Planescape and Mage: The Ascension

In the High Umbra that the Mages of the World of Darkness travel, the realms that they are encounter are largely conceptual. The High Umbra is a place of dreams and ideals given form. So it makes a certain amount of sense that a setting such as Planescape, which is at base little more than a literalisation of philoshopical differences (expressed largely in terms of Dungeons & Dragons’ alignment system), would exist here too.

But the factions of Mage and Planescape align strangely.

The Nephandi, for example, have some allies amongst the denizens of the lower planes, especially the Gray Wastes and Carceri, but for the most part, the inhabitants of the Planescape are interested in winning the philsophical debating game, not destroying it and all its players. The Marauders have many allies at the Chaotic end of things, from the Beastlands through to Pandemonium (plus the Xaositects in Sigil), and the Technocracy at the Lawful, although the vast majority of them are in Mechanus. The Traditions are a little more varied, rarely allying on the basis of Alignment, but instead forming loose networks across the planes – or with factions inside Sigil itself.

The Euthanatos find much to agree with among both the Dustmen and the Doomguard; the Celestial Chorus and the Believers in the Source find their beliefs qite similar. The Cult of Ecstasy and the Society of Sensation enjoy partying together, while the Akashic Brotherhood and the Transcendant Order prefer practicing katas and meditating.

Some factions are equally attractive to all the traditions: the philosophies of the Sign of One and the Fraternity of Order are equally applicable across the traditions, while every tradition harbours a small hardcore of fanatics who butt heads with but grudgingly admire the Harmonium, the Fated or both.

The Lady of Pain, of course, keeps dark on these subjects – although some Mages speculate about a connection between her powers and those of Paradox… although never while in Sigil.

 
SOURCES:
Planescape   Mage: the Ascension
 

Person of Interest and Planescape

At first glance, this seems like a strange mix, and it surely is – but I’m not proposing a full-fledged crossover here. A more interesting idea from a gameplay perspective is to take the structure of Person of Interest and apply that to Planescape. It would work like this:

The player characters are based in Sigil. At intervals, they receive the details of a person in trouble, whether as perpetrator or victim, from an unknown source that apparently has limited foreknowledge. (It’s possible that this source may even be the Lady of Pain, although it would certainly be unwise to say so directly to her.) This would work particularly well for a party of mixed alignments, although less well if any of them were evil or lawful alignments. And as to factions, I wouldn’t presume to dictate – the majority of factions would work fairly well with this setup. And the missions can take place literally anywhere across the Planescape – although it’s probably wise for at least half of them to be set in Sigil. Thus, the structure provides a great way to introduce elements of the setting, especially planes and factions.

The beauty of the structure is that it can happen as often or as rarely as you like. If the players want to pursue other missions, that’s fine too, but if they like, the whole game can be on the Person of Interest model. If the POI missions pop up a lot, you’re probably best advised to construct some sort of metaplot tying most, if not all, of the missions together – perhaps the Lady has a particular goal in mind that she’s manipulating probabilities towards…

 
SOURCES:
Person of Interest   Planescape
 

Elysium

  • Type: Heaven, with some traits of an Other World.
  • Origin: TSR’s Planescape
  • Admission: followers of the deities who live there, those of neutral good alignment, good or neutral aligned visitors, and whatever it is that lurks in Beleirin.

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Pandemonium

  • Type: Hell, with some traits of an Other World.
  • Origin: TSR’s Planescape line
  • Admission: followers of the deities who live there and those of chaotic neutral or chaotic evil alignments.

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Bytopia

  • Type: Heaven, with some traits of an Other World.
  • Origin: TSR’s Planescape line
  • Admission: followers of the deities who live there, those of neutral good or lawful good alignments.

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Baator

  • Type: Hell, with some traits of an Other World.
  • Origin: TSR’s Planescape line
  • Admission: followers of the deities who live there, those of lawful evil alignments, or making a spectacularly ill-advised deal with a devil.

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Ysgard

  • Type: Other World, with some traits of a Heaven.
  • Origin: TSR’s Planescape line
  • Admission: followers of the deities who live there, those of chaotic neutral or chaotic good alignments.

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