5e rules conversions, (crunchy stuff)

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DM joe
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5e rules conversions, (crunchy stuff)

Hi, new here but so far you are all really welcoming and supportive.

Any DM's running with 5e; what do you do with the way magic is affected in the various planes? Im a bit overwhelmed with the material presented in the PS box set.

Also, perused the Planewalkers Handbook, lots of awesome stuff there, but all 2e; do any of you use the Magical Item bonus planar restrictions and the Priest level loss by planes rules??

Ive been DM'ing since 2e and have returned to D&D because of the incredibly elegant streamlining philosophy of 5e; is there a way to make some of these rules a bit more aligned with the 5e approach?

Jem's picture
Last seen: 1 week 2 days ago
Joined: 2006-05-10 19:50
Last time I did Planescape we

Last time I did Planescape we used 3.5, but item level loss was not a rule we used. One reason it was important in 2e was all those monster who needed "+whatever or better" magic weapons to hit them, and that wasn't an issue in 3.5, nor in 5e that I know of, so it doesn't have the same effects. We... didn't have a cleric, actually, but as far as I know we wouldn't have used that rule either.

Anyway, from what I gather the general consensus is that those rules were kind of a downer anyway. ;^) Their purpose was worldbuilding -- it was one reason priests didn't lead huge crusades into the Lower Planes. There can be other good reasons for that.

However, one very important collection of rules we *did* use was altered spell effects and spell keys for arcane magic, and summoning restrictions! I always felt that those give a lot of great flavor to a plane.

KnightOfDecay's picture
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I've never played 5th edition

I've never played 5th edition, thus I can't say much about how the rules could be best incorporated into that rules framework.

In our 3.5 campaign we use all the special rules from 2nd Ed.: Changed spell effects, magic item level loss, as well as the rules for wizard and priest spells.

Magic item level loss: We refer to the old list from 2nd Ed. Abilities that can be transferred into 'pluses' are reduced accordingly. A weapon
always retains it's status as a magic weapon.
All other special qualities are up to the DM. Normally this correponds to the spell changes on the specific plane - thus some magic items might even work better on certain planes.

Changes on spell effects: We try to stay as close to the material presented in 2nd Ed. (Planes of Law etc.).
As Jem, I see this as pretty important for the flair of the planes - no place ist the same and not all problems can be solved by the same magic.
The changes only affect wizard spells. We have a separate (allthough rather rough) list for psi and priest spells are handeled as written below.

Priest spells: We use the level loss list as presented in 2nd Ed. As the deity is the source of the priests power, she/he is not affected by the changes on spell effects but instead the spell level decreases the farther the planar distance between caster and deity grows. As this can be pretty crippling for a divine spell caster, we have a 'belief point' system which enables the caster to lessen the effects of the planar distance and to gain additional abilities, if she/he acts according to the deitys dogma.
It's rather complicated, but I really like the fact, that arcane and divine spellcasters are handeled in different ways und thus have a rather different flair.

Jem's picture
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Huh, that's an interesting

Huh, that's an interesting twist on it. Drop caster level where the plane opposes the deity's purpose, but be more generous with belief points for clerics so they can hurdle the limitations -- after all, they're about faith! Whereas arcane spellcasters are often about knowledge, and can know the right actions to get around their limitations.

I really like that. I'll propose it next Planescape game I'm in.

D_E's picture
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Joined: 2015-11-17 18:59
5e and Plane-specific magic

I see it like this:

In terms of how streamlined it is, the rules are actually not that bad, since they mostly modify the effects of spells, and spells are already complicated enough that they need to be considered in advance. However, see below for more.

Magic Items: This is the one most in keeping with 5e's spirit: Magic items are considered optional in 5e, so the DM is free to give, take, and alter them as needed for the story.

However, magic item +s are more precious in 5e, since the scale maxes out at +3 instead of +5, and +1 or +2 is very common. The main effect of the 2e rules, then, would be that most magic items are always +0. Perhaps you should only reduce the power of magic items that are brought to a plane that specifically opposes the maker of the items, instead of reducing +s as a distance-dependent background effect.

Streamlined? The main threat here is having to pause to recalculate half the party's stats every time they pass through a portal. This is already limited by 5e's anti-Christmas-tree measures (ie, 5e characters aren't under the effects of half a dozen stat-boosting items, unlike 3e characters), but it is an additional argument in favor of saving +-loss effects for special occasions.

Priest level loss: This is the one most at odds with the spirit of 5e: Unlike magic items, PC abilities in 5e should not be taken away. This means that Paladins don't lose their powers for alignment violations, and Warlocks can turn on their patrons if their story demands it.

Perhaps this is best replaced by roleplaying considerations: divine casters must be more discrete about using their powers on cross-aligned planes, to avoid attracting unwanted attention from the locals.

Streamlined? Actually very straightforward. You would just look at a different line of the table to see what level spells you can cast.

Altered Arcane Spell Effects: This is fairly in keeping with the spirit of 5e, since it changes arcane casting rather than taking it away. There are two problems:

Problem one is that the rules for this are scattered throughout several books :/. If you're willing to do prep work, you can fix this by reading the relevant sections of the DM's guide and the Planes of X books and collecting all the rules in one document. You could make print-out cards for each plane, with all the rules relevant to each given plane printed on them, and hand players the appropriate card for whatever plane they're on.

Problem two is that this can be really bad for sorcerers and other arcane casters who know a small number of spells. A sorcerer who uses fireball as their main combat spell will be really sad if the adventure takes them to the Plane of Water, where fireball flat will not work. Perhaps the fix there is to say that a sorcerer's spells run off their own innate magic, rather than manipulating the plane around them, and so they are much less affected by local conditions than wizard spells. By the same token, Druids' nature magic should probably be affected by these rules, even though they're typically considered divine casters.

Streamlined? I think the main thing that makes this hard is the fact that the rules for this are printed all over the place. If the DM collects the rules onto a card I think it becomes more possible to use them in play.

Last seen: 4 months 2 days ago
Joined: 2017-11-29 19:01

Interesting interpretations here.

I never felt at odds with any of the 2E rules. In particular though, it seems I interpreted the 'Priest Level Loss' in a very different manner. To my mind, it wasn't that the Priest lost a level as much as they lost "effective" levels. For all intents and purposes, the Priest's ability to access divine power wasn't affected at all, but rather, it was that divine power itself that was impeded...

As for 5E, I can't be much help there. I've read all the books twice and still can't make full sense of them.