And I thought D&D 4th Edition cosmology was less complicated than this…

Today’s Penny Arcade comic is about the cosmology of D&D 4th Edition and if you ask me this version is much more accessible and less confusing than the cosmology we had before. But of course that doesn’t keep Tycho from adding his special touch to it.

In Search Of A Robust Cosmology
So, what are your thoughts on the 4th edition cosmology? Do you like it, or do you prefer the old Great Wheel cosmology?

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

6 thoughts on “And I thought D&D 4th Edition cosmology was less complicated than this…”

  1. I think the 4E cosmology is a little more difficult to picture, but it makes better conceptual sense. The great wheel was easy to picture, but was a bit arbitrary.

    Personally, I think the Shadow Shadow, Bo Badow is the scariest place of all..

    <abbr><abbr>Dead Orcss last blog post..The Color of Power</abbr></abbr>

  2. well, I've only been as far as the Darkbad, but- oh, wait what?

    simply put: as with everything else in 4e, its just been simplified. no longer are there 20+ different planes (ranging from those that make perfect sense to bizarre concepts), and there is no need for a complicated diagram to show you where they all are. I miss the depth of it, but not the complexity.


    well, I forget exactly how they do it in the 3.x cosmology, but in my setting the primary elemental plains (earth, water, air) each have some of the element from the other planes, so that the plane of earth has tunnels of air and "underground" rivers, and the planes of air has floating chucks of land and enough moisture for precipitation (etc. with plane of water). Basically enough to make them inhabitable, which people go and colonize them as soon as they are able.

    <abbr><abbr>MacGuffins last blog post..Planet-sized Jelly Monster</abbr></abbr>

  3. I'm mostly agnostic about it; I've always used my own twist on the cosmology anyway.

    However, I do think the Astral Sea is possibly the best otherplanar conceit ever in the history of D&D. Wild pirate-era sea with spelljammer galleons and mysterious creatures from the great astral deep beats out silver cords and color pools any day.

  4. I kinda like the new cosmology, but I grew up with The Great Wheel and it's hard to ditch 20+ years of gaming history like that. There are elements of the new one I like, especially how easy to grasp it is, but at times it feels lacking or too simplistic. I don't have an issue using it, but I have a feeling it will drift towards a merging of the old and new one as time goes by.

    <abbr><abbr>Daniel M. Perez, The Gamer Travelers last blog post..RPG Blog Carnival: St. Patrick’s Day – Round-up</abbr></abbr>

  5. I think they should simplify it even further and just have the Astral Plane be the catch all. All older planes from the great wheel are merely demiplanes floating in the Astral Sea.

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