The Planes

Ok, I'm one of those players that really did not like the changes made to the planes of existence with the advent of D&D 4th edition. IMO it was probably one of the biggest reasons to me that D&D no longer "felt" as it had all the years before.
I am personally hoping for a full return of the classic D&D cosmology and would like to see sourcebooks for each of the planes. I mean how cool would it be to run an adventure in Pandemonium? Or have the PC's ascend one mountain in the seven Heavens (Celestia)?

Point is, please retcon all of the alternate cosmology from 4e and give us a fleshed out fully functional cosmology complete with all of the classic lore and richness that added such depth to the D&D experience.

Now, I don't mind keeping the plane of shadow and the Feywild as demiplanes; I think that's reasonable, but put Eladrin back to what they used to be and bring back all of our cool planar toys.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
I never cared for the great wheel. Loved the 4e cosmology.

I'm hoping the PHB and DMG are relatively setting-neutral.

Or if they do a default setting, I hope it's like a nentir vale or a grey hawk type of thing that you can drop into anywhere.

Feywild with its Gaelic overtones was always more fun for me than the planes of fire or goodness or whatever. Astral sea was also fun. Gave my game a kind of epic sea-faring piracy. I know you could do this with great wheel, but I just never did.

Mainly I think my problem with great wheel planes was an excess of options. Option-fatigue you might say (like 4e and 3e feat-bloat). 5 different locations was just easier to deal with in-depth than 48.

Not knocking great wheel though. Many of my friends eat that up like thanksgiving dinner. That's why I'm hoping for setting-light PHB.
Well there have to be some default assumptions about the game, and if Forgotten Realms is the "standard" setting for D&D next I would assume the PHB would default to that cosmology.

That being said, I don't see why the Nentir Vale setting couldn't have alternate cosmology just as DarkSun is also of a different cosmology.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
I agree. I think they should have swappable cosmologies.
I have to agree with bawylie on this one.

I love the Great Wheel a ton, Planescape is one of my favorite setting, but i feel like having a setting-neutral core will be for the best of everyone.

Also, there was a ton of stuff, Feywild specific, that i loved about 4e.

Keep it neutral and then everyone can keep it how they like. And i can mix in whatever i want. 
Planes should be campaign specific.

DMG should have lots of rules and tables for designing homebrew campaigns, even some examples.  Older editions used real world mythology examples.  PH should address how they are reached or interacted with, without referencing them specificly. 

I also think Next should be published with a Campaign Setting.  Here are the three core books, and here is our first Next Campaign Setting, ______ .
Also a fan of campaign specific cosmologies (with the Great Wheel being a Planescape only thing), and one of those who welcomed the World Axis. Having a more diverse Feywild or Elemental Chaos spoke more clearly to me than a plane of neutral goodness or a simple fire world.
Though it seems that PCs will be more down to Earth this time around, with planes not being as relevant as in 4e. This saddens me a little.
I mean how cool would it be to run an adventure in Pandemonium? Or have the PC's ascend one mountain in the seven Heavens (Celestia)? Point is, please retcon all of the alternate cosmology from 4e and give us a fleshed out fully functional cosmology complete with all of the classic lore and richness that added such depth to the D&D experience.



Many of the great wheel concepts were ridiculous. The elemental plane of steam, the happy hunting grounds... I mean, come on. If someone can name me a single adventure of any note whatsoever that took place in the elemental plane of steam I'll change my mind, but I don't think that's going to happen.

There's nothing in 4e cosmology that precludes the adventures you're asking for. The Astral Sea contains all sorts of godly domains that can have as many mountains as you want.

Asking developers to put game design into reverse in an attempt to recapture the "feel" of some earlier edition, whatever "feel" means, is like asking a car company to go back to 60s manufacturing methods to capture some boyhood dream of driving an old muscle car. You might recapture that feel for about 5 minutes before you realize how much you miss power steering and disc brakes.

Out of curiosity, what exactly do you Planescape fans think of the idea of Sigil being linked to all setting's planar cosmologies, not just the clasic Great Wheel? Like being able to travel to Mechanus, the Elemental Chaos, Dal Quor and Athas' Grey all before dinner? Could lead to some interesting adventures I think.
Out of curiosity, what exactly do you Planescape fans think of the idea of Sigil being linked to all setting's planar cosmologies, not just the clasic Great Wheel? Like being able to travel to Mechanus, the Elemental Chaos, Dal Quor and Athas' Grey all before dinner? Could lead to some interesting adventures I think.

That's how every group I have every played with thought of it.

The planes offer a rich setting that already has a ton of canon and material in print. 4e took Ford's mustang and replaced it with a probe. Realizing their mistake they updated the mustang with modern conveniences while still taking a decidedly old school feel and flavor.
The inner planes,quasi, para elemental planes are there to facilitate concepts in a fantasy lacking hard sciences. Plus memphits come from those places and they aren't really designed for adventuring.
Now pandemonium or the Happy Hunting grounds have definite adventure potential and the implications of the wars between devils and demons have game inflicting consequences...perfect for the high level party.
A paladin in Hell
The demon web pits anyone?
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
If someone can name me a single adventure of any note whatsoever that took place in the elemental plane of steam I'll change my mind, but I don't think that's going to happen.


I am offended, good sir.  First it is the Quasielemental Plane of Steam!  Second of all, did you not know that the Quasielemental Plane of Steam was the location for the grand adventure, Log Flume Mountain, as well as the the classic adventures Ghost Sauna of Inverness and the Temple of Quasielemental Moistness?
I don't really care one way or the other the games cosmology.  Never have.  Great Wheel, 4e version, something else....  All pretty much the same to me.

As a player?  Sure, I've wondered the planes over the editions.  But how they were laid out map wise was never a factor.  As for what's going on out there?  Well, I've yet to play in a game where it ever  matched the companies ideas....  Though some of it has started out based in classical mythology.

As a DM?  The cosmology answers to my idea of how its laid out, interacts, & what's included....


The only thing I want?  No real assumptions about wich model you'll be using found in the PHB, DMG, etc.  Just tell me how a few spells/items work in general & leave me to it.
If I want more info on one of them?  Then I'll buy splat book: Great Wheel, or Manual of the Planes, or such.
Like I said, the inner planes were never designed for
Adventures, rather to spawn natural phenomena in the absence of science and to provide a myriad of
Plane based creatures to exist, control, and fight.
Going to an inner plane as a PC is most likely a death sentance they were great for fueling DarkSuns elemental priests.

I am a huge fan of the primal power source and from whichever source it springs. Druids never made more sense until primal power came about.
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson

With the caveat that we’re talking about a system where people hurl bolts of energy from their hands from Day One, let me say that the 4E cosmology made a lot more sense than the Great Wheel, especially the bit about the Feywild and Shadowfell being bright/dark echoes of the natural world.


 Blending the cosmology/mythology of the Elemental Chaos in with the Abyss, the fall of Asmodeus, the rise of Demogorgon and Orcus , the Rod of Seven Parts, the Temple of Elemental Evil, obyriths, the Far Realm, and Tharizdun?  Pure.  Genius.


 Even if 5E goes back to the Great Wheel, I’m sticking with 4E cosmology.

I like both the World Axis & Great Wheel, although I feel the World Axis is easier to write adventures for. No matter what is chosen as default / core, if anything, it'd be nice if each individual plane of existence published was treated as a mini-campaign setting, each with at least 20 different adventure hooks.
4e D&D is not a "Tabletop MMO." It is not Massively Multiplayer, and is usually not played Online. Come up with better descriptions of your complaints, cuz this one means jack ****.
I wrote a lengthy blog here on the subject of the planes. The TL;DR is:


  • Want the ethereal plane back

  • Want the Great Wheel back 

  • Like the Elemental Chaos, want to keep it

  • Like the Feywild, want to keep it

  • Like the Shadowfell, want to keep it

  • Think the Astral Sea should be where campaign worlds float, not outer planes.

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Planes are modules.  The Great Wheel can be a supplement.  So can the World Axis.  The unembellished game doesn't need to be specific of where summoned creatures come from.
Planes should be campaign specific.

DMG should have lots of rules and tables for designing homebrew campaigns, even some examples.  Older editions used real world mythology examples.  PH should address how they are reached or interacted with, without referencing them specificly. 

I also think Next should be published with a Campaign Setting.  Here are the three core books, and here is our first Next Campaign Setting, ______ .



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Planes are modules.  The Great Wheel can be a supplement.  So can the World Axis.  The unembellished game doesn't need to be specific of where summoned creatures come from.

+1

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Planes are modules.  The Great Wheel can be a supplement.  So can the World Axis.  The unembellished game doesn't need to be specific of where summoned creatures come from.


I'd emphasize that this should extend even to the "very commonly used" ones like the Feywild.  They're all modules.  Hell, even the Material Plane itself is a module.
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Personally, I want us to have both. Planescape is at this moment in 3rd place for the most wanted campaign setting in D&D next (poll is in my signature), beaten only by Eberron in 1st and Forgotten Realms in 2nd. This is amazing to me as Planescape was only officially in 2e. This leads me to believe there is strong support for it's cosmology and I want to see at least the cosmology supported. I would absolutely love to see the campaign setting released in Next.

I have read many who strongly support 4e's cosmology. I am not a fan of it, but I would like to see those who are fans receive support. IMO, we should have options for multiple cosmologies and let the DM decide what they want to use. Planescape's cosmology may be "too much" for some players, just as 4e's is "too little" for me.

 
If someone can name me a single adventure of any note whatsoever that took place in the elemental plane of steam I'll change my mind, but I don't think that's going to happen.


I am offended, good sir.  First it is the Quasielemental Plane of Steam!  Second of all, did you not know that the Quasielemental Plane of Steam was the location for the grand adventure, Log Flume Mountain, as well as the the classic adventures Ghost Sauna of Inverness and the Temple of Quasielemental Moistness?



Personally, I tranditionally have mainly ran adventures more in the Outer Planes, Sigil and prime worlds although I have ran some on the inner planes. However, I generally only run the major six inner planes (earth, air, fire, water, positive and negative) and have traditionally only used the paraelemental and especially the quasielemental planes for traveling from one major inner plane to another.

I do have a new group of players who've never visited the planes so I am thinking of making adventures that span every inner and outer plane, at least once, which would include the quasielemental plane of steam. Turns out that the Inner Planes book (TSR 2634) has expanded both the para and quasi elemental planes. In the Quasi-elemental plane of Steam there is a town called "Adrift" consisting of about half non-natives (such as humans), a valley of clear air called "The Straits of Varrigon" and also "The Tower of Ice". Furthermore, there is also farming of valuable crops where the farmers use flying steamships called "harvesters". Due to the value of the crops that only grow here it is frequently attacked by raiders as well as klyndesi and wavefires (and probably mephits as well).

This is a ton more information than I thought existed on these and I'm glad your posts inspired me to pull out this old book. This is information I could work with and expand on quite well.
Do you have an opinion on what campaign settings should be printed in D&D Next? If so, please cast your votes in this poll! Poll: What campaign settings do you want to see printed in D&D Next?
Great Post Lyons!

Now if only WotC would rerelease that book so I could peruse it! Such interesting stuff you posted
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson
First let me start by saying I rarely if ever use campaign setting fluff including the cosmos.  My next universe that I create is definitely going to deviate greatly from the great wheel.  

Still, I think it is reasonable to honor the great wheel because of it's long history as D&D.  I would make the default setting use the great wheel.  I would then have the other settings use other things.  Why be lazy and let the devs off the hook?  I could see Nentir Vale staying 4e.  I could see Darksun being it's own thing.  

Now given all that.  I believe the monsters in the monster manuals need to be written abstractly enough that you can use whatever universe you want.   Then the campaign settings can specify in more detail exactly where the extraplanar beings live.   This is what I do now.  It's really no big deal.

 

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I never cared for the great wheel. Loved the 4e cosmology. I'm hoping the PHB and DMG are relatively setting-neutral.


Ditto.
I mean how cool would it be to run an adventure in Pandemonium? Or have the PC's ascend one mountain in the seven Heavens (Celestia)? Point is, please retcon all of the alternate cosmology from 4e and give us a fleshed out fully functional cosmology complete with all of the classic lore and richness that added such depth to the D&D experience.



Many of the great wheel concepts were ridiculous. The elemental plane of steam, the happy hunting grounds... I mean, come on. If someone can name me a single adventure of any note whatsoever that took place in the elemental plane of steam I'll change my mind, but I don't think that's going to happen.

There's nothing in 4e cosmology that precludes the adventures you're asking for. The Astral Sea contains all sorts of godly domains that can have as many mountains as you want.

Asking developers to put game design into reverse in an attempt to recapture the "feel" of some earlier edition, whatever "feel" means, is like asking a car company to go back to 60s manufacturing methods to capture some boyhood dream of driving an old muscle car. You might recapture that feel for about 5 minutes before you realize how much you miss power steering and disc brakes.




Yes to this.  I was never a fan of the Great Wheel and would prefer it not to be "in the Core" (though with the constant talk of modules, I don't have a clear idead what that means at this point and suspect the designers don't have clearer ideas, either).  And you know what would capture the "feel" of classic D&D?  THAC0.  Why don't we bring that back for the thirty seconds it would take everyone to realize that just because something was around for the first edition or two doesn't mean it's good.  

The planes have been an integral part of D&D since the 70's all the way to 2008. Thac0 was only part of one edition used to simplify to hit tables from a prior edition. Your analogy doesn't hold up
"If it's not a conjuration, how did the wizard con·jure/ˈkänjər/Verb 1. Make (something) appear unexpectedly or seemingly from nowhere as if by magic. it?" -anon "Why don't you read fire·ball / fī(-ə)r-ˌbȯl/ and see if you can find the key word con.jure /'kən-ˈju̇r/ anywhere in it." -Maxperson

In simple words: love the planes, Great Wheel e World Axis, and I would love to have the option to choose between them and other cosmologies, including home-mades.

Make it all optional, I say!  Since it's important, release module books for Planescape and Points of Light ASAP, so we can venture into either (or ignore either) not too long after the game comes out.  The core should mention that the extraplanar is just "not from this realm".  It's simple and generic.  The core shouldn't have setting specific assumptions anymore.  I don't want your Greyhawk deities and concepts in my Realms or your Points of Light races and planes in my Dark Sun.  Books for Planescape, Spelljammer, and PoL could expand upon this.

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I'd like to see a 'create your own cosmology' approach taken with DDN.  They could give us descriptions of planes like the Seven Heavens, the Nine Hells, the Elemental Chaos, the Astral Sea, the Feywild and the Shadowfell.  

Rather than have these planes *attached* to any particular cosmology however, they could give us a framework, a description of different kinds of cosmologies, such as the Great Wheel or the World Axis.  So, I might take the Seven Heavens and hook them into the Great Wheel cosmology, for one of my homebrews.  Someone else might take Heaven and Hell and hang 'em on a World Axis setting.  Published settings (such as Eberron or the Forgotten Realms) would have their own cosmology of course.

The trick would be keeping the core books unassuming.  3e used the Great Wheel as part of its lore, while 4e used the World Axis to explain stuff.  I'd like for DDN to be less assuming. So, Heaven and Hell might exist in D&D but it's up to the players to decide what that means (the books aren't gonna spell it out for ya).  

= = =

Months ago, someone else posted a thread that had a better term for this sort of idea.  Damned if I can remember what it was though ;).

Edit:  Plug-n-Play, that was it. 
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I'd like to see a 'create your own cosmology' approach taken with DDN.  They could give us descriptions of planes like the Seven Heavens, the Nine Hells, the Elemental Chaos, the Astral Sea, the Feywild and the Shadowfell.  

Rather than have these planes *attached* to any particular cosmology however, they could give us a framework, a description of different kinds of cosmologies, such as the Great Wheel or the World Axis.  So, I might take the Seven Heavens and hook them into the Great Wheel cosmology, for one of my homebrews.  Someone else might take Heaven and Hell and hang 'em on a World Axis setting.  Published settings (such as Eberron or the Forgotten Realms) would have their own cosmology of course.

The trick would be keeping the core books unassuming.  3e used the Great Wheel as part of its lore, while 4e used the World Axis to explain stuff.  I'd like for DDN to be less assuming. So, Heaven and Hell might exist in D&D but it's up to the players to decide what that means (the books aren't gonna spell it out for ya).  

= = =

Months ago, someone else posted a thread that had a better term for this sort of idea.  Damned if I can remember what it was though ;).

Edit:  Plug-n-Play, that was it. 



I'd prefer the plug-n-play be more generic than that.  I don't want to be haunted by names like shadowfell, elemental chaos, astral sea, and whatnot as the generic basis.  Perhaps cosmology should be handled in separate settings and modules, as I said.  That way, you can mix all three in some way, with enough ideas to build in your.  In fact, the core basis should provide enough raw ideas for building your own.  That way, I can cram a few Great Wheel concepts a little later and ignore World Axis.

An undead spectre occasionally returning to remind the fandom of its grim existence.

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
Personally, my cosmos is a combo of World Axis and Great Wheel. At the center is the world, coexistent to it is the Feywild and Shadowfell, with all three wrapped in Ethereal. Then there's the Inner planes, all of them and even some weird ones I like to call pseudo-elemental planes (combos of positive/negative with para-elemental). Then the Outer Planes, and all of it floating in the Astral Sea where all multiverses float (kinda like Spelljammer). Sigil is at the "center" of the Astral Sea. No Elemental Chaos, it's basically Limbo anyway (personal opinion)
Asking developers to put game design into reverse in an attempt to recapture the "feel" of some earlier edition, whatever "feel" means, is like asking a car company to go back to 60s manufacturing methods to capture some boyhood dream of driving an old muscle car. You might recapture that feel for about 5 minutes before you realize how much you miss power steering and disc brakes.




Or they could make a muscle car chasis that has power steering and disc brakes.

Just saying.

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I think there is some confusion here.  A lot of us really do think a lot of the 4e mechanics are not fun.  They aimed for a goal and way overshot.  The only people I hear whining about doing things for traditions sake are the people opposed to some idea from the past.   The people who want a return to mechanic X of the past want it because it was better.  4e didn't work out for us.  We tried it.  Didn't work.  

Fluff is another matter and to be totally honest I don't care.  I do my own fluff.  But with fluff it is always smart to not alienate your fanbase of thirty years.  So if they are catering to some of those people they really torqed off when they lobotomized the Forgotten Realms, I say good for them.  For me all of this is minor because I will design my own cosmos for my next campaign.  I have half a dozen books to support me in that endeavor.  Does it bother me that the default design won't be mine?  No.  Thats a feature.   Do I even like the great wheel?  No.  Still think they should focus on long time fans when it comes to fluff.  



 

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Agree with the preference of the OP. The 2E Planescape/Spelljammer unified D&D cosmology is the defining element of D&D that most appeals to me. Without that, I just am not interested in the game.

On the other hand, I think the 4E cosmology is pretty fun on its own merits. I recommend taking the classic D&D cosmology as the default assumption (if there is one) but providing full support for the 4E cosmology for those who prefer it, either via an entire book dedicated to it, or through a separate section in a Manual of the Planes.

I'm not sure if individual planes are going to get their own books. More likely that 5E will have less, rather than more, game supplements. I approve of this, since I like consolidation and can always whip up details. In this case, there is plenty of prior edition material, both official and fan-made, so I'm sure there won't be much of a problem finding all you need for a pandemonium adventure, given that the basic rules and flavor of the plane are taken care of in a core Manual of the Planes or equivalent, with perhaps a single Planescape Campaign Setting book for those who want the additional flavor and details provided. I say this because these are requests that are reasonable in light of what they designers and developers have already said or hinted at with regards to products. Getting a ton of books isn't likely.
Asking developers to put game design into reverse in an attempt to recapture the "feel" of some earlier edition, whatever "feel" means, is like asking a car company to go back to 60s manufacturing methods to capture some boyhood dream of driving an old muscle car. You might recapture that feel for about 5 minutes before you realize how much you miss power steering and disc brakes.




Or they could make a muscle car chasis that has power steering and disc brakes.

Just saying.



Valid point, but that still leaves you with a host of other issues: poor fuel consumption, lack of electronic components, archaic safety features, and on and on it goes. Maybe this allegory is wearing a little thin, but it seems to me that at some point you have to resign yourself to the fact that whatever fond memories you may have, there's something - heck, there's a lot - to be said for progress.


I liked the 4e comology, simply because it was another option. I could run a campaign using the Great Wheel in 4e, or any other cosmology. I could even create my own. But I could also run 4e cosmology, or even mix and mash as needed. For example, my main homebrew campaign setting that I usually used kept the shadowfell and the feywild, but nixed a lot of the rest of 4e cosmology. About half of the rest came from other books either I, or other members of the group had lying around, and half of it was homebrew.

As for what this means in 5e: I say keep whatever cosmology you want, or make a new one, but provide alternatives either as a "module" in the DMG, or in a sourcebook (hopefully an early one). 

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This is one of the answers to a question in the seminar transcript for "Reimagining Skills and Ability Scores" back in late January.

Greg: Anything specific from previous editions that you really want to see in the next game?

Rob: The electrum piece. I want to bring back the Great Wheel of cosmology. That would be awesome to have back.




While this answer doesn't in and of itself prove that the Great Wheel is or is not coming back, it does show that at least in late January that Rob was feeling it would be awesome to bring back. Take that for what you will.

I would like support for many cosmologies, but I absolutely demand support for the Great Wheel and I know I am not alone. I think some are seeing the Great Wheel as if it were some simple game mechanic that was later "improved" upon. The World Axis was never an "improvement", just something much different. Just like the 4e wizard wasn't an "improvement", just a completely different wizard. The 4e cosmology and the 4e wizard were fun to some players, but they were not for other players such as myself. The complete lack of support for the Great Wheel was one of the main things 4e did that alienated me, so I stuck to 3.5e where I could run and also play the D&D I wanted.

It is entirely possible for support to exist for multiple styles of cosmology.
Do you have an opinion on what campaign settings should be printed in D&D Next? If so, please cast your votes in this poll! Poll: What campaign settings do you want to see printed in D&D Next?
Another vote here for separating the cosmology from the rules as much as possible.  Admittedly I only scanned most of the posts, but there doesn't seem to be much disagreement on this one.

As an aside, I do think that they did a really nice job with the cosmology in 4e - just doesn't work for my homebrew setting.
Well, so far the Ethereal and Faerie plane are in.

All planes do not need to necessarily be places where adventurers go and "adventure" (kill things/mug them).
All planes do not need to necessarily be places where adventurers go and "adventure" (kill things/mug them).



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