Review by C.J. Bunce
Imagine examining the infinite possibilities of philosophical pursuits without the strictures of the real world. That’s the scope of what awaits you in the boundless world Planescape, the latest campaign and adventures for Dungeons & Dragons′ 5th Edition. The very planes of existence and the otherworldly and spiritual factions and leaders from across the Multiverse come together around Sigil and the Outlands, where the City of Doors provides portals to anywhere and everywhere. Now available for pre-order here at Amazon, Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse–Return to Sigil is a three-volume box set featuring a rule book and travelogue, a bestiary, and a multi-level adventure module. You’ll probably agree it’s very different from previous 5th Edition gameplay, while also taking your game night back to the basics.
Yes, it relies on the Player’s Handbook, Monster Manual, and the Dungeon Master’s Guide, but it also presents all-new player options, new creatures, and a host of adventure hooks and a complete advanced adventure for a Dungeon Master to run with.
In every way this is the most a D&D campaign doubles as an all-out travelogue (think the Klingon Travel Guide (reviewed here) or the Firefly ‘Verse Travel Guide (reviewed here). Along with a very brief primer on building characters for Planescape, the bulk of the first volume in the set is a detailed overview of the planet, its peoples, and locations. It includes a giant pull-out poster map of Sigil and the Outlands and each section incorporates stylized maps all with a common new look and colorful design.
But the real value is page after page of adventure hooks to pursue. A DM might have his/her players all read the Sigil and the Outlands rule book and decide on a setting and approach, then the DM has plenty to choose from. Dig into the details and you’ll find a host of modifications to gameplay from other settings in the 5th Edition.
After diving into the rule book, check out the 64-page bestiary called Morte’s Planar Parade. It adds 54 stat blocks to the Monster Manual with an A to Z bestiary of planar denizens like the cyborg Modrons and the fiendish Fiends, the maelephants. But the variety of Celestials and the Time Dragons may be the most fun of the additions.
Go all in and take a foray into the planar realm of celestials, fiends, gods, and the dead in Turn on the Fortune’s Wheel, a complete 96-page, three-part adventure taking characters from the third to the tenth level, with a jump to the seventeenth level. Characters created from either the local realm of Sigil and the Outlands or anywhere via Mordenkaiden Presents: Monsters of the Multiverse will encounter the mimir, a magical, floating skull-shaped recording device that takes center stage in their journey. A heads-up for the squeamish: characters die in this adventure, but they also return in the form of multiversal “glitch” characters, alternate versions of a character.
Put aside what you know about the dark side of D&D realms–this adventure has more of a fun, Halloween vibe, with the mimir always close by. There’s a tongue-in-cheek, almost silliness to the concepts of each chapter and level, beginning with games within the game, and back-to-the-basics fantasy world exploration and discovery. And you’re going to want to create your own hanging prop mimirs to accompany your game. (I’m surprised Wizards of the Coast isn’t offering electronic versions to accompany the release!)
The box includes an attractive Dungeon Master’s screen–altogether this is a nice set.
A parallel edition features substantially the same components but with different striking cover options. It’s available at game shops.
Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse contains everything a Dungeon Master needs to run adventures and campaigns set in Sigil and the Outlands, as well as new options for players who want to create characters prepared to explore the planes. It’s a great addition for your gaming group in a year that has already seen the releases of adventures including Bigby Presents: Glory of the Giants (reviewed here) and Phandelver and Below: The Shattered Obelisk (reviewed here). Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse–Return to Sigil is available for pre-order here at Amazon, or order it at your local game shop. It arrives in one week, with a release date of October 17.
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