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D&D 5E Unearthed Arcana: Travelers of the Multiverse

New free content from WotC - the latest 4-page Unearthed Arcana introduces six new races: astral elf, autognome, giff, hadozee, plasmoid, and thri-kreen.


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Looks like Spelljammer and/or Planescape is back on the menu!
 
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Russ Morrissey

Russ Morrissey

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Still don't see the contradiction. You can make a D&D Space Opera while still playing with Ye Oldde Tyme physics.
Yep. My Space Fantasy setting is basically space opera that takes more from Victorian era futurism than modern sci-fi, with sailing airships riding Aether winds, moth-people who live on asteroids and eat Aether, coral planets, naturally formed halo ring planets, space dragons, and energy weapons and knights in power armor.
 

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Again,

"the City of Doors" for the sheer number of portals, but was also called "the Cage" for the difficulty to enter or exit the city"
A statement that makes absolutely no sense, either from real world logic, how it is depicted in adventures, or what it needs to be as an adventuring hub.

Fortunately, nothing pre-5e is canon, and it's an easy error to fix in any new version of the setting.
 

Yep. My Space Fantasy setting is basically space opera that takes more from Victorian era futurism than modern sci-fi, with sailing airships riding Aether winds, moth-people who live on asteroids and eat Aether, coral planets, naturally formed halo ring planets, space dragons, and energy weapons and knights in power armor.
The Michelson-Morley experiment, that cast shade of the existence of any "aether" was very much a Victorian discovery - 1887. The ideas about the universe depicted in Spelljammer where being rapidly debunked during this period.

Michelson–Morley experiment - Wikipedia

"Crystal Spheres" had already been killed of by Newton in the 17th century.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
The Michelson-Morley experiment, that cast shade of the existence of any "aether" was very much a Victorian discovery - 1887. The ideas about the universe depicted in Spelljammer where being rapidly debunked during this period.

Michelson–Morley experiment - Wikipedia

"Crystal Spheres" had already been killed of by Newton in the 17th century.

Okay?

It’s a fantasy space opera, not a historical Victorian science story.
 





The Gatetowns have been forgotten, but they are a good space to continue the faction war. Other option is special demiplanes linked with the Sigil zones. How to explain it better with an example? If Planescape was a MMO, the Lady of the Pain would be the onwer of the "server" Sigil, but the factions could use their own "private servers", demiplanes created or discovered by them. The demiplane linked to the hive would be the ultimate mother of the dungeons, a mixture of gladiator arena and penal colony, with lots of threasures for the dungeon raiders who dare to explore it. How was this possible? Easy, "a wizard did it!" (one whose name start with a V and ends with a "ecna", and with a good eye and good hand for this type of business).

I miss the planar dragons, even that with a ridiculous duck beak from the Elyseum, and the paraelementals.

The nerra, from the mirror plane, appeared in Fiend Folio have got a great potential.

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The limbo could be the place for planar trade, not too easy, not too hard, and enough unpredictable to avoid be boring. Here you can elemental creatures.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
For the record, since some people are getting the impression that most people here are for replacing the Phlogiston with the Astral Plane, I would be against it. I said that about thirty pages ago, but this thread is getting long enough that there is a need for repeating some claims. The Phlogiston works just fine as it is. I am for keeping it as is.
Right? I haven't seen any indication that WotC even wants to get rid of the Phlogiston, let alone any reason to get rid of it. It just seems like some people are projecting their preference with no evidence for it.
 

Right? I haven't seen any indication that WotC even wants to get rid of the Phlogiston.
They have studiously not mentioned it in anything 5e, despite semi-regular cameos by Spelljammer ships, monsters (giff, neogi) and articles about how planes, such as Eberron connect to the rest of the D&D universe.

Which is where phlogiston sucks really - it doesn't connect in any way to the rest of the D&D multiverse or cosmology. It existed only as something spelljammer ships travelled though.
 

Azzy

KMF DM
They have studiously not mentioned it in anything 5e, despite semi-regular cameos by Spelljammer ships, monsters (giff, neogi) and articles about how planes, such as Eberron connect to the rest of the D&D universe.
So what? Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
Which is where phlogiston sucks really - it doesn't connect in any way to the rest of the D&D multiverse or cosmology. It existed only as something spelljammer ships travelled though.
It seems that, like I said, you're projecting your feelings on the matter without any actual evidence.
 

Chaosmancer

Legend
I won't comment on your other ideas, which are fine, Chaosmancer, but this replace-the-Phlogiston-with-the-Astral-Sea is a bit of a solution in search of a problem from my perspective. The "on the seas" experience is what occurs in wildspace in Spelljammer. The Phlogiston was designed to be dangerous and funnel characters into wildspace where most adventures take place. That being said, events can transpire in the Phlogiston, but it's an unusual, strange space with altered physics.

Yet, it is not a place of thought like how the Astral Plane is described. It is not a transitive plane to the Outer Realms, like the Astral Plane.

For the record, since some people are getting the impression that most people here are for replacing the Phlogiston with the Astral Plane, I would be against it. I said that about thirty pages ago, but this thread is getting long enough that there is a need for repeating some claims. The Phlogiston works just fine as it is. I am for keeping it as is.

Would you mind explaining what "wildspace" is then? Because it isn't a term I've heard. I was under the impression that most of the Spelljamming travel and focus was in the Phlogiston.
 

Hatmatter

Laws of Mordenkainen, Elminster, & Fistandantilus
I use the Astral as hyperspace, so its not such a long (light years journey) from world/plane to world/plane.

We replaced phologiston with the Astral years ago, and I would vote for WotC to do the same, not only because we like it that way, but it simplfies the multiverse. (too many tranversal planes imo).
That's awesome, SkidAce, and a creative and appropriate adaptation. In the D&D multiverse cosmology, though, the Phlogiston is part of the Material Plane, it is not a transitive plane.

But, for your table that is splitting hairs because you are making a fun and appropriate adaptation, so that's cool.
 


Chaosmancer

Legend
Why this constant push to simplify everything? Players generally dont pay attention to worldbuilding anyway, and DMs tend to be invested enough to accept some complexity. Any DM can always take stuff out if they want for their own games, but presenting the material pre-simplified cuts a lot of flavor.

Because too many very similar things are confusing, but also because it starts raising questions of effort and... well stupidity to a degree.

Let us say you are on an volcanic island. And there exists two major industries for getting to a second island. One is building boats from the wood of the island, and sailing the water. The other is mining and treating special metals, heavily enchanting them, and making ships to travel through the magma and go from one volcano to the other. IF presented with this fully formed, both industries running... you'd have to wonder why they ever started Volcano diving. Sure, it's cool, but it takes so much more effort, so many more resources, and we know that they know of a better way.


Additionally, when you have a bunch of things, some get more focus than others. I watched an entire video of the Ethereal Plane, which also allows for plane hopping via ethereal portals. But there is nothing in there. A few things move through it, and we are told there are things that live there, but even doing research into it you find that 90% of that entire place is just... empty. There are no hooks. Meanwhile, in the Astral, we've got a lot of hooks. And that's because they made more hooks for the Astral, put effort into it, so that's where people went. And since people were going there, more effort was put into it. And sure, we can have all these other things existing in theory... but then in practice we won't use them. And if you aren't going to use them, why put the effort into them?
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
A statement that makes absolutely no sense, either from real world logic, how it is depicted in adventures, or what it needs to be as an adventuring hub.

Fortunately, nothing pre-5e is canon, and it's an easy error to fix in any new version of the setting.
That's simply not true.

NPC: "We've discovered a new portal to X and it only requires the tentacle of a Mind Flayer to trigger. Picked up a few of those. We need you to go check it out, but don't take too long as we have no idea how long the portal will remain."

PCs: "Sounds good."

There's absolutely no need for it to be a multiversal highway with built in Stargates to allow people to go wherever they want, whenever they want in order to be an adventurer's dream.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
It should be noted that entry and exit is difficult only for those who lack keys. However, since the Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set makes note that Sigil's biggest money maker is tourism, it's not quite as hard as you might think.
Yes, so long as you enter and exit through the few known permanent portals. It's @Chaosmancer's bogus idea that you can just hop into and out of Sigil form anywhere in the multiverse on a reliable basis that I(and the facts) are disuputing.
(Also, it's easy to leave Sigil--jump off one of the roofs into the nothingness outside the torus; it will send you to a random plane. Now, that's very likely to be a death sentence to just about anyone who tries, but it's still possible.)
Which again isn't relevant to the conversation. Getting out to a random spot doesn't help with regular and reliable transportation to wherever you want to go in the multiverse.
 
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jgsugden

Legend
Would you mind explaining what "wildspace" is then? Because it isn't a term I've heard. I was under the impression that most of the Spelljamming travel and focus was in the Phlogiston.

When Spelljammer came out I took the good and dumped the things I did not like.

In my homebrew setting, Spelljammers travel two ways. The first is the Astral Sea. They make use of permanent gates to go between locationson different planes, and there are a lot of permanent planes on the Astral sea as it attaches to so many places. If you're not a spellcaster, or if you want to move a huge amount of cargo, spelljamming is an efficienct way to achieve interplanar goals. I have a Sigil like 'City of Doors'that exists in my Astral Plane that is a place where people have dragged gates together to create a nexus hub of planar travel options. It is expensive to access the gates, but there are connections to almost anywhere if you have thecoin and connections.

Dwarven miners travel across the astral to giant gates that take them to mineral rich places in my Elemental Plane (I combine all the elemental planes). Giff are the mercenaries of the Astral Seas. Githyanki and (to an extent) Githzerai are the pirates of the Astral. Many aberrations are drawn to the Astral Sea for the similarity it bears to the Far Realm, the souce of all aberrations.

The second use of Spelljammers is for travel between planets on the prime, but there is one such vessel for every 100 on the Astral. There is one prime material plane, with a core planet at the center of the universe and thousands of other planets that are inhabited in space, with near infinite space for more planets to be discovered and settled. Traveling across space to reach another planet takes a long time (months, years or decades), but there are folks that do it. They need magical food sources, and there are terrifying Elder God style dangers in the deep of space - but it is all out there.
 

Hatmatter

Laws of Mordenkainen, Elminster, & Fistandantilus
Would you mind explaining what "wildspace" is then? Because it isn't a term I've heard. I was under the impression that most of the Spelljamming travel and focus was in the Phlogiston.
Wildspace is the key environment in Spelljammer...that and the various celestial bodies on which a spelljamming ship can land for various adventures.

This is from page 7 of The Concordance of Arcane Space:
------------
Wildspace

All the celestial bodies within a crystal shell float in an airless void called wild space. Conventional (meaning "those that take place on the prime material plane") interplanetary journeys around a solar system take place within wildspace. It is the first obstacle that must be conquered by would-be space travelers.

As an adventurer moves higher (whether climbing a mountain or on the back of a roc), the atmosphere becomes thinner and thinner until at last it becomes vacuum. The climber can still breathe, however, because as he moves upward, an envelope of air clings to him. When he reaches the point where the planet's air is no longer breathable, he is breathing his own air, held near him by his body's own gravity. This air envelope attaches to everything that passes through the atmosphere and allows normal survival in wildspace, at least for a short time.


[The section continues to explain the extent of the air envelope for different-sized objects, and this is what determines how long each ship can sustain it's crew before it must replenish it's air supply.]
-------------
On page 6 from the same volume:

Wildspace is what comes to mind when we talk of "space." It is the vast emptiness that lies between the planets and the stars. All space inside a crystal shell is wildspace. It is mostly vacuum. (More correctly, most regions of wildspace are vacuum. But the cosmos is a big place and there are exceptions to almost every rule, as shall be shown later.) Wildspace is not truly a void, however, even though it is often referred to that way.
--------------
Within wildspace are the celestial bodies: planets, suns, moons, asteroids, and a host of other items collectively lumped together under the heading "planetoids."
---------------
From page 15:

Due to the activity of the planets, the spheres, and various gates to the plane of elemental fire, temperature in wildspace is not a problem for adventurers. The ambient temperature in most space is about the same as a moderate summer day in the temperate regions of most worlds.

Some crystal shells, however, have surprisingly higher or lower temperatures and those should be noted on any star chart worth reading.

----------------

In short "wildspace" is the D&D fantasy version of outer space.

My two cents: About thirty or so pages ago in this large thread, someone commented and rhetorically asked (I am paraphrasing because I am not sure how to efficiently look up this posting): there would have to be changes made to Spelljammer, otherwise, what is the justification for publishing it in 5th edition? This comment was made in the context of that poster arguing for replacing the Phlogiston with the Astral Plane/Sea. If we aren't going to change the D&D cosmology, in other words, why publish Spelljammer now?

Such a change could be fun, of course, but it adds all kinds of different connotations to the notion of space travel for D&D. I did not respond to this person, because I was thinking, "well, do you need to alter the cosmology to publish it in 5th edition? Do we always need to change fundamental elements to justify a new publication...why not simply publish a new adventure with new fun places to explore and new challenges to overcome?" But, I did not write that at the time.

Here we see what I think is a much better reason for those of us who have had a blast with Spelljammer wanting to see it published: many of the present generation of role-players do not know about it! So, what is an appropriate response? Publish a new collection of spelljamming adventures with some explanatory material about how wildspace, spelljamming, magic-based physics, and other stuff work. I think that is satisfactory justification for a (hopeful!) 2022 Spelljammer publication. :) If we are 55 pages into this thread in which intelligent, articulate fellow role-players are participating and only now there is a need to explain wildspace, and if Jeremy Crawford (as in the 2018 DragonTalk interviews which I have mentioned previously that had came out right before the forthcoming Eberron: Rising From the Last War volume was published, and at least one of them was done in conjunction with Crawford and Keith Baker) is going to explain that the crystal spheres remain a fundamental part of D&D's understanding of the Material Plane, then there is your justification for a new volume (or "new format") of Spelljammer: many people do not know what it is and have only heard about it through second, third, and fourthand explanations. And, many people are not going to try to dig up and acquire 32 year-old publications. So, there is the justification. Yay!

Cheers and happy role-playing, friends!
 
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