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Planescape Campaign Setting

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The Planescape Campaign Setting is a boxed set for the Dungeons & Dragons fantasy role-playing game. The set was designed by David "Zeb" Cook and published in 1994. It introduced the Planescape setting and was highly praised by White Wolf and Pyramid magazines.

ContentsEdit

The Planescape Campaign Setting boxed set details the planes of the Dungeons & Dragons game, which had been previously featured in books such as Deities and Demigods and the Manual of the Planes. The set consists of a Player and DM Guide, a Monstrous Supplement, a guide to the town of Sigil and the Outlands, four color maps, and a DM screen. The Inner Planes of Air, Earth, Fire, and Water, the Paraelemental and Quasimental Planes, and the Positive and Negative Material Planes are discussed first. This includes their descriptions, physical and magical conditions, and native hazards. The Outer Planes are also detailed, with their layers and the realms possible on each layer. Important layers and realms are included in the descriptions of individual Outer Planes, including which gods ("Powers") make their home there. Also described with the Outer Planes are the four unique planar paths—the rivers Oceanus and Styx, the tree Yggdrasil, and Mount Olympus—which touch many different layers of the various Outer Planes and can take travelers from one place to another. The largest of the set's guides is devoted to the planes and layers of the Outlands, which connect to all the Outer Planes via towns or forts located at these sites. Sigil, the City of Doors, located in the Outlands, is a place composed of factions, and contains portals to any plane or layer. The ruler of Sigil is the Lady of Pain, a mysterious being who appears during times of internal or external turmoil.[1]

Publication historyEdit

The Planescape Campaign Setting was designed by David "Zeb" Cook.[2]

ReceptionEdit

Gene Alloway reviewed the boxed set for White Wolf magazine, stating that "Cook and company have created a cohesive and comprehensive campaign for every AD&Der who wants to venture beyond the Prime Material - and there's a lot of venturing to do."[1] According to Alloway, the set brought together adventure, gods, philosophies and magic in an exciting manner, and presented a setting that would work well with any AD&D campaign or on its own, and that it gave readers a solid sense of each plane, as well as an idea of the overall qualities common to all. He said that Planescape "is a superb addition to the AD&D multiverse [...] it's clear that a great deal of thought and effort has gone into this product. The writing is clear, most topics are covered in detail and adventure ideas are either presented directly or dropped in as "seeds" for you to pick up on."[1] Alloway praised Cook's efforts to make the planes accessible and enjoyable for lower-level characters, and for developing an important part of the AD&D multiverse, and he appreciated the setting's emphasis on roleplaying and critical thinking rather than moving and hacking. Alloway considered Planescape the best AD&D setting since Greyhawk, with no end to its possibilities, and concluded the review by saying "The Planescape campaign setting is enough to make me put down my other game systems and AD&D settings to reawaken the wonder I felt when I started roleplaying."[1]

Scott Haring reviewed the Planescape Campaign Setting for Pyramid #8, published in August 1994.[2] Haring began the review by saying "Normally, I start a review off slowly [...] Forget that noise. I'll cut to the chase -- Planescape is the finest game world ever produced for Advanced Dungeons & Dragons. Period."[2] He describes the setting as "adult" in the sense that it is about more than just "kick open the door, kill the monster, take the treasure, repeat", with its "sophisticated graphic look" and the "sense that it makes you think, and might even challenge your most basic ideas about life, the universe, and everything."[2] He felt that what makes this work is the setting's focus on factions and their ideologies. Haring was also very impressed with Cook's conversational writing style, calling it "wonderful" and stating that Cook "is an old hand at the ways of the planes", and that using the book's slang would "enhance an already rich roleplaying experience". He complimented the set's distinctive graphic looks, from "the weathered-metal texture of the book covers to the bizarre headline typeface to the odd squiggles of brown and blue that are on nearly every page".[2] He commented that Tony DiTerlizzi's drawings reminded him a little of Dr. Seuss "if he did highly-detailed dark fantasy". He finished the review by stating that "Planescape is a revolutionary product, a breakthrough for TSR. If you think you've "graduated" from AD&D, that you've evolved past it, go back and take a look at Planescape. This is the game world that will get you playing AD&D again."[2]

ReferencesEdit

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