghost's possession feature, it exclusively affects your body, puppeteering your muscles. Admittedly, now you rely on your already once-killed friend not getting you killed, but that's what you got yourself into by keeping them around anyway.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just curious, what benefit you see from staying in your astral body? \$\endgroup\$ – Vylix Oct 9 at 9:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ It would be an "instant" clone WITH astral copies of all of your gear, which would merge back into their original items when you return to your body. Keeping that apart you could, for instance, use a consumable from the astral body's equipment while keeping the actual consumable on your material body. (Instant obviously ignoring the time it'll take to find your way from the Astral Plane to where you aim to go). \$\endgroup\$ – Scrawnoisis Oct 9 at 10:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ Wouldn't this just mean you go from astrally projecting from a body on the Material Plane to astrally projecting from a body on a different plane? \$\endgroup\$ – Miniman Oct 9 at 11:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ Why do you assume that the consumables would survice on the material body? A more balenced and likely intended reading is that either the consumable couldn't be destroyed without cutting it's silver thread (since likely isn't alive it isn't likely reading), or destroying the astral projection version will destroy the real version as well. Seems like a question in itself that is worth asking. But also remember the risks cutting the silver thread means insta-death and now you've stretched it across 3 planes. Killing body also means insta-death. \$\endgroup\$ – J. A. Streich Oct 9 at 18:58
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Scrawnoisis due to your edited in questions, I edited my answer to address them. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Oct 10 at 14:13
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It is unclear.
However, the text of Astral Projection and the Astral Plane seem to indicate that you can.

The Astral Projection spell states:

Your astral form can freely travel through the Astral Plane and can pass through portals there leading to any other plane. If you enter a new plane or return to the plane you were on when casting this spell, your body and possessions are transported along the silver cord, allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane. Your astral form is a separate incarnation. Any damage or other effects that apply to it have no effect on your physical body, nor do they persist when you return to it.

From Creating a Multiverse -> Astral Plane -> Astral Projection (Dungeon Master's Guide page 47)

Traveling through the Astral Plane by means of the astral projection spell involves projecting one's consciousness there, usually in search of a gateway to an Outer Plane to visit. Since the Outer Planes are as much spiritual states of being as they are physical places, this allows a character to manifest in an Outer Plane as if he or she had physically traveled there, but as in a dream...

A character's death-either in the Astral Plane or on the destination plane-causes no actual harm. Only the severing of a character's silver cord while on the Astral Plane (or the death of his or her helpless physical body on the Material Plane) can result in the character's true death.

These would seem to indicate that you at least can choose to remain in astral body form, so long as your body is somewhere other than the material plane.

To address the questions added since first answering, I will add the following:

1- Yes

Your astral form is a separate incarnation. Any damage or other effects that apply to it have no effect on your physical body, nor do they persist when you return to it.

2- Yes

The material body you leave behind is unconscious and in a state of suspended animation, it doesn't need food or air and doesn't age.

Plus, you would not age at all while this spell is in effect.

From the Dungeon Master's Guide section on the Astral Plane:

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.

3- Yes; as long as your cord is intact

If a creature's original body or its astral form drops to 0 hit points, the spell ends for that creature. If the spell ends and the silver cord is intact, the cord pulls the creature's astral form back to its body, ending its state of suspended animation.

4- Too fringe to rule, Ask Your DM

Personally, it seems reasonable to me, for the most part. The question is, what about when you attempt to have your astral body re-merge with your physical body? Thus the requirement of DM ruling.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ What do you base the claim in the last paragraph on? Astral Projection clearly states that new Planes and your own plane (which 99% of times is the Material plane) are treated the same way with an inclusive or. \$\endgroup\$ – Scrawnoisis Oct 9 at 20:03
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Scrawnoisis It does say "allowing you to re-enter your body as you enter the new plane". So it may indicate the choice is only when entering a new plane, but the wording is admittedly poor. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Oct 9 at 20:08
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    \$\begingroup\$ @J.A.Streich it could, but given that 'enter' is tied to a 'new' plane, and 'return' is used for the original plane, it is inconclusive which way it is intended to be. As I said, it is poorly worded. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Oct 9 at 20:12
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Scrawnoisis Honestly, with the way it is worded, it could be either way. I chose to answer the way I did due to the lack of anything saying the astral body ages, needs food/water/air, or needs rest; and because of it starting in the Astral Plane, and being separate from a physical body, but at least starting identical to the physical body to start. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Oct 10 at 16:50
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Scrawnoisis due to your math, I tried some of my own, using solely PHB content. half-orc monk, level 17 at age 20; assuming aging astral body; 55 years per astral body, 54 years for physical; 3 hours for physical for every 2 lifetimes of astral; results in final age of 17,344,820 years. \$\endgroup\$ – Journer Oct 10 at 17:57

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