The Planes of Existence

Your campaign, or anybody else's, is not the only possible world-setting for the AD&D game. There are as many different campaigns as there are DMs. Yours may be a very conscientious medieval setting in western Europe. But what other kinds of campaigns could there be?

• A carefully researched campaign set in late-Medieval Italy where characters can meet famous rulers and artists of the age.

• One set in a world similar to the Far East, with oriental characters, creatures, and beliefs.

• A campaign set in lands similar to ancient Egypt at the height of the Bronze Age.

• A campaign in an underground world dominated by dwarves, locked into an endless war with the fecund orcs.

• A campaign set in gloomy, mysterious Eastern Europe, populated by sullen peasants, crumbling castles, and monsters both urbane and bestial, in the best traditions of old horror movies.

• A truly fantastic world filled with genii-driven steam engines, elemental airships, and spell-driven telegraphs.

• A campaign set in a tropical archipelago where travel is by canoe between islands of cannibals, giant beasts, and lost civilizations.

• A campaign world set in Africa at the height of its great empires, where powerful native kingdoms fight to resist the conquest of foreign explorers.

• A campaign based on the works of a particular author, such as Sir Thomas Mallory's Le Morte d'Arthur or the sagas of Iceland.

Clearly, there are many possible settings for campaign worlds—all these and more. So, how can they all be accommodated? To allow such diversity and to provide unlimited adventure possibilities, the AD&D game world offers many planes of existence.

The planes are different areas of existence, each separate from the others, each bound by its own physical laws. The planes exist outside our normal understanding of space and dimensions. Each has properties and qualities unique to itself. While more complete information can be found in other AD&D rule books, the brief overview given here outlines the basic structure of the planes.

Since they are without form or dimension, it is not possible to draw a road-map of the planes and their relationships to each other. However, there is a structure and organization to them which can best be visualized as a series of spheres, one inside the other.

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