WotC WotC needs an Elon Musk

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Lukewarm take - D&D shouldn't have a cosmology. Cosmology should be setting-specific. FR - a very pantheon-heavy setting - should have its array of divine domains where the deities reside. Spelljammer shouldn't have a cosmology because it's 100% about astral sailing to an infinite variety of weird otherworlds rather than plane-shifting there. Dark Sun shouldn't have any cosmology that allows you to escape Athas (or import water or metal etc from Sigil or the elemental plane of water or somewhere) - Dark Sun stories are about survival with limited resources and options, and the Black and the Grey support this sort of story with a spare, stark cosmology for a spare, stark setting. Campaigns in Krynn should hardly even think about extraplanar matters at all, unless in the final climactic session you're actually riding your dragon into the Abyss and sticking your Dragonlance in Takhisis's face.

Cosmology should support the sort of story a setting intends to tell, and a Ravenloft story isn't a Strixhaven story isn't an Eberron story (Eberron got this right, btw). The whole multiplicity of elemental planes and the Great Wheel works fine for Planescape, and the Astral Sea for Spelljammer, but both of them are a terrible fit for Athas. The obsession with shoehorning all the campaign settings into a single cosmology damages all of them, AND makes the cosmology less coherent in the bargain.
 

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Oofta

Legend
Lukewarm take - D&D shouldn't have a cosmology. Cosmology should be setting-specific. FR - a very pantheon-heavy setting - should have its array of divine domains where the deities reside. Spelljammer shouldn't have a cosmology because it's 100% about astral sailing to an infinite variety of weird otherworlds rather than plane-shifting there. Dark Sun shouldn't have any cosmology that allows you to escape Athas (or import water or metal etc from Sigil or the elemental plane of water or somewhere) - Dark Sun stories are about survival with limited resources and options, and the Black and the Grey support this sort of story with a spare, stark cosmology for a spare, stark setting. Campaigns in Krynn should hardly even think about extraplanar matters at all, unless in the final climactic session you're actually riding your dragon into the Abyss and sticking your Dragonlance in Takhisis's face.

Cosmology should support the sort of story a setting intends to tell, and a Ravenloft story isn't a Strixhaven story isn't an Eberron story (Eberron got this right, btw). The whole multiplicity of elemental planes and the Great Wheel works fine for Planescape, and the Astral Sea for Spelljammer, but both of them are a terrible fit for Athas. The obsession with shoehorning all the campaign settings into a single cosmology damages all of them, AND makes the cosmology less coherent in the bargain.

I don't mind descriptions of the shadowfell and the feywild, or even the ethereal plane because those play into so many monsters and background lore, spells and magic items. But other than that? Give some general suggestions but we don't need a dozen pages on it. You can always ignore it for home games like I do, but there seems to be this desire to connect all campaigns into one larger cosmology for no reason I can understand.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
I don't mind descriptions of the shadowfell and the feywild, or even the ethereal plane because those play into so many monsters and background lore, spells and magic items. But other than that? Give some general suggestions but we don't need a dozen pages on it. You can always ignore it for home games like I do, but there seems to be this desire to connect all campaigns into one larger cosmology for no reason I can understand.
While I'm generally a fan of that sort of thing, I'm confident that it's being pushed for marketing and IP protection reasons.
 



Really? Because 5e removed the many "para/quasi-elemental planes of existence" and just added a few more planes (Shadowfell, Feywild, Elemental Chaos). From what I know of the 2e Great Wheel, it was even more overly complex and big than the 5e version.
Mind you, we haven't had a full in-depth planar sourcebook in 5e yet, and I think even in earlier editions (I can't speak for 4e here, but for the others) the quasi- and para-elemental planes didn't make the cut to be covered in the DMG. They only showed up in Manual of the Planes, Planescape etc. The core books are necessarily limited by space in what they can cover, so they generally just hit the high points.

I could do without another tortured diagram trying to illustrate where the astral, ethereal, prime, and shadow planes are in relation to one another and the inner/outer planes though.
 

Scribe

Legend
I could do without another tortured diagram trying to illustrate where the astral, ethereal, prime, and shadow planes are in relation to one another and the inner/outer planes though.

I'm partial to this one, not sure where I found it.

ThePlanes.jpg
 



Incenjucar

Legend
If you don't plan to actually USE the planes, all you really need to know is that Inner Planes and Material Plane are in the Ethereal and the Outer Planes and Material Plane are in the Astral, and portals exist if you care about either the Inner or Outer planes. If you don't care to leave the material plane, that's about all you need to know for the purposes of things like banishment and spells.

If you DO like the planes, it's nice having a selection of places to go.
 
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