D&D General DnD cosmology - Which Edition do you prefer?

Proof ?

Proof ?
It's literally written in the books. These are literally canon things. What more do you want?

Huh, no. Once more, you have a proof of that in the very argument that you make below.
Ahem.

And this is the part that you are making out of nowhere. Where exactly does it say this ? In any edition ?
The planes were not created by any gods; the gods inhabit the planes, and forces even more powerful than them (such as the Lady of Pain) can swat them away if they like--forces of explicitly mysterious origin that somehow spontaneously manifest out of their planes. "Lord Ao" explicitly doesn't create anything; he just facilitates the "balance" of things.

What other than reality itself is forcing souls to show up in the afterlife appropriate for them? It's not a choice. No deity does it. It just happens. Unless, of course, you allow the Wall of the Faithless crap...which is EVEN WORSE.

Actually yes, I can, because I am a Planescape fan and I love these planes. But it's not what I was saying. Let's say that you are LG, first, there is little likelihood that you will, out of the blue, commit an act so hideous that it will shift you all the way to CE or even LE.
According to the actual rules of alignment in 3e. Check the BoVD. Committing a single murder is enough to damn your soul to the lower planes, irrevocably. You can't remove the stain of that act. Period. It doesn't matter whether the likelihood is high, low, indifferent; if you do it, you're damned, period, it doesn't matter how good you were or how good you become later.

So. Where's your proof? Since you're so dogmatically insistent that I've got it completely wrong, show me where it says in the books that these things definitely aren't true. Because I've given you citations. I look forward to your responses.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Lyxen

Great Old One
It's literally written in the books. These are literally canon things. What more do you want?

What I want is proof that it's written that way in the books. Because I have proof that it is written otherwise.

The planes were not created by any gods; the gods inhabit the planes, and forces even more powerful than them (such as the Lady of Pain) can swat them away if they like--forces of explicitly mysterious origin that somehow spontaneously manifest out of their planes. "Lord Ao" explicitly doesn't create anything; he just facilitates the "balance" of things.

What does this have to do with anything ?

What other than reality itself is forcing souls to show up in the afterlife appropriate for them? It's not a choice. No deity does it. It just happens.

It might happen, but not the way you describe it, that's all.

According to the actual rules of alignment in 3e. Check the BoVD. Committing a single murder is enough to damn your soul to the lower planes, irrevocably. You can't remove the stain of that act. Period. It doesn't matter whether the likelihood is high, low, indifferent; if you do it, you're damned, period, it doesn't matter how good you were or how good you become later.

Is that your only reference ? Because not only was it already highly controversial at the time, I don't find a trace of that in the section about murder. Moreover, the way murder is described is extremely specific. And I don't see where redemption is precluded.

So. Where's your proof? Since you're so dogmatically insistent that I've got it completely wrong, show me where it says in the books that these things definitely aren't true. Because I've given you citations. I look forward to your responses.

They are all over the place, in almost all editions:
  • 1e (PH): "Naturally, there are all variations and shades of tendencies within each alignment. The descriptions are generalizations only. A character can be basically good in its “true” neutrality, or tend towards evil."
  • 1e (DMG): "However, the “outer planes” show various alignments. This is because they are home to creatures who are of like general alignment. If the curves of the alignment table are carried outwards to the planes, only those planes at the corners will correspond to non-neutral alignments, i.e., lawful good, chaotic good, chaotic evil, and lawful evil. Similarly, those on the horizontal and vertical axes correspond to the neutral based alignments which support an ethos, i.e. neutral good, chaotic neutral, neutral evil, and lawful neutral. The remainder of the outer plane areas are “gray” areas where alignments shade into each other. Inhabitants of these planes will generally have the same world-view as their fellows on the Prime Material Plane."
  • 1e DMG: "It is quite possible for a character to drift around in an alignment area, making only small shifts due to behavior."
  • 1e DMG: "However, any major action which is out of alignment character will cause a major shift to the alignment which is directly in line with the action, i.e., if a lawful evil character defies the law in order to aid the cause (express or implied) of chaotic good, he or she will be either lawful neutral or chaotic neutral, depending on the factors involved in the action." Not that he does not suddenly become CG, it's just a drift, a shift.
  • 3e (and from the PH, not a controversial supplement): "Alignment is a tool for developing your character’s identity. It is not a straitjacket for restricting your character. Each alignment represents a broad range of personality types or personal philosophies, so two lawful good characters can still be quite different from each other. In addition, few people are completely consistent. A lawful good character may have a greedy streak that occasionally tempts him to take something or hoard something he has even if that’s not lawful or good behavior. People are also not consistent from day to day. A good character can lose his temper, a neutral character can be inspired to perform a noble act, and so on."
  • 5e: "A typical creature in the game world has an alignment, which broadly describes its moral and personal attitudes. [...] Individuals might vary significantly from that typical behavior, and few people are perfectly and consistently faithful to the precepts of their alignment."
I leave 2e aside although the trend is the same because the core 2e was actually stupid in proposing alignement relative to culture, thankfully this was never implemented in practice in any supplement. And 4e has a very bizarre view of "every one is unaligned unless you decide to play for a team".
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Why not? It's literally the nature of existence. It's a fact anyone can learn just by, y'know, asking about how the universe is shaped. This is a fact literally anyone with Arcana should just know. Why wouldn't it be pretty common knowledge? Who would be hiding it??
I look at their lack of knowledge on this the same as I do real life Quantum Theory/GUT, some very smart people have hints, but we dont know all the info or rules. (The DC is very high).

This is in regards to "just knowing" via Arcana, I mean if the gods decide to just tell everyone how everything works...
 

glass

(he, him)
Yeah, the "new" Great Wheel is frankly at least half World Axis, just very insistent about how it's Definitely Still Traditional, We Promise.
I think that is rather overstating the case. The "new" great wheel has Shadowfell and Feywild borrowed from the World Axis, but it also still has the positive and negative energy planes (albeit they seem to have moved). The outer planes are back to be a rigid structure of 17, rather than an extensible unstructured collection, and the Abyss is back to being one of them rather than something else entirely.

There is something called the Elemental Chaos, but since the original elemental planes are still there and the Abyss it is no longer in it, its nature and significance are both rather different.

_
glass.
 

Undrave

Hero
You do realize that the Bael-Turath/Arkhosia war was specifically because the God of Law, Erathis, was playing both sides because she didn't care which lawful empire took over, she just wanted one of them to do so, and got burned by the fact that they destroyed each other instead...right?
Erathis is my favorite 4e God. I just love her concept of being this dispassionate goddess that values law above all else. And whole Game of Making thing where, under the nose of Pelor with whom she shares a domain, she does all sorts of unsavoury things for the sake of her ambition. Makes for some interesting Paladins.
These are just deities squabbling together, little to do with massive Law vs. Chaos whether it's Moorcock or Blood War style. I'm sorry, but when you remove the only Lawful alignment is Lawful Good and and the only Chaotic alignement is Chaotic Evil, you remove the Law vs. Chaos conflict, it more or less all falls down to Good vs. Evil.
A lot of traditionally Evil gods teamed up with the Good gods when facing the Primordial, and even when the Raven Queen (who is unaligned) wanted to stake her claim as the new God of Death, the division between the gods wasn't obvious. Same with the War of Winter.
And it's a one-dimensional one of good/existence vs evil/destruction. Not a "philosophical" one, still completely one-dimensional.
It's more complex than that. The Primordials first created the Prime Material Plane but grew bored with it and retreated to the Elemental Chaos. The Gods of the Astral Sea then took notice and gave Soul and order to that world... then the Primordials wanted their stuff back and the Gods said no. Eventually, the clash of the two sides gave birth to the Primal Spirit, beings at the border between Soul and Matter, the Souls of the Material World itself, who kicked them all out. Some Primordials and Gods chose to honour the freedom of the new plane, but there are those on both side who see it as a tool or a prize to be won. And Tharizdun wants to destroy everything.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Erathis is my favorite 4e God. I just love her concept of being this dispassionate goddess that values law above all else. And whole Game of Making thing where, under the nose of Pelor with whom she shares a domain, she does all sorts of unsavoury things for the sake of her ambition. Makes for some interesting Paladins.

Just note that there are gods like that in basically any setting. Primus is an extremely interesting being for example.

A lot of traditionally Evil gods teamed up with the Good gods when facing the Primordial, and even when the Raven Queen (who is unaligned) wanted to stake her claim as the new God of Death, the division between the gods wasn't obvious. Same with the War of Winter.

It still does not make things less one-dimensional, even more so actually.

It's more complex than that. The Primordials first created the Prime Material Plane but grew bored with it and retreated to the Elemental Chaos. The Gods of the Astral Sea then took notice and gave Soul and order to that world... then the Primordials wanted their stuff back and the Gods said no. Eventually, the clash of the two sides gave birth to the Primal Spirit, beings at the border between Soul and Matter, the Souls of the Material World itself, who kicked them all out. Some Primordials and Gods chose to honour the freedom of the new plane, but there are those on both side who see it as a tool or a prize to be won. And Tharizdun wants to destroy everything.

I'm not saying it's not a fairly interesting "pantheon", but it's still one amongst many, in a universe less interesting overall than the one in which the Great Wheel inherently allows for more cosmic conflict at the "primordial" level in addition to the "internal to the pantheon" ones.
 


Undrave

Hero
Just note that there are gods like that in basically any setting. Primus is an extremely interesting being for example.
Primus doesn't feel like someone non-Modron would worship. What are his goals outside Mechanus? Does he have interesting relationships with other gods the way Erathis has with Pelor and Ioun? I can't seem to find much info on Primus.

My Paladin of Erathis was part of an Order that had been tasked with a ton of bureaucratic duties by the crown. The would carry taxes back to the capital and deliver pay to the King's army. But they were more loyal to the idea of a stable society rather than the King. So where the kingdom began to be destabilized by abuses of power and the King arrested most of the Paladins, my character just jumped to the 'logical' conclusion: Time to change King before a civil war breaks out.

It still does not make things less one-dimensional, even more so actually.
How else would it be more than one-dimensional exactly? Not sure what you're looking for here?

Bane, for exemple, is classified as an Evil God, but he was still the general of the gods' army during the Dawn War and collaborated with the others. How is that not different?
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Primus doesn't feel like someone non-Modron would worship.

What does worship has to do with anything ? It was an example of a cosmology character even more lawful than Erathis and other gods.

What are his goals outside Mechanus? Does he have interesting relationships with other gods the way Erathis has with Pelor and Ioun? I can't seem to find much info on Primus.

Welle there is the judgement of Asmodeus by Primus, which is a great story especially since it involves Zariel. But there is also the fantastic story arc about the Great Modron March, with a huge spoiler that I won't write here.

My Paladin of Erathis was part of an Order that had been tasked with a ton of bureaucratic duties by the crown. The would carry taxes back to the capital and deliver pay to the King's army. But they were more loyal to the idea of a stable society rather than the King. So where the kingdom began to be destabilized by abuses of power and the King arrested most of the Paladins, my character just jumped to the 'logical' conclusion: Time to change King before a civil war breaks out.

Again, there are many great pantheons out there, but it's another thing than a cosmology.

How else would it be more than one-dimensional exactly? Not sure what you're looking for here?

What I'm saying is that the advantage of at least a "grid" cosmology compared to an "axis" is that it is, basically and geometrically, two dimensional compared to just one. By the way, Erathis is unaligned, not lawful even though she is the goddess of Law, because 4e destroyed the Law-Chaos axis of the great wheel and the corresponding alignements, and for me it's a cardinal sin, leaving only the good/evil axis and aligning Law with good and Chaos with Evil.

Bane, for exemple, is classified as an Evil God, but he was still the general of the gods' army during the Dawn War and collaborated with the others. How is that not different?

Because he is no longer LAWFUL evil, with all that it entails. Even Primus is no longer Lawful Neutral, since that alignment does not exist. You can't have the Blood War existing for existential reasons between Demons and Devils, with all the other shades of evils in between. For me, it was a reducing of the possibilities of the Great Wheel, although I happily say that I was very pleased by the introducing of the Feywild and the Shadowfell.
 

Urriak Uruk

Gaming is fun, and fun is for everyone
I'll defend 5E cosmology for just a moment... IMO, this edition does a pretty good job of taking the best/most iconic elements of previous editions cosmology, and trying to organize these into something cohesive.

So it takes the Great Wheel from the older editions, takes things like the Feywild/Shadowfel from 4E, and adds things like Spelljammer/Planescape elements into something where everything works and can slip into each other where necessary.

I'm sure some folks don't like this, so I'm willing to defend it if challenged (respectfully).
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I'll defend 5E cosmology for just a moment... IMO, this edition does a pretty good job of taking the best/most iconic elements of previous editions cosmology, and trying to organize these into something cohesive.

So it takes the Great Wheel from the older editions, takes things like the Feywild/Shadowfel from 4E, and adds things like Spelljammer/Planescape elements into something where everything works and can slip into each other where necessary.

I'm sure some folks don't like this, so I'm willing to defend it if challenged (respectfully).
D&D 5e is my first edition, and the longer that I play D&D, the less and less I like 5e's Great Wheel Cosmology. However, I can't help but appreciate the idea of having the Inner Planes be material in nature (Elemental Planes, reflections of the Material Plane) and the Outer Planes being spiritual. Making the Shadowfell and Feywild be Inner Planes like the Elemental Planes was a good idea, IMO.

I don't love the Great Wheel (I actually kind of hate it), but I like the concept of the Inner Planes vs Outer Planes. And how they worked this into the lore of Dragons in Fizban's.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Because he is no longer LAWFUL evil, with all that it entails. Even Primus is no longer Lawful Neutral, since that alignment does not exist. You can't have the Blood War existing for existential reasons between Demons and Devils, with all the other shades of evils in between. For me, it was a reducing of the possibilities of the Great Wheel, although I happily say that I was very pleased by the introducing of the Feywild and the Shadowfell.
I don't see how him not acting because of his alignment and instead acting on his own volition makes him more two-dimensional.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I don't see how him not acting because of his alignment and instead acting on his own volition makes him more two-dimensional.

Once more, you are confusing the individual gods with their cosmological alignment and conflicts. Any of the cosmology's gods can have a nice history, foes, etc. this is not specific to 4e and not better done there than anywhere else, not more poorly either, it's really a matter of taste. But by removing one axis from the great wheel to obtain a single axis, my take is that the cosmology has been made effectively poorer, since your allegiance is not recorded on one axis instead of two (and actually it was more than this as there are two axis in the spiritual plane plus the negative to positive going through the inner planes. So you have fewer opportunities for cosmic conflict between pantheons / deities / aligned forces, that's all.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I don't love the Great Wheel (I actually kind of hate it), but I like the concept of the Inner Planes vs Outer Planes. And how they worked this into the lore of Dragons in Fizban's.
The Great Wheel is a fun concept if you take some of the hints scattered around the Planescsape source material (and reinforced in the 5e DMG a bit) that it isn't actually something that exists on its own, but rather is a forced together construct held in place by the beliefs of the people living in the Outer Planes - that they created the Wheel by deciding the Wheel existed and so now it exists because they all think it should.

It not only makes the setting deeper in the sense that now you can talk about the setting without assuming that alignment exists as a real thing, but also you can assume that there are plenty of other planes floating out in the Astral that are just getting ignored by the folks who dwell on the Great Wheel because believing in planes that aren't on the Great Wheel is actually an existential threat to them.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Once more, you are confusing the individual gods with their cosmological alignment and conflicts. Any of the cosmology's gods can have a nice history, foes, etc. this is not specific to 4e and not better done there than anywhere else, not more poorly either, it's really a matter of taste. But by removing one axis from the great wheel to obtain a single axis, my take is that the cosmology has been made effectively poorer, since your allegiance is not recorded on one axis instead of two (and actually it was more than this as there are two axis in the spiritual plane plus the negative to positive going through the inner planes. So you have fewer opportunities for cosmic conflict between pantheons / deities / aligned forces, that's all.
But all these guys can still get into conflict without some random labels.

And because they now have to have actual motives, I feel like that's more dimension, not less.
 

glass

(he, him)
What I'm saying is that the advantage of at least a "grid" cosmology compared to an "axis" is that it is, basically and geometrically, two dimensional compared to just one. By the way, Erathis is unaligned, not lawful even though she is the goddess of Law, because 4e destroyed the Law-Chaos axis of the great wheel and the corresponding alignements, and for me it's a cardinal sin, leaving only the good/evil axis and aligning Law with good and Chaos with Evil.
You could claim that how the 4e core rules handle alignment is a bit wonky, and I would agree with you, but that doesn't really have anything to do with the World Axis cosmology. World Axis may have debuted in 4e, but it is perfectly possible to use it with a different edition, or use the Great Wheel or some other cosmology entirely with 4e.

_
glass.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
What I'm saying is that the advantage of at least a "grid" cosmology compared to an "axis" is that it is, basically and geometrically, two dimensional compared to just one. By the way, Erathis is unaligned, not lawful even though she is the goddess of Law, because 4e destroyed the Law-Chaos axis of the great wheel and the corresponding alignements, and for me it's a cardinal sin, leaving only the good/evil axis and aligning Law with good and Chaos with Evil.
I think the mistake you're making here is in thinking that alignment in 4e is meaningful in any metaphysical sense other than "this is the team that I'm on".

It really isn't. It's a much more Moorcockian take on alignment, which is unfortunately cluttered up by putting "good" and "evil" into it for sacred cow reasons. (4e alignment is IMO best played by removing the words "Good" and "Evil" from it entirely and just having the Law/Unaligned/Chaos axis. Leaving Good and Evil to be personal morality rather than metaphysical reality. That fits with how the setting is described much more - both in the outer planes and even in the Mortal World - but of course they had to leave the Good/Evil axis in for reasons.)
 

Undrave

Hero
What does worship has to do with anything ? It was an example of a cosmology character even more lawful than Erathis and other gods.

Because Gods are only interesting through their potential relationship with the PCs.

What I'm saying is that the advantage of at least a "grid" cosmology compared to an "axis" is that it is, basically and geometrically, two dimensional compared to just one. By the way, Erathis is unaligned, not lawful even though she is the goddess of Law, because 4e destroyed the Law-Chaos axis of the great wheel and the corresponding alignements, and for me it's a cardinal sin, leaving only the good/evil axis and aligning Law with good and Chaos with Evil.



Because he is no longer LAWFUL evil, with all that it entails. Even Primus is no longer Lawful Neutral, since that alignment does not exist. You can't have the Blood War existing for existential reasons between Demons and Devils, with all the other shades of evils in between. For me, it was a reducing of the possibilities of the Great Wheel, although I happily say that I was very pleased by the introducing of the Feywild and the Shadowfell.
Eh, feels like an issue with labeling. I think it's more multidimensional if each Gods has their own sets of goals and that, depending on the situation, they might class or ally with another God depending on circumstances than I care about their alignments. I think the relationship (opposite or complimentary) between their domains is more interesting.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
But all these guys can still get into conflict without some random labels.

Just like in any cosmology, but the labels are not random. The labels represent principles at war with each other, like in most well-written books of the gemre.

And because they now have to have actual motives, I feel like that's more dimension, not less.

Nope, in all cases they can have actual motives and stories, but ON TOP OF THAT, there can be deeper cosmological meaning, multi-dimensional, so there is more depth to it.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
You could claim that how the 4e core rules handle alignment is a bit wonky, and I would agree with you, but that doesn't really have anything to do with the World Axis cosmology. World Axis may have debuted in 4e, but it is perfectly possible to use it with a different edition, or use the Great Wheel or some other cosmology entirely with 4e.

Actually no, you can't use the great wheel with 4e, since you are lacking some alignments.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top