D&D General Sir Plane "Not Appearing in this Cosmology"

Yora

Legend
I think that Pandemonium, Carceri, and Gehenna could all be really cool hell dimensions. Though admittedly Pandemonium has been made kind of redundant with the Underdark. Same general idea, except with demons instead of tentacles.
Carceri is a prison world for the damned without having lots of big deadly demons and devils swarming everywhere to tear visiting adventurers apart the moment they arrive.
And Gehenna is just visually pure metal! Who wouldn't want to adventure in a world that is all volcano under a permanently black sky?
 

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Most of the outer planes were devised for the sake of alignment symmetry, which is just not terribly fertile ground for adventuring. Personally I wouldn't dismiss them as "boring" per se, as I think you could do a lot of interesting worldbuilding with any one of them, but that doesn't make them good gameable settings, and they are fundamentally too one note to really want to spend more than a few sessions at absolute max. I'm sure somewhere there is a whole gaming group who want to spend months of D&D sessions adventuring around Mechanus, but I think it would wear on most people considerably quicker.

Once these outer planes are reduced to "thematic setting you go talk to a god in for one session" they don't really require an extensive write up.
 

grimslade

Krampus ate my d20s
From a design standpoint, "infinite" just means you don't need to find a gap in the setting map to plant a new point of interest.
But there is no need to be infinite or separate from the Prime to make a new map coordinate. Rope Trick doesn't need a whole infinite plane. A different plane should rewrite the rules. The Astral kind of does this, no need for food or air, no aging, travel by thought. Hell shouldn't just be a corporate retreat for the horned and winged glitterati. Hell should be a thumb on the scale for every outcome being weighted for evil. You can be a paladin fighting the righteous path through Levistus and every choice still leads to a Monkey's Paw result.

My post was hyperbole. I enjoy the concept of a multiverse but the way D&D implements it is lackluster. Echoes of the Prime is a good intro, but every plane should have a personality, not a two-adjective description.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
But there is no need to be infinite or separate from the Prime to make a new map coordinate. Rope Trick doesn't need a whole infinite plane. A different plane should rewrite the rules. The Astral kind of does this, no need for food or air, no aging, travel by thought. Hell shouldn't just be a corporate retreat for the horned and winged glitterati. Hell should be a thumb on the scale for every outcome being weighted for evil. You can be a paladin fighting the righteous path through Levistus and every choice still leads to a Monkey's Paw result.

My post was hyperbole. I enjoy the concept of a multiverse but the way D&D implements it is lackluster. Echoes of the Prime is a good intro, but every plane should have a personality, not a two-adjective description.
I'm a bit confused. What background materials are you using? Have you read the Planescape setting boxed set books from 2E? Post-2E setting content has been disappointing in general for me. 2E actually had way too many rules for being on different planes. There was a freaking giant poster pullout spreadsheet for it.
 

As a huge planescape fan, I'll say that the great wheel has too many planes and too many layers within each plane that feel same-y. How many basically-peaceful infinite forest spaces do we need? How much adventuring variety can be made out of infinitely vast, homogenous landscapes of elements? The PS boxed sets suffered from trying to cover all this material, and upon rereading they ended up having some fantastic gems of ideas buried within surprisingly adventure-less worlds.

That said, I'm all about demi-planes. Come up with a fantastical adventuring location, send players there via portal, done.
 

Haplo781

Legend
In 4e, there is Astral Sea, Ethereal, Far Realm, Fey, Shadow, Prime, Elemental Chaos.

The Abyss is a part of the Elemental Chaos.

The other "higher" planes are all pockets within the Astral Sea, including Hell. Hell is has been sealed.

The Elemental Chaos isn't "elemental plane of fire" or anything -- it is a world where elemental forces are closer to the surface, and mixed up strangely. Rivers of fire, mountains of wind, griffons with ice wings and fire beaks -- all are fair game. There might be parts of it that are fire-heavy, but the "pure elements" aren't given special status.

The Abyss is explicitly a region within the Elemental Chaos corrupted by a shard of "pure evil". That shard was probably what gave Asmodeus the power to overthrow his deity and take over, in response the other gods trapped Asmodeus in Hell.

As the higher planes (the domains of the gods) aren't given star status, there can be as many or as few as the DM wants. The dawn war pantheon doesn't line up with the traditional L/C N/G grid however.

Fey and Shadow are "adventurerable" variants on Positive/Negative planes, and echos of the Prime.

It was a pretty serious restructuring really.
Small correction: 4e didn't have an ethereal plane.

But it was a huge improvement.
 

Remathilis

Legend
Eberron, as usual, has a special relationship with its planes. Not only does it have its own cosmology outside the Great Wheel, but there's a different emphasis on the planes. In most settings, the planes are primarily sources of monsters, and secondarily a place where high-level characters go to adventure. But in Eberron, they influence the material plane directly. The reason they can build the towers of Sharn, and have local flying transportation, is that the city is in a location with planar influences making that sort of thing easier. Manifest zones with the influence of Irian, the Eternal Day, are believed to be what makes the Deathless possible, as well as creating some of Aerenal's unusual flora. Basically, planes create manifest zones, which the inhabitants of Eberron treat as special natural resources.

I say this as an Eberron fan: the Eberron planes are meh. A few planes are important as invasion points (Dal Quor, Xoriat) but the rest are just variants on the regular Great Wheel planes (fire plane, fey plane, shadow plane, chaos plane, etc). Permanent Manifest zones are handwavium (explaining why Sharn is the only city built vertical) and the whole waxing and waning influence either happened at the speed of plot or were as annoying to track as Krynn's moons. I've run two long-term Eberron games, and I think planar influence (heck, Eberron's planes themselves) have never come up, Dal Quor/Inspired notwithstanding.

People gush about Eberron's planes, but I don't think they're within the top ten best things about the setting, and if WotC said they were just Eberronian names for the planes of the Great Wheel, I wouldn't care less.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
While it had a bit too much "not even a Wish can bring you back" stuff the Planescape book on the Ethereal actually has a lot of fun ideas. Even has hints at a Far Realm equivalent for people who are into that.
 


Undrave

Hero
In 4e, there is Astral Sea, Ethereal, Far Realm, Fey, Shadow, Prime, Elemental Chaos.

The Abyss is a part of the Elemental Chaos.

The other "higher" planes are all pockets within the Astral Sea, including Hell. Hell is has been sealed.

The Elemental Chaos isn't "elemental plane of fire" or anything -- it is a world where elemental forces are closer to the surface, and mixed up strangely. Rivers of fire, mountains of wind, griffons with ice wings and fire beaks -- all are fair game. There might be parts of it that are fire-heavy, but the "pure elements" aren't given special status.

The Abyss is explicitly a region within the Elemental Chaos corrupted by a shard of "pure evil". That shard was probably what gave Asmodeus the power to overthrow his deity and take over, in response the other gods trapped Asmodeus in Hell.

As the higher planes (the domains of the gods) aren't given star status, there can be as many or as few as the DM wants. The dawn war pantheon doesn't line up with the traditional L/C N/G grid however.

Fey and Shadow are "adventurerable" variants on Positive/Negative planes, and echos of the Prime.

It was a pretty serious restructuring really.
Gawd I love the 4e Cosmology! Most of it feels like a proper mythology.

There's also the Underdark, that is not just caverns beneath the Earth but an almost demi-plane place where the Elemental STUFF of the planet slowly breaks down. If you keep going down you end up in the Elemental Chaos. Its where Torog, the King that Crawls, resides...

In the days of creation before the Dawn War, Torog had a hated rival, a monstrous primordial named Gargash, who went into the Underdark to experiment with powers of torture and imprisonment. Torog entered the Underdark in order to destroy his nemesis at the moment before the Dawn War broke out between the gods and the primordials; Torog and Gargash were thus both left behind. They fought a violent battle in which Torog finally gained the upper hand. As Gargash felt his strength disappearing, he cursed Torog to never heal from his wounds and to never be able to leave the Underdark. After finding himself unable to leave without losing power after eons of trying, Torog carved himself a dominion within the Underdark and settled himself as the god of the Underdark and torture, inspired by his torturous attempts to leave for the surface with his permanently broken body.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
4E's changes were pretty easy to ignore except for the removal of the Ethereal. Elemental Chaos being a nexus between elemental planes is fine, and the abyss being basically what makes you the multiverse swallow its own tail is fascinating.
 


Dausuul

Legend
I think that Pandemonium, Carceri, and Gehenna could all be really cool hell dimensions. Though admittedly Pandemonium has been made kind of redundant with the Underdark. Same general idea, except with demons instead of tentacles.
Carceri is a prison world for the damned without having lots of big deadly demons and devils swarming everywhere to tear visiting adventurers apart the moment they arrive.
And Gehenna is just visually pure metal! Who wouldn't want to adventure in a world that is all volcano under a permanently black sky?
I have an idea for a mini-campaign in which the villain has an artifact from Carceri, which can exchange a soul from the Material Plane for a random denizen of Carceri. The artifact can also reverse this exchange, sending the Carcerian back... but if the Carcerian dies on the Material Plane, the soul is trapped in Carceri forever.

The villain is using the artifact to turn isolated villages into a motley army of fiends, monsters, and the damned. This army obeys the villain because he has the power to send them back at any time; however, they are absolutely treacherous, and what they really want is to see the artifact destroyed so they can't be sent back. (Mind you, they will still return when they die; the artifact is a malevolent trap, not an escape hatch.)

So, the PCs will need to discover what the artifact actually does, capture it intact, and use it to send the army back before destroying it. Unless, of course, they stop to think about the Carcerians they killed during the course of the adventure, and decide they have a duty to retrieve those lost souls. There are two ways to accomplish that: First, the artifact has the power to swap one soul for another, so you can retrieve the lost souls by throwing other people into Carceri in their place... if there's anybody you can convince yourself deserves that fate. Second, you can bring back the lost souls connected to all Carcerians you killed, if you're willing to throw yourself in. Doing so will begin a new story arc where the PCs have to bust out of the prison plane.

(If the players don't stop to think about the slain Carcerians, or decide it isn't their responsibility, none of that last part will come into play. It's not something I intend to push on them.)
 

Incenjucar

Legend
There is definitely a need for habitable zones in the inner planes so players can interact with them more. Each plane really needs one NPC-friendly area before things ramp up to dead-on-arrival.
 


Staffan

Legend
People gush about Eberron's planes, but I don't think they're within the top ten best things about the setting, and if WotC said they were just Eberronian names for the planes of the Great Wheel, I wouldn't care less.
The main thing I like about Eberron's planes is that they are, by and large, conceptual rather than alignment-based (except maybe Daanvi and Kythri).

But if I were to design a cosmology from scratch, it would be more like 4e, except without the privileged position of the Material Plane. Rather, all planes would have a similar position, and you'd need to find portals to get to "the in-between" where you'd be walking paths in the void through psychedelic space in order to find the portals to where you need to go. My main inspiration for this would be classic Marvel comics like Doctor Strange and occasionally the Hulk. This kind of stuff:
1669679634519.png
 


Charlaquin

Goblin Queen (She/Her/Hers)
Like making the elemental planes something useful rather than 'City of Brass plus places where you die for being there', and turning the Plane of Shadow into an actual place (the Shadowfell). And made angels non-insufferable. Except the one type. You know the ones.
Yeah, like that
 

Staffan

Legend
The Dr. Strange etc. feel is basically a more compact transitive plane.
Well, yes. But I don't want to bypass it. Something like plane shift should open a portal to the Crossroads (as it was called when Hulk was banished there) at the most, not straight to whatever other plane you ultimately want to go. You need to find a path along the Crossroads, and be able to survive the journey.

And there should be a myriad of other planes, primarily just being strange and weird. No gods or other nonsense.
 

dave2008

Legend
Since way back in AD&D 1st edition, D&D settings generally were assumed to be part of a planar system consisting of 17 outer planes, 14 inner planes (later reduced to 6), an astral plane, and a variable number of other planes bordering the material plane. In 3rd edition it was decided to throw all of these out for Forgotten Realms and replace them with roughly as many new planes. Eberron also got its own planes and there were quite a number of them. Then 4th edition changes things and I believe introduced the Feywild, but otherwise still mostly just shuffled things around without meaningful changes, unless I remember wrong.

Thing is, when you look at published material outside of the 2nd edition Planescape product line, how many planes did actually ever get mentioned or covered in adventures or even novels and videogames?

There's the Abyss, the Nine Hells, the Astral Plane, and maybe if you are lucky the Elemental Plane of Fire or Limbo. The Forgotten Realms deities all have their respective home planes, but again, except for the Abyss none of these ever appear anywhere.

Anything else? Basically completely missing in action outside of Planescape for a few years in the 90s.

How come we're always ever only got to see the same three or four planes when there are so many more? Why the regular overhaul of the planar system that in the end only replaces the planes that nobody had use for with basically the same thing again?
In 4e there are definitely articles on other planes and adventures that take you to the City of Brass (in the elemental chaos in 4e), Mt Celestia, the Abyss, the Shadowfell, the Feywild, and Tytherion. There may be others, but those I know off the top of my head
 

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