The secret of survival ain't who you are, berk - it's what you know!
Feeling overwhelmed by the infinite possibilities of the multiverse? Wondering how to roleplay a tiefling, what spells to memorize, and how to manipulate portals? Here's the dark of it: The Planewalker's Handbook is the essential manual for survival on the planes - a Players Handbook for the PLANESCAPE setting! This 160-page book, written for players and Dungeon Masters alike, builds on material from the PLANESCAPE Campaign Setting boxed set, presenting new information crucial to anyone playing or running a PLANESCAPE campaign.
This definitive full-color guide features new illustrations by DiTerlizzi and contains the following:
- All the information needed to create and customize characters, including new races, archetypes, proficiencies, equipment, and a Planewalking kit designed for each character group;
- a taste of the multiverse: a look at each of the planes, with commentary and helpful hints by noted planewalker Tarsheva Longreach;
- a guide to planar travel, from portals to conduits to the Great Paths;
- tips on surviving and profiting in PLANESCAPE, from dealing with specific races to the rundown on the factions of Sigil;
- an overview on how magic really works (or doesn't!) on the planes;
- new spells and magical items useful in exploring (and surviving) the planes; and
- a special section on the power of belief, and how it can change the multiverse - including a new rules system that allows player characters to actively affect the planes around them!
The Planewalker's Handbook (1996) is by Monte Cook, and I should make my biases known up front: I think this one of the top five products ever put out by TSR. Any book that seeks to give players a feel for the campaign setting without overwhelming them should take their lessons from The Planewalker's Handbook. It's a joy to read, gorgeous to look at, and has a great mix of campaign setting flavor, essential knowledge, and useful rules crunch. If you're thinking about running a planar campaign with D&D Next and want an idea of how Planescape worked, I'm not even going to be coy about it. Buy this book.
Complexity Made Simple. The Planescape campaign ended up as more than four boxed sets. How do you distill that much information about a major city and twenty-odd planes, along with the philosophical tenets of 15 different factions, down and make it feel like nothing gets short shrift? Cook managed to do it; by focusing on major themes, major landmarks, and (especially) major stories, he gets across the feel and essence of each location without overwhelming the reader. It's like reading a guide book in the best possible way, in that you find yourself thinking over and over again, "Huh, that seems cool. I'd like to know more."
What always surprises me is what a solid grounding this book gives for anyone who wants their heroes to experience planar travel. How magic works, how portals function (and how to get around), the new races and archetypes, the philosophies of the planes, and the movers and the shakers; all are explained and introduced. I'll also note that the book introduces planar cant without being drenched in it. This is one of the most readable Planescape books, in part because you aren't mumbling "berk berk berk" to yourself every 15 seconds.
New and Useful Rules. And if you already own the boxed sets? This book still gives you useful tools you won't find elsewhere. There are 16 character archetypes for PCs and NPCs, such as Clueless, Planar Elitist, Refugee from Darkness, and Dimensional Explorer. There are seven new planar kits meant specifically for planar PCs, new proficiencies, new spells, new magical items, new mundane items, and details on true names.
You'll also find advice on starting and running a planar campaign, along with variant campaigns. Single race, single goal, single plane, one- or two-plane campaigns... you name it, you'll find guidelines here.
Don't Miss This One. From start to finish, this is one of the best books put out by TSR. Should you want to know more about Planescape or want to run interplanar campaigns, here's where to start.
About the Creator. Award-winning author Monte Cook started working as a freelancer for TSR in 1992, and left Wizards of the Coast in 2001 to start Malhavoc Press. His 2012 Kickstarter for the post-apocalyptic science fiction roleplaying game Numenera raised over $500,000.
About the Product Historian
History and commentary of this product was written by Kevin Kulp, game designer and admin of the independent D&D fansite ENWorld. Please feel free to mail corrections, comments, and additions to firstname.lastname@example.org.