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D&D 5E Renewing the D&D Next cosmology through Anthroposophy

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Alzrius

The EN World kitten
Ever since 3E, when D&D adopted a much heavier "whatever you need your campaign to be" attitude, it's downplayed specific cosmologies in favor of letting you build your own. I think 5E will keep that attitude.

Personally, I'd like a return to the unified cosmology of the 2E era (and also 1E, though it didn't flesh it out too much). In fact, I'd like this to flip-flop the current approach - say that the D&D "multiverse" is the Great Wheel, but that there are other cosmologies out there (home games), with minor expansion on this latter point.

D&D can't be all things to all people, and it shouldn't try; it's that philosophy that's fractured the fan-base so badly. Give it a specific setting, albeit one so expansive and large as a multiverse with dozens of planes, and let those who want to set their games in a different cosmology do what they do best: world-build on their own.
 

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The cosmology postulated by the OP is certainly interesting, but...

I don't want 5e to have a default pantheon. The game should bake-in the absolute minimum required setting assumptions into the core. (Spells like "Contact Other Plane" imply the existence of other planes, for example, but doesn't need to specify much about those planes... and shouldn't.)

If and when they get around to doing the "Planes" module, they should try for a toolkit approach, with the Great Wheel, the 4e Astral Sea, and perhaps some other cosmologies given strictly as examples. Detailing them any more than that is fine... but that should be done as settings.

Perhaps you're right, that an "occult scientific cosmology" might work better as a specific setting. Yet I do think that this trichotomy might be a useful concept for the 5e design team. The concept of an "evil trinity" (Lucifer/Ahriman/Sorath) is an archetype that is appearing in some fantasy worlds: Sauron/Saruman/Morgoth, Boba Fett/Darth Vader/Palpatine, and Captain Jack Sparrow (Lucifer redeemed)/Lord Beckett/The Kraken.

Like Mercurius suggested, D&D already displays this in the poles of Law/Chaos, and Devil/Demon. I offer a tool to help tease this out, clarify, and align the D&D cosmology with a deep archetype.
 

jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
Funny. I keep looking at the pretty little color triplets, and all that pops in my head is Dragonlance, which is already arranged in a similar fashion. And the primary tenet of the Dragonlance setting is balance. With Tiamat and Bahamut in alternate forms. :D
 

Funny. I keep looking at the pretty little color triplets, and all that pops in my head is Dragonlance, which is already arranged in a similar fashion. And the primary tenet of the Dragonlance setting is balance. With Tiamat and Bahamut in alternate forms. :D

Excellent point. The big difference is that in Dragonlance, neutrality is the balance, whereas in Spiritual Science, good is the balance, with lawful evil and chaotic evil as the poles, like this:

CE-CN-CG-NG-LG-LN-LE
 
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jonesy

A Wicked Kendragon
Excellent point. The big difference is that in Dragonlance, neutrality is the balance
I'd actually argue that in Dragonlance Paladine (Good) holds the balance, and the Evil faction is split into those who want to mainly destroy (lead by Takhisis) and those who want to mainly conquer (lead by Sargonnas). The actual Neutral faction lead by Gilean is more like the Indeps in Planescape, staying on the sideline and focusing on their own projects.
 

Occult science indicates that when there is a polarity, then, regardless of what you call the two, they are both bad. For example, what Milton calls "God", is really Lucifer, and what he calls "the Devil" is Ahriman.

From a 1919 lecture:

"If we think of those beings which man regards as this own divine beings, we must say: we can feel and sense them in the right way only if we conceive of them as effecting the equilibrium between the Luciferic and the Ahrimanic principles. We can never feel in the right way what we should feel as the Divine if we do not enter upon this threefold order. Consider from this point of view Milton's Paradise Lost, or Klopstock's Messiah which came into existence under the influence of Paradise Lost. Here you have nothing of a real comprehension of a threefold world structure, you have instead a battle between the supposedly good and the supposedly evil, the battle between heaven and hell. You have the mistaken idea of the duad brought into man's spiritual evolution; you have what is rooted in popular consciousness as the illusory contrast between heaven and hell, introduced into two cosmic poems of modern times."

"It is of no avail that Milton and Klopstock call the heavenly entities divine beings. They would only be so for man if they were conceived of on the basis of the threefold structure of world existence. Then it would be possible to say that a battle takes place between the good and the evil principles. But as the matter stands, a duad is assumed, the one member of which has the attributes of the good and receives a name derived from the divine, while the other member represents the diabolical, the anti-divine element. What does this really signify? Nothing less than the removal of the divine from consciousness and the usurping of the divine name by the Luciferic principle; so that in reality we have a battle between Lucifer and Ahriman; only, Ahriman is endowed with Luciferic attributes, and the realm of Lucifer is endowed with divine attributes."

"You see the far-reaching consequences revealed by such a consideration. While human beings believe they are dealing with the divine and the diabolical elements when contemplating the contrasts described in Milton's Paradise Lost or Klopstock's Messiah, they are, in reality, dealing with the Luciferic and Ahrimanic elements. There is no consciousness present of the truly divine element; instead, the Luciferic element is endowed with divine names."


As jonesy suggests, the Dragonlance setting does try to touch on this.
 


AdmundfortGeographer

Getting lost in fantasy maps
The colors are there to highlight the three sets of forces (hot, cold, and balanced), regardless of their various names.
Worthy idea were they not rendered on a black background in the default forum theme. :) The blue-on-black is completely unreadable to me, I have to highlight it to make it legible. Ruining the effect you're hoping for. Just sayin' is all.
 


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