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Dungeons & Dragons teases a return to Planescape

Unearthed Arcana has been used to float reboots in the past

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Cover art from Planescape: Torment shows a blue dude with gold-clasped locs. Image: Black Isle Studios/Interplay Productions
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

On Monday, Wizards of the Coast unveiled a new batch of playtest materials for 5th edition Dungeons & Dragons. Titled Unearthed Arcana: Wonders of the Multiverse, it includes a grab-bag of new and somewhat unrelated content for free. The big reveal, however, is an entirely new race — one that hints at a reboot of the beloved Planescape setting.

In addition to revised content from Unearthed Arcana: Giant Options, which was released in May, Wonders of the Multiverse provides rules for players to create a Glitchling as a playable character. Jeremy Crawford, Wizards game design architect, calls the Glitchling “a cousin or perhaps a sibling to a rogue Modron,” an immortal being associated with the Planescape setting. It’s a mechanical construct — a magic-infused robot, basically — that usually makes its home amid absolute law and order. Set free on its adventures, players have the ability to build its personality from the ground up. The playtest also includes a number of new feats and background options as well.

“Many of these are about playing a character who is influenced in a significant way by one or more of the planes in the outer planes,” Crawford said in a companion video on YouTube. “People can draw whatever conclusions they want from that.”

Planescape was first introduced with Planescape Campaign Setting, a sourcebook published by TSR in 1994. At its core is the cosmological concept of “the Great Wheel,” a complex landscape composed of both inner and outer planes of existence. It introduced the city of Sigil, the setting for the cult classic computer role-playing game Planescape: Torment, as well as the tieflings, a race of infernal creatures that has been a fixture in D&D since 4th edition.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Wizards used playtest materials to tease a reboot of a classic setting. The upcoming Spelljammer materials, due out later this year, were first teased in Unearthed Arcana: Travelers of the Multiverse in October. Of course, there could be other reasons for testing out Glitchlings in this way.

“This Unearthed Arcana [...] is truly a wonder for all of the different things we ended up putting into it,” Crawford said on YouTube. “We’ve had a number of fun things bubbling on our stove in our design kitchen, and we decided why not put them all into this [free download]. People are going to see little bits of design [...] from all over the multiverse.”

The most recent set of D&D adventures, Journeys Through the Radiant Citadel, arrived on Tuesday. In our review we called it “an epic anthology that feels as progressive and inviting as classic Star Trek.”

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