There are a lot of interesting books coming out this year for 4th Ed D&D. The Forgotten Realms Campaign Guide comes out this month. The Adventurer's Vault is out in September and Martial Power comes out the following month. Oddly though, the month I am really looking forward to is December, because that is when Manual of the Planes comes out.
I know, I find it hard to believe too. Mostly because since the 1st Edition Manual of the Planes, I have always had a "take it or leave it" attitude towards the book. This is probably because of two main reasons.
- I have never been big on planar adventuring. With all of the often poorly thought out rules for different planes I always found it more trouble than it was worth.
- Never been a big fan of the traditional D&D Cosmology aka "The Great Wheel". Some later campaign settings used their own cosmology (especially Eberron), but the default setting was still predominant.
Thankfully, the game has changed (literally) for this new Manual of the Planes though. First off, the radically new cosmology of 4th Edition D&D guarantees that there will be a lot to talk about. This will be their first opportunity to go into any depth on places like the Feywild, Astral Dominions, and Elemental Chaos. That alone will make it an interesting read.
Perhaps more importantly, the planes in 4th Edition were designed with the express purpose of being playable adventuring environments. This may not seem like much at first, but there is now a reason to adventure on every plane in the new cosmology. Gone are planes like the Positive Material Plane. Not only was there nothing to do there, if you did visit it you would explode in a matter of minutes from "too much life".
Of course no positive and negative energy planes means we will miss out on cool monsters like the Xeg-Ya and the Xag-Yi. Oh wait, they were never cool anyway.
All of this makes me much more excited about the Manual of the Planes than I ever have been before. December can't come soon enough.