Manual of the Planes Web Supplements

A Walk Through the Planes – Part 73: Manual of the Planes Web Supplements




While Wizards of the Coast released a handful of publications and supplements on the internet beginning in 1999, when D&D‘s third edition came about there was an absolute explosion of new content. Unfortunately, much of this is only available today on, and as such is rarely known or referenced. Wizards published hundreds and hundreds of articles during the game’s third edition era, and yes, many of these are completely forgettable or even bad, but they also released many gems worth reading. These web publications took two forms: PDF supplements designed as direct tie-ins with products (often they were mentioned at the back of the books themselves)1, and html documents written specifically with Wizards’ website in mind. Right now, we’ll be taking a look at both of these formats, though on the whole very little planar content ever made its way to, as the site generally tried for a broader audience with a taste for traditional fantasy.

The best of these early planar articles was an 18-page document titled simply “The Modrons” by the website’s developer Mark Jindra. Making heavy use of Planescape as its source for information (as well as Scott Greene’s unofficial “Book of Modrons,” which first converted these creatures to third edition), Jindra largely recaps what was already known about modrons from previous sources. However, by compiling it all and having it officially released by Wizards, he also brings them canonically back into the game much more than the actual Manual of the Planes did. As far as lore is concerned, there isn’t much—or seemingly anything—new here, but I still appreciate returning the Modron Cathedral and moignos to the multiverse.


Oh wait, strike that: there is something new here besides statistics, and that’s coggles. Gear spirits go unmentioned, but coggles “resemble the great, coglike gears of Mechanus. They move about the plane at will, adding themselves to the workings of Mechanus here and there for short periods, then moving on. Coggles range in size from only a few hundred feet to almost a mile across. A large one can serve as a transport for an entire battalion of modrons.” Cool, I guess. At least that’s something.

Apparently this gif was drawn originally by Tony DiTerlizzi? I didn’t see any evidence of that when it first appeared as a flipbook in The Great Modron March.

I’m far less fond of Jeff Grubb bringing back the World Serpent Inn as a transitive plane, which he does in “Brave New Planes” (the name of which is also pretty cringe). For those less obsessive than me and without a frame of reference, the World Serpent Inn was the rather dopey location used by Tales from the Outer Planes to ferry characters around the multiverse. In it, gods would have drinks with demons because, well, uhh… yeah, it was just dumb like that. The bartender Mitchifer is still around (and he now may or may not be a god or godlike power), but otherwise the place has actually changed quite a bit. For one thing, it now gives everyone damage resistance and heals them. For another, ghosts are visible there, and the establishment even has its very own Ethereal Plane, which is quite an accomplishment considering that nowhere but the Prime does otherwise. The inn not only jumps from plane to plane, many of its doors are also portals, making it into a miniature Sigil… except stupid in almost every conceivable way. How canonical this entry is may depend on your personal preferences, and mine are to pretend this was never written and that Mitchifer and his dumb business remained forgotten. 


In addition to these two well-known (well, relatively well-known, given how niche we’re getting here)  supplements, there were also a couple of planar articles released on as additional, if marginal, support for the third edition Manual. One of these was a new spell called Planar Familiar, which allows you to transform your normal familiar into an extraplanar freak of nature imbued with the power of your alignment. The spell is both neat and hilarious, if only vaguely relevant to the text at hand, as you can now give yourself an axiomatic familiar using the templates at the end of the Manual. Check it out here.

The final of these tie-ins was Eric Cagle’s write-up of a new formian caste, the formian observer. It’s a bit funny how two of these articles involve Mechanus yet they don’t work terribly well together, but that’s the third edition planes for you. One thing I do like about both this formian profile and the modron pdf is that by being posted online we actually get a great deal more detail about these creatures than we would in the Monster Manual. Write-ups in there were sparse to the point of minimalism so that they could jam in as many monsters and their statistics as possible, and as a result lore was often sorely missing (all five formians listed there received a little more than two pages total, including their statistics). Here, we learn more about how the formian armies work through the role of these observers, who are a sort of combination scout and intelligence officer, depending on the task at hand. I’m not so hugely into formians, particularly not the warlike colonizer ones we now have in this edition, but I still think this is a nice expansion of their society and the type of web addition I like to see. It’s archived here


None of these pieces are particularly useful unless you really need third edition statistics, and that’s kind of how most Wizards web supplements were. They tended to be short, with the  really worthwhile content still left for Dragon magazine except in rare cases. Perhaps the most fondly remembered of Wizards’ web content might have been their map-a-week posts, though sadly these are also the ones most difficult to find copies of as of 2022 and so I’m unsure whether there were any planar tie-ins (I’m also a bit doubtful of this, but there’s probably one in there because there were so many made). I will continue including these tidbits, both for posterity and my own dumb completionism, as the series goes, but it’s best if you consider them a nice little garnish along the way rather than something substantial. And while I’m trying to be thorough, there’s no way I’m reading through hundreds and hundreds of these articles for this series, so if you’re aware of something I’ve missed please don’t hesitate to let us know

  1. The easiest place to find these PDFs today is on, where they’re all linked to from their respective products.

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