How to travel to and through the Astral Plane, the Ethereal Plane or say the Outer Planes? Here are some of the most common methods for traveling from the world to different planes. Although many places in the planes are impossibly distant from the mortal world, the mortal world is riddled with rifts in the fabric of reality and hidden planar doorways.
Volcanoes in the mortal world spew magma and burning ash from fiery seas within the Elemental Chaos. Rune-graven doors of iron protect gates leading to the Nine Hells. Mystic archways forgotten in ruined temples lead to the dominions of the gods themselves. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of doors to these infinite realms lie scattered across the world.
Although the means may vary, the methods of planar (plane) travel fall into one of several broad types: portals, rituals, vessels, and phenomena.
A portal is a magical doorway that instantly teleports the user somewhere else. Portals might go anywhere, and many require specific keys or actions in order to function. A portal is the easiest way to get to another plane, but you have to find a working portal that goes where you want to go.
A crossing is a place where the veil between the worlds is thin. Crossings lead to the Feywild, the Shadowfell, and other parallel planes. Crossings sometimes activate and function much like portals leading to corresponding points on the parallel planes. They also mark places where travelers can use passage rituals to reach the parallel planes.
Large areas of the Feywild—for example, certain eladrin (a race) cities—sometimes shift to the natural world or back again. A traveler in the area of a worldfall is carried along when the area shifts to the other plane.
If you’re at a crossing to the Feywild or Shadowfell, the ritual Fey Passage or Shadow Passage can transport you into the parallel plane. Passage rituals are easy ways to move to another plane, but are limited because you need to find a suitable crossing point first.
The ritual Astral Sojourn or Elemental Transference shifts a traveler to a random point in the Astral Sea or Elemental Chaos. You don’t need any kind of crossing point. If you have to find something lost or hidden in the Astral Sea or the Elemental Chaos, you might need to use a transfer ritual.
The rituals Planar Portal and True Portal create short-lived teleportation circles that can take travelers to specific locations on other planes. If you know exactly where you’re going and you have the sigil sequence to get there, a teleport ritual is the fastest way to get there.
Magical ships such as planar dromonds (fast-sailing galley ships) or spelljammers have the ability to serve as navigation foci for the Plane Shift ritual. The Plane Shift ritual is a comparatively easy ritual that shifts the planar vessel and all its occupants into another plane.
Portals offer an excellent means for adventurers to reach fabulous destinations, but in most cases, these destinations are fixed, making them of limited use to those who need to reach a particular location. A number of rituals help adventurers move within a plane or to other planes rather than spending an interminable time hunting down the right portal for the mission at hand. In addition, rituals can be used to divine a portal’s secrets, lock a portal to prevent its use, or alter a portal’s magic to make it malfunction.
Interplanar rituals grant passage from one plane to another. Planar Portal is the most common method, but like Linked Portal, it requires knowledge of the destination’s planar address (its sigil sequence), and that information is sometimes hard to obtain. Rituals to create permanent portals that bridge the planes exist, but such permanent portal rituals are mind-bogglingly expensive and their acquisition difficult.
A teleportation circle is a ring of sigils and glyphs inscribed or chiseled around the area where a ritually created portal will appear. Although not all rituals require the use of teleportation circles, their inclusion in the ritual is beneficial, even if it is expensive. The reason is simple: The circle binds the portal to your location and to its destination by establishing the magical coordinates of the location into the circle itself (sometimes called the sigil sequence). Since these codes are required to establish the necessary links for a portal to appear, these coordinates are precious commodities for planar travelers, and their acquisition can be the subject of an entire quest.
Realities separated by the gulf of time and space, where different peoples, civilizations, perhaps even cosmologies reside: if sigil sequences exist for every point of space in a D&D universe, sigil sequences must exist that correspond to other worlds, such as Abeir-Toril and Eberron. It’s possible then that with the right sigil sequence, a planar traveler could slip free from one world to enter another. And with that, the is an infinite universe to explore and adventure.