Dungeons & Dragons Is Bringing Planescape Back And Not Enough People Are Talking About It

Dungeons & Dragons Is Bringing Planescape Back And Not Enough People Are Talking About It

A year ago, I would have found it hard to believe that Spelljammer, a beloved, one-hit-wonder science fantasy campaign setting for Dungeons & Dragons, would ever make a serious return to the game. Right now, as I write this, I can head to my friendly local game shop and buy a new three-book Spelljammer set, the first new official content for that setting since 1993.

Spelljammer becomes the latest in a string of revived campaign settings from earlier editions of the game. Several years ago, Wizards of the Coast launched Eberron: Rising from the Last War, a combined campaign setting and adventure module that modernised Keith Baker’s beloved post-apocalyptic fantasy setting. Several years later, WotC would update the horror fantasy setting Ravenloft, under the title Van Richten’s Guide to Ravenloft. In the year ahead, it will launch a new Dragonlance adventure, surely a precursor to an updated campaign guide as well.

All of which begs the question: since WotC appears to have an appetite for bringing back the classics, which retired campaign setting could be next?

The answer came early on Friday morning during the Wizards Presents showcase. Among a raft of new D&D books slated for 2023 was the return of a beloved setting: Planescape.

Image: Wizards of the Coast

There are those among you reading this old enough to have played Planescape: Torment. More recently, some of you may have played its spiritual successor Torment: Tides of Numenera. It’s entirely likely that some of you may not have realised that Planescape was a D&D campaign setting at all. Planescape is a setting for adventures that cross through numerous planes of existence. Pulling this particular setting out of the drawer makes sense: the pop culture zeitgeist has currently settled on multiverses as The Next Big Thing. Launching a campaign setting that allows players to cross not just between the planes, but universes, into other campaign settings, feels like a lateral move.

If you’ve never played Planescape: Torment before, and there could well be a lot of you, I’m begging you to play it. Originally released in 1999 by the great Black Isle Studios, the game became a cult hit but ultimately went out of print. Beamdog remastered the game a few years ago and you can now enjoy it on Steam. What you will find, even among the classic D&D CRPG’s of that era, is a unique game. It follows a character called The Nameless One, a man cursed with immortality. He’s been around for thousands of years and, each time he dies, someone, somwhere in the multiverse, dies to pay for his resurrection. Each time he regains consciousness, The Nameless One finds he has little memory of who he is, or was, and frequently revives with an entirely different personality than the one he had before. Awakening in a mortuary at the beginning of the game, The Nameless One sets out to regain his memories once more.

It’s a strange, hyperliterate, and painfully funny journey across the realms of the Great Wheel and I cannot recommend it enough. If you loved Disco Elysium, play Planescape: Torment. In tone and tenor, Disco owes a significant debt to Planescape: Torment.

All of this to say, it’s very exciting that D&D is dipping into these older, weirder campaign settings. Though the expectation is that it will eventually pull a lot of the true, early classics like Greyhawk out of the drawer, I’m still holding out hope for more of the Weird Shit. Bring back Dark Sun, Kalamar and Birthright. Others, like Oriental Adventures and Al-Qadim would need to undergo quite a lot of cultural sensitivity proofing, as they were created in an era happy to throw stereotypes around. I mean, they called their Asian-inspired setting “Oriental Adventures,” for god’s sake. Jesus Christ. Nevertheless, I think, with hearts in the right place, and the right teams at the helm, there’s room for settings like those too.

Anyway, we’ll be waiting until about this time next year for Planescape to arrive. DM’s, start planning the broad strokes of your campaigns now.

You can pick up the three-book Spelljammer set right now from your friendly local game shop.

The Cheapest NBN 1000 Plans

Looking to bump up your internet connection and save a few bucks? Here are the cheapest plans available.

At Kotaku, we independently select and write about stuff we love and think you'll like too. We have affiliate and advertising partnerships, which means we may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page. BTW – prices are accurate and items in stock at the time of posting.


3 responses to “Dungeons & Dragons Is Bringing Planescape Back And Not Enough People Are Talking About It”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *