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General The Brilliance of the Original Gygaxian Multiverse

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
However, they do matter if we want to concentrate outside the Prime. Personally, I like a combination where some things are explained by the many universes of the Prime and other things are explained by things outside the Prime.

One issue with stuffing all the settings in the Prime is the part you quoted about the Ethereal plane touch the Prime and inner planes. If all the settings are in the Prime, it should be fairly simple to travel through the Ether to get to any alternate universe (setting) in the Prime. But that is apparantly not the case (MtG, Eberron, & Athas are all difficult to get to).
Except it isn't, necessarily. The original source material (Nine Princes etc.) makes frequent reference to, and use of, the concept of planes that are locked out of, inaccessible, or otherwise difficult to get into or out of.

The DMG makes reference to this as well, stating that the conditions of other planes might be completely foreign, both in terms of scale and time (time can pass more quickly or slowly, scale and size can be completely different) and that the DM can control the methods of ingress and egress to the planes.

So while the ethereal might touch upon Athas, that does not mean that your Athas (and there are infinite Athases) is easily accessible.
 

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Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
This is what makes absolutely zero sense to me. All of that design space is still there. As DM, you can do anything you want with your setting. If you want parallel worlds, you've got parallel worlds. If you want your own cosmology, you can build it. The intro to the 5E DMG is all about creating your own world.

If you feel that you have to hew strictly to what's in the books, in spite of the books explicitly telling you you don't... that's on you.

What the planar books do is provide raw materials for DMs who don't want to build everything from scratch every time. I don't see why those DMs should be deprived of that material.
With apologies to however I did not explain this well, I think you do not understand what I am saying; unless you are doing the "Well, you can homebrew whatever you want, so shut up," in which case ... that's not well received. :)

It's a question of choices in terms of the official material. Where once we had an infinite variety of material available and (for a period of almost a decade) the idea that these gates and cross-genre experiments would be common, we instead got the rather banal, "We must not cross the streams."

Quite frankly, I did not ask that anyone be "deprived" of material and that's kind of insulting.
 

dave2008

Legend
Except it isn't, necessarily. The original source material (Nine Princes etc.) makes frequent reference to, and use of, the concept of planes that are locked out of, inaccessible, or otherwise difficult to get into or out of.

The DMG makes reference to this as well, stating that the conditions of other planes might be completely foreign, both in terms of scale and time (time can pass more quickly or slowly, scale and size can be completely different) and that the DM can control the methods of ingress and egress to the planes.

So while the ethereal might touch upon Athas, that does not mean that your Athas (and there are infinite Athases) is easily accessible.
Sure, but that is not more interesting than putting Athas in a separate Prime or its own pocket universe outside the Prime or whatever. They are just different. You can say:
  1. Athas is in the one and only Prime, but it is hard to get to because travel through the Ether to Athas is difficult for some reason, or...
  2. Athas is in the same Prime and same universe, but difficult to get to because the plogiston doesn't go there, or....
  3. Athas is its own universe, and is not connected to the Prime and there fore hard to get too, or...
Or any other number of reasons. The idea that everything is contained in one Prime is not revolutionary or more interesting or useful than any other set up. It is personal preference.

Also, I forgot to say that I found the historical essay on the origins of the Prime interesting, thank you for sharing.
 

Mort

Adventurer
Supporter
sputters with incoherent rage
lol.

I don't know - sometimes the funnest thing is to do something completely out there.

My current group has been exploring ruins in the Sea of Dust. And in their latest adventure escaped from the lower minions of a Suel Lich. In the process they flipped several levers to escape - one of which worked in opening an escape route (they didn't stick around to see what the other non-obvious ones did). Anyway, I'm thinking of having the players actions "accidentally" lead to the revival of an army of experimental vessels (the Suel had planned to use to save themselves in an emergency but couldn't activated quickly enough) that the Lich and his many minions will now inhabit.

In other words, once the group (hopefully) stabilize the region from the machinations of the Scarlet Brotherhood, they'll be facing an invasion of an army of warforged led by Tozhgan Ikan (The Suel lich in the body of a souped up warforged) all thanks to the PCs actions - at least that's the tenuous plan.
 


Mercurius

Legend
I mentioned this in the other thread, but I think the problem lies in the notion that there is one true structure to how the planes work--that one of the variant cosmologies (Gygaxian Great Wheel, Grubbian Great wheel, Zebbian Great Wheel, World Tree, etc) is "how things are." What if, instead, we saw them as explanatory frameworks to describe the phenomena? The planes exist, but how they are put together is up for debate, so different cultures put different frameworks around it. You know, sort of like in our world. We come up with grand narratives, and everyone thinks their preferred narrative--be it a religious belief system or a metaphysical cosmology or a scientific framework--is absolute truth, rather than a certain perspective.

I could even imagine it being philosophical talk in the taverns of Sigil, people arguing over how it all works, how the planes are put together.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
Sure, but that is not more interesting than putting Athas in a separate Prime or its own pocket universe outside the Prime or whatever. They are just different. You can say:
  1. Athas is in the one and only Prime, but it is hard to get to because travel through the Ether to Athas is difficult for some reason, or...
  2. Athas is in the same Prime and same universe, but difficult to get to because the plogiston doesn't go there, or....
  3. Athas is its own universe, and is not connected to the Prime and there fore hard to get too, or...
Or any other number of reasons. The idea that everything is contained in one Prime is not revolutionary or more interesting or useful than any other set up. It is personal preference.
On the bold part, there is a necessary and vital distinction. Look at how you are framing it- one Athas. And then trying to place it.

But the original conception is that not only does Athas share the Prime with other settings (and genres, etc.), but Athas shares the Prime with other Athases!

All possible Athases, with all possible histories, are contained within the Prime. So whether you find that more useful or not, it does greatly change the perception of what is allowable and permissible in D&D in the following ways:

1. First, characters are explicitly portable between campaigns. This is something that always used to be assumed, but (for whatever reason) rarely happens anymore; part of the reason is because the conception people have of the setting has changed.

2. Second, there is no single "official" Athas; just the Athas you happen to be playing in. Your Athas is just as official as the Athas of someone else. For that matter, you Forgotten Realms campaign is just as official as that of Ed Greenwood.

3. Further, there is no "canon." All possible Athases have happened, and will happen. Is your Athas hard to get to? Great! But it can be easy, too. Or maybe the gnomes survived and prospered. Or the kender invaded. It all works.

That's the interesting and useful part to it. IMO. :)
 

5atbu

Explorer
From what I read in the 5e DMG the planes and cosmology is as you want it, they present one possible structure but reference alternatives, and explicitly say you may want to use your own.

However in many ways I agree strongly.
IMHO There are two tensions in the genre.

Those that want unlimited and open fantastical settings and stories unbounded and as limitless as one's imagination.
Those that want detailed and taxonomic details that list and define places, gods, lore, beasts etc.
The former could be said to be Moorcock and the latter Tolkien.

Thing is, IMHO, both can be huge fun. I like both. However I do feel that for a fun and fantastical experience one does have to be able to say "canon, shmanon" and accept at your table that any lore is just a possibility, and in the next three hours "anything can happen".

But that's me.. others like the stability of canon and lore, the verisimilitude, the appearance of being true or real.
 

The reason this is important is that it is, as far as I know, the first written acknowledgement that the Prime Material Plane is legion; it contains not just an infinite set of planes, but a really big infinite set (something something aleph). While most histories of the D&D multiverse then concentrate on the evolution of the various inner and outer planes, it is really this idea of the Prime Material used by Gygax that is so intriguing and worth developing, IMO.
The Prime Material doesnt 'contain' any other planes - even demi-planes, any more than an orange slice contains other orange slices. Each plane (inducing the Prime material and all other material planes) is its own slice of the orange that is the Multiverse.

Also, there is 'the' Prime material, and other Prime material planes The question of which Prime material plane is 'the' 'the' Prime material plane is a subjective question and relative to the inhabitants of that plane.

The inhabitants of Universe C-132 are native to that plane, and it is their Prime material (from their perspective). Rick and Morty are native to Universe C-137, and that is their Prime material plane. In DnD 3.5 terms, they both have the [extraplanar] subtype while they remain in Universe C-132.

In the same way, they inhabitants of the plane that houses Eberron consider their own plane 'the' Prime material plane, just like the inhabitants of Krynn, or Mystara or Faerun do. They're all both correct (from their point of view)... and wrong (from everyone elses).
 

Mort

Adventurer
Supporter
1. First, characters are explicitly portable between campaigns. This is something that always used to be assumed, but (for whatever reason) rarely happens anymore; part of the reason is because the conception people have of the setting has changed.
Actually, isn't there big-time official support for this with Adventurer's League and Pathfinder has something similar with the pathfinder Society? The whole goal of here is to do exactly what you suggest - allow a character to transition between tables.

2. Second, there is no single "official" Athas; just the Athas you happen to be playing in. Your Athas is just as official as the Athas of someone else. For that matter, you Forgotten Realms campaign is just as official as that of Ed Greenwood.
That's mostly true -except they do keep a bit of an "unofficial" official timeline with settings like the Realms.

3. Further, there is no "canon." All possible Athases have happened, and will happen. Is your Athas hard to get to? Great! But it can be easy, too. Or maybe the gnomes survived and prospered. Or the kender invaded. It all works.

That's the interesting and useful part to it. IMO. :)
That's interesting - but how would this work from the publisher's perspective? Sure they could put out an "alternate Athas" book but would people buy it? Seems more in the realm of homebrew etc. Unfortunately the publishers have to think of marketability - as TSR found out having multiple settings competing with each other can be a very bad thing (yes I know it wasn't their only problem, but it was certainly a factor).
 

Raistlin is an inhabitant of the Prime material plane (Krynn) like Mordenkainen is an inhabitant of the Prime material plane (Greyhawk).

Both are different planes, both are Prime material planes (for their native inhabitants), and both are not Prime material planes (relative to that material planes non inhabitants).
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
Also, there is 'the' Prime material, and other Prime material planes The question of which Prime material plane is 'the' 'the' Prime material plane is a subjective question and relative to the inhabitants of that plane.
The Prime Material Plane (or Physical Plane) houses the universe and all of its parallels.

In the Prime Material Plane are countless suns, planets, galaxies, universes. So too there are endless parallel worlds.

For those of you who haven't really thought about it, the so-called planes are your ticket to creativity, and I mean that with a capital C! Everything can be absolutely different, save for those common denominators necessary to the existence of the player characters coming to the plane. Movement and scale can be different; so can combat and morale. Creatures can have more or different attributes. As long as the player characters can somehow relate to it all, then it will work. This is not to say that you are expected to actually make each and every plane a totally new experience - an impossibly tall order. It does mean that you can put your imagination to work on devising a single extraordinary plane. For the rest, simply use AD&D with minor quirks, petty differences, and so forth. If your players wish to spend most of their time visiting other planes (and this could come to pass after a year or more of play) then you will be hard pressed unless you rely upon other game systems to fill the gaps.



Yeah, that's just not correct. I mean, you can have your opinion, and that's great, but it has nothing to do with the Gygaxian multiverse.

Anyway, "worlds," "realms," and "planes" are used interchangeably for the infinite number of places within the Prime Material Plane.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
Raistlin is an inhabitant of the Prime material plane (Krynn) like Mordenkainen is an inhabitant of the Prime material plane (Greyhawk).

Both are different planes, both are Prime material planes (for their native inhabitants), and both are not Prime material planes (relative to that material planes non inhabitants).
This is just wrong.

Again, if that is how you want to do it, that's great, but this thread is about "the brilliance of the original Gygaxian multiverse," not your ideas, however good they might be.
 
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This is just wrong.
No, it's not.

Raistlin was born into a different material plane of existence than Mordenkainen and Elminster were.

From each of their perspectives the material plane they were born in is 'the' Prime material plane, and the other two guys inhabit different (alternate) material planes.

They're all correct. Relative to their point of view.

You're looking at the Prime material plane as if it is an objective thing. It isnt; its subjective to the inhabitants of that material plane.

This accords with similar positions you can find in Quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle, and special relativity as well for what its worth.
 

Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
(a lot of stuff)

This accords with similar positions you can find in Quantum mechanics and the uncertainty principle, and special relativity as well for what its worth.
I will just point out that I gave you the historical basis for what I was saying, provided the quotes to you from Gygax, and then noted that I was specifically referring to the Gygaxian view of the D&D multiverse.

You then spewed a bunch of unsourced nonsense, and said it was in accord with quantum mechanics (!?!), the uncertainty principle (??!!??) and special relativity (???!!!???).

I am not continuing this conversation.
 

Mort

Adventurer
Supporter
I will just point out that I gave you the historical basis for what I was saying, provided the quotes to you from Gygax, and then noted that I was specifically referring to the Gygaxian view of the D&D multiverse.

You then spewed a bunch of unsourced nonsense, and said it was in accord with quantum mechanics (!?!), the uncertainty principle (??!!??) and special relativity (???!!!???).

I am not continuing this conversation.
I believe @Flamestrike is giving you the official way to look at Prime Material planes from the original Manual of the Planes (from 1987, Appendix I) - just to source it. It's after Gygax left TSR but not long after - and seems to fully comport with his views on the multiverse.
 

I will just point out that I gave you the historical basis for what I was saying, provided the quotes to you from Gygax, and then noted that I was specifically referring to the Gygaxian view of the D&D multiverse.
Where you clearly misquoted him, and didnt understand it notwithstanding that misquoting.

Krynn is not simply another world in the same universe as Greyhawk or Faerun, it sits within a different material plane entirely. To travel between those different material planes you have to either Spelljam or utilise planar travel.

If Gygax was referring to the multiverse, he likely was referring to it in the context of the material plane containing Oerth being 'the' material plane. Which (relative to the inhabitants of Oerth), it is.

It's no different to Mordenkainen (Garys proxy) telling you Oerth sits in 'the' Prime material plane, while Elminster and Dalamar (who he has hung out with) are from different material planes (and vice versa).

They're all correct; from their own points of view.

Again; Rick Sanchez is no longer in his own Prime material plane (Earth C-137), leaving it after Kronenburging it and abandoning his family to live in an apocalyptic nightmare. He is now resident in Earth C-132 (an entirely different material plane, that is not the Prime material plane for him).

However for his daughter, her husband and everyone else in that plane, Earth C-132 is 'the' Prime material plane. Relative to them.
 
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Snarf Zagyg

Aleena died for your sins.
I believe @Flamestrike is giving you the official way to look at Prime Material planes from the original Manual of the Planes (from 1987, Appendix I) - just to source it. It's after Gygax left TSR but not long after - and seems to fully comport with his views on the multiverse.
The two problems with that are that I was explicitly discussing the Gygaxian view (which predates the MoTP), and made sure to note in the OP that the period starting with the MoTP is when it all started to go wrong in terms of the planar structure.

Of the many terrible sections of the MoTP, I would say that Appendix I is the terrible-est. Has anyone ever tried to use Appendix 1? I've yet to meet that person, and this is coming from someone who, at one point, could recite the Limbo section by heart.
 

dave2008

Legend
On the bold part, there is a necessary and vital distinction. Look at how you are framing it- one Athas. And then trying to place it.

But the original conception is that not only does Athas share the Prime with other settings (and genres, etc.), but Athas shares the Prime with other Athases!

All possible Athases, with all possible histories, are contained within the Prime. So whether you find that more useful or not, it does greatly change the perception of what is allowable and permissible in D&D in the following ways:

1. First, characters are explicitly portable between campaigns. This is something that always used to be assumed, but (for whatever reason) rarely happens anymore; part of the reason is because the conception people have of the setting has changed.

2. Second, there is no single "official" Athas; just the Athas you happen to be playing in. Your Athas is just as official as the Athas of someone else. For that matter, you Forgotten Realms campaign is just as official as that of Ed Greenwood.

3. Further, there is no "canon." All possible Athases have happened, and will happen. Is your Athas hard to get to? Great! But it can be easy, too. Or maybe the gnomes survived and prospered. Or the kender invaded. It all works.

That's the interesting and useful part to it. IMO. :)
There is nothing in my statement that disagrees with your statement. Not sure what your suggesting. The idea of "official" and "canon" has always been a fallacy IMO.
 

dnd4vr

Tactical Studies Rules - The Original Game Wizards
All this has happened before, and will happen again.
 
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