D&D General Which material planes do you like in your cosmology?

Li Shenron

Legend
In our family game we're mostly adventuring in the Forgotten Realms (with a bunch of non-FR locations tossed in, due to having run some adventures not set in any specific setting). Soon the PCs will have capabilities to travel to other planes, and being myself a fan of planar adventures I already had the itch many times to lead them somewhere else. This time however I am more intrigued by the idea of having several material/mortal worlds rather than (or before) visiting the usual inner and outer planes.

Thinking out loud with myself, these are the worlds I am already quite sure I'd like to have in my cosmology:

Abeir-Toril (Forgotten Realms): our starting point and world of origin for our current PCs

Rokugan: I know this well and liked a lot playing and DMing it, but I am aware it will feel very different if the PCs are outsiders visiting it; still, it could work as a pilot to spark interest in playing a whole campaign in it

Athas (Dark Sun): never played it and I like how distinct feel it has compared to other fantasy worlds, with focus on psionics and no religion

Ravenloft: a sure bet! strong unique feel

I am undecided on whether I should bother with other famous fantasy worlds such as Oerth (Greyhawk), Mystara and Krynn (Dragonlance). Aren't they already a bit too similar to Forgotten Realms? What difference would it make to run a certain adventure in Oerth instead of Faerun, for example? ToEE is an old favourite adventure of mine that is officially set in Greyhawk, but I don't see why it could be set in Faerun.

Eberron is a special case. I never liked it, but it definitely feels different than other worlds! It probably deserves to at least exist in my cosmology.

Then in the last year or so I've been looking with interest at those MtG worlds that are being published for D&D. I definitely do NOT want to incorporate the whole MtG cosmology, but a small bunch of worlds have that distinct feel I like for settings an adventure there: Amonkhet, Zendikar, Ixalan, Theros, Shandalar, Ravnica. Perhaps some of these are a bit too similar with regions already part of other chosen worlds, for instance Ixalan and Amonkhet might be too close to the Maztica and Mulhorand regions of FR, and Innistrad too similar to Ravenloft?

In addition to all this, I had the tendency in the past to cover several outer planes of Planescape with the ambiguity of being not so different from alternate material worlds, for example Arcadia and Acheron. I can play with some ambiguities and don't need to have everything clearly defined.

So what alternate material planes/worlds are you using together in the same campaign setting?
 

log in or register to remove this ad

vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
Theros and Ravnica are pretty cool place to discover and feel pretty different from the classic FR.
Ravenloft is indeed a sure bet.

I know you wrote Abeir-Toril as your starting point, but did your players actually go to Abeir? Fighting dragon tyrants to free elemental folks under a sky of metal in a god-less world sounds pretty great to me!
 

Stormonu

Legend
Oerth has subtle differences, just like Ansalon (Dragonlance) does. FR is vibrant and growing, Oerth is old and dying. FR is civilized and the darkness is being beaten back, Oerth is full of ruins where civilzations failed and is slowly being beaten into a corner.

Ansalon is in the grips of a world war (with dragons) between the harried forces of good and the organized forces of evil. Mystara is bit like the Oz version of D&D, its a bit off-beat and lighthearted in tone.

There’s also Arneson’s Blackmoor, either his original setting or the “ancient” version that morphed into Mystara a thousand years later. City-state of the Invincible Overlord also falls here, most notably the home of the adventure Tegel Manor.

Maztica, Kara-Tur and the Land of Fate could be treated as different worlds; Kara-Tur was originally supposed to be on the World of Greyhawk, but got moved to FR - no reason it couldn’t instead be its own world.

There’s also Masharapa (fantasy India), Dragon Fist’s world (forget the actual name), and Jakandor - all TSR worlds that could be visited as well.

Heck, you could also throw Tolkien’s LotR setting in there as an alternate world (before or after the ring), Lhankmar, Melinbone and a dozen other writer’s worlds that D&D drew on. Each has their own specific draw, of course - look for the elevator pitch for each.
 

Voadam

Legend
Are the worlds normally connected such as with Spelljammer? Dark Sun is fairly different cosmologically and tone and would not necessarily be a good match with a Spelljammer type setup. Ravenloft is normally a planar prison demiplane thing as written that can float over a material plane world and grab things from it, but is not really in the same category as Oerth and Faerun and Krynn as worlds on the prime that you could spelljam or gate to and fro the way you canonically can with those three. How you plan to go world to world and the story behind it would guide which worlds would be appropriate or how you would want to modify them to work within your concept. Eberron and Rokugan have their own planar cosmologies so that might be a consideration.

In my 1e Greyhawk Campaign I had the party go through a gate to a Celtic world to deal with adventures from the two C series modules. It went well.
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Not all worlds should be connected by Spelljammer. Ravenloft and other Domains of Dread are not a planet, they are connected through the Shadowfell only. Athas is probably a planet in a crystal sphere. Eberron is considered "remote" but is probably inside a crystal sphere somewhere, as is probably the case with Rokugan as well.
 

Travel between the various worlds such as Toril and Athas is... troublesome to me. And this is because in my vision, things work drastically different. Magic is not the same. So a wizard from the Realms who shows up in Athas is not going to be able to use the weave to cast a spell.

I have no idea how, or if I would even want, to work out a system to have a Realms wizard learn defiling or preservation magic.

Things are not as bad with Greyhawk or Eberron, but still. To me, it's best to use different characters to explore the different worlds.

Now, planes, such as the material planes and shadowfell etc, that's fun.
 

Heck, you could also throw Tolkien’s LotR setting in there as an alternate world (before or after the ring), Lhankmar, Melinbone and a dozen other writer’s worlds that D&D drew on.
Yea, you can. But why? Why have a cosmology so large that a single campaign could never adequately explore it? Why not just each time you run a campaign you pick a cosmology to run it in?
 

Lyxen

Great Old One
Travel between the various worlds such as Toril and Athas is... troublesome to me. And this is because in my vision, things work drastically different. Magic is not the same. So a wizard from the Realms who shows up in Athas is not going to be able to use the weave to cast a spell.

I have no idea how, or if I would even want, to work out a system to have a Realms wizard learn defiling or preservation magic.

Things are not as bad with Greyhawk or Eberron, but still. To me, it's best to use different characters to explore the different worlds.

Now, planes, such as the material planes and shadowfell etc, that's fun.

It's perfectly up to the DM to determine whether magic from one Sphere functions in another sphere, which could leave travellers stranded and powerless.

Yea, you can. But why? Why have a cosmology so large that a single campaign could never adequately explore it? Why not just each time you run a campaign you pick a cosmology to run it in?

Look at what Sanderson did in his Cosmere. He explored each world with their own magic system, and he is not mixing them, but as usual with him the magic, although it can have unifying principle like "Investiture" (Empowerment), these actually flow through a number of "Actors" that allow their use, and sometimes you cannot use them away from home, or you need to take some type of "battery" with you. One of his world has the particularity that the power source there can be stored fairly easily, and it's therefore coveted as a means to affect other realms/planets.

You don't have to do this, but it's a fairly common fantasy trope - which at the same time means that it can certainly be abused and not fun to some people.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Are the worlds normally connected such as with Spelljammer?
No, I never liked Spelljammer so I haven't even considered it, although never say never.
Dark Sun is fairly different cosmologically and tone and would not necessarily be a good match with a Spelljammer type setup. Ravenloft is normally a planar prison demiplane thing as written that can float over a material plane world and grab things from it, but is not really in the same category as Oerth and Faerun and Krynn as worlds on the prime that you could spelljam or gate to and fro the way you canonically can with those three.
Being in a different category is kind of the point for having those worlds around.

How you plan to go world to world and the story behind it would guide which worlds would be appropriate or how you would want to modify them to work within your concept.
Primarily, how to reach into another world will be story-based. Regular spells such as Plane Shift may or may not work, depending on the specific world, or they might work one-way only (for example if going into a world where spells don't work.

Eberron and Rokugan have their own planar cosmologies so that might be a consideration.

Yes, that is its own topic. Originally I thought I might add an extra hierarchy level on top and have an "ultraverse" made of multiverses, maybe also adding higher level spells to travel between cosmologies. But it sounds too obvious, the usual boring nerdity, so I might just decide I don't care and let things be more oblique.


 

Li Shenron

Legend
Travel between the various worlds such as Toril and Athas is... troublesome to me. And this is because in my vision, things work drastically different. Magic is not the same. So a wizard from the Realms who shows up in Athas is not going to be able to use the weave to cast a spell.
That's exactly the kind of things I want to happen.

I am not sure if it's Athas case or one of the other settings, where a Wizard's spells wouldn't work but magic items would. So while adventuring there, a party would have to lend as many magic items as convenient to their Wizard to protect her. It's also an incentive to try and end your quest and cone back quickly to your base world.
 

Stormonu

Legend
Travel between the various worlds such as Toril and Athas is... troublesome to me. And this is because in my vision, things work drastically different. Magic is not the same. So a wizard from the Realms who shows up in Athas is not going to be able to use the weave to cast a spell.

I have no idea how, or if I would even want, to work out a system to have a Realms wizard learn defiling or preservation magic.

Things are not as bad with Greyhawk or Eberron, but still. To me, it's best to use different characters to explore the different worlds.

Now, planes, such as the material planes and shadowfell etc, that's fun.
The Gith have penetrated to Athas, so it is at least reachable by Astral. There was an article in Dragon back in the day that hinted Athas might be a future version of Greyhawk or FR, before the novels took the setting in another direction.

As for why interconnect these worlds, why not? Blackmoor was connected to Greyhawk and Mystara officially, The Wizards Three articles connected Oerth Toril and Ansalon, we even have connections to Star Frontiers and Oerth via Barrier Peaks, and even Gary did some scenarios of WW2 nazis (our Earth) vs. Oerth wizards.

Crossovers via multiverse have been a thing for years, and there’s nothing wrong with them for some crossing of the streams, so long as everyone has fun.
 




Voadam

Legend
I had great fun going world to world on a spelljammer (homebrew world to Krynn to Faerun), then later taking the character into different DMs' campaigns. Worldhopping can be fun.
 

Voadam

Legend
I am not sure if it's Athas case or one of the other settings, where a Wizard's spells wouldn't work but magic items would. So while adventuring there, a party would have to lend as many magic items as convenient to their Wizard to protect her. It's also an incentive to try and end your quest and cone back quickly to your base world.

By the rules AD&D going to different worlds and planes can really handicap different characters in different ways.

A big one is a cleric going to a world where their god does not have a presence which used to mean no cleric spells above 2nd level unless they made accommodations with local gods.

Going into a fully anti-magic area can be a serious pain.

These things can be an interesting challenge and change of pace or a purely frustrating experience, I would advise proceeding with the possibly frustrating aspects as a consideration.
 

Voadam

Legend
Yes, that is its own topic. Originally I thought I might add an extra hierarchy level on top and have an "ultraverse" made of multiverses, maybe also adding higher level spells to travel between cosmologies. But it sounds too obvious, the usual boring nerdity, so I might just decide I don't care and let things be more oblique.
D&D is very flexible on stuff like cosmology and multiple worlds. You could make a dozen non-D&D fantasy worlds part of your D&D planet options and have them all work by similar baseline D&D rules or modify things to be different on each one. D&D works with Eberron and Rokugan having their own local planar cosmology in a multi-world campaign or using the same baseline D&D applied to them instead of their unique one. You can come up with a grand theory, or have it be unexplained and mysterious, you just need to decide as DM how things work in the moment like what an FR weave tapping wizard needs to do to use magic on Athas where there is defiling and preserver techniques for dealing with local (possibly) non-Weave conditions.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
These things can be an interesting challenge and change of pace or a purely frustrating experience, I would advise proceeding with the possibly frustrating aspects as a consideration.
Sure, but it's not worrying me more than having to manage all possible "local" frustrations, like a seemingly unbeatable monster or a door that doesn't want to open or a stubborn guard that refuses to let you in.

I wouldn't take the party to a world where only one of them is seriously impaired, and force them to remain there for long.
 

My recollection is that they explicitly said that Athas was within a crystal sphere, but it was completely impassible, going in or out.

Not all worlds should be connected by Spelljammer. Ravenloft and other Domains of Dread are not a planet, they are connected through the Shadowfell only. Athas is probably a planet in a crystal sphere. Eberron is considered "remote" but is probably inside a crystal sphere somewhere, as is probably the case with Rokugan as well.

I think doing a plane-hopping campaign that travelled through the MtG settings, Forgotten Realms, Oerth, and more would be fun. Run it sort of like Time Bandits.
 


Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top