We asked our lovely Quest Givers on Patreon to choose a biome for the Heroes’ next adventure. Faced with options ranging from Outer Space to Dino Jungle, they opted for the broadest possible imaginary playground. Who knows where in the wide cosmology of the Outer Planes they’re going to wind up? (Better luck next time to my personal favorite biome, Fire Swamp. I hope to meet the ratfolk of unusual size one day soon.)

We’ll have plenty of time to talk shop about planar travel, the planes themselves, and the pros and cons of wheels vs. trees. vs. axes. This is an ongoing series of indeterminate length, after all. What I’d like to talk about today is a bit more general. And it’s got everything to do with the particular oddity of the plane shift spell. It’s more or less quoted in the Handbook’s banner text in today’s comic.

The fact is that you’ve got to link hands in a circle to successfully plane shift. There’s no generalized “touch range” for the targets. No “creatures of your choice that you can see within range.” You’ve got to do a little ritual. You’ve got to stand in a circle, hold hands, and try your damndest not to quote Guardians of the Galaxy at each other. This is the kind of specific weirdness that I love in my spell designs.

Whether we’re talking about the 1-hour process of growing a reincarnated body, the oddly-specific brass brazier of find familiaror the convoluted rules for how exactly one can speak with deadThese are the details that transform a mechanical effect into actual magic. They make spells present in the world of the characters, and invite you to build a little scene around them. Just look at Fighter turning the minor ritual of plane shift into an opportunity for RP! That’s exactly the kind of theater-kid selflessness you want at a table!

And so, before we plunge into the great unknow of the planes, why don’t we pause for a moment to appreciate our favorite flavorful magics? What is a minor spell element that takes it from “useful effect” to “evocative enchantment?” Sound off with all your favorite fluffy components down in the comments!


EARN BONUS LOOT! Check out the The Handbook of Heroes Patreon. We’ve got a sketch feed full of Laurel’s original concept art. We’ve got early access to comics. There’s physical schwag, personalized art, and a monthly vote to see which class gets featured in the comic next. And perhaps my personal favorite, we’ve been hard at work bringing a bimonthly NSFW Handbook of Erotic Fantasy comic to the world! So come one come all. Hurry while supplies of hot elf chicks lasts!