PlaneScape Campaign Setting
Author: David Cook (?)
Capsule Review by Olof Jönsson on 06/16/00.
Genre tags: Fantasy
Okay, I have a confession to make. I've never played D&D. Or AD&D. In fact, I've never used any system published by TSR or WoTC (although MSHAG is looking really interesting) and I probably won't this time either.
Come again, some of you might say? Isn't this an AD&D campaign setting? Well, yes and no. Because this game setting is quite possibly the most independent I've seen while still intended to be a setting for a specific game line. Outside of GURPS, that is.
So I won't be running PlaneScape games with AD&D characters. Hey, Sigil is supposedly the center of all realms, right? Meaning my players can play anything from Pendragon knights to 7th Sea swashbucklers or medieval Feng Shui geomancers. In a place where belief defines reality.
Okay, so what is this thing, then? well, PlaneScape is, basically, playing in the nexus of realities where everything is basically getting into the mystical basic corner stones of reality. That is, the Elements (more than 4, by the way) are worlds of their own. And there are the various Hells, Heavens, Hells and Heavens within the Hells and Heavens, etc. And at the center of everything hovers what looks like a tire above an infinitely tall spire (yep, infinitely long...what, illogical? So?), and inside the "tire" is a city called Sigil.
Well, that's pretty much it. Unless I go into real detail on everything inside and outside the place, which could take forever.
So what's in the box?
First of all, there are 4 books. A Player's Guide to the Planes, detailing what you can play and detailing the various organizations that run the place. A DM Guide to the Planes, which the stuff you don't let the players read including how the place works (bye bye logic, I barely knew thee), who lives there and who runs it (The Lady of Pain). Sigil and Beyond details the various surrounding planes (realms, the hells and heavens I mentioned earlier, as well as various elemental realms), all the rest of the city of Sigil, and the Outlands (the eternal plains/plane that everything is placed within). And lastly, Monstrous Supplement details some of the more unusual denizens one might meet.
To be honest, these books are made in a way I wish more gaming supplements were: barely any system, lots of setting. While various AD&D specific terms crop up here and there, I can run this setting with any fantasy game. Using any set of rules. Neat!
Now, to the art. One interior artist. Just one? Yes. Tony DiTerlizzi. One of my absolute favourite artists. Pardon me, I have to wipe the drool off my chin.
There is also a DM screen (while I could care less about the tables in it, I like the graphics), and various useful maps of the Planes. And no, they don't make much sense, but you get a basic idea of how Escher-esque the Planes are, though which is useful. It hurts your head, but it's useful.
So what do I think about this setting box?
I'm going to find all the supplements, that's what I think.
Oh, and a word to the wise: think hard before letting certain kinds of players into Sigil. After all, it is a neutral town, and since murdering wantonly and repeatedly is a crime punishable by The Lady, it should be mentioned that even fiends and demons are considered people in Sigil. So the demonslayer might find himself thrown in jail after hacking up the tenth Lesser Baatezu (who was out shopping).Style: 4 (Classy and well done)
Substance: 4 (Meaty)