Review – D&D Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse
Now you're playing with Portals!
|Designer||Justice Ramin Arman, Dan Dillon, F. Wesley Schneider|
|Artist||Tony DiTerlizzi, Tyler Jacobson, and others|
|Publisher||Wizards of the Coast|
|Release Date||October 2023|
Dungeons & Dragons Planescape: Adventures in the Multiverse (Planescape hereafter) is the latest 5E book set from Wizards of the Coast. This 3-volume set includes Sigil and the Outlands, Turn of Fortune’s Wheel, and Morte’s Planar Parade as well as a fold-out double-sided poster and a Dungeon Master’s Screen. So is this box set a great way to hop into the multiverse, or should each version of yourself have stayed at home? Read on for the review!
In addition to the usual possibilities, players may also encounter portals, alternate religions, gambling, walking castles, animated constructs, variants, and death (more often than usual). As per my usual warning, DMs and players should have an honest session zero where they talk about what is and isn’t okay in a given game.
This new version of Planescape is just bursting at the seams with possibilities for players and has some of the most unique encounters and events that I’ve read since I started reviewing D&D books. Initially, I was hesitant about another 3-book box set (the last one being Spelljammer), but really, with two 96-page books and one 64 page bestiary in Morte’s Planar Parade, plus the map and DM screen, you’re getting quite a bit for your money with Planescape. There are also Standard and Alternate editions, but the only differences are the art on the outside of the books and the back of the DM screen.
Turn of Fortune’s Wheel is the book with the adventure arc, taking players from level 3 to 10, then a final jump at the end to level 17! The story has some interesting twists and turns that will take the players all over the city of Sigil, the Outlands, and a few dozen other dangerous locations as well. Players will encounter walking castles, a swanky casino, alternate versions of characters, modrons, mimir, and several different Outland locales from the dangerous Curst to the nonstop party in Sylvania. The best part is the story isn’t on a timer – players can take their time and explore, but they will have to do their best to stay on their toes to make it to the end in one piece.
Sigil and the Outlands does a good job of describing the city of Sigil AKA the City of Doors, “a metropolis where magical pathways connect to every corner of the multiverse” and its surrounding area known as the Outlands. It also gives readers different character creation options, such as being a Gate Warden or Planar Philosopher, and explains different magical items such as portal compasses and mimir. Mimir are rare magic items shaped like skulls that have lore and knowledge they can share with the party. Not to be confused with Morte, who is a floating skull with eyes who can help or mock the party, depending on what happens to them in Sigil. Sigil itself floats above the Spire, an “impossibly tall needle of a mountain” in the middle of the Outlands. As might be expected, the city has some alterations to magic, gravity, weather, and the day/night cycle, since there isn’t any Sun. The city is also ruled by the mysterious Lady of Pain and her silent servants, the Dabus. She and her servants aren’t to be trifled with, as she can drop any character to 1 hit point with a look, or send them to the neverending Mazes to live out their days in a magical solitary confinement. As if to hammer the point home, she doesn’t even have a stat block.
The Dabus do, which you can look up in Morte’s Planar Parade, however I still wouldn’t recommend attacking these silent enforcers of Sigil. They’ll just hurl bricks at you, or cause arms to burst out from the road to restrain you. Morte’s book is the shortest of the three, but has information on all the various characters and villains one might run into in a Planar adventure – but the books make it clear that you can run into anyone and anything, and it’s not odd to find angels, devils, fiends, and githzerai all having a drink together. Throughout the three books, but especially the one that bears his name, Morte offers small insights like, “Best to forget every idiom you’ve ever learned, Chief. For example, in the Outlands, ‘brain food’ probably means you,” seen next to a listing for an Eater of Knowledge.
Planescape opens up a big portal of fun and interesting options for characters, and I like that the story doesn’t just take them from levels 1-5 or some other straight-line option. Not only that, there’s plenty of story hooks and possibilities based on how the campaign goes. Players could easily continue playing in Sigil and the Outlands after it concludes. I like that this set has even more content than Spelljammer does, and it still provides a beautiful map and DM screen with helpful general stats and information on one half, and Sigil and Outlands specific information and tables on the other. If you want to try a setting where any imaginable adventure is possible, you should check out the new Planescape.
A review copy was provided by the publisher.
The Bottom Line
If you want to try a setting where any imaginable adventure is possible, you should check out the new Planescape.