Post Post Faction War

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Brolly
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Post Post Faction War

So I got a question. Where do you want to see the Planescape setting go after the Faction War for 5th edition?

Vaevictis Asmadi
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I'd like to know just what

I'd like to know just what was the aftermath of the War. I read rumors that the authors' intention (for books that never happened) was for at least some factions to return to the Cage. If that was so, which ones?

KnightOfDecay
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Quote:I'd like to know just

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I'd like to know just what was the aftermath of the War. I read rumors that the authors' intention (for books that never happened) was for at least some factions to return to the Cage. If that was so, which ones?

Yeah, me too. Wasn't it supposed to be a trilogy? Would be very interesting to know which plans the designers had to bring it full circle.
Vaevictis Asmadi
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I'd just like to know what

I'd just like to know what their plans were, period.

KnightOfDecay
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I also liked the stuff about

I also liked the stuff about Cruel Seirrah, Arwyl Swans's Son and the splintered Mercykillers presented in Dragon #370. It would be great if there was more information on the fates of some of the other "iconic" NPCs (like in Uncaged - Faces of Sigil).

Kaelyn
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My preference would be to

My preference would be to ignore the Faction War, at least for now, and set 5th edition Planescape at the time of the original boxed set.

It's not that I hate the Faction War or its consequences, but I don't think it's fair or sensible to resume a complex continuity after two decades and expect potential customers to understand, appreciate, or remember what the Baator is going on.

The place to begin a Planescape campaign is the 127th year of the reign of Factol Hashkar. Any revival of the Planescape setting should keep that in mind.

Faction War was designed to be the cumulation of Planescape's plot threads. You can't appreciate the adventure or its aftermath without knowing a lot of backstory. If you're just beginning to learn about Planescape, why would you care about Rowan Darkwood or the ancient wizard imprisoned in a gem?

I wouldn't want them to deal with Faction War until after they'd released a new Planescape campaign book detailing the setting as it was in 127. After that, a new revised and expanded Faction War adventure and a Return of the Factions sequel would be fine.

I mean, if this was 2000, with Faction War still a vivid memory, sure, write a sequel. But in 2016, 2017, whenever they get around to Planescape? It's been too long; hardly anyone remembers what Faction War is. Even if you know, if you didn't play through it you're not going to care. Remind them of what Planescape is, then remind them what Faction War is, then think about a sequel.

Realistically, we're not going to get any of that, but that would be my preference.

I feel the same way about all the campaign settings, incidentally. With the exception of Eberron and Birthright, all of them had a moment when TSR decided to shake them up with a major event that radically changed the status quo. Greyhawk got the Greyhawk Wars, Forgotten Realms got the Avatar Crisis and Spellplague, Dark Sun got the fall of the Dragon King of Tyr, Mystara got the Wrath of the Immortals, Spelljammer got the Second Unhuman War, Ravenloft got the Grand Conjunction, Planescape got the Faction War, and Dragonlance got the Summer of Chaos and War of Souls (and the War of the Lance, really).

And regardless of how you feel about the quality of these events, the result is that each new iteration of the setting has to spend a lot of time explaining previous events that new players didn't play through and have no reason to care about. It's boring, it wastes space, and the settings were originally set on their original dates for a reason. In almost every case, the original date is the best and most accessible place to start a campaign, with all the hooks in place and all the most interesting stuff still to come. If subsequent events are so great, why deny new players the chance to play through them? I mean, there are people who prefer 5th Age Dragonlance and the post-Spellplague Realms and even post-Faction War Sigil, but it'd be hard to make the case that these should be the one true versions of the settings in all future releases.

I guess I don't see RPG settings as being things that should have metaplots that continue forward forever. The point of them is to make your own stories.

But yeah, I think WotC is basically done making campaign settings. There are only eight people on their D&D staff. TSR in the '90s was constantly pumping out settings because they were afraid people would get bored with their old ones and saw them as potential multimedia franchises. Hasbro has plenty of other sources of revenue and no faith that old D&D settings still have any substantial audience. And they're probably right. They had a plan for releasing a new setting every year back in the 4e era, but after Dark Sun they stopped. While 5th edition should be rights be outselling 4e (I don't have any numbers, but I personally think 5e is a lot better) is it selling enough to merit a bajillion world-specific supplements? I'm dubious.

Brolly
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I think you could do a post

I think you could do a post FW reboot of the PS setting and make it more neutral in respect to other settings. Mention that the others are connected but outline the current equilibrium on the planes not worrying too much about the old Perhaps dropping a hint or two but make it so it makes sense and stands on it's own without knowing the backstory. Requiring the 127th year of some old character the new players don't know about is about as obtuse as the original was tied into the old setting. Advance the time as far as FR has come and write a new setting faithful but perhaps not explicitly tied in everyway to the old

Brolly
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OK FR has advanced 126 years

OK FR has advanced 126 years since 2nd ed. So I say go a century after faction war. It happened but it's not part of the day to day of the setting much like the time of trouble is to 5th ed FR. Set up how the setting is and don't explain the details how it got from a to b. Use them later in adventure supplements.

KnightOfDecay
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Quote:OK FR has advanced 126

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OK FR has advanced 126 years since 2nd ed. So I say go a century after faction war. It happened but it's not part of the day to day of the setting much like the time of trouble is to 5th ed FR. Set up how the setting is and don't explain the details how it got from a to b. Use them later in adventure supplements.

As the FR obviously are the main setting of 5E this seems to be a logical choice but it actually depends on the question if you use the post spellplague Realms or not. Personally I never liked the the changes the realms went through after 2nd/3rd edition and will probably never use these new Realms. Thus a 126 year gap would leave the material pretty useless to me.

If I had a choice I’d either go 15 to 20 years after the faction war (enough time to include new stuff but still close enough to the old material) or as Kaelyn mentioned go back to Hashkar 127.

And of course any 5E Planescape-material should include loads of new art by Tony diTerlizzi!

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There are only eight people on their D&D staff.

Whew, didn’t know that. Well that speaks volumes.
Kaelyn
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Quote: Requiring the 127th

Quote:
Requiring the 127th year of some old character the new players don't know about is about as obtuse as the original was tied into the old setting.

I don't care if they mention Factol Hashkar or not. My point wasn't that the name and date were important in themselves; my point was what that date signified in terms of Planescape's metaplot. The point is to begin the setting at the beginning, with the factions conspiring and plotting and ready to steer the setting in interesting directions rather than after the ship has been sunk and there's not so much going on in Sigil anymore.

Part of the intention of Faction War was to de-emphasize Sigil for a while, moving the focus to other planes until the designers were ready to bring Sigil back into the limelight. That was fine in an ongoing campaign setting, but it's a rotten place to begin one after two decades.

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Advance the time as far as FR has come and write a new setting faithful but perhaps not explicitly tied in everyway to the old

They could do that, but I get the impression that the people still at WotC regret moving the Realms so far into the future. For the last few years they've been backtracking, trying to release products that can be played at any point in the Forgotten Realms timeline, perhaps because so many Realms fans (and even authors) hated the time jump so much.

Yeah, they could create an entirely new Planescape setting a century or so in the future, with new factions and a new kriegstanz. I wouldn't necessarily object to that, though it wouldn't be my preferred solution.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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I was not pleased by the

I was not pleased by the Spellplague shakeup that changed the cosmology so much, but then I have no love for any setting besides PS, and above all dislike FR. *shrug* :)

I agree with Kaelyn, though. I never had a chance to play the original Planescape. If I ever found a group (and the time) to play it, I would want to experience the original storyline, converted or not.

I do find it hard to imagine that D&D could actually be dying, even though it is doing poorly right now.

Elda King
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I think the post-Faction War

I think the post-Faction War changes only make sense if you actually have the Faction War. Without the metaplot that built to the adventure, and without the players experiencing it, there is no real meaning to the changes...

I'd rather they republished the scenario in the point it first appeared and just retcon whatever changes they want to make to the factions without moving the timeline forward. "OK, Mercykillers were never a thing, we don't need to describe a cataclysmic event in Sigil (that is pretty boring in itself) to explain why the setting is like this."

Unsung
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^ Yes to everything Kaelyn

^ Yes to everything Kaelyn just said.

The Faction War is a big event for Sigil, but Hellbound and Dead Gods and The Great Modron March all probably have a bigger impact on the planes at large. As much or more than Faction War, I think I'd like the players to be present for those, whether the game takes place in 127 Hashkar, a hundred years into the future, or centuries earlier on the eve of the Great Upheaval.

The thing is, if you're going to play Dark Sun for the first time, chances are you'll want to bring down Kalak yourself, not hear about how somebody else did it before you even got there. Likewise, a post-Faction War PS game is going to be a lot of talk about how much more interesting things used to be in Sigil. I'm not saying that's not doable as a campaign, but as a starting point for campaign setting, it leaves a lot to be desired. A big influx of Forgotten Realms players were turned onto D&D through the gateway drugs of the Gold Box SSI games, Baldur's Gate, Icewind Dale, and Neverwinter Nights, and the big boom of D&D novels in the '90s. They wanted to play in the world they'd already seen and read about. The Spellplague's big disadvantage was that it was an even more drastic change, a wrongheaded attempt to shoehorn in 4e's dragonborn and non-Vancian magic. It was too much of a disconnect. Too much had changed, so that it didn't feel much like the same setting anymore.

The only reason the Grand Conjunction actually sort of works for me is that if you assume it happened but then pretty much ignore it, it doesn't make much of a difference. It shuffles the map of the Core around, but the new map actually makes more sense than the old one, and Azalin and most of the other important Darklords came back pretty much the same as they ever were.

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...All that being said, I'd

...All that being said, I'd like to see more big-concept adventures and campaign modules that shake up the planes. Possibly with less serialization, but more discussion on what changes as a result. The points at which all the different changes interlock is described, but not assumed.

Without the factions in Sigil, what moves in to take their place? Alternatively, without the factions in Sigil pulling in adventurers and planar politics, what holds people in the city? The Occupation of Sigil by enemy forces, not quite rowdy enough to draw the Lady's wrath-- or the evacuation of the city, turning it into a ghost town inhabited by the desperate, and perhaps an unexpectedly ambitious new project being built by the now-uninterrupted dabus.

The Harmonium, rudderless, might turn back to the Prime to muster massive armies. If taking the Planes by influence failed, the old standby of overwhelming force will have to serve. And what if they or someone else manages to slide another planar layer into another plane?

The collapse of Mechanus. Asmodeus's rise to godhood. A detente in the Blood War. 4e actually did have some good ideas, often just somewhat poorly executed. Or rather, not executed, just sitting there in the background... Waiting to be plundered.

Vaevictis Asmadi
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The collapse of Mechanus?

"The collapse of Mechanus?"

That sounds like a Spellplague-style destruction of an entire infinite plane. Do not want.

Unsung
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Of course. And that's exactly

Of course. And that's exactly why it should have been an adventure, something the PCs could potentially stop, or reverse, or mitigate. Not just some random background element mentioned offhandedly in the planar supplements.

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Creativity within bounds

I'm perpetually confused by the desire to change the structure of the planes, the geography of Forgotten Realms, and other such examples. For me the excitement of adventuring is the effects it has on people, not places. To me the latter are scenery and whilst it's nice to have some impact on scenery with the odd fireball or meteor strike - this is not my main focus in role-playing.

This article: http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi2495.htm discusses how Bach was able to do amazingly creative things whilst (mostly) keeping himself constrained by rules of music composition.

I bring this example because I feel that within the constraints of planar cosmology for adventure creation - there is an amazing amount of creativity that can be expressed without the need to destroy a plan, move a layer, etc. All those to me are about changing the scenery.

When we watch films, the scenery can play a large part on our enjoyment of the story. But if the characters are not engaging, it's simply not that enjoyable (at least to me, ymmv).

Anyway, I'm not sure that I have come to a conclusion except to ask: why change the nature of the planes? Why not change the nature and circumstance of adventurers and those they interact with? Is there not more drama, excitement, and enjoyment in that? What are your thoughts....?

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Mimir's Take

I've been running a Planescape game for 5e since last year, and have been using the mimir.planewalker resource to base 'what happened?' on.

I can't link it because the word verification process seems to be bugged out for me.
mimir.planewalker.com/sites/default/files/chapter1.pdf

... which I'm sure isn't really news to you guys, as it's pretty easy to find, but it's a fairly well-written piece of prose, all 9 chapters of it!

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Quote:Anyway, I'm not sure

Quote:
Anyway, I'm not sure that I have come to a conclusion except to ask: why
change the nature of the planes? Why not change the nature and circumstance of adventurers and those they interact with? Is there not more drama, excitement, and enjoyment in that? What are your thoughts....?

Well, most of these major changes where part of a new edition.
The designers probably suppose that they have to change certain game aspects (like the planes) as many players expect an evolution of the setting as well as an evolution of the rules.
A new edition needs to be “new”, so you could call it a way to justify the step.

That doesn’t mean that these changes can’t be creative, good or logical, though. That’s just a matter of personal preference.
Personally I like to play in a living/evolving Multiverse, but I prefer small steps and never liked the big shake-ups.
When it comes to the planes I’m kind of a purist and prefer to stick to 2nd Ed. Planescape material as close as possible.

Unsung
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Not all that confusing, is it

Not all that confusing, is it? It's just a matter of different tastes. You play in a given campaign setting because you like that scenery, but that scenery has very definite effect on the characters in it. When a story is about travelling and adventuring, the environment usually takes on a character of its own. It's not always just background, and sometimes the PC's surroundings are very much at the forefront of the story. If the scenery is not fixed, if it can be reshaped by magic, a whim of the gods or archfiends, or as in Planescape by the power of belief alone, then all the more so, I'd say-- when it's dangerous or hostile, or when it's overwhelmingly beautiful, or suddenly safe.

Major shakeups on the planes don't have to forego the human element. Their effects on the lives of the party and their in-game contacts can be a catalyst for pathos, humour, adventure. They're not necessary for any of those things, sure, but I for one enjoy them, and there's certainly been a precedent for them in the adventures TSR released. Great works have been created within the bounds of the rules as we know them, absolutely, but deviations from expected standards have also led to incredible things. Picasso, rock and jazz, the Industrial Revolution. Also terrible things, but still. There's a reason 'May you live in interesting times' is a curse.

It's not so much that drastic shifts *need* to happen to a setting, but rather that, if they *are* going to happen, then the party (and DM) should have some way to contribute, precisely because the game is an ongoing story about their characters, not just a history lesson about some fictional world.

Bob the Efreet
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Quote:mimir.planewalker.com

Quote:
mimir.planewalker.com/sites/default/files/chapter1.pdf

... which I'm sure isn't really news to you guys, as it's pretty easy to find, but it's a fairly well-written piece of prose, all 9 chapters of it!

That's actually us. I helped write it.

OblivionGate
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The Mimir

... Marry me. My players love the extension of the setting!

TravellingStory...
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Before the Faction War

I would prefer Planescape to start before the Faction War took place, as I most enjoyed the structure and the factions as they were not as everything was after what had happened.

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To clarify the facts, I

To clarify the facts, I recall a 2012 RPG Codex interview with Monte Cook, where he said:

"Faction War was never meant to be the end of PS. There was supposed to be a follow-up adventure/sourcebook that rebuilt things. But the line was cancelled before it could come out. A real shame."
Link: http://www.rpgcodex.net/content.php?id=8374

One of the strengths of the Planescape setting is that it is less bounded by campaign calendars / the passage of time than other campaign worlds. The planes are eternal, and the setting is about the exploration of ideas, philosophies, and "what ifs", not rigid adherence to The One True Timeline.

I think most of us fans agree that the faction presence in Sigil is a key element of the setting, so there's no harm in reestablishing their presence. The "Sigil Advisory Cuncil" just is nowhere as interesting as multiple factions vying for control of civil government. OTOH, dabus judges is a pretty cool idea, maybe keep that. Justify this as passage of time, or whatever you want, or don't justify it at all. Allude to past conflicts like the Prime War involving the Shadow Sorcelled Key and numerous faction conflicts including all out warfare in the streets. Either don't detail the factols or introduce new factols that are even more iconic. Use this as an opportunity to paint a less biased image of certain factions (Harmonium & Mercykillers) and get more serious about the philosophy of factions that were resented as nonsensical (Doomguard & Xaositects).

Basically, keep the core the same as Planescape always was (per-Faction War), but use the fallout of the war or passage of time to justify improvements to parts of the setting that didn't click so well. And don't worry about exactly codifying histories or timelines.focus on getting the broad strokes right.

That would be my approach.

Rolro
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For me the Faction War is

For me the Faction War is like Pathfinder's adventure paths, something that could happen, the worst case scenario, if the PC's don't do anything about it.

Anetra
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Personally I always set games

Personally I always set games in the setting presented the original 2e Planescape boxed set, or slightly before, depending on how long I want before the Faction War takes place. But the events that set Faction War in motion are always happening, whether they're happening in front of the players or in the background. Like Rolro said, Faction War will go down unless the players do something that stops it before it starts.

I fudge shit around in terms of how the Planescape timeline lines up with other settings, though, like I'll do 2e Planescape with 3e Forgotten Realms and not really worry about it.

snabul
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I always play faction wars

Until now I had three parties playing the planscape setting and with each of them I played the faction wars after The Infinite Staircase and Modron March and Doors to The Unknown, all three interwoven.
Only one of the groups made it until the end of the faction wars, and of that group only five players made it to the end.
All others lost interest after one year or two years of playing in the planes. They stick to oldfashioned fantasy munchkinquestlike gaming.
I like the factions, and play them like the secret societies from PARANOIA. Most of my players chose the factions I invented myself, except one who took the Xaositects and an other one who joined the Doomguard (he was awesome!).
After the faction wars, the five remaining players had to become something new: One joined a ninja clan, an other one joined the new founded city guard (a mixture of police academy and Terry Pratchet's nightwatch of Ankh Morpork), one became a doctor, one tried to run an inn and one became housekeeper of an always absent wizard.
Getting work is sometimes as good as joining a faction. One of the players became head physician at the big gate near the Hive. (we call it "Torenhaus")he became part of sigil's elite/"respectable society", some of them described in Faces Of Sigil and some invented on my own. The player then organised the Big Race, an event that started as a bet between two rickshaws, driving from the Rift one round through the city down to the other side of the rift. After the faction wars, he organised to build a huge Arena at the place where the Armory had been. The Big Race started and ended there, including any kind of public transport, even Dragons (who had to crawl) and those olifants of Lord of the Rings.
Sorry about me talking too much in bad english.
Back to the topic:
I would start any campaign before faction wars, and after faction wars the players do not need the factions any more to stick to the concept. My players developed their PCs beliefs and goals during the first 30 sessions (or never...) and the Faction War took place after 60 Sessions.

If a publisher would ask me that, insisting on a new concept, I would invent most factions new, according to the Sigils needs and the layout of the planes. If there are 16 planes, I would make 16 factions, to start with and some more for drama and action. Later one can leave out the boring factions (or keep them). Best is, to make the whole concept fitting, what was the awesome work of Mr. Cook.