|#1CyrissApr 30, 2004 15:47:05||I read alot of PS fans complaining about the Manual of the Planes 3e book and how it ripped the old PS material apart. I just got the MotP a few weeks ago and have only skimmed it so far. |
What exactly is wrong with it? How bad does it change Planar info? I noticed how magic spell effects changed. I was never a big fan of record keeping in 2e so I never used spell effect changes per plane. But since starting 3e I decided to implement that more and noticed there's not much magic school changes per plane in the MotP book.
So what gripes does this PS fan have to look forward to when reading the MotP book?
|#2kuje31Apr 30, 2004 16:56:36||For me, the changes to Ethereal, as well as removing many of the elemental planes.|
|#3zombiegleemaxApr 30, 2004 17:08:06||Several key things pop up.|
1. The ethereal is now a useless plane. In 2e, it was the plane that connected the prime and the inner planes. The astral now connects every plane in existence.
2. No....freaking.....modrons! This may seem trivial to most, but it bothers me. The lawful exemplars got screwed with a simple web enhancement. In 3e, the 'new' lawfuls are now the formians. A change that is not classic Planescape. In 2e the formians were LG and native to Arcadia.
3. The names of the planes. In Planescape, every outer plane had a 'proper' name. The nine hells were properly called 'Baator.' And the demons and devils were named the baatezu and tanar'ri. This gave a unique feel to the setting. Now, they blended both styles into a mish-mash. It's now the 'Nine hells of Baator', and the Baatezu are now the 'most numerous of the devils'. It's just not classic Planescape.
4. Changing of facts. In MotP, the reason the third layer of Arcadia slid into Mechanus was because of the Harmonium, a faction which believed harmony and peace could only be achieved through brute force- and it was their harmony. So, they started kidnapping chaotic beings and forced them into what was basically prison camps on Arcadia in an attempt to make them more lawful. This evil behavior canceled out the slight good of Arcadia, and into Mechanus it went. In the MotP, the formians over colonized. This is not the original behavior of the formians. Their original job was to patrol the plane of Arcadia and keep the peace.
These are just a few examples. Basically they took a unique and fantastic campaign setting and reduced it into an afterthought. They took away everything about the planes that made them... well, Planescape-y.
|#4incenjucarApr 30, 2004 17:27:09||1) They're using Planescape as bait. This also goes through the various FR books with PS races, and the various monster and alignment books with PS-oriented monsters. Even if they're going to screw PS fans over, they shouldn't screw EVERYONE over. They should have simply had a Planar Monstrous Manual.|
2) What they all said, especially the ethereal/inner planes deal. The quasiplanes, paraplanes, and the little-known border planes, ROCKED. In 2e, they had just barely gotten a huge dose of new monsters and details, many of which were snuck in to the 3e MM books. (Rasts, Ravids, Belkers, Devourers, Frost Salamanders, Immoths, Noble Salamanders/Flamebrothers, thoqqua, Xill, and possibly others, -- animentals resemble elemental creatures, etc.). All of this in a single book at the end of 2e.
|#5zombiegleemaxApr 30, 2004 17:38:36|
Originally posted by Nordom the Rogue Modron
While I'll agree with you on most of those, and add my dissatisfaction with the handling of some of the planar denizens (why in the world did they give the githyanki the (Evil) subtype!?), and some of the chronology (okay, the formians' slide to Mechanus was a LONG time ago, and yet the Faction War has apparantly not happened?) I'm actually in FAVOR of this one I quoted. After all, there are lawful evil things native to Baator that aren't baatezu, as well as chaotic evil nasties in the Abyss which aren't tanar'ri (ancient Baatorians and qlippoth, among others....) Defining baatezu as a very specific and imporant subgrouping within a larger category allows the use of the term "devil" to refer to ALL of Baator's lawful evil fiends, baatezu and non-, simultaneously.. it doesn't make the terms interchangeable, but it makes things much easier to discuss and categorize.. thus: exemplars-->fiends--->devils--->baatezu--->specific baatezu type (osyluth, pit fiend, etc..). Gnnh. I guess my inner biologist is guiding me on this one. Being able to subdivide groupings in a heirarchy like that just makes more sense to me.
Oh, and if I don't PM tonight after the BESM session I'm heading out to, you have my personal permission to pelt me with mephits until I reply. Sorry for forgetting you so long.
|#6zombiegleemaxApr 30, 2004 17:46:29|
Originally posted by Feathercircle
It's ok. I forgive you.
As for the sub-grouping, the point of Planescape was that to call anything a devil labeled you a clueless sod from the prime. Bringing back the term 'devil' just robs a certain feel to the baator-native beings. (Even if they aren't baatezu.)
|#7CyrissApr 30, 2004 17:55:27||Yeah I don't care much for the new names of fiends and outer planes. I refuse to refer to them as "Bearded Devils or The Nine Hells" other than as nicknames. And it's frustrating looking up Baatezu stats when I need a Cornugon and have to flip through pages until I notice it labelled as Horned Devil. |
So other than name changes and storylines, what about the differences in Planar magic spell changes and plane effects?
|#8Shemeska_the_MarauderApr 30, 2004 23:42:07||Edit: Let me add that my criticism of certain portions of the MotP aside, it was and is a wonderful book. Easily my favorite book published for 3e thus far.|
The MotP was less complex in terms of rules regarding specific planes than Planescape was. This has both good and bad aspects.
Spell Keys, Power Keys, and spell alterations: has anyone used them? I've not used the first two, and only slightly used the last one in my own 3e PS campaign. Though I'll be going hardcore and using them all for a oneshot game I'm running next weekend.
The removal of the para and quasielemental planes was a shame, and the nerfing of the Ethereal was horrific in my opinion. I've reverted to the PS ethereal/astral layout for my own 3e game.
Yugoloths getting screwed over for 3e. I'm biased here, but it still holds.
Re-incorporating 1e names for specific Baatezu. I will laugh at you in the middle of a game if you call a Barbazu a bearded devil. I will sit at the table and mock you. Meet me and do this and you tempt fate. ;)
Removing key material from the MotP and altering names and history because you hadn't mentioned the specific monster or history of it all in 3e yet. Example being the name change of the Tower of the Arcanaloths to the Tower Arcane, simply because they didn't introduce a 3e Arcanaloth till MMII. Not mentioning Gehreleths in the description of Carceri at all, and when they finally do introduce them into 3e they totally rewrite their history and origins and call them by the, IMHO, idiotic 1e name of Demodand.
Glossing over Sigil and the Factions, and referring to a pre-FW Sigil when it was mentioned in the MotP. I'm not as worried about this though.
|#9incenjucarMay 01, 2004 0:29:52||The funny thing about all of this is that the 2e names were used in so many games and books... even people who are new to Pen and Paper D&D are going to be confused. The Black Isle games were full of fiends, including Icewind Dale II, which is semi-3e, and I'd be surprised if that's changed in the more recent games. Sure, "Barbezu" likely MEANS bearded baatezu (Barbers, etc), but it sounds much cleaner. It's like calling a triceratops a "three horned face". Sure, it's technically correct, but even the most diehard paleontologist will smack you for it and make you use the Latin.|
While the MotP is a fairly nice bit of material, and does well to standarize things (And I rather like that having tough armor no longer makes you immune to the plane of fire).
But the cheesy uber-long names for the planes....
|#10zombiegleemaxMay 01, 2004 0:40:54||Honestly, I didn't have much of a problem with the MotP. It had a bunch of monsters in it, all of which except the yugoloths didn't suck; a standard and convenient way to describe the traits of planes; the rudiments of the Great Wheel cosmology, enough to get primes out and about a little; some good new spells and prestige classes; and ideas for how to build your own cosmology from spare parts, which made me particularly happy.|
That said, I'm the sort of person who doesn't pay too much attention to what's "canon" or "non-canon", and will happily just ignore the parts which aren't as cool as Planescape (inner planes realignment, silly names for planes and monsters, etc.), just as easily as I ignore the parts of Planescape that I thought sucked (reducing cleric levels and magic item pluses on the fly, spell keys, power keys, etc.). You can always mix and match; it's your campaign, after all. The MotP, for me, was just great raw material.
That said, the one thing that really bugged me was how much the MotP yugoloths got screwed. To that end, I turned to this excellent thread at ENWorld for a set of revised yugoloth stats. Sheesh. Can't believe they wrote a whole paragraph of flavour text about how inhumanly brilliant and cunning the ultroloths were, and then slapped them with an 18 Int.
|#11incenjucarMay 01, 2004 0:47:30||It also happened to the guardinals, which I find odd. Perhaps WotC thinks that the extreme alignments should hold the most power?|
|#12OrnumMay 01, 2004 1:21:23|
Originally posted by Incenjucar
Agreed. For a race that supposedly travels to the lower planes in packs and hunts fiends (according to Planescape), the leonals in the MotP were vastly underpowered to do so. Just one of many complaints that I have with the book.
I of course agree that the 'loths weren't done right, either. In Planescape, an ultroloth was either equal to or better in most catagories when compared to a balor or a pit fiend. And actually, an ultroloth that had maxed HD had more hps than either one. (they all three had the same HD with 13, but and ultroloth gained an extra +26 where the other two didn't).
The elimination of the para- and quasi-elemental planes didn't sit well either. Of course, the book did somewhat mention them (page 66), the lack of an appropriate description or rules pertaining to them bothered me. Oddly enough, the first MM included 10 of the 16 mephits in it (but no lighting mephits!).
There were some important rules that the book included, but overall I was disappointed. Of course, with as much material that was released for Planescape, it's tough for a single book to include enough of everything to make me happy. They could have at least tried to stay consistent with the Planescape material, however.
|#13zombiegleemaxMay 01, 2004 9:06:51||I nerfing of the inner planes was bad, but I actually liked the changes to the ethereal and astral, simply on gameplay terms, since the way you couldn't access the ethereal on the outer/astral on the inner could unbalance certain characters and deter players from travelling around, which was pretty unforgivable in my book. Also IIRC inner-ethereal-prime-astral-outer system wasn't the original system anyway (I mean, its not the one presented in the DM's guide to Immortals which I actually prefer, strangely enough; that's 1e right, only I'm quite a newbie)|
|#14weenieMay 01, 2004 16:06:20|
Originally posted by Shemeska the Marauder
Whine truly an idiotic change, this is a 3.5 thing, not a MotP thing. MotP called its fiends Uridezu and Goristro, and not Rat-man Demon and Really Big Bull Demon, as the 3.5 MM would've called them, had they been mentioned...
But nerfing the 'loths and giving the githyanki an [evil] tag...
|#15freefallMay 01, 2004 21:01:03||I never cared for how the 'loths seemed to be trying to steal the spotlight from the Baatezu and Tanar'ri as the #1 fiends around, but I still think its a damn shame what happened to them in 3.0. I wouldn't mind an Ultroloth being a bit weaker than a Pit Fiend or Balor (heck, I don't even mind Solars being only marginally superior to them as opposed to completely superior to them like in PS), but they only have what, 95 hp? Come on, they should be better than that.|
BTW, while I myself prefer the Baatezu/Tanar'ri names, I always felt that those were basically their "true" designations, whereas the prime term for them was always "demon" or "devil," e.g. if a prime from Oerth went around Sigil and saw a Hamatula, he'd call it a barbed devil. I never really cared for the idea of them being offended by such names though. I would think that the simple presence of mortals would be more than offensive enough to them. Maybe they would find the mortal's ignorance amusing, but I don't think they would expect enough from them to be especially offended (and this part also seemed too blatantly obviously a reason to keep from using the "d" words that were now forbidden purely because of fear of conservatives).
|#16zombiegleemaxMay 02, 2004 7:45:04||The MotP is a very well-made manual by itself. If it hadn't Planescape behind its shoulders, I would find it difficult ot find something to criticize there.|
As things stand, I find that I hardly use it because I take the fluff from Planescape and I have to make up the crunch anyway because the MotP doesn't have nearly enough detail there. It's the planes from a prime's perspective, unlike Planescape.
I use spell keys and power keys sparingly. In 2E, I never really applied the magical alterations of the planes, mostly because I usually forgot about them. Too much book-keeping.
Now that I play 3E, I've decided to nix the cleric level loss as you travel away from your power's plane. It led to PCs either only getting Outlands powers or getting terribly screwed. So, now everyone suffers the magical alterations of the planes, including clerics, psions and even spell-like abilities. 3E provides a lot of nifty tools to alter magic without having to remember complex tables and ad-hoc rules. So, in the Abyss for example I have all Evocation spells be automatically Enhanced, all Illusion spells be automatically Extended, and you need a Spellcraft check to get Alterations right. Using standard rules makes it very easy to remember.
Incidentally, I wonder what system if any is going to be used for magical alterations in PS3E?
|#17zombiegleemaxMay 02, 2004 15:14:08|
Originally posted by Zappo
Amen to that! I think that a system like this could work, but only if it's implemented fairly; you should get a bonus to your spellcasting abilities when you're near your power's plane, no adjustment in between, and then penalties on the opposed planes. That would keep the whole "power derived from your god" flavour without making cleric players feel like they're being singled out for a beatdown. It's hard enough to get players to play clerics in the first place!
But frankly, the whole divine spellcasting adjustment thing falls into the "too much pointless bookkeeping" category for me, along with the "weapon pluses decreasing away from their home plane" rule. It sucks to step through a portal and then have to stop the game for a few minutes while the spellcasters work out what spells they have now.
|#18zombiegleemaxMay 02, 2004 15:22:31|
Originally posted by Fimmtiu
Tried that back in 2E. Didn't work. It means that the character is overpowered on the right planes, underpowered in the wrong ones, and never balanced.
There was a similar problem with stat substitution on the Astral, BTW. At a certain point, the fighting half of the party simply refused to go there.
|#19sildatorakMay 02, 2004 15:52:42||I really liked the weapon reductions; it made for some interesting transactions. What do you do when you need to pierce a dr of ??/+2 for a tanar'ri of some sort (other than getting a cold iron weapon)? Do you buy an abyssal +2 weapon that is only going to be of any use in the abyss and adjacent planes, or do you shell out the extra money for a +3 outlands blade? It also leads to less selling of magical arms and acumulating a nifty weapon rack at the character's home base (probably back in the safety of Sigil). Just lifted a +2 sword off a dead 'zu? You might want to hang on to it since your +2 arborean sword won't do you much good in baator.|
I hardly play any spellcasters, but I can see where the problems of divine caster level reduction and arcane spell alterations can be a problem with book-keeping. I just never found weapon plus changes to be too much hassel. Your chiv is +x on its home plane, +x-1 on the adjacent ones, and +x-2 on others in the same grouping. x-2 prime, x-3 opposite transitive, x-4 opposite group.
In 3.5 I think weapon plus modification is also a good incentive since weapons lose their other functions if they drop to +0 (though they're still masterwork). With dr being changed to ??/magic instead of a specific plus, you need a reason to add additional plusses since other bonuses have greater combat applications than an extra +1 to hit and damage.
|#20Shemeska_the_MarauderMay 02, 2004 16:52:15||For what it matters, I believe that Planewalker will be giving an optional system of weapon +'s, clerical level adjustments, spell/power keys etc eventually.|
I've never used any of those 2e planar adjustments actually (being how I started in 3e, those rule sets seemed flavorful but a bit arcane and overly complex). Closest I've come to doing so is a full out use of them in a oneshot game this upcoming Saturday just because I can be a complete sadist of a DM for a oneshot...
|#21ripvanwormerMay 02, 2004 21:34:00||I think "Tower Arcane" is a pretty cool name. "Tower of the Arcanaloths" isn't a name - it's a description. It disappointed me that the other yugoloth towers, Khin-Oin the Wasting Tower and the Tower of Incarnate Pain, had impressive names and the Tower of the Arcanaloths just had a summary of who primarily lived in it. |
Formians in 2e were listed as lawful neutral with good tendencies. This is still true for those formians that live in Arcadia. 2nd edition also said that those formians who don't live in Arcadia are much less harmonious than those that do (in the Prime they war with one another), so there's no real change.
Not that I could ethically complain if there was. I spent way too much time defending Planescape's changes to the angry 1st editioners to be able to say anything if they change everything again.
You guys who started with 2nd edition - you can get pretty angry at times, but the betrayal you feel is nothing compared to the nerd-rage the old-timers feel at things like the name "Baator," the concept of the Last Word or the power increase vrocks got. It's quite staggering.
|#22Shemeska_the_MarauderMay 02, 2004 23:58:38|
Originally posted by ripvanwormer
So what does that say about those of us who started in 3e, then discovered the 2e material, fell in love with its flavor (if preferring the 3e rule set) and now froth at the mouth at some of the 3e alterations of that Planescape goodness...? ;)
|#23zombiegleemaxMay 04, 2004 9:48:32||Sigil is basically a sidenote.|
|#24zombiegleemaxMay 04, 2004 15:33:14||As a whole, the MotP isn't a horrible book. It's especially excellent for game mechanics. In fact, in this regard, I think it's far superior to any of the Planescape books I've read. It also provides a fair amount of detail regarding many planar sites -- all in one book.|
However, I gripe about the MotP for these reasons:
- Lacking much of the way the Planescape multiverse was. Quasi- and para-elemental planes suddenly gone? What happened to them?
- Sigil is little more than a footnote (as mentioned above)
- No rilmani (*grumble grumble*)
- Formians played up as the exemplars of law? Excuse me, but when did this happen and how did they displace the modrons?
My biggest gripe is this, though.
Planescape books are full of character. The way they're written, it feels like you're actually somewhere in the multiverse listening to someone tell you the chant about the planes. MotP, like pretty much everything that is 3e, reads like a textbook. Textbooks are useful, but not as fun to read. I'd rather have someone telling me about the berks and leatherheads, the bloods and high-ups, and the burgs and call them by those names than read a 3rd person textbook writing.
I miss the character and the feel of Planescape whenever I look at my MotP
(P.S.: I hate the Fiend Folio with a passion for the atrocities it committed to my race! How dare they take clay golems and try to pass them off as rilmani!)
|#25sildatorakMay 04, 2004 18:43:13|
Originally posted by Center of All
I agree! How dare they tarnish the klingon form!
|#26zombiegleemaxMay 04, 2004 18:44:40||I feel for you guys and all, but my main gripe about the MotP (an excellent crunch book, IMO) was this.|
If the Rilmani and Yugoloths were screwed up in 3e, then the Modrons got raped by a broomhandle in the new material. Thus far, they have yet to be mentioned in a printed 3e book except for that one little blurb in the Mechanus description. I mean, TSR felt that they were good enough to devote an entire module to. Why didn't WotC like them?
Ya have to feel bad for the guys that wrote the book though. You can tell that they are trying to distance 3e planar stuff away from the Planescape campaign setting. Unfortunately (Or fortunately. Depending on who you talk to), we won't let them...
Bruce R. Cordell:
Check out the new Manual of the Planes supplement.
Bruce R. Cordell:
No, not really. It's more of a guidebook on how to include and create---
Bruce R. Cordell:
It borrows some elements from TSR's campaign setting, but as a whole it's not---
Bruce R. Cordell:
Okay, fine! It's Planescape!
In that case, you got wrong...
Bruce R. Cordell:
*takes headache pills*
|#27zombiegleemaxMay 04, 2004 23:33:05|
Originally posted by Sildatorak
Ahh, thank you.
*polishes his head-ridges and preens, looking far more attractive than that ugly, hairy yugoloth known as Shemeska :P*
|#28Shemeska_the_MarauderMay 05, 2004 0:21:39||"Hey come here... there's this unsightly imbalance in your head called an occipital bone. Let me kick it a few times, it might balance things out perfectly..."|
|#29gilliard_derosanMay 05, 2004 1:58:20||Considering that I had fallen in love with Planescape, MotP was a poor substitute. Everything was dumbed down and generalized.|
Sure, most people didn't use spell keys, power keys, alternating levels of powers/spells/magic items depending on what plane you were on and/or how far away from your diet/magic weapons plane of origin you were. But the stuff was there if you wanted to use it.
Planescape had little booklets that had info on a few sets of planes grouped by alignment, with all sorts of ifty rules.
And then AD&D dies and 3.0 is released. Planescape was not being continued as a seperate entity, but overall was being adopted as the default planar cosmology (yeah, sure, I still have yet to see this).
So when I heard about MotP, I was expecting a nice little Planescape-ish book that brought in all of the races, and adopted all of the core rules set for the planes.. and instead found a generalized, lets-take-half-of-what-made-planescape-so-darned-loveable and throw it out the window. Instead, we'll stick with a few things, change some other things, and ignore still yet more stuff. Oh, and since everyone loves Planescape Races so much, lets scatter them to the four winds in our books so people will have to buy more product that they wouldn't otherwise purchase in order to get ahold of Tieflings, Buariaur, Githzerai, Aasmiar, Genasi and the like.
I was a little disappointed. Overall, it's not a bad book when taken as a stand alone type thing. But when so many people who used to ignore the planes altogether got in the mood of planar adventures because of Planescape, they did a diservice by not keeping with the flavor of the recently released Planescape setting when they switched over to 3.0.
And, since a lot of the Planescape material itself can be easily adopted, if you happen to have the material you are in good hands. Yeah, it takes some time to alter the stuff that no longer works because of the changes from 2e to 3e (and now 3.5) but overall, they are easy fixes. (One of the first fixes I made, was to adopt the Tiefling random tables from Planewalker's handbook into 3e - because cookie cutter Tieflings just seems so wrong!)
And that leads me to wonder. Is the Planar Handbook going to similar in presentation to the Planewalkers handbook? Instead of new kits, new prestige classes, and just general info that characters themselves would know? Or, is it going to be more crunchable stuff in the flavor of planescape?. . . Ahh well, lets just wait and see.
|#30zombiegleemaxMay 06, 2004 16:02:05||<>|
Sorry, this I was glad about. I hate when metaplots render the setting as something completely different than the original intent. I realize it was optional, but had PS continued it would have meant adventures where factions had no place in Sigil.
I was similarly upset by the slaughter of sorcerer kings at the end of the Prism Pentad novels. IMHO, adventures based on timelines should always be only one option, perhaps even mutliple timelines could be examined....though that'd be a mess.
|#31incenjucarMay 06, 2004 16:48:18||It needs to be kept in mind that the MotP was never intended to be Planescape 3e, it was supposed to be MotP 3e, and Planescape stuff managed to sneak in there.|
|#32Shemeska_the_MarauderMay 06, 2004 18:24:31|
Originally posted by sciborg2
Optional? Not really if you wanted to keep with the metaplot in the background of your campaigns. I don't consider myself to have to stick with any game setting metaplot, however I'll inevitably work elements of it into my own campaign as it applies, usually if it's something with marginal relation to my own plot(s) and outside of the area the PCs are dealing with. For instance, I've brought the return of Shade into my Planescape campaign w/ some originally subtle, and then more overt encounters since one small side plot involved the PCs travelling to the Dire Wood on Toril. (w/ suggestions therein that Karsus made a deal w/ a specific Yugoloth NPC in the campaign for the creation of his avatar spell)
The PCs also released an imprisoned proxy of Garyx the All Devourer and Cleanser of Worlds for its prison in Pandemonium. I'll be tying this quite nicely into the overall metaplot of FR's year of rogue dragons eventually. It won't relate to the 2 year or so lower planar metaplot of my own making, but it's amusing and it really fits, so in it goes.
Back to PS: as I recall, before the PS line was suddenly folded back into the main D&D line, there were originally plans to eventually bring the factions back to Sigil in a whole 'unity of rings' thing. Faction War was to be the 1st of 3 major things in an underlying metaplot. I can't vouch for this other than having heard it somewhere (can't remember where), but it makes some sense.
|#33zombiegleemaxMay 06, 2004 23:53:32||metaplots just seem sort of silly to me, at least in planescape. It is somewhat necessary to generate buy in for the setting, but major changes can alter the game to the point it becomes a different game. I hope Sigil's coverage in the upcoming book presents the original idea, which I believe will draw players in without the baggage of a history to track.|
|#34zombiegleemaxMay 07, 2004 2:56:15|
Originally posted by Shemeska the Marauder
Honestly, I thought that one of the best things about Planescape in the first place was how little "metaplot" and backstory it had. I don't want other people to come up with huge, intricate, world-shaking plots for me; devising these things is half the fun of being the DM in the first place. With Planescape, you didn't have to worry about fitting into a constantly expanding "canon", with innumerable novels or a strict timeline of setting-changing events -- my biggest pet peeves with all of WOTC's other settings. It offered a wonderful amount of flexibility, as a DM, to create places, people, and histories without having to compare them for consistency against a giant, ever-growing reference library.
In a way, I'm sort of glad that WOTC didn't bring back Planescape -- I expect the fans could do a better job, with nobody to answer to. Bloody marketing department!