This is a snapshot copy of Planewalker before our recent database crash. Please go to www.planewalker.com for the current site.

Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the Cosmic Game.

Announcement!

We have moved to new, and hopefully better hardware! Along with this move came a bunch of updates to our code base. Please let me know if you spot something wonky.

35 posts / 0 new
Last post
sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the Cosmic Game.

I think the Prime gets a bad rap a lot of the times, but one need only look at the mortals who became gods, the souls of mortals coveted by fiends, and the planet of Ortho to notice that the crystal spheres of the Prime have impacted the Multiverse for both good and ill.

Looking at the Log X thread, we can see many Prime worlds that are valuable trading partners to planar businesses as well as worlds where a planar can win fortune and fame.

The idea for this article is to discuss different ways to make prime worlds more important to the Wheel as well as the possibilities for promoting prime worlds (specifically a GM's homebrewed world) as major planar players.

Any and all thoughts welcome!

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Palomides's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

During WWI, there was a popular tune with the line "How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Paree [Paris]?" The tune was about farm boys that had gone to fight in Europe returning to find farm life dull.

I mention this as the Prime has a similar problem. While the game can be played in any way one desires, the Prime usually stands as what's "normal". While it may be odd to describe worlds with dragons and civilizations living under the earth as normal, I think most campaigns are run with the Prime having some level of realism.
If I were to introduce a planet that was a cube floating through space, I strongly suspect that my players would strain their ocular muscles rolling their eyes. But if they take a jaunt to Acheron, they just accept it or (preferably) enjoy the symbolism or sheer oddity of the situation.

Similarly if I change the laws of physics on the Prime (to make for interesting combat/problem-solving situations), they typically cry foul. Heck, they even get touchy if I introduce an area where the rules of magic work differently. (Done to prevent them from solving a problem using their usual stand-by magical solution)
Arguably, maybe I should find a better group of players. But for whatever odd reason, they accept (and rise to the challenge) when they know they are in a strange plane or demiplane.

So what's the difference? I guess it's just that what we consider "normal" is typically dull to us and is expected to behave by consistent rules. Oddly, we are much more forgiving of inconveniences and difficulties when we adventurously go to someplace we consider exotic. I could imagine some Parisians having romantic notions of traversing the American plains (and embracing the pioneer/cowboy spirit when faced with hardships) at the same time that the American farm boys were pining for the exotic attractions of Paris.

In the same vein, the Prime being the norm doesn't have as strong a theme (or at least not one that is obvious to us). The Outer Planes are about ideas and belief. The Inner Planes are about the power of raw substance. But what label would a resident of these areas use describe the Prime?
In the early 20th century when world travel wasn't quite as easy as it is today, an American might have a romantic notion of the culture and history of Europe; without acknowledging the decadence or lack of "frontiers" to tackle
A European might have a romantic notion of rugged survival and the potential to carve one's own destiny in the Old West; without acknowledging the brutal and often tedious demands just to survive away from civilization
So why would a fire elemental want to trek to the Prime? What element (pardon the pun) is here that he wouldn't find back in his elemental plane?
Would a fiend find a posting to corrupt souls in the Prime to be a punishment or to be a reward? Would it be a tedious backwater for him keeping him from important things (like the Blood War)? Or would it be a playground with endless possibilities compared to the tedium of the Blood War?

At present, I don't have any answers for these questions. But I do feel that until the Prime has some kind of hook, then you can create as many worlds as you like but they will lack to fire up the PCs imaginations all that much.

Palomides's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

While this may not be enough of a hook to interest anyone, I will mention that in my own campaign I made the Prime the realm of time, space and possibilities/probabilities.
This means that in my campaign time-travel and parallel dimensions (e.g. what if the Nazis won WWII? What if the Roman Empire hadn't fallen, etc.) are accessible only by accessing a realm/demiplane outside of the timestream and then jumping into a different time or timeline.
I also like this as I could use the same maps for my campaign world but could change everything else. Here are some alternative timelines that I came up with (although most were not used or detailed by me):
-Elves in charge
-Dwarves in charge
-Orcs in charge
-Mirror/Bizarro world (where mirror of opposition foes come from)
-World that suffered a demonic invasion
-Militant theocracy/ angelic invasion
-Elemental invasion
-Dragons rules
-Main villianous mage in my campaign rules
-Flayer cabal rules (having altered the weather or shifted rotation of the world)
-Githyanki rule
-Slavery legal in PC's home territory; civil war between abolitionists/non
-Planar residents rule (controlled by a Sigil faction or conglomerate)
-Huge numbers of undead roam the world (post-apocalyptic)
-Another nation has conquered the PC's home territory
-Plague has wiped out 90% of the people
-Lycanthropes rampant
-Doppleganger conspiracy in key positions
-Drug epidemic
-Dinosaurs roam the earth
-Empire collapses in the future. Gamma World type society with techno/magic remains
-Future where a cabal of wizards controls powerful magic/technology and everyone is dependent on them
-World in which magic is very dangerous and often backfires. Powerful wizards do most activities through minions (who obey because they fear the wizard will unleash on them). Very few wizards who are always powerful masterminds behind the scene and never in the forefront

This may not add much incentive for a planar to visit the Prime (or maybe it does) but I do know that my party found the Prime much more entertaining after enjoying a limited amount of jumping into alternative worlds where things were somewhat familiar but with some very serious differences

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Alternate worlds is a good one, but I think many of the options you list don't require jumping parallels (which is something I'd like to propose as a feature down the road).

I do think the shear number of souls coming from the Prime, and the amount of interest the gods have in the Prime, marks its importance in the Cosmic Game.

Part of my idea with this article is to show what you mentioned, the Prime worlds that have alternative setting makeups.

The other part is to specifically give possibilities to make a particular prime world more respected by planars. I know Gygax once said Oerth was a font of magical energy that drew the attention of many competing exemplar forces.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Zimrazim's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2007-01-14
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

You might also want to consider the influence of Prime worlds inside Sigil itself. For example, perhaps the inhabitants of a particular area/nation of a particular prime world tend to settle in the same neighborhood or group of neighborhoods. If a particular deity is revered a lot back home, you might see a lot of worshippers from that Prime nation at the local temple, and services may be held in (for example) a human language that is not Common. (Example: A Prime nation where worship of Hextor is a big deal. The local temple of Hextor has a lot of cultural influences from that nation, and many services at the temple are held in the language of that Prime nation.)

__________________

BoGr Guide to Missile Combat:
1) Equip a bow or crossbow.
2) Roll a natural 1 on d20.
3) ?????
4) Profit!

Zimrazim's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2007-01-14
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Palomides wrote:
-Githyanki rule

Yes, they do!

Another Prime world idea is an "evil world." Not one where mind flayers/some other very evil race is in charge, but a mostly human-dominated world where Evil either has won already or is winning.

__________________

BoGr Guide to Missile Combat:
1) Equip a bow or crossbow.
2) Roll a natural 1 on d20.
3) ?????
4) Profit!

Palomides's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

sciborg2 wrote:
Alternate worlds is a good one, but I think many of the options you list don't require jumping parallels

Agreed, one could easily make a world where the githyanki were in control (as an example) but I found that the PCs got more enjoyment when they saw the lands they knew and perhaps the people they knew being subjugated as opposed to going to a new world where they have no connection.

But all of this is besides the point of your thread (which is definitely a worthy topic).
Talking about the importance of souls in the Cosmic Game might be an explanation why deities and fiendish lords are interested in the Prime; but I don't see it as being of much interest to planar-based PCs which to me is the bigger issue. If your playground is the wonders of the Outer Planes, what motivation would a Sigil-ite have to go to a Prime world? Sure there is trade and mundane things of that nature but like the standard "caravan guard" job, I think most players would be underwhelmed by it.

As a wild idea (just to get the ball rolling), whereas there are agents in the Outer Planes actively cultivating souls from the Prime for their own goals, might there be a group on the Prime trying to manipulate/steal/control some force of the Inner or Outer Planes to serve some massive goal?
If so, what would this something be? What would the massive goal be?

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I like this idea of a massive goal primes might have - I had a story about a spelljamming empire create an Astral Sun whose light in the Astral copied information and shown it into an empty crystal sphere where it was processed by stellar dragons (as they feed on knowledge). It was a massive data retrieval artifact.

I also don't think your parallel worlds are off topic, in fact having such themed worlds entices players to visit. I can see Blood War veterans being curious about, say, a spellweaver dominated world over a generic prime world.

But I think part of the problem people have with prime worlds is that they seem boring compared to the planes. Yet there are many options for prime worlds, especially those dominated by a faction, faith, or race of exemplars.

There is also the fact that the Prime could be seen as the point of alchemical convergence, where belief of the Outer and matter of the Inner are unified.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

So far I'm thinking the Prime can be important because:

1. Unique or rare substance for trade.
2. Alchemical forces combine, recall Inner Planes book had stuff about alchemy.
3. Spirit + Matter unification - This might allow for certain magics not otherwise possible.
4. Powerful mortals deified - likely easier where there is less competition.
5. Worlds like Oerth are magical nexuses, fonts of power.
6. Advanced civilizations can be powerful allies.
7. Rubes are easier to cheat out of their souls, but celestials can also have more influence.
8. Prime worlds with limited planar access are good, defensible headquarters -> Ortho.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Each Prime is also an isolated experiment where exemplars and gods can create societies and races, not to mention unique beings/monsters, and see which ones might benefit them when the contest against other powers in the planes.

Primes are also nice breeding worlds where races will be more loyal to the gods they know, and there are less gods to compete with than on the Wheel where you are up against basically every god in known existence. This is important because you ideally want loyal racial members in Sigil in case the chance to control it ever arises.

The Prime is a good place to lick your wounds. Both the illithids and spellweavers are safer on isolated Prime worlds now that their respective empires have fallen. However, both races also work to regain their lost power - the illithids by terraforming crystal spheres and the spellweavers by activating the Codex of Reversion.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Druids and elemental cults would exist on the Prime, utilizing Prime worlds as headquarters.

Those elementals interested in interacting with differing elements might use the Prime as neutral ground. Alternatively, the Prime could also be used as battlefield.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

sciborg2 wrote:
I like this idea of a massive goal primes might have - I had a story about a spelljamming empire create an Astral Sun whose light in the Astral copied information and shown it into an empty crystal sphere where it was processed by stellar dragons (as they feed on knowledge). It was a massive data retrieval artifact.

Whoa. Can we read this somewhere?

sciborg2 wrote:
But I think part of the problem people have with prime worlds is that they seem boring compared to the planes. Yet there are many options for prime worlds, especially those dominated by a faction, faith, or race of exemplars.

I think the boring judgement has to do with looking at all of the prime worlds as a whole and calculating a completely unfounded and imaginary average of their interestingness. Much the same way that Americans on the coasts might think about the middle of the country - a random Midwestern town is probably less interesting than a random NYC block, but there's also more interesting stuff out there than a person could ever see.

I'm going to think on this for a couple of days - I think I'd be willing to take this on as an article.

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

It would be great if you could write this one - or even just help collaborate on it. Feel free to use anything I posted in Log X, and Jem gave permission to use his stuff as well.

Oh the story is Blade of Innocence, in my sig. Mind you the Astral Sun is only a part of a larger, ongoing tale.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Another thing the Prime is useful for is depositing trapped planars. The limited portal access makes Prime World ideal prisons, not to mention even if someone destroys swaths of the world in a jailbreak there is less political backwash given the distance of Primes from planar politics.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

sciborg2 wrote:
It would be great if you could write this one - or even just help collaborate on it. Feel free to use anything I posted in Log X, and Jem gave permission to use his stuff as well.

It seems like a regular Prime article could take one of three forms, issue to issue:

1) Semi-canonical discussion related to the issue theme (a la this thread)
2) Practical advice on using the prime in a planar game
3) Presenting a prime world from the Log X thread or elsewhere

The latter two could be theme related or not, and a single installment could easily approach from more than one of the three angles. That's just the framework I have in my head, in any case.

I'll hack at this over the next several days and check in with where it stands later in the week.

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I see all three of these being good options. Personally I'm not too worried about canon for this one, beyond mentioning where major planar history intersected with the Prime.

I figure we can present 1-3 worlds from Log X this time around, and then present one every issue. Given this is quarterly we have enough material to go for some time I suspect.

Practical advice would be great.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

sciborg2 wrote:
I see all three of these being good options. Personally I'm not too worried about canon for this one, beyond mentioning where major planar history intersected with the Prime.

Canon was certainly the wrong word - I was just trying to differentiate RL gaming talk (#2) from whatever #1 is. Though the border is obviously hazy. For the purposes of my taxonomy I'd put your 'prime as prison' post under #2, as it seems to hit on "using the prime in your game", though this need be nothing more than me just straightening it all out in my head.

I'll have to revisit the Log X thread, but are there particular worlds that you think illustrate the Cosmic Game theme?

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Heh, oh I think the Cosmic Game is pretty broad. So really any place that has major traffic with planars (especially exemplars) makes sense to cover.

I think any of the worlds could be part of the Game just by tying them to some major planar group or the plans of a power. I think the important thing is to show that Prime worlds can be fun/useful to planar adventurers.

Probably best to look at the Game from varied levels, so as to not exclude non-epic players.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I've always subscribed to the idea that each of the "real" pantheons featured in On Hallowed Ground -- Greek, Egyptian, Norse, etc etc -- had a primer world where they were the strongest, or only, god. A prime world where the creation myths of their culture were actual fact.

You take whatever part of Earth they were native to during the time period we've plucked out their prime, and you cut out their version of the "known world," and there's your geography for this prime -- or at least, the central part of it.

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Anetra wrote:
I've always subscribed to the idea that each of the "real" pantheons featured in On Hallowed Ground -- Greek, Egyptian, Norse, etc etc -- had a primer world where they were the strongest, or only, god. A prime world where the creation myths of their culture were actual fact.

I feel like this would be relatively common, actually. When the gods are literally real and active as they are here, I don't imagine they'd be very amenable to being reinvented or reinterpreted and certainly not to sharing their turf.

Anetra wrote:
You take whatever part of Earth they were native to during the time period we've plucked out their prime, and you cut out their version of the "known world," and there's your geography for this prime -- or at least, the central part of it.

I'll admit up front that as much as I'm all for mining mythology and culture, my instinct is to keep Earth and its actual history extremely distinct from the goings-on in this fiction that we're playing in. I see what you're getting at above, though I'm not sure how I feel about it. I've managed to kind of confuse myself, actually. It's sort of a chicken & egg situation - Thor, for instance, is a reflection of the (real) people who came up with him. Whereas if we take Thor to be real, then I suppose his worshipers were simply following his lead in terms of the culture with which they and he are associated. But in a world of many primes, if Thor expects to get much love then he would be a fool to only court or accept worshipers who happen to be blonde giants living in places resembling Scandinavia. If he's got any hustle, it seems like most of his worshipers wouldn't be that, if only because his worshipers would be a lot of things. I'm imagining brown-skinned Thor worshipers who've adapted some version of Norseman style to the realities of living in a tropical jungle and whatnot.

Along these lines, I think that a lot of monsters have been treated very interestingly in the planes, in terms of their relationship with their RL culture of origin. It doesn't seem as if the ki-rin, for instance, are presented as particularly Japanese, but on the other hand they're badass stompers of evil. So that's cool, I think.

Sorry Anetra, I've wandered way off track from responding to your actual suggestion. Obviously this gets complicated for me fast.

Anetra's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-04-03
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I don't disagree with you. The idea of introducing "Earth" as a place that players can go to, or even just know exists, puts a really bad taste in my mouth. Opinions on this may vary, and there's precedent for D&D Earth in canon, but I'm personally just not a fan. I feel really differently about using mythical locations from "earth cultures," though.

I mean, it's already being done. Asgard is a place in Planescape. Yggdrassil is real. With that as it is, doesn't it follow that Midgard would be a prime somewhere out there? It seems unreasonable and strange to suppose otherwise. Cultures, gods, and locations have been altered to fit Planescape, yes, but stripping out a home prime from every pantheon featured in On Hallowed Ground ... seems bizarre, at least to me.

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

See, I didn't even keep it together long enough to explain my hesitation. I'm 100% for putting mythical locations to work and thinking about it now maybe I misunderstood your original post. Going to the history books as a foundation for a single-pantheon prime world just seems insufficiently grandiose, though perhaps that isn't quite what you meant (since you mention Midgard, which is not exactly a literal history books kind of place).

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Anetra wrote:
I don't disagree with you. The idea of introducing "Earth" as a place that players can go to, or even just know exists, puts a really bad taste in my mouth.

Yes. A bad taste in the mouth describes my feelings about the idea about as well as anything. If for no other reason than that in a reality where magic works and the gods are real, "Earth" as we know it simply wouldn't exist. (Also, it's always struck me as frankly kind of lazy and unimaginative.)

In a post from yesterday I was daydreaming of tropical Thor worshipers and now it doesn't seem like such a lark at all. Imagine an Earth where Thor is real, with concern for the well-being of his followers and an active interest in acquiring new ones. And he is granting spells and doing occasional miracle-like things towards these ends. In that scenario the vikings might have just rolled over everyone and kept going. Centuries later Thor has more worshipers in Africa than there are people in all of Scandinavia.

I frankly kind of love the idea of a great range of faces for a given faith, that Odin has followers as seemingly different from each other in practice and culture as a Coptic Christian priest is from an American televangelist. And the planes are where these people meet and try to get along.

(I swear I would spin this off into a new thread if I knew what in the world my point was...pay me no mind, really.)

In this multicultural scenario, I suppose your Midgard becomes like the Holy Land - an actual place, but also a mythology-heavy place onto which worshipers readily imprint their own identities (white Jesus comes to mind here).

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Your post brings up a good point atomicb - Miracles on the Prime are more likely because in the isolated worlds of the Prime the politics of such an action are less troublesome.

While such acts likely draw attention and are thus always used sparing, on the planes an overt display of divine power would lead to complications if not open conflict. After all, one miracle by Thor might cause Indra or Talos to perform a miracle as well.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Yes - I think this is another face of the general wild west nature of the Prime. Along those lines, I noticed this question upthread:

Palomides wrote:
If your playground is the wonders of the Outer Planes, what motivation would a Sigil-ite have to go to a Prime world?

It's funny, the Outer Planes are a lot of things, but playground I would not put on that list. They seem like very regimented places in so many ways, from personality-driven power checks like the Thor & Indra situation above to the oppositional nature of the planes themselves. I was thinking this afternoon about the plight of a supervillain who is frankly sick and tired of tracking gore all over the house and coming home smelling like rot after a five-minute trip to the bodega and considering that perhaps some fresh air and sunlight might do his blood pressure some good.

Did that know alignment spell tell you that I've got an associates degree in textile design? Yeah, I'm really into muslin, what of it? I may be evil but WHY CAN'T I HAVE PRETTY THINGS?!?

VikingLegion's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2009-09-08
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

atomicb wrote:
It's funny, the Outer Planes are a lot of things, but playground I would not put on that list. They seem like very regimented places in so many ways

This, precisely.

The Outer Planes are already so firmly entrenched in various beliefs/alignments - it must be exceedingly tough to try to shift a layer or chunk of it away to a different plane. The Prime, however, represents a more fertile grounds to plant seeds - whether you're a demon or an angel. The very malleability of the Prime alone is it's greatest attraction in the Cosmic Game.

If I'm a devil trying to promote the tenants of LE, do I stand a better chance trying to sway parts of Acheron or Gehenna, or would it be easier to set up shop on some Prime kingdom, and subvert them over to my way of thinking?

It might be an overly simplified way of looking at it, but I see the Prime as some kind of 1840's California. Exemplars of every alignment combination have done about all they can on the Inner and Outer planes - but now they see the gold rush that is the Prime - teeming with world upon world of impressionable souls. Why would Primus waste time trying to teach Order to a slaad or some other jaded planewalker? Nope, head to the Prime while the gettin' is good!!

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I really like the gold rush comparsion, very apt.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Palomides's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I seem to have generated a lot of negative response with my comment of the Outer Planes being a "playground"; and frankly I'm a bit surprised. I meant it more from the various creative opportunities it provides for a DM to create bizarre and abstract locales that would impress one's PCs; and I don't see how one could argue that point.

Secondly, I don't view the Outer Planes as rigidly as some others seem to do. Yes, it might be difficult to wrest a chunk of Asgard away from the Norse gods and/or shift it to another plane; but given the infinite scope of most of the planes, I always viewed the planes as having room for any idea-made-reality that one could imagine. If you have a dogma/belief that fits somewhere within the broad themes of Ysgard, I don't see any problem with having it there undisturbed by the Norse and having it unfettered in terms of creative possibilities and layouts.

On the last point, I don't see the "Gold Rush" analogy being that strong. The reason for the rush to California was GOLD! And while I see the gods/fiends/celestials being interested in the souls of the Prime (and on this point, I can see them being much more interested than in attempts to convert souls already brought to their designated Outer Planes or the living souls of Sigil who have heard definitive proof of what these afterlives entail); but as I said above, I don't see how this would be of much interest to a group of PCs.
You can have gods and loths and various other groups playing their respective games to get souls (or physical chunks) from the Prime; but aside from letting the DM feel that he is clever in working out a cosmology, I don't see it inspiring too much in terms of game play. Even if you get the PCs excited about saving a planet (or whatever) from Orcus (or whomever), I don't see the PCs getting that excited about some Prime world they've never visited before; and even if interested I doubt the PCs' would be much more or less interested if you were to change the contested spot to be a village in the Outlands or an isolated but populated demiplane.

I was interpreting the point of this thread to be "what is the hook that would get PCs interested in exploring the Prime?" [and forgive me Sciborg if I am way off base] In the case of celestial/infernal agents trying to gain something, the hook is the Outer Plane agents not the location (which I feel is fairly interchangable).
I may be overlooking some great potential on the Prime but I'm afraid that I don't see it yet

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

I think you're opinion brings to mind important concerns Palo, though personally I kinda like the gold rush analogy.

I see what you are saying - if you have the option to traverse the Inner and Outer Planes, what could a random Prime world possibly offer? Though I see this article as a possible chance, if atomicb wants, to expand on how the GM's homebrew world might have greater planar impact. (Thinking here of PF's Empire of Sin on the world of Golarion, which utilized enslaved angels.)

For reasons discussed above, I see a lot of contention between competing planar forces taking place on the Prime. Given the fact that varied forces see the Prime as valuable, I can see the PCs getting drawn into going there. I could see factions becoming invested for or against Kyuss becoming a god, which necessitates going to the Prime where his ascension is taking place. (In general it seems almost every mortal turned deity did so by starting on the Prime - something epic players might consider looking into.)

Additionally, for adventurers scouring ruins I can see both the illithids and spellweavers keeping many of the artifacts they used to maintain their planar empires on the Prime.

To some PCs, the answer will naturally be very little. However, I think just setting some the parallel world options you proposed as prime worlds differing from the expected European Medieval/Victorian standard of PS and D&D gives interesting locations.

There's also the fact that some people just find the planes to confining or congested. I love the war between the exemplars and the contesting of the gods, but I like going to the Prime because it offers a chance to explore different ideas in isolation from the general PS setting. You can use demiplanes for this, but if you are going to present new civilzations (think John Carter on Mars) I think it is better to utilize an actual planet.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

My apologies if you read these as negative responses - I like to think that you provoked some well-intentioned alternative perspectives.

That said, my disagreement on the playground front has to do with those broad themes you mention. For instance, Elysium simply won't tolerate a seamy underbelly. Everyone would get lost on their way to the underbelly mixers - it would be a total mess. Obviously the DM could ignore that plane's evil-confounding physics or relocate the scenario to somewhere that could more plausibly tolerate it, but if an adventure's relationship with planar philosophy in general is basically oppositional, then why bother with it? This is what I meant by the wild west - not in the narrative sense of providing motivations and whatnot (in the way that we're talking about the gold rush), but a wild west of creative liberties.

Recently I was reading up on Athas (which I'd never really know much about aside from the broad themes) - holy crap, it's madness. I think that hellhole makes as good a case as any for the Prime's potential for being as exotic, interesting, and/or dangerous as plenty of spots on the planes.

(For the record, the grumbling above is not the focus of what I'm writing for the zine. Just in case there was any concern on the matter...)

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Hell, grumble away. I plan to examine the pros and cons of a confined cosmology like the Wheel in the parallel multiverse article. When the time comes I'll probably do the same for 4e, Great Beyond, and the cosmology that ultimately comes out of Dark Roads and Golden Hells.

Honest, constructive criticism in will only strengthen the material in my opinion.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Palomides's picture
Offline
factotums
Joined: 2010-06-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Atomicb (& Sciborg)

First, thank you for keeping things civil as that seems to get rarer and rarer on message boards. I try to keep my comments from being too negative/confrontational; but that doesn't always get through (sometimes from being misunderstood; sometimes from poor writing on my part)

Second, I had been interpreting the issue in terms of inserting unique terrains, etc. (for which I think the Outer Planes are ideal) and not in terms of conflict/adventure seeds. You are right in that it harder to introduce a seedy underbelly (and opposing agents of good) into an Outer Plane where everyone is giving out free hugs (or giving out free disembowelments) than it is to do so on a Prime world that isn't overwhelmed by an alignment.
[I know there have been several discussion about how to introduce conflict/adventure into the Upper Planes, but that isn't the issue here]

One of the major problems I see with new worlds on the Prime is that either
1) the new world is different but not different enough to be interesting ("Hey, on this world everything is the same except that... elves are BLUE!")
or 2) the new world is radically different which leads to two problems
a) it requires a lot of set-up by the DM (can you imagine building up several worlds as complex and unique as Athas?)
b) it requires a learning curve from the PCs which if things are too different might be problematic (imagine being so cruel as to randomly drop the PCs into Athas unprepared)

Personally, I side with making things radically different (as what's the point otherwise) and then letting the PCs get a fighting chance if they are willing to do the research (e.g. if they knew they were going to Athas and read up on it rather than being randomly dumped there).
I know the problem of being too uninspired or too radically different could apply to the planes too; but that's where I find the Big Themes of a plane to be helpful for PCs (e.g. don't trust ANYTHING in the Abyss)
My alternative of using alternate timelines was convenient for me in that I got to start with a template of my current campaign world and then got to change select elements to make it stand out and bizzarely unique. (Also, I found the PCs more emotionally involved than when I sent them to a new world where they didn't know anyone)

I think that a good way to come up with unique worlds that actually excite the PCs would be to focus on various genres.
-Athas falls into the "dying world" genre which is semi-familiar but definitely unique
-Ravenloft (while not a world) is the Gothic/horror genre
-A dinosaur infested Lost World
-I could see a world (or part of one) that channels the Wild West vibe (although you may need to get creative to keep tech from returning back to your regular campaign)
Any other suggestions for genres that could inspire a new world?
And there is no need to have just one world per genre. Gamma World is also under the "dying world" genre but with a post apocalyptic flavor

Zimrazim's picture
Offline
Factol
Joined: 2007-01-14
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

sciborg2 wrote:
if you have the option to traverse the Inner and Outer Planes, what could a random Prime world possibly offer?

Idea 1: Arcane magical experimentation. Imagine a Prime world where the local 'laws of physics' are very, very favorable for arcane magic, but where Mystra's Denial does not exist. Nor does the world have Elminster, the Simbul, etc. guarding the place.

Idea 2: Planar conquest/exploitation. Look, a world with lots of iron ore, gold, silver, hardwood, materials for spell components, that isn't guarded by exemplars, or even high-level mortals! As a simple example, imagine a Prime world being taken over in order to use its resources to provision one side of the Blood War.

Idea 3: 'Experimental test bed' world. Some very evil being (or whatever) decides "I want to create a mortal society that functions in such-and-such a manner and see what happens." If it's an exemplar, it's probably a very evil/good/lawful/chaotic society.

Idea 4: Kidnapped planar. Some important planar, either mortal or exemplar, has been kidnapped, summoned, whatever. Go to that Prime and rescue him/her/it.

__________________

BoGr Guide to Missile Combat:
1) Equip a bow or crossbow.
2) Roll a natural 1 on d20.
3) ?????
4) Profit!

atomicb's picture
Offline
Namer
Joined: 2011-06-19
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

Ha! The closest Elysium gets to a cult is when The Inestimable Order of the Free Hugs holds on about 25% too long. All good thoughts, Palo. I'll be away wrestling with RL and writing for a few days, but more discussion to come...

sciborg2's picture
Online
Factol
Joined: 2005-07-26
Re: Possible Article: The Importance of Prime Worlds in the ...

i also see a lot of exiled dukes of Hell playing it safe by hiding on prime worlds.

__________________

Health Resources: Register family with 911 services, so providers will have info prior to emergency/disaster. Also mental health info & hotlines, articles, treatment assistance options, prescription assistance, special needs registries, legal aid, and more!

Planescape, Dungeons & Dragons, their logos, Wizards of the Coast, and the Wizards of the Coast logo are ©2008, Wizards of the Coast, a subsidiary of Hasbro Inc. and used with permission.