D&D 5E Multiverse Theory and you


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Yaarel

Mind Mage
You can create your own settings. Some people would have you believe that worldbuilding some arcane art, requiring huge amounts of time and skill, but really it isn't. Especially when characters are just passing through, you don't need thousands of years of history or pantheons of gods.

One thing you can do is borrow a trick from science fiction. You think of one defining characteristic and blow it up to gonzo proportions. It might be kilometre tall trees, or floating islands, or planetary cities, or a lizard world. Political and social ideas taken to extremes also work.
And also, one only need to worry about one small place, the one where the heroes are. One need not build the rest of the world unless the heroes go there.

Just jot down the stuff that comes up about the world during the gameplay, for consistency, and develop the ideas further, when useful.
 

Jer

Legend
Supporter
I'd like to do a multiverse spanning 'Rod of Seven Parts' campaign, but that would entail learning about (and paying for) far too many campaign worlds for my limited time.
As @Paul Farquhar says, you don't need to invest a lot of money or time into campaign settings to run a worldhopping campaign. The dirty secret of worldbuilding is that you only need to create as much as you're going to use for your games and the rest can be implied in the imaginations of the players.

For a world hopping macguffin quest it becomes a question of what kinds of worlds will entertain your players. And honestly you can often rely on cliches possibly with a twist. You start on your personal campaign world and then maybe you travel to some kind of "Viking world" or to a "Fairy tale world". If your players are up for it you can do a sci-fi world (fantasy characters in Gamma World is always fun) or an "Old West" world. If you do have any campaign settings lying around you can steal from those - a Gothic Victorian world is always a fun stopover on a cliched worldhop and Ravenloft provides a lot of fodder for one.

(Worldhopping goes all the way back to the AD&D 1e DMG where there was advice and even rules on dropping your characters into Boot Hill, and Gamma World. Not even an appendix, but right in the middle of the book! Cynics might suggest that it was TSR trying to move units, but even as that's probably true it's also the case that Murlynd from Oerth had traveled to the Old West long before the DMG was printed and came back with magic sixguns, so it goes...)
 



Jer

Legend
Supporter
Let's suppose you have not just a party that can jump from Eberron to Athas, but many.

Now why haven't they gone and cleaned it up?

It removes something from World building if you can have beings from a setting with a wildly different tone show up.
I mean, in this particular case my assumption is always that magic in Athas is defiling magic by default and preserving magic is difficult to learn even for native Athasians. So the Eberron armies you're talking about (or magical armies from any other world) are going to basically just make things worse, and possibly trap them all in Athas.
 

Scribe

Hero
Why would there be many? Powerful magic is rare on Eberron, no reason anyone other than the PCs has ever made that journey.
Because, let's suppose.

Even if it's one party of level 15-20 adventurers that's still too jarring to me.

I prefer settings retain their own distinct nature without tourists.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
I prefer settings retain their own distinct nature without tourists.

It's really a matter of taste, and although some "tourism" might be interesting, too much might become a problem, or many.

By the way, for people who read Brandon Sanderson, I think that's a bit of the difficulty that I see in the current developments from the Stormlight Archives, at first, there were a few World Hoppers, and a few artefacts to track, but now it seems lots of people are doing it, and it just looks a bit messy.
 

I'm quite acclimated to multiversal campaigns.

Back in the day there was a community center that I went to that had 4-5 DMs running their games. There were two sessions, afternoon and evening. Some people traveled to different tables, some stayed with one DM. I spent most of my time in two games, Aphonion and the Land, with occasional travel to a third whose name I forget.
 

Because, let's suppose.

Even if it's one party of level 15-20 adventurers that's still too jarring to me.

I prefer settings retain their own distinct nature without tourists.
I'm pretty sure that they would have better reasons for travelling to a difficult-to-reach plane than tourism. But if a world contains any level 20 adventurers they can do whatever the heck they want.
 



Scribe

Hero
High level characters? Just end the game at level 10.
/shrug

A high level party on Athas should be wildly different in perspective, in comparison to a high level party from Sigil, in comparison to a high level party from Toril, in comparison to a high level party from Eberron.

Because I believe settings, and setting tone, should matter.
 

/shrug

A high level party on Athas should be wildly different in perspective, in comparison to a high level party from Sigil, in comparison to a high level party from Toril, in comparison to a high level party from Eberron.

Because I believe settings, and setting tone, should matter.
Err... so high level characters that originate from different worlds are different? I don't see the problem.
 




dave2008

Legend
First, thank you for the reply.
Let's suppose you have not just a party that can jump from Eberron to Athas, but many.
Ok, but there is no need to suppose that. It could easily be extremely rare or even a unique occurrence. Why jump to "many' visitors? It seems you are assuming it would be easy. It need not be.
Now why haven't they gone and cleaned it up?
I don't know what this means.
It removes something from World building if you can have beings from a setting with a wildly different tone show up.
I guess I just don't see how the possibility that something could happen, needs to have much effect on world building. I am perfectly happy to have two very different worlds (Athas and Eberron) that have little to no connection to one another. I mean this is the reality of life in our solar system, galaxy, and universe. They billions of worlds that are just doing their own thing with no real influence from each other. It works in reality, why not in fantasy?

For example, my personal cosmology I use the all settings approach. It is not really the great wheel, but similar enough. The various settings (including MTG) are generally separate from each other, but they do existing in same "multiverse." So while it is theoretically possible to go from Theros to Athas, is practically impossible (even for gods). Similar situation with Eberron. So I could make / allow such travel to happen as the DM happen if I want, that is not something the PCs can even contemplate. They don't know anything about worlds they can reach, let alone ones that they can't! I just don't see what this removes from world building.
 

Scribe

Hero
For example, my personal cosmology I use the all settings approach. It is not really the great wheel, but similar enough. The various settings (including MTG) are generally separate from each other, but they do existing in same "multiverse." So while it is theoretically possible to go from Theros to Athas, is practically impossible (even for gods). Similar situation with Eberron. So I could make / allow such travel to happen as the DM happen if I want, that is not something the PCs can even contemplate. They don't know anything about worlds they can reach, let alone ones that they can't! I just don't see what this removes from world building.
I dont really care to continue this, but bringing up MTG is a great example of how I hate it.

In MTG, you used to go to all these different worlds, same multiverse, and see them. Fine.

Then, Wizards decided they needed a few 'faces for the game', and they leaned into the Lorwyn 5, the eventual Gatewatch or "Jacetice League" as it was sometimes referred to.

I hate it, and it will never change.

So thats fine, you all can have your view, and it can be as rare or as common as you like, but I hate it, and always will.
 

Oofta

Legend
I was thinking about this, and I have had PCs come from different realities. In one case my wife wanted to play a PC that was from earth. In another I had to introduce a new player to the game so I said that they were walking along one day and stumbled across a henge and the next thing they knew they were falling from a great height directly into the path of an adventuring company. Probably not my greatest introduction of a PC ever, in my defense this was long, long ago.

On the other hand I don't see hopping between planes or realms of existence in the same reality the same as a multiverse. The PCs in my current campaign have travelled to the shadowfell, but never to an alternate reality.
 

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