If your D&D group has grown weary of dungeons, kings and earthly quests, perhaps they’d care for a visit to the heavens and hells of the outer planes. Open Design’s Dark Roads and Golden Hells looks like just the thing to turn your planar adventures up to 11. And like all Open Design patronage projects, you can be a part of it.
You can start your journey with Dark Roads at the official patronage page. There are different levels of patronage, depending on how involved you want to be — they start at $24.95. You can suggest ideas and themes to the developers, who are being lead by Dan Voyce, and at higher levels you can even write sections of the book as a credited designer.
Aside from the high level of quality we’ve come to expect from Open Design, there are a few things that make this project look especially interesting. While it’s a book of the outer planes, they’re not introducing a new cosmology. Whatever the shape of your multiverse, this book is focused on things you can use in your campaign. Places you can visit, characters you can meet, themes you can explore — they’ll be designed to fit into pre-existing cosmologies however you want them to. The official announcement explains it best:
Dark Roads and Golden Hells provides themes, flavourful locations, and special rules that can be integrated into any campaign setting, concentrating on locales tied to the Free City of Zobeck: The homes of prominent gods and devils, the planar domains of creatures like the shadow fey, and the afterlife of ghouls and kobolds.
Created by patrons, the gazetteers will include an overview of each locationâ€™s themes, history, geography, major NPCs, adventure seeds and applicable special rules, plus a more developed location/mini-adventure done in similar style to the â€˜maps of fantasyâ€™ articles and short scenarios found in Kobold Quarterly.
The book is rounded off by a guide to planar adventuring in Midgard, describing new means of travelling the planes via â€˜cosmic highwaysâ€™ like the Niflheim Road, the Tree of Worlds, and River Styx; guidance for running low level planar adventures, and new magic, monsters, and whatever other strange and esoteric creations Open Design patrons can imagine.
I like the idea of creating ways for lower level characters to have interesting, meaningful planar adventures. The outer planes have long been the stomping grounds of epic level mofos, and well they should be, but it would be cool to trip the planes fantastic at level five now and then. With all the other excelent stuff Open Design is planning on packing into this project, this could be the book that finally makes me enjoy adventuring in the outer planes.