How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

The clack is some barmies think the great circle is about to disappear...
The Book-House: Find Planescape products.

Moderators: Idabrius, agathokles

How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Big Mac » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:58 pm

NetoD20 mentioned the Feywild, over in Havard's 4E's Legacy in Later Editions topic. That got me thinking.

I've seen a few people saying good things about the Feywild now, but I'm not quite sure how the 4e cosmology can fit in with Planescape.

I've heard that the 4th Edition Manual of the Planes is a bit of a reboot on the 3e, Planescape and 1e cosmology. But is there anything that explains how the Feywild should fit into the Great Wheel cosmology?

Failing that, has anyone thought of a way to get the Feywild to work in a Planescape context?

I've been thinking of a "Wonky Wheel" concept, where the sages of Nentir Vale have a slightly different notion of how cosmology works to sages on other worlds (or in other crystal spheres :twisted: ) but Forgotten Realms, Eberron and Dark Sun all had books published during the 4th Edtion era, and I'm wondering with (if anything) they did about the changes.

I've got a nagging suspicion that the apperance of the Feywind might have been tied into that entire Returned-Abeir/Spellplague backstory in the Realms, but did Eberron and Dark Sun just pretend that the Feywild was already there? (And did Dark Sun need to alter the Feywild to fit in with it's "burnt world" theme?)

Blackmoor got published by a 3rd Party Publisher, during 3rd Edition and 4th Edition. Does anyone know if the 4e Blackmoor used the Feywild? They didn't seem to have the official D&D logo on those products, so I'm wondering if they worked more like OGL/GSL products. Did Blackmoor avoid using any planes that were not specifically mentioned in the SRD?

PS: Does Heroes of the Feywild contain any information about how the Feywild works? If not, is it possible to infer anything from any of the races with a Feywild tie-in?
David "Big Mac" Shepheard
Newsflash!: The Piazza is moving!
Please join The Piazza's Facebook group, The Piazza's Facebook page and The Piazza's Google + community so that you can stay in touch.
Spelljammer 3E Conversion Project - Spelljammer Wiki - The Spelljammer Image Group.
Moderator of the Spelljammer forum. My moderator voice is green.
User avatar
Big Mac
Giant Space Hamster
 
Posts: 21331
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 3:52 pm
Location: London UK

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Fri Aug 25, 2017 1:55 pm

There's always room for more demiplanes. That's what it is in the 2e Greyhawk sourcebook From the Ashes. It's also been presented as an alternate material plane, and as a wandering realm in the Outer Planes.

Most worlds already have a version of Faerie in 2e. Greyhawk does, and Birthright and the Realms. In Dragonlance, the Forest of Wayreth is supposed to exist in an alternate dimension that could be interpreted as the Feywild.

Birthright's equivalent of both the Feywild and the Shadowfell is the Shadow World, which Planescape said was actually a variant Border Ethereal Plane.

5e has a version of the Great Wheel cosmology with the Feywild opposite the Shadowfell, just as it is in 4e, and it works fine.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby night_druid » Fri Aug 25, 2017 4:30 pm

The feywild and shadowfell are basically just the demiplanes of Faerie and Shadow renamed and altered to fit the tone of 4e. They were inventions of AD&D and therefore fit perfectly fine within the Great Wheel.
Moderator: Spelljammer, Kingdoms of Kalamar. My moderator voice is green
User avatar
night_druid
Radiant Dragon
 
Posts: 5945
Joined: Sun Jun 15, 2008 9:08 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby willpell » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:03 pm

I figure that the Feywild (and the Shadowfell) are parallel versions of the Material Plane (distinct from the Prime Material Plane; the Material Plane includes Prime, Fey and Shadow, as well as probably Ethereal and maybe a few other such coterminous planes). In all cases, they're in the "center", and the Inner and Outer planes "orbit" them.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Fri Aug 25, 2017 7:35 pm

Big Mac wrote:did Eberron and Dark Sun just pretend that the Feywild was already there? (And did Dark Sun need to alter the Feywild to fit in with it's "burnt world" theme?)


It was already there in Eberron, more or less. One of Eberron's outer planes is Thelanis, a home of the fey.

As for Dark Sun, yes, they did alter the Feywild considerably. Most commonly known as the Lands Within the Wind, the Feywild has been mostly destroyed, existing only in tiny, scattered fragments.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Zeromaru X » Fri Aug 25, 2017 11:40 pm

I guess the 5e Great Wheel already covers that.

As for the 4e Manual of the Planes, it has a a sidebar, that covers one page, dedicated to convert the 4e planes to the Great Wheel as an "alternative cosmology" to the World Axis. I can't imagine how people that have read that book can ignore a whole page...
User avatar
Zeromaru X
The Elder Wizard
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:24 am

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby zontoxira » Sun Aug 27, 2017 7:51 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:I guess the 5e Great Wheel already covers that.


I find the Great Wheel map from 5e PHB lacking in details. The Ethereal Plane is shown as a belt circulating the Prime, the Elemental Chaos from 4e makes no sense, and there's no Outlands to be seen, as well as Planescape's iconic feature (other than Her Serenity), Sigil.

In contrast, whenever someone asks me about D&D cosmology, I show them this map. It might look "old" for 5e standards but then again, I never liked any changes to the Great Wheel after what Planescape had done.

Which brings me to my question: Why did they have to change things? It never felt like something was amiss or not working as intended. Apart from claiming that each edition had supposedly something to offer to the Planes, I fail to see any other reason.
Have a look at my Dark Sun Reconstruction Project at Homebrewery or Dark Sun 5e files at Google Drive
---
Cager extraordinaire, at your service!
---
"There are no saints in the animal kingdom. Only breakfast, and dinner." - Lorne Malvo
zontoxira
Hobgoblin
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 8:46 pm
Location: Sigil, The Lady's Ward

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Zeromaru X » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:21 pm

Really, I don't know why they changed the planes from 2e (Planescape) to 3e. I know 3e uses the Great Wheel, but that Great Wheel is somehow changed. As for why they changed the Great Wheel for the World Axis in 4e, there is an article in Dragon 370 explaining it, but... it was a Forgotten Realms thing. Yeah, the World Axis was created first for the FR and then implemented into other 4e settings (including the core setting). They did this because they felt that all settings needed to have just one cosmology (and IHMO, that is the best approach).

The World Axis is also more "to the point" compared with other cosmologies. There is no useless plane in the World Axis, at least from the perspective of actually usable planes for adventuring (yeah, a plane of utter goodness is not the best place for adventuring...).

The 5e GW is obviously a attempt to use the most popular GW but with a few of the cool stuffs of the World Axis (like the Feywild or the Elemental Chaos).
User avatar
Zeromaru X
The Elder Wizard
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:24 am

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:44 pm

Zeromaru X wrote: (yeah, a plane of utter goodness is not the best place for adventuring...).

I disagree. Goodness doesn't preclude conflict.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby willpell » Mon Aug 28, 2017 3:46 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Zeromaru X wrote: (yeah, a plane of utter goodness is not the best place for adventuring...).

I disagree. Goodness doesn't preclude conflict.


True, but a plane where everyone is Good certainly has less conflict, and lower stakes in most of those conflicts (ie less chance of being killed), than a world where everyone is Evil.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Mon Aug 28, 2017 4:07 pm

willpell wrote:True, but a plane where everyone is Good certainly has less conflict, and lower stakes in most of those conflicts (ie less chance of being killed), than a world where everyone is Evil.


Adventure isn't about probabilities; it's about extraordinary times when interesting things happen, not about the countless other periods when things are routine. Goodness needs protecting. It can also be hard to determine what is right.

It also helps to look at the upper planes as places with themes and history that go beyond their moral alignment.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:15 am

ripvanwormer wrote:
willpell wrote:True, but a plane where everyone is Good certainly has less conflict, and lower stakes in most of those conflicts (ie less chance of being killed), than a world where everyone is Evil.


Adventure isn't about probabilities; it's about extraordinary times when interesting things happen, not about the countless other periods when things are routine. Goodness needs protecting. It can also be hard to determine what is right.

It also helps to look at the upper planes as places with themes and history that go beyond their moral alignment.


Protecting from what? Every being in that plane is good. And we are not talking about subjective goodness here, but good, as in the concept. Even if some evil outsider go and attack the plane, the very nature of the plane works against him, making him less powerful and effective within the realm of goodness, just because he is evil and his nature is against the concept of the plane.

There is a reason places like the Nine Hells and Gehenna have more books dedicated to them instead of places like, for instance, Bytopia or Arcadia. Good planes are boring, even if you just want to go to a picnic there. Not because their moral alignment, but because the very concept of the plane itself. A band of murder hobbos (typical adventuring group) will be hindered by the plane when they want to plunder some treasure or killing a dangerous beast (that is good, so it will not attack the peasant living in the nearby farm, anyways).

zontoxira wrote:In contrast, whenever someone asks me about D&D cosmology, I show them this map. It might look "old" for 5e standards but then again, I never liked any changes to the Great Wheel after what Planescape had done.


Is really easy to reconcile that map with the 5e one, in fact.

Feywild and Shadowfell coexist alongside the prime material, and are connected to all the crystal spheres.
The Elemental Chaos is a combination of all the elemental forces that exist "beyond" the elemental planes proper, outside/around the Ethereal Plane.
The rest is pretty much the same.
User avatar
Zeromaru X
The Elder Wizard
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:24 am

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby willpell » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:25 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:Good planes are boring


I wouldn't go that far; the problem is similar to that of telling interesting stories about a character like Superman. You can tell stories that are just about the ultimate power going up against an even more ultimate power, but you're better off shifting the nature of the story entirely, making it about something completely different from "good guy beats up bad guy". Good guys aren't going to go around killing each other, they probably won't even steal from each other - but they're certainly going to have ideological clashes and interpersonal drama. Not everyone finds that as interesting as combat, but some people will think it's even better.

A band of murder hobbos (typical adventuring group) will be hindered by the plane when they want to plunder some treasure or killing a dangerous beast (that is good, so it will not attack the peasant living in the nearby farm, anyways).


Some of us aren't that comfortable with players' murderhobo tendencies. An environment that inherently punishes them for that kind of antisocial behavior, while also rewarding them for doing what the story wants them to do, seems like it has uses.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:51 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:And we are not talking about subjective goodness here, but good, as in the concept.


What does that mean, and how does it translate into actions? Do you mean good for the most possible people, at the expense of the few? Or does good mean never doing anything bad, even if this results in suffering? Is personal liberty all-important, or is it more important to support society as a whole even at some cost to personal liberty? Which is more important: love or honor? Justice or mercy? Where should one's loyalties lie if they conflict: to yourself, to your family, your tribe, your country, your world, the multiverse as a whole? Is loyalty to the gods of good always good, even if their actions seem wrong? Is just war morally acceptable, or does violence always increase the net amount of evil in the multiverse? These are the sorts of questions Planescape dealt with, in a simplified way, and the sorts of interesting questions that can cause conflict in the Upper Planes. Angels and celestials and upper planar factions can clash over these ideas.

It's useful here to ask what your goals are. Are you only interested in attempting to justify WotC's 4e-era creative decisions ex post facto, or are you interested in discussing ways to make upper planar adventuring better? If the former, a narrow enough definition of what "plane of utter goodness" means will allow you to justify anything. If Good means no one can seriously disagree, well, okay, that's going to limit the adventure possibilities. But if the goal is to expand the adventure possibilities, then Good probably shouldn't mean that.

Even if some evil outsider go and attack the plane, the very nature of the plane works against him, making him less powerful and effective within the realm of goodness, just because he is evil and his nature is against the concept of the plane.


By that reasoning, are inhabitants of the Lower Planes always safe from crusaders of good? Can Orcus kick back and relax in E3 Prince of Undeath, knowing the nature of his plane will work against any good-aligned intruders who might try to fight him? How about neutrally-aligned intruders? Certainly, they're at a disadvantage. That doesn't mean they can't win. Especially if part of the plan is to corrupt the plane first, weakening its opposition to evil.

And again, a good question to ask is what assumptions make for the best adventure possibilities? You could say "it's impossible to corrupt Elysium because it's an infinite plane of utter good," but that isn't going to produce as many adventure ideas as the assumption that Elysium could be corrupted and weakened, left more vulnerable to external threats.

Upper planar inhabitants aren't going to have to worry about invading demons often, but it's not like adventurers need to worry about Orcus trying to kill the Raven Queen every day, either. D&D campaigns are times of crisis.

There is a reason places like the Nine Hells and Gehenna have more books dedicated to them instead of places like, for instance, Bytopia or Arcadia. Good planes are boring, even if you just want to go to a picnic there.


There's definitely a reason, and I won't deny that the Liber Benevolentiae from the Planes of Conflict boxed set (which detailed Bytopia, Elysium, and the Beastlands) was the weakest Planescape book. The reason isn't "good planes are boring": the reason is that creating adventures for good planes can be challenging if your assumption of what D&D should be is "fighting evil monsters." Upper planar adventures require creativity and a nonstandard approach.

From a marketing perspective, it's easier to sell a book about the layers of the Abyss than a book about the peaceful green fields of Elysium. That doesn't mean Elysium is inherently boring or that it offers no adventuring possibilities. Elysium includes strange monsters, forbidden secrets, and ancient gods, and any lower planar threat that wants to conquer the multiverse is going to have to deal with Elysium eventually.

If you're just trying to explain why the 4e team made the decisions it did, you're absolutely correct. They reduced the number of upper planes and obscure inner planes like the Quasielemental Plane of Vacuum because their opinion was that those planes were boring and not so good for adventure. If you're trying to convince me that that they were correct in thinking this, well, that's a problem, because it's possible to come up with interesting ideas for just about anything. It's just a matter of what your priorities are.

A band of murder hobbos (typical adventuring group) will be hindered by the plane when they want to plunder some treasure


That's as it should be. Upper planar adventures aren't going to be right for every style of play.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Zeromaru X » Tue Aug 29, 2017 5:51 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:What does that mean, and how does it translate into actions? Do you mean good for the most possible people, at the expense of the few? Or does good mean never doing anything bad, even if this results in suffering? Is personal liberty all-important, or is it more important to support society as a whole even at some cost to personal liberty? Which is more important: love or honor? Justice or mercy? Where should one's loyalties lie if they conflict: to yourself, to your family, your tribe, your country, your world, the multiverse as a whole? Is loyalty to the gods of good always good, even if their actions seem wrong? Is just war morally acceptable, or does violence always increase the net amount of evil in the multiverse? These are the sorts of questions Planescape dealt with, in a simplified way, and the sorts of interesting questions that can cause conflict in the Upper Planes. Angels and celestials and upper planar factions can clash over these ideas.


I don't have read the Planescape books, but in the 3e Manual of the Planes, there is no hint of what you said here. Neither in the 5e DMG section about the Upper Planes. In those books, the Upper Planes are sunshines and unicorns everywhere and at all times.

Are you only interested in attempting to justify WotC's 4e-era creative decisions ex post facto, or are you interested in discussing ways to make upper planar adventuring better?


My point is that planes that are all sunshines and rainbows aren't inherently interesting places. Yeah, you can make interesting adventures there. But that is the gist of the situation: you have to make interesting adventures, as those places aren't interesting on their own (as adventuring sites, I stress; conceptually, the Upper Planes are interesting and fulfill their philosophical function).

But well, perhaps I have to read the Planescape books first before saying stuff, as my experience with the Great Wheel comes from the 3e books.

By that reasoning, are inhabitants of the Lower Planes always safe from crusaders of good?


Basically, yeah. Every book I read, says these guys are nearly invincible in their domains. And even if you kill them, they eventually will re-spawn. So, in the long run, they are safe in their demesnes.

Can Orcus kick back and relax in E3 Prince of Undeath, knowing the nature of his plane will work against any good-aligned intruders who might try to fight him? How about neutrally-aligned intruders? Certainly, they're at a disadvantage. That doesn't mean they can't win. Especially if part of the plan is to corrupt the plane first, weakening its opposition to evil.


Isn't that a 4e adventure? In the World Axis cosmology, the planes aren't places that work against you because of your alignment. In 4e, a plane is deadly for all, regardless if is in the Astral Plane or in the Elemental Chaos. Orcus can go to Celestia, and the plane ins't going to do anything against him because he is evil, even if is a plane of goodness. If the gods living there don't move to do anything, Orcus is free to do whatever he wants, unhindered.

Likewise, a party of good-aligned characters aren't going to get disadvantages in the Abyss because they are good. They will get disavantages because the nature of the plane, not because of their alignment.

Also, regarding that specific adventure, the Raven Queen puts herself in a disadvantage there, as she lives in the Shadowfell (plane of Shadow), not in an Upper Plane. Even if we convert that adventure to Planescape, she wouldn't be protected by the nature of her plane, as the plane of Shadows favors demons as well.
User avatar
Zeromaru X
The Elder Wizard
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:24 am

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:05 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:I don't have read the Planescape books


I have, and this is the Planescape forum, so.

Here's a quote from the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix, Volume One:

PSMC1 wrote:The agathinon, the fighting forces of the Upper Planes, defend the borders of their planes against intruders. Warriors also face each other in endless cycles of “holy” wars. Gathering a vast host of agathinon warriors and whipping them into ideological fervor, one pantheon wages devastating campaigns against another, slaughtering thousands, even millions in the name of its particular brand of goodness. Despite their goodness, aasimon can hold a grudge; bad feelings still exist between pantheons over holy wars fought thousands of years ago.


This was never a popular idea and it was contradicted by later sources like Warriors of Heaven, but it points toward the larger idea that being good doesn't mean conflicts over the nature of good don't happen. You don't need angels slaughtering each other in the millions to generate adventures from the premise of good guys disagreeing.

, but in the 3e Manual of the Planes, there is no hint of what you said here.


Yes, the 3e Manual of the Planes' take on the Upper Planes was pretty shallow. They had to fit a lot into one book, though. Even that book included some interesting things and real threats in the Upper Planes, though: it's hardly all "sunshine and unicorns." Have you read it recently?

Ysgard: One of the layers is literally on fire and filled with clans of fire giants. On the third layer, dwarves, gnomes, and drow are often at war with one another.
Arcadia: A major faction is filling the second layer with concentration camps and may risk losing half the plane to Mechanus.
Celestia: A chaotic evil wizard lives on the first layer (trying to reform), his old friends sometimes visit.
Bytopia: One of the layers is filled with savage, extreme climate conditions and the inhabitants have to protect themselves from powerful creatures with walls and guards.
Elysium: A powerful creature is imprisoned here, possibly a tarrasque or an archfiend.
Beastlands: Dangerous night creatures on the second layer and possible threats from the Plane of Shadow.
Arborea: Lost ruins buried in the second layer, and PCs must deal with dust storms and lightning.

Basically, yeah. Every book I read, says these guys are nearly invincible in their domains. And even if you kill them, they eventually will re-spawn.


By 1st edition rules, devas respawned if killed on the Prime Material Plane or the Elemental Planes, but died permanently if killed on their own home plane (Monster Manual II, page 42). 2nd and 3rd edition didn't give rules for this, so I assume they just die like anything else unless brought somewhere via summon monster spells.

No, they're not invincible, or nearly invincible, in their domains.

Isn't that a 4e adventure?


I mentioned a 4e adventure because I knew you'd be familiar with it, but there are similar adventures in 1e, 2e, and 3e that involve good-aligned parties going to the Lower Planes to kill powerful fiends, from Q1 Queen of the Demonweb Pits to H4 The Throne of Bloodstone to the Shackled City and Savage Tide adventure paths.

Yes, good parties are at a disadvantage on the Lower Planes. Yes, it's assumed that they can venture there and triumph anyway. The same applies to the reverse: evil groups are at a disadvantage on the Upper Planes. They still pose a threat.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby NetoD20 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:16 pm

nightdruid wrote:The feywild and shadowfell are basically just the demiplanes of Faerie and Shadow renamed and altered to fit the tone of 4e. They were inventions of AD&D and therefore fit perfectly fine within the Great Wheel.

Agreed 100%, the Feywild "already existed" and just got more proeminence in the game, and got a new name.

ripvanwormer wrote:It was already there in Eberron, more or less. One of Eberron's outer planes is Thelanis, a home of the fey.

As for Dark Sun, yes, they did alter the Feywild considerably. Most commonly known as the Lands Within the Wind, the Feywild has been mostly destroyed, existing only in tiny, scattered fragments.

Oh my Corellon, Thelanis is great! And I'm no expert in Dark Sun or 4th ed, but I really liked how they handled the Lands within the Wind, they were able to fit the Feywild correctly into DS, which is something I had doubts about working.

ripvanwormer wrote:
willpell wrote:True, but a plane where everyone is Good certainly has less conflict, and lower stakes in most of those conflicts (ie less chance of being killed), than a world where everyone is Evil.


Adventure isn't about probabilities; it's about extraordinary times when interesting things happen, not about the countless other periods when things are routine. Goodness needs protecting. It can also be hard to determine what is right.

It also helps to look at the upper planes as places with themes and history that go beyond their moral alignment.

Completely agreed.

willpell wrote:
Zeromaru X wrote:Good planes are boring


I wouldn't go that far; the problem is similar to that of telling interesting stories about a character like Superman. You can tell stories that are just about the ultimate power going up against an even more ultimate power, but you're better off shifting the nature of the story entirely, making it about something completely different from "good guy beats up bad guy". Good guys aren't going to go around killing each other, they probably won't even steal from each other - but they're certainly going to have ideological clashes and interpersonal drama. Not everyone finds that as interesting as combat, but some people will think it's even better.

A band of murder hobbos (typical adventuring group) will be hindered by the plane when they want to plunder some treasure or killing a dangerous beast (that is good, so it will not attack the peasant living in the nearby farm, anyways).


Some of us aren't that comfortable with players' murderhobo tendencies. An environment that inherently punishes them for that kind of antisocial behavior, while also rewarding them for doing what the story wants them to do, seems like it has uses.

Yes, that's one of the many reasons many of us fell for Planescape so much, it has all the epic-planeshaking conflict you can get, and it brings those nuances to the fore.
Actually reading the details about the Good planes will give you some good, unconventional ideas for adventures in there, not to mention Elysium should almost be as much attacked by the forces of Evil as Avernus is assailed by the Abyss. And don't even start me with Arcadia, which is a "half"-Good plane, but offers plenty of conflict with those damned hardheads and oversized ants crawling around.

Big Mac wrote:Failing that, has anyone thought of a way to get the Feywild to work in a Planescape context?

I've been thinking of a "Wonky Wheel" concept, where the sages of Nentir Vale have a slightly different notion of how cosmology works to sages on other worlds (or in other crystal spheres :twisted: ) but Forgotten Realms, Eberron and Dark Sun all had books published during the 4th Edtion era, and I'm wondering with (if anything) they did about the changes.

Yes, exactly, the way I see it; althought I love the Great Wheel, and see it as the "core" way to look at the cosmology; the planes being infinite and space being relative, you can fit virtually any cosmology inside the Great Wheel not as another cosmology per se, but as a perspective adopted by people of different material planes and beliefs. For instance, worshippers of the Norse pantheon would see Ysgard as five different planes or realms, and don't know anything about the lands in the first layer beyond the realms of Vanaheim, Alfheim, and Asgard. It's as if they didn't even see, or rather perceive, the Gates of the Moon or Kord's Hall until someone points out at that direction. So planar geography is warped depending on what you expect to see, this applies to 3rd ed's unique Forgotten Realms cosmology as well, and so on.

About the Feywild, or Faerie, and how it would fit the Great Wheel, I was looking for an old .txt file of mine explaining how it works on my home campaign, could not find it, so this is a short version off the top of my head:
Faerie is the primal plane of magic, and we know how Landinion was destroyed by Tharizdun through the Black Diamond. That killed Queen Mab, the original Faerie Queene, and threw her two daughters, today known as Queen Titania and the Queen of Air and Darkness into open war for the rule of Faerie. Although there are several neutral parties in this conflict to this day, it gave origin to the Seelie and Unseelie courts we now know. Not only that, the destruction of Landinion fragmented primeval Faerie into several planar patches, if they were to be sewn together again they would form the one infinite Plane of Faerie. But that is not so, thus these patches were claimed by groups or rulers of the fey, and when there is a rule in one of these fragmented demiplanes, it is called a realm, or demesne, which is commanded by a fey lord (usually a very high level elf arcane spellcaster) or by an archfey (a unique fey creature, like a demon lord or slaad lord or archdevil), these places can be as small as a town or village or as large as a continent. There may be more than a single realm within a demiplane, these may have direct borders with one another or may be surrounded by the feywilds. The feywilds are patches of Faerie without rule, the largest of the feywilds is the Land of Summer Twilight, and it is considered the central piece of the Faerie planar puzzle, at its centre lies the destroyed realm of Landinion. Pieces of Faerie often manifest overlapping regions of other planes, particularly the Material Planes, depending on weather patterns, wane and waxing of local moons, time of day, cosmic alignments, and other mystical factors. Getting to one of the demiplanes of Faerie is more difficult than traveling to other planes, and one often must depend upon known gates to do it, which follow similar rules to the mystical conditions that allow planar overlapping. That is due not only to the fragmented nature of the plane, but because only the mysterious Ethereal and Shadow planes connect Faerie's patches to the rest of the cosmology. Given ancient pacts and rules of magical etiquette settled nearer the begining of the war between the two queens, the Seelie Courts guards the paths through the Ethereal, and the Unseelie Court holds the paths through the Shadow. In these accords it was settled that both courts would be held outside Faerie, thus the reason why the Queen of Air and Darkness presides in Pandemonium and the Seelie Court wanders through Ysgard, Arborea, and the Beastlands. All the allies of the courts, however, rule over realms in Faerie, and the war, which is waged both openly and in the shadows, encompasses Faerie, the Ethereal, and Shadow, and the Outer Planes where the queens pass. There many fey groups and lords which try to stay outside the conflict, but their allegiances wander.
I left out the lore of how the elves and gnomes are still the two major races in Faerie, even though a great portion of them migrated to the Prime Material eons ago.
NetoD20
Kobold
 
Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:30 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby willpell » Thu Aug 31, 2017 7:16 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:
Zeromaru X wrote:And we are not talking about subjective goodness here, but good, as in the concept.


What does that mean, and how does it translate into actions? Do you mean good for the most possible people, at the expense of the few?


No.

Or does good mean never doing anything bad, even if this results in suffering?


Also no.

Is personal liberty all-important


Mostly to the Chaotic Good.

or is it more important to support society as a whole even at some cost to personal liberty?


Mostly to the Lawful Good.

Which is more important: love or honor? Justice or mercy?


All of these are important. The truly Good solution does not force you to choose.

Where should one's loyalties lie if they conflict: to yourself, to your family, your tribe, your country, your world, the multiverse as a whole?


They should all be prioritized as highly as possible, but those furthest along this list are the most important.

Is loyalty to the gods of good always good, even if their actions seem wrong?


Mostly it is, unless the god in question is becoming corrupt. It is somewhat acceptable to challenge them when they appear questionable, but they know more than you do, so it's rare that you're justified in second-guessing their demands (particularly in time-sensitive or otherwise critical matters).

Is just war morally acceptable, or does violence always increase the net amount of evil in the multiverse?


Given that this is D&D, violence against evil certainly tends toward being morally right. Obviously, when you get into things like slaughtering orc babies, or backstabbing a known villain while he's in the process of surrendering, you may have crossed a line, but in general the D&D version of morality should support the idea that some villains (if only things like undead and demons) are irredeemable by definition and must be destroyed.

If Good means no one can seriously disagree, well, okay, that's going to limit the adventure possibilities. But if the goal is to expand the adventure possibilities, then Good probably shouldn't mean that.


Good people can certainly have intense disagreements. They're just always going to try to find a nonviolent way of resolving those disagreements. If both are truly, definitionally good, then it'll be hard for either one to radicalize to enough of an extent, that the other might reasonably conclude that they in turn must radicalize, in order to stop the first group.

By that reasoning, are inhabitants of the Lower Planes always safe from crusaders of good? Can Orcus kick back and relax in E3 Prince of Undeath, knowing the nature of his plane will work against any good-aligned intruders who might try to fight him?


He's certainly safer in the Abyss than he would be physically marauding on the Material Plane, let alone the Upper Planes.

From a marketing perspective, it's easier to sell a book about the layers of the Abyss than a book about the peaceful green fields of Elysium. That doesn't mean Elysium is inherently boring or that it offers no adventuring possibilities. Elysium includes strange monsters, forbidden secrets, and ancient gods, and any lower planar threat that wants to conquer the multiverse is going to have to deal with Elysium eventually.


A book about a place of horror is compelling to consider on a fairly shallow level, but it needs to be somewhat sanitized. If every book about the Abyss actually showed all the things that the Abyss is all about, it would resemble an unedited photo reel from an embedded war correspondent, showing mass graves and splattered brain matter and corpses that have shit their pants in the moment of their death. If that level of loving detail was always shown, in both upper- and lower-plane supplements, the upper-plane books would certainly sell better. If we needed to *live* in the pictured environment, we'd always choose the beautiful and safe worlds over the horrific nightmare realms. (Though the choice would be more compelling if there were beautiful nightmare realms, versus horrific and safe worlds. This is one of the things I always found very interesting in the World of Darkness settings, particularly Changeling and Mage.) But because we're at a degree of great remove, overly focusing on the tranquility and natural grandeur of the Upper Planes is likely to come across as pornographic and pointless.

ripvanwormer wrote:Ysgard: One of the layers is literally on fire and filled with clans of fire giants. On the third layer, dwarves, gnomes, and drow are often at war with one another.
Arcadia: A major faction is filling the second layer with concentration camps and may risk losing half the plane to Mechanus.


For the record, neither of these planes is remotely Good-aspected in and of themselves, at least according to 3E mechanics. Ysgard is a Chaotic plane, period; it is "adjacent" to Arborea, while Pandemonium is "adjacent" to the Abyss, and thus the two realms are trafficked by different visitors. But a Neutral Good person and a Neutral Evil person react identically to "safe" zones within those planes, which are free from conditions such as eternally-howling madness-winds (not that these are necessarily easy to find), and apart from "rules" imposed upon the planes but not necessarily inherent to their nature, such as the fact that everyone who dies on Ysgard resurrects automatically. Essentially, the planes start as a blank "template" of pure Chaotic nature, which oppresses visiting Lawful and Neutral creatures, but has no implication for the moral alignment. The "rules" and environment are then layered on top of that template, and finally planar adjacency is established through portals, interplanar rivers, and so forth. All of that "landscaping" makes Ysgard more nearly Good than Evil, but it is unquestionably NOT an Upper Plane, and ditto for its Lawful equivalent. Good does not hold sway in those planes, it's just a neighbor which the plane tries to stay on better terms with, while Acheron and Pandemonium essentially live in "the ghetto" and are forced to adapt to a more hard-knock lifestyle, but are still not fully Evil planes themselves.

By 1st edition rules, devas respawned if killed on the Prime Material Plane or the Elemental Planes, but died permanently if killed on their own home plane (Monster Manual II, page 42). 2nd and 3rd edition didn't give rules for this, so I assume they just die like anything else unless brought somewhere via summon monster spells.


Third edition did have a rule for extraplanar Outsiders, which IIRC stated that they could be permanently killed on any plane that they were Called (not Summoned) to. It's fairly well established in books such as the Fiendish Codices, that demons encountered in the Abyss and devils encountered in the Nine Hells are somewhat more circumspect than when found elsewhere, since they are at risk of permanent destruction. I'm not sure whether the contradiction between these two points is a fault in the rules (different books or even different chapters disagreeing) or simply of my memory. But the subject is definitely addressed to some extent.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Zeromaru X » Thu Aug 31, 2017 8:03 pm

I have an idea somewhat similar to what willpell said about how alignment work in D&D. Good, for instance is absolute good. There is only conflict when you mix it with another alignment (like chaotic good or lawful good). But good, on its own, cannot be conflictive.

Though, is just how I understand the workings of the gygaxian alignments...
User avatar
Zeromaru X
The Elder Wizard
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:24 am

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby willpell » Thu Aug 31, 2017 9:10 pm

Zeromaru X wrote:I have an idea somewhat similar to what willpell said about how alignment work in D&D. Good, for instance is absolute good. There is only conflict when you mix it with another alignment (like chaotic good or lawful good). But good, on its own, cannot be conflictive.

Though, is just how I understand the workings of the gygaxian alignments...


A conflict between two Neutral Good groups is not impossible, although it is difficult. In general, pure Good's ethos and ideology calls for peace and preservation; it does not call for progress or individuality or free will. It is very reasonable for human beings to highly value things that Good regards as fallacious, meaningless, not worth their price, etc. In many cases, this is a reasonable Neutral ideology of self-sufficiency, which rejects the idea of dependency on the Outer Planar powers that enforce the preferred Celestial paradigm.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:21 am

willpell wrote:No.
Also no.
All of these are important. The truly Good solution does not force you to choose.
They should all be prioritized as highly as possible, but those furthest along this list are the most important.
Mostly it is, unless the god in question is becoming corrupt. It is somewhat acceptable to challenge them when they appear questionable, but they know more than you do, so it's rare that you're justified in second-guessing their demands (particularly in time-sensitive or otherwise critical matters).
Given that this is D&D, violence against evil certainly tends toward being morally right.
Good people can certainly have intense disagreements. They're just always going to try to find a nonviolent way of resolving those disagreements.


My intention in posing these questions was to spur story ideas, not to have them definitively answered. If you're going to play in a campaign where planes of existence are based on ideas of morality and ethics, it's a wasted opportunity to treat moral and ethical questions as simply settled. It's far more interesting and productive to have NPCs discussing, challenging, and coming into conflict over them. Even if there's a single correct answer in your multiverse, NPCs don't necessarily know what that answer is, even celestial beings.

Alignment is a valuable tool in the D&D toolkit, but if your approach to alignment limits story ideas rather than spurring them, I submit that you're doing it wrong. The game is meant to be fun, so "is this fun?" makes for a pretty good metric on how well you're doing. If you think the upper planes are boring, and your reason is "my interpretation of good alignments necessitates them being boring," then your interpretation of good alignments may need adjusting.

Planescape's (which is to say, designer David "Zeb" Cook's) greatest innovation, in my opinion, was taking the idea that the Outer Planes were built out of moral and ethical ideals and extrapolating from that that they're really built from philosophy and beliefs, and making clashing philosophies and beliefs the central theme of the setting. NPCs in Planescape don't always agree on what good is, or even what law and chaos mean.

Imagine, for example, that there's a group of natives of Elysium who are absolutely certain that absolute pacifism is the truest form of good. They were, in fact, formed from this idea; the beliefs and aspirations of pacifists from throughout the planes over the eons congealed into an Elysian realm and took humanoid form. And/or pacifists from countless worlds made pilgrimages to Elysium and their convictions transformed them into something more than merely mortal. Does that mean player characters who use violence as a tool for the greater good are wrong to do so? Of course not: it just means that pacifism is a philosophy represented on the outer planes, as all philosophies are.

Now imagine another group desperately needs help against violent aggressors. There is a legendary weapon that could help them, but the pacifists are guarding it and opposed, to the very core of their being, to the idea of allowing that weapon to ever be used. Well now, you've got a heist plot on your hands. Or maybe the pacifists themselves are being threatened: if the PCs are unable to convince them to fight back, can they manage to get them to safety? What do they do if the pacifists actively resist any help that involves violence, preferring to sacrifice themselves to their enemies rather than be the cause of violent action?

That is the sort of thing that makes the upper planes interesting.

Here's a plot that looms large in several Planescape supplements (Uncaged: Faces of Sigil, Hellbound: The Blood War, and even in 3rd edition's Lord of the Iron Fortress): the celestial arms dealer conspiracy. A group of upper planar beings has decided that the best way to hurt the forces of evil is to stoke the fires of the Blood War so that the fiends will concentrate more on trying to kill one another than causing trouble elsewhere. Maybe they'll wipe each other out entirely! So they're manufacturing and selling weapons to the fiends in order to make their violence against one another more effective.

There's a problem: the violence of the Blood War isn't always confined to the Lower Planes. Fiendish armies often use the Outlands (and other planes, including the Prime) as a shortcut when invading the planes of their enemies, and they view the Prime Material Plane as a source of resources to help fuel their battles. The more souls they corrupt, the more they increase their own armies, and they hire mortal mercenaries as well. So increasing the violence of the Blood War increases suffering among mortals.

So is the celestial conspiracy correct to take the actions they have? Honestly, that's not a very interesting or relevant question. It's not particularly valuable for the DM to decree the "correct answer" to moral questions; what's valuable is to have NPCs that generate plots from their disagreements. Sure, you can say the conspirators are misguided or manipulated and have them receive their comeuppance (one, in fact, does receive comeuppance in Lord of the Iron Fortress) but the meat of the idea, the primary value of it, is in the plot itself, not its epilogue.

One of my frustrations in 4e's design philosophy was the marginalization of the Blood War under the theory that a war between two antagonists wasn't useful (who should the player characters side with?). It doesn't take much creativity to think of ways that an eternal war between immortals might generate interesting things for player characters to do, without them siding with either group.

He's certainly safer in the Abyss than he would be physically marauding on the Material Plane, let alone the Upper Planes.


That ties back into my earlier statement "adventure isn't about probability." Sure, Orcus is safer on his home plane than abroad, but that doesn't mean he's safe. If he's invincible on his home plane, you've eliminated a lot of fun plot ideas. The same applies to powerful upper planar beings. Sure, they're not going to have to worry about being assassinated by diabolic agents every day, but the one time there's an opportunity for diabolic agents to do exactly that is going to be the time the PCs become involved.

The same philosophy also applies, by the way, to the Lady of Pain. A lot of Planescape fans love the idea that the Lady is utterly invincible, since she's more of an idea, a source of ongoing awe and mystery, than an NPC you can take out with a high enough combat bonus. I think it cheapens the Lady to treat her as a mere monster, but if there is nothing in the multiverse that can truly threaten her than you've robbed the setting of potential tension and potential adventures.

For the record, neither of these planes is remotely Good-aspected in and of themselves, at least according to 3E mechanics.


That's more of a limitation of the mechanics, which were simplified in the 3e Manual of the Planes to a sometimes unfortunate degree. The fact (although, of course, it can be productive to question so-called "facts") that the Great Wheel is wheel-shaped means that Ysgard and Arcadia are closer to Good than their neighboring planes of Limbo and Mechanus. If they weren't, they wouldn't be separate planes. That's why the fascist activities of the Harmonium threaten to tear one of Arcadia's layers loose (in Planescape, they've already caused the loss of one layer, though 3e blames the formians instead): because they're making the plane less good.

The wheel shape (as opposed to a square) also means that Elysium is more good than Celestia or Arborea, with the implication that their equal devotion to law and chaos (respectively) means they have to sometimes compromise their devotion to good. But that's where philosophical subjectivity kicks in: from the point of view of an archon or eladrin, "good" isn't always what is most desireable. From the point of view of an eladrin or other chaotic good celestial, Limbo and Elysium are equally flawed, in different ways, in comparison to the ideal of perfect harmony between altruism and freedom. And further: the Abyss and Celestia are equally flawed. Slaadi are no better than guardinals. Archons are no better than demons. And I say that not to dictate that LG and CG celestials should always be viewed as potentially compromised in their devotion to goodness, but simply to present this notion as another possible conflict that can make the upper planes more interesting. Maybe I'm "wrong," but some NPCs should believe it, and this affects how they act. There's a notion that because good creatures prefer peaceful solutions to violent ones (not that this should always be true) that therefore eladrins should have stronger alliances with archons than they do with demons. And most of the time, they should. But not always. If upholding Chaos is as much a priority as upholding Good, than sometimes demons will share common goals with eladrins and archons won't.

This is also why I disagree with the decision the 4e designers made to remove exemplars of every alignment (and even reduce the number of alignments), turning eladrins into fey and archons into elementals, removing guardinals entirely, and so on. Having personifications of all nine alignments (and representatives of other philosophies) is useful if you're staging philosophical conflicts. Take that away and you've lost a valuable tool.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby willpell » Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:55 am

I was working on a lengthy response to Havard, but then I managed to close all my windows with a keyboard press somehow. I'll try to remember to reproduce it on a more stable computer sometime soonish.

ripvanwormer wrote:My intention in posing these questions was to spur story ideas, not to have them definitively answered. If you're going to play in a campaign where planes of existence are based on ideas of morality and ethics, it's a wasted opportunity to treat moral and ethical questions as simply settled.


I agree up to a point; I like to have some level of gray morality, but moral relativism should not progress so far that Good and Evil have absolutely no definition. If you're able to construct an ethical justification for torturing children, then you've gone overboard on the practice of using logic to justify an action that virtually everyone understands intuitively to be Wrong with a capital W.

ripvanwormer wrote:Even if there's a single correct answer in your multiverse, NPCs don't necessarily know what that answer is, even celestial beings.


Either gods or celestials pretty much need to have the answer, or how can you claim that a definitive answer does actually exist? Unless the point of your campaign is that the Ultimate Good (perhaps the source of paladin powers) is not to be found in either divine or angelic answers.

The game is meant to be fun, so "is this fun?" makes for a pretty good metric on how well you're doing.


Some things are more important than "fun". If your players are all prepubescent youths, and their idea of "fun" is sociopathic, your status as a role model probably obligates you to find a way of catering to the players' interests in a way that will make them grow up to become better people, even if this entertains them less.

ripvanwormer wrote:Planescape's (which is to say, designer David "Zeb" Cook's) greatest innovation, in my opinion, was taking the idea that the Outer Planes were built out of moral and ethical ideals and extrapolating from that that they're really built from philosophy and beliefs, and making clashing philosophies and beliefs the central theme of the setting.


Agreed 100%. I don't enjoy all the aesthetic choices that were made in designing Planescape, but the general concept of a city where the ideological conflicts of the multiverse take physical form is pretty much my favorite thing in all of D&D.

NPCs in Planescape don't always agree on what good is, or even what law and chaos mean.


The first is fine and reasonable; the second is a symptom of the fact that Wizards itself was never able to settle on a consistent definition for this binary. There is much to discuss on the topic.

ripvanwormer wrote:One of my frustrations in 4e's design philosophy was the marginalization of the Blood War under the theory that a war between two antagonists wasn't useful


:facepalm:

That's more of a limitation of the mechanics, which were simplified in the 3e Manual of the Planes to a sometimes unfortunate degree. The fact (although, of course, it can be productive to question so-called "facts") that the Great Wheel is wheel-shaped means that Ysgard and Arcadia are closer to Good than their neighboring planes of Limbo and Mechanus.


True, but being located north of The East doesn't make you part of The North.

From the point of view of an eladrin or other chaotic good celestial...the Abyss and Celestia are equally flawed. Archons are no better than demons.


Archons are certainly better than demons in eladrin opinion; the archons have never kidnapped hundreds of Eladrin children and imprisoned them in a Celestial layer where they can be slowly hunted to death for sport. By the nature of Good and Evil, they pretty much cannot ever be 100% balanced; Good is fragile while Evil is corruptive, so it generally takes more than three pounds of Good to outweigh a single pound of Evil. The greatest degree of fascism which Xaphiel the Watcher could possibly so much as conceive of, at the greatest extreme of emotional imbalance he's capable of, is probably still less dangerous and odious to the eladrins than the petty ambitions of any demon above the level of a dretch or mane. (Of course, devils are the worst of all, but if given a choice between allying with demons against devils, or allying with archons against either devils or demons or even both at once, the Eladrins know they're a lot safer in the Archons's company.)

This is also why I disagree with the decision the 4e designers made to remove exemplars of every alignment (and even reduce the number of alignments)


Agreed, that was some booshee.

turning eladrins into fey and archons into elementals, removing guardinals entirely, and so on. Having personifications of all nine alignments (and representatives of other philosophies) is useful if you're staging philosophical conflicts.


i think the 4E Archons were basically unrelated to the previous versions, from what I recall of a glance at them. I do think there should be exemplars for all the alignments, but a lot of the ones that we've had so far are distinctly inadequate IMO. The Rilmani are totally uninteresting, the Guardinals are kinda goofy, and the Yugoloths are an obvious "one of these things is not like the other" with demons and devils. I'd like to see really iconic creatures, such as Valkyries, treated as Exemplars for particular versions of "ideal" existence.
User avatar
willpell
White Dragon
 
Posts: 2595
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2015 9:10 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby ripvanwormer » Sat Sep 02, 2017 5:43 pm

willpell wrote:I agree up to a point; I like to have some level of gray morality, but moral relativism should not progress so far that Good and Evil have absolutely no definition.


I gave some examples above of things that I think reasonable people might disagree with. I'm not suggesting utter nihilism, but I think it's boring and counterproductive to have the cosmos provide a definitive answer to every moral quandary.

Either gods or celestials pretty much need to have the answer, or how can you claim that a definitive answer does actually exist? Unless the point of your campaign is that the Ultimate Good (perhaps the source of paladin powers) is not to be found in either divine or angelic answers.


Gods are formed from mortal beliefs, for the most part, and are basically mortals writ large, with both their virtues and flaws exaggerated. They're no more privy to absolute truth than mortals are (this has to be at least potentially true, or the Athar faction are objectively wrong in their beliefs, which I'd rather not be the case). Angels are the servants of the gods, and know even less than their masters, though they have free will and may eventually arrive at better conclusions than they were created to have. Archons, eladrins, and guardinals are personifications of their planes and may be more reliable indicators of what the cosmos itself believes about morality, if the cosmos can be said to have definitive opinions rather than just being an aggregate of mortal philosophies. The mysterious progenitors of good, counterparts of the baernaloths, might be the ones who set the definitions of morality in place at the beginning of time and perhaps it's not possible to gainsay them. Guide to Hell credits the primal gods Ahriman (Asmodeus) and Jazirian with defining evil and good, though I think of this as just one possible story.

If your players are all prepubescent youths, and their idea of "fun" is sociopathic,


I suppose, and that might actually be Gygax's original impetus in creating an alignment system, but again I'm just suggesting that good isn't always free of conflict, not advocating utter nihilism. I suggested above some non-sociopathic disagreements good creatures might have.

NPCs in Planescape don't always agree on what good is, or even what law and chaos mean.


The first is fine and reasonable; the second is a symptom of the fact that Wizards itself was never able to settle on a consistent definition for this binary. There is much to discuss on the topic.


In Planescape, Law and Chaos are associated with three factions each, and while each trio's philosophies don't blatantly contradict one another (they're allies, after all), they represent distinct visions of what Law and Chaos mean.

For the Fraternity of Order, Law is categorization. They seek to label and sort the multiverse to identify the laws of magic, government, and nature and exploit any loopholes they find.
For the Mercykillers, Law is justice. Law means that actions have consequences and deviation from the law is followed by punishment.
For the Harmonium, Law is conformity. Law means that everyone agrees on a single truth and sacrifices their own opinions to the greater good.

For the Xaositects, chaos is unpredictability.
For the Doomguard, chaos is entropy.
For the Bleak Cabal, chaos is the absence of meaning.

This is all distinct from the law-chaos axis as an ethical spectrum, which is mostly the age-old debate over individual rights versus responsibility to society.

True, but being located north of The East doesn't make you part of The North.


Ysgard and Arcadia have always been considered part of the Upper Planes. Being located near the equator doesn't make you on the equator. See, for example, the diagram Zeromaru linked to above.

Technically, anything north of the south pole is the North to someone, but if we're going to draw the line somewhere, the equator seems like the most objective place to draw it.

Archons are certainly better than demons in eladrin opinion; the archons have never kidnapped hundreds of Eladrin children and imprisoned them in a Celestial layer where they can be slowly hunted to death for sport. By the nature of Good and Evil, they pretty much cannot ever be 100% balanced; Good is fragile while Evil is corruptive, so it generally takes more than three pounds of Good to outweigh a single pound of Evil. The greatest degree of fascism which Xaphiel the Watcher could possibly so much as conceive of, at the greatest extreme of emotional imbalance he's capable of, is probably still less dangerous and odious to the eladrins than the petty ambitions of any demon above the level of a dretch or mane. (Of course, devils are the worst of all, but if given a choice between allying with demons against devils, or allying with archons against either devils or demons or even both at once, the Eladrins know they're a lot safer in the Archons's company.)


Eladrins are incarnations of good, but they're equally incarnations of chaos. Both are equal priorities. Archons are nicer than demons, but niceness isn't better than chaos. Demons have much to recommend them: their passion, their whimsy, their commitment to liberty: even their emotional imbalance, their danger, are virtues rather than vices. Their existence breaks down boundaries that stifle the multiverse. Archons make them safer, but eladrins don't want to be safe: they're creatures of chaos. Risk is as much a part of their being as altruism. Safety diminishes the amount of chaos in the multiverse and kills them just as much as demonic claws do. Archons may be well-intentioned, but demons are chaotic-intentioned, and that's just as important. The only difference is that archons kill them with kindness, while demons kill them with cruelty. The multiverse that archons are trying to achieve is one that would have no place in it for eladrins, not as they are now. Neither group are their friends, but both can at times be on the same side.

The idea that eladrins specifically made war against the Abyss originated in Erik Mona's Armies of the Abyss, a d20 book he wrote for Green Ronin, and he carried the idea over to Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss for Wizards of the Coast. There's some sense in the idea that eladrins are more concerned with demons making Chaos look bad than they are with how devils approach Law (which is bad regardless; the devils only make more obvious to others what is always obvious to them).

The Planescape sourcebox Hellbound: The Blood War actually said that eladrins had little to do with battling any sort of fiend. They ignore the fiends, leaving them to kill each other off or not, as they will, acting only to preserve the freedom of mortals and to defend their own plane.

i think the 4E Archons were basically unrelated to the previous versions, from what I recall of a glance at them.


Yes, 4e archons are essentially what 2e and 3e called fire minions, wind warriors, or elemental minions. They only reused the name. I'd argue that 4e eladrins are basically unrelated to 2e and 3e eladrins too.

I do think there should be exemplars for all the alignments, but a lot of the ones that we've had so far are distinctly inadequate IMO. The Rilmani are totally uninteresting, the Guardinals are kinda goofy, and the Yugoloths are an obvious "one of these things is not like the other" with demons and devils. I'd like to see really iconic creatures, such as Valkyries, treated as Exemplars for particular versions of "ideal" existence.


Rilmani, guardinals, and eladrins were invented by Rich Baker for the Planescape Monstrous Compendium Appendix II and they admittedly weren't very inspired designs. Metal people, animal people, and elves/faeries: I'd have preferred something more distinctive in all cases.

The rilmani are fascinating to me, though more because of their culture than their appearance. The aeons are their equivalents in the Pathfinder RPG; they're more interesting-looking, but they serve a somewhat different role and there's room for both. Animal-headed humanoids are as goofy as guardinals as they were in ancient Egyptian mythology or the Book of Ezekiel. There are some interesting parallels between guardinal castes and yugoloth and archon castes, suggesting guardinals could have been a sort of primal template for both, or based on a common inspiration. Demons and devils are unlike yugoloths because they came later, being created by yugoloths after the emergence of mortal life, while yugoloths were born from primal evil before mortal souls existed.

The Avatar's Handbook from Green Ronin was a good source of creatively-different celestial races.
ripvanwormer
Black Dragon
 
Posts: 2961
Joined: Fri Apr 03, 2009 7:14 pm

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby Zeromaru X » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:25 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:Gods are formed from mortal beliefs


You know? This has been one of the most hotly debates in Candlekeep forums lately, to the point they actively avoid the topic currently: "What about those gods that predate the mortal races?". There are canon gods that existed way before their mortal worshipers (like Moradin or Corellon, that created their followers; or beings such as Ao, Io and Annam, that are credited with helping with creation of the multiverse).

I do not believe that statement that "gods were formed from mortal beliefs" is set in stone, if you ask me. I do believe that while a few gods are creation of mortals, or even ascended mortals, there are other gods they were gods right from the beginning (or at least, from their beginning).
User avatar
Zeromaru X
The Elder Wizard
 
Posts: 785
Joined: Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:24 am

Re: How does/could the Feywild fit into the Great Wheel?

Postby zontoxira » Sat Sep 02, 2017 6:26 pm

Off topic: Why would you play with prepubescent sociopaths? O.o
On topic: There's always the mostly-Neutral party, with no ties to either good or evil. Such groups could find plenty of fun in both Upper and Lower Planes.

Zeromaru X wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:Gods are formed from mortal beliefs


I do not believe that statement that "gods were formed from mortal beliefs" is set in stone, if you ask me. I do believe that while a few gods are creation of mortals, or even ascended mortals, there are other gods they were gods right from the beginning (or at least, from their beginning).


Bleakers claim there are true gods (and their clerics receive spells from them), but they don't get involved into mortal affairs. Perhaps the designers referred to those entities?
Have a look at my Dark Sun Reconstruction Project at Homebrewery or Dark Sun 5e files at Google Drive
---
Cager extraordinaire, at your service!
---
"There are no saints in the animal kingdom. Only breakfast, and dinner." - Lorne Malvo
zontoxira
Hobgoblin
 
Posts: 47
Joined: Sat May 13, 2017 8:46 pm
Location: Sigil, The Lady's Ward

Next

Return to Planescape

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest