Planescape: Torment

I upgraded my Parallels install from 4 to 6 and magically games started working in my Windows XP VM on my Mac. So naturally I wandered over to GOG (Good Old Games) and handed over $10 for a copy of Planescape: Torment. My copy has been lost — given away to someone — for the better half of a decade and $10 seemed worth it for a game I remember fondly so I gave them cash, and they torrented it down to my VM and it more or less works.

A few hours into Torment I realized:

– I was playing a 12 year old game and it was better written, better constructed, and more immersive than 90% of the games on the market today. I can spend a half hour in a conversation tree with an NPC and it’s not dull.

– No one makes games like this any more. No one. Period. I’m not sure anyone used to make games like this either. Was Torment just an abherration of nature?

– Planescape was the best setting ever made for a fantasy world and it has not yet been defeated.

– I would happily fork over a subscription fee to play Sigil: the MMO. Factions! Politics! Places to wander and kill things! Random portals to places! An endless War outside the doors! Seriously. Although I would avoid the Sensates as they would be all TS all the time…

– Planescape would be better served by a system not AD&D 2nd Edition. I kept thinking about FATE this weekend — but while the Fate in Dresden works perfect for a Nephilim conversion* I’m not certain it works for something as insane as Planescape. Cortex? PDQ? I’m not sure.

I can completely recommended GOG for their catalog, the ease of use for the service, and being able to run old games in VMs. If you’re hemming and hawing I can say that it’s a pretty good, and cheap, service. And damn, buy Torment, replay it, and ask: why aren’t all the other games like this now a days?

* I am having serious Nephilim thoughts.

  • Thanks for the info. I’ll probably pick up Planescape: Torment this fall, and I’m glad it will run on Parallels, as I may be in a position to use that. What do you estimate is the total play time for the game? Time is a more precious quantity than money, ultimately, but I’ll sink in the time if the game is worth it.

    Also, I’ve had the same thought about a Sigil MMO. Faction/rep “grinding” is built in, and expansions could introduce new planes available for adventuring. Why has this not happened yet?

    As for tabletop, you need something that maps faces to factions and handles intrigue well. Some strange mashup of Fate (for faces and locations), Smallville (for r-mapping of PCs to Factions via Faces), and Leverage (for the competence porn of D&D)?

    • I don’t know about total play time. About 40 hours? Memory is vague. It’s a 12 year old game. It’s not going to be the marathon games are today. But it was the greatest RPG ever made so it’s worth playing. (Fallout 2 and Arcanum are also available on GOG.)

      I’m sure it’s an IP issue with Planescape. Also, building it would be a mammoth project.

      As for tabletop, I’m sort of mulling it over. Nephilim ports to Dresden Files Fate pretty smoothly but Planescape absolutely doesn’t. It must be something that supports smooth combat and all the relational pieces. Maybe Cam has an idea?

  • Huge fan of Planescape as a setting, although some parts of it were difficult to work with.

    The PC game was, without a doubt, the most engaging computer game I ever played, and I never felt it was due to the beautiful imagery or graphics. So much creative written goodness in it all, and I loved the ending portions of it.

    I remember being hooked just by the trailer to it that appeared in the Fallout CD:

    • Yeah, it’s just an absolutely magnificent game.

  • I’ve been running a high-fantasy game setting that evolved through various rulesets, starting from AD&D 2nd Edition. We’ve kept the Planescape cosmology for the setting, but we’ve recently been playing using the Fate 2.0 rules, and have in the last week moved on to Legends of Anglerre. We found Fate 2.0 to work perfectly well, and I reckon that LoA is going to work nicely too.

    Now, it should be pointed out that while we’ve kept the cosmology, most of the play time is spent in my own campaign world, so it may not match QUITE as nicely for an all-Planar game, but it certainly works well for occasional visits to Sigil or the like.

    • I am tremendously interested in Planescape conversions to Fate. I may need to buy Legends of Anglerre. It’s $25 as a PDF which is doable.

  • Charles Geringer

    Regarding planescape in other systems, I wouldf say planescape would make for a very good GURPS module