I’ve always enjoyed the Great Wheel cosmology of D&D, and the Manual of the Planes books have consistently been one of my favorite sources of reading material. Interesting enough, though, I never played Planescape, and I think that’s because of the way it was presented. Planescape was all about attitude and beliefs, and how those beliefs could change the very fabric of the multiverse itself. It was a heady concept and never jived with what I wanted to get out of my D&D games.
But the idea of the planes has always been really fascinating to me. Endless worlds of adventure and possibility wrapped around a common theme. For the Inner Planes, the themes were definite – air, earth, fire, and water, along with the borders between those planes creating the paraelemental planes. Simple, straightforward. The Astral Plane I thought was pretty dull until fairly recently as it seemed to be just the generic “connector” between all the other planes. The distinction between the Astral Plane and the Ethereal Plane was never very clear to me in the past.
And then you’ve got the Outer Planes, such as the Abyss, the Nine Hells, the Beastlands, and a host of others. So much cool spread out across so many cool places that it was difficult to grasp! The 1st and 3rd edition Manual of the Planes books were my go to sources for these planes, though Planescape had quite a bit of information on a lot of those planes.
For 5th Edition, I wanted to create some guides to these planes that could be used by any DM or player. I wrote an article that I intended to submit to Gygax Magazine a few years ago that was all about the Plane of Elemental Fire, taking a look at it from the standpoint of a classic D&D place of adventure. I liked the material I wrote and I always intended to continue it, but my interest got pulled away when Gygax Magazine ceased publication (booooooo).
I cleaned it up a bit and threw the article up on the DM’s Guild just to do something with the material I wrote, and there it fell into obscurity. In the two years that it’s been up I’ve sold roughly 15 copies. Not a lot.
But recently I decided to revisit it, clean it up, and expand it out for the core D&D setting. I used my newfound skills in InDesign to update the layout dramatically, playing around with a lot of the contents. I added more description to the new monsters, expanded out the list of interesting adventuring sites, and added a bit of art. Even with all of this, I wanted to create more value, so I worked out some details on a few PC options to include as well. I added the Fire domain for clerics, the firedancer archetype for rogues, and the school of pyromancy for wizards.
I had an absolute blast doing this, and I put it up for sale a week ago. And I got in the first week just as many sales as my original Plane of Elemental Fire article did for 2 years (which I took down before putting the new one up). Here’s the cover!
That image should take you to the DMs Guild page for the article ($2.99! What a steal!). I should have put up this blog post a week ago but I’ve been busy working on a few things, both personal and professional.
Next blog I’m going to post a preview of what I’m working on for the next volume, which is regarding the Plane of Water. Lots of fun stuff in that one!