The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed - Coming in December and available for pre-order now
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 30 of 38
  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Post Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Planescape’s Great Wheel is cool and good but there’s a number of problems with it. Such as half of the darn planes named after Greek myths, the very definition of the lowest hanging fruit. Or Pandemonium, literally all the demons, having **** all to do with demons proper. Or naming a plane not even remotely related to rivers or water as Acheron. Or that Nine Hells being such an unimaginative goddamn boring excuse of a name. Or, you know, all the lameass upper planes being the same goddamn romanticised pastoralism bull**** seven times over. That one’s kinda major.

    So, in spirit of revisionism, I’ll have a go at reinventing the Great Wheel (again, as I’ve already kinda done it once from the other way round). So far I haven’t managed to completely do it, some bits don’t fit yet, so that’s where y’all will (potentially) come in. Or you can contest the bits I go over. That’s also cool.

    1) So first let’s get that dumbass Nine Hells out of the way. It’s terribad. And we know about 90% of all things devil in DnD are ripped off from Dante’s Inferno, so the place where they’re from needs to be named... wait for it... INFERNO. While I feel any possible name is better than ****ing “Nine Hells”, there’s a certain feeling of appropriateness in using the name of the original. Also the adjective for all things devilish becomes “infernal”. Can’t get better than that.

    2) Speaking of dumbass. Why the **** did they feel the need to censor Asgard to Ysgard? It is a mystery. You’re not fooling anyone, DnD. You didn’t even file the serial numbers off, Ysgard straight up has the Norse pantheon living there. So we’re gonna call it ASGARD like undumbasses. Assuming we don’t completely trash it later on.

    3) DnD demons are from the Abyss. That’s all good, ABYSS is a perfectly good name for a plane of chaotic evil. The problem is the next door: Pandemonium. Look at that. Pan-demon-ium. And yet that place’s got nothing to do with actual demons and is a pretty standard dark underground caves kind of afterlife (discounting the howling winds, which is a bit more specialized). That’s extremely popular in all myths; Erebus, Hel, Ereshkigal, Duat, Diyu, Naraka, Erlik, Xibalba... You can’t swing a bat without hitting three different underground caves hell in world mythology. Yet, instead of naming DnD’s underground dark caves hell as any one of the dozen or so alternatives, they picked a name from... Paradise Lost? Wut? And the name of demons’ capital city, no less.

    Screw that. We must either rename Abyss to Pandemonium, or rename Pandemonium to one of the bajillion underground dark caves afterlives. However “Abyss” is kinda grandfathered in by now and it’s not a bad or unfit name in any way, so it’s gonna be the second option. Of the possibilities, the one that sounds coolest is Ereshkigal. Therefore, the plane formerly known as Pandemonium is now ERESHKIGAL.

    There can be a major city named Pandemonium somewhere in the Abyss. Possibly one that all the demon princes are fighting over. Maybe it’s the birth place and/or tomb of the very first demon and whoever fully conquers Pandemonium is considered to be king of all demons. Or maybe it’s a giant portal hub like Sigil, except only for interAbyssal travel and a massive strategic advantage. Or it’s a big demon city in another plane to mark the bit demons have conquered. Or perhaps it doesn’t exist at all. Whatever floats your boat. Except it must be a city related to demons.

    4) Next up is Bytopia. Double Utopia is just as silly as Nine Hells but at least it put on a fake moustache trying to disguise it’s terriblity (didn’t work well). Bytopia is the plane of hard work and communal spirit. It’s also two parellel infinite plains of semi-tamed wilderness in a rather nice imagery, so I’d rather not trash it. Is there a mythical good place that happens to be plains? Why yes, the Elysian Fields is an afterlife for good folks. So we’re taking that name off of the neighbor and putting it on the lawfulish good plane. ELYSIUM is now the plane at 11 o’clock of the Wheel (I know it’s actually quarter past eleven, shut up) and it looks like two infinite plains of pastoral romanticism.

    5) Then we got Mount Celestia for the plane of lawful good. The word is knocked off of “celestial”, which basically means of the sky. And, this is important, not mountainy. Is there a holy mountain kind of thing in myths? You might’ve heard about, iunno... OLYMPUS. Sure, there’s like a dozen more holy mountains but this one is the most famous.

    Now I hear the coming objection. Zeus et al are all chaotic evil *******s, why name the LG plane after their home? Because it’s the bigass holy mountain of all DnD and it’s the biggest name in town. And also, real world gods shouldn’t even be in DnD. Using them is lame and uncool and boring and unimaginative. The only excuse you might have for not making, for a totally unrelated example, Durkon a cleric of Moradin is to avoid copyright crap. Since we’re not worried about copyrights **** here, Zeus et al won’t exist and therefore can’t be a barrier to us naming the holy mountain plane of LGness Olympus. But of course, don’t go naming exemplar outsiders of lawful good Olympians, that’d just be dumb.

    (also kick those Norse off of Asgard too, they don’t exist either)

    6) Then there’s what we might as well call “the disney forest plane” in need of better naming. Because “Happy Hunting Ground” is a terribad name. It might be a real mythological name used by American tribes that sounds fine in their languages but it sounds extra dumb once translated to English. Beastlands is better, though that’s damning with faint praise. No, we need an actual good name and also no, you can’t use an original nontranslated name for Happy Hunting Ground because it does not fit this plane in the least. It’s not the free buffet for mortal hunter tribes plane; it’s the plane of chaoticish good, untamed wilderness, majestic and uncivilized. And talking animals. And furriguardinals. Why the hell are the furriguardinals on the 12 o’clock plane and also what makes them the manifestation of pure goodness? That’s stupid, course they’re over here at 1 o’clock (quarter to one, yea I know, shut it) in the plane of talking animals and wild nature.

    Anyway the name. Paradise/Aaru/Jannah/etc have meanings like garden and fields, not wilderness or nature, so they’re out. Vanaheim might work, as Vanir are kinda related to nature and fertility but surely there’s a better foresty name. It’s just that I can’t think of one just this moment.

    7) Then there’s the unnecessarily large number of Greek names. I will clamp down on that crap and say that no one mythology gets to name more than 3 outer planes. I might maybe let Roman and Greek names combined exceed 3 but that’s it. So now time to prune.

    Elysium and Olympus are in, so only one more Greek name will be allowed. That means all except one of Arcadia, plane formerly known as Elysium, Arborea, Tartarus, Hades, Acheron are getting changed. Arcadia and Arborea aren’t even afterlife places, Acheron has **** all to do with actual mythical name, plane formerly known as Elysium is the single lamest and boringest one after Outlands (so will be getting remade fully), Tartarus has become so thorougly supplanted it’s not even used these days and Hades is extremely unfitting as a name for the place of pure evil. Of this bunch, the coolest name is Tartarus. Then there’s Erebus, which I also like but more than Tartarus? Iunno. Leaving this aside for now.

    8) Outlands was **** and is now gone. There’s already a score of unaligned planes, don’t need another. Material Plane is gonna be there in the middle of Great Wheel as that makes infinitely more sense than a plane of not giving any ****s about alignment among the planes made up of alignments. Spire has always been just weird for the sake of weird and is gone. Sigil can exist by itself, it’s strong enough to stand on its own as a central demiplane of portals without needing to be shackled to dumb **** like Outlands. The gatetowns were kinda neat and they can exist as either slums of Sigil containing the permanent known major portals to outer planes, or as the fixed exit of most portals leading to their corresponding planes on their actual planes. Bonus, none of that sliding bull****.

    9) Limbo and Nirvana are absolutely perfect names for their spots. The actual planes themselves might need work but names are set in stone.

    10) Speaking of setting things in stone, some planes just suck. These will be completely replaced. The ones on the chopping block are Arcadia, plane formerly known as Elysium, Arborea, Carceri (not utter **** like others but the prison plane isn’t cool enough to sit at the big boys’ table), Gehenna. Their names might stay however. Hades and Acheron are great, just in need of better names.

    11) Have a table pretending to be a wheel.
    Olympus Elysium wildforestia Asgard
    Nirvana Material Limbo
    endlesswarland Inferno evilgraydesert Abyss Ereshkigal

    12) Surprising absolutely no one, upper planes need more work. Gotta make 3 planes from scratch: the too ordered for their own good plane, the pure good plane, the chaotic good plane. Only need 2 for lower: not that lawful evil plane and not that chaotic evil plane.

    So let’s see if anyone has anything to say before I get to making those 5 new planes. I’m not naming the existing three first because any name I stick on those now might fit the yet unmade planes better. I will get around to exemplars and whatnot too, so finishing everything might take a while.
    Last edited by Pronounceable; 2019-06-03 at 09:27 AM.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I like the basic outline of most planes, I don't think any need to be outright chopped. Maybe Bytopia, Plane of Lameness. But mostly. I'm more on the overhaul side.

    The name Pandemonium, I guess, was chosen for the modern association with chaos instead of demons. That said, I propose the name be given to the uppermost layer of the Abyss, which connects to all the others and has no good name.

    The standard cave underworld is more Hades than Pandemonium. The latter is too wild, while the former is grey and calm.


    Also, Carceri is super cool and I will fight you for it.

    Also, no Arborea means no orgiastics or maenads, and then what's the point?
    Last edited by Eldan; 2019-06-03 at 09:32 AM.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Not two posts and there's already a comment. This is starting up faster than my previous big thread.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Pandemonium ... I propose the name be given to the uppermost layer of the Abyss, which connects to all the others and has no good name.
    Pandemonium, Treshold of the Pit is the greatest idea that anyone proposed in this thread. It'll be a while before I get to detailing what I've done (and also gonna do) to the Abyss but this is gonna get incorporated.
    Also, Carceri is super cool and I will fight you for it.
    Carceri the triple supermax of the planes, as cool as it is, isn't worthy enough to sit at the round table by itself. Much like Mechanus the Winnowing Engine, I'll give it a separate seat under its main plane.
    Also, no Arborea means no orgiastics or maenads, and then what's the point?
    Neither orgies nor maenads have any inherent connection to Arborea.

    So let's get back to making **** up as I go aloredesigning the Great Wheel.

    Firstly we need a plane of pure good. It’s gonna be an ocean plane as a direct opposite to the 6 o’clock. There’s no other possibility here. According to wikipedia, we have a few mythical island(ish) paradise things: Annwn, Avalon and Tir na n’Og (discounting Greek stuff cos quota is full). I severely dislike the terrible spelling of Celtic names in general (why the **** do you even use Latin alphabet if you’re gonna do that?) and Avalon isn’t old enough for my liking. Well crap.

    So I’m now gonna have to do the first of the doubtlessly many backtracks. Plane of pure good is back to ELYSIUM as your garden variety blessed islands and the 11 o’clock plane will now become AARU as a fitting name for the generic pastoral romantic eternal happy farmlands.

    Next is the last main alignment upper plane. We got mountain for LG, sea for NG and we’re gonna be getting sky for CG. Why? Because this is your most primal and popular trinity of stuff ancient peoples afforded divine importance to (rightly, as all three are extremely neat). Though nowadays we know that sky is actually space, therefore the half past one plane of the Wheel will be a deep space/starry night sky plane. The twinkling stars will be tiny personal paradise worlds shaped according to their owners’ ideas of bliss, resulting in Littleprinceia as the plane of CG. The possible names are blindingly obvious: Heaven, Paradise, Tian, Celestia. I don’t want Celestia (that’d only cause unnecessary confusion with DnD’s default Celestia), and heaven/paradise is kinda too generic, so TIAN it is.

    Now I know what y’all are gonna object to. Mountain for lawful is all well and good, you’re gonna say, but sea should be the chaotic one. You’re right that sea is obviously more chaotic than sky (or at least space) but I estimate being direct opposite to evil is a bigger concern than fitting in the so called ethics axis for land of pure goodness.

    Next we have the 10 o’clock, which is a problem. What exactly should the too lawful good plane be about? For that matter, the lower ones we need to make from scratch have the same issue. I’ve wasted long, way too long time thinking about what sort of concepts or themes need to be attributed to the hybrid planes before noticing the forest. This is a GAME. This stuff isn’t there to just look pretty, they’re the literal levels (not DnD levels) the game will be played on (at least it should be, the fact that the game is almost never played on these other planes is one of the reasons why Planescape sucks in practice). Which means these outer planes are the even more fantastic remixes of your regular Material Plane adventures; Olympus is the mountain level turned up to max, Inferno is the lava level filled with strong enemies, Elysium is the overlong tropic islands level, the plane formerly known as Beastlands is the endgame forest level that has giant bear ninjas… So clearly what we need to do is to decide on what levels the hybrid planes should be.

    So here’s the table pretending to be a wheel again, this time with the current levels:
    mountain grassland sea forest space snow
    techno chaos
    warzone lava desert rock cave

    What are we missing here? Obvious answer is cityscape, which is Sigil and doesn’t need a separate plane. Afterwards I’ve found best ones would be cloud, swamp, and underwater levels. With its connotations of disease and decay, I’m tagging swamp as the 7 o’clock for that law tarnished by evil look. Underwater as in dark depths of drowning despair gets the 5 o’clock spot. And thus the 10 o’clock will be the cloud level with all floating marble and gold palaces and pillars and stuff.

    Anyone gots better ideas? No? Right. Now imma name the nameless planes.

    The cloudy flying marble palaces plane is extra swanky, so a fitting mythical place name would actually be El Dorado. Except that’s waaay to modern, so instead it’ll be SVARGA, because heaven/paradise is still too generic and Patala (which would’ve fit a lot better) is an underworld. My other ulterior motive for insisting on a Hindu name is to have it be the realm of devas. Of course I might’ve ****ed up and devas as good divine beings may not be from Hindu myths, in which case welp.

    The plane formerly known as Beastlands is in need of a mythical foresty name. Gotta be easy right? Arborea might’ve fit, except Greek quota is full and would cause confusion with DnD’s regular Arborea as well. Vanaheim could maybe work if you squint, except for the fact that its forest connection is tenuous at best and wikipedia tells me the term itself might be made up. Eden/Jannah could be nice but that’s far more garden than forest. Luckily there’s one name that’s totes perfect. A name that everyone already knows from a billion popculture crap such that it’ll go well enough with furriguardinals. YGGDRASIL. Boom.

    So we reach the low half. Is there a mythical afterlife of endless, pointless war for DnD’s coolest lower plane, the 8 o’clock? Sure there is. VALHALLA. It may not have the giant floating metal cubes (unless those are the halls of warriors) but the rest is spot on. What’s that you say? That vikings considered that sort of thing to be a good afterlife? Well, **** ‘em. That’s dumbass barbaric bull**** and I ain’t having any of that glorification crap here. This also fills the Norse quota.

    The rot and poison theme of a swamp for the 7 o’clock fits the Mayan underworld like a glove, so another easy name is XIBALBA.

    Dreary grayness underworld is another a cult classic so we're spoiled for choice for the plane of pure evil. Greek and Norse quotas are filled so we’re left with at least Mictlan, Diyu, Sheol, Yomi. However I’ll plop ERESHKIGAL over here instead because it’s by far the coolest name among all these runofthemill dreary underworlds, and also its previous place the 4 o’clock is way too violent for a “merely” gloomy name like these ones.

    The aforementioned 4 o’clock is now NARAKA since it’s a place of very actively terrible physical conditions befitting the place instead of soul draining blandness.

    And lastly, the promised third Greek name TARTARUS. Sure I made it underwater instead of a pit, but it still works.

    Spoiler: Here’s our New And Improved Great Wheel of Planescape (or at least another table pretending to be a wheel)
    Show

    Svarga (cloud level) Olympus (mountain level) Aaru (farmlands level) Elysium (island level) Yggdrasil (forest level) Tian (space level) Asgard (snow level)
    Nirvana (techno level) Material Limbo (weird level)
    Valhalla (warzone level) Inferno (lava level) Xibalba (swamp level) Ereshkigal (desert level) Tartarus (underwater level) Abyss (plains level) Naraka (cave level)


    And with that, the main skeleton of my work is done. Next I'll be delving into exemplars and planar themes and concepts (notably doing that after deciding on their "physical" natures because the other way round lies a blackhole of philosophy and idiotic alignment debates as we wrestle with questions such as how lawful is greed?). Should there be exemplars only for the 8 main alignments? Or one for every plane? Or maybe only lawful planes should have them while chaos don't care to be categorized that way. Y'all are gonna see what I say to these sorts of questions.

    In the meanwhile, feel free to tell me why the 7 o'clock plane should've totally been the mad science lab level or how much cooler Diyu sounds than Ereshkigal.
    Last edited by Pronounceable; 2019-06-04 at 09:54 AM.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Neither orgies nor maenads have any inherent connection to Arborea.
    Uh, yes they do, they are both native to it. More generally, that's the entire theme of the plane.

    If you are renaming the Beastlands to Yggdrasil, which I'm not necessarily against, what are you doing with the canonical Yggdrasil and its role as a planar pathway? Because I always thought Yggdrasil (and the Endless Staircase, but that's a different matter) were kind of the coolest way to travel the planes.

    Also, if you are keeping Ysgard (as Asgard) and are renaming Acheron to Valhalla, what exactly is the difference between them? Also, the theme of Acheron that made it so lawful was that it was about following orders, the destructive hopelessness of war and the dehumanizing effect of fighting in vast armies. Any kind of Valhalla would almost certainly be about personal glory and individual combat, how do you make that lawful in philosophy?

    And if you reduce every plane to one climate zone, don't you remove some of the most interesting layers of hte planes? For example, I was always extremely fond of the dark crystal caves and shadowy mysteries of the lower layers of Ysgard, or the whispering deserts full of secrets of Arborea. How are you incorporating such interesting, but unusual places?
    Last edited by Eldan; 2019-06-04 at 10:24 AM.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Let's get on with it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    Uh, yes they do, they are both native to it. More generally, that's the entire theme of the plane.
    It always looked to me the entire theme of Arborea is pastoral romantic idealizations of nature by city dwelling nerds of 70s-90s flavored with slight Greek and/or Celtic mythical seasonings (like them maenads and wandering fairy courts). Same as all other upper planes really, one of the main reasons Planescape's execution always kinda sucked. A thing I'm hoping to change here.

    If you are renaming the Beastlands to Yggdrasil, which I'm not necessarily against, what are you doing with the canonical Yggdrasil and its role as a planar pathway?
    Nothing. It's there. OK maybe not nothing, I will be doing a thing with it, but the World Tree still spans almost all planes and worlds.

    Also, if you are keeping Ysgard (as Asgard) and are renaming Acheron to Valhalla, what exactly is the difference between them? Also, the theme of Acheron that made it so lawful was that it was about following orders, the destructive hopelessness of war and the dehumanizing effect of fighting in vast armies. Any kind of Valhalla would almost certainly be about personal glory and individual combat, how do you make that lawful in philosophy?
    Asgard gonna be personal and fortune favors the bold. The reward for winners in Valhalla is to get right back into the trench and keep at it along the losers. All the roo rah with glory and honor and **** is just bull**** propaganda to keep the war going and leaders powerful, the law at its finest.

    And if you reduce every plane to one climate zone, don't you remove some of the most interesting layers of hte planes?
    The cool stuff can still be there. Well not as layers, layers are a dumb idea and have gtfoed, but all planes have interesting regions and zones and territories and so on to break the monotony. Except Ereshkigal of course, nothing disturbs uniform gloomy boredom of Ereshkigal.

    ***

    Now that we have the basic looks of outer planes down, it’s time to flesh them out. First some theming and concepting. I’ll come up with a couple keywords for each plane.

    Svarga is the plane of too much law in the name of good. Back when it was Arcadia, its themes were harmony, peace, discipline. I think we can safely summarize it as "unity". It also had a thing for implausibly ordered geography, which we’ll keep for the new version’s clouds and gaudy flying buildings. Thus Svarga’s keywords are unity and order.

    Olympus is the LGland. The mountain is a rather blunt metaphor for the struggle for personal improvement. So improvement is a given. I also want lots of music here, both for the heavenly choir kinda thing and also to rip off Tolkien. And since the type of music that’d go with this place is of the choir/orchestra sort, I’ll go with cooperation.

    Spoiler: Which is the point I realize that typing out my reasoning for all the keywords is gonna take a longass time and nobody cares about such minute detail (if you do care about it and wanna contest these ideas, sure go ahead), so have the rest of the current keywords as a list:
    Show
    Svarga: unity, order
    Olympus: improvement, cooperation
    Aaru: industriousness, prosperity
    Elysium: devotion, beauty
    Yggdrasil: protectiveness, nature
    Tian: freedom, individuality
    Asgard: challenge, bravery
    Limbo: yeah no
    Naraka: madness, isolation
    Abyss: hatred, fear
    Tartarus: despair, pain
    Ereshkigal: apathy, darkness
    Xibalba: decay, greed
    Inferno: obedience, sacrifice
    Valhalla: dehumanization, manipulation
    Nirvana: rigidity, control

    Now onwards to the actually important matter: the inhabitants. Or rather the exemplars, the main planar races of each outer plane. There’s bound to be bajillion other outsider critters too but they don’t matter at this point. Let’s take a gander at the existing ones first: archons, guardinals, eladrins, devils, daemons, demons, slaadi, modrons/inevitables/formians. Immediately obvious thing is that DnD had no goddamn clue what to do with the LN exemplar. Another pretty clear issue is that slaadi are a moronic ****ing idea as expressions of ultimate chaos. They're straight up evil fiends with their xenomorph crap and color coding. Also not even dignifying rilmani with a. Archons as critters are mostly fine. Except for the name. The only myth/religion related thing with this name is from Gnosticism where they’re baddies. Guardinals being expressions of ultimate goodness is also a clear case of a furry author’s indulgence, especially considering how goddamn fighty they are. They’re also entirely made up for DnD and has zero real mythological existence (unless you count various animal headed people things of Egyptian myths, which you shouldn’t cos those ain’t furries). Eladrin is also a made up DnD word but we can clearly tell they’re simply Tolkien elves instead of DnD’s own elves. Evil exemplars are alright, except for daemon being a benevolent Greek spirit and only being there cos your average unwashed mass thinking it sounds like demon. And bigname devils all acting like your stereotypical petty Game of Thronesy noblemen instead of inhuman monsters dedicated to evil and law. And demons being a giant goddamn overfocused, overbearing, overcrowded mess with no rhyme or reason. OK maybe they weren’t alright after all. Lemme remake this whole mess from scratch real quick (and by real quick I mean one post every few days for who knows how long).


    So what even is an exemplar? This question needs a clear answer. I got one:

    An exemplar is a metaphorical immortal creature native to a particular outer plane that feeds on certain ideas, behaviors and/or metaphorical concepts to grow stronger in some way.

    This is good definition that makes it clear they’re not just your basic outsider critters (and incidentally allows us to have exemplars of wildly varying power levels and qualities). That out of the way, here’s me finally getting to the point.


    LGland is now Olympus, so a Greek name is in order. Since there’s music there, a particular name comes to mind. This is gonna let me make Olympus exemplars the bringers of arts and inspiration to mortals and is gonna be great. MUSES are one of the extremely few mythical Greek names DnD hasn’t made into an entire species of common monster too, so bonus. Archon rulers of DnD being the Hebdomad (a Greek word) is another bonus. This idea has no downsides.

    So muse is the new archon. What are they like? Well, they’re lawful so need a unified look. Also gotta look pretty to mortals for the inspiration they bring to be accepted. Thus we reach the hot men/women with wings, it’s a classic image for a reason. A few extra touches like light blue-green skin, no hair, wings made of glowing energy tendrils straight out of Diablo, naked with barbie doll bodies and we’re good to go.

    Next is their biology, or rather metaphysiology. Muses are created by and of music, a large group of muses come together and sing/play until their music solidifies into a new one. There’s no breeding (or crossbreeding), such crude things are beneath their perfection. Like food/sleep/poop. All a muse needs to stay healthy and grow stronger is music (or other arts in a pinch). In fact, since they’re made of music, the mere presence of a muse is nourishment for nearby muses even when they’re not singing/playing (and they’re almost always singing/playing).

    But music isn’t the only thing we got going here in Olympus. There’s also cooperation. And not just the singing together kind (although that’s very important). Muses can donate their own essence to other muses by singing at them, decreasing their own power/ability to empower another. Back in the dawn of time, they used this to make themselves the Olympic Hebdomad as perfect rulers; they chose the seven best individual muses (with a singing contest ofc) and every muse gave most of their own power to the seven, creating seven stupidly powerful and smart rulers for Olympus. The Hebdomad then set up a seven caste system (that I’m definitely not calling the Choir Invisible, no sir) and determined who’ll do what and their system has been chugging along ever since. The Hebdomad decides how much power a muse needs to perform their duties (complete with codes of law and rules and regulations) and grants the exact amount, while every muse who accumulates more power than their station needs is required to hand over the excess music to the Hebdomad asap.

    Kinda sorta stealing from DnD archons (not using names of Greek muses because they wouldn’t really fit and also I’d like to at least vaguely resemble “canon” Planescape), the members of the Hebdomad and the castes they lead are:
    -Barachiel the Hammer (laborer)
    -Domiel the Trumpet (administrator)
    -Erathaol the Tome (scholar)
    -Pistis Sophia the Lantern (philosopher)
    -Raziel the Sword (warrior)
    -Sealtiel the Word (judge)
    -Zaphkiel the Throne (leader)

    Not gonna go into excruciating detail about the seven big muses cos it’s way too much effoto leave room for DMs.


    So that was an easy one on account of having a lot of **** to steal from regular DnD, I expect only devils will be easier than this. I’ll be doing similar posts for the remaining 15 planes, maybe, though I seriously doubt I can keep the neat mythical matchups going for all. Meanwhile, what do you say playground? Tell me why this is dumb and sucks and how your idea is totally better, I can take it.
    Last edited by Pronounceable; 2019-06-06 at 08:41 AM.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I'd actually say that one of Arborea's bigger themes is wild abandon. That, and ancient secrets. Mount Olympus is there, so there are maenads, mystery cults, wild hunts, all that.

    And I think making Yggdrasil both a planar pathway and plane is a bit weird? Like, in the normal great wheel, at least, the planes are connected to their neighbors, that's why it's a wheel. If you have one plane that is connected to all or a lot of the other planes, that kind of makes it vrey odd, in a wheel shape?

    My problem with Valhalla is... do the kind of glorified D&D barbarians even have a concept of faceless uniformed trench warfare of the kind that kind of makes classic Acheron? Could they visualize and believe in the kind of dehumanization that makes your Valhalla? Why would they end up there? It feels to me that it shouldnt' have a norse name, it doesn't fit norse mythology.

    Eliminating layers entirely causes some problems, I think. OR at least requires massive reorganization. And you lose a lot of cool concepts.


    And I'm not sure I would call the Eladrin Tolkien elves. Not just because of their elemental forms, those are almost kind of a side effect. But because of their ethos. If they are anything in Tolkien, they are Gandalf. The Eladrin's entire modus operandi is veils and disguises, to inspire mortals and shepherd them on the right path. Tolkien's elves are all about "assemble an army and knock on Morgoth's gate to challenge him to a sword fight/singing duel".
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Aniikinis's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    On the "Web"
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Just wanted to point out that Ereshkigal is technically not the name of the sumerian underworld, as its' name was Kur, though she, along with many underworld gods, were given the Hades treatment.

    EDIT: Also, the reason why celtic words use the latin alphabet is the same reason the nordic words do, so really it's not their fault. Blame the [pre-scrubbed] for forcing them to.
    Last edited by Aniikinis; 2019-06-08 at 02:37 PM.
    Quote Originally Posted by Quarian Rex View Post
    Sometimes you need more than well crafted crunch. Sometimes you need well crafted crunch that is playable in the game.
    Black for normal/uncaring/bored. Purple for in love. Blue for being a jerk/sarcastic bum.

    Black(Blue and Green) or Sultai is my khanate, and my colour alignment.

    For some strange reason I have a severe reaction to sunlight when it hits my eyes, no clue why or what causes it so yeah...
    The Rest of my Signature
    My Hombrew

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I'd actually say that one of Arborea's bigger themes is wild abandon.
    I'm sure that a big reason of it all is because that lot back in the day hated missing the hippie free love stuff that had happened a few decades previously so made sex, drugs and rock'n roll stuff the essence of chaotic good to live vicariously through their DnD characters. I don't have such motives and don't believe sex has an alignment.
    And I think making Yggdrasil both a planar pathway and plane is a bit weird? Like, in the normal great wheel, at least, the planes are connected to their neighbors, that's why it's a wheel.
    It makes sense in 8 dimensions. Probably.
    Valhallaplane formally known as Acheron... doesn't fit norse mythology.
    There's no better mythical warland name. If there was, it could swap.
    And I'm not sure I would call the Eladrin Tolkien elves.
    Might be true, but they're gonna be nothing alike any of those things when I'm done either way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aniikinis View Post
    its' name was Kur, though she, along with many underworld gods, were given the Hades treatment.
    I'll bet that happened because the ancients agreed with me that Kur is boring.
    the reason why celtic words use the latin alphabet is the same reason the nordic words do, so really it's not their fault.
    Nordic words manage to form some sort of correlation between letters and pronunciations. No excuse can exist for "Caiomhin".

    ***

    Time for LEland since that should be the easiest one. INFERNO and its devils are a staple and I wouldn’t replace them even if I could think of a better mythical evil critter. That said, they need some tightening up. A unified look for one, which they kinda have but not correctly. DnD makes devils mostly as horned tailed humanoids but can’t make its mind whether they’re fugly reptile monsters or sexy red skinned wankbait. And then splits the difference by making male devils fugly and female devils hot cos of course those goddamn nerds would do that. Devils should look appealing to mortals for the temptation business, so here in this thread all devils are purty red people with horns, wings and tails. Bat wings are sorta grandfathered in and there’s no need to go nuts and make it butterfly wings or whatever and the classic devil tail and goat horns are neat enough. From the lowliest imp to Big A, all devils have same basic humanoid shape, red skin, lustrous black hair, curving goatlike horns (none of that tiny pathetic nubs business here), large bat wings and arrowheaded tails. Unlike muses above, devils wear intricate clothes (duh) that denote their station and might be using all kinds of weapons or armors in battle.

    Next up, I’m gonna do another quick retcon and make the keywords of Inferno obedience and resentment. After that, gonna say that devils are made of law and DO NOT do that Game of Thrones crap. That **** is waaay too humanlike. Instead, devils are supremely obedient and will follow orders to the absolute best of their ability and don’t do the exact words ruleslawyer bull**** that is a mockery of law. Servitude is absolutely sacrosanct to devils, it’s just that they’d rather be at the top themselves and resent the fact that they aren’t. The resentment drives Inferno’s exemplars to excel at their own servility, as defying authority is unthinkable (this outlook does not include dumb mortals who summon them), and devils will always bend over backwards to accommodate their hated superiors. Taking their frustrations out on their own inferiors is the traditional coping mechanism, which serves to steadily increase available resentment amounts (thus the generation of more devilish essence). Remembering the definition of an exemplar, devils need to be slaves who hate their owners. A negligent and/or rebellious devil is a starving devil.

    All devils are part of the Infernal Hierarchy, created by Big A in time immemorial. Big A is still here because I’m pretty sure your average DnD nerd will riot without him. Before him, the baddest of devils had carved their own territories and were waging war upon each other for supremacy, wasting majority of Inferno’s power on dumb medieval aristocracy ****. It was both wasteful and unlawful (not to mention Big A wasn’t at the top). But now, thanks to Asmodeus and his Pact Primeval, all devils have been united and focused against an outside threat: the demons of Abyss.

    Hell yea I’m putting in the Blood War, Blood War is the ****. But unlike vanilla, I’m not dumb enough to make it the only thing of importance that ever happens in Planescape that every single thing must inevitably tie back into. It’s big and bad, but not even gonna be the biggest thing in lower planes. Blood War is only massively important to devils (and not even demons).

    Back on topic, unlike their goody two shoe counterparts above, the Infernal Hierarchy is a military and not some weakass society of peace and harmony and prosperity. It’s also a pyramid scheme with Big A at the top spot and all the essence/power/strength generated by devils being obedient and resentful goes directly to him. He then distributes it to his archdukes, who’ll then hand out some to their own vassals and miscellaneous archdevils, who’ll do the same in turn so eventually the power will trickle back to the rank and file (which has happened one time in the history of Inferno so it might just happen again any moment now, will say the devil footsoldier confidently).

    Speaking of, an archdevil is a “unique” devil whose accomplishments and skill earned it a personal entry in Pact Primeval. These are all those list filling names we can find all over DnD and are above the regular devilish ranks (from imp to cornugon, which I’m kinda keeping). All the named archdukes and dukes and counts and barons and whatevers are archdevils now. The pit fiends got gtfoed, since it’s such an idiotic idea to allow big deal devils to be generic nameless things (and also Inferno is not a pit).

    On the metaphysiology front, Pact Primeval itself sustains all devils now. The endless resentment and obedience it generates in a devil is all that’s needed to stay hale and healthy. A lone devil cut off from others of its kind is a ticking clock; lack of new and irritating orders or inferiors to boss around will lower resentment and obedience reserves to critically low levels and eventually cause starvation, no matter how hard it obeys previous orders. The penalty for such a death (or any other death really) is demotion, whenever a devil has to respawn back in Inferno it will be at a lower rank as dictated by Pact Primeval. Such a demotion will be undone after a grueling long period of flawless service doing the most onerous and least appealing tasks for the lowered rank, any kind of failure will render it permanent and heavily lower any future chances of promotion.

    Promotion comes from servitude and the better a devil serves, the higher its chances of getting promoted. And promotion is also the method of devilish reproduction, because I want my exemplars to breed in weird metaphysical nonmortal ways (and also no vague handwavy crossbreeding bull**** outside of specific exceptions). A devil who’s awarded a promotion must write the replacement for its previous rank into existence as a formal essay, describing what sort of personality and traits the soon to be created devil needs to have to serve successfully and adequately in that position, and then this essay must be sent along the Hierarchy and approved by all superior devils in that chain until it reaches an archdevil with enough authority to modify Pact Primeval. When Pact Primeval is finally changed to allow the existence of a new devil, a devil fitting the description in the essay coalesces from LE essence and the essay writer is finally promoted.

    Once again without getting into pointlessly much detail, here’s Big A et al that rule the Nine Circles of Inferno (that are mostly but not fully lavaland):
    -Archgeneral Bel (Avernus)
    -Iron Archuke Dispater (Dis)
    -Golden Archduke Mammon (Minauros)
    -Daughter Consort Fierna (Phlegethos)
    -Levistus (Stygia)
    -Infernal Princess Glasya (Malbolge)
    -Archduke Baalzebul (Maladomini)
    -Archduke Mephistopheles (Cania)
    -Infernal Master Asmodeus, the Dominus Infernus (Nessus)


    With the easy plagiarism stuff out of the way, the fun will begin. As in I will make **** up for reals from now, none of the rest of the plane-planar pairs will be the same as regular Planescape ones.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I don't believe sex has an alignment either. But the Dyonisian tradition is very much a chaotic one, I'd say, and I'm not sure where else you could set it on the planes.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Malsheem, Nessus
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    So, question for you.

    You're starting with the Planescape Great Wheel and say it's "cool and good" but you obviously hate the plane names, the plane themes, the plane metaphors, the plane layers, the concept of layers, the organization of the planes, the spirit of the planes, the concept of exemplar races, the specific exemplar races, the specific leaders of the exemplar races, the mythical inspirations of specific pantheons, the mythical inspirations of specific planes, the structure of the cosmos, the purpose for certain planes, the usage of certain planes, the thematic opposition of diametrically-opposed Outer Planes, the association of certain themes with certain alignments, the the role of alignment in the planes, the significance of the Outlands, the the history of Planescape, the creation myth of Planescape, the primacy of Law and Chaos over Good and Evil, and pretty much every possible aspect of Planescape and the Great Wheel as it stands up to and including the hypothetical motivations of the people who created it...except for the basic idea of 16 planes in a circle.

    Why, then, do you even want to start with the Great Wheel at all and make lots of tiny tweaks instead of just starting fresh and stealing liberally from Planescape wherever it makes sense?

    Like, you could have a plane called the "Seven Mountain Heavens of Celestial" but have each layer be one of the seven Upper Planes stacked on a central mountain--the fields of Elysium at the bottom, then the wild forests of the Beastlands, then the peaceful forests of Arborea, then the great crevasse of Bytopia with Shurrock on the Arborea side and Dothion on the other side with bridge-towns between them, then the stepped terrace city of Arcadia, then the twin heavens of Asgard on the north side of the mountaintop and Olympus on the south side.

    Or you could have a "constellation"-style setup, where there's a ring of 16 clusters of demiplanes divided by mythology (a Greek cluster with their seven afterlives, a Norse cluster with their nine worlds, etc.) or theme (a "Disney forest" cluster, a "fire and brimstone hell" cluster, a "wonky physics" cluster, etc.), or whatever other criterion floats your boat flies your plane. They could even cluster around signature terrain features, so the "fiery hell" planes are in a Baator-style pit, the "Greek world" planes are between the banks of the Rivers Oceanus and Styx, the "Norse world" planes hang in the branches and roots of Yggdrasil, and so on, and use those as planar pathways to connect the clusters.

    Or you could have four "aligment poles" situated around the eight Inner Planes of Air, Earth, Metal, Fire, Water, Wood, Positive, and Negative, so "Arborea" and "The Beastlands" are just portions of the Plane of Wood nearest the Good pole, "Avernus" and "Gehenna" are just portions of the Plane of Fire nearest the Evil pole, "Ysgard" is like the Beastlands but on the border with the Positive Energy Plane to explain the constant resurrection effect, and so on.

    There are tons of ways to grab a couple big ideas from Planescape and remix them into something totally different yet still recognizable, without going to the trouble of saying you're going to use the Great Wheel and then changing literally everything about it.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiDuRaritry View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'DiceLost View Post
    <Snip>
    Where are my Like, Love, and Want to Have Your Manchildren (Totally Homo) buttons for this post?
    Won a cookie for this, won everything for this

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    If someone likes the wheel arrangement, and just wants to change it around, nothing wrong with that.

    But if it's actually the wheel itself they don't like, then there are so many other ways to set things up.



    For one of my settings, all the other "realms" overlap with the material world, and also partially with each other inside that overlap.

    I lack the graphic or drawing skills to create a working depiction of it, but it's sort of like an Nth-dimensional Venn diagram, as each of the other realms has effectively 4+ spacial dimensions instead of 3.

    So for example, the realm of twilight is right there touching the material world, everywhere, just the thickness of a shadow away, on the other side of the mirror, behind the bookshelf, but only when you're not looking. If you somehow enter it, you're in a pale reflection or shadow of the material world... some refer to this as the Near Gloaming. But if you're not careful, while seemingly moving along a path or down a hallway, you can also be moving along another axis deeper into the realm, and lose your way in the Deep Gloaming, and not even notice until its too late. Deeper still, and you're past all semblance of the real world, lost in the Void, an infinity of frigid timeless formless nothing, where only those things born of darkness can maintain.

    Same sort of thing can happen in other realms as well.

    Wandering the realms is a bad idea for anyone who isn't very, very prepared.

    In that setting, the Moon People have "wayfinders" who can safely guide them through one of the realms, where the reflections and shadows and memories of old lost roads and hidden byways connect the world, to move their caravans a week's distance in a single night. That talent is exceedingly rare among the other Peoples, and most that have it could probably trace their ancestry back to find a dalliance or love story involving one of the Moon People.


    Applied to D&D, this sort of arrangement would be as if the Feywild and Shadowfel and Astral and every other Plane you included all directly overlapped with the Material while ALSO stretching off into the distance along a "fourth axis", but none of them exactly in the same direction.
    Last edited by Max_Killjoy; 2019-06-11 at 06:45 PM. Reason: edit-o during posting
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Malsheem, Nessus
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    If you somehow enter it, you're in a pale reflection or shadow of the material world... some refer to this as the Near Gloaming. But if you're not careful, while seemingly moving along a path or down a hallway, you can also be moving along another axis deeper into the realm, and get lose your way in the Deep Gloaming, and not even notice until its too late.
    [...]
    Applied to D&D, this sort of arrangement would be as if the Feywild and Shadowfel and Astral and every other Plane you included all directly overlapped with the Material while ALSO stretching off into the distance along a "fourth axis", but none of them exactly in the same direction.
    That's how the Ethereal Plane and Plane of Shadow work already, with a normal-ish Border Ethereal/Shadow region that overlaps the Prime Material (and the Inner Planes and alternate Primes, respectively) and a reality-breaking Deep Ethereal/Shadow region which, well, as afroakuma puts it, "If we're in Deep Shadow and nowhere near any other plane, then what exactly is this a shadow of?"


    This would actually be a pretty good way to reimagine the Inner Planes for people who feel they're too boring and empty (which they're not, people just haven't read the Planescape books on them, but that's another topic). You can have Border Earth as underground-adventuring-writ-large with winding tunnels and burrowing critters and such, Border Water as aquatic-adventuring-writ-large with floating cities and massive sea creatures, Border Air as bunches of flying islands in an endless sky, Border Fire as a sort of volcanic region, and so on, where other elements have a non-trivial presence and Material Plane natives can survive with some effort. Then you have the Deep regions where fire burns red dragons, water dissolves adamantine, air is thick enough to walk on, and earth has the gravitational pull of a neutron star, where Material Plane creatures have zero chance to survive and even the natives are in for a tough time.

    The same is doable for the Outer Plane, but require a bit more abstraction and DM fiat. On the first layer of Deep Acheron, everything becomes blocky and pixelated and moving in irregular paths is impossible because the physics of the plane demand that everything from sand grains to people is rectilinear. On Deep Pandemonium, communication and logical thought is literally impossible because talking or thinking through the mind-blasting winds is abhorrent to the plane itself. And so on.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiDuRaritry View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'DiceLost View Post
    <Snip>
    Where are my Like, Love, and Want to Have Your Manchildren (Totally Homo) buttons for this post?
    Won a cookie for this, won everything for this

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    and I'm not sure where else you could set it on the planes
    I can set it in the divine domain of Sune, the goddess of lust and beauty. And also Olidammara's place that connects there through the Infinite Staircase. Or someone who's not me can set it in the divine realm of Dionysus the god of wine and orgies. Great Wheel has way more space outside its main showrooms.
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    You're starting with the Planescape Great Wheel and say it's "cool and good" but you obviously hate everything lame and boring and dumb about it
    Why, then, do you even want to start with the Great Wheel ... instead of just starting fresh?
    That is what I'm doing. There's just a lot of cool **** to yoink.
    There are tons of ways to grab a couple big ideas from Planescape and remix them into something totally different yet still recognizable, without going to the trouble of saying you're going to use the Great Wheel and then changing literally everything about it.
    Then it wouldn't be the Great Wheel.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    it's sort of like an Nth-dimensional Venn diagram, as each of the other realms has effectively 4+ spacial dimensions instead of 3
    Incidentally, that's how this multiverse is (although doesn't have that sort of deepening effects except for Ethereal and Astral). The infinite 3d space planes also just happen to form a wheel(ish hyperdimensional thingy) at xth dimension. It's just irrelevant to the subject matter at hand (outer planes) and thus hasn't been mentioned.
    Applied to D&D, this sort of arrangement would be as if the Feywild and Shadowfel and Astral and every other Plane you included all directly overlapped with the Material while ALSO stretching off into the distance along a "fourth axis"
    Except for a whole overlapping of everything at every point instead of diverging directions, yes.
    Wandering the realms is a bad idea for anyone who isn't very, very prepared.
    Now this, although seems like a personal preference at first glance, is the biggest reason Planescape always failed to work well, far above and beyond my petty aestetic gripings in here. You cannot do this. Not on a multidimensional high magic adventure rollercoster kinda thing DnD's planes are presented as. This can only work on a human(oid)centric setting where all otherworldly critters and places are dangerously unreachable and lethally mysterious beyond mortal ken. Then it'll be cool and thematic and flavorful. (ok that's technically a personal setting preference but y'all know what I mean)

    Otherwise you have DnD's acute infinity disorder; where the game promises you endless infinite planes of wonder and coolness and magic and adventure and fun, then when you actually try to go to a fantastical place you're told you ain't tall enough to ride. This doesn't make it so that players finally becoming strong enough to actually get to those mysterious places get rewarded by the awesomeness, it only makes sure nobody even gets there. Makes the whole thing a waste, maybe even an institutionalization of disappointment.

    So any kind of fun fantastical adventure romp sorta setting must have vanishingly few gatekeepered unreachable places.

    You can have Border Earth as underground-adventuring-writ-large with winding tunnels and burrowing critters and such, Border Water as aquatic-adventuring-writ-large with floating cities and massive sea creatures, Border Air as bunches of flying islands in an endless sky, Border Fire as a sort of volcanic region, and so on, where other elements have a non-trivial presence and Material Plane natives can survive with some effort. Then you have the Deep regions where fire burns red dragons, water dissolves adamantine, air is thick enough to walk on, and earth has the gravitational pull of a neutron star, where Material Plane creatures have zero chance to survive and even the natives are in for a tough time.
    Could be neat, except I'm opting to make the outer planes the more fantastic "levels" (and also not really having those deep unreachable regions because such places are nonexistant anyway in practical terms as I complained above). I'm gonna make inner planes even more weird on a conceptual level if we can ever finish the outers.

    ***

    Before I can get to detailing other exemplars, I need to first find them. So now we’ll see how far I can keep matching mythical names. Svarga has devas (or rather I wanted devas so used name of Svarga but potato, potato) and Asgard has einherjar, so we’re off to a fast start.

    We need an Egyptian supernatural being name for 11 o’clock. The closest to Planescape exemplar appropriate names google found me are pesedjet and hehu (lol if you think I’m gonna use their Greek versions just because it’s what wikipedia knows). Picking an individual god’s name and making that a whole species of critter would’ve been the classic DnD way of doing things but I dislike it. I will go with pesedjet since it sounds better than hehu and also aren’t snakes/frogs. However I can still change Aaru to some other pastoral bliss paradise thing from another mythology, so not sitting down to detail this plane and its exemplars just yet.

    I don’t think there’s a single Greek mythical creature name left that’s not already been gobbled up by DnD, so the Elysium matchup seems dead on arrival. As is Tartarus. We leave those aside for now.

    Calling the magic forest plane Yggdrasil means looking at Norse names, since guardinal is a weird madeup word. Sadly, I ran into a snag here. I’d like to leave the things formerly known as guardinals somewhat in their original DnD flavor but possible exemplar namey words don’t fit them: vanir, aesir, jotunn, valkyrie, norn are all far cries from fighting furry. OTOH butchering Norse mythology for nerdy purposes is a time honored tradition predating our modern era so I’m tempted to just slap jotunn in here (cos even norns are actually jotnar if internet isn’t lying to me) and call it a day.

    Naming Littleprinceia Tian calls for a Chinese benevolent spirit/god group kinda thing’s name to inhabit it (unrelatedly, while randomly googling **** remotely related to this subject, I found that a “the racial slur database” website exists). I sorta wanna go full zodiac building off of China+sky connection here but we’ll see. Nevertheless, exemplarish names are wudi/wushen and xian. While the first has a neat colorfulness, I’ll go with second instead so the xian lives in Tian. It’s like poetry, it rhymes.

    Putting Naraka directly opposite to Svarga and devas means I’m required by laws of physics to exemplarify it with asuras. It’s gonna take some effort to scrub their DnD version but I’m sure I’ll manage.

    Demons of the Abyss will undergo changes but they’re still demons of the Abyss. It’s hardwired into DnD harder than even devils.

    Ereshkigal (that I might swap to Irkalla with extreme regret) is inhabited by some specific named demons (who’ve long since been appropriated as demon lords into the Abyss) and generic dead souls. That’s ok cos there’s a particular thing I wanna do with the plane of pure evil that has nothing to do with mythology and everything to do with DnD. I don’t need to find an exemplar name (even though gallu exists).

    Mythological Xibalba has, far as google tells me, bolontiku. It’ll do for now, tho it’s a little troubling that there’s no other alternatives.

    And lastly there’s the much contested Valhalla, as the famous eternal warland in myths that gets to replace the utterly unfitting name of DnD Acheron. Gonna go right ahead and put valkyries in here, even though them being directly opposite to einherjar seems weird. However a thought occurs to me: what if I don’t name the place after a place? What if, instead, I use a something else name?

    Spoiler: The table pretending to be a wheel strikes back!
    Show
    Svarga
    devas
    Olympus
    muses
    Aaru
    pesedjet
    Elysium
    Yggdrasil
    jotnar(?!?)
    Tian
    xian
    Asgard
    einherjar
    Nirvana
    -
    Material Limbo
    -
    Ragnarok
    valkyrie
    Inferno
    devil
    Xibalba
    bolontiku
    Ereshkigal
    Tartarus
    demodand
    Abyss
    demons
    Naraka
    asuras

    Yea I slipped in a totally madeup DnD critter in there, sue me. Those dudes are awesome, unfathomably better than the mainline madeup exemplars.

    You’ll notice something in there. It’s true, the pure alignments won’t have exemplars. Because imma amend the exemplar definition right here:

    An exemplar is a metaphorical immortal creature formed when essences of alignments from perpendicular axes mix, each type manifesting on a particular outer plane and feeding on certain ideas, behaviors and/or metaphorical concepts to grow stronger in some way.

    How’s that for a plot twist? I think it has a shot for a spot in top10 anime betrayals. It also underlines complete alienness a “pure” alignment would have, as the exemplar critters are (as inhuman as I demand them be) basically personifications of alignments.

    I will put some critters in those planes nevertheless, we don’t want empty boringness even in Ereshkigal. But they’re gonna be regular outsider critters like slaadi or modrons or angels or rakshasa or bebiliths or whatever.

    For now, that’s enough making up sdesign. Let's see if anyone will chime in.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    If you want a place name in stead of Valhalla, the final battle of Ragnarok occurs at Vigrid (Vígríðr, “the plain where battle surges”).

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Max_Killjoy's Avatar

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    The Lakes

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Pronounceable View Post
    Incidentally, that's how this multiverse is (although doesn't have that sort of deepening effects except for Ethereal and Astral). The infinite 3d space planes also just happen to form a wheel(ish hyperdimensional thingy) at xth dimension. It's just irrelevant to the subject matter at hand (outer planes) and thus hasn't been mentioned.

    Except for a whole overlapping of everything at every point instead of diverging directions, yes.

    Now this, although seems like a personal preference at first glance, is the biggest reason Planescape always failed to work well, far above and beyond my petty aestetic gripings in here. You cannot do this. Not on a multidimensional high magic adventure rollercoster kinda thing DnD's planes are presented as. This can only work on a human(oid)centric setting where all otherworldly critters and places are dangerously unreachable and lethally mysterious beyond mortal ken. Then it'll be cool and thematic and flavorful. (ok that's technically a personal setting preference but y'all know what I mean)

    Otherwise you have DnD's acute infinity disorder; where the game promises you endless infinite planes of wonder and coolness and magic and adventure and fun, then when you actually try to go to a fantastical place you're told you ain't tall enough to ride. This doesn't make it so that players finally becoming strong enough to actually get to those mysterious places get rewarded by the awesomeness, it only makes sure nobody even gets there. Makes the whole thing a waste, maybe even an institutionalization of disappointment.

    So any kind of fun fantastical adventure romp sorta setting must have vanishingly few gatekeepered unreachable places.
    Of course the sorts of characters and campaigns and "stories" you want to use a setting for will change what works, totally agreed.

    The "you must be this tall to ride this dimension" slider needs to be adjusted, along with the competence and power and access to "toys" of the characters, to enable the sorts of travels and adventures you want in a campaign.

    The setting I described isn't for a multidimensional high magic adventure rollercoaster, at least not until the very end of the thing it goes with. But, if using it as a gaming setting, you could adjust those "sliders" and open up the Byways for the PCs to travel long distances faster, for starters.
    It is one thing to suspend your disbelief. It is another thing entirely to hang it by the neck until dead.

    Verisimilitude -- n, the appearance or semblance of truth, likelihood, or probability.

    The concern is not realism in speculative fiction, but rather the sense that a setting or story could be real, fostered by internal consistency and coherence.

    The Worldbuilding Forum -- where realities are born.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Malsheem, Nessus
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Pronounceable View Post
    Then it wouldn't be the Great Wheel.
    I'm still confused as to why the name matters when this version of things is already not the Great Wheel. It seems like a lot of the changes you're making are just epicycles added in to make things more Wheel-like for no particular reason when you'd rather be doing anything else.

    I mean, in this post you went to the trouble of redefining "exemplar race" to mean something different to exclude partly-neutral exemplars like modrons and slaadi from the definition, then immediately said that you're still going to have signature races for the partly-neutral planes such as modrons and slaadi which are totally not actually exemplar races but still have all the same properties except for lacking the same name. But only Planescape in particular cares about or even defines exemplar races, and you can totally have aasimon and fiends and modrons and slaadi and all the rest in whatever other cosmology you want to use (and they do show up in non-Wheel cosmologies without their Planescape baggage) without ever bringing up the "e-word" and the setting will work out just fine.

    You also made einherjar and valkyrjar diametrically opposed across the pseudo-Wheel when mythologically speaking they should be in the same place with the same alignments and loyalties even though you acknowledged that makes no sense, and put devas and asuras on opposite sides because you "have to" even though you're going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to change up the asuras and don't even know what you're going to do with them yet. What does that possibly gain you over putting einherjar and valkyrjar in the same plane, making the asuras' plane match them thematically instead of bending the asuras to fit the plane, and calling it a day?


    I'm not trying to crap all over your project and say you're ideas are bad and you shouldn't do it; if you want me to go away and leave you to it, I can do that. This just really resembles a fantasy heartbreaker, where someone tries to make "a new and interesting RPG" that ends up being D&D with a few minor tweaks that sticks to D&Disms purely because they're D&Disms because the author has never played anything beyond D&D before...except heartbreakers are usually written by people who love the game and the setting as-is despite their flaws, not people who dislike D&D-qua-D&D; in the latter case, why try to "fix" D&D when you can just go play GURPS, you know?
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiDuRaritry View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'DiceLost View Post
    <Snip>
    Where are my Like, Love, and Want to Have Your Manchildren (Totally Homo) buttons for this post?
    Won a cookie for this, won everything for this

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Yanagi View Post
    If you want a place name in stead of Valhalla, the final battle of Ragnarok occurs at Vigrid (Vígríðr, “the plain where battle surges”).
    I didn't know that. It's neat.
    OOH it's kinda obscure. Like Acheron, a random guy off the street wouldn't think "big war" when they hear Vigrid, whereas everyone will immediately understand the main theme of a place named Ragnarok. OTOH Aaru/Xibalba is just as obscure (if not more) so it's not like obscurity is a thing that should stop me. Gonna consider some more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Max_Killjoy View Post
    totally agreed.
    I agree with your agreement. (can I agree with a thing I said myself? prolly not)
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'Dice Lost View Post
    It seems like a lot of the changes you're making are just epicycles added in to make things more Wheel-like for no particular reason when you'd rather be doing anything else.
    If I'd rather be doing anything else, I'd be doing that. I'm here fixing the Wheel.
    I mean, in this post you went to the trouble of redefining "exemplar race" to mean something different to exclude partly-neutral exemplars like modrons and slaadi from the definition, then immediately said that you're still going to have signature races for the partly-neutral planes such as modrons and slaadi which are totally not actually exemplar races but still have all the same properties except for lacking the same name. But only Planescape in particular cares about or even defines exemplar races, and you can totally have aasimon and fiends and modrons and slaadi and all the rest in whatever other cosmology you want to use (and they do show up in non-Wheel cosmologies without their Planescape baggage) without ever bringing up the "e-word" and the setting will work out just fine.

    You also made einherjar and valkyrjar diametrically opposed across the pseudo-Wheel when mythologically speaking they should be in the same place with the same alignments and loyalties even though you acknowledged that makes no sense, and put devas and asuras on opposite sides because you "have to" even though you're going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to change up the asuras and don't even know what you're going to do with them yet. What does that possibly gain you over putting einherjar and valkyrjar in the same plane, making the asuras' plane match them thematically instead of bending the asuras to fit the plane, and calling it a day?
    It's a work in progress. As such, it will continue to do so until I'm satisfied (or bored, which is less likely).
    I'm not trying to crap all over your project and say you're ideas are bad and you shouldn't do it; if you want me to go away and leave you to it, I can do that.
    Nah, it's good. But if you ask the same question, I'll have the same answer.
    This just really resembles a fantasy heartbreaker, where someone tries to make "a new and interesting RPG" that ends up being D&D with a few minor tweaks
    Already did that too. The result looked much better than any version of DnD and didn't break my heart one bit.
    in the latter case, why try to "fix" D&D when you can just go play GURPS, you know?
    Not that this has any bearing on this particular thread, but because nobody ever plays anything other than "DnD" and they will eat an entire mountain of homebrewed bull**** before they'll learn GURPS/Fate/whatever.

    ***

    Before I go back to complaining how hard the critters formerly known as guardinals are to name after some mythological thing and other such miscellanea, let’s get demons done real quick.

    Demons of the Abyss are a balanced incarnate of evil and chaos. They DO NOT have easily identifiable types and are all unique (at least to spawn with). As the first type of chaos exemplars we’re tackling, they have no unified look, shape or power. A demon can be a green skinned dwarf with snail eyes or a hot lady with purple glowing ears or a floating giant glass skull or a cow with five snake tails or a horse **** with dove wings. There’s no telling what any demon’s power level or supernatural abilities will be.

    As CE creatures, they hate everything. As denizens of the Abyss, where an immensely stronger demon might randomly spawn right next to you at any moment, even the strongest of them live in constant fear of a sudden pwnage. This is good for demons; since they feed on hate and fear, the Abyss is a paradise for them (or at least a being as inherently unhappy as a demon can get nearest to that idea) and a ninety nine point an arbitrary number of nines percent of them have zero interest in the rest of the multiverse and will certainly be spending the rest of eternity preying on each other in the Abyss. The microscopic fraction of demons that gives any ****s for the outside is enough to cause all sorts of harm.

    Speaking of the Abyss itself, I despise how vastly overencompassing DnD made it. It would’ve been cool if it was the only source of all evil critters but no. Default DnD Abyss has an infinite number of infinite layers with infinite variety of horribleness, absolutely nothing is out of line for it. Which is the “reason” anyone who’s ever had any kind of bad place idea throws it into Abyss, confident that it’s not gonna be out of place. Well that’s true, nothing can be out of place for the Abyss. You know what else happens? It means the entire ****ing rest of the lower planes have no goddamn reason to exist. Can we get a floating giant metal cubes smashing into each other place? Sure, just throw it into Abyss as layer#2324. How about underground caves full of darkness and screaming killer winds that drive everyone mad? Sounds like Abyss layer#763 to me. You can throw every other evil plane in as just more layers of the Abyss, even ****ing Nine Hells as layers#658-666, and they’d all fit right in and absolutely nothing would change in any meaningful manner. It’s almost as bad as every single upper plane being the same pastoral romantic nature reserve with slightly different mythical seasonings. This **** is so goddamn SHODDILY MADE. Planescape is awesome and cool and deserves so much better than what they did. Which is why I’m fxing it.

    Anyway, the Abyss. The Abyss is a series of plains and chasms descending into infinity like a spiraling staircase. A “layer” is a vast plain surrounded by two walls and two chasms that forms one step of the ever descending stairwell. The individual plains can be covered by anything, ranging from bloody swamps or lakes of magma to forests of razor trees or cities made of quivering flesh, but they’re always a plain. Going “down the stair” will take anyone to the next layer, while falling into the “stairwell” will mean falling forever (or until getting caught by one of the astronomically large nets some demon princes extend from their layers to catch fallers, which can end up being worse than falling forever). Climbing or flying up “one stair” from any layer will always result in reaching the very first layer, covered by a great demon city known as Pandemonium that every portal or planar pathway from outside ends at. Going up the “wall side” is possible but pointless far as anyone knows, as it’s infinitely tall (as is the “upstair” of Pandemonium).

    Also, the Abyss is an interplanar cancer trying to spread and swallow the other planes but its growth is slowed every time a demon is killed and slightly reversed when a demon is actually annihilated. Which is why there’s a divine seal on the plane that prevents demons from leaving it by any means (except for a mortal’s summoning, as the seal predates the creation of mortals and can’t be modified now without breaking it).

    New demons randomly spawn in the Abyss and existing demons can, upon gaining enough CE essence through hate and fear, evolve into a stronger shape (that may or may not have entirely different powers). However every single demon does have common qualities that differentiates them from other fiends of lower planes. Would’ve been real dumb of me to make demons all encompassing after expressing my loathing of default DnD’s Abyss. First is their ability to devour souls/spirits. All demons can devour souls/spirits of any being weaker than them (including each other), trapping the victim inside. This is a torturous existence, the soul/spirit is being digested without ever dying and their fear (of this torment never ending) and hate (of the demon tormenting them) becomes an endless source of nutrition. Adding onto demon’s own fear and hate of fellow demons, devoured souls/spirits is the main component of demonic diet. There’s no known limit to the number of souls/spirits a demon can keep in its “belly” (a tiny dimensionless demiplane which is, for the lack of a better description, inside its body) but all trapped souls are released if the demon is killed (and cannot be captured by the demon that most likely did the killing either).

    The second common quality of demons is the ability to sense demonic essence. Stealth is not a thing among demons. Every demon not only knows every other demon within a certain distance with pinpoint accuracy, they can also tell exactly how powerful they are by the amount of CE essence they contain. This innate detection can’t be blocked by any means and even a demon that manages to become a god cannot hide from the weakest and lowliest of demons. This is the reason demons are generally considered violent brutes; since unless a demon is so overwhelmingly powerful that few other demons would dare to **** with it, any sort of intricate plots and plans depending on a demon employing deceit and disguise can instantly be ruined by a randomly passing other demon alerting the intended victims for giggles. This doesn’t mean demons are dumb (though many certainly are), it merely means that more often than not demons will use most direct methods (and the ones that do use deceit will also be extremely strong).

    I think these two qualities give demons enough of a unique character that they don’t get that dreadful “might as well replace any fiend” card. But I may need to add more detail to them, not entirely convinced they’re %100 good just yet.

    Outside of randomly popping into existence in the Abyss, a very few demons can breed. Usually this is extremely specific and nonsensical, such as being able to mate with a male rabbit and grow pineapples (and is likely to never even be discovered by the demon that has the ability), but a few outliers like Pale Night and Graz’zt exist and use it to devastating effect.

    Befitting a chaotic plane, the Abyss has no clear hierarchy or ruler but there’s one specific demon of great importance. Demogorgon, the Demon Prince of Demons, is the first demon to ever call themself a demon prince and gather vast armies that they didn’t need to be right there to command obedience. They did this by inventing the Damnedcrafting, the art of shaping souls of dead mortals that end up in the Abyss into controllable monsters. So Demogorgon created the first army of the damned, a vast army of monsters made from souls of CE mortals who died and fell to the Abyss, and started conquering the place. A quirk of Damnedcrafting is to bind the souls to the crafter, letting the demon feed on their hate and fear as if they were devoured without actually devouring them. As a result, Demogorgon had become the single most powerful demon by the time his army was big enough to start conquering and they only grew stronger as time went on. The army of the damned conquered layer after layer, the inherent inability of demons to cooperate left them easy pickings to massive numbers of the damned (that were indistinguishable from demons to a nondemon). Luckily for everyone everywhere, Demogorgon found the process of conquest offensively samey, full of unevil and unchaotic logistics and administration, unbecoming a demon. So they just stopped and went back to their old layer, leaving the army of the damned behind. From that day on, Demogorgon devoted themself to increasing their skill at Damnedcrafting ever more horrific things.

    Once the driving will of Demogorgon left the warped soul monsters to randomly mill about, other demons quickly figured out what they were and how they were made. Afterwards, countless demons made their own armies of the damned and proclaimed themselves demon princes, subjugating their fellows that failed to master the art and warring among themselves. The net result of these historic events is stupefyingly powerful demons that are still around, each styling themselves after the original with a Demon Prince of Something moniker, usually with armies of the damned that fit the concept they picked for themselves (like mushroom monstrosities for Demon Princess of Fungi or replica exemplars for Demon Prince of Deception). Though none dare provoke TripleD by using an of Demons title even now, as they will always come out to destroy a challenger like that. TripleD has a massive headstart on all other Damnedcrafters and is, by now, stronger than most gods; no challenger to their title ever won (tho a few managed to survive by amusing TripleD or offering a big enough bribe). They do not the rule the plane the way Hebdomad rules Olympus, but TripleD are by far the most prominent of their kind and has shaped the modern Abyss into what it is (a plane full of demons and demonlike damned monsters divvied up by countless demon rulers all vying for supremacy).


    So why do I, the poster, want to make Abyss like this? A) This allows me to include any cool demons and demon adjacent things DnD made up, B) I get to keep demon princes who’re both neat and classic, C) Abyss as a potentially existential threat to everything else can be used to raise the stakes of any adventure if needed, D) so the Abyss will be a truly chaotic place with the confusion over demons and the damned, E) I think the image of stairs spiraling into darkness is a cool visualization that things can always get worse no matter how bad it is now.

    Give it to me straight, thread. Do these demons suck? Do they need more trimming?
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  18. - Top - End - #18
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I think I'm with Paradise. I don't really get what you're doing here. You call it reinventing the wheel,but then you're removing everything and replacing it with the total opposite in ways that don't really make sense to me.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

  19. - Top - End - #19
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    I don't really get what you're doing here.
    I'm inventing a better Great Wheel. I thought that was clear. Anyone who thinks the existing Great Wheel is very good might think it unnecessary but who even thinks that?
    Also everything I'm doing makes perfect sense and any that don't right now eventually will. This is a work in progress.


    And now it’s time to start making **** up properly. I’m kinda tempted to just redo all the stuff I did on my last thread but ofc I won’t. Because that’d be pointless and silly; not to mention that was a god job and rest of the cosmology took a backseat. I’ll try to keep repeats only to the best bits.

    So here we got devas and asuras on mainly lawful and chaotic planes with less focus on good-evil, which conveniently fits their mythical theme too. And looking at real mythology again, we see a big thing: churning of the ocean. It’s awesome and I certainly wanna steal it wholget inspiration from it. But what about DnD, is there a law-chaos thing I can throw on top of this? Sure. The good old War of Law and Chaos. I’m taking some bits and pieces from it (because it’s less awesome) and large parts of the churning myth to make totally %100 for reals original content.

    Once upon a time there was no Wheel. The outer planes just drifted in the astral plane like empty boats on a sea, crashing into each other with disastrous results. This was very upsetting to devas, the exemplars of Svarga who worshipped order. Asuras of Naraka were also unhappy with this state of affairs, for they wanted nothing at all to do with law and order yet their plane kept bumping into such planes and brought them in contact (and conflict) with those. When Svarga and Naraka crashed into each other and got stuck once again, the two exemplar races finally put aside their differences to end this crap for good. They decided to give the astral a good churning to separate the planes of chaos from planes of law, then set the whole thing rotating to ensure the planes will remain separated forever. Devas constructed an astronomical paddle in astral (that they named Rod of Law) while asuras created a great neverending storm to turn it perpetually.

    What happened next is unclear. For devas secretly plotted to manipulate the paddle’s rotation to throw all chaotic planes into the Abyss which would devour them and then cease to exist since theoretically a pit filled is no longer a pit, while asuras’ scheme was to increase the churn speed until astral plane itself was destroyed and their plane slingshotted out of the multiverse to be isolated from everything else forever, assuming anything else was left at that point. What is clear is that once they started, all other exemplar races also flocked to the site of the Rod of Law in astral, alarmed by the cosmic upheaval. A great battle broke out between exemplars when they recognized what was happening and chaotics and lawfuls banded together to prevent the other side from exploiting the situation to their advantage. In the end the common plan really worked, setting the now circularly arranged planes into a rotation that lasts to this day. However the Rod of Law exploded into seven pieces and the Howling Storm gained a life of its own and got stuck inside Naraka, while almost all exemplars present were annihilated by the blast.

    Net result was the end of the Primordial Age and creation of the Great Wheel as we know it, though myths and legends of each exemplar race tells the details differently. Since the war was so unfathomably long ago, no beings who witnessed the true events still remain; though there are some ancient exemplars here and there who existed back then but didn’t go to the battlefield.

    After this little history lesson, we’re gonna look at devas and asuras next. Remember their keywords are unity, order and isolation, madness. Which is why I have devas trying to destroy chaos and asuras trying to become alone in existence. I also like the semi-creation myth being based on the ethical axis instead of the moral (since I agree with DnD that Moorcock approach is the cooler one).


    Also I've decided to make smaller posts. Should be easier to swallow like this. Downside is it'll be a thread where one poster posts over and over with few others in between and almost nobody reads those. Upside is that those who do read will presumably have easier time following.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  20. - Top - End - #20
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Y’all ready to go further and further away from canon? Cos we’re going.

    Taking a look at regular DnD deva, I see it’s the standard hot dude with wings. That’s not gonna fly since we gave that to muses of Olympus. So we’re in need of a new look. Since we got muses for the purty/inspiring angelic theme, I’m gonna go with the be not afraid mortal school of angelicness. And I know the place to steafind it.

    Devas are floating clumps of geometric shapes made of marble and gold, seemingly connected to each other with halos made of solid light. Their shapes are arrayed to vaguely resemble bodies with variable numbers of limbs and/or heads and all surfaces are covered in extremely fancy decorations; their parts bend and move in ways that are strange and unsettling to mortals. This look has nothing whatsoever to do with Hinduism devas who’re broadly in rather humanish with some extras camp, which was getting old already after being on both muses and devils. Which is why we Bayonetta now (minus the disgusting **** under the shiny façade bit).

    What were those keywords again? Unity and order, right. Order is in their mentality. Where to put unity? The easiest answer is a hivemind. But I’ll go one step further and do a unity of body. Devas have defined categories, as is always the case with lawful outsiders. Three equivalent devas combine into a deva of one higher rank, melding their shapes together and forming into a larger whole with even more intricate decorations and fancier halos. High ranking devas get ever bigger and stronger, the whole always being larger than the sum of its parts. The merged deva effectively become a new being, an amalgam of its parts. So the higher a deva’s rank, the closer it gets to a hivemind without actually getting there(1).

    Another thing I’m gonna throw in for no reason other than I wanna is maths. Ok not just for want of a want, I need to make up those ranks somehow and can't steal DnD's (or Bayonetta's for that matter) unfitting names this time. Not to mention mythological names/classifications of devas or dumb transformers jokes just ain’t gonna cut it. Also muses had music and devils had contracts, so we’ve kinda established that lawful exemplars have a thing. And what better thing for beings of unity and order than mathematics? One keg of maths, coming up.

    Every deva is one solution to an incomprehensible mathematical equation that devas call the Nave of Chaos. According to their myths, the first deva found the equation written on a floating golden cube at the exact center of Svarga in the beginning of time and when it(2) calculated the first one of its seemingly infinite solutions(3), the second deva formed next to him and a third one with the next solution. But the cube containing the equation melted when three devas crowded it, causing strife as they blamed each other and then went separate ways. The original three each continued calculating solutions by themselves and created more devas like them, resulting in three sets of devas. Eventually, after a very long time, the original three met and compared their work. They figured that the equation was Chaos itself and if all of its solutions could be determined, they would prove chaos was actually not chaos at all, but an even higher Order that was just too complicated to recognize as such. Then they promptly merged, becoming the first higher rank deva, showing that they really were on to something. Devas believe that when that when the Nave of Chaos is fully solved and all the solutions summed up(4), existence will finally be completed and all flaws will be fixed and there will be cake and rainbows for all (metaphorically speaking).

    Retroactively fitting maths into general deva look, those ornate decorations covering deva bodies are actually the mathematical proof of the particular solution that deva was formed of; it’s just etched/carved/gilded in Svargan that no being except devas can read or understand. And whenever a previously unknown solution to the Nave of Chaos is calculated correctly (anywhere, not just Svarga), a new deva(5) forms right there and the ultimate victory of “Law” approaches one step closer. Today’s devas have learned their lesson from the ancient War of Law and Chaos and are not looking for shortcuts to victory, they will do it properly or not at all.

    And back to the reason for making math a thing in the first place, the devas are divided into three Sets (after the mythical first three devas): Reals, Imaginaries and Complexes. These have different powers and stats that I have no intention of crunching here in this thread. All sets are further divided into ranks that are simply numbered from Ones to Nines. While theoretically these ranks can stretch to infinity, in practice a Nine deva already requires 39 devas(6) to combine and a potential Ten would get silly.

    Devas bring law and order and logic and mathematics (and thus science in a roundabout way) to mortals, though they have much harder time of getting to them than muses.


    (1) hivemindness is an asymptote
    (2) all devas are it, as gender is nothing more than unnecessary discord to nonmortals and the other gendered exemplars are weird and illogical
    (3) 42
    (4) as in an infinite number of devas merging into an Infinity rank deva
    (5) of the appropriate set
    (6) more than 19 thousand

    This is kinda indulgent. There’s way too much unnecessary backstory stuff here, all I really needed was to list the deva types after the general deva description. But simply writing those weird words I chose without explaining the reasoning would seem real odd and nonsensical.


    I'm open to suggestions for any part of this. Except suggestions that'll say why not just stick with regular DnD devas. That suggestion can stay unposted.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  21. - Top - End - #21
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I fell into a procrastination shaped hole. But now I’m back out and throwing a small addendum on the last post: Real devas have power over matter, Imaginary devas have power over energies. Y’all can guess the Complexes. I’ve thought about changing their names some more but they’re good.

    Onwards to the next topic: asura of Naraka. DnD made them CG angels with bird bits for some reason I can’t figure, whereas mythologically asuras are straight up bad devas. I’ll make yet another change and now the keywords to the plane formerly known as Pandemonium are isolation and obsession. This is because “madness” is too generic and can mean pretty much anything and is thus a useless descriptor.

    An obvious picture those keywords draw is the classical nerd dwelling in the basement full of all the stupid expensive paraphnelia of his chosen “hobby”. Much as I like to discard easy ideas, this one seems a keeper. It’s immediately familiar and completely unlike the other exemplar races we’ve made so far, not to mention the idea of the mancave would fit real well into Naraka’s theme of underground caves and tunnels. Plus the most easy answer was the madman in the dark cell of a Fauxtorian asylum, babbling as he waits for old school “therapy”. So we’re keeping the terrible nerd flavor.

    As extra chaotic exemplars, asuras don’t need a unified look. In fact it’s prolly better if they’re extra variable. Though the absolute variability I handed to demons (as a kind of concession to regular DnD’s silly Abyssal oversaturation) means it’s virtually impossible for asuras to top that. Which has been stumping me for a while now, making me wonder if I should change demons and move the endless variety over here. I don’t want to go back to Bayonetta for inspiration either, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

    So as of yet, asuras aren’t locked down visually. The main theme is clear however: asuras don’t give a **** about anything, except for one thing that they’re utterly obsessed with and devoted to. This might be something as narrow as one specific painting by one particular artist, or as broad as human psychology. Whatever it is, the asura is an unparalleled expert on the subject, has spent unimaginable time/effort to collect all manner of related stuff and can talk about it for literal years. This makes them useful. A DM can use an asura as the dispenser of vital campaign knowledge obtainable nowhere else; finding the correct asura that knows the information needed and then convincing it to share can be an adventure all by itself. Or ensuring the asura’s destruction to keep the vital secret hidden. Or any one of the approximately seven trillion other uses of secret knowledge.

    Having a distinct use is good, since these isolated obsessive asuras are unlikely to be going out and causing havoc like demons. And even asuras who don’t have any greatly important information will want stuff, whether the last coin minted during the reign of King Kingsley IX of Kingdomia or the password to the secret portal of Archwizard Ganondolf, and will want it bad.

    What about the next keyword? Asuras aren’t merely obsessed with their things, they also want to be the ultimate havers of their obsession and will not suffer another asura’s attempts at sharing their thing. They don’t care if filthy casuals have interest in their thing, not like they can really understand and appreciate it, so it’s fine for something like a human imagining himself to be an “expert” backgammon player, but another asura is a dangerous rival who could potentially outobsess them and must be eliminated. As a result, for all their hatred of any sort of company, asuras keep in touch (usually in disguise) with other beings that have interest or expertise in their thing to find out if another asura somewhere has decided to become a rival. And whenever such a thing happens, it’s all out war between the two rival asuras until one locates and annihilates the other (and also claims their stuff). Which is a lot harder than you might expect, cos see below.

    So these asuras I make are coming with built in plots, like tempting devils and rampaging demons. This is good. They’re also those two guys you’d find on most nerdy parts of internet arguing back and forth about that one stupidly specific point for fifty forum pages to prove who’s the true ****ing King **** of Nerd Mountain. Such people are a goddamn blight in the real world and I feel %577 justified in basing one of my chaotic evil exemplars on them. This also lets a DM to roleplay and/or plot these asuras with great ease. Greatness all around.

    On metaphysiology, asuras are self sufficient on their own obsession and loneliness. Just like demons and unlike both devils and muses, I might add. Maybe I should put down a rule that says chaotics are self sufficient while lawfuls need others of their kind to survive but that may tie my hands unnecessarily later on. Though unlike demons, asuras won’t thrive by themselves and need to immerse themselves ever deeper into their obsession to grow stronger, which means interacting with the multiverse at large. They hate that as creatures of isolation, yet their obsession will not let them stay hidden away and ignore the rest of existence. This contradictory nature is the reason asuras uniquely have a lifespan among the exemplars. Eventually, after a plot conveniently long time obsessing over their thing, some asuras grow bored of it and abruptly cease to exist. Opinions are divided whether it was good or bad for that asura, though all existing asuras are absolutely certain that their thing is the best thing that can ever be and they will never ever tire of it. On the upside (for a given value of up), traditional destruction methods like spheres of annihilation, Gray Wasting or divine interventions do not work on asuras and they will always respawn safe and sound back in their hideyholes at Naraka.

    As for new ones, an asura is created in the depths of Naraka when some being somewhere does something self destructive out of obsession and gets destroyed. A mere stupid death isn’t enough (they could be rivalling demons in numbers if that were the case); a being must get itself utterly annihilated through its own hangups to spawn an asura, for increasing the total number of beings in existence would be philosophically unacceptable to the platonic ideal of asuras.


    So here’s a pretty cool critter of CE I'd say, distinct and separate from demons. Hopefully whatever I put in Tartarus will manage to be as distinct too. I know I said demodands but I didn’t say default demodands. Not to mention I can find a better idea at any moment and swap them. I also haven’t gone too much into nature of Naraka itself, still contemplating that. Someday imma post about the howlstorm of Naraka (that I'm trying very hard not to name Soulnado).
    More hopefully, this post isn’t too long.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  22. - Top - End - #22
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Today we’ll sort out the 8 o’clock issue. There’s been objections about its name, its exemplar, its opposition to Asgard and its themes. I’m gonna solve it all now, for a given value of solve and a given value of all and a given value of now.

    I’m keeping RAGNAROK as the name. While Vigrid would be better for being a place name, it wouldn’t make it as immediately obvious to the average guy on the street about what’s going on here. Though we’re not doing this project for the benefit of the average guy on the street, it’s still good to give our stuff as much comprehensibility as possible. I’m also not naming it after another mythical war afterlife because there are none.

    However! Vigrid will exist to celebrate me learning of it. It’s the remaining half of the plane that didn’t much later get conquered by Gruumsh and became Nishrek. As much a gods project as this ain’t, gotta give Old One Eye his due. Y’all will note that these are not layers, cos “layer” is an unnecessary concept.

    Keeping valkyrie as the exemplar too, directly opposed to einherjar and all. How come? Well, have a seat.

    So have y’all heard of the Ancient Baatorians? It’s a neat DnD thing that I like, you might wanna look it up if you’re interested, except it’s not gonna fit in this Wheel. So I’m pushing it sideways and now we have Ancient Ragnar/Ragnos/Ragnians/Raglings/Rugrats (working title). They were the native exemplars of the place and were utterly incapable of multiplying and are now extinct. In the Churning, all exemplars lost way too much of their populations but Ancient Ragnar were the worst off due to being incapable of recovery. So einherjar of Asgard saw their vulnerability and, once their numbers were replenished, invaded Ragnarok in great hosts to hunt down and destroy Ancient Ragnar. With assistance of the mercenary bolontiku of Xibalba (who’ll do anything for pay and will, unlike devils, do the exact words ruleslawyering bull**** that’s a perversion of law), einherjar found and annihilated every last Ragnar. And then to ensure they’ll never be back, invading einherjar did a thing that utilized something of Ancient Ragnar themselves and deleted all information about them from the entire multiverse, including details of the thing they did. So now nobody, including any being who were around back then, know anything about Ancient Ragnar.

    Obviously genocide++ was a bad thing and doing it on Ragnarok went poorly for the einherjar that took part. They were warped by their use of Law’s power, the large amounts of Chaos inside them got replaced with Law and Ragnarok pushed the Evil of their actions into their being and overrode the lesser amount of Good they had. They had then become VALKYRIES, a new type of exemplar that was just as warlike as einherjar but replacing the overdramatic bravado and addiction to violence their former forms had with a joyless focus and systematic brutality. Valkyries are LE critters befitting the 8 o’clock of the Wheel now; claimed by the semi-sentient plane of manipulation and brutality as “weregild” for its original inhabitants (yep that’s another keyword change). And a weakass type of evil exemplar got replaced with stronger ones, all according to keikaku, say bolontiku (though who’d trust those?).

    I’m justifying valkyries as fiends because they were demonic beings that took the dead off of battlefields first, the shieldmaidens taking brave warriors to Valhalla stuff came later. Or so google says, google wouldn’t lie to me, ya know?


    So there. I’ve not only justified valkyries’ opposition to einherjar, I also incorporated a cool default DnD thing into our new and improved Wheel. Unless I swap them again with jotnar due to finding some more fitting mythological cover for guardinals in the near future, but even then this bit of backstory would’ve stayed. That’s also why I’m still not going into valkyries’ details like previous exemplars. Stay tuned.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  23. - Top - End - #23
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I like some of the things I see here.

    Hope I can add to the Fun going on, here.

    @Pronounceable
    Not sure if you want all my Ramblings cluttering up your thread, so if you feel I need my own - just let me know.

    I have ideas on other (mostly about Hell) threads, if anyone is unaware, but interested. Post Questions, or PM me.

    Note 1: I have a hard time IRL working on these kind of things by myself.
    So, if I seem slow posting, that's why.
    Posting in response to Ideas and Feedback, helps.

    Note 2: since I don't want to have to keep typing/repeating it - all things posted are my opinions. See Signature.

    ****""
    Ok. I can totally get behind:
    Inferno replacing the Hells.

    However, I still like - and use - a lot of the old RL Myths and Racial Deities you're replacing.
    (Which is still cool, I like some of the remakes in your Gods thread, your working on. Though I'll need time working them into my games.)

    Asgard because give credit where due: really. Hel is linked, if not on the same Plane.

    Olympus and Hades are also linked, if not on the same Plane.

    But, both of those Planes are more than just what most people refer to.

    Example: Olympus is more than a Mountain.
    It's just that those writing about the place tend to focus on said Mountain. Because, you know, Zues (and Family/Friends) lives there.

    ****""

    I just tend to give each Race their own "Demi" Planes, which can border on being Outer Planar versions of Material Planes.

    Spoiler: Planes
    Show

    Now, before I get too in depth in rehashing all the different Pantheons and their respective Deities, First I should step back a bit and explain some of my thoughts.

    Ok. I'll accept, and even use, most of the D&D Alignments

    I'm going to need help figuring out how all these Planes fit on a "Great Wheel".

    "The Tree" is copyrighted by the Norse, and I'm not even fighting that battle!

    "The Axis" - I'll be honest, I have yet to really get the picture for this.

    For the various "Evil" Realms of each "Mythos", these might be a Demi-Plane within the corresponding Alignment Plane, but still directly connected to their respective Prime Plane.

    Like Hel would be a Demi-Plane in the Abyss, but connected to Asgard.

    This makes traveling between the various Realms via non-magical means.

    ****""
    * Note: I used the "Demi-Realms" as being the Outer Planar versions of Material Planes, in my Epic 3x games. Might just keep the idea, though.

    ****""
    I'm lousy naming things.
    All help is greatly appreciated.

    LG - Order
    Spoiler
    Show
    Yes, I know about the oD&D thing where Order (Creation) and Chaos (Entropy) weren't Good/Evil.
    However, they tended to become Law+Good and Chaos+Evil in the head-cannon of most gamers; Which is why (IMO) Gygax went with the now traditional Alignment Chart in AD&D


    Dwarves get a Demi-Plane here.

    "Olympus" goes here.

    ****""

    CG "Wanderland" A less violent version of the Beastlands.

    Gnomes have their Demi-Plane here.

    "Asgard" is here.
    Yggdrasil is just how some mortals view the Astral Plane, because some people don't wanna think about an endless fog/sea.

    ****""

    NG "Peace".
    Halflings have their Demi-Plane here.

    Elves have their Demi-Plane here.

    ****""

    LN Mechanus
    (Mostly because I can't think of a name for the Main Plane)

    The Egyptian Pantheon has their Demi-Plane here.

    ****""

    TN Cannae
    (Yes, I know it's Roman)

    - the Ultimate "I Don't Care" Dimension.
    I'm more inclined to just go with either:
    1) Make this the "Contested" Plane, where all the War/Fighting goes on. The dimension itself doesn't care about, and is unaffected by, all of that.

    2) make the Dimension merge with the Astral Plane, and put Sigil at the Top/End: as the easiest way to access all the other Planes.

    3) I'm actually thinking:
    Combine the two a little, where Sigil still floats above the Battlefield, and only non-hostile beings are allowed in. The Astral plane allows access to either, depending on Attitude and Intention/Desire.

    ****""

    CN (ugh!) Beastlands
    Wandering Talking non-anthropomorphic Animals (although most of the Bipedal Animals do end up here) in the ultimate "Survival in the Wilderness" (and not just "Forest") game.

    ****""

    NE Ereshkigal

    Limbo (?)
    (Personally, I can live without Slaad.
    Really, near-Fiendish Frogs that reproduce via Xenomorphic methods? But, somehow exist in a randomly changing (Chaotic) unaligned (Neutral) dimension? Nope.
    If I'm forced to keep Slaad ("they're in the book!") they go into a Demi-Plane in the Abyss.
    The Githzerai kicking their butts is still awesome!)

    I liked Pandemonium being the Fiendish version of Sigil.
    But, being the Threshold of The Pit is also cool.
    Need new Fiendish City Name, which "sits" at the Bottom/End of the Astral Plane….

    Duergar have their Demi-Plane here.

    Goblin/Bugbear have their Demi-Plane here.

    ****""

    CE Abyss (Demons)

    Gnolls have their Demi-Plane here.

    Orcs have their Demi-Plane here.

    ****""

    LE - Inferno (Devils)

    Carceri is still here, but ruled by LE Fiends less double dealing than Devils.

    Hobgoblins have their Demi-Plane here.

    Kobolds have their Demi-Plane here.
    (Though, since I actually like Dragons (go figure) - I might try and work on their own Demi-Plane/s with altered Deities)


    I'm seriously not able to cover every new "Race" now allowed in 5e.

    To me different versions of a Race
    (Humans, Elves, etc from Eberon, Ravnica, etc don't call for a different "Afterlife", unless tied to a specific Deity-using cultural Belief.
    In which case, use that Campaign's Outer Planes as the basis.)

    Centaur, Aarocra, Kenku, Tabaxi, Loxadon, Tortles, etc
    Go to the Beastlands, unless dedicated to a specific Deity. Some somehow end up in the Feywild.

    ***
    I'm not inclined to argue about Exemplars.

    Especially since you're taking some out of their respective Mythos, and reforging them for your games.

    If anyone is interested, I'll see about posting about how I place some of these non-mythos-specific (Yes, I know some of the names from Religions will still overlap) Exemplars (including Demon Lords, and Archdevils) in my game.

    ***
    I'll check in from time to time for responses.
    Until then, cheers!
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  24. - Top - End - #24
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    A whole new quote (to break up):
    Quote Originally Posted by Great Dragon View Post
    Not sure if you want all my Ramblings cluttering up your thread, so if you feel I need my own - just let me know.
    Ramble away, it's fine. I'm not against stealing other people's ideasuggestions.
    However, I still like - and use - a lot of the old RL Myths and Racial Deities you're replacing.
    (Which is still cool, I like some of the remakes in your Gods thread, your working on. Though I'll need time working them into my games.)
    OOH I'm adamant that using real mythical gods straight up is lame and boring. OTOH it's not like Sune isn't Aphrodite and Gruumsh isn't Christianity description of Odin and Shar/Selune aren't Ahriman/Ahura Mazda and so on and so forth.
    "The Axis" - I'll be honest, I have yet to really get the picture for this.
    It's the Holy Mountain (of which there's like a dozen all over the world) or other various otherworldly passages to divine realms. Funnily enough the World Tree is yet another Axis Mundi.
    Unless you mean 4e's World Axis, which is something entirely unrelated to Great Wheel and is maybe picked due to just sounding cool and mystical.
    * Note: I used the "Demi-Realms" as being the Outer Planar versions of Material Planes, in my Epic 3x games. Might just keep the idea, though.
    Outer planes are defined as fundamentally different from Material (like elementals), this would change their basic definition but functionally nothing else. Either way would work.
    Gnomes have their Demi-Plane here.
    No gnomes allowed. It's Weiss and Hickman's fault but screw gnomes nevertheless: we're nosist on this Wheel.
    Yggdrasil is just how some mortals view the Astral Plane, because some people don't wanna think about an endless fog/sea.
    Too subjective for my ride. But it's a neat idea due to Astral being plane of thoughts.
    TN Cannae
    (Yes, I know it's Roman)

    - the Ultimate "I Don't Care" Dimension.
    I Don't Care Dimension should not be allowed to be a thing among I Care Too Much Dimensions. There's a baker's dozen I Don't Care About Your Dumb Mortal Feelings Dimensions on the inside. It can be some sort of Material parallel like Feywild though, that's possible, but what would be its big thing? War? We have the 8 o'clock for that.
    Combine the two a little, where Sigil still floats above the Battlefield, and only non-hostile beings are allowed in.
    I'll be making Sigil completely unfindable except for portals. That would suit the mystery nature of Lady of Pain better.
    CN (ugh!) Beastlands
    Wandering Talking non-anthropomorphic Animals (although most of the Bipedal Animals do end up here) in the ultimate "Survival in the Wilderness" (and not just "Forest") game.
    That sort of Beastlands would make a good CN plane actually. It just wouldn't be as good as Limbo's cHaoSMatTEr gimmick for 3 o'clock and I already put Asgard as the humanoid version.
    (Personally, I can live without Slaad.
    Slaadi are a type of CE fiends and will go to an appropriate plane later on.
    I liked Pandemonium being the Fiendish version of Sigil.
    But, being the Threshold of The Pit is also cool.
    I can possibly split the difference and have both. Though would prolly need TripleD to be the mayor to prevent it becoming Acheron 2: Demonic Bugaloo, giving it to some CE god is out of the question, and TripleD would never want to be a mayor.
    Need new Fiendish City Name, which "sits" at the Bottom/End of the Astral Plane….
    There's a load of other underground caves hells. Choose one.
    Carceri is still here, but ruled by LE Fiends less double dealing than Devils.
    Carceri is chaotic (by default). Also devils do not double deal, that is libel and grounds for legal action.
    To me different versions of a Race
    (Humans, Elves, etc from Eberon, Ravnica, etc don't call for a different "Afterlife", unless tied to a specific Deity-using cultural Belief.
    In which case, use that Campaign's Outer Planes as the basis.)
    Mortals go to whatever god their souls are pledged to for afterlife and the ones who didn't bother in life get sorted by the Winnowing Engine for their actions and sent to appropriate outer plane as petitioners. All of those weirdass human-animal mashup critters are fey and aren't mortal and reincarnate in Feywild unless annihilated.

    ***

    You know what, imma double post instead of continuing here. Total dedication to our commitment to shortness right here.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  25. - Top - End - #25
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Last time on asuras of Naraka, we didn’t know what they looked like. And now we will. But first some planescaping…

    What kind of place is Naraka? It’s what DnD’s Pandemonium used to be: your basic cavey underworld plus deadly endless wind. That wind is prolly the neatest and distinctest thing the plane has going for it, so we’ll focus on that. I’d said something about asuras creating a storm in the Churning Myth but gonna scratch that now. The howling endless wind had better be a natural part of the plane. A neat coincidence that I totally didn’t intend is that mythological Narakas come in hot and cold varieties and what happens when there’s cold and hot? That’s right, wind. Now throwing in some flourish.

    The Eternal Howling is the neverending storm of mixed blistering heat and flashfreezing cold winds that blow at supersonic speeds on the plane of Naraka. The stormfront moves unpredictably and is heralded by an unsettling screeching sound that rapidly gets closer and louder. Getting caught out in the open will cause instant death to any nonasura creature (no matter how immune they might be to heat or cold or anything else) but the infamous Howling can be heard for a few minutes before the deadly winds arrive, leaving just enough time to find a secluded niche in the pockmarked tunnels and caves of Naraka. Although the storm never lasts more than a minute in any given spot, it’s known to suddenly turn around and blow backwards so the usual practice for visitors to the plane is to stay holed up until the Howling fades away completely. The winds tear out the souls or spirits out of their bodies and carry them off, said to join the howling in endless agony as they’re smashed on the walls. Which seems to be a random occurance for mortals, as many mortals killed by the Howling can be resurrected just fine (but not all of them). Yet as far as anyone can determine, any outsider creature killed by the Howling has never respawned. This makes Naraka an extremely unpopular place to visit for the normally immortal denizens of outer planes.

    So now Naraka is an extremely dangerous place somewhat similar to the ones I strenuously objected to in the other posts of this thread. But there’s massive differences here: it’s not utterly impassable until players are high powered enough and no amount of levels and/or bling will ever make it safe, it needs actual player involvement when the Howling comes calling, it’s “random”. So in other words it’s a DM fiat tool no different than suddenly ninjas!.

    Going back to asuras, why are they immune? It’s because they’re also made of the Howling: asuras look like bloated, bulbous, colorful things vaguely similar to bodies of various creatures but their true form is a clump of extremely hot and cold winds furiously circling each other. The apparent shapes are a sort of clothing they make out of some unknown elastic material, used to both make themselves visible and gain the ability to interact with things without burning or freezing them. Their clothes and/or skins are highly resistant but can still be punctured with enough force, which will create an explosion of blistering winds and is rather dangerous. Asuras are also immune to cold and hot, as might be expected.

    So basically explosive balloon animals. Yes it has nothing to do mythological asuras but they’re of the mostly human school of design and we don’t want that. Also they’re literal windbags that will explode when sufficiently frustrated. This is verily amusing.


    But now there’s another issue. What did asuras do for the Churning if not make a storm? I originally skipped the roping of the giant snake part of real myths because I didn’t want to be that derivative, even if it meant being less cool. My solution for this issue is a motor. Or rather the Motor: a gigantic Infinite Drive that was built to rotate devas’ Rod of Law. Asuras could make such a thing because they had great experts at all sorts of **** like thermodynamics and metallurgy even back then. I have this sneaking suspicion that I can actually do better than this but so far, that hypothetical idea has eluded me.

    So now we’re retconning the Myth of the Churning of the Astral so that the Infinite Drive and Rod of Law exploded together and annihilated large swathes of exemplars warring nearby; Rod broke into seven pieces and scattered throughout the multiverse and the Drive got flung to the top of Olympus (yes the literally unreachable place).

    ***

    That's 5th exemplar race done out of 12. We're right on schedule. Next I'll start stealing my own stuff from the previous multiverse.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  26. - Top - End - #26
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    BlackDragon

    Join Date
    Dec 2018
    Location
    Portland, Oregon
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Pronounceable View Post
    Ramble away, it's fine. I'm not against stealing other people's ideasuggestions.
    Thanks!

    I'll be putting up my own thread, since that way Members can read and stealborrow from everyone Pontificating on the subject equally.

    Spoiler: Ramblings
    Show

    *Pronounceable: OOH I'm adamant that using real mythical gods straight up is lame and boring. OTOH it's not like Sune isn't Aphrodite and Gruumsh isn't Christianity description of Odin and Shar/Selune aren't Ahriman/Ahura Mazda and so on and so forth.*

    As I (hopefully) implied, I'll be changing all those Folks, over time.

    *Pronounceable: Unless you mean 4e's World Axis, which is something entirely unrelated to Great Wheel and is maybe picked due to just sounding cool and mystical.*

    4e World Axis is the version I meant.

    *Pronounceable: Outer planes are defined as fundamentally different from Material (like elementals), this would change their basic definition but functionally nothing else. Either way would work.*

    I suppose I've read too many Thor comics, where he can wander through the different sections of Asgard on Sunday; stroll down the wrong path and deal with Giants in their Realm/s on Wednesday; and even march down into Hel and rescue someone on Friday; and then go down the Rainbow Bridge to Midgard and party it up in NYC on Saturday.

    Which is why I called it a version of a Material Plane, because all those are linked - but it's not, and the Planar Laws are those (mostly) in the Books.

    *Pronounceable: No gnomes allowed. It's Weiss and Hickman's fault but screw gnomes nevertheless: we're nosist on this Wheel.*

    I like Gnomes, but agree that their Dragonlance (a fun read, but not a great RPG) counterparts weren't really useful.
    Gully Dwarves made me sad.
    I might steal move some of the different Elves, though.
    And too many players wanting to use Kender as an excuse to be Kleptomaniacs - just annoyed me.

    *Pronounceable: Too subjective for my ride. But it's a neat idea due to Astral being plane of thoughts.

    *Pronounceable: I Don't Care Dimension should not be allowed to be a thing among I Care Too Much Dimensions. There's a baker's dozen I Don't Care About Your Dumb Mortal Feelings Dimensions on the inside. It can be some sort of Material parallel like Feywild though, that's possible, but what would be its big thing? War? We have the 8 o'clock for that.*

    Which works just fine for how you're setting up your Wheel.

    My version might be called a Wheel, if you squint real hard….
    The Eight Alignments "ringed" around Cannae.
    (I'm still working on the picture in my head, of this)

    Note: put the Various Demi-Planes in the respective Plane.

    I really don't have a use for War "for its own sake", so I just dump all the "eternally fighting" Groups here. The Demon Horde vs the Devil Army takes place on Cannae. The only real exception for me: are Demons vs Devils, because they're trying to directly destroy each other from their respective (already established) Planes - but it's more Guerrilla Warfare, even here.

    *Pronounceable: I'll be making Sigil completely unfindable except for portals. That would suit the mystery nature of Lady of Pain better.*

    Yeah. I like that. I much prefer The Lady of Pain over The Raven Queen for "Mysterious Ruler".

    *Pronounceable: That sort of Beastlands would make a good CN plane actually. It just wouldn't be as good as Limbo's cHaoSMatTEr gimmick for 3 o'clock and I already put Asgard as the humanoid version.*
    Thanks for the kind words.

    Edit: I'm thinking that for your Chaos, the Weather is totally random, like changing on a scaling roll:
    D4 hours, then D6 hours, then D8 hours and finally D10 hours, and the resetting back to D4.

    *Pronounceable: Slaadi are a type of CE fiends and will go to an appropriate plane later on.*
    Cool.

    *Pronounceable: I can possibly split the difference and have both. Though would prolly need TripleD to be the mayor to prevent it becoming Acheron 2: Demonic Bugaloo, giving it to some CE god is out of the question, and TripleD would never want to be a mayor.*

    TripleD as Conqueror King looks awesome….
    What Anarchist respects a mayor?

    *Pronounceable: There's a load of other underground caves hells. Choose one.*

    More research…..

    *Pronounceable: Carceri is chaotic (by default).*

    Well, unless Carceri is run like a (USA) Southern Work Farm Prison (which is still kinda cool), I tend to imagine huge "Castles" with level after level of rows of prison cells, with hard*** Guards and an unforgiving Warden. Even if the Demi-Plane is Chaotic, the Jailiers are (like Githzerai) Lawful, and their "exploit you" Attitude makes them Evil.

    <Snip>
    *Pronounceable: and the ones who didn't bother in life get sorted by the Winnowing Engine for their actions and sent to appropriate outer plane as petitioners.*

    Frankly, for "unclaimed souls" I much prefer simply using (LN) Thanatos: The Reaper and Judge. With the "Penitence Stare" that Ghost Rider had in the (first) movie.
    You can't wiggle your way out of what you deserve in the Afterlife with Tanatos, since you're fully aware of exactly Everything he's Judging you by. There isn't anything beneath his notice, either.

    *Pronounceable: All of those weirdass human-animal mashup critters are fey and aren't mortal and reincarnate in Feywild unless annihilated.*

    I'm seeing the revenge return of the 3x Anthropomorphic Critters, just with new names…


    LG NG CG
    LN TN CN
    LE NE CE

    Posted:
    My World
    Last edited by Great Dragon; 2019-07-10 at 05:33 PM.
    My Knowledge, Understanding, and Opinion on things can be changed
    No offense is intended by anything I post.
    *Limited Playtest Group - I'm mostly Stuck in the White Room.
    *I am learning valuable things, here. So thanks, everyone!

  27. - Top - End - #27
    Orc in the Playground
    Join Date
    May 2009

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Nice to see the Churning of the Ocean of Milk (Sumudra Mathan) being referenced. One of my favorite stories as a kid.

    Used it as the basis of a bunch of planar stuff about a decade ago, mostly relating to Law/Chaos (and especially Mechanus and Limbo). I made different choices, but I'll go find my notes.

  28. - Top - End - #28
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

    Join Date
    Nov 2006

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Hello thread readers. I have fallen into an even deeper hole than the last, a Castlevania shaped one. Still down there actually. Finally managed to get something resembling a post so here it is.


    Time has come to deal with the CGland. As mentioned TIAN is gonna be the space level, in that it’ll look like an endless nightsky full of tiny stars. Those stars are actually littleprinceoids when you look closer and created wholesale by their sole inhabitants as their very own perfect world. In the plane of freedom and individuality, all it takes for someone to create their very own perfect world is to imagine it. And if it gets old later on, you can always change it up as much as you want. You get a world, you a world, errybody gets a world. And they are exactly as you want and you won’t have to ever share them with anyone. You won’t and, actually, you can’t.

    The tiny worlds of Tian are created out of nothing but desire and imagination of the individual and cannot be shared; it’s possible to have visitors over but if multiple beings ever try to live on the same one, it immediately starts to break down as the Tianoid (working title) tries in vain to be absolutely perfect for both and soon puffs away due to the tiniest of differences between the owners. Luckily the interstellar void of Tian isn’t actually harmful for any being and new/old worlds can be created as instantly as they get destroyed.

    Sounds like a good place to be, right? It’s kinda lonely for the socially attached and obviously Tian doesn’t allow creation of intelligent beings on its worlds, but it’s certainly hard to imagine a better place to be if all your family and friends are also here and infinitely visitable. That’s the whole point of the CGland: it’s so awesome why wouldn’t you wanna be there and why not convince everyone else you like to join up as well? It may not be an infection trying to swallow the entirety of existence like the Abyss but Tian is no less voracious in its desire to become all encompassing, it’d just rather be voluntary. After all, isn’t it obviously superior to all the other various planes and/or afterlives gods offer to their followers? Who would ever want to be anywhere else?

    See, this is the bit I’m stealing from my previous stuff. In there, I basically invented a whole new plane and exemplar race of atheism evangelists and just slapped DnD’s CG names on them despite them having **** all to do with those defaults. This time we’re not keeping DnD names for no reason but the concept is still just as solid. Xian of Tian were great and ferocious warriors in the olden days, mixing it up with demons and einherjar and whoever else’s plane drifted near in the primordial era. Once the Astral was churned and planes arranged, the need to fight to protect their plane drastically went down and xian decided to channel their passion for battle to more positive things. They meditated and philosophized until they became the retired old masters of kung fu and/or samurai flicks (because I kinda need to get some Far Eastern tropes into a thing called xian). But then along came the mortals on Material. And then the parasites made of their thoughts, beliefs and emotions. Next thing the xian knew, poor mortals were enslaved wholesale and their actions and even thoughts were being dictated by the massive leeches that had started to call themselves gods. It was the greatest injustice in the multiverse. Sure worse things happen at the Abyss, but evil doing unto evil in the lands of evil didn’t really count. So the xian dedicated themselves to a new cause, a good cause that all the other so called good exemplars were ignoring (prolly cos they didn’t have the balls): they would save the mortals from the oppressive yoke of their “gods” and cast those parasites down from their lofty stations.

    Therefore our CG exemplars are all no gods no masters and down with the man and are lone wolf rebels with a worthy cause. Xian are missionaries and revolutionaries who secretly meddle in affairs of mortals. They sow strife between servants of gods, expose corruptions within religions to discredit them and create those corruptions if some can’t be found (it’s for the greater good after all). They preach to rid the mortals of the tendency to bend at the knees, they inspire mortals to live according to their own desires instead of arrogant rulers’ whims (they do try to curb the more selfish and dumb and evil tendencies they see among mortals tho, chaos is all well and good but good is also good). Xian work tirelessly and covertly to undermine any and all sorts of authorities and spread the obviously superior philosophy of chaotic good. And of course they’re still the little wizened old men from kung fu flicks (metaphorically speaking) and capable of kicking twelve kinds of ass simultaneously when threatened with violence. In short, they are dangerous and unstable agents of chaos and are a grave threat to all authority in Material Plane.

    So I’ve successfully plagiarized myself (because that was the superior source). I think I don’t need to belabor the point of CGland the space level and everyone already got it, we’ll get to what xian themselves are like later.
    Founder of the Fanclub of the (Late) Chief of Cliffport Police Department (He shall live forever in our hearts)
    CATNIP FOR THE CAT GOD! MILK FOR THE MILK BOWL!
    Shameless shill:

  29. - Top - End - #29
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    PairO'Dice Lost's Avatar

    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Malsheem, Nessus
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    Quote Originally Posted by Pronounceable View Post
    Therefore our CG exemplars are all no gods no masters and down with the man and are lone wolf rebels with a worthy cause. Xian are missionaries and revolutionaries who secretly meddle in affairs of mortals. They sow strife between servants of gods, expose corruptions within religions to discredit them and create those corruptions if some can’t be found (it’s for the greater good after all). They preach to rid the mortals of the tendency to bend at the knees, they inspire mortals to live according to their own desires instead of arrogant rulers’ whims (they do try to curb the more selfish and dumb and evil tendencies they see among mortals tho, chaos is all well and good but good is also good). Xian work tirelessly and covertly to undermine any and all sorts of authorities and spread the obviously superior philosophy of chaotic good. And of course they’re still the little wizened old men from kung fu flicks (metaphorically speaking) and capable of kicking twelve kinds of ass simultaneously when threatened with violence. In short, they are dangerous and unstable agents of chaos and are a grave threat to all authority in Material Plane.
    Corrupting churches and undermining authority for the lulz and being dangerous and unstable agents of chaos is a much better fit for CE or at best CN than it is for CG, and the whole "the CG plane wants to consume and homogenize everything just like the Abyss, but there's a little 'G' on its alignment tag so it's all good" bit is the same symmetry-for-symmetry's-sake setup that got us the BoED with its "It's okay to be evil as long as you're bright and shiny and doing evil to Evil people" bizarro logic.

    Not to mention that there are in fact CG gods out there, so having the CG exemplar race be explicitly anti-god not only doesn't make much sense in the context of exemplars generally being (or at least moonlighting as) divine servants, but also greatly weakens the CG gods relative to the other alignments such that paradoxically the CG exemplars' existence is likely to cause things to trend toward L and E because those exemplars and gods end up stronger for the partnership.


    The whole concept you have here makes much more sense as a TN exemplar race replacing the rilmani.
    • Everyone has a little world all their own instead of being stuck in a particular alignment-determined afterlife? Check.
    • The "starry sky" theme in D&D tends to be reserved for the Neutral-aligned backdrop regions (Astral Plane, Wildspace in Spelljammer)? Check.
    • The exemplars hate all gods of all alignments equally? Check (and TN is generally the alignment of "screw the gods, I care more about the Material Plane" already).
    • Their actions are morally ambiguous (they screw with both Good and Evil groups and curb the worst excesses of alignment)? Check.
    • Their actions are ethically ambiguous (they're all about freedom and individuality, very Chaotic, but they want to impose their vision on everyone, very Lawful)? Check.

    And of course wizened old kung-fu gurus come in both "kindly Good mentor" and "power-hungry Evil rival" varieties, and both Lawful-only monks and Chaotic-only chaos monks exist, so you want to allow souls of any alignment in the kung-fu-themed paradise.
    Better to DM in Baator than play in Celestia
    You can just call me Dice; that's how I roll.


    Spoiler: Sig of Holding
    Show

    Quote Originally Posted by abadguy View Post
    Darn you PoDL for making me care about a bunch of NPC Commoners!
    Quote Originally Posted by Chambers View Post
    I'm pretty sure turning Waterdeep into a sheet of glass wasn't the best win condition for that fight. We lived though!
    Quote Originally Posted by MaxiDuRaritry View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by PairO'DiceLost View Post
    <Snip>
    Where are my Like, Love, and Want to Have Your Manchildren (Totally Homo) buttons for this post?
    Won a cookie for this, won everything for this

  30. - Top - End - #30
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    Eldan's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Switzerland
    Gender
    Male

    Default Re: Reinventing the Wheel Yet Again

    I do like that interpretation of a true neutral plane a lot. The Concordant Opposition was always one of the least interesting planes, even if it had a lot of interesting locations.
    I solemnly swear,
    To devote my life and abilities,
    In defence of the United Nations of Earth,
    To defend the Constitution of Man,
    And to further the universal rights of all sentient life.
    From the depths of the pacific, to the edge of the galaxy.
    For as long as I shall live.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •