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

Hot take: Because most of us don't really care about planes.
In D&D, they serve as somewhere for summoned creatures and other alien monsters to come from. But to go to? Okay for a short visit, but not much point in staying there for any length of time.

Planes are like planets in pulp sci fi. They take one feature and exaggerate it to massive proportions. The "planet of" trope. Planet of trees, planet of water, planet of fire, planet of proud warriors, planet of pretty 3D VFX, planet of sand (I don't like sand).

So, once you have done the planet/plane of the week it's time to warp on to somewhere else.

I think players tend to like the comfortable familiarity of GenericFantasyland(TM) too.
 

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Because the planes are boring when finite. Adding endless amounts of boredom does not suddenly spark joy.
Well that is a terrible answer. You have basically just spotlighted your own ignorance.

If you wanted to make this argument, you should probably at least frame it around the planes that are actually like this. Many/most are not.
 

dave2008

Legend
I think a problem with the upper planes is that they are inherently good, and that this is assumed to apply to all of their inhabitants.
This implies that any guardians guarding access to gods or holy artifacts will be acting understanding and benign, and if the players explain that they are on a quest to do a good thing, they will be ushered through and given any assistance they need.

There's not just no villains there, it's hard to even think of any kinds of obstacles to get into the PCs' way.
I will point out that 4e didn't have that assumption. The divine dominions in 4e did not assume all inhabitants were good, there were specifically a mix as they were no longer alignment based.
 

Well that is a terrible answer. You have basically just spotlighted your own ignorance.

If you wanted to make this argument, you should probably at least frame it around the planes that are actually like this. Many/most are not.
Either, your planes are strongly themed, as I mentioned in my earlier post. In which case an infinite amount of more of the same kind of stuff is pretty much the definition of boring. Or, your infinite planes include infinite possibilities. In which case, every possibility exists on the plane you are on now, so there is no point in traveling to another one, which includes all of the same stuff that is on your current plane.

You know what space is full of? Empty space.
 
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Either, your planes are strongly themed, as I mentioned in my earlier post. In which case an infinite amount of more of the same kind of stuff is pretty much the definition of boring. Or, your infinite planes include infinite possibilities. In which case, every possibility exists on the plane you are on now, so there is no point in traveling to another one, which includes all of the same stuff that is on your current plane.

You know what space is full of? Empty space.
Well, it is not like you’re expected to adventure in the entire infinite plane. If it has a strong theme, that should be good enough for adventure/campaign to that plain.
 


Incenjucar

Legend
Wait, what? I never heard that. Might have to bail on all hope for 5.5e if true.
"strong" might be overstating it, but there are multiple nods to it in the materials. They're bringing back Planescape-style tieflings, adding a new Plane-Touched race based on guardinals, and Sigil is noted as where Common came from and where humans spread to the many worlds from.
 



Undrave

Hero
It would be interesting to see a mythic-feeling setting that had a natural bleed into the outer planes where you could basically just walk into the realms of the gods like you can in so many mythologies.
Like climbing Mt Olympus takes you to the Mt Olympus in the Astral plane.
I will point out that 4e didn't have that assumption. The divine dominions in 4e did not assume all inhabitants were good, there were specifically a mix as they were no longer alignment based.
Oh yeah, a bunch of evil gods resided in the Astral Sea! Pandemonium was there, Bane and Gruumsh's eternal battlefield was there... I think Tiamat too.

And Pelor and Ioun shared a domain with the morally grey Erathis. The gods also had interesting relationships with conflicts.

'The Plane Above' had a bunch of enemies PCs could have conflict with.
 

Can we still have good teiflings?
Depends on what you mean by "good tieflings", I suppose.

Functionally, they're just keeping the standard 5e Tielfing as the stock Infernal/Diabolic "subrace" option, and adding in an Abyssal/Demonic option and a Chthonic/Yugoloth-y option, backing away from the 4e-onwards view of "Tieflings are of Infernal Origin" and going back to something closer to the broader "Tieflings are of Fiendish Origin" from pre-4e.

Not quite the full "roll on this chart to determine some of your racial traits", but more workable for those of use who like different flavors of tiefling to play around with.
 


Trouble is, outside of a Planescape campaign, no one wants to adventure there. People love to argue the cosmology, but hate to actually go there.
Pretty much exactly this.

The problem is, almost all the planes, unless you have the conflict Planescape adds to them (i.e. of potentially dragging places to other planes etc.), are INCREDIBLY BORING. Like OMG SO BORING. They're monotonous. And because they're an afterlife, they don't feel like they "matter" in the same way.

World of Warcraft crashed head-first into exactly the same problem last expansion, with Shadowlands. They thought "Oh we'll do a cool outer planes deal with four very D&D-esque afterlife planes. And it looked fantastic, visually. But it's just not an engaging concept. It's genuinely hard to care about any of it, and as fantastic as it all looked, it was, like D&D, also a bit monotonous on any given plane, because they entire point is they're expressing a very specific place/ideology.

WoW players, in classic WoW fashion, rationalized the hell out of this with all sort of bizarre blaming of the writing (which was actually straight-up better than previous expansions by literally any standard that is even sane), but the fact is, you just didn't care. Everyone is already dead. Yeah, okay it's the dead version of that cool major dude or whatever, but like, MEH.

And D&D gets even worse with stuff the elemental planes. Oof.
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Depends on what you mean by "good tieflings", I suppose.

Functionally, they're just keeping the standard 5e Tielfing as the stock Infernal/Diabolic "subrace" option, and adding in an Abyssal/Demonic option and a Chthonic/Yugoloth-y option, backing away from the 4e-onwards view of "Tieflings are of Infernal Origin" and going back to the broader "Tieflings are of Fiendish Origin" from pre-4e.
Weren't they always the devil version of cambions?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
The problem is, almost all the planes, unless you have the conflict Planescape adds to them (i.e. of potentially dragging places to other planes etc.), are INCREDIBLY BORING. Like OMG SO BORING. They're monotonous. And because they're an afterlife, they don't feel like they "matter" in the same way.
I feel like Carceri actually has a reason to exist at least. It's the prison planet (in a setting where you can't have 'planets' because people will be sad) where in some places the inmates are running the asylum.

Also, I feel like the world with the ant men who are spelled like the fey giants should be part of the earth plane so there's like this giant, literal Alien Antfarm.
 

Incenjucar

Legend
Weren't they always the devil version of cambions?

Tieflings were originally the idea that one or more of your ancestors was a creature of the lower planes. It didn't even have to be a fiend, but it usually was. Physical manifestations could be all over the place, like fins or insect eyes or a second tongue or whatever. Their blood is much more dilute than a cambion or alu-fiend.
 

Weren't they always the devil version of cambions?
Nope. Pre-4e, tieflings were just people who had some fiendish blood somewhere in their ancestry, completely non-specific on where that fiendish blood came from. But as a result, they were also highly varied in appearance, body type, etc. (standard human-style feet, digitigrade legs, hooves, any kind of tail or no tail at all, fur, scales, multiple arms, wings, horns, and so on), so they didn't have a unified "look" to them.

When 4e came around, WotC wanted to move them into the PHB and since they were now going to be far more prominent that previously, they needed something more..."copyrightable" to work with for art and mini design purposes. So they revised tieflings to be strictly Infernal in origin and settled on the standard Tiefling appearance (humanoid feet, horns, tail, varying skin colors usually in the red-ish region) they've used ever since.
 
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Like climbing Mt Olympus takes you to the Mt Olympus in the Astral plane.

Oh yeah, a bunch of evil gods resided in the Astral Sea! Pandemonium was there, Bane and Gruumsh's eternal battlefield was there... I think Tiamat too.
Bane and Gruumsh are fighting over Chernoggar. Tiamat and Zehir are fighting over the latter's native domain, Tytharion--and because of how her invasion worked, both of them got the part they like least. She and her minions are stuck in the caverns below the surface, while he and his ilk are stuck on the mountainous surface, away from the caverns they prefer. Each is too weak to claim the whole domain, and too proud (and backstabby) to even attempt to cooperate in order to get the part they'd actually want to have.

And Pelor and Ioun shared a domain with the morally grey Erathis. The gods also had interesting relationships with conflicts.
Indeed. It's worth noting that technically Ioun is also morally grey, she just has her primary rivalry with arguably the dirt-worst deity of the whole pantheon, Vecna. When your enemy is friggin' Vecna, it's easy to come across as a good person purely from that opposition. She does seem to cleave very close to Good, but properly she's Unaligned; she comes across like Girl Genius's Incorruptible Republic of the Immortal Library, which Ardsley Wooster describes as, "They lend out any book to anybody. Many people find this irresponsible." (Emphasis in original.) In a world where magic is demonstrably real and potentially extremely dangerous, an "information wants to be free" attitude really does have some shades of morally dubious reasoning.

You also have the Unaligned Kord on Mount Celestia itself. (I always liked to think of it as Kord being Bahamut's boyfriend, which is why the two most uptight goody-two-shoes deities of the whole pantheon would tolerate a wild child like Kord living among them full time.) Though apparently in some other material he's presented as being more like The Goddamn Batman, as in, a crazy prepared type that's willing to Do What It Takes to fight bad things and protect the things and people he cares about.

'The Plane Above' had a bunch of enemies PCs could have conflict with.
Indeed. And because it's my favorite plot point of all time, I can't help bringing this one up.

Context: in 4e, the afterlife is broken. Some souls just...don't get an afterlife. They get to go to the Astral Sea, but they never get a connection to one of the divine domains. If they tried to live on said domain full-time it would friggin' absorb them over time. Really bad juju. Unfortunately, there's basically nothing the gods can do, because the Dawn War, the destruction of the Lattice of Heaven, and the immense damage to their domains has basically fried the structure they built and it's almost miraculous that it works at all. Double unfortunately, this means none of the gods really has any interest in trying to fix the problem, they just shrug their divine shoulders and focus on other things.

Except, of course, Bahamut. Because he is a badass, and he doesn't just talk the talk when it comes to being "one of the most compassionate beings in the multiverse." No, instead, since a direct solution to the "broken afterlife" problem is not forthcoming, Bahamut has commissioned artisans from all the planes to create state-of-the-art DIVINE ASTEROID ARK-SHIPS to house all the souls of folks who didn't get an afterlife. They'll sail the Astral Sea in the vicinity of Celestia and other friendly domains, allowing these lost souls to at least have a safe, protected, comfortable place while the gods look for a more permanent solution. How friggin' awesome is that?! Divine asteroid ark-ships are a canonical thing.

Except....turns out, Kord gets an itchy trigger finger in his concerns about the Dawn War coming back. So he, or at least some of his followers, hijack the prototype ship shortly after its test voyage, intending to use it for some purpose or other related to fighting the remaining Primordials, which has a huge risk of actually triggering the Dusk War instead. So now you're going out, to fight denizens of Celestia specifically at Bahamut's request in order to prevent someone from accidentally-on-purpose triggering friggin' Ragnarok II: Deific Boogaloo.

The fact that this was a perfectly cromulent Epic-level campaign chunk in 4e remains one of the most absolutely metal D&D things I've ever encountered and I love it to death. From top to bottom it's just excessively, profligately cool.
 

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