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Planes Of Existence 5E [Journey Through The Cosmology Of DnD]

  Written By: Ashish Arya
Updated On: 01/15/2024
Est. Reading: 11 minutes

The world of Dungeons and Dragons is known for its vast array of incredibly detailed and intricate features.

It leaves no stone unturned when it comes to delivering a unique role-playing experience. One of the most fascinating aspects that hold the attention and curiosity of players is the captivating concept of planes of existence 5e.

This multi-faceted feature stands to represent different realities within the gaming universe, adding depth and dimension to your adventures.

As you journey into your gaming session, you will encounter these planes, each with its unique characteristics, inhabitants, laws of nature, and magical properties.

These are not mere geographical areas on a map or territories owned by various factions; they are dimensions that exist beyond the realm of humanity.

Delving into these planes transforms an ordinary campaign into an otherworldly experience, characterized by a wealth of exploration and potential for exciting encounters.

what are planes of existence In 5e?

Present a cosmos teeming with diverse realities, each providing distinctive experiences, adventures, and encounters.

what are planes of existence 5e?

They stand as independent dimensions that overlap the material plane – the world in which human beings exist.

This blend of spaces creates a multiverse, featuring its own set of laws and properties.

Each plane is rich with unique dimensions that determine the physics, magic systems, environmental conditions, and life forms that inhabit it.

For players stepping into this multiverse means embarking on thrilling missions beyond the mundane, expanding their horizons past traditional landscapes.

Rendering fascinating arenas for creative storytelling, these planes stretch beyond the limits of your imagination.

They bring depth and character to your game by presenting you with fresh challenges and opportunities.

And as you explore them further, they throw open doors to epic quests that change the way you look at role-playing games.

Material Plane and Its Echoes

The environment you’re most familiar with in your Dungeons and Dragons excursions is the Material Plane.

Material Plane and Its Echoes

It’s essentially the center of the universe, the foundation on which others are built. Existing in parallel with it are two echo planes: Feywild and Shadowfell.

They’re the mirrored reflections of the Material plane, yet each maintains unique characteristics that cause them to differ significantly from their origin.

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The Material Plane

The Material plane can be thought of as your core reality in D&D our Earth residing in a medieval era steeped with magic.

It is filled with famous continents like Faerûn, Khorvaire, or Oerth as it serves as home to a wide variety of species and cultures.

As diverse as its inhabitants are, they follow comparable laws of physics and time that we do in our everyday lives, except for the presence of magic.


Imagine a reality where every emotion you’ve ever experienced happens tenfold where colors burst into life with an intensity unseen within the Material Plane.

That’s Feywild for you. Every feature here is dramatic even its flora and fauna boast exaggerated traits compared to their Material Plane counterparts.

Sprightly lighting bugs might shine as bright as lanterns; thickets may attempt to trap unwary adventurers who stray too close.

Residing within this plane are mischievous fey creatures who may offer aid or mischief based on their whim.


If Feywild exists at one end of a spectrum radiating life and vibrance, then at the polar opposite lies Shadowfell a somber counterpart standing as a gloom-ridden echo of the Material world.

Hope turns to despair here, joy into sorrow, making it often referred to as ‘The Plane of Shadow’.

The landscape mimics that found on the material plane but twists everything into eerie semblances of what they should be ensuring an uncanny familiarity coupled with an unsettling dread.

It’s a plane dominated by the undead and ruled by the Dark Powers, offering a journey few adventurers would voluntarily embark upon.

The Transitive Planes: A Portal to Multiple Realities

When you delve into the world of Dungeons and Dragons, the Transitive Planes stand as a distinct facet in your explorations.

The Transitive Planes: A Portal to Multiple Realities

These are not just locations but form a bridge between realms, acting as pathways leading your character to different planes of existence.

The primary two planes that form this tapestry are the Ethereal Plane and the Astral Plane.

Ethereal Plane: The Ghostly Realm

The Ethereal Plane is often described as a ghostly realm that exists alongside other planes. It’s like a silken veil, casting an ethereal cover over everything else.

Being in this plane gives you the sensation of floating in a cloudy substance filled with swirling colors.

Shadows and light play tricks with your eyes, creating an eerie impression that is both daunting and beautiful at once.

This elusive realm coexists with others, allowing travel from one plane to another. It’s in this diaphanous plane, so filled with misty color splashes, that you can embark on great adventures or use it as a refuge from your enemies.

Astral Plane: The Sea of Worlds

Now, let’s cast our gaze toward the Astral Plane one might call it ‘the sea of worlds’ existing as the realm that stretches between all realities.

The Astral Plane appears as a great silvery sea, filled with swirling eddies and currents that can lead to other planes stranded within its flow.

It’s like sailing in endless skies made of mists and clouds. Here floating motes of islands drift aimlessly and stars twinkle – yet they are not stars but distant realms or creatures passing by.

Navigating through this cosmic ocean could either land you on new adventures or mislead you into unknown dimensions.

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The Inner Planes

In the captivating world of Dungeons and Dragons, the concept of the Inner Planes offers an extraordinary excursion into elemental realities.

Each one is a universe unto itself, composed wholly of one kind of element that embodies particular states of matter and energy.

It serves as the building blocks for all matter in the multiverse. Here, let’s delve into these amazing realms.

Air Plane

Your adventures lead you to the Plane of Air a realm consumed by perpetual skies and ceaseless winds. Here, solid ground is an alien concept.

You travel through clouds that function as the earth does in your world. Although linear directions hold no meaning here, it’s not a chaotic place at all; there’s a sense of rhythm amidst this seemingly endless whirlwind.

Between gentle breezes to raging tempests, it mirrors many aspects of terrestrial weather patterns but amplified to an extreme degree.

Fire Plane

Venturing further, you encounter the Plane of Fire next a dominion characterized by flames, heat, and smoke.

The elements within these boundaries range from faint ember-colored motes drifting aimlessly to raging infernos waiting to consume everything in their path.

Although it might seem inhospitable at first glance, there are life forms called fire elementals adapted to live here.

This plane is also rumored to hold many treasures under its blazing mantle that only brave adventurers can uncover.

Earth Planes

The Earth plane takes you back towards solidity – a realm where every conceivable form or state of soil and rock exists in its purest essence.

Gradient caverns stretch out into infinite labyrinths etched delicately over cosmos time scales; mountainous regions ascend beyond sight creating a structure so endless yet so undeniably present it redefines one’s understanding of ‘terrain’.

It’s not just dirt and stone but represents stability and foundation allowing intricate lifeforms such as earth elementals and gargoyles to exist harmoniously.

Water Planes

The Water plane submerges you into a ceaseless sea. As you traverse these aqueous expanses, you move in a floating world with no surface or bottom, an endless oceanic expanse where all angles are possible.

The play of light and shadow underwater gives a surreal and mesmerizing outlook on your surroundings.

Life here takes various forms both mundane like fish and mollusks to water elementals called Marids that rule their liquid domain.

The Outer Planes

When journeying beyond the realms of physical reality, you may encounter the Outer Planes.

Each Outer Plane is a unique, metaphysical realm that encapsulates particular alignments and moral philosophies.

They are dwelling places for deities and other celestial beings. These planes vary greatly, providing diverse experiences and encounters.


Arcadia, an embodiment of perfect harmony between nature and civilization, represents the union of law and good.

The landscape is replete with gently rolling hills, lush pastures, and neatly tended farms stretching as far as the eye can see.

Settlements merge seamlessly with their environment – disciplined but not subduing nature’s beauty.

As a character wandering in Arcadia, brace yourself for encounters that echo its inherent themes of orderliness and harmonious living.

Mount Celestia

Known also as the Seven Heavens, Mount Celestia epitomizes righteousness coupled with altruism.

The Plane is depicted as a gargantuan mountain with seven layers or levels ascending toward ultimate enlightenment at its peak where deities reside.

Devotion to integrity guides inhabitants here: celestial beings exuding benevolence fill the plane.

Its realms are bathed in serene sunlight creating an air of calmness and serenity making it hard to resist for those who value honour over everything else.


Bytopia stands as an embodiment of industriousness underpinned by ethical intent; it rewards those valuing hard work infused with goodness.

This plane consists of two layers housed on the underside of twin earth-disk landscapes: Shurrock promoting innovation and industriousness; and Dothion celebrating pastoral virtues like community help and respect for natural bounty.

These ethereal landscapes are weighed heavily towards alignment with good actions which reflect deeds firmly grounded in virtue.


Elysium represents quality existence using unalloyed goods that aren’t subject to laws.

Defined by four layers, it is renowned for its compellingly beautiful landscapes and an overall atmosphere of peace and wellness.

Beings dwelling here exude pure goodness, irrespective of their original alignment, a feature that can enthrall any entity wandering within its ethereal embrace.

It is indeed a place of ultimate tranquillity where conflict is as alienating as vice.

The Beastlands

The Beastlands, also known as the Wilderness of the Beastlands or Happy Hunting Grounds, encapsulate what it means to be chaotically good with an overlap with the Neutral-Good plane of Elysium.

Here animals roam free, echoing the essence of wildness and uninhibited goodness where sentient beings and animals exist harmoniously.

With perpetual daylight to twilight to eternal night across its three-layered structure, this plane encourages anyone who loves animals or embraces nature’s unpredictable wilderness to wander in and become a part of this cosmic realm.


Arborea, also known as Olympus or Arvandor, lies in the Outer Planes. This plane embodies an embodiment of wild freedom and chaotic goodness.

It’s characterized by undulating landscapes that vary from deep endless seas to vast forest canopies stretching towards the sky.

As you traverse the magical realms of the elven deities who’ve made their home here, a sense of wild wonderment envelops you.

But be warned, while Arborea’s beauty is fascinating and welcoming, its mercurial disposition might make it volatile for unwary travelers.


Next up let’s venture into Ysgard, a plane with pure chaotic neutrality that creates a landscape rife with unpredictable adventure.

From floating earthbergs to rivers of ice and halcyon fields, its diverse terrain awaits explorers’ footsteps.

Here discussing actions is more fruitful than words could ever be. Amidst the echoing sound of war horn blasts and poetic sagas whispered by heroes long passed, you will find dwellings of powerful Norse Gods like Thor and Odin marking their presence in these audacious realms.

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Adding another feather to this multiverse cap is Limbo where chaos prevails over law or good versus evil.

Here reality bends at will landmasses float freely, bound only by the power of thought.

This plane stands as proof that order can emerge amidst chaos if one has sufficient willpower and concentration to impose it.

While here, battling the bedlam and constantly trying to reclaim structured areas becomes every visitor’s subconscious undertaking.


Welcome to Pandemonium a place where madness rules the wind-roared corridors that tunnel through monolithic stone.

Known for its ceaselessly shrieking winds that can drive even reasoned minds into crazed insanity, this plane echoes all noises tenfold twisting them into maddening screams.

With no source of light or constant floor level, exploring Pandemonium is like being lost in an endless cavern forged by hopelessness, so one must be prepared for the challenges that await.

The Abyss

Then we have The Abyss, a dreadful place symbolizing chaotic evil where anything can occur at any moment.

With seemingly infinite layers of vastly differing landscapes filled with demonic denizens, it’s no wonder The Abyss represents the random and cruel nature of existence.

Venturing here isn’t for the timid as every step could be your last if you fail to outwit its cunning inhabitants.


This plane isn’t a visit on a light-hearted excursion; rather it’s the ultimate final destination for traitors and backstabbers.

This prison plane confines its denizens within layers of orbs harboring different environments ranging from volcanic terrains to frozen wastelands.

Captives are eternally trapped within spheres with no escape visible to the naked eye. Tread lightly here as once you enter Carceri; there might not be an outward journey waiting for you.


Hades in Dungeons and Dragons is imagined as a realm full of eternal misery that houses the souls of the wicked.

As you might have guessed, this plane represents an embodiment of pure evil without the influence of law or chaos.

It’s a plane associated with negative energies where you would find gloomy valleys, dark tunnels, and murk-ridden swamps.

The rare light that manages to penetrate this bleak world only accentuates misery rather than providing any respite. This plane also houses terrifying creatures, such as night hags and yugoloths.


Gehenna in 5e is a place of perpetual torment trapped between lawful evil and neutral evil alignments.

Imagine a world where precarious mountainsides are home to lampad (tortured souls twisted into malevolent spirits) and rakshasas inhabiting majestic palaces perched on volcanic crags.

The air is filled with the stench of sulfur, heated by eternal fires burning in its four layers.

Walking through Gehenna requires extreme caution as one wrong step could lead to a deadly fall into an endless abyss or molten lava below.

The Nine Hells

The Nine Hells stand as a testament to lawful evil, a plane governed by iron-clad rules and ruthless hierarchy.

Picture nine layers of hellish landscapes dominated by archdukes and duchesses battling for power within structured systems.

Souls entering this plane get trapped in an unending spiral of ambition and deceit spun by devils at every turn.

In addition to hosting malicious fiends, the Nine Hells also serve as battlegrounds for celestial wars pitting devils against demonic invaders from the Abyss.


Stepping foot into Acheron, you’ll find yourself entwined in realms heavily dictated by war and lawful alignment to complete oblivion of good or evil ethos.

Here gigantic iron cubes float through the void, crashing into each other, creating a cacophony that echoes warfare.

This plane is home to the embodiments of absolute neutrality in the form of petitioners and lore suggests it’s also inhabited by deadly orc deities.


There’s Mechanus, a plane representing lawful neutral alignment where order and predictability reign supreme.

A vision of interlocked gears, rotating wheels, and revolving cogs as far as the eye can see, encapsulates Mechanus perfectly.

As you would expect in such a regimented world, everything moves with clockwork precision.

Inhabitants include celestial creatures known as Modrons who exist explicitly to carry out tasks predestined in their programming.

This mechanized world isn’t devoid of anomalies like rogue Modrons whose change in programming catalyzes chaos amid an otherwise bedrock order.

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FAQs About planes of existence 5e

What are the planes of existence in 5e?

The planes of existence in Dungeons & Dragons are dimensions that represent different realities within the gaming universe. Each plane reflects distinct entities, rules of nature, unique inhabitants, and diverse magical properties.

How many planes of existence are there in D&D?

There’s no specific number, as more might be added by Dungeon Masters. Twenty-four official planes exist including Material Plane, Feywild, Shadowfell, Transitive Planes (Ethereal and Astral), Inner Planes (Elemental Planes), and Outer Planes (including Heaven and Hell)

Why are the planes of existence important to gameplay?

The planes of existence enhance gameplay by providing a wealth of exploration opportunities for your character. They add depth to your adventures and open up possibilities for encounters with different creatures beyond the mortal world.

Can my character die when adventuring on other planes?

Yes. Adventuring on other planes comes with its risks. The conditions on some planes could be harsh or inhospitable, and you may encounter dangerous creatures making survival challenging.

Does magic function differently on different planes?

Yes. The essence of each plane affects how magic works. Many spells act differently depending on which plane you’re currently occupying.


  • Ashish Arya

    I'm a tech enthusiast and lifelong gamer, hailing from the beautiful city of Chandigarh. My passions range from immersing myself in worlds like GTA V, COD, SIMS, Roblox and Minecraft to exploring the latest innovations in laptops and technology. Armed with a Bachelors Degree in Computer Application, I love sharing my insights through writing and engaging with fellow enthusiasts. Join me on my journey through the ever-evolving realms of gaming and tech!