Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reading Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Part 16

TRAVEL IN THE KNOWN PLANES OF EXISTENCE

The real point of this section is to illustrate that the possibilities for play in AD&D are endless. We begin with a paragraph or two discussing exactly the fact that travel amongst the planes might leave fantasy and travel into the realms of science fiction, horror, "or just about anything else desired." In fact, TSR would later explore these elements with varying success in Spelljammer and Ravenloft. One could even argue that science fiction elements have been present in AD&D from the beginning with the crashed space ship and nukes in Blackmoor.

But I digress. Here Gygax discusses the multiverse that defines the AD&D cosmology. He goes on to illustrate that the planes are the ultimate "ticket to creativity" for a DM, who is free to change anything from combat to the way spells work to the very laws of physics in another plane of existence. Essentially, the idea is that when your campaign becomes "ho hum, another dungeon crawl," the DM can shake things up by shifting everyone to another plane of existence, be it another Prime (the worlds of Gamma World and Boot Hill are, naturally, suggested), one of the Elemental Planes, or the Astral or Ethereal.

A rather fantastical brief example is then given regarding a plane of existence whereby there exists a breathable atmosphere all the way from the Earth to the moon, allowing free travel between the two, which begs the question "what is the moon like?"

Overall, this section is little more than a blurb, but Jeff Grubb's later Manual of the Planes fills in the blanks nicely. We'll deal with that down the road, though.



OUTDOOR MOVEMENT

Here's another one of those frustrating organizational idiosyncrasies that continuously pop up where movement is concerned. First, this section would be better termed "Outdoor Travel," as it really gives daily travel rates on foot, mounted, and waterborne, rather than "movement rates," which heretofore have been established as turn- and round-based rates of movement in inches.

As this section basically deals with what we've seen in the sections on outdoor and waterbourne adventuring, it may have been better situated before travel in the planes.

Also, an aerial travel section is overlooked here, as is underwater (though for the latter that would be tricky save the presence of continuous magic items).

In the end, it would have been better to have one big section covering all movement rules instead of having them scattered throughout the book.


No comments:

Post a Comment