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D&D 5E The D&D Multiverse Part 2- The Remix Culture of the Gygaxian Multiverse

Interesting discussion.

How many people still use alternate material worlds for adventures? Do the rest of you guys ever dangle plot threads that lead to different planets or planes-that-are-other-worlds-but-mostly-earthlike?
I'm not sure how much the Feywild and Shadowfell count as different planes but mostly earthlike? Used both for that sort of thing.

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Sure. But why they did it doesn't alter the fact that it was done, and a solid part of genre before Gygax started writing D&D.
The important point is that it's not just a creative reason though. Film and TV are restrained by budget concerns that books don't need observe. Gaming is similarly unrestricted by those restrictions as well. Of course film and TV do have an influence on gaming but it's not the only one.

The important point is that it's not just a creative reason though.
The "why" doesn't really matter much. All these shows where influenced by, but more importantly, influenced, the zeitgeist. Even though D&D wasn't limited in what it could do by TV budgets it still had to speak the language of the culture which had been defined by those TV shows.

So you can, for example, trace the Cold War Nuclear fears influence in Gamma World and Dark Sun 70s/80s, the Star Wars influence in Dragonlance and Baldur's Gate 80s/90s, LotR movie influence in the early 2000s, and so on.
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I seem to splash a bit of "other" into all of my campaigns so far:
-Castle Dracula has a "shoggoth in a box" in a side room in the treasury. Not quite on theme for anything else.
-Against the Idol of the Sun (current campaign) is a high-level hexcrawl. There's a crashed (Mind Flayer) UFO in one section of the map, complete with functioning turrets, a laser pistol and some dead warforged, plus a vacuum stick craft (engine with a pole and handholds to use for short-distance transits in space) used to board it. The engine area is highly radioactive, so I'm reasonably sure they'll only salvaged the engine from the warforged boarding craft and not the whole flying saucer.
-My other campaign, a more episodic dungeon crawl, includes crashed flying cities. I'll have some pseudo-high-tech stuff somewhere in there probably, and maybe a crashed spelljammer.

It's important to have some variety in encounter-building, theme, tone, etc. Introducing a "this is from elsewhere" element is one way to do it.

I think one reason D&D stepped back from the gonzo is that it's hell on game balance. And post-Gary TSR had a thing for "realism" in world building which often resulted in some fairly dry and dull settings.
I would not call Dark Sun, Ravenloft, or even fantasy kitchen sinks like FR and Known World/Mystara dry and dull. At worst they were a step back in the gonzo because they instituted a mindset of 'you choose which one single gonzo environ and rarely if at all deviate from that (unless you do, in which case grab Planescape or Spelljammer, with the specific cultures and assumptions baked into each of them).'

Regardless, I think another reason might be some bitter lessons in terms of worldbuilding, scope, and importance. By that, I mean if you and your characters spend 9-10 levels clearing out dungeons and developing a plot of wilderness in Eastern Madeupland, build a keep, recruit some peasantry and knights, and carve out a little fiefdom, well then a bunch of alternate realities indicating that not only is your little neck of the woods not important, but that your whole gameworld is just one of an infinite number of planets of hats is going to make those first 10 levels feel very unimportant. Same for the DM with their intricate worldbuilding and developments of cultures, religions, maps, and so forth. I don't know how universal this is, but with my groups, after a trips up and down the level ladder, we tended to either make campaigns where the gameworld was isolated in the multiverse (or only attached to the inner and outer planes, but not any other Prime Material Planes or other alt-realities where 'normal character races' often dwelled) or made universe-hopping a prime aspect of the campaign theme.


I was specifically referring to the real world analogs that TSR did with FR and Mystara, as well as the HR books. That's probably one of the reasons why settings like Dark Sun, Ravenloft, and Planescape had more popularity than the real world derived stuff.

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