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Worlds of D&D
By James Wyatt

M y work these days doesn’t have a lot to do with monsters. Chris Perkins is spending a lot of time taking all the work we’ve done concepting monsters (including the feedback from the polls in this column) and turning it into actual monsters, while my time is spent doing a lot of other writing. So I’m going to continue exploring some other topics, generally revolving around the story of the D&D multiverse.

And that’s what I want to talk about this week: the multiverse.

The Default Setting

Pretty early on, we agreed that the core rules for D&D Next had to acknowledge the existence of all the worlds of D&D—not just the Forgotten Realms we’ve been talking a lot about, but also Greyhawk, Eberron, Krynn, Athas, Mystara, Ravenloft—and, most importantly, the thousands and thousands of worlds created by DMs for their own games. So we’re writing from that perspective, and you’ve seen snippets of it in the playtest materials—for example, the inclusion of the kender and the warforged in the last races document, with explicit mention of the worlds they come from. Another example appears in the playtest text of the cleric class:

Examples of the gods of this [Life] domain include Apollo, Demeter, and Hestia of the Olympian pantheon; Isis and Osiris of the Pharaonic pantheon; Frey, Freya, and Frigga of the Asgardian pantheon; Chauntea, Ilmater, and Lathander of the Forgotten Realms; and Ehlonna, Pelor, and Zodal of Greyhawk.

And reinforcing that idea, here’s a sneak peek at some (unedited) text that might or might not appear in some unspecified future rulebook:

All these worlds share characteristics, but each world is set apart by its own history and cultures, distinctive monsters and races, fantastic geography, ancient dungeons, and scheming villains. Some races have unusual traits in different worlds. The halflings of Athas, for example, are jungle-dwelling cannibals, and the elves are desert nomads. Some worlds feature races unknown in other worlds, such as Eberron’s warforged, soldiers created and imbued with life to fight in the Last War. Some worlds are heavily influenced by one great story, like the War of the Lance that plays a central role in the Dragonlance setting. But they’re all D&D worlds, and you can use the rules in this book to create a character and play in any one of them.

Your DM might set the campaign on one of these worlds or one that he or she created. Because there is so much diversity among the worlds of D&D, you should always check with your DM about any variant, additional, or prohibited classes, races, and other character options, or any house rules that will affect your play of the game. Ultimately, the Dungeon Master is the authority on the campaign and its setting, even if the setting is a published world.

The way I see it, this philosophy is an extension of the approach I’ve been trying to take with monsters throughout the life of this column: to make sure we come up with a story that includes every past expression of a monster in the game.

Connecting the Worlds

Over the history of D&D, the game has posited several different ways that all these various worlds might be connected.

The original Manual of the Planes (1987) placed each world in an alternate Prime Material Plane and discussed ways of traveling from one to another.

  • Each Prime Material Plane has its own Ethereal Plane, but all those Ethereal Planes connect to the same Inner (Elemental) Planes—so it’s theoretically possible to go ethereal, go into the Elemental Plane of Air, travel some unspecified distance, enter a different Ethereal Plane, and end up in another Prime Material Plane.

  • Potentially simpler, all the Prime Material Planes connect to the same Astral Plane, so if you go Astral and can find a connection to another Prime Material Plane, you can travel from world to world that way.

  • The plane shift spell, an amulet of the planes, or the well of many worlds can also transport a character from one world to another.

  • Free-standing gates exist that link worlds to one another.

In 2nd Edition, the Spelljammer setting (1989) linked the various worlds in a very different way. Each D&D world existed in its own crystal sphere suspended within the phlogiston, and magical flying ships (spelljammers) could leave those spheres and cross the phlogiston to reach other worlds.

The Planescape setting (1994) kept the same cosmology, explicitly outlining that there’s only one Prime Material Plane, full of separate worlds isolated in their own crystal spheres. But Planescape, naturally, put a lot more emphasis on travel from plane to plane than on spelljamming between worlds. Since there’s only one Prime Material Plane, though, it would be possible in the Planescape model to travel from world to world via the Ethereal Plane. But Planescape also put an increasing emphasis on portals leading directly from plane to plane, and presumably from world to world within the Prime Material Plane.

The 3rd Edition version of Manual of the Planes (2001) promoted the earlier-edition Demiplane of Shadow to a full-fledged plane in its own right, which served as another link between alternate Prime Material Planes. Because that book opened up the possibility that different Material Planes might have their own unique arrangements of surrounding planes, the Plane of Shadow and the Astral Plane were the only guaranteed connections—a particular Inner or Outer Plane might have no link at all to another world.

This is a truly expansive view of the multiverse, and it allowed us to create entirely new cosmologies for the Forgotten Realms, Eberron, and the pantheons presented in Deities & Demigods. That approach had its pitfalls, and maybe I’ll talk more about that next week.

Races and Subraces

One of the appealing things about a meta-setting like Planescape or Spelljammer is that it allows players to create pretty much any character they want, drawing on material from any setting, published or unpublished. Planescape’s great metropolis of Sigil is the most cosmopolitan place imaginable, where githyanki and bariaurs rub shoulders with demons, kender, shield dwarves, and (at least theoretically) warforged.

Which raises an interesting question: What’s a shield dwarf?

The original Monster Manual (1977) presented two kinds of dwarf (hill and mountain), three kinds of halfling (hairfoot, tallfellow, and stout), and six kinds of elf (high, aquatic, drow, grey, half-, and wood). The only differences between hill dwarves and mountain dwarves as presented there are preferred habitat, size (mountain dwarves are a little taller), Hit Dice (1+1 versus just 1 for the hill dwarf), coloration (mountain dwarves are lighter in skin and hair), and maximum level advancement. The different kinds of elves and halflings were more different from each other, in terms of rules.

In the original Forgotten Realms setting products, the mountain dwarves of the world were called shield dwarves, and the hill dwarves were gold dwarves. They live in different parts of the world and have different cultures, but again, the rules differences between them were minimal until the 3rd Edition campaign setting.

That book, for the first time, presented shield dwarves and hill dwarves as something different from the hill dwarves and mountain dwarves presented in that edition’s Monster Manual. Well, sort of. Shield dwarves were equated with the default dwarves in the Player’s Handbook (except for the languages available to them), which is to say hill dwarves. And gold dwarves were presented as a unique subrace, with different rules: a penalty to Dexterity instead of Charisma, and a bonus to attack rolls against aberrations instead of orcs and goblins. Suddenly, gold dwarves weren’t just hill dwarves by another name, they were a distinct kind of dwarf that existed only in the Forgotten Realms.

Part of our attempt to focus on the whole multiverse in the new rules affects the way we look at subraces like this. Here’s another excerpt of unedited text that might or might not appear, in some form, in some unspecified future rulebook.

As a hill dwarf, you’re strong and hardy, accustomed to a difficult life in rugged terrain. The gold dwarves of Faerûn in their mighty southern kingdom are hill dwarves, as are the exiled Neidar and the debased Klar of Ansalon. . . .

As a mountain dwarf, you have keen senses, deep intuition, and a mastery of armor made from the metals mined in the mountains. You’re probably on the tall side (for a dwarf), and tend toward lighter coloration. The shield dwarves of northern Faerûn, as well as the ruling Hylar clan and the noble Daewar clan of Ansalon, are mountain dwarves.

I think this approach is important, because it stresses the idea that dwarves are dwarves, across the multiverse, and more specifically, that mountain dwarves are mountain dwarves, whether they’re called shield dwarves, Hylar, Daewar, or something else entirely. Mountain dwarves are a part of D&D, and all the worlds of the multiverse are a part of D&D. Not all those worlds have mountain dwarves, but where they do appear, they’re the same mountain dwarves as you’ll find on any other world.

That said, I think there’s plenty of room for differentiating the shield dwarves of Faerûn from the Hylar and Daewar of Dragonlance—and, for that matter, distinguishing the Hylar and Daewar from each other. But I think that differentiation needs to occur on a cultural level, not a subrace level. In other words, just like humans from Calimshan and humans from Solamnia are differentiated by their culture (and not by subrace), shield dwarves and Hylar should be distinguished in the same way.

What Do You Think?

What’s your take on this approach to the multiverse, the “default setting” of D&D, and the ties that bind the worlds together?

Previous Poll Results

What scale do you use for the starting area of a campaign?
I don’t draw maps to scale for the starting area. 367 27%
Province scale (approximately 1 hex = 1 mile) 330 24%
Kingdom scale (approximately 1 hex = 10 miles) 351 25%
Continent scale (approximately 1 hex = 50 miles) 154 11%
Other 155 11%

About how much area do you map out at the start of a campaign?
A dungeon. 110 8%
A town. 139 10%
An area about 10 miles across. 167 12%
An area about 50 miles across. 327 24%
An area about 500 miles across. 136 10%
A continent. 210 15%
A world. 141 10%
I always use published settings. 123 9%

How many settlements would you put in a starting area about 50 miles across?
One—it’s important for a home base to be sort of isolated. 111 8%
Two to four. 633 46%
Five to seven. 361 26%
Eight to twelve—like Ten-Towns (or the Puget Sound). 198 14%
More than twelve—I like the home base to be busy. 43 3%

How many dungeons or similar adventure locales would you put in a starting area about 50 miles across?
Just one—I want the adventurers moving out of the area pretty quickly. 76 6%
Just one—a really big one the adventurers can explore for a good long time. 107 8%
Two to four. 648 47%
Five to seven. 299 22%
Eight to twelve. 103 7%
More than twelve—the adventurers should never be at a loss for something to do. 113 8%
James Wyatt
James Wyatt is the Creative Manager for Dungeons & Dragons R&D at Wizards of the Coast. He was one of the lead designers for 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons and the primary author of the 4th Edition Dungeon Master’s Guide. He also contributed to the Eberron Campaign Setting, and is the author of several Dungeons & Dragons novels set in the world of Eberron.
Comments
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I really like the ideas in this article. Well thought out and simplified. It may even lead people to try new settings because of some form of familiarity.
  
Posted By: tirwin (12/20/2013 12:09:46 PM)
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I really enjoyed this article and am a big fan of a lot the ideas discussed, but one thing to bear in mind: perhaps the concept of the multiverse need not be applied to every campaign world. After all, some DnD worlds have their own unique cosmologies that really lend them a unique flavour. One example that comes to mind is Dark Sun.

I think that most fans of the Forgotten Realms will agree that changing the setting to accommodate to changes in DnD was not a super move. Likewise, even if most settings work fine with an overarching cosmology, why restrict your design creativity if you don't have to? Maybe some worlds would just work better unconnected from the other worlds. If you want, you could explain this away however you'd like: maybe some DnD worlds exist in parallel dimensions.
  
Posted By: BadMike (12/19/2013 9:04:40 PM)
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Reply to Staffan:

And 5e over-corrected for that big time by making humans +1 to all ability scores. Now, humans win DnD. Sorry, but low-light vision and/or a cantrip or something does NOT equal +6 to your starting stats.

If I ever DM 5e, I'll go back to the more reasonable ways 3x and 4e handled humans. Or do something totally new...eg: humans are +1 CHA, and +1 to an ability of their choice.
  
Posted By: seti (12/19/2013 7:48:51 PM)
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I apparently can't reply to posts, but I agree with Nthdegree256 regarding preferring the Eberron approach to subraces: they don't exist, though there may be different cultures that differ in minor details (e.g. Valenar elves getting proficiency in scimitars instead of rapiers). One of the reasons I don't like subraces is that humans essentially have versatility as their "hat" and sub-races bring a lot of that versatility to other races.

Look at 3e Forgotten Realms, for example, which featured elves with bonuses to both Dexterity (Moon), Intelligence (Sun), Charisma (Star), and even Strength (Wild) (I can't recall if there were any Wisdom elves as well). That meant that for almost every class, there was a kind of elf that could do it better than a human, and that's not good for the game.
  
Posted By: Staffan (12/19/2013 6:56:23 PM)
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Domain examples in the PHB may not be a great place to plug other DnD settings. The benefits of listing campaign gods in the cleric domain examples are that people who don’t play the setting will learn more about the setting. The downside is that for many people the campaigns’ god names are meaningless as examples, and they may not care about the setting. I assume campaign-interested people will have the campaign books with domain lists therein.

In contrast, everyone knows who Thor and Zeus are, so they are helpful PHB examples, but even less-known real-life pantheons might be more helpful because they are more open in terms of setting, have books of lore behind them, and could inspire gaming in a cultural setting very different from currently established settings (which come off as fairly similar), like Egyptian (mentioned above) or Japanese gods. If nothing else, dropping campaign-plug gods in the PHB could save space in the cleric entry.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (12/19/2013 2:55:51 AM)
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My opinion, the Devs should read and implement this article: Race and Culture in DnD (http://dailyencounter.net/2012/01/24/raceandcultureindnd/)
  
Posted By: LupusRegalis (12/19/2013 1:05:42 AM)
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Among the race entries seen in the playtest, there are base race stats all members of the race have (which could be genetic) and subrace traits one selects (which could be cultural). Dividing them this way might be a good idea, and can further the difference in cultures among campaign worlds.

That isn't the only thing subraces can do; I think it is most important for subraces in the PHB to cover different popular concepts of the race, for example some think of halflings as more hobbits than others, so "hobbit" would be one subrace of halfling.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (12/19/2013 2:12:10 AM)
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This makes me happy. To this point, all the Next material that I've seen has been of the FR variety (and I'm not a big fan). Knowing that other worlds will be supported puts me at ease. Thank you, Wizards.
  
Posted By: Steppenwolf41 (12/18/2013 9:33:21 PM)
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My first question is why are they called shield dwarves. What do they shield? Do they all carry shields into battle?
Of all the elf subraces how about a mention for Avariel (winged) elf? Will they return in DnD Next?
  
Posted By: Rartemass (12/18/2013 4:21:24 PM)
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"And reinforcing that idea, here’s a sneak peek at some (unedited) text that might or might not appear in some unspecified future rulebook:"

And the award for righteous vaguery in a sentence goes to...James Wyatt!

I kid because I care.

Seriously, I am glad to hear that published campaign settings like Dark Sun (my personal favorite) as well as Forgotten Realms (my least personal favorite) will (hopefully) get equal treatment. Incidentally; I know people like to talk smack about DragonLance...But, it was reading Margret Weiss and Tracy Hickman's first trilogy back in the mid 80's that really got me into this hobby in the first place. So, yeah...Even I have to admit I miss Krynn. 4e had no Krynn.
  
Posted By: seti (12/18/2013 3:13:54 PM)
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@nthdegree: I would wager because humans' strength (in DnD) has always been that they are naturally adaptable, ergo, they have not had to evolve into the various offshoots other races have. Humans are generalists, (most) other races are specialists. This is why they are often assumed in DnD settings to be the most populous and widespread race.
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (12/18/2013 2:11:13 PM)
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This is great, James. It's exactly what I need to run any campaign I wish without having to redo the PHB each time. Thanks for the well-considered direction.
  
Posted By: Sword_of_Spirit (12/18/2013 1:51:46 PM)
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I want to clarify my comment before: different settings require different cosmologies. Clearly, the Great Wheel doesn't satisfy the needs of Nerath, which relies on the World Axis cosmology. Forgotten Realms has a history of cosmological drift, so it's okay with all sorts of cosmologies, while Eberron and Dark Sun have moved from their own cosmological systems to the World Axis system in 4e, which they actually do quite well with.

And Spelljammer? It works SO much better with the Astral Sea in the World Axis.

My point is, do more like the 3e Manual of Planes and talk about various cosmological systems. Don't standardise them, open them up.
  
Posted By: Marandahir (12/18/2013 1:38:07 PM)
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I'm a fan of the mindset Keith Baker uses with respect to subraces, namely - don't need 'em. Cultural differences are more interesting and don't have to translate into a particular mechanical benefit/penalty. You can see this in Eberron where the elves of Valenar and of Aerenal are very, very different in terms of religion, cultural outlook, likely class choices, etc. but don't use different subrace stat blocks.

To put it another way... we don't have distinct statblocks for "humans," "sea humans," "deep humans," and "hill humans." Why do we need them for elves or dwarves?
  
Posted By: NthDegree256 (12/18/2013 1:03:39 PM)
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If you give me a Dragonlance Campaign setting book and adventures/supplements this time i'll agree with whatever you say.
  
Posted By: NethergateTemplar (12/18/2013 12:52:37 PM)
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I don't know much about Faerun, so question 4 felt odd. My answer depends on how close they actually are to the generic idea of "mountain dwarf", but I like the idea that a campaign setting has their own races (or versions of the basic races), unless they are so very close to DnD's basic stuff they don't need to, (and if they are, why are there so many similar campaign settings?).

We could have DnD settings where only one (or none!) of the PHB-presented races exist, instead having races that fill other niches or come from non-North European cultures.
  
Posted By: Dreamstryder (12/18/2013 12:30:02 PM)
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If anything, I'd like to see less of an assumption that 'dwarves are dwarves' or 'humans are humans' and have a default presumption that the races in any given campaign world are specific to that world -- that they exist there because they belong there, and are not just a collection of generic being who happened to fall into this specific random pattern of culture. In that sense, the core rules should feature a core setting, and an 'advanced setting guide' could provide an add-on to allow DMs to adapt the core races to a different setting, including a setting of their own design, by providing examples and suggestions on how to adapt the core races to a new setting by using existing rules concepts like feats, alternate racial proficiencies, etc.
  
Posted By: Pauper (12/18/2013 12:01:11 PM)
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I like 4th edition best. However, the changes to the cosmology of Planescape, which where valid during 2nd and 3rd edition with the Great wheel were much more fascination.
  
Posted By: Torodiamo (12/18/2013 11:33:24 AM)
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First: cosmologically, I like a Great Wheel that uses Planescape, with a VAST Prime Material that uses Spelljammer. Second, I think it should be EASY to avoid both of them, if you want to, in a particular campaign or setting. They are "invisible overlays" that are-- sticking with the Next ethos-- optional, but assumed to be the default.

Second: I actually think that there should be "biological" and "cultural" elements clearly distinguished in the races. Darkvision, Con Bonus, Poison Resistance should be distinct from Familiarity with Dwarven Battle Axe or Hates Gobins or Dodges Giants. Each subrace should should keep the biological elements in common, but change the cultural. (Same for elves, including Eladrin and Drow as subraces). That way, if I want to have, say Moon Dwarves or Death Dwarves in my campaign, I have an easy place to start.
  
Posted By: mordicai (12/18/2013 9:45:53 AM)
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Awesome. Keep up the good work James. You are by far my favorite pastor-turned-Fantasy RPG writer.

Also, I love seeing a reference to Spell Jammer. It would be a ton of fun to see a revamp to that setting with DnDNext rules streamlined in. I played a 4E reimagination of it about a year ago that was absolutely awesome. However the ship-to-ship combat felt a little flat. It would be great to see what Wizards of the Coast could do to update the rules more evenly and make it smoother to play for multiple people with different roles on a spaceship.
  
Posted By: Nachofan (12/18/2013 9:29:07 AM)
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I want to elaborate on 4. I chose the option where they have cultural variation supported by minor rules tweaks. My idea of "minor rules tweaks" would be different backgrounds and recommendations for feats, gods (most relevant to Clerics or other divine casters), spells and so forth. You could build identical mountain and shied dwarves, but the books should offer you easy ways to represent that cultural differentiation through various character choices.
  
Posted By: GilbertMDH (12/18/2013 9:21:02 AM)
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What I'd like to know is why 4th Edition is completely ignored in this story, especially in the grand list of settings, practically every setting BUT the Nerath setting are mentioned. And the World Axis model, and how the Shadowfell and Feywild developed ideas about the transitive planes as more places to visit, interesting worlds, rather than just tools to reach another world that might be interesting… these are worth mentioning if you're going to talk about Worlds of DnD, EVEN if you're moving away from those models – which evidence seems to say, at least on the Faerie side of things, you aren't.

Please stop ignoring 4th Edition fans.
  
Posted By: Marandahir (12/18/2013 8:44:32 AM)
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At last, this column is great because I was afraid that dndnext would only deal with the Forgotten Realms, which is not my favorite. I love Eberron and like next rules, son perhaps I will after all buy some dndnext lore material if it mentions Eberron.
  
Posted By: PaladinNicolas (12/18/2013 5:36:22 AM)
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A Gold Dwarf (+Con −Dex) and a Hill Dwarf (+Con −Cha) are different character concepts.

They are different subraces.

It is wrong to erase one of these tradition.

5e includes more players by embracing the different traditions.
  
Posted By: Haldrik (12/18/2013 2:53:11 AM)
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A friend and I discussed this topic last year.

http://dailyencounter.net/2012/01/24/raceandcultureindnd/
  
Posted By: dracowayfarer (12/18/2013 2:40:32 AM)
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This...one hundred billion million percent!!!
  
Posted By: FReeXenon (12/18/2013 9:38:08 AM)
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Not all Clerics are polytheists.

‘The worlds. ... Another example appears in the playtest text of the cleric class: Examples of the gods of this [Life] domain include Apollo, Demeter, and Hestia of the Olympian pantheon; Isis and Osiris of the Pharaonic pantheon; Frey, Freya, and Frigga of the Asgardian pantheon; Chauntea, Ilmater, and Lathander of the Forgotten Realms; and Ehlonna, Pelor, and Zodal of Greyhawk.’

Some Clerics are polytheists. Not all. Some Clerics are philosophical Buddhists who pursue Nirvana. Some Clerics are animistist who seek the peace and luck of the ancestors. Some Clerics revere universal principles like the Yang-Yin of Daoism. Some Clerics revere a transcendent mystical unity like Judaism. And so on.

The Eberron setting has a good example of a diversity of spiritual traditions. In addition to polytheism, the Cleric class mentions the transcendental monotheism of the Silver Flame, and the ancestor-revering animism of the Court ... (see all)
  
Posted By: Haldrik (12/18/2013 2:35:05 AM)
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All this talk about small difference between Dwarves, yet I'm struck more by the exclusion of the Warforged. Not only are they specifically called out as existing only in Eberron, but apparently it's iffy that Sigil (the nexus of all reality) will have them, even if Eberron connected to it.
  
Posted By: Alter_Boy (12/18/2013 1:25:53 AM)
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Warforged are pretty closely tied to Eberron, so it makes sense, and I think the question mark is mostly because most (if not all?) Planescape stuff pre-dated Eberron.
Ultimately, it's up to the DM whether Warforged exist in a particular campaign, and I think it's far better to emphasize that some races simply don't exist in some worlds, than to try to make "everything exists everywhere" the default assumption.
  
Posted By: Noirsoft (12/18/2013 2:27:11 AM)
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I think the warforged referenced as part of Planescape seems "iffy" because Eberron didn't exist when the Planescape setting was published. That's how I read it.
  
Posted By: To11 (12/18/2013 9:16:50 AM)
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I think it's fascinating that the entire history of how DnD dealt with other planes started in 1987 and ended in 2001, like there had never been discussions of the planes in books before the first Manual of the Planes, or hadn't been anything published about them since the 3e Manual of the Planes.

  
Posted By: Tony_Vargas (12/18/2013 1:22:42 AM)
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For years and years one of the things I have thought was lacking in DnD was cultural differences among non-humans. I don't know that it needs a mechanical element (will different humans have the same differentiation?) but it needs to be emphasized that not all elves/dwarves/gnomes/orcs/whatever are the same and that it is entirely possible, and should be expected, that elves (for example) in one part of the world have different customs, religions, languages, prejudices, etc... than elves in a different area.
  
Posted By: ForgottenLore (12/18/2013 1:12:57 AM)
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In the Race section of the rulebook, each Subrace can list several notable Backgrounds. Each Background represents a subculture within the subrace.

The Background especially is where to find racial weapon proficiencies.

The DM can alter the ‘culture’ for different regions (south v north, urban v rural, Feywild v Nature, etcetera), simply by swapping in new Backgrounds.
  
Posted By: Haldrik (12/18/2013 8:18:26 AM)
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Yes, and I think this would be a great place for more transparency, a great place to use the rules to evoke the story; make that connection more explicit.
  
Posted By: mordicai (12/18/2013 9:48:19 AM)
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@ Clansmansix

Hmm… I'm actually quite excited by the potential Racial Feats would have given the new set-up. I could easily see single Feats encompassing a good swath of racial abilities. Though I do hope they make feats gain increasing benefit as you level.
  
Posted By: OskarOisinson (12/18/2013 1:10:12 AM)
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I like the multi-verse and one Prime Material. I'm not crazy about the space concept of Spelljammer. I think Spelljammer works better if it is run in the Astral. In that way, Spelljammer and Planescape are just one step away from all of the worlds such as Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Greyhawk, Eberron and Dragonlance. Word of caution, if you embrace the multi-verse concept, you can no longer punt on Psionics.
  
Posted By: Spykes (12/18/2013 1:03:24 AM)
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test
  
Posted By: Spykes (12/18/2013 1:02:56 AM)
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I've been arguing that DnD Next should have a "cultural" layer, akin to backgrounds, specialty, theme, etc. Mechanically. a "cultural" layer would have a trait like the background traits, that would relate to Roleplaying, such as a connection to a patron or organization. If we assume 3 pillars: Exploration, Roleplaying, and Combat then three "layers" of character building suggest themselves, one for each pillar. Class clearly hold up the combat pillar. As it stands Background can either be Exploration (Scout) or Roleplaying (Noble). Separating these with a clear support for each pillar goes a long way to building a fully-fleshed character.

TL;DR - Mountain Dwarves are the same race, but there can be vast difference in cultural. Lets see a cultural theme hold up one of the three pillars
  
Posted By: Mourne (12/18/2013 12:48:46 AM)
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IIRC think the first product to mechanically differentiate hill and mountain dwarves would have been the 2e Dragonlance boxed set, not the 3e FR books.
  
Posted By: The_Jester (12/18/2013 12:36:22 AM)
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I liked 4E's approach of having one race with multiple possible bonuses to attributes (e.g. dwarves get +2 Constitution and +2 Strength OR Wisdom) and "sub-race" determined by choice of feats. With feats occupying a more valuable chunk of a character's resources, this is sadly no longer an option.
  
Posted By: Clansmansix (12/18/2013 12:27:47 AM)
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