Some Cosmic Clerics revel in the horrors beyond.
“The ANCIENTS awaken! It is my duty to see that they are ready to take hold of what was once theirs. The time of the material plane denizens is numbered!” – Xel’lenia, Human Cleric of Cosmic and Elder God Cultist
“The space beyond is more than proof of the Gods! While many hide away in small pocket realms of their own design, some are brave enough to face the great aether at large! The wilds of space itself is home to many great beings and I am a disciple of them.” – Torrean Guildlight, High Elf Cleric of Cosmic and Eccentric Researcher
The Cosmic Domain offers a pinch of Lovecraft, a bit of Spelljammer and the vast knowledge of a far greater universe.
Author’s Note: I wasn’t overly fond of my original Eldritch Domain from a ways back. So, like with the Nightmare Sorcerer becoming the Dream Sorcerer, the Cosmic Domain was created. I wanted to come up with some abilities that scream “outer space”, but I had a bit of a struggle. Hopefully, you enjoy. And, if you have ideas on how to build those ideas, let me know!
“Endure, in enduring grow strong.” – Dak’kon, Zerth Disciple
The endless struggle in the planes beyond. This is brief summary of the Gith, a displaced and wounded people. Long ago, they came to know suffering under a domineering race of creatures known as “Illithid”. The horrid creatures broke and enslaved these beings into servitude, harvesting them when it became convenient. In a showing of will and defiance, rebellion lead to the gith breaking free. However, factions arose over what to do with their newfound freedom. The split lead to the rise of many new groups rife with their own strange philosophies and viewpoints.
Despite this fracturing, each respective faction remains strong and proud in their own manner. Each continues onward in their ideals. Each finds their place in the multiverse. However, they remain sullied by hatred and biases of the past. Many refuse to deal too much with their kinds, lest they risk getting dragged into Gith politics. However, a wise and powerful ally is usually welcomed within a team.
Author’s Note: Wouldn’t you know it? I’m not overly satisfied with a non-core book on races, once more. Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes is by all means a great book in terms of conflict inspiration as well as monsters, but I was eager to do my own take on things. As I’m a master of reinventing the wheel, here’s my own take on the Gith. But, in all seriousness, I’ve been wanting to this for a while. Even before Tome of Foes was announced, I wanted to do a whole assortment of Planescape races. The new book just encouraged me to get to it. Mind you, most of this was already pondered when the initial unearthed arcana article came out.
Please don’t anger the Lady of Pain!
So, the theme for this blog for the past couple of months has been planar creatures and dimensional weirdness. Nothing embodies both better in my opinion within the realms of D&D than the Planescape Campaign Setting. While I’ve enjoyed other AD&D settings like Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms and Dragonlance; Planescape has remained special to me. It’s a strange and cosmic fantasy where imagination is truly the limit! You want to fight insane mechanical cubes with ray guns? You can! You wanna gamble with a Devil with an Angel by your side? It’s possible! You wanna get flayed by a giant lady for treating her like a God? PLEASE DON’T DO THAT! But I digress, Planescape is a high concept setting with endless amounts of play and content to explore. For the reasons above and the many reasons below, I hope the full flavor of Planescape returns to D&D 5th Edition. So far, it’s my favorite incarnation of the rule set (and I loooove AD&D 2e, albeit mostly for the vast library of settings.) While they more or less have the Great Wheel, it feels much of the shadow of its former self like in the 3rd Edition of the game. I want the vibrancy, the absurdity and the wonder of those wonderful weird planes. Digressing from that, I’m here to address another question… How does one do a Planar game in this setting? Why, I’m glad you asked! Here’s a few humble suggestions from yours truly!
Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Doc! Didn’t you write about the planes on your other blog?” Yes, I did. However, I think now is a good time to revisit that post, especially now that I’ve been creating content revolving around planar travel and alternate dimensions. Plus, cosmological models and jumping between worlds has been one of my favorite aspects of D&D as a whole! With that, let’s chat about campaigns within the planes.
For starters, you might also ask me something; “Hey Doc! Aren’t there more cosmological models than The Great Wheel a la AD&D?” And you would be right! Especially since 3rd edition, new models have popped up. The Portals and Planes D20 Book (a rare title, if I may add) had heavily versatile options for truly forging your own planar realms. Pathfinder modifies the Great Wheel and adds to it in simply awesome ways (with help of Todd Stewart himself!) Eberron has an orrery based system where some planes overlap at the material plane at points in time. The World Axis is a duality between the Gods above and the Primordials below. That said, the Great Wheel remains my personal favorite of mine. To be fair, it’s where I had the most adventures within the planes themselves.
“Did you just call me an elf? Choose your next words carefully, friend.”
With the realms of the Outer Planes, physical manifestations of beliefs, morality, and philosophy take the shape of great beings. Axiom/Anarchic creatures, Fiends, and Celestials are among those who populate this vast expansive multiverse. Among them are a race of beings embodying the forces of Chaos and Good. These are the mystical celestials known as The Eladrin. The antithesis of The Queen of Air and Darkness and her daemon fey, these beings are champions of the virtues of liberty and justice. As one would expect, they’re quick to become uncomfortable in exceedingly orderly or tyrannical areas. Most hail from the Chaotic Good plane of Arborea.
UPDATE 2018 MAY: Not a fan of what Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes had to offer? Check out my take with “Defenders of Arborea” today!