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Sage Advice: Plane and world hopping (includes how Eberron and Ravnica fit in D&D cosmology)

gyor

Legend
Yeah, I never saw the appeal. In particular, I really like Eberron's unique planar cosmology, and don't see the need to homogenise it into a generic multiverse.

The way they did it, it's unique place in the cosmos is maintained, but they open the door to characters from other settings visiting Eberron, and add an interesting possible plot hook.
 

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gyor

Legend
I never ever found the need to connect all the D&D worlds together. The fact I keep hearing D&D employees talking about it makes me think they are spending valuable time on an unnecessary topic.

Many people like me disagree, I find it interesting and adds to immersion in the setting.
 

Negflar2099

Explorer
Personally, I like thinking about how the worlds might fit together and I don't think it distracts from what makes those world's interesting, unless the DM decides it does. In other words, if no one ever uses this technique to actually visit your version of Eberron then it remains Eberron, but if another DM wants to explore merging FR and Eberron (for instance) this provides a framework.

Maybe I only feel this way because I love Spelljammer and Planescape so much. A lot of the themes of Eberron fit so well into Spelljammer (warforged as robots, lots and lots of minor magic items equaling technology). I always wanted a way to bring Eberron into Spelljammer but I felt I couldn't because the cosmology was so different. It doesn't help that Eberron's cosmology marks it as being very Eberron focused (Eberron is clearly meant to be "the world" the one and only planet in existence, sort of like Tamriel in the Elder Scrolls Series, which doesn't mesh at all with Spelljammer). I am supper happy to have any framework for how Eberron might fit into a "larger" cosmology.

I can't help but draw connections to the MCU. Earth in the MCU is a very special place, one of only a handful of planets connected by the Convergence and the World Tree, each of which is treated as its own separate realm, but is still only one world among countless millions. Under this framework Eberron is like Earth in the MCU, connected to other realms by magic, but still only one planet among many. So my Spelljamming Guardians of the Galaxy crew can drop by Eberron/Earth and have adventures without messing things up for my other Avengers style vanilla Eberron campaign group. I love it!
 

QuietBrowser

First Post
Having not played Planescape or Spelljammer as they were, is this elegant form of combining the Prime Material Plane and Phlogiston/Crystal Spheres original here or based off older editions? I’m used to the classic “alternate Prime Material Planes” of 1st Edition, and Planescape and Spelljammer have always struck me as trying to travel the same paths through different paths (per the concepts of perception in PS) in the past. I like how the PMP is done here, even if Eberron (and my beloved Dragonlance) takes a bit of ‘splainin to do.
To the best of my admittedly limited knowledge, the Phlogiston and the Prime Material have been more or less the same thing since the Spelljammer meta-setting was introduced in AD&D 2nd edition.

In a nutshell, the Prime Material Plane refers as a whole to the "mundane" universe within the D&D multiverse. But, unlike our universe, which is made of planets and stars within a vacuum, the Prime Material Plane is made of an aether-like substance - the Phlogiston - which coalesces into mighty crystal spheres, which float within it like bubbles in an ocean. Inside of these spheres, elemental matter & energies slip through from the elemental planes, where they weave together (usually through the meddling of gods or archmages) to form suns and planets, which are your standard fantasy worlds. Toril is in one crystal sphere, Krynn is in another, Oerth in yet another, Mystara in a third, and so on, and so forth.

A spelljammer can both cruise between the celestial bodies of a given sphere, or breach the crystal sphere itself to enter the Phlogiston, which it can then travel through in order to reach another crystal sphere - in essence, the Phlogiston is both physical space and hyper-space at the same time.
 

gyor

Legend
As I've mentioned before the Phlogiston and the blind eternities sound a lot alike, both are made of ab aether substance, both separate crystal spheres/planes from each other.
 

Flexor the Mighty!

18/100 Strength!
Yeah - I don't get the urge to connect everything up. I guess there's a decent number of people who like to plane hop as it were, but for me I want my adventuring worlds to have a particular thematic feel.

Yeah, my Greyhawk game isn't tied to a multiverse, I haven't I thought about how planes are really setup since the game hasn't gone there and there has been no reason for me to mess around with that kind of stuff. Hell and the Abyss are probably two names for he same place I'm thinking.
 

Aldarc

Legend
Eberron will never be tied to any notion of a D&D Multiverse in my campaign, so this changes nothing practical at my table.
 

SkidAce

Hero
Supporter
I think I will keep separate worlds/planets (or solar systems like Eberron) as distinct planes for now.

This causes teleport not to work to travel between "worlds".

Using Plane Shift will be the norm. (see spell description)

But I will consider the ramifications as time goes by.
 

DEFCON 1

Legend
Supporter
If your Eberron campaign has spells like Tenser's Floating Disk and Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound in it... you're already attached to the D&D multiverse whether you want to be or not. ;)
 

Jer

Adventurer
If your Eberron campaign has spells like Tenser's Floating Disk and Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound in it... you're already attached to the D&D multiverse whether you want to be or not. ;)

Except at my table when we're not playing in Greyhawk we always call it "Floating Disk" in deference to the Basic D&D spell we all grew up with. ;)

(I've always done that with the "named" spells - either dropped the name off, given them a different wizard name that was campaign appropriate, or appropriated the wizard in question to be some famous wizard in our campaign world - the fact that every world has a different wizard named Melf who stumbles onto the method of conjuring acid arrows never stops being funny to me...)
 

MarkB

Legend
If your Eberron campaign has spells like Tenser's Floating Disk and Mordenkainen's Faithful Hound in it... you're already attached to the D&D multiverse whether you want to be or not. ;)

Any resemblance to other fictional characters or entities, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
 

Thanks guachi and Chaosmancer for sharing about your campaign worlds. Yep, your version of the D&D Multiverse consists of just one world, along with those few extraplanar places you mentioned.

In contrast, the published D&D Multiverse has always consisted of a number of different D&D Worlds, and there have always been cross-overs between *all* of them, even back in the 1970s and 1980s. Oerth existed alongside its parallel Earths: Yarth, Aerth, and Uerth. Murlynd visited Earth, where he got his six-shooters. The original Greyhawk campaign also visited Lewis Carrol's Wonderland and Edgar Rice Burrough's Barsoom (Mars). The Mystara Gazetteers included appendices which detailed gates between Mystara, Oerth, and Toril. The Book of Marvellous Magic had Alternate World Gates which brought characters to and from Mystara, Oerth, Boot Hill, Gamma World, Star Frontiers, Dawn Patrol, and Gangbusters. Ed Greenwood had "real world" Egyptians and Mesopotamians journey from Earth to Toril. One of Mystara's most (in)famous NPC families (the Ambrevilles) came from Earth (aka Laterre). The 1e Dragonlance hardcover had rules for bringing characters from other D&D worlds. The Wizards Three (Elminster, Dalamar, and Mordenkainen) from three different D&D worlds, visited each other in Wisconsin. As you surely know, there were hundreds of Planescape, Ravenloft, and Spelljammer products (along with Chronomancer) which featured all sorts of storied connections between D&D Worlds. There were whole novels written about characters who adventured from one world to the next. Even in 3E, which differentiated each world with a distinct planar cosmology--all the worlds were still connected via the Plane of Shadow, which also connected with the d20 Modern settings such as Urban Arcana. 4E explicitly made events, such as the Dawn War, occur in all the published worlds. The 5E PHB and DMG are the first to explicitly list all of the classic D&D worlds. WotC reps have repeatedly said that all the D&D worlds still exist in 5E, and that all the worlds reside in the same Multiverse (as they have in every edition), and that they'll "all" be re-visited in 5E, eventually.

These connections already exist. Every edition of D&D has portrayed the D&D Multiverse as consisting of multiple campaign worlds which can be visited at the DM's discretion. It's not like Crawford is sitting down inventing connections out of the blue. He's just restating that 44-year-long interconnectedness in 5E terms.

Furthermore, Magic: The Gathering, like D&D, is also based on a Multiverse of multiple worlds...and Magic fans don't complain...they're not overwhelmed by the connections. And now we're finding out that the M:TG worlds exist in the D&D Multiverse, as a sort of greater "WotC Multiverse." That is a new connection, but it's still only an expansion of the existing multiplicity of the D&D Multiverse.

Guachi and Chaosmancer, I respect that you're both DMs whose discretion is to stick to one world, and that's that. Cool. Yet I'd prefer you refrain from so grumpily misrepresenting what the published D&D Multiverse has been all along: interconnected.

I think you may have misinterpretted what I was getting at, maybe if I break some of my thoughts down further it will help.

In response to your thoughts on my campaign world, you are correct, I don't care if the worlds are connected. One way or the other, does not matter to my games. I've already got seven or more planes of existence to juggle, doubling or tripling them by connecting whole other worlds does not appeal to me.


However, I think a larger part of the discussion and my personal thoughts goes to the second point. I don't care how they are connected. And that is the entire premise of settings like Planescape and Spelljammer. They seek to explain exactly how (From your list of examples) Murlynd visited Earth. They give reliable ways for any person who has the knowledge to go from Plane of Existence A to Plane of Existence B. And that's great if that is what you are into, but I find it completely unnecessary. If I wanted throw Superman, Legacy (Paulina Parsons), and Atlas into Waterdeep to fight The Cult of the Dragon... I'd just do it. I don't need to explain how those points all intersect. And it creates a series of problems when you try and spell it out.

Take Star Trek as an example, the people on a given planet may have a certain perception of reality, such as space is full of ghosts and the stars are the gods who watch over them. However, they are fundamentally wrong about that reality, and the reasons the crew of the Enterprise doesn't come down and correct them is because doing so violates the right of those civilizations to learn about the truth for themselves. However, it breeds a sense of superiority doesn't it? Anyone visiting that planet from space knows that these people have no idea what is actually going on, and therefore they are somewhat lessened in comparison.

We have that already. We have the idea that planescape scholars scoff at people stuck in one plane, because they don't know the "real story". And we can scoff at them, because the planescape people don't realize they are all characters in our made up stories to entertain ourselves (multiverse theories being what they are, all multiverses are connected with all other multiverses, and an infinite array of potential truths).



But we don't need any of it. We don't need to explain how it is all connected and what is all looks like when you zoom all the way out. We can just as easily (as [MENTION=6803664]ccs[/MENTION] points out) just use the planeshift spell, or a macguffin, and get the result of going from point A to point B.


That's the bigger thing for me personally, these settings answer questions I don't need answers to. Other people want them and other people find the neccessary to their enjoyment of the game. Great, go nuts, but I don't need flying ships through explosive magic stuff between galaxy sized crystals that are grains of sand to explain how some guy one time went from Oerth to Earth and shook hands with Stan Lee. The characters aren't going to meet Stan Lee in my game, because it would detract from the story I am telling at the time. And someone telling me that despite my dislike they are already connected anyways.... doesn't matter. I don't care how long they've been connected, how many times they've been connected, or how important it is they are connected. It is never going to come up, my players aren't interested.
 

devincutler

Explorer
For those who may not know, DDO has formally linked Eberron and Faerun, including a cycle of adventures wherein Lolth makes (and then breaks) a deal with the Lords of Dust.

Your DDO PCs can travel between the two worlds once you complete these adventures.
 

Jer

Adventurer
For those who may not know, DDO has formally linked Eberron and Faerun, including a cycle of adventures wherein Lolth makes (and then breaks) a deal with the Lords of Dust.

Your DDO PCs can travel between the two worlds once you complete these adventures.

Now that is interesting. But I assume that you don't travel via a Spelljammer but rather via some kind of gate or plane shift spell?

I don't object to a multiverse. I object to the Crystal Sphere model as being "the model" of how space works for all worlds. It's an overly restrictive solution to solve the problem of "why does the way the stars work in Dragonlance not impact other settings" when connecting the worlds together via fantasy space travel - and that's really the only reason it exists. Without Krynn and its problem of stars that move in the sky based on the actions of the gods, you don't need crystal spheres and you can just have fantasy space travel.
 

Now that is interesting. But I assume that you don't travel via a Spelljammer but rather via some kind of gate or plane shift spell?

I don't object to a multiverse. I object to the Crystal Sphere model as being "the model" of how space works for all worlds. It's an overly restrictive solution to solve the problem of "why does the way the stars work in Dragonlance not impact other settings" when connecting the worlds together via fantasy space travel - and that's really the only reason it exists. Without Krynn and its problem of stars that move in the sky based on the actions of the gods, you don't need crystal spheres and you can just have fantasy space travel.
Actually, Dragonlance's stars that moved were explained in Spelljammer, as it was stated that what exactly the stars were varied from sphere to sphere. In some spheres (like Realmspace) they were gateways to the Quasi-elemental Plane of Radiance (presumably that would be changed to the Positive Energy Plane today), but in others they were simply objects hanging from or painted on the inside of the sphere. In the latter case, it's easy to see how they could be mobile depending on the status of the deities...
 

devincutler

Explorer
Now that is interesting. But I assume that you don't travel via a Spelljammer but rather via some kind of gate or plane shift spell?

I don't object to a multiverse. I object to the Crystal Sphere model as being "the model" of how space works for all worlds. It's an overly restrictive solution to solve the problem of "why does the way the stars work in Dragonlance not impact other settings" when connecting the worlds together via fantasy space travel - and that's really the only reason it exists. Without Krynn and its problem of stars that move in the sky based on the actions of the gods, you don't need crystal spheres and you can just have fantasy space travel.

SPOILERS FOR DDO:

You essentially use the gates between the worlds Lolth opened, navigating the Demonweb with Elminster's help (fun adventure tromping along the Demonweb!). Once in Faerun, you are able to traverse back and forth via a planar gate or a magic key.
 


Yaarel

Adventurer
The all-encompassing multiverse setting invites the benefit of officially bringing nonpolytheistic religions into Forgotten Realms and descriptions of nonpolytheistic religions into the core rule books for the cleric class.

Crawford mentions that the polytheistic gods are finite and contingent, and that the ‘mystics’ have no interest in such gods. He mentions hints at a higher level of divinity that is omnipotent and omniscient and beyond comprehension. This makes monotheistic religions normative. In a D&D context, it might make more sense for gaming purposes to think about such mysticisms as a ‘sacred philosophy’ that is in tune with the ‘oneness’ of all being.

He also mentions elves from Forgotten Realms discovering the different cultures (and religions) of the elves of Eberron.
 

Yaarel

Adventurer
‘crystal spheres’ = gravitational orbits

Aristoteles along with other Hellenists observed how the planets seemed to orbit around the sky. He explained that they were fixed to ‘crystal spheres’ that rotated. The notion of the sphere shape derives from highest celestial sphere of stars − the starry globe similar to our ‘celestial sphere’ star map that we use today.

The sphere came to be characterized as ‘crystal’ only in the sense that whatever it was was transparent and symmetric. However, Aristoteles described it as being made out of ‘ether’, a defacto heavenly element that is unlike the four elements of matter, namely earth, water, air, and fire.

During the Medieval Period, the scholar Rambam described this fifth element ‘ether’ as being ‘force’. This force is completely invisible and insubstantial yet in someways like fire but in other ways like water. (Kinda reminds me of our modern descriptions of ‘particle-wave’ and ‘gravity waves’.) He characterized the shape of the planetary motion as a ‘cycle’ rather than a sphere. He characterizes Aristoteles as actually describing ‘cycles of force’ − what we would call gravitational orbits.

Regarding the four elements, earth, water, air, and fire. Rambam described them as states of matter, rather than elements − in other words, solid, liquid, gas, and arguably plasma − as he associates fire with lightning and the sun which are both plasma to various degrees.

So during the 1100s, for Rambam, the five ‘elements’ are: solid, liquid, gas, plasma, plus gravity.



For D&D purposes ...

• ‘crystal spheres’ are gravitational forces that cause solar and lunar systems to cycle round
• gravity = force = ether
• ethereal plane is made out of force (!)

Phlogiston is ether − is gravity − the gravitational forces that can still be slightly detected even in remotest empty space. This ‘phlogistonic’ gravity holds solar systems and galaxies together. The difference between ‘phlogiston’ and ‘crystal sphere’ is the difference between ‘gravity’ and ‘orbit’.

Understanding ‘crystal spheres’ as a metaphor for gravitational orbits, clarifies the relationship between official D&D worlds as literally being space travel from the planet of Forgotten Realms to the planet of Eberron to the planet of Ravnica. Importantly, these planets are in different solar systems. So they are quite remote − practicably requiring faster-than-light travel, wormholes, or ... teleportation.

The material plane is empty space with all the matter within it. This matter moves around according physical forces, lives, and consciousnesses.

To sail thru space, the spelljammer ship can be explained as the ship magically bringing a bubble of breathable air and a gravity spell along with it.



I notice, the Hellenists such as Aristoteles were doing real science. And the careful assessment of his findings by Rambam and other later scholars remains true even today.
 
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