A Guide to the Astral Plane (1996)

Ever since I learned that githyanki swords cut silver chords, I wanted to know more about the astral plane. Thing is, no D&D supplement ever seemed to really know any more than I did. That changed when Monte Cook’s (no relation to Zeb) A Guide to the Astral Plane fell into my hands.

Cook is a pivotal figure in RPGs and I am not sure his approach to things really fits in my wheelhouse. That said, this is a masterpiece of imagination, charting the corners of a difficult-to-comprehend corner of the multiverse simply, concisely and with more adventure hooks than a tackle box.

The astral plane is less a plane itself than it is the space between planes. It’s a silvery void cluttered with the ductwork that connects the planes. Think of it as the hollow space inside your walls, except infinite and containing whales, dead gods and berbalangs. It was great fun to run a couple adventures here recently; despite buckling some swash against a githyanki warship, I think a brief encounter with an astral whale was the most memorable moment for the players.

This book contains my favorite DiTerlizzi art. He’s more refined here, tighter, with much more control over his watercolors and his choice of color palettes. Another artist named Adam Rex accompanies him. The two complement each other well (unlike, say, Brom and Baxa in the Dark Sun books). Love those astral dragons.

Did you get enough of the planes this week? We’re off to some D&D adjacent territory next week…

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