Thoughts on the Multiverse section of the 5e DMG

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Avenging Kobold
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Thoughts on the Multiverse section of the 5e DMG

I finally got to reading that chapter of the DMG, it's better than I expected for a short primer on the planes. There's some attempts to try to satisfy a lot of the player base, they even devoted a grand total of 1 short paragraph about the controversial World Axis cosmology. The chapter is very much about the Great Wheel and it reclaiming its "core" position in D&D. I'm certainly used to their being of course more details about the planes, having read through books on the subject.

Each of the Outer Planes gets at least a paragraph and an optional rule. The Abyss and Baator/Nine Hells of course gets the most details. Some of the optional rules on different outer planes are ones we are used to like Pandemonium's Madness and Limbo's chaos-shaping, but others are ones I don't feel too big on using as they are often a less interesting "Make a DC 10 Wis or Cha save every day or find your alignment changed" unless you leave or get Remove Curse or Dispel Evil or Good cast that applies to planes like Bytopia, Abyss, Baator, and Mechanus. In many cases they gloss over some residents of the Outer Planes, so really no mentions of Archons (nothing on the 4e elemental ones either), 2e Eladrin (4e ones are presented later in the book as a sample subrace) or Guardinals, though do say there are celestial Elves in Arborea. They do mention the Outer Planes having layers, but the only ones where they describe some layers are the Abyss and Baator.

They mention on the Outer Planes is that the parts one can travel to are the "border regions" and rest of the planes is spirit beyond mortal comprehension. I like that they've mentioned what I've argued many times in that the planes truly can't be mapped by it's arrangement is a highly supported way of conceptually grouping them.

For the Inner Planes they actually got a lot of coverage in this chapter. Though of what they talk about in the DMG is plenty of new material mixed in with some older stuff. They gloss over the pure Elemental planes and the Elemental Chaos from 4e which is now the "outside" of the Inner Planes. Instead most of the writeups on the Inner Planes instead are on the "border regions" with the Material Plane, which are more inhabitable than the pure elements. I think I remember Dark Sun had the elemental planes described in similar ways: where the Plane of Water is an endless sea dotted with islands, the Plane of Fire is a wastelands with cinder storms, the Plane of Air is filled has a bunch of earth motes and solid clouds and the Plane of Earth is a large mountainous area intertwined with caves. There are some mentions of para-elemental regions in these elemental border regions too. The Genies are described as living in these border regions, though only the City of Brass gets a good writeup in it all. In the landmarks there's places like the Sea of Worlds, Aaqa, Frostfell and the Isle of Dread. I suspect they're going to use a lot of this material on the border regions for their next adventure path involving Elemental Evil.

The Transitive Planes are just the Astral Plane and Ethereal Planes, now as Shadow is Shadowfell which is no longer a transitive plane, where the Astral is back to just connecting the Outer Planes and the Ethereal is back to connecting the Inner Planes and the Echo Planes. There isn't much changes from what I remember on the Astral and Ethereal other than the fact that there is by implication from the ethereal curtain tables a border-Feywild and border-Shadowfell.

Which brings up the subject of the Echo Planes, where the planes last known as Feywild and Shadowfell are. While they do mention the Positive and Negative Planes as being the "outside" of the Outer Planes, they only sort of imply that echo planes are border regions to the Energy Planes. Feywild has the optional rule for time flowing differently, and they mention Titania being in charge of the Seelie Fey of the Summer Court and the Queen of Air and Darkness being in charge of the Unseelie Fey of the Gloaming Court. Fortunately they do mention that Seelie does not necessarily mean good and Unseelie does not necessarily mean evil, and that Hags, Fomorians and many other fey creatures aren't members of either courts. Shadowfell is described as having the Demiplane(s) of Dread. It's possible that colour can exist in Shadowfell though it gets drained away and muted by the plane, rather than 3e's description which felt to me like everything's just greyscale upon entering.

For the rest of the chapter they mention the prime material worlds of all of D&D's major campaign settings, they mention the Far Realm, and there's a writeup on the Outlands which even though they don't classify it as an Outer Plane, they do say it should be the base for a campaign set on the planes. Sigil gets a writeup in the Outland's entry and the 16 gate-towns also get mentions.

Overall they kept out rules on the really-hazardous parts of the planes, just keeping optional special rules down to 1 paragraph entries. There's certainly a lot more that could be expanded on everywhere, but it provides a good start to go with ideas on how run the planes. I'd certainly go with ideas of getting planar keys to exempt planewalkers from certain planar effects (or I can simply ignore them), and the fact some planar effects use charisma saves to avoid probably explains why some of the narrators of the Planescape material are the way they are.

Glim
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Thanks for the writeup. Very

Thanks for the writeup. Very interesting (and comforting).

Seems like most of what was said here ( http://archive.wizards.com/DnD/Article.aspx?x=dnd/4ll/2013end1 ) has kept through the months of development.
Can you confirm that the Shadowfell is still called by that name and hasn't been labelled Ravenloft? That was basically my only gripe with that article.

Avenging Kobold
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It's still called Shadowfell.

It's still called Shadowfell.

Wicke
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I'm generally ok with the

I'm generally ok with the changes to the Inner Planes, as it solves a number of the issues that exist with how the 2E planes were laid out. Namely, they were dull and monolithic. "Here, this plane exists because we've established it in canon that there are quasi- and para- elemental planes between the main four and the two energy planes. But only a few of them are interesting enough to actually explore".

Providing environments and landscapes to explore in the form of the border elemental alleviates the question of why would a PC go there.

Kaelyn
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I still prefer the inner

I still prefer the inner planes as described in the Planescape The Inner Planes accessory; every plane had plenty of hooks, variant regions, and places to visit (and of course more were easy enough to come up with, as evidence by—for example—the Mimir's expansion of the negative quasielemental planes). The 5e inner planes aren't bad by any means, but there was just more there in previous editions.

Brolly
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Heh. Belief is fluid, it

Heh. Belief is fluid, it shapes the planes, and so the planes are fluid. Still there are many perceptions of reality, some are better than others, and only the GM knows which is right.

Wicke
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Honestly, when I look at the

Honestly, when I look at the Inner Planes border elemental map as presented in the DMG, I keep finding myself reminded of maps of Lovecraft's Dreamlands. There's just some weird and wild quality to seeing all four elemental planes sharing the same conceptual space that tickles my brain just right.

Unsung
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I kind of liked the often

I kind of liked the often hostile, largely featureless vastness of the Inner Planes-- that there are portions of the multiverse that are inaccessible to all but the mightiest mages, or most advanced civilizations. While I agree that it's good to demonstrate that there are *some* portions of those planes which are accessible to, and, more importantly, survivable by the players, I do still like to think that those are the exception rather than the rule.

The map does have a definite Plateau of Leng vibe to it. I could see this being a kind of extradimensional crossing-over point in that same way, a place that exists across multiple planes at once.

Avenging Kobold
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Since they never mentioned

Since they never mentioned the City of Glass, it's likely in "deep" Plane of Water. And I like how the border elements actually explains the difference in the Elemental Planes mentioned in that Dark Dun supplement.

elderbrain
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List of changes

Somebody oughta make a list of the changes/reversions. For instance:

- The layer of Malabolge is back to being a angled slope with hazardous boulders, as in 2e, though Glasya is still in charge.

- The Plane of Water now has a surface that ships can sail on!

- Zariel has displaced Bel as Lord of the First, though he is still alive and forced to serve as her advisor.

- Geyron and Moloch are not dead but alive and scheming, but Moloch has been turned into an Imp.

- Tiamat is stated to have once been Lord of the First, but Asmodeus relieved her of command and she resents him because of it. Also, due to some kind of compact between them, she is imprisoned on Baator.

- The Positive and Negative Energy Planes are now positioned near the Upper and Lower Outer Planes, respectively.