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5E The cosmology of the Wheel and the Aether

Hoffmand

Explorer
A reasonable argument can be made for "why even have it if it never matters"?

Let's say that based on theory 1, every thousand years on Halloween all gates redirect to the Shadowfell, and that this event is supposed to take place 100 days into the start of the campaign. 100 days in, the PCs are in a bad spot, stuck between a portal into the heart of the Plane of Elemental Fire and an enemy they can't hope to defeat. One of the players suddenly remembers this throwaway tidbit, and tells everyone to jump into the portal. I think it's fairly pertinent to know whether they're instantly incinerated or transported to the Shadowfell, don't you?

I'm not saying there's anything wrong with deciding on the spot, but if you decided it works this way ahead of time you can include little clues to that fact throughout the campaign.
Because it is important to the myths of each religion. Look at all the cosmological structures in the real world. Several for different religions. And even physicists have disputes.
 

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Fanaelialae

Legend
Because it is important to the myths of each religion. Look at all the cosmological structures in the real world. Several for different religions. And even physicists have disputes.
What I'm saying is that if it is irrelevant which version is true, then it's essentially set dressing. There's nothing wrong with spending time on set dressing per se, but there are arguably more useful aspects of your campaign that you could be spending your time on.

It's like if you go into a dungeon and the DM describes the walls as being mold covered. If it's just set dressing, you don't really need a taxonomy for the mold. It's just mold on the wall. The DM mentions it for ambiance and the game continues on. There's nothing wrong with working up a detailed write up of the mold if you want to, but it's probably something you only want to spend time on after you've finished everything you need for the game.

If on the other hand, the mold has healing properties, or is poisonous, or reproduces by draining heat from anything that gets too close, then it's no longer merely set dressing but is potentially quite pertinent to gameplay. Therefore the DM should have an idea of what it does.

The way I run things, I have different groups who believe different things. But I also know the truth (I usually go with none of the groups being 100% correct) and I look for ways to express that through the campaign. Frequently, the hints get overlooked because they tend to be subtle background details, but they are there and some players have deduced a few fundamental truths about the game world as a result, which is a big pay off.

In the real world we don't have high level wizards and priests who can answer these questions definitively. That isn't to say that you can't have the questions in the game world. Maybe no one of high enough level has tried to answer them. Maybe they failed. Maybe the truth they learned was so terrible that they never shared it. Maybe they did share it but were dismissed, because people have difficulty letting go of entrenched beliefs even in the face of contrary evidence. Lots of possibilities.

However, if the PCs suddenly decide that they have an overwhelming need to answer the question, then you either need to have an answer ready or you need to be able to come up with a satisfactory answer as it becomes relevant.
 

Hoffmand

Explorer
What I'm saying is that if it is irrelevant which version is true, then it's essentially set dressing. There's nothing wrong with spending time on set dressing per se, but there are arguably more useful aspects of your campaign that you could be spending your time on.

It's like if you go into a dungeon and the DM describes the walls as being mold covered. If it's just set dressing, you don't really need a taxonomy for the mold. It's just mold on the wall. The DM mentions it for ambiance and the game continues on. There's nothing wrong with working up a detailed write up of the mold if you want to, but it's probably something you only want to spend time on after you've finished everything you need for the game.

If on the other hand, the mold has healing properties, or is poisonous, or reproduces by draining heat from anything that gets too close, then it's no longer merely set dressing but is potentially quite pertinent to gameplay. Therefore the DM should have an idea of what it does.

The way I run things, I have different groups who believe different things. But I also know the truth (I usually go with none of the groups being 100% correct) and I look for ways to express that through the campaign. Frequently, the hints get overlooked because they tend to be subtle background details, but they are there and some players have deduced a few fundamental truths about the game world as a result, which is a big pay off.

In the real world we don't have high level wizards and priests who can answer these questions definitively. That isn't to say that you can't have the questions in the game world. Maybe no one of high enough level has tried to answer them. Maybe they failed. Maybe the truth they learned was so terrible that they never shared it. Maybe they did share it but were dismissed, because people have difficulty letting go of entrenched beliefs even in the face of contrary evidence. Lots of possibilities.

However, if the PCs suddenly decide that they have an overwhelming need to answer the question, then you either need to have an answer ready or you need to be able to come up with a satisfactory answer as it becomes relevant.
I really see where u r going with this. And I respect that position. But like real worked physics cosmology, some models solve different problems. There is debate over which is right or wrong because one works and solves one problem and another solves another problems. And they both can’t be right. I kinda like to simulate that in my fantasy. But I perfectly understand wanting game world physics working better than real world physics with respect to cosmology. So I don’t think you are stupid or anything for doing it your way. I do the same thing with my worlds history. I have competing histories from different regions. Basically regions perspectives. I go as far as to have one region call elwyn a paladin with the oath of the ancients. And another he is an archmage, and in another he was something else with a different history. And each will solve a problem in that Adventure. Very much how ares and mars may be portrayed differently from Greece to Rome. Many mythological examples of this.
 

dave2008

Legend
I really see where u r going with this. And I respect that position. But like real worked physics cosmology, some models solve different problems. There is debate over which is right or wrong because one works and solves one problem and another solves another problems.
Ya, I don't think that is where he/she is going with this.
 

Fanaelialae

Legend
I really see where u r going with this. And I respect that position. But like real worked physics cosmology, some models solve different problems. There is debate over which is right or wrong because one works and solves one problem and another solves another problems. And they both can’t be right. I kinda like to simulate that in my fantasy. But I perfectly understand wanting game world physics working better than real world physics with respect to cosmology. So I don’t think you are stupid or anything for doing it your way. I do the same thing with my worlds history. I have competing histories from different regions. Basically regions perspectives. I go as far as to have one region call elwyn a paladin with the oath of the ancients. And another he is an archmage, and in another he was something else with a different history. And each will solve a problem in that Adventure. Very much how ares and mars may be portrayed differently from Greece to Rome. Many mythological examples of this.
There is arguably a (likely undiscovered) model in physics which addresses all the problems with a particular area of study. If model 1 solves for A but not B, and model 2 solves for B but not A, that's simply an indicator that they are possibly in the right ballpark but are not the truth. However, model 3 (which may be undiscovered) solves for both A and B, and is either the truth or a much closer approximation thereof.

I do the same thing with my history, with the exception that I figure out what actually happened. What if the players don't choose between paladin and archmage? What if they instead decide to dig deeper and uncover the true history of the hero? If paladin and archmage would both solve a problem in the adventure, then there must be some truth that solves both problems. If you don't decide that truth ahead of time, then you may have a difficult time coming up with an answer that satisfies all criteria in the moment.

For example, in one of my campaign worlds, all of the gods were killed after being stripped of their names by an entity designed to protect the world from outside threats. (In truth, not all of the gods were killed but most were and the rest lost their power.) There's a despised religion in the world whose followers believe that everyone and everything is part of a singular ultimate deity (partly true, as this entity did exist and create everything, but the act of creation destroyed them). They are hated because the greatest mage ever was a member of their religion. This mage was the only mortal to ever ascend to deific status, and nearly surpassed the gods by absorbing the universe itself and becoming the ultimate deity. Only the combined might of the gods, who incarnated to stop the mage, prevented it. Which lead to the corruption of the gods but I digress. Some stories speak of the mage as a man, but most say she was a woman. The truth is that the mage was a hermaphrodite, and this actually hints at the nature of mortal ascension in this world. The mage was able to merge with the power of the creator because they were a "complete" being, like the creator. Which hints at the truth that a being of sufficient power, that embodies the concept of a dead deity, can assume that deity's mantle. Obviously, I'm leaving out a lot of detail and alternate in-world takes on what happened; this is just intended to illustrate my meaning.

I'm not suggesting that there's anything wrong with your approach (which seems very similar to my own, except for stopping short of determining the truth). I'm simply offering my own, alternate perspective.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
I think we've got two different things going on here though:

In Nerath, the World Axis is literally the arrangement of the planes. Devils are Immortals from a specific Plane(t) within the Astral Sea, the Nine Hells; Demons are Elementals from the Abyss within the churning center of the Elemental Chaos. The concept of a united Fiendish category from the "Lower Planes" that is contrasted with Celestials from the "Upper Planes" can't exist in Nerath because there are magical effects that target Immortals and vice versa for Elementals, and they affect Devils and Demons differently. Devils are hit by effects that would also hit Angels and Devas (5e term: Aasimar) and whatnot. Demons are hit by effects that would also hit Djinn and Archons (5e term: Elemental Mymidons) and whatnot. That's not reconcilable with the Great Wheel.

Someone in Nerath could model the cosmos as a Great Wheel and loop devils and demons together and treat the Elemental Chaos as 4 distinct, pure, elemental planes, but they'd be wrong, and provably so.

But in the (3e & 5e) Forgotten Realms, the planes could be modeled as a World Tree or as the Great Wheel, and both are equally valid models. In 3e Faerûn, the World Tree was presented as an alternate configuration of the planes that were in the 2e Great Wheel. This model had the benefit of coalescing with the Nerathi planar model in 4e, when the mess of the Spellplague and Returned Abeir coincided with planar collapse of the World Tree - the Inner Planes falling into one another to form an Elemental Chaos, and many of the Outer Planes drifting into the Astral to become akin to Nerath's Astral Sea. We see here an (out-of-universe) mirror to Nerath's planar set-up, no doubt designed by WotC so that they wouldn't have to spend time on how the Forgotten Realms have a different planar set up than the assumed setting of the 4e Core Rules. But in-universe, we have two separate models (Great Tree and Great Wheel) that were able to describe the cosmology pre-Spellplague and post-Second Sundering, and the World Axis model that more accurately describes the planes during the Spellplague years. The former two are metaphorical representations of the same infinite planar spaces that can be debated on which is a better representation a la Quantum Mechanics vs General Relativity. The latter is a literally and cosmically different set-up.

So we've got worlds that for all of their known existence (Eberron, Nerath, MtG Planes) and/or a period of time (Forgotten Realms) have a radically different cosmological set-up. And then we've got planes that have their own cosmological set up but it's really just dressing that describes the same Great Wheel in a different way (Greyhawk, Abeir-Toril, etc).

If we want to cram Eberron and Nerath etc into the Great Wheel, that's possible, but it loses much of what makes those settings unique and a lot of assumptions have to change in the process. Maybe Eberron's "planes" are actually planar gateways to Great Wheel planes. That's do-able, I guess. Maybe Devils are pretending to be Immortals to the citizens of Nerath, and maybe Obyrith trickery has something to do with the Elemental stuff for Demons in that setting? She's not called the Queen of Chaos for nothin'. But in both cases, the worlds work better as their own pocket realities, much akin to how Theros has it's own three planes and has Gods and Nyxborn that live in Nyx, akin to the Upper Planes, Astral Plane, Plane of Dreams, and Feywild all tied into one, while the Underworld is akin to the Underdark and the Lower Planes and the Shadowfell all tied into one, where devils are called demons and all fiends are underworld beings of the same class.

I'd much rather consider that each D&D Plane, MtG or otherwise, has it's own cosmology that surrounds, penetrates, and sustains it. But those realities are not mutually exclusive, and some beings can move between them. Heck, the Far Realm essentially is this concept - it's a plane that's not really a plane but rather an alternate reality invading our cosmology. The world of the Obyriths is this too, as are the Phyrexians in Magic.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Thank you for the reply! I was hoping I would get more comments and discussion, oh well:( Maybe your comment will start a trend;)

That being said, I love the idea of "orbits" changing the proximity of some realities to others. I even thought that could apply Athas and/or Eberron. And it might explain why very rarely you get some crossing over.

I also like the idea there could be any number of realities either outside the wheel, or worlds within. The distinction is whether the can or cannot access the wheel. Of course a separate reality could even have its own version of the wheel.

They only thing I couldn't really reconcile was spelljamming the phlogiston. I just see the worlds within the wheel being separated by the void of interstellar space. I just don't see the need for phlogiston and crystal spheres. My idea would be for spelljammers to have magic "crystal" spheres around them allowing activity on the ship to act as if it was on a world, and at the same time allow it to fly through space. I don't see a need for another layer of sci-fantasy there. Am I missing something?
In my own take on space D&D, we made a gas called Aether that accumulates around gravity wells and certain other celestial phenomenon, which most creatures can breath, and which even a normal airship can sail in.
Between worlds is mostly just space, but there are Starlanes that act as FTL superhighways, and could easily be replaced with The River Stix and The Infinite Staircase, or whatever.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
In my own take on space D&D, we made a gas called Aether that accumulates around gravity wells and certain other celestial phenomenon, which most creatures can breath, and which even a normal airship can sail in.
Between worlds is mostly just space, but there are Starlanes that act as FTL superhighways, and could easily be replaced with The River Stix and The Infinite Staircase, or whatever.
Love it. Reminds me of Treasure Planet, to boot.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I think we've got two different things going on here though:

In Nerath, the World Axis is literally the arrangement of the planes. Devils are Immortals from a specific Plane(t) within the Astral Sea, the Nine Hells; Demons are Elementals from the Abyss within the churning center of the Elemental Chaos. The concept of a united Fiendish category from the "Lower Planes" that is contrasted with Celestials from the "Upper Planes" can't exist in Nerath because there are magical effects that target Immortals and vice versa for Elementals, and they affect Devils and Demons differently. Devils are hit by effects that would also hit Angels and Devas (5e term: Aasimar) and whatnot. Demons are hit by effects that would also hit Djinn and Archons (5e term: Elemental Mymidons) and whatnot. That's not reconcilable with the Great Wheel.

Someone in Nerath could model the cosmos as a Great Wheel and loop devils and demons together and treat the Elemental Chaos as 4 distinct, pure, elemental planes, but they'd be wrong, and provably so.

But in the (3e & 5e) Forgotten Realms, the planes could be modeled as a World Tree or as the Great Wheel, and both are equally valid models. In 3e Faerûn, the World Tree was presented as an alternate configuration of the planes that were in the 2e Great Wheel. This model had the benefit of coalescing with the Nerathi planar model in 4e, when the mess of the Spellplague and Returned Abeir coincided with planar collapse of the World Tree - the Inner Planes falling into one another to form an Elemental Chaos, and many of the Outer Planes drifting into the Astral to become akin to Nerath's Astral Sea. We see here an (out-of-universe) mirror to Nerath's planar set-up, no doubt designed by WotC so that they wouldn't have to spend time on how the Forgotten Realms have a different planar set up than the assumed setting of the 4e Core Rules. But in-universe, we have two separate models (Great Tree and Great Wheel) that were able to describe the cosmology pre-Spellplague and post-Second Sundering, and the World Axis model that more accurately describes the planes during the Spellplague years. The former two are metaphorical representations of the same infinite planar spaces that can be debated on which is a better representation a la Quantum Mechanics vs General Relativity. The latter is a literally and cosmically different set-up.

So we've got worlds that for all of their known existence (Eberron, Nerath, MtG Planes) and/or a period of time (Forgotten Realms) have a radically different cosmological set-up. And then we've got planes that have their own cosmological set up but it's really just dressing that describes the same Great Wheel in a different way (Greyhawk, Abeir-Toril, etc).

If we want to cram Eberron and Nerath etc into the Great Wheel, that's possible, but it loses much of what makes those settings unique and a lot of assumptions have to change in the process. Maybe Eberron's "planes" are actually planar gateways to Great Wheel planes. That's do-able, I guess. Maybe Devils are pretending to be Immortals to the citizens of Nerath, and maybe Obyrith trickery has something to do with the Elemental stuff for Demons in that setting? She's not called the Queen of Chaos for nothin'. But in both cases, the worlds work better as their own pocket realities, much akin to how Theros has it's own three planes and has Gods and Nyxborn that live in Nyx, akin to the Upper Planes, Astral Plane, Plane of Dreams, and Feywild all tied into one, while the Underworld is akin to the Underdark and the Lower Planes and the Shadowfell all tied into one, where devils are called demons and all fiends are underworld beings of the same class.

I'd much rather consider that each D&D Plane, MtG or otherwise, has it's own cosmology that surrounds, penetrates, and sustains it. But those realities are not mutually exclusive, and some beings can move between them. Heck, the Far Realm essentially is this concept - it's a plane that's not really a plane but rather an alternate reality invading our cosmology. The world of the Obyriths is this too, as are the Phyrexians in Magic.
In 5e, a lot of that breaks down. Demons are fiends regardless of coming from the Elemental chaos, and devils are fiends regardless of coming from the Astral Sea. All effects that are different depending on the being target creature type, irrespective of origin.

So, all spell effects can tell us about demons and devils is that both are fiends. It would be easy for a mortal scholar to incorrectly conclude that demons and devils come from the same place and share an origin.
 


doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In my own take on space D&D, we made a gas called Aether that accumulates around gravity wells and certain other celestial phenomenon, which most creatures can breath, and which even a normal airship can sail in.
Between worlds is mostly just space, but there are Starlanes that act as FTL superhighways, and could easily be replaced with The River Stix and The Infinite Staircase, or whatever.
If y’all like that take, I’ll do a more detailed post on what we have so far later.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
In 5e, a lot of that breaks down. Demons are fiends regardless of coming from the Elemental chaos, and devils are fiends regardless of coming from the Astral Sea. All effects that are different depending on the being target creature type, irrespective of origin.

So, all spell effects can tell us about demons and devils is that both are fiends. It would be easy for a mortal scholar to incorrectly conclude that demons and devils come from the same place and share an origin.
Agreed, but that's something they'd have to build into a "Conquest of Nerath" campaign sourcebook - how fiends are different in Nerath's World Axis. That's not impossible to do. As 5e goes, there's barely a nod to Nerath, and the nods there are are usually irreconcilable with the Nerath we know (ex: The Raven Queen of MTF is incredibly different from The Raven Queen of the World Axis Pantheon in the 5e DMG and in EGW, as is her lair, and her Shadar-Kai servitors, as are the Sorrowsworn of her Shadowfell demesne).

This is as opposed to Forgotten Realms, where the devils of the Nine Hells went from being Outsiders (Baatezu, Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful), then Immortal humanoids (devils), then Fiends (devils), all in the span of approximately a century. These are noticeable effect-target changes within a setting.

Yes, it all breaks down, and in 5e Nerath, Demons would likely just be considered Fiends as they are in the MM, but their intrinsic relationship to the Elemental Chaos would be undermined by doing so, and likewise the Devils intrinsic relationship to the Astral Sea and the Gods and Angels.

I'm talking about how cosmological interpretations across editions can change, but also about how cosmological interpretations across settings can be different, and these concepts sometimes overlap and sometimes do not.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Agreed, but that's something they'd have to build into a "Conquest of Nerath" campaign sourcebook - how fiends are different in Nerath's World Axis. That's not impossible to do. As 5e goes, there's barely a nod to Nerath, and the nods there are are usually irreconcilable with the Nerath we know (ex: The Raven Queen of MTF is incredibly different from The Raven Queen of the World Axis Pantheon in the 5e DMG and in EGW, as is her lair, and her Shadar-Kai servitors, as are the Sorrowsworn of her Shadowfell demesne).

This is as opposed to Forgotten Realms, where the devils of the Nine Hells went from being Outsiders (Baatezu, Evil, Extraplanar, Lawful), then Immortal humanoids (devils), then Fiends (devils), all in the span of approximately a century. These are noticeable effect-target changes within a setting.

Yes, it all breaks down, and in 5e Nerath, Demons would likely just be considered Fiends as they are in the MM, but their intrinsic relationship to the Elemental Chaos would be undermined by doing so, and likewise the Devils intrinsic relationship to the Astral Sea and the Gods and Angels.

I'm talking about how cosmological interpretations across editions can change, but also about how cosmological interpretations across settings can be different, and these concepts sometimes overlap and sometimes do not.
Yeah I prefer to not worry about things from one edition to another, beyond using whichever interpretation I prefer.

I don’t think that I would ever have the nature of a creature change because we changed editions.
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester
Yeah I prefer to not worry about things from one edition to another, beyond using whichever interpretation I prefer.

I don’t think that I would ever have the nature of a creature change because we changed editions.
Nor would I. Though playing RAW, 4e changed that nature. We can pretend 100 years passed without much to say in FR, and just gloss over the Spellplague years, but it happened, and FR gave rationalizations for the changing rules.

Meanwhile, Eberron introduced the Feywild Spires to handle the new 4e cosmology but then mostly stuck to its own original cosmology in 4e. It didn't want to change the nature of its denizens of Khyber, which include creatures that other settings might have called demons or devils or elementals or other dark things. This did not align with the Nerathi World Axis cosmology, and that's okay. But what it means is that Eberron doesn't fit into the Nerathi Material Plane at the center of the World Axis. It's a separate Material Plane with its own planetoid planes of influence and Siberys and Khyber affecting it in a local planarly way.

This is irreconcilable with both the Great Wheel and the World Axis, because Eberron wasn't built to be part of a one-size-fits-all cosmology. It was built to showcase what the D&D rules of 3.5e could do with a setting build from the ground up with few of the sacred cows carried over from past editions. It also came into its own in 4e as a perfect example of a setting 4e works well in, despite having a significantly different cosmology from the core rules assumed setting. Keithh explores this pretty eloquently in an article on his blog here: Dragonmarks: Reaching For The Stars

So to bring it back to the Multiverse of planes, Eberron and its 12 attendant moons and planes would be in their own "crystal sphere" as it were, which would encompass its whole cosmology, not just its material plane, unlike 2e Spelljammer. This of course leads us to the question, "why include it at all if you're just going to say its silo-ed off?

I think again Keith says it best in the article above, and I quote:

"By canon, Eberron is the only planet in its material plane. Between the planes and the demiplanes of Khyber, there’s ample opportunity for adventurers to explore strange new worlds, and deep space exploration was never planned as part of the setting; we don’t need to have alien invaders come from a distant planet when we already have alien invaders crawling out of Xoriat. Nothing’s stopping the DM from going full Spelljammer and breaking through the wall of stars. But by default, that’s not the story Eberron was designed to tell."

So we CAN have an inter-dimensional, multiverse-hopping adventure. At that point, though, Eberron is a waypoint on a larger field of planar stories, and that cannot be the focus of any Eberron-centric book or article, by definition.

Similarly, Magic the Gathering stories are built around their set's plane. But crossing between planes is a larger metagame story that explains both the players having cards from other sets in rotation and also explains the newer-ish planeswalker cards/characters, and how these characters ended up in a different set's world. But the sets themselves are not about the planar travel between them, and neither can books such as MOT or GGR focus much on that element of the MtG mythos.

That is the purpose of a setting like Spelljammer, as opposed to a setting like Planescape - it is explicitly about travel between settings, rather than exploring the assumed cosmological setting of the core rules of D&D. So if we ever get Spelljammer as a 5e book, I would expect extensive revisions to the setting's concepts of Crystal Spheres, so as to better allow for breathing room of different campaign settings' cosmologies.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Nor would I. Though playing RAW, 4e changed that nature. We can pretend 100 years passed without much to say in FR, and just gloss over the Spellplague years, but it happened, and FR gave rationalizations for the changing rules.

Meanwhile, Eberron introduced the Feywild Spires to handle the new 4e cosmology but then mostly stuck to its own original cosmology in 4e. It didn't want to change the nature of its denizens of Khyber, which include creatures that other settings might have called demons or devils or elementals or other dark things. This did not align with the Nerathi World Axis cosmology, and that's okay. But what it means is that Eberron doesn't fit into the Nerathi Material Plane at the center of the World Axis. It's a separate Material Plane with its own planetoid planes of influence and Siberys and Khyber affecting it in a local planarly way.

This is irreconcilable with both the Great Wheel and the World Axis, because Eberron wasn't built to be part of a one-size-fits-all cosmology. It was built to showcase what the D&D rules of 3.5e could do with a setting build from the ground up with few of the sacred cows carried over from past editions. It also came into its own in 4e as a perfect example of a setting 4e works well in, despite having a significantly different cosmology from the core rules assumed setting. Keithh explores this pretty eloquently in an article on his blog here: Dragonmarks: Reaching For The Stars

So to bring it back to the Multiverse of planes, Eberron and its 12 attendant moons and planes would be in their own "crystal sphere" as it were, which would encompass its whole cosmology, not just its material plane, unlike 2e Spelljammer. This of course leads us to the question, "why include it at all if you're just going to say its silo-ed off?

I think again Keith says it best in the article above, and I quote:

"By canon, Eberron is the only planet in its material plane. Between the planes and the demiplanes of Khyber, there’s ample opportunity for adventurers to explore strange new worlds, and deep space exploration was never planned as part of the setting; we don’t need to have alien invaders come from a distant planet when we already have alien invaders crawling out of Xoriat. Nothing’s stopping the DM from going full Spelljammer and breaking through the wall of stars. But by default, that’s not the story Eberron was designed to tell."

So we CAN have an inter-dimensional, multiverse-hopping adventure. At that point, though, Eberron is a waypoint on a larger field of planar stories, and that cannot be the focus of any Eberron-centric book or article, by definition.

Similarly, Magic the Gathering stories are built around their set's plane. But crossing between planes is a larger metagame story that explains both the players having cards from other sets in rotation and also explains the newer-ish planeswalker cards/characters, and how these characters ended up in a different set's world. But the sets themselves are not about the planar travel between them, and neither can books such as MOT or GGR focus much on that element of the MtG mythos.

That is the purpose of a setting like Spelljammer, as opposed to a setting like Planescape - it is explicitly about travel between settings, rather than exploring the assumed cosmological setting of the core rules of D&D. So if we ever get Spelljammer as a 5e book, I would expect extensive revisions to the setting's concepts of Crystal Spheres, so as to better allow for breathing room of different campaign settings' cosmologies.
With respect...I just can’t bring myself to read all of that. It’s too much.

I read the first couple paragraphs, and I do want to say that IIRC demons and devils aren’t affected differently by very much in 4e, so I’m not sure the 5e mechanics actually necessitate any change whatsoever to the cosmology. They can be fiends and be from the Elemental chaos and the astral sea. 4e devils weren’t celestials, and 4e demons (IIRC) weren’t elementals, by any mechanics (ie keywords and the like).
 

Hoffmand

Explorer
I never liked then concept of elemental chaos. That’s sort of what the material plane is, the area where all the elemental planes converge. I guess I can see elemental chaos as the area surrounding the material plane. But I still use all the paraelemental and quasi elemental planes. With all the material planes in the center. Basically one astral plane and outer planes and all the material planes in the center. But either way it doesn’t mess up anything I do. I don’t have to rewrite monster stats, personalities, and backgrounds over this stuff. I generally stick to the planescape idea. They are all clueless. Sorry Eberron, athas, nentir vale, you think you know how it works but u are in the dark. And the game runs fine.
 

dave2008

Legend
Sorry Eberron, athas, nentir vale, you think you know how it works but u are in the dark. And the game runs fine.
They are all in the dark in my mind (including FR, Greyhawk, Krynn, etc.) None of the "models" are correct, they are just the perspective of some mortals who lack the ability to truly understand the nature of the multiverse
 

Hoffmand

Explorer
They are all in the dark in my mind (including FR, Greyhawk, Krynn, etc.) None of the "models" are correct, they are just the perspective of some mortals who lack the ability to truly understand the nature of the multiverse
Oh I agree. The residents of planescape and sigil are just as clueless as the others. And like them they they don’t know it and think they are right.
 


Marandahir

Crown-Forester
With respect...I just can’t bring myself to read all of that. It’s too much.

I read the first couple paragraphs, and I do want to say that IIRC demons and devils aren’t affected differently by very much in 4e, so I’m not sure the 5e mechanics actually necessitate any change whatsoever to the cosmology. They can be fiends and be from the Elemental chaos and the astral sea. 4e devils weren’t celestials, and 4e demons (IIRC) weren’t elementals, by any mechanics (ie keywords and the like).
Ah, no worries. I realise I got a bit long-winded. Demons were elementals, but devils were not celestials. Celestial was a concept that wasn't in 4e - Immortal was, which included devils, angels, gods, and a few other things I can't quite recall. The Immortal has very specific features that elementals do not have. Though 4e doesn't really do the "detect elemental" or "detect good and evil" thing of other editions.

I was speaking more to the how the settings aren't designed for inter-setting storytelling, other than Spelljammer by definition. They've all got their own settings, and for many of them, that extends to their planar systems, and trying to force settings that would naturally eschew the Great Wheel into "oh, they just interpret the Great Wheel different" causes some real weirdnesses.
 

Mythological Figures & Maleficent Monsters

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