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

delericho

Legend
It depends. If I'm doing a Spelljammer campaign, then there's a whole bunch of worlds out there, including Krynn, Toril, Eberron, Athas, and about a dozen homebrew settings I've worked on over the years (most of which, if I'm being honest, are pretty much identical, and many of the rest are dross...)

But if I'm doing an Eberron/Dark Sun/Realms/whatever campaign (where travel between settings isn't a core part of the campaign), then that is probably the only material plane out there - or at least the only one that matters.
 

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what is time bandits?
 

Vaalingrade

Legend
Eberron is the only non-Spelljammer official setting I care about.

I've done Sliders/Stargate alternate worlds though; but the 'for want of a nail alts, and also worlds where people were transplanted.

The core world of my Ere setting is actually a 'Stargate' world where the gods have brought refugees from dying planes.
 

Stormonu

Legend
what is time bandits?
It’s a 1981 movie that involves a kid and some dwarf-like “smiths of God” on the run through time and space, trying to make a fortune in the various time periods and realities they keep “jumping” to. It was very popular in its day.

 

cbwjm

Legend
I'd probably throw in everything, in some cases splitting things off into alternate material planes or making similar to someone's idea for how the original DnD worlds and the MtG worlds interacted (I can't recall who posted it, but I liked the explanation as a reason why it was difficult to get from the MtG worlds and the DnD worlds).

For me, I'd probably set up spheres of worlds which divides them so that you end up with something like:
  • MtG worlds (Ravnica, Theros, Dominaria, and the rest of them)
  • DnD worlds (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Birthright, Eberron)
  • DnD alternate worlds (Mystara, due to how different a lot of it is in regard to the planes and immortals, though maybe I'd just throw it in with the rest)
  • DnD distant worlds (Dark Sun, due to it being cut off from the rest of the planes. Gith managed to get there somehow so maybe a spelljammer can reach it)
A campaign set in something like this could be quite fun, though due to how large it is it might miss some of what makes each setting unique and fun.

Some changes to the way things work in each setting could cause issues for some characters. I'm sure wizards from the forgotten realms would be a bit put out by their lack of power in birthright, not having a bloodline would mean that they are limited to divination and illusion magic and, I think, 1st level or lower spells of the other schools. If they made it to Dark Sun, they might not be able to cast magic at all until they learnt how to draw it from the life energy of the plants around them, and in dragonlance, they might be hunted down as renegades and made to join an order of high sorcery.
 

Voadam

Legend
Some fun worlds that come to mind.

From D&D;
Greyhawk's Oerth.
Forgotten Realms Faerun.
Dragonlance's Krynn.
Conan's Hyboria.
Lankhmar's Nehwon.
BECMI's Mystara.
Eberron.
Dark Sun.
2e Jakandor.
Ravenloft 2e/3e core or 4e/5e pocket domain versions .
Rokugan.
The various Magic the Gathering ones.
Kenzer's Kalamar.

OGL:
Ptolus.
Pathfinder's Golarion.
Elric's Stormbringer world.
World of Warcraft.
Middle Earth.
Scarred Lands.
DragonMech.
Broncosaurus Rex.
Oathbound.
Freeport.
Frog God's Lost Lands.
Kobold's Midgard.
Runequest/13th Age Glorantha.
Iron Kingdoms.
Accordlands.
Deadlands d20.
Primeval Thule.
7th Sea.
Earthdawn.

From non-D&D RPGs
Warhammer FRP.
Warhammer 40K.
Exalted.
Mage the Sorcerer's Crusade.
Ars Magica.
Shadowrun.
World of Darkness, particularly Mage the Ascension or Werewolf the Apocalypse.
Chronicles of Darkness, particularly Changeling the Lost.
 

aco175

Legend
I cannot remember ever having one world be able to connect to another. Maybe back in middle school one PC from my game could go to my friends game, but generally we made new PCs. I guess the concept is rather strange to me. Each world has their own cosmology or a homebrew world can take one of the others, but the individual worlds never come together.
 

Three layers.

The lowest layer: farthest from the outer planes of belief. There is for practical purposes no magic in this world. This is our layer.
The Middle Layer. Low magic, of a subtle kind, often thought of as psionics. Faster than light travel is possible. This is the plane where space opera happens.
The top layer. This is the D&D layer. Magic works, gods can manifest directly. Crystal Spheres, etc.
 

Rogerd1

Explorer
I'd probably throw in everything, in some cases splitting things off into alternate material planes or making similar to someone's idea for how the original DnD worlds and the MtG worlds interacted (I can't recall who posted it, but I liked the explanation as a reason why it was difficult to get from the MtG worlds and the DnD worlds).

For me, I'd probably set up spheres of worlds which divides them so that you end up with something like:
  • MtG worlds (Ravnica, Theros, Dominaria, and the rest of them)
  • DnD worlds (Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Birthright, Eberron)
  • DnD alternate worlds (Mystara, due to how different a lot of it is in regard to the planes and immortals, though maybe I'd just throw it in with the rest)
  • DnD distant worlds (Dark Sun, due to it being cut off from the rest of the planes. Gith managed to get there somehow so maybe a spelljammer can reach it)
A campaign set in something like this could be quite fun, though due to how large it is it might miss some of what makes each setting unique and fun.

Some changes to the way things work in each setting could cause issues for some characters. I'm sure wizards from the forgotten realms would be a bit put out by their lack of power in birthright, not having a bloodline would mean that they are limited to divination and illusion magic and, I think, 1st level or lower spells of the other schools. If they made it to Dark Sun, they might not be able to cast magic at all until they learnt how to draw it from the life energy of the plants around them, and in dragonlance, they might be hunted down as renegades and made to join an order of high sorcery.
Like you I would throw them all in as separate planes with their own gods and afterlives. Some may be solar system sized, others galactic clusters, e.g. Esper Genesis.

Though to be honest, I brainstormed how to do gods and incorporeal beings for a combined setting. And essentially came to putting stuff into categories.

Aeons: They are incorporeal beings with vast magical powers. While in spirit form they are an intangible ball of light. As such many take on avatars when assuming physical form such that they resemble known gods from various mythologies.
  • Mystical Entities (DnD: Gods & Goddesses + Redux)
  • Mystara Immortals
  • Star Trek Organians
  • Stargate Ascended
Archons (Empyrean - think Olympians from Clash of the Titans): They are mortals who have been elevated to a form of godhood in some way. The usual method is either by consuming the Apples of Immortality, or Ambrosia, such that they possess golden ichor for blood. Once transformed, they become god-like and take on properties of their divine domain. All are powerful beings that possessed immense amounts of magic. Each dwells in a separate planes (El World – demi-planes, think Immortal Nicolas Flamel novels), many of which are connected. In a way, they embody the metaphysical principles manifested in their divine domains.

It was just made things a lot easier at this point.
This then allows me to have some kind of higher beings, kind of like Moorcocks / DC Lords of Order & Chaos.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Like you I would throw them all in as separate planes with their own gods and afterlives.

When it comes to deities, I've always left a veil of mystery on them, so that nobody can tell for sure where a deity ends and the next begins, and this plays to my advantage when merging multiple settings. It means that if you move from Toril to another world with different deities, I don't have to cut a Cleric off her powers: maybe her deity is also another deity in the other universe.

For afterlives, at first it seemed a problem but eventually there isn't any. I can keep them mostly separate so that Faerunians go to their patron deity's domain and mortals from other worlds under the Great Wheel go to their alignment-based destination. There is no issue really.

One interesting question is how to treat an afterlife plane that exists with some differences in multiple cosmologies, for example Hell. Are there multiple Hells or is it the same one?

The bottom line is that all these questions are pointless until they are relevant for an adventure, and even then you do not need to set anything in stone.
 

Rogerd1

Explorer
When it comes to deities, I've always left a veil of mystery on them, so that nobody can tell for sure where a deity ends and the next begins, and this plays to my advantage when merging multiple settings. It means that if you move from Toril to another world with different deities, I don't have to cut a Cleric off her powers: maybe her deity is also another deity in the other universe.

For afterlives, at first it seemed a problem but eventually there isn't any. I can keep them mostly separate so that Faerunians go to their patron deity's domain and mortals from other worlds under the Great Wheel go to their alignment-based destination. There is no issue really.

One interesting question is how to treat an afterlife plane that exists with some differences in multiple cosmologies, for example Hell. Are there multiple Hells or is it the same one?

The bottom line is that all these questions are pointless until they are relevant for an adventure, and even then you do not need to set anything in stone.
I don't use the Great Wheel, as I feel that has been done, and done better in DC comics than DnD ever has, or ever will do. The details are well fleshed out and the idea well thought out.

So deities can die, and they too enter an afterlife same as anyone else. Plus if players at epic level are challenging multiverse deities, then the gods cannot be very powerful. Multiverse Darkseid (DC) he was the size of a universe when he fell. Makes DnD deities a rather poor relation.


Each plane having a separate afterlife, then there would be multiple hells, depending upon the cosmology. Some may not have a conventional (burning type hell at all). Theros afterlife for example is super grim. And this is why I did it this way to create an atmosphere for players so that sometimes fleeing a confrontation is better than standing their ground. The afterlife there is bloody awful and you simply do not want to die on that plane.

And it makes it easier to have higher powers, above all the deities, that essentially work by different rules, and make all the planar powers look weak in comparison. But I wanted a Moorcock type feel.

EDIT: Another bonus to doing this, is that it allows me to use each of the DnD plane books, Manual of the Planes, Planar Handbook, Beyond Countless Doorways, Dark Roads and Golden Hells etc. - all together and at the same time. Each one applies to a particular plane.

Now in DC it is just one heaven, one hell. Everyone goes to one or the other.


But with things like this...YMMV I guess.
 
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SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Let's see....I use a "all realms are worlds" concept for my cosmology, so some of these would seem to be Outer Planes to the rest of you, but are worlds floating in space for us.

Alfaysia (central nexus of homebrew cosmos)
Topaline (named after a mineral in a Dungeon adventure)
Bytopia (two worlds circling each other)
Oerth
Athas
Ysgard
Illithidae (mind flayer infested world)
Arvandor

are the most commonly used worlds...
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Mm... interesting, you use Ysgard as a material (mortal) world?

I think some outer planes feel more like mortal worlds than afterlives (I mentioned I used Arcadia and Acheron as such, but for instance also Mechanus doesn't feel like an afterlife at all to me), but Ysgard has this special feature that dying just make you come back next day, so it really works as a sort of heaven for warriors. How are you using it as a material plane?
 

Rogerd1

Explorer
Mm... interesting, you use Ysgard as a material (mortal) world?

I think some outer planes feel more like mortal worlds than afterlives (I mentioned I used Arcadia and Acheron as such, but for instance also Mechanus doesn't feel like an afterlife at all to me), but Ysgard has this special feature that dying just make you come back next day, so it really works as a sort of heaven for warriors. How are you using it as a material plane?
Why not steal from Mutants and Masterminds, and have planes that work on science, and those that work on magic? And then you have nether realms that have been conquered by a Mage supreme?
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I like the idea of infinite parallel primes, but it hasn’t come up in any of my games that I can remember because the players, through their characters, have been invested in events taking place in the prime material plane they inhabit, so the focus stays there. I like to keep this concept around as a possibility though, in case it makes sense to switch over to an alternate universe to fix some problem in this one.

For the setting of my games, I like to have a prime material plane that has a place not too unlike Earth as its focal point. I also generally assume the existence of a positive material/plane of light/Feywild and a negative material/plane of shadow/Shadowfell that are echoes of the prime. For example, in my recent campaign, one of the player characters is a shadow sorcerer, so the plane of shadow is something that’s believed to exist, at least for that character.

A complicating factor is that, in the case of multiple parallel primes, I would assume the existence of multiple parallel Feywilds/Shadowfells to go with them.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
A complicating factor is that, in the case of multiple parallel primes, I would assume the existence of multiple parallel Feywilds/Shadowfells to go with them.
It can be a complication but also doesn't have to be.

Those 2 planes are 4e/5e constructs, but when you decide to use a fantasy setting, you can choose which edition version of it to use. It doesn't have to have a Feywild just because 5e has a bunch of spells or abilities that require it, just like it doesn't have to have Dragonborn or Warlocks just because they are in the PHB.

I would probably let the Ethereal, Feywild and Shadowfell be unique rather than multiple, and then decide if a material world is connected to each depending on whether it has for example ghosts and faeries.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Mm... interesting, you use Ysgard as a material (mortal) world?

I think some outer planes feel more like mortal worlds than afterlives (I mentioned I used Arcadia and Acheron as such, but for instance also Mechanus doesn't feel like an afterlife at all to me), but Ysgard has this special feature that dying just make you come back next day, so it really works as a sort of heaven for warriors. How are you using it as a material plane?
The area of Valhalla is a localized area on a mountain top where the effects you speak of occur. The rest of the world is just a Norse analogue of sorts.

Now to clarify, I am using outer planes as material worlds, but some of them do have the pantheons invested in that realm. Its their powerbase so to speak.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
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.
Not all crystal spheres are travelable to. I remember reading in Spelljammer that some were unreachable. I think Athas might have been one of them.
 

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