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


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Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
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.
Sure, I was just speaking to my own preference for the positive (Feywild) and negative (Shadowfell) material planes to have a 1:1 relationship to a specific prime material plane, like the way Aman is related to Middle-earth in Tolkien's legendarium.

Also, the positive and negative material planes are present in the AD&D 1st Ed. PHB. I like to use the Feywild and the Shadowfell in place of those two material planes of which I feel they are the latest version.

As far as canned settings, I've used Greyhawk in a couple games I've run.

My latest game takes place in an unnamed world. The action so far has focused on a city called Ekuepool and the vast bog that surrounds it.
 


I don't really have any specific preferences for which material planes show up if I'm custom-making a cosmology. That is, I usually prefer the freedom to build the setting from scratch if I'm doing something custom, and if I'm not doing something custom...I'll just use whatever that setting implies/requires.
 


Lyxen

Great Old One
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.
I have looked at my Spelljammer books, and this is what the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook says: "Athas. The world of the DARK SUN™ campaign is not on the spacelanes where Realmspace, Krynn-space, and Greyspace can be found. No spelljammer travels its skies; no ancient tome tells of the routes to its crystal sphere. Whether it is unreachable by spelljammer or merely so far from these worlds that any journey would take lifetimes is unknown. The current inhabitants of Athas have no knowledge of spelljamming. There is no way to know whether the closely guarded library of some sorcerer-king conceals an ancient tome revealing the basic concepts of wildspace. Even if such a tome were
found, the defiling power of such powerful magic would certainly wreak havoc on the fragile balance of life on Athas."

So it's undecided, as far as I know, and really up to the DM.
 

Rogerd1

Explorer
In my cosmology I have the following-

Limbo: This circles the multiverse and is where the outsiders (Outer gods) reside.

Higher Place: This is where beings similar to ST Q, DC Mxy, or DW Eternals reside. They guard and protect the multiverse, but also use lesser beings, meaning everyone else, as toys for their amusement.

Dimensions: These are externals locations that float in the nothingness between planes.

Planes (Branes): They float on the sea of possibilities, like leaves. These can be from solar system to galaxy sized, of which there can be trillions, or more. All of these alternates has another existing alongside it. They all have their own mythic beings, dimensions, and afterlives – some of which are positively grim. These can be separated into Fantasy, High Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction etc.

Shadow: This is the nothingness between planes.

Sea of Possibilities: As per Dark Roads and Golden Hells.

This lets me use all the planar handbooks at the same time, as each one could be its own plane, with its own rules.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
I have looked at my Spelljammer books, and this is what the Complete Spacefarer's Handbook says: "Athas. The world of the DARK SUN™ campaign is not on the spacelanes where Realmspace, Krynn-space, and Greyspace can be found. No spelljammer travels its skies; no ancient tome tells of the routes to its crystal sphere. Whether it is unreachable by spelljammer or merely so far from these worlds that any journey would take lifetimes is unknown. The current inhabitants of Athas have no knowledge of spelljamming. There is no way to know whether the closely guarded library of some sorcerer-king conceals an ancient tome revealing the basic concepts of wildspace. Even if such a tome were
found, the defiling power of such powerful magic would certainly wreak havoc on the fragile balance of life on Athas."

So it's undecided, as far as I know, and really up to the DM.
Which is always the case, unless the group has gone democratic and shares the authority to make those decisions. It would be amusing though, if...

DM: "Okay. Dark Sun is going to be accessible to Spelljammers."
Player 1: "Great! My elven Admiral takes his armada there and the defiling destroys all life on Athas."
DM: "...... So what are we playing next?"
 

Marandahir

Crown-Forester (he/him)
Per the core rules, I treat Ravenloft not as a Material plane but as a demi-plane wrapped in mists within the Shadowfell.

But one could consider the Shadowfell and Feywild as alternate Material planes, I guess.

I like Athas, Nerath, Eberron, and the 5e Magic planes, and have played with all of these, but for the most part leave them out of my homebrew setting, which has its own mythology and setting. I mine what I can from everything and adapt.

Not a huge fan of Abeir-Toril but I've definitely mined from it too.
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Per the core rules, I treat Ravenloft not as a Material plane but as a demi-plane wrapped in mists within the Shadowfell.

But one could consider the Shadowfell and Feywild as alternate Material planes, I guess.
Yeah, I basically responded to the OP's question as if this was the case. The default AD&D 1st Ed. setting cosmology has three material planes: positive, negative, and prime. Using this nomenclature, I consider the Feywild and Shadowfell to be material planes. I guess the term would be secondary or subordinate material plane. Conceptually, I think of them as interactions between what 5th Ed. calls the Positive and Negative Planes, the sources of radiant and necrotic energy respectively, and the prime material. Basically the idea is that although there's a balance between these two forms of energy within the prime material plane, radiant energy builds up on the one side of the prime that is facing the Positive Plane, forming a sort of life-suffused aurora which is the Feywild, while on the other side, necrotic energy drains life away, leaving an umbra which is the Shadowfell. 5E calls them "material echoes" which I think captures a similar idea.

The fact that 5th Ed. does not use the word prime, but merely calls the central plane the Material Plane, which had escaped my notice in my first response, calls into question whether the Feywild and the Shadowfell are to be considered material planes at all. I would say they have at least a quasi-material status, but I can see reasons for considering them altogether immaterial.

Following on from Tolkien, I consider the Feywild to be a repository of that which is to be saved and preserved in the memory of the world, whereas the Shadowfell is for that which is cast away into oblivion and forgotten. Whether memory and forgetfulness are part of the physical body or not is, I suppose, up for debate, at least conceptually if not scientifically.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Per the core rules, I treat Ravenloft not as a Material plane but as a demi-plane wrapped in mists within the Shadowfell.

But one could consider the Shadowfell and Feywild as alternate Material planes, I guess.
Well the way I always understood it, is that a "material plane" is characterized primarily by two things:

(1) it's made of matter that more or less follow either the laws of physics or a twisted version of them (such as slower time or gravity in a different direction)

(2) it is primarily inhabited by mortal creatures

That is more or less the kind of worlds I had in mind to discuss here. By converse, the Astral Plane or the Dreamscapes would be too much immaterial (thought rather than matter), and traditional outer planes are homes of immortal beings and work as afterlives for mortals. Except that of course everything is f*ed up by designers themselves when they come up with beholdershit such as "there are communities of dwarves/elves living in Celestia/Arborea", yeah right...

Ultimately, those strict categorisations are unimportant, we could all just say that the Feywild is the Feywild, and it works the way it works, no labels needed. It is useful for me to know you're including Ravenloft, whatever type of plane you want to call it (in fact, I am not even sure its inhabitants are regular mortals).
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
Well the way I always understood it, is that a "material plane" is characterized primarily by two things:

(1) it's made of matter that more or less follow either the laws of physics or a twisted version of them (such as slower time or gravity in a different direction)

(2) it is primarily inhabited by mortal creatures

That is more or less the kind of worlds I had in mind to discuss here. By converse, the Astral Plane or the Dreamscapes would be too much immaterial (thought rather than matter), and traditional outer planes are homes of immortal beings and work as afterlives for mortals. Except that of course everything is f*ed up by designers themselves when they come up with beholdershit such as "there are communities of dwarves/elves living in Celestia/Arborea", yeah right...

Ultimately, those strict categorisations are unimportant, we could all just say that the Feywild is the Feywild, and it works the way it works, no labels needed. It is useful for me to know you're including Ravenloft, whatever type of plane you want to call it (in fact, I am not even sure its inhabitants are regular mortals).
I think your (2) is a good distinction because although I think of all the Inner Planes as places that are basically physical in nature, I also think of the ones other than the Material Plane itself (to adopt 5E's terminology) as generally more hostile to mortals. So although you could have communities of essentially mortal creatures in one of these places, like for example elves living in the Feywild, such inhabitation could confer immortality in the case of Feywild elves or a state of undeath in the case of otherwise mortal inhabitants of the Shadowfell. I also think that the primary residents of such places are not mortals but are spirits aligned with either the radiant or necrotic energy that suffuse the Feywild and Shadowfell or, in the case of the Elemental Planes, elemental beings.

The physical nature of these planes is also somewhat questionable. In the case of the Material Echoes, I conceive of them as having once been part or made up of parts of the Material Plane that were occulted, i.e. hidden from the mortal world, taking them out of the physical realm into the mental/emotional realm of thoughts and memories. And although the physical nature of the Elemental Planes would seem hard to deny, they also seem to have the mental quality that they are abstractions (pure toward their outer edges) of the physical materials that make up the mortal world(s).
 

jgsugden

Legend
I do not use off the shelf settings because I do not want my players to be able to look something up, or have expeectations, about the setting, world or NPCs outside what is in the core books. However, I steal heavily from off the shelf materials. My surface world is about 12 times the size of our Earth, so I have space to put a lot of stuff across the globe.

1.) Athas: Time travel in my setting is designed around a destiny system. You can use time travel to change specific things, even a few destined events, but eventually the time stream corrects and gets you back on the one true path. And, in the distant future, a very Athasian world exists. The trigger and power players are different, but the setting has most of the hallmarks of Athas - Powerful Psionic/Magic beings rule over the remaining city states, with most of the world a dessolate ruin ... No Gods ... Strange monsters, etc...

2.) Dragonlance/Krynn: There is a section of the world that has been at war for over a century where Humanoids mount Drakes (beastly dragons with low intelligence). I stole many of the features of Krynn for this area, once upon a time ... I had to Downgrade the dragons because I have always upgraded dragons in my campaign world.

3.) Eberron/Modern: There are areas of my world that have technology that rivals modern technology, some of which is based entirely upon science while others is a hybrid. These places are xenophobic and protective of their secrets. However, Lightning Rails, Machine Guns, Tanks, and Computers all exist in my setting.

4.) Feywild/Shadowfell/Ethereal Plane: These threee are considered reflective planes in my setting, existing partway between the Prime and another plane (Feywild Positive Energy Plane, Shadowfell Negative Energy Plane, Ethereal Far Realm). Each has pockets that manifest in a way that needs to be contained (like the Ravenloft Demiplanes within the Shadowfell).

5.) Forgotten Realms: Roughly a third of my world is inspired by factions in the Forgotten Realms. Sword Coast, Calimsham, Thay, Cormyr, Chult, Evermeet, Icewind Dale - players that find their way to this area usually spot that this third of my world is more like your typical fantasy setting.

6.) Deadlands: There is a section of my world that has long outlawed magic (and where magic is weaker), and as a result there tends to be a level of technology that is higher. Not as high as the secret conclaves where high technology exists, but a fairly desolate place where Gunslingers run rampant. While you won't find a lot of Arcne, Divine, or Nature Magic you can find a good amount of Psionic and Supernatural magics. This section has a few big cities in them which function similar to a Gaslight/late 1800s London setting where you can run Sherlock Holmes, Cthulhu, or League of Extraordinary Gentlemen style adventures.
 
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