I'm thinking of going with a homebrew cosmology here.

Orius

Adventurer
Ok, my homebrew campaign technically has used the standard Great Wheel setup for the planes so far. However, I've never sent the players into the planes, and redoing the cosmology won't radically change my world.

Now, I like Planescape, and the traditional setup of the planes in D&D, but in some ways, the Great Wheel is something I'm going to have to shoehorn into my campaign. I want to keep the Inner Planes, and some of the Outer Planes. However, I also want to squeeze in some of the optional planes in MotP.

Here's basically how my cosmology is atm: Inner Planes unchanged, though including the para- and quasiplanes as sort of border regions between the planes. Ethereal only connects Material Plane and Inner Planes like classic D&D, and also uses deep Ethereal Option. Shadow Planes as normal. The Spirit World acts as the bridge between the Material Plane and Outer Planes. The Astral Plane exists in between all the other planes and connects them. The Far Realm exists beyond the Outer Planes.

It's really the Outer Planes where I'm undecided. There are a couple of them I'm keeping no matter what I decide to do: The Abyss, The Nine Hells, the Beastlands, and Mechanus. But there are some I loathe like Arcadia that I won't regret giving the boot. I'm really strongly leaning towards redoing the Outer Planes, but I'd like some discussion to help me brainstorm, get some ideas and so on.
 

reanjr

Villager
Well, what purpose do your outer planes serve? Planescape revolved around ideology and the Great Wheel represented that.
 

mhacdebhandia

Villager
Indeed. If you want to use specific outsider races in your campaign, then it's easy enough to use only those planes which feature outsider races. The same goes for deities; you need only use those planes which actually have deities from your world associated with them, usually by alignment.

You don't need to use a ring of planes, either. The Great Wheel's planes follow an alignment-based shading - from Good through Lawful Good to Law, from Law through Lawful Evil to Evil, from Evil through Chaotic Evil to Chaos, from Chaos through Chaotic Good to Good. If you take out the planes that allow for this shading - Arcadia, the connection between LG Mount Celestia and LN Mechanus, being one of them - then there's no reason to maintain the Wheel.

Instead they could float without connection to each other, or perhaps "likeminded" planes could be clustered together. If the conflict between baatezu and tanar'ri is not important in your campaign, there's no reason to have the Abyss and the Nine Hells themselves opposed, so you could have a "hell cluster" with perhaps a few connecting demiplanes - the domains of powerful gods, demon princes or devil lords? - or even one of the full planes from the Great Wheel, like the Grey Waste, in between. For example, if the Abyss and the Nine Hells are not necessarily the destination of evil souls in your campaign, the Grey Waste makes an excellent "Hell" poised between the two, and the classical Underworld vibe of the plane makes for an unusual afterlife of punishment.

Similarly, the Beastlands need not necessarily have the same associations with goodness it has by being between Arborea and Elysium on the Great Wheel; in the absence of the Outlands, and with animals having a natural alignment of neutral, it could be the True Neutral plane - representing the complete irrelevance of morality to the natural world.

In your place, I would look at the metaphysical concepts I want to keep from the Great Wheel, and those I want to ditch. For example, Ysgard represents, in part, heroic striving through glorious combat; across the Great Wheel, its opposite number Acheron represents the grinding futility of endless conflict. If one or both of these concepts is not particular important to your world, then the plane isn't needed either.
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
I like the Eberron concept; the outer planes "orbit" around the others. You could, for instance, have the material surrounded by the transitive and inner planes, as you describe, and then have the outer planes in irregular orbits around the whole mess, and as certain of them approach the near points of their orbits, they start to have effects on the material plane in various ways.
 

Orius

Adventurer
reanjr said:
Well, what purpose do your outer planes serve? Planescape revolved around ideology and the Great Wheel represented that.
Same as standard D&D. The planes are the home of the gods, the destination of the sould of the dead, and the native planes of outsiders like fiends and celestials.
 

Orius

Adventurer
mhacdebhandia said:
Indeed. If you want to use specific outsider races in your campaign, then it's easy enough to use only those planes which feature outsider races. The same goes for deities; you need only use those planes which actually have deities from your world associated with them, usually by alignment.
That's similar to one approach I'm considering, simply using only the planes where the gods live, or more specifially, the god's realms, as well as a few Outer Planes I really like as a DM (like the Nine Hells).

Instead they could float without connection to each other, or perhaps "likeminded" planes could be clustered together. If the conflict between baatezu and tanar'ri is not important in your campaign, there's no reason to have the Abyss and the Nine Hells themselves opposed, so you could have a "hell cluster" with perhaps a few connecting demiplanes - the domains of powerful gods, demon princes or devil lords? - or even one of the full planes from the Great Wheel, like the Grey Waste, in between. For example, if the Abyss and the Nine Hells are not necessarily the destination of evil souls in your campaign, the Grey Waste makes an excellent "Hell" poised between the two, and the classical Underworld vibe of the plane makes for an unusual afterlife of punishment.
Yes, part of the Gray Waste itself will be kept in my cosmology anyway, since that's where the evil god of death lives. I'll likely dump Oinos, since I don't need a huge diseage-ravaged battlefield, but Niflheim definitely makes the cut. Demons and devils aren't allied, but I may not use the Blood War IMC. I'm still pretty undecided.

Similarly, the Beastlands need not necessarily have the same associations with goodness it has by being between Arborea and Elysium on the Great Wheel; in the absence of the Outlands, and with animals having a natural alignment of neutral, it could be the True Neutral plane - representing the complete irrelevance of morality to the natural world.
I could do something like that, that sounds like an interesting idea. What I like about the Beastlands is the whole intelligent animals idea behind the plane, that only the dumbest or most skilled hunters go here, since the animals hunt you back.

In your place, I would look at the metaphysical concepts I want to keep from the Great Wheel, and those I want to ditch. For example, Ysgard represents, in part, heroic striving through glorious combat; across the Great Wheel, its opposite number Acheron represents the grinding futility of endless conflict. If one or both of these concepts is not particular important to your world, then the plane isn't needed either.
Good point. Of course, Acheron will get dumped if I go with the approach since the cubes floating through space just seems silly to me.
 

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