Cosmology, Outsiders, and Summoning



Feb 20, 2004 10:04:47
Hello to all. This is my first post here, although I've been reading the board for a very long time. There will be no "Gosh, I love Dark Sun, but I can't seem to find a 3.5E conversion anywhere" out of me. ;)

I used to have a bunch of Dark Sun stuff, but lost it years ago. Long story. I intend to eventually start buying .pdf files to replace everything, but I only have Dragon Kings at the moment. I've enjoyed reading the material. Anyway, I'd like your thoughts on the following questions:

As of 3E, all campaign settings have their own cosmology, correct?

In 2E, the Gray makes reaching the Astral Plane and the Outer Planes very difficult, but not impossible. In 3.5E, does Athas even have Outer Planes? To me, it seems that it should, what with mentions of fiends in 2E stuff, and the fact that Dregoth has apparantly been to the Outer Planes with his gate (assuming he didn't actually hop cosmologies). I read a post a long while back that I can't find now (might have been on the old board) that described the Outer Planes not a nice wheel like in other cosmologies, but as a random bunch of demiplanes, but that was an unofficial thing (but I liked it).

Is the Gray 100% effective in snaring Athasian souls? I don't mean undead, who break free and go back to the Material Plane. Do any get through to the Outer Planes?

Has the Gray always been around? After reading the timeline, it seems to me that it's probably been around at least since the 4th World's Age. I doubt elemental clerics would start popping up if the Outer Planes were still easily accessible. It seems to me that the Gray is an artificial plane of sorts, otherwise, why have Outer Planes if no souls ever went there in the first place?

Summoning... Let's say high-level defiler Bob (yeah, I'm lousy at coming up with names) attempts to summon fiend Dave from the Outer Planes. It's been a long time since I've had Preservers and Defilers (I think that's next on my to-get list), but who makes the check to see if Dave is lost in the Gray? Bob or Dave? Does whoever makes the check have to make it twice (On the way to Athas and then on the way back)? If Dave is the one to make the check, what sort of stats would help Dave lessen his chances of getting stuck in the Gray or at least survive long enough in the Gray long enough to get out on his own? High Wisdom? High Charisma?

If you're all wondering where the heck these questions are coming from, I just got 3.5E Monster Manual and have been particularly reading the chapter on monster making. I got to wondering what kind of outsiders a cosmology like Dark Sun's would have, what with them being at the mercy of the Gray. That lead to wondering how there would even be Athasian outsiders if the Gray was 100% effective and had existed forever, since the 3E Manual of the Planes states that quite a few varieties of outsiders come from petitioners. Looking at the timeline, it seemed like the Grey had been around since the Blue Age, and I got to wondering what kinds of outsiders would be spawned from dead Rhulisti or ancient Kreen.


Feb 20, 2004 10:28:33
As of 3E, all campaign settings have their own cosmology, correct?

It seems that way. in 2e originally, the idea of a 'multiverse' of all the settings combined was always an option, though it was surely not the absolute default. Later on though, especially with the advent of Spelljammer and Planescape, the idea of unifying all the settings together became more concrete (likely a marketing decision for those two junction settings). Settings like GH and FR used the general default cosmology anyhow so the shift was not a big deal. DS, when released, seemed to want to stay away from that, but it still gave a 'logical' reason for that (no planar travel and no spelljamming access). The Black Spine adventure broke that mold though, with a jaunt to the Astral at the last 3rd of the adventure. City by the Silt Sea follows up with a bit of mold breaking by giving Dregoth a mirror of planar travel. With the precedence now set twice, Defilers and Preservers attempted to 'get things back on track' again by closing everything off.

In 3.5E, does Athas even have Outer Planes?

It depends. Are you interpreting the letter of the law, or the intention. Athas has its own versions of the elemental planes, something that severely contradicts the whole 'multiverse' mentality. It stands to reason then, that Athas has its own version of the Outer Planes as well: the Black and the Grey. Having its own version of cosmology, decide for yourself then if there is a need for Athas to be connected to the default style planes (personally, I see no need to have both).

Is the Gray 100% effective in snaring Athasian souls? I don't mean undead, who break free and go back to the Material Plane. Do any get through to the Outer Planes? [snip] Has the Gray always been around?

Who knows? If the default Outer Planes exist in your version of Athas, then it can happen, but only rarely. If they don't exist though, then there's no where else for souls to go anyhow. There's little in the way of precedent for people going around creating whole planes, but hey, its fantasy. Of the two most ancient cultures from the Blue Age that still exist, the imperial kreen and the Rhul-Than halfings of the Jagged Cliffs, neither seems to have any hold-over religeous context that would indicate that they had once worshiped real gods, so it would stand to reason that they Grey has always existed (or that the outer planes don't really exist).

Anyhow, its basically up to the individual, since canon is quite sketchy. I interprate the canon a bit differently than some, I'm sure, prefering to keep Athas closed off since that seemed to be the intention.

The defualt style outer planes, to me, never seemed to mesh very well with any Athasian campaign I've run. I did go on and create a few more planes specifically for Athas that I use. One is a dreamscape style plane, since I rely heavily on themes such as prophecy, oraclular visions, and fatalistic destiny; the other something akin to the Far Realms, so I could inject a little cthulhu-ish style horror into the game using fiends as other dimensional terrors and not simply demons. Two planes just seemed a little bland.


Feb 20, 2004 11:01:06
there's several incidents where planar berks arrive on Athas, like the Githyanki led by Queen Trinth and the Naga Dregoth has stashed away below Kragmorta and the Red Dragon bones he has used to build his palace in New Giustenal, there's also the Crimson Monolith where "Creatures magically step out of the Monolith at night and explore the nearby dunes"


Feb 20, 2004 11:27:12
Covered those already

Well, expect for the crimson monolith, but that's speculation as to its very nature. What I was saying, was that DS started with 'no outer planar access', then did a turn around and renig that statement.


Feb 20, 2004 12:13:51
The crimson monolith ..... ooohh ... now theres a cool and very interesting plot device !!

As to the planes :-

I seem to recall that there is an adventure that has summoned Baatazu masquerading as Githyanki ????????

Can't seen to remember where though ?????