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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:06:05  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Since I'm not the Planescape fan that some of our members are, I just acquired this book recently. I thought I'd talk about it as I read it, and that I'd throw the discussion open to everyone -- there have been plenty of mentions of this book over the last few years.

For those who don't know what I'm talking about... The title of the book is Beyond Countless Doorways. It's a Sword & Sorcery D20 book, published by Malhavoc Press and written by a lot of the former Planescape folks. It's a 3.5E book. The book details 18 modular planes, and gives a brief overview of a cosmology that is neither Great Wheel nor Great Tree (the Countless Worlds cosmology).

The planes detailed in the book can be used with the Core cosmology, or they can be used with the Countless Worlds cosmology described in the book. Admittedly, my Planescape knowledge is virtually non-existent, but I don't see any reason why these planes can't be simply dropped into the Great Wheel cosmology. Some of the features of the Countless Worlds cosmology can also be used in the Great Wheel, thinks I.

The Nexus, for one, could be used as a much smaller version of Sigil. Alternatively -- and keep in mind, I don't know if there's anything to contradict this -- the backstory of the Nexus could be used for Sigil. Niveral-Sca could be the Lady of Pain.

The Underland -- sort of a interplanar Underdark -- could easily be under some or all of the planes of the Wheel, as well as the Prime.

The Silken Ship -- and possibly several similar ships -- could easily sail around the planes of the Wheel. Like the Voidjammers described in Dragon 159, it's something that could present an alternate method of traveling amongst the planes. It could make planar travel easier for low-level PCs; a planar ship could even visit the PC's homeworld and be how they get into the planes. Ships like this could also give PCs (or DMs) a way to avoid Sigil, though I'm not sure why someone would want to.

After this post, I'll review each chapter of the book as I read it, with a separate post for each one.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:21:55  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Avidarel, the Sundered Star.

I really liked this concept, but one thing about it bugs me: the whole shattered star thing doesn't strike me as particularly planar -- for me, it seems more of a Spelljammer concept. It wouldn't take much effort at all to make this a dark and virtually uninhabited crystal sphere, perhaps called Coldspace or Darkspace.

In fact, this could easily fit in with a lot of Spelljammer bits. We know of illithids trying to extinguish the sun -- maybe they did it, here. We know of races with lost homeworlds, like dwarves and reigar -- perhaps their lost homeworld is now a frozen ball orbiting the shattered star. The backstory for Spellweavers could be tweaked a bit, with them searching the cosmos for a way to reignite their sun.

The Last Tower is a nifty idea. I like Newst and Estra, though I don't think it was necessary to make them siblings. Siblings married to each other is just a bit too much for my taste, especially when there seems to be no reason for it. The tower idea could even be expanded a bit; either the tower could be the last outpost of the sphere's survivors, or it could be one of a series of such outposts, with the inhabitants trying to find a way to relight the sun.

The Waking Nightmare is also a cool idea, though I think it goes overboard. Having the PCs see their loved ones suffering or acting in a depraved manner is fine -- actually having it happen to the loved one, though they're planes away, is too much. Not only does that screw with the PCs by having real harm befall their loved ones simply because the PCs are in the wrong place, but it also seems an overly powerful effect -- reaching across planes to force someone to act against their nature or suffer? Nope, too powerful.

The Nightcrawler is cool, and the steps its taken to protect the starsoul are really good. This thing would be a pain to fight without the Waking Nightmare -- I don't see an immediate way around the protections its put on the starsoul.

So overall, I like Avidarel, and I think it's got tons of potential -- but only as a crystal sphere for Spelljammer. It just doesn't seem like a plane to me.

Carrigmoor is next. It'll prolly be a couple days before I'm ready to comment on it, since most of my reading of gaming material is done in my reading room.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 09 Feb 2009 02:24:06
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ranger_of_the_unicorn_run
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:39:14  Show Profile Send ranger_of_the_unicorn_run a Private Message  Reply with Quote
This is making me want to obtain this book already!
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Brimstone
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:40:29  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Wooly do you have a link? Or should I check paizo? Sounds Interesting.

BRIMSTONE

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:54:34  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Beyond Countless Doorways

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The Sage
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:55:18  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
A few brief thoughts from my own reading some time ago...

I's a pretty good cosmology. There are some interesting new planar paths. I like the section on languages. There are some rules that didn't need to be there [like when it says that planes can't be inherently good or evil], but those can easily be ignored. You can pretty much describe the PLANESCAPE cosmology in Countless Worlds terms, but it's kind of boring to do so -- most of PS
s planes are going to be always in conjunction, except for the demi-planes and various material plane worlds. Of course, some might be in full conjunction at various times. The cosmology works a lot more neatly with EBERRON I think.

Zeb Cook's intro is very good, containing some nice advice on playing the PS way.

Being a Planar Warden [appointed as guardians of a plane -- some of them also rule the plane, like Asmodeus rules Nessus, but it's not necessarily so] is only a +2 CR template, which seems a little weak. But you get to rule a plane, so that's nothing to sneeze at.

The Celestial Ethereoscope is now the Ethereoscopic Viewer, and it's almost essential to have in this cosmos.

No Astral Plane in the Countless Worlds. You use the Deep Ethereal instead. Of course, the Astral could be added without any problem.

...

I'll post more thoughts as I remember them. Most focus on the Ten Courts of Hell and Carrigmoor. And a few of the other locations too.

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Edited by - The Sage on 09 Feb 2009 02:56:32
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Brimstone
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  02:56:57  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Beyond Countless Doorways


-Thanks!

BRIMSTONE

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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The Sage
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  03:00:02  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Brimstone

-Wooly do you have a link? Or should I check paizo? Sounds Interesting.

BRIMSTONE

Drive Thru has a reasonably priced PDF copy available here for those who don't mind the format.

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The Sage
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  03:01:53  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Beyond Countless Doorways

In addition, I'd recommend interested scribes read Monte's "Design Diary" entries on the BCD book. I followed them originally when Monte was working on the book, and they made for some terrific reading -- especially so if you're a PS fan like myself.

You can find them here:- http://montecook.com/diary.html

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Brimstone
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  03:03:38  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Thanks yet again!

BRIMSTONE

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep
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freyar
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  13:42:27  Show Profile  Visit freyar's Homepage Send freyar a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Strange, this was one of the books I got over the holidays and am now just reading (after Dragon Compendium and Pathfinder Chronicles Campaign Setting). I'm probably a couple of days behind Wooly, but I guess I can chime in too.

I will say that, just from reading the introduction, some of these planes seem like they would easily fit in a Spelljammer kind of campaign (like the dead star) or as layers or even specific locations in other planes. Kind of like a toolbox for any cosmology, really.

My DnD Links and Creations
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Quale
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  15:51:03  Show Profile Send Quale a Private Message  Reply with Quote
this one of my favorite books, especially cause planar material was so rare after 2e

I'm not familiar with Spelljammer, most of the places described in the book are in our alternate planes

e.g. Avidarel is in Shadowfel (Deep Shadow part, similar to Vacuum) on its way to oblivion (near Shar's realm)

Carrigmoor is in Annwn, layer of xaOs populated by unseelie fey

Underland is a part of the Elemental Earth

I've changed Nexus a bit, and it's in Faerie (transdimensional crossroads and doorways, guarded by servants of Desna)
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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  16:25:59  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Quale

this one of my favorite books, especially cause planar material was so rare after 2e

I'm not familiar with Spelljammer, most of the places described in the book are in our alternate planes


To put it most simply, Spelljammer is D&D in space, with vacuum and explosive decompression not being a factor.

With that explanation... The whole shattered star thing, to me, is a space concept. Nothing about it carries any planar implications, for me. That's why I'd tweak it into a Spelljammer locale, instead of a plane.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  21:05:41  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Carrigmoor

This is another one that, the way its presented, seems more like a Spelljammer locale, to me. A domed city, built on an asteroid that's part of a former planet, orbiting the still-molten core of that planet? Yup, Spelljammer.

Had the city been presented on its own, without the broken planet background, I could have easily accepted it as a planar locale. But as soon as the beyond Carrigmoor description came in, it became a space concept. Putting nothing beyond the dome, or something like literally endless grasslands or mountains, would have made it feel like a plane.

That said... A decadent, decaying city with portals to other planes is a nifty concept. The way its written, it presents plenty of opportunities for PCs. There's lots of intrigue there, in addition to trying to survive in the urban jungle. Portals to seven other planes present a lot of fun options, too.

Now if I was going to use Carrigmoor, I'd not use it as written. I like the physical layout of the city, and I like the seven portals idea... But I'd make it a demiplane, instead of putting it on a rock orbiting a broken planet. It could still have the mountains and bad air and nastybads surrounding it, but that would be it.

I'd actually prolly use the city when it was at its height, too, not its decaying current status. A shining hub of trade, with connections to countless planes... Each of the seven portals could have a set schedule, rotating thru a bunch of different planar connections at set intervals during the day. Caravans and traders would be coming thru at all hours, moving thru one portal and then crossing town to travel thru another. With a setup like that, money would flow like water thru the city, and its people would be as diverse as those of Sigil.

Going one step further, the city could be on an asteroid, instead of a demiplane. With cross-planar traffic going on and spelljamming traffic, the possibilities become nearly endless.

So for me, Carrigmoor is an interesting concept, but it simply doesn't work as written. Take it on a slightly different direction, though, and it's got a buttload of potential.

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Quale
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  21:49:10  Show Profile Send Quale a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

With that explanation... The whole shattered star thing, to me, is a space concept. Nothing about it carries any planar implications, for me. That's why I'd tweak it into a Spelljammer locale, instead of a plane.


yea, I know, the books seems even better suited for Spelljammer, the majority of locales are alternate material worlds

just saying how I'm using the material

actually some planar layers in our cosmology are quite ''spacey'', e.g. Linnutee (on the CG plane) where is Selune's Gates of the Moon and Morwel's Court of Stars or parts of Queen of Air and Darkness' layer, or Sardior's in Dragon Eyrie etc.

the planes aren't separated so the Prime is connected with Shadowfel, the dead solar systems eventually end up in Deep Shadow, in the end dissipating in the Vortex into nothingness

Stars in the Prime aren't entirely self-generating, they are portals to the Gates of the Moon, which reflects the energy of Radiance to the universe

Memories of Starlight could be connected with Selune, and the struggle with Shar



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The Sage
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  22:52:52  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

quote:
Originally posted by Quale

this one of my favorite books, especially cause planar material was so rare after 2e

I'm not familiar with Spelljammer, most of the places described in the book are in our alternate planes


To put it most simply, Spelljammer is D&D in space, with vacuum and explosive decompression not being a factor.
I'd recommend this site for a more comprehensive understanding of the SPELLJAMMER setting.

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Edited by - The Sage on 09 Feb 2009 22:54:39
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The Sage
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  22:59:01  Show Profile  Send The Sage an AOL message  Click to see The Sage's MSN Messenger address  Send The Sage a Yahoo! Message Send The Sage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Carrigmoor

This is another one that, the way its presented, seems more like a Spelljammer locale, to me. A domed city, built on an asteroid that's part of a former planet, orbiting the still-molten core of that planet? Yup, Spelljammer.

Had the city been presented on its own, without the broken planet background, I could have easily accepted it as a planar locale. But as soon as the beyond Carrigmoor description came in, it became a space concept. Putting nothing beyond the dome, or something like literally endless grasslands or mountains, would have made it feel like a plane.

That said... A decadent, decaying city with portals to other planes is a nifty concept. The way its written, it presents plenty of opportunities for PCs. There's lots of intrigue there, in addition to trying to survive in the urban jungle. Portals to seven other planes present a lot of fun options, too.

Now if I was going to use Carrigmoor, I'd not use it as written. I like the physical layout of the city, and I like the seven portals idea... But I'd make it a demiplane, instead of putting it on a rock orbiting a broken planet. It could still have the mountains and bad air and nastybads surrounding it, but that would be it.

I'd actually prolly use the city when it was at its height, too, not its decaying current status. A shining hub of trade, with connections to countless planes... Each of the seven portals could have a set schedule, rotating thru a bunch of different planar connections at set intervals during the day. Caravans and traders would be coming thru at all hours, moving thru one portal and then crossing town to travel thru another. With a setup like that, money would flow like water thru the city, and its people would be as diverse as those of Sigil.

Going one step further, the city could be on an asteroid, instead of a demiplane. With cross-planar traffic going on and spelljamming traffic, the possibilities become nearly endless.

So for me, Carrigmoor is an interesting concept, but it simply doesn't work as written. Take it on a slightly different direction, though, and it's got a buttload of potential.

The planar trade city of Carrigmoor I've been thinking about a lot for some time. I originally decided to blame the plague that largely destroyed it on the arcane/mercane, so they could bring its most valuable citizens to their newly created city of Union. The plague could also be related to the one the Lady of Pain used to destroy much of the Free League, or to the Iron Shadow from Tales From the Infinite Staircase. I've tied Carrigmoor's creation to Sigil's Great Upheaval -- it's where most of the guilds and exiled factions went after Sigil's factions were reduced to fifteen.

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Ardashir
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Posted - 09 Feb 2009 :  23:05:22  Show Profile  Visit Ardashir's Homepage Send Ardashir a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Ooh, this one looks good. Thanks for sharing this with us, Wooly.
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Wooly Rupert
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Curnorost, Realm of Dead Angels

Finally, a plane that actually feels like a plane! I was beginning to wonder if that was going to happen...

That said, I'm also beginning to wonder if I'm going to like any of these planes exactly as it's written!

Put simply, Curnorost is an afterlife for angels. And it's a sorrowful place. The plane was created when two angels slew each other, one having betrayed the other. These two angels were the plane's first inhabitants, though -- interestingly -- neither of them has been seen in a millenium.

The plane is a desolate place. The angelic ghosts are incorporeal, but retain all of their possessions -- at least until they drop them. Once they release an item, the item becomes corporeal and the ghosts can no longer touch it. (I'd assume that means no physical contact with it at all; otherwise, they'd lost their clothes and everything not actually in hand.) So there's a large portion of the plane that is littered with swords and weapons (and assumably other stuff, though weapons would dominate), piled a foot or two deep! It's possible to find magical weapons in there, though it takes a lot of searching, and the plane has other inhabitants that will make it difficult on you.

There are mortal inhabitants of this plane, too, mostly non-good humans and demihumans organized into nomadic groups. There are also critters there to torment the angels, and anyone else who gets in the way. And there's one unique and powerful nastybad that enjoys eating angelic ghosts.

Dead angels show up in the plane in big rock formations that resemble holy symbols. They travel thru the open areas of the Inner Reaches, then reach the Field of Broken Avengers, where all the weapons are. They travel beyond there to the Mountains of Eternal Grief, which only dead angels can reach (anyone else never gets close to the mountains, no matter how long they travel). The Mountains of Eternal Grief are a one-way trip for angels, and it's described as a place of "utter sorrow and loss".

Three other planar features are the Psychomanteum, the Garden of Afflictions, and the Citadel of Reminiscence. The Psychomanteum is a place where it's possible to summon and ask 10 questions of any of the dead angels -- but it's costly to do so. The Garden of Afflictions is a nasty place; what appears to be plants are actually manifestations of disease. The Citadel of Reminiscence is perhaps the most interesting place; all of the memories the dead angels possess wind up copied here in free-floating chunks of ice. There's also celestial stone giant here, with 1000 magical quills he uses to try to write down all of these memories.

Overall, the concept and execution of this plane is pretty cool.

But...

Trying to fit it into Planescape requires some changes, since angels (and solars and archons and such) that die in service to their deity should wind up back in the deity's realm, or at least in their allied plane (such is my understanding of Planescape; I'm real weak on PS lore). It could work as a place for angels who die after having fallen from their deity's ideals, without actually falling so far as to become evil. Ditto for angels who have become corrupted.

Taking that idea a step further, Curnonost could be a sort of Purgatory for these fallen but not evil celestials. Passage thru the plane (perhaps with some of the planar features acting as trials for them) could be necessary for them to atone and get back to the light of serving their deity. It could also be a way for fiends to be redeemed into celestials.

Also, there could be portals here to some of the Lower Planes. Fiends could hang out here, trying to seduce or further corrupt the dead angels, enticing them to shun atonement and instead fall all the way to evil.

So I like this plane, and it could work as written... But to use it in the Wheel, it needs some tweaks to make it fit and utilize its full potential.

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 11 Feb 2009 :  03:37:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Before I get to the next plane, I want to mention this other feature of the book. Each plane has a "Planar Notes" sidebar. This gives the name of the plane, the type, and then lists some common conjunction planes.

A lot of the conjuction planes aren't in this book. I don't know if they're described anywhere other than these sidebars. But some of these planes do sound interesting, in their own right.

For example, the Deleur entry mentions seven other planes. One is Avidarel, already described in the book, and another is the Ethereal Sea, which is also described in the book, under the Countless Worlds cosmology -- it's like a cross between the Astral and the Ethereal, with some ocean-like flavor mixed in.

Another of the planes mentioned in this sidebar is Justiral -- a plane of mercenary angels! Another is Serran -- "An alternate world where noble giants rule as wardens of the land and humans live among a variety of different races: diminutive fey, savage but honorable leonine warriors, vinaceous-skinned psionicists, one-human reptilians, and a now-intelligent race that once were only beasts." (page 56)

I don't know about any of you, but that last one sounds particularly intriguing!

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Wooly Rupert
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Posted - 11 Feb 2009 :  03:59:31  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Crystal Roads of Deluer

Okay, forget what I said in the Curnorost write-up. This one feels like a plane, and is readily usable as is. I'd actually tweak two or three minor details, but unlike the other ones so far, none of the changes would be major -- they're all more cosmetic than anything else.

Deluer is a air-filled void. In this void are a bunch of planetoids, each one mostly comprised of just one material, be it stone, jewel, or metal. These planetoids are connected by crystalline bridges. And you can't show up just anywhere in the plane -- there are specific, designated and well-guarded arrival points. The Arrival Points are each guarded by a deva, at least half a dozen archons, some xorn, and maybe a stone giant. They take their laws seriously in Deluer, and they want all travellers (who aren't overly welcome) to stick to them, too.

Speaking of those laws, mining is not allowed. Neither are dwarves. Basically anything that affects stone or metal is not allowed -- be it an animal, an implement, magic, or a tool, it's all verboten. So is wandering around without an escort.

Deluer is ruled by xorn, who are themselves ruled by a gluttonous, massively obese xorn king. The xorn actually have a society going on, rather than just doing their own thing. The other inhabitants of the plane are stone giants, earth elementals, and earth mephits. There's also gargoyles, but they're hated by the xorn.

One unique inhabitant is Targon, a merchant and something of an ambassador from Justiral. He's an astral deva, but it's implied that he may have some non-angelic blood. He's more concerned with being a merchant than doing the angelic gig, though he is an honest merchant. He's blunt, crass, overweight, and his wings are generally dirty. And he's always chomping on a magical cigar. I like this NPC!

There's also a goddess of stone in the plane. Her name is Eddelis, and her priests are mephits. She lives in a stone temple on a gold planetoid near the xorn king's palace, which is itself in a hollow diamond.

Mining is highly illegal, except in the Mithral City, Ostelraun. It's inhabited by deep dwarves, duergar, and pech; these are an exception to the laws of the plane.

Just about the only thing I would change about this plane is a bit of the description: it says that mephits cast spells over the entire plane, which is why you can only show up at Arrival Points. That seems overly powerful for non-divine magic, for me. I'd make Eddelis the major power and her will being the reason for the redirection. The xorn king would be her seneschal, who pretty much is left alone to run the show.

This one isn't as interesting as some of the others, but it's the most readily usable, and it's not too difficult for lower level PCs to survive here. I like it.

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The Sage
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quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Another of the planes mentioned in this sidebar is Justiral -- a plane of mercenary angels! Another is Serran -- "An alternate world where noble giants rule as wardens of the land and humans live among a variety of different races: diminutive fey, savage but honorable leonine warriors, vinaceous-skinned psionicists, one-human reptilians, and a now-intelligent race that once were only beasts." (page 56)
I actually wrote-up a flavour-piece for Justiral because I found it so interesting [I also tied it, somewhat, with Mount Celestial]. It's stored somewhere on the old planewalker.com archives as I recall. I'll see if I can dig it out.

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quote:
Originally posted by The Sage

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Another of the planes mentioned in this sidebar is Justiral -- a plane of mercenary angels! Another is Serran -- "An alternate world where noble giants rule as wardens of the land and humans live among a variety of different races: diminutive fey, savage but honorable leonine warriors, vinaceous-skinned psionicists, one-human reptilians, and a now-intelligent race that once were only beasts." (page 56)
I actually wrote-up a flavour-piece for Justiral because I found it so interesting [I also tied it, somewhat, with Mount Celestial]. It's stored somewhere on the old planewalker.com archives as I recall. I'll see if I can dig it out.




Having read this book, Sage, what do you think about the planes I've read so far, and my ideas for some of them?

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quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

Having read this book, Sage, what do you think about the planes I've read so far, and my ideas for some of them?
Well, I'm thinking now that I'd probably have to go back and read some of the entries, because reading your reviews/ideas on them does remind me just how much I've forgotten since I first read the book.

But I like your ideas so far. I kinda tended more toward the PS-side of things when I was working on using some of the stuff included in the book. For example, my work on the Ten Courts of Hell. You'll see what I mean when I eventually post that write-up. But I like, and could potentially use, your SJ-ing ideas too.

Maybe I should just re-read the book and post my thoughts on each plane as well. That'd probably be the best move, I think.

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quote:
Originally posted by The Sage


Maybe I should just re-read the book and post my thoughts on each plane as well. That'd probably be the best move, I think.




Go for it!

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Wooly Rupert
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Dendri (Expansion 11)

Okay, so this one goes back to being either-or. It'd need some slight tweaks to feel like a plane, but it works well for Spelljammer.

The very first line, though, bugs me. Dendri is a moon, orbiting a shattered planet (the book's writers seem to like sundered heavenly bodies). The reason the planet is shattered is because it caught a disease that caused it to crumble to bits. Yeah, the planet got sick.

That aside... Dendri is kinda like the forest moon of Endor. Except it's dark, misty, and has spiders instead of Ewoks (some would call the latter an improvement, but I liked the Ewoks). It's also got chunks of shattered planet in the sky, instead of a half-built Death Star.

Dendri is home to several intelligent races. The aranea used to be the dominant ones. There are also shrubgoblins (a local variant of hobgoblins), timber grimlocks (forest grimlocks, essentially), and wild elves. Before things went south for the aranea, they dominated everything, and had shoved the other three races into separated areas the spider-folks didn't want. There's also an area called the Murk, controlled by treants, dryads, and plant critters.

And now there's formians all over the place. The formians found a portal to the world, and have set out dominating it. They've wiped out most of the aranea, and the other three races, tired of being pushed around by the aranea, are helping. The formians have built or are building 16 hive cities (which are mostly empty), and they're getting ready to break ground on 3 more. The aranea are not amused, and have formed a resistance. The treants aren't happy with the formians, either, but they've been sticking close to home, thus far. However, their abilities would give the resistance some really nifty options, if they could get the treats close enough.

And that's the basics of this one. One thing emphasized in the write-up is that if the PCs wind up helping the aranea, it could present some good role-playing possibilities. Spidery dudes are freaky to most of us, and most of our PCs are going to feel the same way. So if they wind up having to help, they've got to deal with the fact that the creepy people are the good guys. There's also the nature of the resistance to factor in -- there are, naturally, those who favor the violent approach, and those who don't. So there's lots of potential for role-playing immediately obvious with this world.

As I said earlier, this one is a moon orbiting a shattered world. For Spelljammer, I'd simply change what caused the planet to crumble. It doesn't even have to be known. I just can't stand the planetary disease idea.

Also for Spelljammer, there's another angle to consider for the PCs: in space, the only spidery-types are the vile neogi, and the constructs used by drow. Both of those things are going to be an added factor in bothering the PCs, when they encounter the aranea.

As for using it as a plane... I'd take out the references to the moon and the shattered planet. It would be a dark and misty forested plane, not a dark and misty forested moon. Instead of the intelligent bipedal races having been pushed towards the poles by the aranea, I'd push them towards widely-separated areas, perhaps towards the plane's edges. Everything else could still work as written.

Oh, and the planar notes sidebar mentions a plane of half-mechanical demons, and another plane that is an infinite castle, with no openings leading outside, and with inhabitants that can't even conceive of there being anything beyond the castle. Both of those ideas are nifty.

Dendri has some nifty concepts and lots of opportunities for role-playing, but it simply doesn't grab me the way some of the others do. Your mileage may vary, of course.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 11 Feb 2009 18:18:53
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