De Planes, De Planes!
By Christopher Perkins
Illustration by Julie Dillon
About a year ago, I had a half-baked idea for an adventure set in the planar city of Sigil. The adventure, titled “Broken Ring,” would open with one-fifth of the ring-shaped city being obliterated, and floating amid the wreckage would be the Gatehouse—the city’s insane asylum. How it survived and who caused the explosion would be the mysteries the PCs had to solve. The Bleak Cabal (nihilistic keepers of the asylum) would surely take credit, but I envisioned the true culprit being one of the asylum’s deranged prisoners, whose deep contemplation of the mysteries of the multiverse led to a philosophical truth so profound in its implications that the thought alone caused the catastrophe. It’s a crazy notion, to be sure, but very much in keeping with the core themes of the Planescape® setting. Time prevented me from moving forward with the idea, but Greg, Stan! and I still wanted a planarthemed issue to pull together a number of articles in the works, including a character themes article tied to three Planescape factions, a History Check about Iggwilv and her demonic paramour Graz’zt, an article about Shemeshka the Marauder (one of Sigil’s fiendish movers and shakers), a collection of planar magic items, and an Ecology article about modrons. The planes have changed quite a bit since the early days. The Great Wheel, with its Astral, Ethereal, and Elemental Planes, was rolled to one side to make way for the Astral Sea, the Elemental Chaos, the Feywild, and the Shadowfell. As we forge ahead and begin contemplating the planar truths of D&D® in its newest incarnation, one wonders what will become of the Great Wheel and the 4th Edition cosmology. Will the game go back to its roots, will it preserve the 4E approach, or will it propose something new? The answer is yes. D&D is not truly D&D without the Great Wheel, but for many players and DMs, the 4th Edition cosmology is their preferred “take” on the planes. We also have campaign settings with cosmological needs of their own. Our goal with D&D Next is to present a planar toolbox that allows us to borrow or assemble whatever cosmological elements suit our needs, and yours as well. You’ll see lots of references to the inner and outer planes of the Great Wheel, as well as references to planar reflections of the natural world, namely the Feywild and the Shadowfell. But our underlying goal is to let the campaign setting determine the cosmology, be it one of yours or one of ours. What will your next campaign cosmology look like? I’m betting it’ll look nothing like mine, and that’s no catastrophe.

TM & © 2012 Wizards of the Coast LLC. All rights reserved.

A u g u s t 2 012 | D R AG O N 4 14