What settings does 4E need?

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At this point, 4E is about a year and a half old. The edition has grown and changed a lot in such a short amount of time (for better or for worse), and we have two current campaign settings with another in the works. So, my questions to you all are these: which of the many past campaign settings does 4E need to reintroduce? How many does it need? Should it continue its current strategy of releasing a setting to the public and then moving on, or should it focus on each for a longer period? Should we see brand-new settings?

In my opinion, it's neither possible nor beneficial for WotC to reprint every older setting, and so each one needs to be carefully chosen to appeal to a specific niche. Of the three we know of so far, Forgotten Realms offers traditional Western fantasy of the sort most non-gamers probably think of when they hear "D&D," Eberron offers a more urban, steampunk setting, and Dark Sun offers horror and survival adventures. What other niches need to be filled? What settings would serve best at filling them?

For convenience's sake, here's a brief list of all the previous settings we've seen, along with its editions  and miscellaneous notes. If I've missed any or made any mistakes, please let me know.

+ Dark Sun: 2nd, 4th

+ Eberron: 3.5th, 4th

+ Forgotten Realms: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th, 4th

- Al-Qadim: 2nd (Later folded into the Realms)

- Birthright: 2nd

- Blackmoor: 1st, 2nd, 3rd (Later folded into Mystara)

- Dragonlance: 1st, 2nd, 3rd

- Greyhawk: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th (The "default" setting for 3E and 3.5E)

- Kara-Tur: 1st (Later folded into the Realms)

- Kingdoms of Kalamar: 3rd (License owned by Kenzer and Company)

- Maztica: 2nd (Later folded into the Realms)

- Mystara: 1st, 2nd

- Planescape: 2nd, 3rd (Contradicted in 4E Manual of the Planes)

- Ravenloft: 1st, 2nd (Later folded into the Shadowfell)

- Rokugan: 3rd (License owned by Alderac Entertainment)

- Spelljammer: 2nd (Referenced in 4E Manual of the Planes)
     Rokugan would be fun to see if not for the licensing issues.  I'm a heretic in that, though I support Dark Sun being more limited in scope, I'd like to see Rokugan get the 'everything has a place' treatment.  Non-human races in the clans would be a huge step in punching up the setting a bit.  It'd be a real task, but I'd trust Keith Baker with it.

     Aside from that... eh.  Old stuff is old.  I'm all for a brand new setting in 2011.
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     Rokugan would be fun to see if not for the licensing issues.  I'm a heretic in that, though I support Dark Sun being more limited in scope, I'd like to see Rokugan get the 'everything has a place' treatment.  Non-human races in the clans would be a huge step in punching up the setting a bit.  It'd be a real task, but I'd trust Keith Baker with it.

     Aside from that... eh.  Old stuff is old.  I'm all for a brand new setting in 2011.



I'm not a big fan of Rokugan (or Japanese settings in general), but getting the nonhuman races to not be treated like garbage would be a big step up.  I still doubt I'd ever play in a game of it again, though.

Then again, I've got Eberron, so I doubt I'll ever buy another Campaign Setting book.  Of all the settings on the list above, I either know I don't like them, or haven't heard anything about them that would indicate that I would like them.
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I'd like some new settings. Specifically something focused on the core. If I want to play eberron or forgotten realms, the core does me no good. Darksun won't solve this at all, but I am looking forward to it. I'd like a setting devoted to the core material, which could no longer be greyhawk unless greyhawk was completely changed, which the fans of GH wouldn't appreciate. So a new setting for the core would be great.

Eventually I would enjoy Dragonlance, Mystara and Birthright to be brought into the 4e "family."

I'd also really enjoy atleast one additional books per setting, adding to the core books of that setting. Like a companion book to the PG and CG.

But, in the end, I want a "core" setting the most. We've got all this material for the core rules and expected to create our own worlds or modify existing settings. Neither of which is actually a bad thing. But I don't want to mod eberron to include an "overlord" lolth if I want to use Lolth. I don't want to run the forgotten realms Corellon or Gruumsh or Asmodeus.

I want a brand new setting that highlights and expands on the core material. That ties it all together and offers us new maps to use, new story progression to follow.  So, I in the end, I want " the middle world", detailed and explained. We've already got our players hand books with the races and classes. Now all we need is the guide to middle world and some expansion on current material.

Anyone who likes the core fluff, would probably love a middle world campaign setting. Atleast, I would. Let me buy a detailed map, a book that explains a bit about the world and I'd even purchase well done novels on the core material. Especially anything on the dawn war.
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I'm not sure that any of those would make a good 4E setting, for several reasons.


Some of them are already incorporated into the generic setting, albeit in a more limited fashion. (Ravenloft, Planescape, Spelljammer)

Many of them are essentially 'generic medieval fantasy' settings, which overlap too much with the Forgotten Realms and Points of Light. (Greyhawk, Mystara, Birthright, Kingdoms of Kalamar)

The others are largely 'psuedo-historical culture' settings that are too niche to really stand on their own, though some of their elements could be incorporated into another setting. (Al-Qadim, Kara-Tur, Maztica).

A lot of the second and third types were also built on the "humans more or less dominate the world" philosophy that 4E is deliberately trying to avoid, which makes them even more problematic.

Others also have the problem that you don't really need the setting to focus on the type of gameplay that they were conceived for - you don't really *need* to play in the Birthright setting to focus on noble intrigue and national maneuvering, since that general idea works just as well in almost any setting.


Now, some of them could still make the leap to 4E, but they'd need to be re-envisaged quite heavily in order to fit 4E's setting design philosophies, to the point that it would probably be more effective to build a new one from the ground up (especially since this would also avoid the fan-rage that reworking an older setting that extensively would cause).
If WotC sticks to a Campaign Setting and a Player's Guide per setting, as they've been doing so far (things like Magic of... or Creatures of... are pretty much out due to the power system and the serialized MMs anyway) I think WotC could release quite a few profitable settings - especially since the Player's Guides tend to get used across settings.

I'd like to see the smaller settings that got assimilated by the Realms get some love. They could probably even be put together. Dark Sun is among other things horror, but not the true gothic stuff that first comes to mind - Ravenloft deserves a chance too. Birthright to me isn't a setting as much as some extra mechanics. That can be dealt with in a different way (food for an upcoming PHB or DMG perhaps?).

Planescape, to me, is a no-brainer. I fear WotC might see that differently though.

What I would also like is a less medieval and more baroque fantasy setting, but I'm not sure how that can be done while keeping all the existing material viable.
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I'm gunnin' for a new setting myself. Would be far more fun.
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Aye, it is time for something new.  Third edition brought us Eberron, and it was magnificent.  Now it's time for the creative muscles to flex a bit, and rather than revise and retranslate, create something completely new, something born of this edition that will stand alongside the great settings on into the future.
I too would love a new setting for 4E. Something unqiue, that captures the feel of 4th edition.
I'd say they shouldn't reprint any of the other settings, and instead make a whole new setting for the one after Dark Sun. I think Eberron and Dark Sun are their two strongest settings, and the Forgotten Realms fills a necessary role.

There's lots of other possible takes on fantasy they could attack with campaign settings, and I don't feel most of the existing ones are really as good for it.

Also, you forgot the coolest setting of all: Council of Wyrms :P Not that it is really a good setting for D&D due to the system being designed around playing humanish things, and dragons being decidedly not humanish, but people always forget about it for some reason. 
The only settings I really care about are the ones that we develop as a group so I don't really care.  But I would like to see the new races and classes that are found only in setting-specific books gathered together into a small book that I'd actually buy 'cause I love playing my swordmage but have no interest in the Forgotten Realms as a setting.  It'd be nice to not have to borrow the book every time I level up.

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Personally, I liked the Spelljammer setting, but I would love to see a setting more like the Dragonstar setting.
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Planescape, Spelljammer, and Ravenloft appear to have been integrated into the Points of Light setting, so I don't think we'll see a specific setting book for either.

I imagine Dragonlance will be next.
I would like to see Greyhawk brought into 4e.

After that, I would also like a new setting.
I too would love a new setting for 4E. Something unqiue, that captures the feel of 4th edition.



+1!

You forgot Nyambe. Poor, poor Nyambe.
Add me to the list that wants a new setting.  Personally Id rather have seen the settings as follows New setting Ebaron darksun FR.  But I can understand why they did the release cycle the way they did next year is definitley time for something new.
I vote for the Water World they talked about, while discussing Darksun a ways back. (Back before DS was confirmed, thanks to that interview I figured Ds was next.)

So put me in New Setting camp.
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Two settings that you forgot:

Midnight
Earthdawn

 (Both property of Fantasy Flight Gamees, IIRC). Both are for 3.5.
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I'd like:

A core/PoL setting book
Something new
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Others also have the problem that you don't really need the setting to focus on the type of gameplay that they were conceived for - you don't really *need* to play in the Birthright setting to focus on noble intrigue and national maneuvering, since that general idea works just as well in almost any setting.


Which was the biggest problem with Birthright. It was marketed as a political type of setting, while in reality it was also really unique in other ways. Blooded was cool without ruling nations. The anwsheighlien as dangerous monsters was a cool twist to the typical opponents. The Shadow World was unique at the time and rife with potential. The various clearly different human cultures, limited pantheon (which had different names and interpretations based on culture), viscious bastard Celtic-like elves and stone-based dwarves also added something unique to the setting. When I look back at my Birthright campaign (and the 4E one I am running now), politics was hardly part of the game...

I believe Dragonlance will be after Dark Sun because they already have a good bit of Dragonlance material in the game such as Cyan Bloodbane, Silvara, and the Draconians. I could be wrong but thats my opinion.
I believe Dragonlance will be after Dark Sun because they already have a good bit of Dragonlance material in the game such as Cyan Bloodbane, Silvara, and the Draconians. I could be wrong but thats my opinion.



I don't think so. They want to make sure that none of the settings really cannibalizes the audiences for the other settings.

With FR you get the high-magic, high-fantasy seting.
Eberron gets you "magi-punk" with lots of intrigue.
Dark Sun gets you post-apocalyptic.

What does DL have to set it apart from the others that is new and original. What is the "tagline" for the setting that will dag people in.

(Note that I am not saying that the phrases above are all that those settings are. They are, however, a simple distillation that is fairly accurate of the setting.)
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere
I believe Dragonlance will be after Dark Sun because they already have a good bit of Dragonlance material in the game such as Cyan Bloodbane, Silvara, and the Draconians. I could be wrong but thats my opinion.



I don't think so. They want to make sure that none of the settings really cannibalizes the audiences for the other settings.

With FR you get the high-magic, high-fantasy seting.
Eberron gets you "magi-punk" with lots of intrigue.
Dark Sun gets you post-apocalyptic.

What does DL have to set it apart from the others that is new and original. What is the "tagline" for the setting that will dag people in.

(Note that I am not saying that the phrases above are all that those settings are. They are, however, a simple distillation that is fairly accurate of the setting.)



Dragonlance: low restricted magic, rich history, small pantheon, loads of potential.
Dragonlance: low restricted magic, rich history, small pantheon, loads of potential.


To me, "low restricted magic" and "small pantheon" go hand-in-hand.  (Rich history and loads of potential should theoretically apply to any setting they release).

So Dragonlance would, essentially, be a low magic setting?  I'm not sure that's enough of a hook.  I'm not even sure that's accurate.  After all, one of the most famous characters from the setting is Raistlin.  I wouldn't really describe him as a character one would associate with "low magic"

Dragonlance, for me, is distinguished as a campaign with no divine power source (or very rare), lots of dragons and dragon-like beings, and kender.  I'm not sure that's enough -- for me -- to warrant a re-release.

That said, Dragonlance is a very popular setting, so I could see them releasing it anyway.  Alternately, they could simply incorporate a lot of its unique features in a future Draconomicon, and release kender in a future Monster Manual and/or Player's Handbook.
Kender=halflings.  DL has NOTHING really interesting it's high fantasy like FR but done worse.  The characters from the books always outshine what PC's can do.  If they do it I would like to see something completley original first.  Then do DL in 2012.

I don't think so. They want to make sure that none of the settings really cannibalizes the audiences for the other settings.

With FR you get the high-magic, high-fantasy seting.
Eberron gets you "magi-punk" with lots of intrigue.
Dark Sun gets you post-apocalyptic.

What does DL have to set it apart from the others that is new and original. What is the "tagline" for the setting that will dag people in.

(Note that I am not saying that the phrases above are all that those settings are. They are, however, a simple distillation that is fairly accurate of the setting.)



i have to agree with this.

et's skip ahead 5 years from now, in a possible future in which each of these 4 settings (grayhawk, mystara, FR, Dragonlance) have been released for 4th ed following the standard MO, campaign guide + player guide.

what incentive would a new gm have for picking one over the other? all 4 settings are essentially "pseudo-medival-europe... with MAGIC!" and are vying for your purchase.

i do know the difference between them, thus i bought Eberron (that and i already have my 2nd+3rd ed FR stuff and my 2nd ed Dark Sun stuff. i'm still mulling over 4th ed FR campaign guide but the 4th ed DS is looking very tempting).

but not the newbie. he has 4 different yet very superficially similar products to choose from but not the time to read through all of the books as the FLGS owner isn't too keen on the prospects of being a public library built for one. there is a lot of information to seperate and material to read up on and reread over to get the feel of the setting.
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Kender=halflings.  DL has NOTHING really interesting it's high fantasy like FR but done worse.  The characters from the books always outshine what PC's can do.


I guess you're entitled to your opinion, but... honestly, that was never my impression of Dragonlance.

If they do it I would like to see something completley original first.  Then do DL in 2012.


Honestly, I could care less if they get around to DL.  It's just not a setting I care for that much, and I'm not sure what could be in a Player's Guide that would make me want it (the Swordmage makes the FR book fairly satisfying).  I'm not sure if any of the older settings appeal to me though.
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You forgot Nyambe. Poor, poor Nyambe.



I LOVED Nyambe.  It fit surprisingly well with D&D yet was very unique at the same time. I would really love to see a 4e Nyambe setting.  About as likely as me getting a date with Katherine Zeta Jones though, I think. 

DL has NOTHING really interesting it's high fantasy like FR but done worse.



It's not that bad. To me, DL was always a "high fantasy where the bad guys won"-type setting. It is a nice setting, but I prefer Midnight (which is the bad-guys won scenario dialed up to 11) for that type of setting.

The characters from the books always outshine what PC's can do.



That's something that happens in almost every setting that has had books written about it. Books don't have to follow initiative order, HP or any other rule that is written for the setting. Heck, if a setting should have not been published because characters in books can do more stuff better than PCs, you should be pointing that finger at FR (pre-spellplague) and all of its various NPC characters.

Judging the quality of a setting based on the novels that are based in that setting does not make a whole lot of sense to me. It's like not liking chocolate because there are too many letters with curves in the word "chocolate".

My guess is that the setting that they announce at GenCon 2010 will be a brand-new setting.
Mudbunny SVCL for DDI Before you post, think of the Monkeysphere


My guess is that the setting that they announce at GenCon 2010 will be a brand-new setting.



If I were a betting man, that's where I'd put my money too. 


My guess is that the setting that they announce at GenCon 2010 will be a brand-new setting.



If I were a betting man, that's where I'd put my money too. 



God I hope so.  Enough of publishing the same tired worn out worlds.  Lets see something new and interesting.


I don't think so. They want to make sure that none of the settings really cannibalizes the audiences for the other settings.



THIS! This is VERY important. When too many setting appeal to a similar audiance they end up selling less.

You can spin Dragonlance any way you want and boast about its 'rich History' and 'potential' all you want... at the end of the day its not a different enough concept from Forgotten Realms, even if their History and society aren't the same. If you can expain it as "Its like setting X but with Y instead of Z" then its not really different enough.


58292718 wrote:
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Personally, I want a Magical Realism setting, like Harry Potter, Dresden Files, Charmed, Faefever, etc. (aka, Urban Fantasy, Modern Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, etc.). Not like d20 Modern, but actual Wizard, Paladin, Psion, and Druid classes for the 21st century.

Magical Realism cant be 'the' setting for D&D 4e that must get its flavor from antiquity. But Id like to see Magical Realism as an alternative setting.
Personally, I want a Magical Realism setting, like Harry Potter, Dresden Files, Charmed, Faefever, etc. (aka, Urban Fantasy, Modern Fantasy, etc.). Not like d20 Modern, but actual Wizard, Paladin, Psion, and Druid classes for the 21st century.

Magical Realism cant be 'the' setting for D&D 4e that must get its flavor from antiquity. But Id like to see Magical Realism as an alternative setting.



Wow that would be very cool an Urban arcane setting would be awsome.  Then again I love Kim Harrison and Jim Butcher.
At this point, 4E is about a year and a half old. The edition has grown and changed a lot in such a short amount of time (for better or for worse), and we have two current campaign settings with another in the works. So, my questions to you all are these: which of the many past campaign settings does 4E need to reintroduce? How many does it need? Should it continue its current strategy of releasing a setting to the public and then moving on, or should it focus on each for a longer period? Should we see brand-new settings?

In my opinion, it's neither possible nor beneficial for WotC to reprint every older setting, and so each one needs to be carefully chosen to appeal to a specific niche. Of the three we know of so far, Forgotten Realms offers traditional Western fantasy of the sort most non-gamers probably think of when they hear "D&D," Eberron offers a more urban, steampunk setting, and Dark Sun offers horror and survival adventures. What other niches need to be filled? What settings would serve best at filling them?

For convenience's sake, here's a brief list of all the previous settings we've seen, along with its editions  and miscellaneous notes. If I've missed any or made any mistakes, please let me know.

+ Dark Sun: 2nd, 4th

+ Eberron: 3.5th, 4th

+ Forgotten Realms: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th, 4th

- Al-Qadim: 2nd (Later folded into the Realms)

- Birthright: 2nd

- Blackmoor: 1st, 2nd, 3rd (Later folded into Mystara)

- Dragonlance: 1st, 2nd, 3rd

- Greyhawk: 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 3.5th (The "default" setting for 3E and 3.5E)

- Kara-Tur: 1st (Later folded into the Realms)

- Kingdoms of Kalamar: 3rd (License owned by Kenzer and Company)

- Maztica: 2nd (Later folded into the Realms)

- Mystara: 1st, 2nd

- Planescape: 2nd, 3rd (Contradicted in 4E Manual of the Planes)

- Ravenloft: 1st, 2nd (Later folded into the Shadowfell)

- Rokugan: 3rd (License owned by Alderac Entertainment)

- Spelljammer: 2nd (Referenced in 4E Manual of the Planes)



Blackmoor has been done in 4e,  it was done by Code Monkey Press.  I believe it is now out of print.  Kingdoms of Kalamar has also received a 4e conversion.  Mystara would be awesome to see redone as a campaign setting!  Greyhawk also needs to make a comeback as well. 
< William: Kim Harrison. >

Did she write White Witch Black Curse? Fun book.

*Smirk* I can deal with the female first person if the story has enough spellcasting to keep my interest. I get embarassed when I have to get my books from the 'Romance' section. But the Paranormal Romance genre is Magical Realsim. .. Must..have..scifi.

My favorite is when the (male) Wizard is the action hero. Clean cut and tough. When the 'King Aurthur' archetype is 'Merlin' himself.
Actually Dragonlance does bring something that is unique to the table. Well it's in it's name, the dragons. Dragons play a bigger role in Dragonlance than they do in any other setting. Dragonborn and Tieflings would not fit in the Dragonlance setting through, unless they changed the Dragonborn around and made them more like honorable Draconians or something. Gnomes would have to be changed as well because in that setting they are different than typical gnomes and they were never fey. I believe the lightness on magic is also something unique to Dragonlance.
< William: Kim Harrison. >

Did she write White Witch Black Curse? Fun book.

*Smirk* I can deal with the female first person if the story has enough spellcasting to keep my interest. I get embarassed when I have to get my books from the 'Romance' section. But the Paranormal Romance genre is Magical Realsim. .. Must..have..scifi.

My favorite is when the (male) Wizard is the action hero. Clean cut and tough. When the 'King Aurthur' archetype is 'Merlin'.



LOL well I read some other romance books as well so I don't mind going in there.  And yes she did write that book.  I like both male and female leads. 
The three I don't want to see are Dragonlance, Greyhawk and Planescape.

Dragonlance was a dead setting from the get go.  It spent years going backwards in time, not forwards, and it never recovered.  Every book was about pre-history, all the way back to the beginning of time.  Eventually they tried to move it forward, but the setting had fossilized so much by that point that trying to move it forward caused a visceral hatred of the new material amongst almost every oldschool Dragonlance fan I've ever personally known or met.

Greyhawk eventually dwindled away, becoming overshadowed by it's competitor Forgotten Realms, which fills the exact same fantasy setting role.

Planescape is hardcore personal bias on my part, I never liked the flavor it tried to bring to the planes.  It made them go from magical to boring in my (very biased) opinion.



I agree on everything but planescape planescape made the great wheel bearable.  But with the great wheel gone Im sure it could be more interesting.
Actually Dragonlance does bring something that is unique to the table. Well it's in it's name, the dragons. Dragons play a bigger role in Dragonlance than they do in any other setting. Dragonborn and Tieflings would not fit in the Dragonlance setting through, unless they changed the Dragonborn around and made them more like honorable Draconians or something. Gnomes would have to be changed as well because in that setting they are different than typical gnomes and they were never fey. I believe the lightness on magic is also something unique to Dragonlance.



Wow... a Dungeons & DRAGONS setting where DRAGONS are a big deal! Imagine that.

-.-

Dragons are a big deal in Eberron too, if a tad remote (Draconic Prophecy?!).

Frankly I'm so TIRED of Dragons always being More Awesomer Than Everything And Especially You. Its why I don't really care much for Iomandra (I think that's the name of the dev setting that's in the Wikis here?) where Dragons are the de-facto leader of the world.

I know dragons are cool and everything but the world doesn't have to revolve around them!

Lightness of Magic doesn't really change much, it just makes Wizard PCs MORE AWESOME because they happen to be rarer (I'm sure a Wizard Player like yourself Xun would LOVE that), but it wouldn't impact the mechanics in any way. Dark Sun is also light in magic from what I hear because magic hurt the World.

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See for yourself, click here!