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D&D 5E Connecting the Planes: What New Interstitial Setting Do You Want?

What interstitial campaign setting would you like to see published? (ONE CHOICE ONLY)

  • Planescape

    Votes: 32 37.6%
  • Spelljammer

    Votes: 24 28.2%
  • Manual of the Planes (Generic)

    Votes: 22 25.9%
  • None. I hate the outer planes. And inner planes more.

    Votes: 4 4.7%
  • D&D drove me to drink and I didn't even have the decency to thank Hasbro for it.

    Votes: 3 3.5%

  • Total voters
    85
  • This poll will close: .
I said Manual of the Planes because I feel all of the planes need more attention in 5E, but the book I would get the most mileage out of would be a Spelljammer book, mostly because I could use stats and mechanics for the ships even though I use them differently.
I'm going to maybe commit heresy here, but going out on a limb, I think I could say "Nobody gives a rat's arse about 80% of the Planes", and I would apply that especially to the vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast number of people who have come new to or back to D&D with 5th edition.

This is why I think a specific Manual of the Planes, which carefully lays out the Great Wheel cosmology (or worse, tries to lay out multiple cosmologies) and dedicates roughly equal space to each plane and so on would basically be completely useless to the very vast majority of DMs and groups. First off, you'd just be re-iterating stuff in the MotPs of previous editions. Second off, most it is incredibly boring and actually actively antithetical to adventuring. Even Planescape struggled with this a bit, and only the deal where stuff shifted planes depending on beliefs, together with inventing the Blood War, really gave any reason to engage with most other planes.

It's like, I think even a lot of people who might say they want that, wouldn't actually get much or in some cases even any usage out of it. They might enjoy reading it, or looking at it on their shelf, but I don't think would be, like, a thing people would find useful.

Whereas a Planesjammer approach, which maybe didn't even completely clarify the Great Wheel, or dare I say it, maybe didn't use the Great Wheel (but still had a reason for Sigil to be at the center and City of Doors and so on), and didn't like, spend aeons trying to explain how much fire damage per round you take on the elemental plane of fire, or why nothing at all exciting can ever happen on any Good or Law-aligned plane, nosiree, but rather focused on Sigil and adventures based out of there, to highly exotic and wild planar locations, rather than boring as hell ones, and really focused on the game-able, engaging, exciting stuff, not the dreary recitation of facts or sad attempts to make dull stuff exciting (yeah I'm looking at you other MotPs!). Have spelljammer-type ships traversing the astral or other planes would be pretty effin' awesome, and because it wasn't exactly spelljammer you could throw out what didn't work from that, and bring back in what did (which would necessarily include the Giff, Neogi, etc.). Someone earlier said make it it's own setting, not just an expression of the Great Wheel and I think that's right.

Maybe you could title it "Planesjammer" (because it would be fine to call the ships that) and have the tagline: "Re-invent the Great Wheel!".
 

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jayoungr

Legend
Supporter
I can't vote because I simply can't choose between Planescape and Spelljammer. But I think of the two, Planescape is more likely to actually happen, or at least, it will happen first. They've been teasing modrons for years now--about as long as they've been dangling Spelljammer as a joke, but the modron references have actually been straight-faced.
 

I'm going to maybe commit heresy here, but going out on a limb, I think I could say "Nobody gives a rat's arse about 80% of the Planes", and I would apply that especially to the vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast number of people who have come new to or back to D&D with 5th edition.
I think there's a good chance that you're right, which saddens me. The planes--the official, old school, 1e-2e version--are one of my very favorite aspects of D&D.

I don't care one bit about someone writing a story I'm supposed to engage with, but let me explore the quasi-elemental plane of whatsit and I'm happy.
 

Weird Dave

Explorer
Having written extensively about the planes in the Great Wheel cosmology, I actually just wrapped up a year campaign that was my attempt at a Planejammer mashup, where the characters awoke in a Styxian ferryboat minus their memories. The ferryboat was a variant on the skyships used by the Noatun raiders of Ysgard and came with its own set of complications, and the characters initially started as passengers before claiming the plane-hopping ship as their own on a whirlwind trip across the planes to recover their memories. Lots of fun!

The planes are such a wild place to just let imagination run rampant, where each realm has its own rules and laws. As I worked on the Codex of the Infinite Planes I had to rely heavily on the Manual of the Planes for the basis - Planescape being forbidden from reference on the DMsGuild. But what is Planescape? Personally I defined it with the following three principals: Sigil, City of Doors; the many factions; and the idea that belief can change reality. The third principal is a bit fuzzy but they pushed on it pretty heavily in the Planescape sourcebooks.

For my money, the attitude of Planescape always put me off. I never got a Planescape campaign off the ground, and part of that reason is the attitude of the Planescape supplements. They were all written from a narrative standpoint, so while fun to read were difficult for me to digest and actually run as a DM. So I stayed away from it, but I devoured the Manual of the Planes material from 1E and 3E. And that in turn eventually got me inspired enough to develop the Codex of the Infinite Planes, with a focus on usability in a campaign, whether it was just a short jump or an extended stay. I hope whatever planar material WotC puts out can stand adjacent to the work I've already put into it!
 

Snarf Zagyg

Notorious Liquefactionist
I can't vote because I simply can't choose between Planescape and Spelljammer. But I think of the two, Planescape is more likely to actually happen, or at least, it will happen first. They've been teasing modrons for years now--about as long as they've been dangling Spelljammer as a joke, but the modron references have actually been straight-faced.

Hey, why so straight-faced, Bob?

.........


Duodrone-1e.png


...ARE YOU MOCKING ME??????????
 

I think there's a good chance that you're right, which saddens me. The planes--the official, old school, 1e-2e version--are one of my very favorite aspects of D&D.

I don't care one bit about someone writing a story I'm supposed to engage with, but let me explore the quasi-elemental plane of whatsit and I'm happy.
I like them conceptually, on a certain level, but they've already been done perfectly, y'know? If you want to read about para-elemental planes and stuff, previous editions have you covered. It wouldn't really benefit 5E to go into detail on rules for exploring them, because they'd both likely be fiddly, and not broadly applicable, and that's not a good combination. Nor would a lot of detail on that kind of thing get used. Plus, whilst they have a nostalgic charm, most planes as established by previous editions, (like, easily 80% I reckon) are basically not very exciting or game-able, despite efforts to try and make them so across various editions. You can say "let me explore X", but is that something that's actually come up in a game? And was any material provided that made it interesting or did the DM have to work pretty hard? Because I'm guessing it was the latter. To make the elemental plane of vapour interesting, you have to work pretty hard beyond "STEAM MEPHITS!!!".

Now you could perhaps, do a better job than previous editions, but it would require massively breaking with established lore and how planes work and so on, which would annoy the people who most want an MotP-type deal, which is the aging nostalgia crew. And how much better could you do? It's not like people didn't try - but the Great Wheel's very setup, including the elemental planes, doesn't lend itself to being particularly game-able or exciting, or even to "exploration", esp. as the planes are infinite. Tourism is more like what tends to happen, rather than exploration, and whilst that's fine, it's not hugely engaging, and it's not something that's sort of particularly repeatable.

I've also seen a lot of adventures and material which claimed to make the planes interesting, and in my experience, a lot of it falls pretty flat. I mean, I'm sure it thrilled the grog who wrote it, but it often doesn't seem inherently exciting or engaging. Nothing pleases everyone, to be sure but at some point you're barely thrilling anyone.

Whereas Planescape, but adding a lot of dimensions to the planes, I think had a much broader appeal. It always puts off the odd purist, but that can't be helped, and grogs/purists are a tiny fraction of the actual audience of an official WotC D&D book in 2021.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Spelljammer for sure over Planescape.

But I would easily take both, and would be willing to settle for them combined.

But keep rattling yer bonebox, berk, and I’ll give ya a right proper introduction to the Lady ;).
 


Well, that covers about 95% of D&D books outside the core 3 for me. I still buy some though and I would definitely by a MotP book.
Oh sure, but MotP would be particularly spectacularly useless, even by those standards. At least with other campaign books, like Theros, if I actually ran a campaign in Theros, I'd get huge use out of virtually everything in it. Whereas with MotP, the chances of getting any real use out of very much of it, even in a campaign which featured the planes, would be extremely low - and the usage I'd get that I couldn't get just by using one of the various previous MotPs I had would be vastly lower still. It's like, if they're going to make an MotP, maybe don't make it a rulebook? Maybe make it like an art-book or coffee-table book? And get some real artistic big guns to do great pieces for it.
 

delericho

Legend
I voted Spelljammer, but wouldn't object to seeing Planescape redone (though I wouldn't personally buy into it - it just never grabbed me).

But what I very much don't want to see is a combined Planejammer setting. There are few worse ideas I can envisage. Alas, what hints there are definitely seem to be pointing in exactly that direction.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I'm going to maybe commit heresy here, but going out on a limb, I think I could say "Nobody gives a rat's arse about 80% of the Planes", and I would apply that especially to the vaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaast number of people who have come new to or back to D&D with 5th edition.

This is why I think a specific Manual of the Planes, which carefully lays out the Great Wheel cosmology (or worse, tries to lay out multiple cosmologies) and dedicates roughly equal space to each plane and so on would basically be completely useless to the very vast majority of DMs and groups. First off, you'd just be re-iterating stuff in the MotPs of previous editions. Second off, most it is incredibly boring and actually actively antithetical to adventuring. Even Planescape struggled with this a bit, and only the deal where stuff shifted planes depending on beliefs, together with inventing the Blood War, really gave any reason to engage with most other planes.

It's like, I think even a lot of people who might say they want that, wouldn't actually get much or in some cases even any usage out of it. They might enjoy reading it, or looking at it on their shelf, but I don't think would be, like, a thing people would find useful.

Whereas a Planesjammer approach, which maybe didn't even completely clarify the Great Wheel, or dare I say it, maybe didn't use the Great Wheel (but still had a reason for Sigil to be at the center and City of Doors and so on), and didn't like, spend aeons trying to explain how much fire damage per round you take on the elemental plane of fire, or why nothing at all exciting can ever happen on any Good or Law-aligned plane, nosiree, but rather focused on Sigil and adventures based out of there, to highly exotic and wild planar locations, rather than boring as hell ones, and really focused on the game-able, engaging, exciting stuff, not the dreary recitation of facts or sad attempts to make dull stuff exciting (yeah I'm looking at you other MotPs!). Have spelljammer-type ships traversing the astral or other planes would be pretty effin' awesome, and because it wasn't exactly spelljammer you could throw out what didn't work from that, and bring back in what did (which would necessarily include the Giff, Neogi, etc.). Someone earlier said make it it's own setting, not just an expression of the Great Wheel and I think that's right.

Maybe you could title it "Planesjammer" (because it would be fine to call the ships that) and have the tagline: "Re-invent the Great Wheel!".
I agree. In the past I bought the Manual of the Planes, but other than being a very interesting read, I didn't use most of it. Planescape on the other hand at least made all of the planes places you might want to visit and adventure in. That's why I voted Planescape and not Manual of the Planes.
 

dave2008

Legend
Oh sure, but MotP would be particularly spectacularly useless, even by those standards. At least with other campaign books, like Theros, if I actually ran a campaign in Theros, I'd get huge use out of virtually everything in it. Whereas with MotP, the chances of getting any real use out of very much of it, even in a campaign which featured the planes, would be extremely low - and the usage I'd get that I couldn't get just by using one of the various previous MotPs I had would be vastly lower still.
The usage I get out of a MotP is about exactly equal to the usage I get out of campaign settings and adventure books: an interesting idea or mechanic here or there and monsters. One thing that could put a MotP book above others for me: deities, demigods, and demon lords (Oh my!). I like cosmological lore in general and D&D in particular (particularly in 4e, but 1e too).
 

dave2008

Legend
But what I very much don't want to see is a combined Planejammer setting. There are few worse ideas I can envisage.
Why is that? I am broadly familiar with the two settings, but I never played them. Why couldn't they work together, my understanding is that they were never intended to be separate anymore than any other settings.
 

One thing that could put a MotP book above others for me: deities, demigods, and demon lords (Oh my!).
Which wouldn't be in an MotP. You're thinking of Deities and Demigods, which is the traditional book to have that kind of information.

There's no reason to make a useless book for everyone just because MotP is largely useless to you, is my point. Better a book like Theros, which is hugely useful to the people who want to actually use it, and not very useful to others, rather than not very useful to anyone, which is what MotP would amount to, unless a drastic change in approach was taken.
 

dave2008

Legend
Which wouldn't be in an MotP. You're thinking of Deities and Demigods, which is the traditional book to have that kind of information.

There's no reason to make a useless book for everyone just because MotP is largely useless to you, is my point. Better a book like Theros, which is hugely useful to the people who want to actually use it, and not very useful to others, rather than not very useful to anyone, which is what MotP would amount to, unless a drastic change in approach was taken.
No. Deities and Demigods is where you get game stats for gods (that would be the most useful book to me), but in MotP you get a broad overview of each plane and the powers (deities, demigods, and demonlords) of that plane. That is what I was talking about.

Stuff like this (1e MotP):
1617723742260.png
 
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delericho

Legend
Why is that? I am broadly familiar with the two settings, but I never played them.
In both cases, it is the idiosyncrasies that really make those settings. They're two very strongly flavoured settings, and those flavours are really very different.

Truth be told, though, much of my antipathy is driven by an immediate and visceral reaction of "oh, hell no". So it's not entirely based in reason. :)
 

I voted "none" because I find the planes don't add much to the game. They just don't see enough use, beyond the occasional extra-planar dungeon, which doesn't need a whole supplement to define. @Ruin Explorer explained this well enough, I think.

However, of the three settings listed, I would choose Spelljammer. Not because of the setting, but because any Spelljammer book would need to include thorough rules for ships. Those rules would either directly cover or be simplified down to rules for airships and seaships, or even submarines - which are things I (as a dm or player) could use in almost any campaign.

In other words, a Spelljammer book would be the most useful to me, because it would need to include stuff that's much more broadly useful than setting elements. (Not that I have a problem with Giff or anything.)
 

No. Deities and Demigods is where you get game stats for gods (that would be the most useful book to me), but in MotP you get a broad overview of each plane and the powers (deities, demigods, and demonlords) of that plane. That is what I was talking about.
You're talking about a rather tiny amount of material as it relates to gods/demigods. Like, literally, what, a few pages? One page? If you just put all the material together. That's pretty wild. Certainly based on 3.XE's MotP it would be a page or three at most. The demons/devils get a bit more coverage, but that's rather different.

Looking at the 3.XE MotP I am impressed by how utterly useless most of the majority of the material is. Weirdly, I think this would be fine if WotC were happy to put out of tons of books, like 2E TSR and 3.XE-era WotC, where they would just churn 'em out. But with 5E, even with the more books supposedly coming, it's still a very limited number, and I think that means that they need to "make them count", i.e. each book has to at least potentially be basically more useful than an MotP, or Uncaged: Face of Sigil. I mean, I loved that book, but would it be okay if something like either was put out as one of the very few books WotC was putting out in a year? Not really imho.
 

Uhh, I've got a lot of homebrewed Barbera and mead, but am running low on white wine...

As an aside I am very proud of the name and label I came up with for our latest batch:
1617731292519.png

Who's got the sauvignon blanc? I'm all out.

Anyway, I voted for the Manual of the Planes over Planescape, because 1 - I prefer the toolkit approach to planes and 2 - Planescape is awesome and has such style, but it's much more exciting when you have other planes to go to.
 

Vaalingrade

Adventurer
Let us beat down the LoP.

I can punch Odin into another ZIP Code and feed Hexor his own teeth; why does some snotty waif in a sword mask get the kind of no-sell powers reserved for popular wrestlers?
 

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