For gamers of my age, thirty-three for another month or two, there is a definite nostalgia for some of the settings, if not the rules, of second edition Dungeons and Dragons.
The settings, while in a historical context part of the downfall of TSR, were where it was at. Forgotten Realms was immensely popular, overshadowing Grayhawk and being one of the few settings to transition to later editions proper. There was Dragonlance, with its gully dwarves and kender halflings, and oh yeah- dragons.
One of my personal favorites was Darksun, where you could encounter such creatures as psionic grass that melts your brain, psionic moles that melt your brain, and squid-sharks that got nine attacks while melting your brain.
Ravenloft featured lots of vampires, werewolves, horror, gypsies, and strangely mists. People got real scared of mists in second edition– you just never knew when a Ravenloft game was going to suddenly suck everyone into the Mists and their inevitable doom.
And there was Red Steel.
But among all of the settings, the one that holds a special place for me, personally is Planescape. Looking at the books now, they definitively ooze 90s. The post-modern belief paradigms set up by the Factions seemed so edgy and interesting.
The art of Planescape deserves special mention. DiTerlizzi created a unique and distinct style which remains striking and memorable today. The art was definitely a huge part of the magic of Planescape that fascinated our play group. The art and of course, Modrons.
So, fast forward to 2015. My group plays Pathfinder now, having played 3.5 for years and having skipped fourth edition. Since the end of second edition, virtually everything for the planes released by both Hasbro/Wizards and Paizo has been typically a single book, and not nearly as good as Planescape. Or at least it has lacked the kind of magic that captivated us as edgy teens in the 90s.
In my group, I’ve been running a very successful, long running Kingdom Builder game. Its been run more than a dozen sessions, spanning two years, and taking the characters from 1st level nobles sent to colonize the new world in my own Kesperex setting, to 12th level nobles running a booming Empire with a few dozen squares of land (and water) after merging with (and one of the PCs marrying) a sahuagin Empress and her territoru. They have several settlements, large populations of sahuagins, orcs, ratkin, and humans; armies including human griffin riders, orc witches, and sahuagin warpriests.
I love this game, and its continuing on still. However, I’ve been itching at the same time for a new challenge to run, a new game to excite people who’ve drifted into the game and missed out on the early run of the kingdom builder game. I had three distinct ideas for games I was interested in running– a dark, early, post-Apocalypse military game set in the not too distant future using my own Core8 dice rolling system, a pre-run for my as to yet undeveloped/unwritten Adventure Path “Reign in Hell” wherein the players take on the role of devils trying to climb the hierarchy of hell, or Planesfinder– which at the time I pitched it was nothing more than the desire to run Planescape updated for the Pathfinder and compatible rules set.
So, thus begins the epic journey to run a Pathfinder/Planescape game. Where will this journey lead?
Its hard to know, but certainly all over the planes.