dungeons and dragons – Can an army of psionic characters create a crystal sphere in the astral plane?

TL;DR: Almost-certainly not

From the start, it is important to realize there is no recorded incidence of any new Crystal Sphere appearing since the beginning of the multiverse. There is one cracked Crystal Sphere (the only known case of one being destroyed), and otherwise, as far as we know, all Crystal Spheres that exist have always existed; none were “created” after the fact.

It is possible that the aboleths or (more likely) leShay can remember a time prior to the existence of one or more Crystal Spheres, and therefore remember one or more coming into existence. If they have, this is not recorded in any canon source. Even in the unlikely event that they do remember this, they almost certainly do not know how this occurred. The aboleths, in particular, would probably have been opposed to it in the first place.

Anyway, creating a new Crystal Sphere would be really good for a lot of very powerful entities. Gods could create the Sphere tailored to their needs, allowing them to create a rich, reliable source of faith. Fiends could do likewise for souls; for that matter, so could celestials or any one else with such an interest.

Yet no one has ever done it, no matter how vast their resources. There is no canon source that suggests that anyone has the slightest inkling of how it could be done, or even solid evidence for or against it being possible at all. It may very well be that the Crystal Spheres came with the multiverse and to create more, you’d have to create a new multiverse. Since multiverses do not tend to play nice with one another—see how the Far Realm interacts with ours for what tends to result from them coming into contact—you certainly couldn’t bring a Crystal Sphere over from your new multiverse back to this one even if you somehow managed to succeed on step 1.

Your particular steps definitely do not create a “Crystal Sphere.” You are, at best, emulating a Crystal Sphere, not actually creating one.

But we can still go through your steps and determine how well each works, and evaluate how well the result mimics a Crystal Sphere.

Your Steps

  • I’ve heard somewhere (source unclear) that through shear force of will: demiplanes can be created on the astral plane.

That is correct; the psionic power genesis has the effect of “A demiplane coterminous with the Astral Plane, centered on your location,” as opposed to the magical spell genesis, which has the effect of “A demiplane coterminous with the Ethereal Plane, centered on your location.” So a high-level manifester can create a demiplane on the Astral, while a high-level spellcaster can create a demiplane on the Ethereal. There isn’t much significantly different between the two, but it is a thing.

  • Combining that with what Mr.Rrhexx says about the: “Astral being the place you are when you aren’t anywhere ; the space between spaces ; where pocket dimensions expand to their full sizes & time does not flow actually it flows at infinitesimal value

I don’t know anything about this Mr.Rrhexx, but I don’t love this definition of the Astral Plane. It’s got some poetic truth to it, but particularly the bit about not being anywhere, about space not being a thing in the Astral, that’s not accurate. The Astral Plane has its own concepts of space, direction, and distance, and you travel through it in much the same way you travel through other planes. There are definitely some oddities—subjective gravity, timelessness—but ultimately, the Astral is “the space between the planes,” that is, it exists in the gaps between various planes. It still has size, and though it doesn’t take “time” to move about in it—since it is timeless—there is still a sense that you are first in one place, and then later in another place, rather than being in all places at once.

It is more accurate to say that while you’re in the Astral, you treat all other planes as being on pause. With respect to other things in the Astral, time seems to move normally for you, aside from the speed with which spells may be cast.

Whether that “pause” is perfect or if time continues to move outside the Astral Plane at some “infinitesimal” rate is kind of philosophical, but I’m not aware of any source stating that.

  • Combining that w/ my knowledge of the flogiston, and The Living Sea, which shows that color pools can be inverted in rare cases and that flogiston can’t be brought into a crystal sphere and is its own spatial medium essentially between the shells containing wildspace, but would be not incapable of existing in the null space of the astral which is everywhere and nowhere and hence theoretically as indifferent to flogiston as it is to the living water of the Living Sea.

I don’t believe there is anything here that contradicts this, though I think you’re imagining some greater significance here than there is.

Flogiston is dangerous stuff. It exists on the Material Plane, in between the Crystal Spheres that make up the parts of the Material that we would recognize. Most creatures never encounter it because they never visit the parts of the Material Plane that are outside of any Sphere. Those who do, use special ships known as spelljammers; this is the basis for the Spelljammer campaign setting, which hasn’t seen any love since 2e, so we can’t really state definitively anything about it in “3e or 5e canon.”

Anyway, in 2e, Crystal Spheres keep flogiston out because it’s horribly dangerous and would not be conducive to the life within those Spheres that is generally seen as their point. Since the Crystal Spheres are generally impermeable, this is no great surprise; nothing can pass through that Crystal, and flogiston is no different. There are specific openings in the Crystal to allow passage in and out, and those also block flogiston.

I don’t believe there’s any particular reason you can’t take flogiston out of a flow and bring it with you to another plane, and then from there return to the Material Plane within a Crystal Sphere with the flogiston.

  • Could enough psionics users working together in a psionic analog to epic magic…

That exists; see here.

Note that having “enough” epic manifesters doesn’t really matter—that’s only a question of whether or not you can get your Psicraft check high enough for whatever you want to do. I’m willing to stipulate that you can, whether it’s through an army of assistants or whatever other method, up to the limits that appear to be in place on the basis of “if that were possible, someone would have already done that, and no one has so it must not be possible.” Unfortunately, epic magic/psionics simply don’t have canonical limits, so that is going to be a somewhat subjective measure.

If you push your epic magic/psionics even harder, say, harder than anyone in the history of the multiverse has ever managed, even dozens of gods working in concert and applying all the force of their billions of worshippers, then we just can’t answer the question. Nothing says that epic magic/psionics can’t be pushed harder indefinitely. But at that point, there are literally zero limits of any kind, which makes this and any other question like it moot.

(except instead of dying at the end they’d just have to sync their minds at the beginning and may have to perform this ritual eternally for it to last eternally as far as I know)

I don’t really know what this is in reference to; maybe in 2e epic magic worked that way? 3e epic magic and psionics don’t cause the death of the spellcaster in most situations. That sounds more like someone was attempting to bite off a bigger epic spell than they could chew, and somehow leveraged their own life force to make it happen and pulled too hard.

  • erect a barrier isolating themselves from the rest of the astral with a large array of gates cladded into a rough spherical formation (picture a Roman Sheild wall but 3D)…and then

The gate spell does not have a psionic analogue, and in any event gate specifies that it is circular. A circle cannot perfectly tessellate a surface; there will always be gaps or overlaps between the gates. It is not at all clear that overlaps are allowed, or what they would do if they happened. I imagine some “danger” à la bag of holding and a portable hold might occur here.

Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting does have Create Portal, which Player’s Guide to Faerûn ditches in favor of rolling that functionality into Craft Wondrous Item. These portals are “usually” circular, but other shapes are explicitly named, including some that can tessellate the approximate surface of a sphere. Both feats require spellcasting and caster level, rather than psionics, but there is a Magic Item Compendium rule that states that all magic item-creation feats and items have a psionic analogue. So when Player’s Guide to Faerûn says that you can create a portal with Craft Wondrous Item, Magic Item Compendium says you can do the same with Craft Universal Item. That’s the closest to a canonical answer that we have.

Note that both of those options are available without epic anything.

With respect to epic matters, none of the epic magic/psionics seeds directly claim to be responsible for creating a gate. One presumes, however, that some combination of the Conjure and Transport seeds could accomplish the creation of a portal. In reality, as I said, epic magic/psionics are wildly unbounded and therefore can do basically anything with DM approval; there is very, very little on its canonical limitations. We can only make arguments like those I made at the beginning of my answer that amount to “if it were possible, someone would have already done it.”

That argument probably doesn’t apply here, since there isn’t a lot of point to this maneuver—genesis already handles creating a separation for a demiplane from the rest of the Ethereal or Astral, and it’s not generally thought to be necessary to go beyond that. And if non-epic magic/psionics can do it, it certainly seems like epic magic/psionics ought to be able to.

But if you’re doing that, we can cut out some issues here and forget the whole “rough” part of this—epic magic/psionics can probably just make a spherical portal surface. For that matter, by the same argument, if non-epic magic/psionics can manage genesis, epic magic/psionics can probably just manage something much more grandiose from the get-go.

  • make a plane analogous to flogiston space through force of will, and then

If you mean, create a demiplane via genesis that is filled with flogiston, yes, that is likely possible—the only limitation on genesis is that you have to be able to visualize what your demiplane is going to be like, and flogiston is fairly unique, colorful stuff, so visualizing it shouldn’t be hard for someone familiar with it.

If you mean plane rather than demiplane, then no, absolutely not. For the same reasons that we can be sure no one can create a new Crystal Sphere (if they could they would have), we likewise can be sure that no one can force the creation of a true, proper plane. New planes have happened—unlike new Crystal Spheres—including instances of demiplanes “growing up” into full planes, as with Shadow. But no one can control that process; it is a function of how the multiverse works and beyond the purview of even the greatest of gods.

You could maybe encourage it, by studying what has caused planes to develop in the past and then trying to engineer those circumstances, but you would not have precise control over the plane’s nature. For instance, it being filled with flogiston is likely out, since there’s already a plane like that and the multiverse doesn’t really seem terribly enamored of redundancies like that. Even if you created it that way, it would likely lose that property when it became a proper plane—or just merge with the Material.

  • will the space to allow psionics and sorcerers to cast spells at the same proficiency (as each other) via a weave that is maintained by a portion of the monk/psionic army…and then

This is the default and wouldn’t require “maintenance.” Spells and psionics function as normal on most planes, including the Astral, the Ethereal, and most demiplanes within them. You could probably create a demiplane that doesn’t allow these things if you really wanted, with extra effort, but the default is that they work.

Which is good, because there’s basically no evidence for it being possible to accomplish otherwise. (Monks, at least if we’re talking about the class, certainly have no ability to contribute to it.) We do have to talk here, a bit, about a divergence between 5e canon and prior canon. Before 5e, the Weave was unique to the Forgotten Realms—more helpfully, in this context, Realmspace. If someone from the Realms left that Crystal Sphere and went beyond Mystra’s (or Shar’s) influence, their magic continued to function without any problem because outside of that influence you never needed the Weave in the first place. If you visited the Realms from elsewhere, you had to start using the Weave, but it basically just “worked” unless you pissed Mystra off somehow. 5e changed that by saying that the Weave is everywhere—and never explained that at all. How it works, outside of Mystra’s (or Shar’s) influence, we just don’t know.

Either way, the canon on psionics in 3e was that manifesters basically project their own mini-Weave and that’s how psionics operates. And there are very limited abilities to use psionics to give others psionics—bestow power, metaconcert, psychic chirurgery—but nothing that grants spellcasting. It’s plausible for such a thing to exist—especially with epic psionics—but it’s not going to be a full, plane-wide Weave like we have in Realmspace. Not even Mystra or Shar can really create that—Mystra controls the Weave only because Ao gave it to her to do that, and Shar created the Shadow Weave out of the existing Weave, not wholecloth. Ao can dictate that Realmspace has a Weave and that control of it is the purview of one or more divine portfolios, as Ao is the overdeity for Realmspace, but while his power is nearly absolute within that Crystal Sphere, it’s nothing outside it.

  • use move_earth combined with epic magic and either portals, or lots of supplies, make it into an unbreakable ceramic-like barrier which is some combination of dust particles combined with barrier spells and made so that it can’t be naturally passed through except via portals, then semi-lastly

I mean, wall of force would be vastly simpler and much harder, but nothing you do is going to be immune to both disintegration and disjunction, to say nothing of epic magic/psionics and/or divine intervention.

Technically, you could do whatever “the Cube” did, but 1. what exactly that was has never been publicized, and has probably since been forgotten, and 2. the most likely hypothesis was that it involved an overclocked spell clock creating an absurd number of dispelling screens, which could be overwhelmed by a similarly-absurd number of disjunctions. Epic magic/psionics or divine intervention would likely make short work of that.

  • create another wall of gates facing the other way

    (The first wall was to stop astral travelers from reaching your work space)

    (the second wall is to connect your workspace to flogiston space)

    (Using world wide web analogies the first wall is like an online firewall and the second wall is a gateway to the web hosts making the demiplane analogous to a small public server and the flogiston the anolog of the the world wide web with the astral being an analog of a parrallel world wide web and the space between the firewall and the netportal is like a private entranet with a psionic army working really hard to maintain balance and order)

OK, this is subject to the same discussion as the previous version, but I’m not really sure I’m following your analogy.

  • use more more magics to create solid bodies, and a sun (vague on purpose not critical to answering the main question)

Genesis already does this for you, though you could certainly expand on what you get from that spell/power using additional spells.

The bigger problem is space to put it all. Genesis produces a demiplane 180 feet in diameter after a week worth of work, and you can expand that by 180 feet for every additional week of work you put in. Producing enough space to reach from the Sun to Earth, therefore, would take over 52 million years. Epic magic/psionics could plausibly speed up this process, plausibly by a considerable amount, but there is zero canonical definition for how that would work or how much you could speed things up. But even a factor of 1,000, which would be enormous, would only knock it down to 52,000 years.

The bigger problem is that demiplanes just don’t get this big. The largest canonical demiplane was the Demiplane of Shadow, which in 3e became a full Plane of Shadow. But we know very little about the extent of the demiplane version—all we’ve got is that it was the “largest.” As far as I’m aware, the largest demiplane left in 3e is the Demiplane of Dread, better known as Ravenloft. That’s got room for several nations in it, but several nations is a far cry from several planets and a star. The rules don’t specify any canonical limit on how large genesis can make things, but the reality of the setting certainly seems to imply that there is one.

The transition of the Demiplane of Shadow to the Plane of Shadow strongly suggests that at a certain size, your demiplane stops being your demiplane, and becomes a full plane—and it’s not “yours” anymore. See the discussion above.

  • use illusion magic that has been amplified by either a portal or more psionics to be akin to shadow magic & illusions cast in the deep ethereal; to create gods to help with maintenance and act as self sustaining ethereal “quasi-constructs” for making everything run a bit smoother

Not sure why this would involve shadow magic, but in any event… no, probably not.

I mean, epic magic/psionics allows you to create other beings; the Conjure seed explicitly discusses how you can use it in combination with Life and Fortify to accomplish that. It explicitly mentions how you might give those beings powers; if you are powerful enough, that could include god-like powers. And beings with god-like powers might be prayed to, and the faithful might even receive prayers in response.

But you won’t be able to control divine portfolios. Even overdeities seem to have somewhat limited control over those; certainly no one else has any say in them. It is possible that the worship of these god-like artificial beings will result in those artificial beings developing divine portfolios, and becoming true gods, but you won’t control it—and you’ll lose much of your control over them. Gods are what they are believed to be—so unless you control the beliefs of the vast majority of the population, that might change these beings from what you wanted them to be. Even if you do, beliefs are often vague and nebulous, and gods have a fair amount of latitude in their behavior—and divine power allows them to do a lot with the wiggle room they’ve got. More importantly, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be able to prevent the development of problematic beliefs that may give rise to problematic gods, even if you keep the beliefs about your own artificial gods where you want them. Almost all planes belief in several gods that are literally dedicated to “being a problem,” in fact, which means the very absence of any repository for that sort of belief within your system is liable to cause the creation of a problematic god outside your system.

Basically, you’re trying to play overdeity here, without being one yourself, and you’re trying to achieve things that no overdeity has managed to do. Ao is one of the strictest overdeities known, and the gods of Realmspace have certainly caused many, many headaches for Ao. You want to do better than Ao with a fraction of Ao’s toolbox—that does not seem canonically plausible to me.

Conclusion

Yes, you can create your own demiplanes in the Astral; you could even fill it with flogiston if you want. You could probably embed something impervious to flogiston within that plane, if you wanted, and create a world within that. An entire solar system, less likely—that would be a big demiplane. But big demiplanes do exist, so it might be just barely plausible, though I have serious doubts about creating two such fake-Crystal Spheres in the same demiplane.

Your fake-Crystal Sphere(s) will definitely remain just that, fakes, though with sufficiently powerful epic magic/psionics it might be hard to tell the difference—it’s plausible that you could create a substance that would require a more powerful epic mage/psion than yourself to break. Note, however, that many deities are likely going to qualify there, and that’s before we get into their actual divine abilities which are going to be intensely difficult to thwart without divine ability. It’s possible to become a deity yourself—more likely, really—but that comes with strings attached.

Speaking of “strings attached” to divine portfolios, that also applies to any fake-gods you attempt to create within your world. The more god-like they become, the greater the risk of them becoming actual gods—and that is likely to subvert them from your goals. Even the most powerful gods have difficulty controlling the portfolios of other gods, even the weakest. With carefully-engineered conditions and a sufficiently-isolated world, you could probably maintain it for a long, long time, but I wouldn’t bet on “indefinitely.” Sooner or later the issues are going to pile up beyond your ability to maintain the charade, even if that’s millions or billions of years hence.


For the best internet expertise in D&D cosmology from 3.5e and prior—that is, Planescape and Spelljammer, I suggest afroakuma’s Giant in the Playground threads.

dungeons and dragons – What is your favorite RPG for younger people?

I have played a lot of Dungeons and Dragons with my younger siblings, but I have found that they can lose interest quickly with all of the complicated rules and slow combat. They want more of the story and less of the rules. I did some research into other games, but many of them are just as complicated. I want the game to have plenty of action, but it should be clean action as my siblings are all 12 years old and under. I looked into GURPS, as I thought that it would be simpler and more customizable, but it was still very complicated and is so rules-based that I feel that it is lacking the story element. I want to make a campaign myself, and I want it to be based on a great storyline that will allow my siblings to enjoy themselves and get very involved in the story. Any ideas?

dungeons and dragons – Where was Baldur’s Gate (the fictional city) first described?

The city of Baldur’s Gate is famous since the original Baldur’s Gate and Baldur’s Gate II video games.

Was the city created specifically for the video game, or did it exist prior to the video game? If it is the latter, which module or book described Baldur’s Gate first? When I say “describe”, I mean a rather well defined city with at very least a map of the city (and not a point on a larger map).

Bonus cookie points if you find a module where it was mentioned before an actual description.

dungeons and dragons – How to describe & roleplay past torture, prejudice and gender discrimination without upsetting fellow players too much?

In the next adventure I’m going to play a drow male, who was casually bullied, whipped etc by females o the drow society. That’s how that society works, after all. It’s in the books. He now has a new deity and purpose, but wounds are supposed to be fresh.

D&D is a heroic game, and more grim and dark element got softer since the original AD&D times. Or so it seems from my point o view. And it was never meant to be as brutal as, say, Vampire games. Drow society, and characters that are still young, still processing trauma, not heroically over it as Drizzt Do’Urden and his clones seems to be.

I don’t want to upset fellow players, but at the same time I want this part of my story to really be present. What is the simplest and least intrusive technique to allow it?

I’m playing 5e in Forgotten Realms but I believe this question will be similarly relevant for all other editions, and even games from the extended family, that has matriarchal cruel drow society.

dungeons and dragons – What do neutral alignments really mean compared to their lawful/chaotic counterparts?

Neutral fills the void between the extremes

The main difference is the concern for the law. Lawful X won’t break the rules that guide them. Chaotic X don’t care for the rules at all. Neutral X will consider the rules and, given the right incentive, break them.

For completeness, let’s have a look at the official explanations (from 5e as that is most common).

From the Player’s Handbook pg 122:

Lawful good (LG) creatures can be counted on to do
the right thing as expected by society. Gold dragons,
paladins, and most dwarves are lawful good.

Their idea of what is “right” comes from societal norms, and they will stick to them. Whether those are the rules of the clan, the rules of your religion – somewhere the set of rules you live your life by is codified in some way.

Chaotic good (CG) creatures act as their conscience
directs, with little regard for what others expect. Copper
dragons, many elves, and unicorns are chaotic good.

So here we’re seeing people who have a strong sense of morality and want to do the right thing but really couldn’t care less if they break the law doing it.

Neutral good (NG) folk do the best they can to help
others according to their needs. Many celestials, some
cloud giants, and most gnomes are neutral good.

The neutral, here, is between the two above. Laws have their place and would be considered but breaking them is on the table too. To the lawful good a law is an impenetrable wall, to chaotic good the law has no bearing and to the neutral good the law is a barrier to jump if the need is great enough.

Lawful neutral (LN) individuals act in accordance
with law, tradition, or personal codes. Many monks and
some wizards are lawful neutral.

Neutral here is a very passive attitude. They follow their rules because they are the rules, not because they’re fighting for some greater good like the righteous paladin.

Neutral (N) is the alignment of those who prefer to
steer clear of moral questions and don’t take sides, doing what seems best at the time. Lizardfolk, most druids, and many humans are neutral.

Full neutral is the most passive of all – they really don’t feel strongly one way or the other. They aren’t putting themselves out of their way to help others, but they aren’t going to get anything out of making someone else feel bad either. It isn’t that they’re sometimes really selfless and then can be extremely evil, they just wouldn’t put themselves in either situation. They’ll also consider laws but they aren’t above being broken.

Chaotic neutral (CN) creatures follow their whims,holding their personal freedom above all else. Many barbarians and rogues, and some bards, are chaotic neutral.

The neutrality as above but without any regard for rules.

Lawful evil (LE) creatures methodically take what they want, within the limits of a code of tradition, loyalty, or order. Devils, blue dragons, and hobgoblins are lawful evil.

The text here says it all. As with the other lawful alignments, they won’t break their laws, but that is all that stops them – if it wasn’t there they’d kill you for being an inconvenience.

Neutral evil (NE) is the alignment of those who do whatever they can get away with, without compassion or qualms. Many drow, some cloud giants, and yugoloths are neutral evil.

“Do whatever they can get away with” is the key bit here. Could they break that law and no one would know? They aren’t concerned about any consequence but that which can come back to bite them.

Chaotic evil (CE) creatures act with arbitrary violence, spurred by their greed, hatred, or bloodlust. Demons, red dragons, and orcs are chaotic evil.

These really don’t care for anyone but themselves.

dungeons and dragons – How come old players deem Cats to be deadly encounters for peasants?

I have encountered several times the claim that cats are rather deadly encounters for any commoner and the difference between a commoner and an adventurer is, that the adventurer actually would have a fighting chance to survive a one on one encounter with a cat.

However, can we identify where this tidbit of gamer-lore stem from, and how does it hold up in the various editions of D&D?

For our cat and commoner, we should take them how they appear in the bestiary. The cat is of the housecat variant and the commoner is a farmer without any class levels.

dungeons and dragons – How can I get the DM to stop sending giants to kill us?

We just started a group and the DM said it would be easier than his last time and we were like “Ok” and we were in a forest and he sent 8 giants at us, at once! We barely made it out alive. He the said there was a village just 5 minutes from here. We started traveling up that way. When we reach the village, he said that it was partly destroyed. We wander in even more and he sends 12 giants at us! Why does he keep doing this, and how do I get him to stop?

dungeons and dragons – Is there a canonical date for Returning Day?

There doesn’t seem to be

Murder In Baldur’s Gate, the primary source on the festival’s existence, doesn’t mention any dates, and is in general somewhat vague about what happens in the Day itself. The only hint towards a possible estimate is in the descriptions of the events, such as:

The light drizzle isn’t dampening the festive mood (…)

(Murder in Baldur’s Gate, page 4, under It begins with blood)

As very little sources on Returning Day exist, it’s likely no date has ever been officially announced.

As Murder in Baldur’s Gate seems to be the only officially published book that mentions Returning Day, I believe there are no published dates for it.