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Manual of the Planes is a 224-page hardback supplement for Dungeons & Dragons 3rd edition released in September 2001. It details the planes, other realms of existence in the Dungeons & Dragons cosmology, particularly the traditional Great Wheel planar layout, as well as offering DMs the ability to create their own cosmologies.

Manual of the Planes is named after Manual of the Planes (1e) (1987), a similar product released for an earlier edition of the game rules. The name would later be used in Manual of the Planes (4e) (2008).

Official synopsis

Visit New Dimensions
The most powerful adventurers know that great rewards--and great perils--await them beyond the world they call home. From the depths of Hell to the heights of Mount Celestia, from the clockwork world of Mechanus to the swirling chaos of Limbo, these strange and terrifying dimensions provide new challenges to adventurers who travel there. Manual of the Planes is your guidebook on a tour of the multiverse.
This supplement for the D&D game provides everything you need to know before you visit other planes of existence. Included are new prestige classes, spells, monsters, and magic items. Along with descriptions of dozens of new dimensions, Manual of the Planes includes rules for creating your own planes.
To use this supplement, a Dungeon Master also needs the Player's Handbook, the Dungeon Master's Guide, and the Monster Manual. A player needs only the Player's Handbook.

Content

Chapter 1: Nature of the Planes

This chapter introduces the concept of planes and planar traits.

Chapter 2: Connecting the Planes

This chapter describes how planes interact: how they connect to one another, how travel between planes may occur, how the planes are arranged within the Great Wheel cosmology, and how DMs might arrange their own alternative cosmology. It gives the Omniverse as an example of an alternative cosmology.

Chapter 3: Characters and Magic

This chapter introduces the concept of monsters as player character races, which did not originally appear in the D&D third edition core rulebooks. It describes the ECL system and lists in particular the aasimar, bauriar, tiefling, githyanki, githzerai, canoloth, and uridezu as monsters able to be selected as player character races.

It introduces the following prestige classes: the divine agent, gatecrasher, planar champion, and planeshifter.

It introduces the following new spells: analyze portal, attune form, avoid planar effects, chamber, elemental body, ether blast, ethereal mount, improved alarm, improved portal alarm, interplanar message, make manifest, mass manifest, portal alarm, portal beacon, positive energy protection, reality maelstrom, revive outsider, safety, scramble portal, seal portal, shadow cache, shadowblast, shadowfade, xorn movement, zone of respite, and zone of revelation.

Chapter 4: The Material Plane

This chapter describes the traits of the material plane previously referred to in some earlier editions of the game as the prime material plane. It describes various possible alternate material planes.

Chapter 5: The Transitive Plane

This chapter describes the transitive planes: the astral plane, ethereal plane, and plane of shadow (known in later editions as the Shadowfell).

Chapter 6: The Inner Planes

This chapter describes the inner planes: the four elemental planes of air, fire, earth and water; the positive energy plane, and the negative energy plane.

Chapter 7: The Outer Planes

This chapter describes the outer planes, realms of the gods and other powerful beings of the Great Wheel. It mentions the various divine ranks, planar effects, and tables of monsters which may be encountered on various planes.

Chapter 8: Demiplanes

This chapter introduces the concept of demiplanes, small planes which can exist outside of the usual planar context.

It describes three example demiplanes: Neth, the Plane That Lives; the Observatorium; and Common Ground.

Chapter 9: Monsters

The following monsters are described in this chapter: the astral dreadnought, bariaur, celestial (firre, leonal), demon (uridezu, armanite, goristro), devil (spinagon, narzugon), energon (xag-ya, xeg-yi), ephemera (dusk beast, ecalypse, umbral banyan), genie (dao, marid), githyanki, githzerai, inevitable (zelekhut, kolyarut, marut), mercane, paraelemental (ice, magma, ooze and smoke), and yugoloth (canoloth, mezzoloth, nycaloth, ultroloth).

It also presents the half-elemental, shadow, element, anarchic, axiomatic, and petitioner creature templates. Half-elemental presents all four elements (air, earth, fire and water), while the element creature presents these four and an additional two (cold and wood).

Appendix: Variant Planes and Cosmologies

Rules are presented for various alternate realms. These include the Region of Dreams, the Plane of Mirrors, the Spirit World, the Elemental Plane of Cold, the Elemental Plane of Wood, the Temporal Energy Plane, and the Plane of Faerie (which would inspire D&D 4th edition's Feywild), and the Far Realm. It presents the spells dream travel and mirror walking, and the skill lucid dreaming.

It describes the various possible alternatives to the Great Wheel cosmology: the Myriad Planes cosmology, the Doppel cosmology, the Orrery cosmology, and the Winding Road cosmology. It mentions planar anomalies, such as planar bleed and time loops.

Development and release

Manual of the Planes was written by Jeff Grubb, Bruce Cordell, and David Noonan.

The book's credits page acknowledges the influence of numerous earlier Dungeons & Dragons works, stating "This book is built from the bones of giants." It particularly cites the original work on D&D's planar cosmology by Gary Gygax and Dave Sutherland, Jeff Grubb's Manual of the Planes (1e) (1987), and the various Planescape works by David Cook, Colin McComb, Michele Carter, and Monte Cook. It also cites the A Guide to the Ethereal Plane (1998), Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting (3e) (2001), Psionics Handbook (2001), Tome and Blood (2001), the article The King and Queen of Dragons, Dragon #272 (Jun 2000), and Bruce Cordell's Alternity sourcebook Tangents.

Manual of the Planes was released in September 2001 for a retail price of $29.95 US, or $41.95 Canadian.[1] A digital PDF release was later made.

Two web enhancements were released. The Modrons, by Mark Jindra, provided rules for the modrons, including statistics for all base and hierarch modrons, though none for the modron leader Primus. Brave New Planes by Jeff Grubb presented rules for the plane-connected World Serpent Inn.

Reception and influence

Manual of the Planes won Gold ENNie for Best Rules Supplement in 2002.[2]

The Plane of Faerie influenced the Feywild which appeared in D&D 4th edition and onward.

This book's title was subsequently re-used for Manual of the Planes (4e) (2008), which focuses on the World Axis cosmology rather than the Great Wheel. Features re-appearing in that book include the Far Realm and Plane of Dreams, the astral dreadnought and canoloth, such spells as analyze portal and scramble portal, and the gatecrasher and planeshifter paragon paths.

External links

Dungeons & Dragons 3.0
Core rules
Player's HandbookDungeon Master's GuideMonster ManualDungeons & Dragons Adventure Game
Supplements
Arms and Equipment GuideBook of ChallengesBook of Vile DarknessDefenders of the FaithDeities and DemigodsEnemies and AlliesEpic Level HandbookFiend FolioGhostwalkHero Builder's GuidebookLiving Greyhawk Gazetteer (Dungeons & Dragons Gazetteer) • Manual of the PlanesMasters of the WildMonster Manual IIOriental AdventuresPsionics HandbookSavage SpeciesSong and SilenceStronghold Builder's GuidebookSword and FistTome and Blood
Adventures
The Sunless CitadelThe Forge of FuryThe Fright at TristorThe Speaker in DreamsThe Standing StoneReturn to the Temple of Elemental EvilHeart of Nightfang SpireDeep HorizonLord of the Iron FortressBastion of Broken SoulsCity of the Spider Queen

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Manual of the Planes D&D product page at Wizards.com.
  2. 2002 Noms and Winners
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