Some people on the streets of Sigil

Intro to Planescape #5: The 5 (or 6?) P’s aka Who’s Who in the Planes

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Being on the Outer Planes are often categorized into 5 different groups – all conveniently starting with P. Now there can be overlap, and these are usually used for more humanoidish beings, but could be applied to all monsters. If a rampaging beast is trying to eat you, you probably don’t much care what plane it was born on. Plus, there’s a 6th interesting group that I’d like to shoehorn into the P naming convention as well.

First, we have the 3 primary types of “ordinary” beings who are labeled based on where they were born.

Primes – Anyone native to the Prime Material Plane (or as it’s usually called since 3rd edition, the Material Plane, but “Mates” doesn’t feel as evocative as “Primes”). In the original Planescape books, the 1-line state blocks would denote this with a “Pr”. So it would look like:

Duke Rowan Darkwood (Pr/Male Human/P20/Fated/CG)

He’s a Prime male human level 20 Priest (they renamed Clerics to Priest in 2e *shrug*), member of the Fated Faction, who is Chaotic Good.

Planars – Anyone native to a plane other than the Prime Material (including Elemental, Energy, and Transitive Planes). Denoted as “Pl”.

Petitioners – The souls of the deceased living out their afterlife on the Outer Plane most closely suited to their nature. These are commonfolk just going about their days until they merge with their plane. (Denoted as “Pe”) However, if they are killed away from their home plane, they are destroyed forever. So petitioners are not very suitable for Player Characters. That, of course, means to someone like me, that I now have a bunch of ideas for petitioner PCs. So you could houserule something that could make a petitioner PC possible, but still tied to their plane. Like perhaps if they die elsewhere, raising them is extremely difficult, or healing away from their home plane is minimized (and on their home plane is maximized).

Then we have the divine pair of:

Proxies – Servants of deities who are imbued with a portion of the deity’s power in order to be their eyes, ears, and hands in the world. They could be any of the 3 above things as well, but when elevated to Proxy status were denoted as “Px”

Powers – The gods. With the overall 2nd edition renaming (maybe I’ll post a little about that soon), “Gods” were called “Powers.” However, beyond trying to appease people after the Satanic Scare of the 80’s, it is also somewhat fitting with Planescape where some (especially members of the Athar Faction) see the gods as just extremely powerful beings. Rather than abstract entities, you could actually travel and walk into their home (if they let you), although gaining an audience is far more difficult, but possible. Also, with the corpses of dead gods floating around the Astral Plane, it easy to see why many Planars viewed the Powers as really powerful mortals rather than abstract gods.

Lastly, the 9 alignments have exemplar races. They are all Planars (and sometimes arise from Petitioners), but are worth noting on their own due to the dominant role they play in the Outer Planes. To stick with the naming scheme, I propose they are called Paragons. The 9 Paragon races are:

  • LN – Modrons
  • LG – Archons
  • NG – Guardinals
  • CG – Eladrin (Although in 4e that name was used for fancy elves. We’ll see what 5e says about them in a few days.)
  • CN – Slaadi
  • CE – Tanar’ri (Demons)
  • NE – Yugoloths (Daemons)
  • LE – Baatezu (Devils)
  • TN – Rilmani