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Numerous deities and demons are "owners" of planes in the D&D cosmology. My question is for rules sources on the topic how the following questions can be answered:

  • How is an entity the legal owner of a plane (like Mystra from Forgotten Realms owns Dweomerheart; Lolth owns the 66th Layer of the Abyss; they both are gods. Pazuzu owns the first layer of the Abyss, but he isn't a god. Lolth apparently didn't own that layer before War of the Spider Queen. What gives, rules-wise?)?
  • How can such a claim be contested, or even a plane be "stolen"?
  • How can one establish ownership to a "vacant" plane?

The setting is Forgotten Realms, but other 3.x sources are allowed. I am looking for citable rules references.

In the adventure in question I plan on having someone "steal" or "acquire" a plane previously unclaimed (original "owner" has died). Are there rules for that, or do I have to come up with the "I am the DM, I don't explain anything" trick?

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There is, RAW, no concept or definition of "owning" a plane

While gods can have divine realms, the Forgotten Realms concept of whole Outer Planes ruled over by a small number of gods is both unique to that setting (meaning rules in other sources such as Deities & Demigods do not support it) and not given parameters within that setting. The Outer Planes in question were derived from the old planar divine realms of the Faerunian pantheon in 2nd Edition, and while they are affiliated with a particular deity or group of deities, they are not "owned" in that sense.

According to FRCS (pp. 276-278), the only god who completely rules a whole plane is Cyric; all others merely have private realms on a shared plane that meets their needs.

There is, per RAW, a defined consequence for planes in the absence of their attendant gods

As PGtF describes (p. 165), a plane whose gods are all dead or gone vanishes; whether it implodes from lack of maintenance or is simply severed from the cosmology to drift out and away is not known. This has happened to six known planes or realms in the past.

If a plane's owner(s) no longer exist(s), that plane is gone

Per RAW, therefore, an unclaimed plane in the Forgotten Realms cosmology is not available to "steal" or otherwise acquire. A divine realm left absent vanishes slowly enough that it can be salvaged and claimed, but nothing indicates that an entire plane will stay intact long enough to restore or at least keep in service.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ So were a visiting god to murder all the gods on a plane, while he remains on that plane, the plane's intact, but, once he departs, the plane vanishes? Or is the visiting god vanished along with the plane because he has no connection to it? Or is the answer just unknowable? \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Oct 8 '14 at 18:02
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    \$\begingroup\$ There's no RAW answer to that, but I believe the implication is that a god being present on the plane will keep it intact. If that god does not establish their realm there, however, then once they leave it would vanish. The attacking god would not vanish; getting expelled or left behind as the plane vanishes would be more in keeping with the usual way Ao likes the Balance handled (the portfolios have to go somewhere, and that means they need to depart with the murderer until they can be portioned out again). In any event, same principle: there has to be a god playing Atlas on each god-plane. \$\endgroup\$ – afroakuma Oct 8 '14 at 18:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ While one cannot own a true plane one can certainly own (be the creator of) a demiplane so that may be helpful to DMs. \$\endgroup\$ – Steven Stewart-Gallus Jun 16 '15 at 22:29
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I believe that ownership of planes (barring lawful-aligned planes which are likely to have actual laws governing their ownership) is probably not a legal state. Lolth probably owns her layer of the Abyss by killing everyone else who lays claim to it and loudly proclaiming it to be hers until everyone agrees that she is the undisputed owner of the layer. To "steal" a plane you simply need to be powerful enough to assassinate its owner and subjugate or else win over its inhabitants.

For lawfully-aligned planes, however, ownership could be determined by rules that were set by the planes original creator/owner and possibly modified over time. This could create legal loopholes... and would probably work best for your story idea. Make sure the first thing your plane-thief does is find a way to close the loophole, else he risk having it done to him in return!

I am not aware of any actual rules citations I could possibly provide, neither for my answer nor for your question in general. However, replacing the word "plane" in your question with any other geographic feature provides some common ground. How does one own a kingdom, town, forest, river, country, or sword?

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Given the nature of the question, an assertion that planes are merely ruled by usual exertion of force should probably be backed up by evidence or indications of that being the case. Without that, it's speculation with no guarantee of being correct or reliable. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 7 '14 at 23:56
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    \$\begingroup\$ A mixture of squatters rights and most powerful entity to claim that domain has always seemed right to me. \$\endgroup\$ – BBlake Oct 8 '14 at 15:58
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Interesting question. I played Planescape, Dungeon and Dragons 2nd edition for five years and I learned that the willpower of a being, his credo and of course power, either by power as its very means or by controlling or influencing some species (direct or indirect power), you can influence and even control its arounds, depending of the plane.

What really matters is, a plane has his own rules. The plane has born from the subconcious of uncountable people across the multiverse during millenia. One of great power and domain, conviction and a bit of madness, can rule a plane, if the plane has commom features with one and other. And no, there's no requirement such be a god to rule a plane. A god is restricted by its followers while, for instance a demonprince, are not, but both are powerful and fullfil the requirements above.

Is a straight line of logic, but complex in its core.

Besides that, you had a great idea, very creative.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Is this relevant to D&D 3.x and Forgotten Realms, though, or is it specific to AD&D 2e and Planescape? If it is relevant to D&D 3.x and Forgotten Realms, are there citations you can provide for things being this way in order to meet the request in the question for them? \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 7 '14 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ Is relevant to Planescape 2nd edition. But my suggestion is: Regarding of planes, expand your vision. Planes are infinite with infinite variantions and possibilities, but all of then have borders, sometimes physical borders, eventual borders like a portal and ideal borders, believe with so big strength and conviction, and you can reach another plane, or change yourself to attune with the plane. A wizard does that, with the help of magic, but without conviction, he can lose himself. Know tha percentual chance of error on a teleport? :) \$\endgroup\$ – MauGusVicen Oct 7 '14 at 23:55
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    \$\begingroup\$ Ok, I gather that. The question is however about seeking existing written rules for D&D 3.5e and the Forgotten Realms setting. Speculation and house-rule suggestions could be welcome, but they should be part of an answer that otherwise answers the question by providing those rules or demonstrating they are absent, and those suggestions should be edition- and setting-appropriate. \$\endgroup\$ – doppelgreener Oct 7 '14 at 23:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to rpg.se! Please take a look at the tour and the help center; they're a useful introduction to the site. As Stack Exchange is a Q&A site (rather than a forum), please make sure that your answers are directly responding to the question being asked. Drawing on outside experience is a great way to support an answer, but the answer itself needs to be rooted in the context the querent's asking about. \$\endgroup\$ – BESW Oct 8 '14 at 0:16

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