D&D 5E 5e/Next Cosmology

Good to know the proper Eberron cosmology should be back, if they republish the setting again.

Seriously? You think The Great Wheel fits Eberron? Shades-of-grey Eberron where no one knows if the Gods are even real, and the Blood Of Vol is getting clerics despite being a fake religion? You think that setting of all settings is served by a hardline "Alignment Is King" cosmology?
 

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Kaodi

Hero
Seriously? You think The Great Wheel fits Eberron? Shades-of-grey Eberron where no one knows if the Gods are even real, and the Blood Of Vol is getting clerics despite being a fake religion? You think that setting of all settings is served by a hardline "Alignment Is King" cosmology?

...

If you have read the editorial, it should be pretty obvious that what it really says is " the right cosmology for every setting, " not " the Great Wheel for every setting " . That was the 4E approach to cosmology.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
In the same way that "D&D is not D&D without Elves, Drow and Orcs" line is kinda bad?
Well, yes, actually. Exactly in that sense, though the closer analogy would be someone saying "D&D is not D&D if it has Dragonborn in it". This is a backhanded insult of 4E we're talking about here. :)

And, yeah, I'd have a complaint if someone walked up to a game I was running that didn't include elves, drow, and orcs (especially drow!) and said it wasn't D&D if I didn't include them in the campaign setting. The should be in the books as options because they have fans, but it would still be D&D if they get kicked out.

It doesn't do away with "[you can] change the cosmology to match what you want!" or even you can change the races to match what you want. D&D needs a baseline, for many years the great wheel was that baseline. For many D&D isn't D&D without it. They build the great wheel and anyone or everyone can discount it and make their own thing, just like what they can do with elves, drow and orcs. That doesn't mean they shouldn't make elves, drow and orcs. It has nothing to do about putting down 4e or saying the 4e planes are bad, it is about realizing and addressing that not everyone was on board with the 4e design.
I think you're being a little too charitable to the author's intent, here. Or, at the very least, you are missing a very clear reading of the lines that is anything but "not putting down 4e or saying that the 4e planes are bad". Whether or not that was the exact intent of those lines is unclear, but you need to put a lot of words in the author's mouth to get "this is about realizing and addressing that not everyone was on board with the 4e design" out of that particular line in the article.

First, I'm glad you liked the elemental chaos and astral sea, I can understand you even liking it over the well defined great wheel (and inner planes). That doesn't mean that they can't keep it or a version of it. I took aspects of the 4e cosmology for my game and integrated them with a VERY 3e cosmology base. It works great.

Second, I would want to see them evolve and advance the core cosmology instead of abandoning it again in favour of something completely new. They tried tearing down the cosmology and rebuilding it with similar (almost identical) pieces in 4e and that didn't work for many. I would have rathered something completely new but it seems unlikely as they probably want to keep nine hells and infinite (or 666) abyss layers. So, again, evolve and advance not rewrite from scratch.
The issue here is that I saw 4E as an advancement and evolution of the older Great Wheel cosmology. It wasn't a replacement, since it still integrated pretty much every bad idea that the older cosmologies had other than the strict ordering of planes, and pretty much every single location from the Great Wheel is easily placed into it (and is detailed in the Manual of the Planes). The 4E cosmology basically is the Great Wheel in every way except the physical (metaphysical?) structure.

If even a minor iterative change to the system (and yes, I'd say that 3E -> 4E is exactly that) is considered to be excessive or "rewriting from scratch", then the system is doomed to stagnate.

Third, I do like the idea of incorporating cosmology into the world. I think it works GREAT for a lot of mythical (real world myths) stories. Mount olympus is supposed to be in greece (iirc) afterall. A lot of what we would consider planar hopping is basically just them going to obscure or remote areas of the world. I think that a lot of these aspects DO NOT work in a lot of newer stories and certainly don't work well in games where you ARE going to be leaving your little plane behind.
I'm a big fan of the incorporating cosmology into the world approach myself. It is much more fun for gods and demons to inhabit the world itself, rather than be isolated off in weird alternate realms of existence that can only be accessed by certain high-level spells. If nothing else, I prefer planes that overlay over the physical world (like the Feywild or Shadowfell) over infinitely-sized theme worlds like most Outer Planes tend to be.

Fourth, D&D has always had a history of mixing up their cosmologies as it is. Eberron and Faerun both had different cosmologies than the default greyhawk one, and different again from spelljammer. So I don't see why that is so hard. I think the flaw for any discussion about cosmologies comes up when you try to talk about them in a vacuum without knowing the core world that they relate to. For example, I've never had any use for the inner elemental planes but I know countless games which have used them to great effect. Hell a notable NPC in my game has a cubic gate which links directly to the elemental plane of water, but it has never really come up.
Certainly, each setting really should have its own cosmology. I think it was a big mistake of older versions of the game to even establish a singular cosmology. The Realms, Eberron, Dark Sun, and others really need their own cosmology, if they even need a cosmology at all.

I'm not sure if you strictly need a world to reference to talk about a cosmology, though... Certainly, you shouldn't create them separately and then force them together, but if you create them separately and then interact with them separately, it still kinda works. The Great Wheel is terrible as a core cosmology that is equally applied to every setting, but as a setting in its own right it isn't bad. The goal really should be to make the Great Wheel suitable for level 1 play, rather than make it the endgame for every other setting, if that makes sense.

Take everything I've said with a grain of salt, I just wanted to give my thoughts on the subject.
That's no different what I do. :)
 

...

If you have read the editorial, it should be pretty obvious that what it really says is " the right cosmology for every setting, " not " the Great Wheel for every setting " . That was the 4E approach to cosmology.

I don't remember the Feywild and the Shadowfell showing up in Dark Sun? They actually fit Eberron fairly well with the OTT pulp feel of some of it and the kitchen sink feel of other parts.
 

I think you're being a little too charitable to the author's intent, here. Or, at the very least, you are missing a very clear reading of the lines that is anything but "not putting down 4e or saying that the 4e planes are bad". Whether or not that was the exact intent of those lines is unclear, but you need to put a lot of words in the author's mouth to get "this is about realizing and addressing that not everyone was on board with the 4e design" out of that particular line in the article.

The issue here is that I saw 4E as an advancement and evolution of the older Great Wheel cosmology. It wasn't a replacement, since it still integrated pretty much every bad idea that the older cosmologies had other than the strict ordering of planes, and pretty much every single location from the Great Wheel is easily placed into it (and is detailed in the Manual of the Planes). The 4E cosmology basically is the Great Wheel in every way except the physical (metaphysical?) structure.

Not really. The cosmologies are about different things. The Great Wheel cosmology is a metaphysical cosmology about Your Place In The Universe. The 4e World Axis Cosmology is about interesting and challenging places to visit. Nearby are Seelie and Unseelie and further off are more powerful and wierder threats.

And one of the big ironies is that for all the developers caused uproar by claiming D&D wasn't about tripping through fairy rings, I suspect a massively greater proportion of adventurers have tripped through faerie rings in 4e than in any other edition.
 

tlantl

First Post
I think this is where the policy of printing a crap ton of stuff for each edition is going to bite the company in the backside.

I already own at least two editions worth of stuff relating to just about everything related to D&D worlds, world building, and other assorted paraphernalia. I don't need to buy more books that have a slightly different take on the stuff I already have.

Take this subject for instance. I'm sure that unless there's a lot of really cool new stuff that utilizes markedly different rules, or really brings a new approach to the things we already have a good grasp of, then the only people who are going to buy it are the new players who don't have this stuff and the guy who has to have it all regardless of whether he's got it all in spades already.

It's nice to know they're thinking about these things but I don't see it as very profitable. Maybe that's why they are mentioning it. Maybe they want us to have it fresh in our minds so as to better sell this stuff to us later.

I'd probably like to see some serious thought put into actual adventures in these planes. Some good old fashioned romps through the hells or elysium. Maybe a series of modules that span several levels and does some serious plane hopping.
 

Raith5

Adventurer
Personally I'm hoping for the Great Wheel and Planescape to be default in 5e. I didn't really have anything against 4e's cosmology... I just didn't find it inspiring, interesting or all that unique. In fact it seemed very similar to many of the cosmologies used by other fantasy games out on the market (and apparently as evidenced by this thread a multitude of homebrews) . I guess I feel like if you're going to create a cosmology for your game make it different and unique, and that's what the Great Wheel was IMO.

I thought the generic/broad feeling of 4th edition cosmology was a feature not a bug. It is simple in layout, usable for campaigns and (most importantly) makes no assumptions about alignment.

I liked the fact that the feywild could be scary - it did not have to be "my little pony" land with elves, green meadows and rainbows, and the shadowfell could be more than evil and undead.
 

Minigiant

Legend
Supporter
[MENTION=29398]Lanefan[/MENTION]

The Infinite Staircase and FD&D is where I go the idea. I even have my own illendi called the Conductors.

Essentially I made the Staircase into a train and split it into different rail lines: Air, Animal, Chaos, Death, Earth, Evil, Fire, Good, Knowledge, Law, Life, Magic, Plant, Trickery, War, and Water.
 


Tovec

Explorer
Well, yes, actually. Exactly in that sense, though the closer analogy would be someone saying "D&D is not D&D if it has Dragonborn in it". This is a backhanded insult of 4E we're talking about here. :)
I think you're being a little too charitable to the author's intent, here. Or, at the very least, you are missing a very clear reading of the lines that is anything but "not putting down 4e or saying that the 4e planes are bad". Whether or not that was the exact intent of those lines is unclear, but you need to put a lot of words in the author's mouth to get "this is about realizing and addressing that not everyone was on board with the 4e design" out of that particular line in the article.
Actually, it would be closer to say "D&D is not D&D without Dragonborn" but my point still remained. I think it is silly to take a statement like "D&D is not D&D without the great wheel" and extrapolate it to mean that the great wheel is the only way to play D&D or to extrapolate it to mean that if you are playing D&D without the great wheel you are doing it wrong OR to extrapolate it to mean that the great wheel was best and 4e sucks. I think it is fair to say that some people disliked the 4e cosmology and that those same people perhaps preferred the great wheel. I'm not putting words in the authors mouth to say exactly what I just said because that is exactly how that article reads, it also seems to be the general sentiment coming out from WotC lately given 5e.

And, yeah, I'd have a complaint if someone walked up to a game I was running that didn't include elves, drow, and orcs (especially drow!) and said it wasn't D&D if I didn't include them in the campaign setting. The should be in the books as options because they have fans, but it would still be D&D if they get kicked out.
Again, it isn't about that. It is about D&D having a base that some people liked, and that that base is very D&D. Without that base it is not D&D to some people. An individual game (campaign/setting/home game) can lack orcs and elves and drow, but that doesn't make it less D&D. If the whole GAME (system/D&D's actual rules) lacked elves, orcs and drow then we would be questioning what happened, and I think rightly so.

The issue here is that I saw 4E as an advancement and evolution of the older Great Wheel cosmology. It wasn't a replacement, since it still integrated pretty much every bad idea that the older cosmologies had other than the strict ordering of planes, and pretty much every single location from the Great Wheel is easily placed into it (and is detailed in the Manual of the Planes). The 4E cosmology basically is the Great Wheel in every way except the physical (metaphysical?) structure.
We both seem to agree about what I said in my last post, 4e took the 3e cosmology, smashed it with a hammer and reassembled using the same pieces. I object to them not evolving it, they only changed it. You perhaps object to them not starting over from scratch. In some ways I would prefer them starting from scratch. It is when you take the same pieces and rebuild them in a configuration that is completely alien to me (and those who liked and understood the previous version) then you come into troubles. Either you have to evolve or you have to completely restart it, reworking it and calling it new only hurts people.

If even a minor iterative change to the system (and yes, I'd say that 3E -> 4E is exactly that) is considered to be excessive or "rewriting from scratch", then the system is doomed to stagnate.
I don't really get your point here. I wasn't (and I'm not) saying the great wheel should stay as it is. I've changed it plenty in my games while keeping the same basic structure. I've added and removed planes and changed how entire aspects work. That breaks down when suddenly everything is an entirely new shape without explanation of how it got there. Especially to long time players who expect things to work a certain way.

If you are going to make something new then do it full board. *grumbles* new 52 *grumbles*

I'm a big fan of the incorporating cosmology into the world approach myself. It is much more fun for gods and demons to inhabit the world itself, rather than be isolated off in weird alternate realms of existence that can only be accessed by certain high-level spells. If nothing else, I prefer planes that overlay over the physical world (like the Feywild or Shadowfell) over infinitely-sized theme worlds like most Outer Planes tend to be.
I think that incorporation of cosmology into setting can work. I don't think it universally works, which is my issue. I think that I don't want my gods on mount olympus, hell I don't even want all my gods in the same heaven necessarily. It all depends on how the planes are used and more importantly how spells interact with them. That is an area which I definitely think the designers have fallen down on the job instead of thinking it through or inventing something new. Some spells to access the planes become too good, summon things too easily or readily. To me those are much more important areas to discuss then the metaphysical shape of the worlds beyond our own.

Certainly, each setting really should have its own cosmology. I think it was a big mistake of older versions of the game to even establish a singular cosmology. The Realms, Eberron, Dark Sun, and others really need their own cosmology, if they even need a cosmology at all.
We agree then.

I think the flaw for any discussion about cosmologies comes up when you try to talk about them in a vacuum without knowing the core world that they relate to. For example, I've never had any use for the inner elemental planes but I know countless games which have used them to great effect. Hell a notable NPC in my game has a cubic gate which links directly to the elemental plane of water, but it has never really come up.
I'm not sure if you strictly need a world to reference to talk about a cosmology, though... Certainly, you shouldn't create them separately and then force them together, but if you create them separately and then interact with them separately, it still kinda works. The Great Wheel is terrible as a core cosmology that is equally applied to every setting, but as a setting in its own right it isn't bad. The goal really should be to make the Great Wheel suitable for level 1 play, rather than make it the endgame for every other setting, if that makes sense.
Would it make sense to talk about the planes in eberron without talking about eberron? That is what I mean. I think that it is a flaw to talk about planes without talking about the "normal" world they interact with. I said before that I think they need to think more about how spells interact with the planes they should spend much more time thinking about how the world works first, how it needs to interact with the planes. If mortal souls don't go to an afterlife without paying the way then that is a very different cosmology than if they are sent there within seconds of death. If the world is an ancient egyptian one then the planes are going to interact very differently than one with psudo-christian goodies and baddies. I would then expect jackal-headed gods riding chariots of fire to light the day, instead of ones sitting in a glorious hall of the dead. I don't need 18 kinds of demons and devils (fiends in general) if the evils are great snakes and crocodiles. That is what I mean by I think it is a flaw to discuss planes without the material world.

9 times out of 10 I couldn't care less what the planes look like as long as spells work the way I expect them to. 9/10 I won't be dealing with the planes at all, except when creatures are summoned from there. So 9/10 times I couldn't care less if the planes are metaphysically a wheel, or a soup, or if the world is just one pond of many in an endless grove of trees (which I've actually used). That 1/10 times they had better get the details right, I need ethereal to act a certain way, for example.
 

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