I am not a AD&D player nor have I ever participate in IRL roleplaying however I gain most of my knowledge about said arena through the fine computer games of Black Isle.So my question is this - is the Planescape universe depicted in the game Torment (best crpg ever) actually used by anyone for roleplaying in or do all adventures take place in the reality I have taken to be called Forgotten Realms (Dwarfs,Paladins,etc) as it seems to be far less interesting (though perhaps easier to play) than Planescape
Mods please close this because I failed to realise that it had sucessfully posted the first time I tried
Actually, the mods should close the other thread, as this is the only one with an actual OP.
Oh, yeah, there was a question there, too.
There were several different game worlds put out by TSR before they were bought out by Wizards of the Coast. The oldest game world was Greyhawk (actually, the world was Oerth, Greyhawk was one of the major cities), which was a standard fantasy setting. Later, they came out with Forgotten Realms, (Toril being the planet’s name in this case) which was, well, also a standard fantasy world, but for some reason proved much more popular with gamers and eventually crowded out Greyhawk, although Greyhawk has been periodically revived every few years.
In addition to these world, TSR also produced Ravenloft (Gothic horror-fantasy), Dark Sun (post-apocalyptic fantasy), Dragonlance (yet another generic fantasy setting, this one based off of the popular novels of the same name), Al-Qaudim (Arabian fantasy, and technically a supplement to Forgotten Realms), and Birthright (epic-scale fantasy role-playing). The capstone to all these games was Planescape, which posited the city of Sigil as a nexus to all the other game worlds, linking them all into one meta-reality.
Planescape had it’s own product line, and possesion or knowledge of any Forgotten Realms supplements was unnecessary, but there were characters, monsters, artifacts and other references from all of TSR’s games mixed in. This gave the game an interesting “grab-bag” feel, as all these different “cultures” were mixed together.
As to how closely any individual session of Planescape resembled Torment, that depended on the gaming group. I regularly played Planescape from the day it was first released, but most of my early games were pretty much like the games we’d been playing in the Forgotten Realms setting. After Torment, they took a distinct turn towards the weird, culminating with a series of adventures that turned my paladin into an animated skeleton, without affecting his alignment or holy powers.
Planescape has been officially discontinued since the re-organization and release of the third edition, but all the Planescape material remains cannon. The new edition of Manual of the Planes contains an entry for Sigil, and the new Forgotten Realms sourcebook (one of the best RPG sourcebooks ever) contains rules for making Tieflings, a race first introduced in Planescape. I suspect in a year or two, after they’ve run out of new material for Forgotten Realms and their latest Greyhawk re-release, they’ll bring back Planescape, Dark Sun, and all the other game worlds they put out to pasture when they got bought out.
Planescape (I think) Dragonlance and Ravensloft (I know) have non-WotC releases either out or pending (Dragonlance by Hickman and Weis, Ravensloft by a White Wolf division) and Dark Sun has officially been given over to fans to convert and support. Zakhara (Location of Al-Qadim) and Kara-Tur (The setting of the original Oriental Adventures - the most recent was in the Legend of the Five Rings setting Rokugan…now that WotC doesn’t own L5R any more I’m not sure if OA will go by the wayside or go back to dealing with Kara-Tur) are mentioned only briefly in the FRCS, but their ripe for refleshing in 3e, and AFAIK, WotC is holding on to the rights for them.
Miller, you forgot Spelljammer (outer-space fantasy roleplaying), possibly the weirdest setting they ever came up with. Anyone know what’s happening with it?
(BTW, Miller, I agree with you about the new Forgotten Realms sourcebook - what in incredibly well put-together book!)
I’m pretty sure it was the other way around. In the preface to The Art of Dragonlance, Weis & Hickman mention that it was the first time TSR released a set of novels based on modules already in print. In fact, they made sure Dragons of Autumn Twilight wrapped up nicely (immediate bad guy gone, Riverwind and Goldmoon married) because there was a fair amount of certainty that the idea wouldn’t fly with the readers and they didn’t want to have to write a second book to close up plot points if Autumn Twilight failed.
As for Forgotten Realms vs. Greyhawk, I always found it amusing back in the 1st edition days to play in a Forgotten Realms campaign and have the DM tell us we loot magic items named after Elholla, Celestian and the rest of them Greyhawk deities
Jophiel: You are right, the modules did come first, but all the Dragonlance sourcebooks used the events and characters as portrayed in the novels. The modules outlined a basic plot and provided stock characters, but Weis and Hickman were the ones who provided personality and context to it. Most of the real world-building was done in the novels, not in the modules.
Alessan: Spelljammer! I knew I was forgetting one!
Do you mean “adventures that are officially published”, or “adventures which people actually play”? I would be willing to guess that most adventures actually played aren’t from a packaged module, but from the DM’s imagination, and most of those probably aren’t in any particular setting. In a campaign I played a few years ago, for instance, one of the chief cities of the realm was named “Blah-blah blah”, because the DM had misplaced his notes that day.
I would say, however, that most D&D play is in traditional fantasy-type settings, since that’s really what the game is designed for. Usually, if folks want some radically different sort of setting, they’ll play some other RPG.
Man, does this thread take me back. By sheer coincidence, I purchased a copy of Black Isle’s Baldur’s Gate at Half Price Books last week after I was at Zyada’s Italian Birthday Party. I had to dig out my first edition Monster Manual to figure out just what it was the Ankhegs were spitting at my characters that could make them die so quickly.
[sub]It’s digestive acid, just in case you were wondering.[/sub]
Chronos is correct. Most, if not all D&D games take place in a setting created by the Dungeonmaster. This will typically include a wide range of elements from published TSR sources. In my campaign, for example, there was a Village of Hommlet and a Keep on the Borderlands, even though the campaign did not take place in the Greyhawk world - although I do own that material as well.
It just wouldn’t do to not use some of the stuff. For example, really good modules like Hommlet and the related Temple of Elemental Evil could be dropped in just about any setting. Besides, TSR laid all the groundwork for some of the religions, heroes (Rogue’s Gallery, anyone?), and magic items, so why not use them as they appear, even if you have to change the background a little?
I blew past some of the stuff, choosing what I wanted to create my vision of the fantasy world for the players. In Greyhawk, Drow Elves exist (one popular module even had the PC’s battling their way into the Spider-Queen Lolth’s lair in another dimension!) but are rarely seen. In my world, there were no such things. I removed some things for game balance and included other things to even them out: if your character hails from a land with advanced black powder weapons, you can bet he won’t know the first thing about magic!
All in all, imagination was a lot cheaper and more fun than buying what was printed. You kept the stuff you liked, chucked the stuff you didn’t, and wove it all together into a story of your own telling.
This is a complete hijack, but I have to add my inflation-adjusted $.02. Most of the adventures that I DMed were custom-made, but a lot of them included elements from published adventures. One of the most successful I came up with used an idea stolen from the Paranoia! RPG: each character belonged to a secret society and each of them had a goal unknown to the other players. It made for lots of surprised looks.
I bought every Paranoia! module and never played the game; I got them solely for the reading pleasure. They were hilarious.
I think I just revealed my inner geekhood.