The many Earths

Discuss published campaign worlds that do not have a specific forum here.
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Zeromaru X
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The many Earths

Post by Zeromaru X »

apotheot wrote:I've both run and played in the adventure. It is a generic world setting, similar to 14th century India. It WOULD fit into a one of the many "earths" such as Gothic Earth, but it wasn't designed for it. I know of no other references to it in any other product.
-Apotheot
I've read here about the Gothic Earth, and I know that "our" Earth also exist within the D&D multiverse (thanks to certain wizard, Ed of Greenwood, who is mentioned in the Grand History of the Realms). Didn't knew about the many others.

What are those parallel Earths that exist in D&D, and what make them different from "our own"? (beyond that are fictitious, of course).

Is there a list of those around here?

:geek:

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Re: The many Earths

Post by ripvanwormer »

Most of the various Earths might well be the same place as Gothic Earth, but they include:

LaTerre, from the adventure Castle Amber, which was inspired by Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne cycle. This plays a big role in the history of the Mystara setting.
Gothic Earth, which is probably the same as LaTerre.
Gamma Terra, from the Gamma World RPG, connected to the D&D universe through an artifact called the Alternate World Gate (described in The Book of Marvelous Magic).
The worlds of the Boot Hill, Top Secret, Dawn Patrol, Star Frontiers, and Gangbusters RPGs, all accessible through the Alternate World Gate.
The world of Urban Arcana and Shadow Chasers for d20 Modern. Connected to D&D through the ogre mage Estavan, who is a Planescape NPC who also appears in the 4th edition DMG 2, but also appears in Urban Arcana.
Whatever world the vampire Strahd von Zarovich is from, which isn't necessarily an "Earth" but which has Earth-like cultures on it.
The various parallels of Oerth: Yarth, Earth, Aerth, and Uerth.
The version of modern Earth from The Immortal Storm, set on an outer plane where magic doesn't work.
The homeworld of the Mulani peoples of Toril, which might be Gothic Earth or our Earth.
The universe the Barrier Peaks spaceship emerged from.
The universe of the Metamorphosis Alpha RPG, which is probably the same as Gamma Terra.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by Big Mac »

The AD&D Adventures in Space boxed set, actually gives celestial body stats and travel times, for all the planets in the Solar System.

There are also several Historical Reference products that describe past eras of Earth: Some of the HR settings were designed to work with others, so they could be set on the same Earth as each other, but I don't think they are all the same era. You would either need them to be alternative planets or use time travel to visit them all.

I think I kind of prefer alternative worlds myself, as it would allow for a Spelljammer trip to more than one of them. But then again, I find the Alternative Earth thing a bit less exciting than regular D&D worlds. I like fantasy stuff, sometimes people talk about making everyone play humans or removing clerics and/or wizards. I actually think that every culture in the world (not just the ones in the HR1-HR7 range) has some interesting mythology and legends that could make for great games, but I would rather see that added to D&D's baseline of classes and races than totally replace it.
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Zeromaru X
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Re: The many Earths

Post by Zeromaru X »

Yeah, I also like fantasy settings with fantasy stuff, and I'm not fond of "human-only" settings/campaings. I'm not even fond of the concept of limiting player races (ie. 5e's common and uncommon races).

But my inner nerd was curious about this :P

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Re: The many Earths

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Zeromaru X wrote:Yeah, I also like fantasy settings with fantasy stuff, and I'm not fond of "human-only" settings/campaings. I'm not even fond of the concept of limiting player races (ie. 5e's common and uncommon races).

But my inner nerd was curious about this :P
It's a good thing to be curious about. I think that these things can be done right. I quite like the way that Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim and Maztica have partially rebooted three real-world cultures.

And I was talking to someone on these forums about "low magic" (I think for Lankhmar) and they spoke about spell recovery times being increased from overnight to one week. I think that could be done with any D&D ruleset. (In 5th Edition, for example, a Long Rest could be extended to One Week and a Short Rest could be extended to One Night.) So it might not be necessary to remove Clerics/Priests and Wizards from an Alternative Earth. They could just be reduced somehow.
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Re: The many Earths

Post by Havard »

ripvanwormer wrote:Most of the various Earths might well be the same place as Gothic Earth, but they include:

LaTerre, from the adventure Castle Amber, which was inspired by Clark Ashton Smith's Averoigne cycle. This plays a big role in the history of the Mystara setting.
Gothic Earth, which is probably the same as LaTerre.
Gamma Terra, from the Gamma World RPG, connected to the D&D universe through an artifact called the Alternate World Gate (described in The Book of Marvelous Magic).
The worlds of the Boot Hill, Top Secret, Dawn Patrol, Star Frontiers, and Gangbusters RPGs, all accessible through the Alternate World Gate.
The world of Urban Arcana and Shadow Chasers for d20 Modern. Connected to D&D through the ogre mage Estavan, who is a Planescape NPC who also appears in the 4th edition DMG 2, but also appears in Urban Arcana.
Whatever world the vampire Strahd von Zarovich is from, which isn't necessarily an "Earth" but which has Earth-like cultures on it.
The various parallels of Oerth: Yarth, Earth, Aerth, and Uerth.
The version of modern Earth from The Immortal Storm, set on an outer plane where magic doesn't work.
The homeworld of the Mulani peoples of Toril, which might be Gothic Earth or our Earth.
The universe the Barrier Peaks spaceship emerged from.
The universe of the Metamorphosis Alpha RPG, which is probably the same as Gamma Terra.
Nice list!
Big Mac also mentioned the HR series.

If we include 3PP D&D Material we also have:
  • The Avalanche Press Modules
  • Green Ronin's "Mythic Vistas" Earth based products.
I have compiled a list of those here.


Outside the D&D family you have a bunch of course, from Earthdawn/Shadowrun, RuneQuest's Fantasy Earth, The Hyborian Age of Conan, Middle Earth, etc etc, but probably too many to mention.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by ripvanwormer »

ripvanwormer wrote:Gamma Terra, from the Gamma World RPG, connected to the D&D universe through an artifact called the Alternate World Gate (described in The Book of Marvelous Magic).
The worlds of the Boot Hill, Top Secret, Dawn Patrol, Star Frontiers, and Gangbusters RPGs, all accessible through the Alternate World Gate.
Note that Dawn Patrol was a board game, not an RPG. But it was published by TSR, so it got an Alternate World Gate.

Basically:

Dawn Patrol: Earth during World War I.
Boot Hill: Earth in the 1870s Western United States, or thereabouts.
Top Secret: A spy-themed RPG. The 1987 version featured a secret intelligence agency called ORION facing off against an evil group called WEB.
Star Frontiers: A science fiction setting taking place near the galactic core, so not really "Earth," but there are humans, so maybe there's an Earth somewhere in this universe.
Gangbusters: This is Earth in the 1920s and 1930s, centered in a fictional Lakefront City on the western shore of Lake Michigan.
Gamma World: This is a post-apocalyptic Earth (Gamma Terra) with mutants and robots. The nature of the apocalypse varies, but nuclear war is normally involved.

Of course it's possible that these are all the same planet at different times.

There's also Midgard, a version of Earth based on Norse mythology, treated in The Northern Reaches Gazetteer as an outer plane.
And the Star*Drive setting for Alternity (and d20 Future). The alien Fraal from that setting ended up in one of the AD&D Monstrous Compendiums.

I suppose you could also count the Earth of Elric of Melniboné (this setting is often called the Young Kingdoms after the human nations that followed the decline of Melniboné, but author Michael Moorcock always called it Earth; after the novel Stormbringer, it transforms into our world, or something like it). It appeared in Gods, Demigods, and Heroes and the first printing of 1st edition Deities & Demigods.

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Re: The many Earths

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The official SF stuff designates the humans as coming from a world other than Earth, near the core of a spiral galaxy (which may or may not be the Milky Way). That's in the foreword of the boxed set's main book.

But the 2001 module suggests an alternative, in which the humans came from Earth and Pan-Gal developed from the major corporations of the 21st Century.

Last time I checked, all or most SF material besides magazine articles was available legally and for free, online.

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Re: The many Earths

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Does Middle-Earth count as an Earth in the D&D multiverse for purposes of this thread?

Or do the elements drawn from Middle Earth not count as a crossover? D&D as published originally contained both hobbits and Balrogs, by name. Those are original elements of Tolkien's legendarium.

One can quibble about orcs--but it's clear to me that the orcs of D&D are patterned after Tolkien's orcs and not sea-monsters or Neapolitan fairy tale ogre-things.
Though sea-monster or fairy tale orks sound fun!

The only published D&D adventure I've seen for ME- was in White Dwarf, and so not from TSR.

I understand that Bob Bledsaw used M-E when he was running his home game, pre-Wilderlands. I would bet others did the same. But again, this isn't TSR.

Yeah, I know about the legal issue that caused hobbits to become halflings and Balrogs to grow a numeral.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by ripvanwormer »

combatmedicreturns wrote:Does Middle-Earth count as an Earth in the D&D multiverse for purposes of this thread? Or do the elements drawn from Middle Earth not count as a crossover? D&D as published originally contained both hobbits and Balrogs, by name. Those are original elements of Tolkien's legendarium.
That's an interesting question. I'm not sure creative inspiration is the same as a crossover. Type VI demons/balors are definitely inspired by Tolkien's Balrogs, but balors aren't literally, within the D&D universe, supposed to be corrupted Maiar created by Eru the One and tempted into darkness by Melkor. Instead, they share an origin with other breeds of demons, being ultimately shaped from mortal souls whose chaotic evil alignment drew them into the Abyss after their deaths.

Of course, that's a later retcon (and doesn't get into the questions poised by the competing stories of the baernaloths and obyriths, or the 4th edition cosmology with its primordials), so part of the question is dependent on what you're even defining as D&D. Dave Arneson's and Bob Bledsaw's original campaigns wore their Tolkien influences on their sleeves, while Gary Gygax would repeatedly dismiss the idea that Tolkien was much of an influence on him. Certainly it's possible to run a D&D game that's supposed to take place in the same universe or multiverse as Tolkien's Middle-earth, and a lot of early players probably did so.

I think the most obvious opportunity for Tolkien's world to interact directly with the D&D worlds as we understand them now is the Orcgate Wars, where orcs from an unnamed other world invaded Toril. Similar things happened in Alfheim on Mystara, in what are called the Bad Magic Points. Could these orcs have come from Middle-earth? It seems as likely as anything else.

It's harder, though, when there are alternate explanations for elements inspired by Tolkien. We have explanations for the existence of balors at odds with Tolkien's myths about Balrogs, origins of halflings that have little to do with wherever hobbits are supposed to have come from (though could the genies who brought halfling slaves to Calimshan have kidnapped them from Middle-earth? Maybe?), and explanations for treants (especially in PC1 Tall Tales of the Wee Folk) that have nothing to do with Tolkien's Ents. So perhaps Middle-earth is most part of D&D in the spaces where the D&D explanations for why things exist fall short, or turn out to be incorrect.

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Re: The many Earths

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Gygax said he quite enjoyed The Hobbit, but wasn't a big fan of LoTR.

I think LoTR influence on the early, published game was mostly in the way of the monsters.


Balrogs/balors
wraiths and wights (though these types are hardly unique to Tolkien)
orcs
ents/treants
wargs/worgs with goblin riders/allies

Far more D&D monsters come from mythology, fairy tales, and the imaginations of the game designers. A couple from sci fi.


Rangers are obviously based on Aragorn, but are also not in the original game and not from Gygax or Arneson. The ranger class first appeared in a very early issue of Dragon Magazine (or was that the Strategic Review? In any case, the class is included in the first Best of Dragon, which I own).


The Hobbit includes:

The four core D&D races of
[*]Men
[*]Hobbits
[*]Dwarfs/Dwarves
[*]Elfs/Elves

[*]dungeons with treasure, secret doors, and monsters (again, not just found in Tolkien, but I do think it's notable)

[*]a fairly large adventuring party that includes three different races and three different classes/archetypes

[*] a contract about division of spoils and other such adventurer matters


To me, The Hobbit appears to be a rather more important influence than LotR.

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Re: The many Earths

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I developed some very brief notes on Dragonsfoot for running a Basic/Expert M-E game based on The Hobbit and using some monster and lore from Tolkien's other stuff, but not following the overall style and narrative of LotR. Add elements of The Lost Tales to taste.

Those hyper inflated prices in the D&D books? A sizeable fraction of Smaug's ridiculously huge hoard is now in circulation.

Adventurers inspired by tales of the wealth taken from Lonely Mountain have set out to win fame and fortune.
Heroic souls battle goblins and worse in the wilderlands.

The Necromancer/a really big Hellcat plots evil in Mirkwood.

I was going to gives the elf class the clerical spell list instead of the magic-user list. Elves and their healing.

I never did decide about turning undead.

Looking at it again, Holmes might also work. Maybe the healer class from early Dragon magazine?

Not sure about rangers. I kind of like Tolkien's original concept for Strider, in which he was a Hobbit.
Bounders= Hobbit 'rangers'= B/X hobbits about the lowest levels.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by combatmedicreturns »

EDIT-- I see that Middle Earth has its own subforum. Anything else about this tangent, I can post there.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by LimeOdyssey »

CM6 Where Chaos Reigns includes an introductory explanation of parallel worlds based much more directly on the Many Histories concept from physics but which still fits with crystal spheres or Alternate World Gate type stuff more or less.

It also features the world of Aelos, an example of a D&D parallel world where magic died out in its original timeline and a revised timeline caused by the interference of Immortals and the actions of the PCs.

The means of travel to different time periods of a specific parallel world was given as The Nexus, basically a set of magical doors.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by ripvanwormer »

Another obscure connection: the Forgotten Realms deity Nobanion might actually be Aslan from C.S. Lewis's Narnia.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by combatmedicreturns »

ripvanwormer wrote:Another obscure connection: the Forgotten Realms deity Nobanion might actually be Aslan from C.S. Lewis's Narnia.
Through the magical pools in Weathercote Wood, yes?

EDIT- Ah, yes, the article says as much.

He's still just 'Aslan' in the Dragon magazine article in which Greenwood lays out an earlier version of Faerun's pantheon.

Some bits of Moorcock made it into that pantheon too.

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Re: The many Earths

Post by willpell »

ripvanwormer wrote:Another obscure connection: the Forgotten Realms deity Nobanion might actually be Aslan from C.S. Lewis's Narnia.
This explains a lot....

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