And the next campaign setting is..........?

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  Well we all know the next 4e campaign setting is going to be Dark Sun, and given the fact that one campaign setting has been introduced each year, I thought it might be interesting to discuss which campaign setting might be introduced in 2011.  I am interested in both what people wish the next fantasy 4e campaign setting will be as well as what people predict it will be.

  I believe the next fantasy campaign setting might be derived from the following categories:

A pre-existing campaign setting that has been touched on already in 4e:  
  Planescape: touched on via the Sigil entry in DMG2
  Ravenloft: to be touched on via the soon to be released boardgame.  (Although this probably is not considered 4e, it can be considered recent?) (Ravenloft might be a sub-setting?)
  The 4e core setting: Nentir Vale/Points of Light could get the full campaign treatment?
  Greyhawk: might be considered to have been touched on via the 4e core deities?  

A campaign setting from a previous edition:
  Birthright, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, Mystara, Oriental Adventures (OA/Rokugan may not be considered a campaign setting?)

A sub-setting from an existing or previous campaign setting:
  such as Xendrik, Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim, Hollow World etc, etc.   

Or something totally new and original designed just for 4e, ala Eberron for 3x. 

  Myself, I think I would like to see something totally new and original for 4e, but there are other settings I am interested in such as Ravenloft, Planescape and Spelljammer.

  As far as what I predict: I think the next campaign setting might be something that has already been touched upon in 4e.

  (Please forgive me in advance for any errors I have made regarding campaign lists and categorization.  I am sure there are other potential campaign categories as well as campaign settings I have not listed)
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This time last year is about when we started receiving hints on the next setting, the first of which appeared in Ampersand.  So come Monday, the speculating can really take off.
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Ravenloft, spelljammer and planescape have been folded into the core. So I don't think they will be 4e settings. We've gotten some domains of dread in dragon magazines, so ravenloft seems to be completely supported by the magazines. Planescape is basically Sigil, as the planar hub. Using the plane below, the plane above and all the other books like the feywild and shadowfell books we will be getting, planescape flavored adventures are completely possible.

Spelljammer is little more than a few magic items, so far. I'm hoping we will get more spelljammer love in the future. As for what settings might be next, A lot of people want a brand new setting and a lot of people want an island setting. As for older settings getting the 4e treatment, I'm rooting for dragonlance and mystara.

As for a new setting, I really, REALLY, want wotc to take ALL of the points of light content and put it into a fully fleshed out campaign setting. I want a continental map with all the different nations, locations and everything else.

Long Live Dragonlance and the Nexus! I still want an athasian nightmare beast and a warforged dragon mini! "Look, Meat, I'll tear your face off, rip your throat out and eat what's left-because that's what I do to food like you." ~Thrikreen Intimidation Tactic.
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Or something totally new and original designed just for 4e, ala Eberron for 3x.


It should be this.

It is time for something new.

Ravenloft, spelljammer and planescape have been folded into the core. So I don't think they will be 4e settings. We've gotten some domains of dread in dragon magazines, so ravenloft seems to be completely supported by the magazines. Planescape is basically Sigil, as the planar hub. Using the plane below, the plane above and all the other books like the feywild and shadowfell books we will be getting, planescape flavored adventures are completely possible.



  I should have realized that.  Perhaps these settings might still get an expanded treatment in the form of campaign/player books, monster manuals or adventures?
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Well, we have our high fantasy (Forgotten Realms), we have our pseudo steampunk (Eberron, sure it's a far cry from proper steampunk for various reasons, but it's probably the closest we'll get), we have post-apocalypse (Dark Sun).

So, I'm guessing the next campaign setting would be another genre that we haven't gotten yet.  So this would leave settings such as Greyhawk and Dragonlance as being pipedreams since they are both high fantasy and thus is already covered by Forgotten Realms.
Technically, we already have the new setting announcement - Gamma World! 

Seriously though, there have been hints that it's something new, possibly one of the other contest winners from the event that produced Eberron.

If it were up to me though, it would be Birthright, or an Al-Qadim completely divorced from Forgotten Realms.
I really wouldn't mind a Birthright or Al-Qadim.

But honestly, I've been happy with everything so far (even FR:Spellpocalypse Edition Wink).  Whatever they announce, I'll probably be interested in it.
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My money is still on it being the pirate world setting by the guy who makes Order of the Stick.

Ravenloft, spelljammer and planescape have been folded into the core. So I don't think they will be 4e settings. We've gotten some domains of dread in dragon magazines, so ravenloft seems to be completely supported by the magazines. Planescape is basically Sigil, as the planar hub. Using the plane below, the plane above and all the other books like the feywild and shadowfell books we will be getting, planescape flavored adventures are completely possible.



  I should have realized that.  Perhaps these settings might still get an expanded treatment in the form of campaign/player books, monster manuals or adventures?



I doubt it, but I'd be happy if we did. I'd really enjoy more content for those three settings. Especially planescape.
Long Live Dragonlance and the Nexus! I still want an athasian nightmare beast and a warforged dragon mini! "Look, Meat, I'll tear your face off, rip your throat out and eat what's left-because that's what I do to food like you." ~Thrikreen Intimidation Tactic.
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I'd love a new version of Al-Qadim.

I'd also love a Magipunk and or Steam Punk based setting.

The thing is, though they already told us. Back when they were dropping "hints" of Darksun in an interview they talked oh so briefly about a "water world" that they were working on that would be coming out in the forseeable future.  My guess?

Water World is next. So I'm expecting a High Seas type world.
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Planescape was bastardized into the World Axis cosmology, Ravenloft is very narrow and focused in its style, Greyhawk and Dragonlance are quite generic and have little to offer to players who aren't grognards (in the former case) or fans of the novels (in the latter), Birthright is very niche and very different from standard 4e in the style of gameplay it offers, Mystara is too broad and kitchen sink style, and Oriental Advantures, Kara-Tur, and Al-Qadim have stereotype problems to overcome (an Asian campaign setting has the same problems as an Asian power source).

I don't mean to crap on any of those setting; I'd like several of them very much, judging from what little I know about them. I'd particularly like to see Al-Qadim. But there seem to be real problems with republishing most of the old campaign settings. I hold out the most hope for Spelljammer; it's a bit different from what we've seen so far, it has a distinct style without being hyper focused, and it's been mentioned before. How it interacts with the core cosmology might be a problem; the blip about that in the Manual of the Planes didn't really help. A brand new setting sounds plausible too.
The thing is, though they already told us. Back when they were dropping "hints" of Darksun in an interview they talked oh so briefly about a "water world" that they were working on that would be coming out in the forseeable future.  My guess?

Water World is next. So I'm expecting a High Seas type world.



I don't suppose you recall which interview that was do you? I would love to be able to link to it whenever these debates come up because that certainly would support my position.
Two theories....

If WoTC has great success with their essentials line and brings in new players and more money, then we'll see a brand new campaign setting. Probably the water world mentioned above, or a contest entry  like Eberron.

If WoTC continues to have a constant number of players, or if their sales drop off, then Hasbro will direct them to blow the dust off old content and freshen it up. A totally new campaign would take a lot more staff (and therefore more investment) than a recycled one. My money would be on Greyhawk or Dragonlance because of the volume of old material that could be used. The Points of Light world could easily be rolled into Greyhawk.

If an older setting is revived, I think they would advance the timeline by a hundred or a thousand years as a way of making it feel new again to older players. Change the geography just enough (earth changing events) to make sure everyone needs the new maps.

Either way, I'll most likely buy it   As a DM, I can never have too many ideas.
I would also like to see Al-Qadim return. Although if we get it, it'll be after a few years I suspect.

A new version of Spelljammer and/or Planescape would be awesome. I particularly like the idea of a new Spelljammer.

Rich Burlew's setting search entry is another possibility.
Then there's that other winning bloke's setting.
As much as I would love to see cultural based settings (Oriental, Celtic, Egyptian, Pirates, etc...), I have to disagree that the next setting will likely be cultural based. It is too specialized. They polarize fans. Oriental and psionic campaigns are a good example of this effect. People seem to love them or hate them with not much in between. 

It will be tough to find a sub-genre of fantasy not covered by high fantasy, magepunk, or apocalypse. Tolkien high fantasy is the foundation of fantasy, apocalypse pits the hero against the tangible world (an idea not unlike our own real world) and magepunk is a relatively new and sexy idea for a generation of people numbed by too much Tolkien high fantasy. 

Wizards needs a broadly appealing setting. This setting also needs to be big enough to fit sub-genres within its regions (i.e. Realms + OA + Al-Qadim or Eberron + the Lost World/Continent + Pirates of the air or seas + Mystery and Intrigue).

The one glimmer of hope would be dark fantasy.  A world where evil is not necessarily a a tangible aspect of the player's surroundings, but resides within all individuals within the world. People and monsters are not utterly good or evil but may have conflicting desires. I think the next setting will take on this darker overtone. Diplomacy, skill challenges, and action can all take center stage within this framework. Like magepunk, it is a modern fantasy idea for a modern generation.

 
If WoTC has great success with their essentials line and brings in new players and more money, then we'll see a brand new campaign setting. Probably the water world mentioned above, or a contest entry  like Eberron.

Actually I would think that if the Essentials line was highly successful there would be a greater call for another generic/high fantasy setting, as it seems to me that is the kind of world most players new to D&D both expect and desire.  Also, as a secondary goal of the essentials line is also to bring back lapsed players, reviving a classic setting would make even more sense.

It seems to me that the player base most interested in brand new setting are the mid-liners (players who fall between the old-schoolers and the newbs).  Players who have been playing long enough to think they've grown bored with supposedly generic faints, but who haven't yet learned that a world setting is ultimately what you make of it and that most supposedly new settings are still rather generic underneath their gimmicky paint jobs.  These are the kind of players who are already playing the game.

That said, I wouldn't mind a fresh new setting.  I just don't see the connection between the the success of the Essentials line and the swift release of such a setting, when it strikes me that given the stated goals of the essentials line that the reverse would be true.
I would love to see something totally new as well.  I never really could get into Eb because I was still exploring FR.

Although Dark Sun will be new for me as a player (because I don't know a lot about it) I think from a business sense having something brand new will be great.  It's been 6 years since the last completely new campaign world...it's time.
It seems to me that the player base most interested in brand new setting are the mid-liners (players who fall between the old-schoolers and the newbs).  Players who have been playing long enough to think they've grown bored with supposedly generic faints, but who haven't yet learned that a world setting is ultimately what you make of it and that most supposedly new settings are still rather generic underneath their gimmicky paint jobs.  These are the kind of players who are already playing the game.


Or perhaps it is because the midliners, as you call them, realize that many older settings work perfectly as is, without needing a new book, and thus desire fresh blood to be added to the mix rather than spending a year to get a book filled with information we already know.  Old books are just as legible today as they were when first printed, paper quality notwithstanding.  If I can run, say, Hollow World, right out of the previous text, with all the maps, history, lore, NPCs, and story hooks intact, then I do not need it reprinted in a new book.

What I CAN'T run right now...is a brand new setting I have never seen.

You could never run an Eberron game before Eberron was printed.  You couldn't play a game in the Realms before they were Forgotten.  Yes, I know, Captain Obvious comment of the day, but it is worth saying.  That's not to say that Magipunk or High Fantasy games didn't exist, but the specific worlds Eberron and FR brought to DnD had never been done before, and they have earned their place alongside the great stages of the genre.

Because remember, every old setting that is heralded as a great idea for the next book had an origin.  Every single one of them was crafted, forged, and printed fresh and new, brought into the pantheon of DnD to present a new variety of fantasy for the gaming world.  Every single one of them began when an author put pen to paper and set out to spin a new reality.

DnD is not just about what has come before.  It is about recreating the old intermixed with the fresh and new, the Wizard alongside the Invoker, the Elf side by side with the Dragonborn, returning the old favorites alongside the new arrivals who, in time, might become fellow old favorites.

We've had three years of old settings.  A fine number, by most reckonings, as so many elements come in threes.  And it has been a fine run so far, with high adventure and urban intrigue, desolate wastes and fantastic landscapes.  But if all we do is pay tribute to the past, we will never forge the future, just as Eberron would never have never seen the light of pages if they had only reprinted, nor Faerun ever been mapped if they decided they had enough ground already covered.  If all we do is return to the comforts of the old, we will never find new realms which will, in the times ahead, become the comforts we cherish and to which we would wish to return.  The past has had its time, we have payed it its respects.

It is time for a new world to be born.


DnD is not just about what has come before.  It is about recreating the old intermixed with the fresh and new, the Wizard alongside the Invoker, the Elf side by side with the Dragonborn, returning the old favorites alongside the new arrivals who, in time, might become fellow old favorites.

Agreed 100%.  I never meant to suggest otherwise.  I have a great appreciation for most thing D&D, both old and new.  I was merely stating that I didn't agree with the reasoning as to why there should be a new setting

It is time for a new world to be born.

And that may well be true, but I think it's important to keep in mind that NEW merely for the sake of NEWNESS is rarely a good thing.  For example a water/island setting needs to be more than just its geographical features and added rules for ship-to-ship combat in order validate its inclusion into the D&D archives.  I'd gladly enjoy a fresh new setting, but I want it to be something vibrant and alive, not just a one-trick pony defined solely by a gimmicky feature.
It is time for a new world to be born.

And that may well be true, but I think it's important to keep in mind that NEW merely for the sake of NEWNESS is rarely a good thing.  For example a water/island setting needs to be more than just its geographical features and added rules for ship-to-ship combat in order validate its inclusion into the D&D archives.  I'd gladly enjoy a fresh new setting, but I want it to be something vibrant and alive, not just a one-trick pony defined solely by a gimmicky feature.


Aye, that's a very fair point.

It helps to allow the geographic world to guide the tone; the water/island nature is well suited for an Age of Exploration style world of intrigue, politics, and nationalistic motives, for example.  Guilds, countries, factions, religions, old world versus the new, schools of thought in contest with one another, a world that spreads conflict and conquest across the realms, fighting for resources or territory, where there is no true good or evil, only the loyalties you choose.  Or whatever.

But you are right, the new setting must be suitably compelling.  After all, the old settings mentioned did earn their place, and likewise, new blood must be strong enough to stand Ye Olde Test of Time.
It helps to allow the geographic world to guide the tone; the water/island nature is well suited for an Age of Exploration style world of intrigue, politics, and nationalistic motives, for example.  Guilds, countries, factions, religions, old world versus the new, schools of thought in contest with one another, a world that spreads conflict and conquest across the realms, fighting for resources or territory, where there is no true good or evil, only the loyalties you choose.  Or whatever.

Not really trying to shoot holes in you ideas, but other  than the geography, Eberon arguably already accomplishes most, if not all, of those themes.
  • There aren't any true unknown horizons, but ancient ruins and mysterious jungles abound.  More age of archeology than age of exploration, but their is some overlap.

  • Intrigue, politics, and nationalism are all very central themes.

  • There are prominent guilds (Dragonmarked houses) and some of the most intricately designed religions I've ever seen in D&D (where there is more to faith than just patron immortal outsider of choice).

  • There's not much in the way of revolutionary old vs new, but there are ancient powers that scheme to regain their former level of influence.

  • There's not much in the way of conquest, but the base setting assumption is nations just now recovering from a continent wide war, with territorial disputes and resource control likely candidates to spark new open conflict.

  • Good and evil are mostly gray concepts, and it's which powers (be they nation, guild or religion) that you cast you loyalty with that tend to matter more.

Again, not trying to say that a water/island setting couldn't offer new twists on such concepts, just pointing out that some of those ideas aren't all that new.

Not really trying to shoot holes in you ideas, but other  than the geography, Eberon arguably already accomplishes most, if not all, of those themes.


But it doesn't have Horseshoecrabfolk! 
But it doesn't have Horseshoecrabfolk! 

But it could, as one of Eberron's motoes is 'there is a place for EVERYTHING'.
Or perhaps it is because the midliners, as you call them, realize that many older settings work perfectly as is, without needing a new book, and thus desire fresh blood to be added to the mix rather than spending a year to get a book filled with information we already know.  Old books are just as legible today as they were when first printed, paper quality notwithstanding.  If I can run, say, Hollow World, right out of the previous text, with all the maps, history, lore, NPCs, and story hooks intact, then I do not need it reprinted in a new book.


That's not accurate.  You can maybe run a lot of the old settings, but you sure as hell can't run all of them right now.  Birthright needs a crap ton of stuff to be runnable.  Al-Qadim bare minimum needs new themes like what will be in Dark Sun, and probably needs more than that. 

And for those of you saying Spelljammer won't happen, the developers seem to disagree with you.  Keith Baker himself said in one of the Dark Sun chats that while originally they had no plans of doing a seperate Spelljammer setting, as they developed Dark Sun and some of the other stuff for this year, they went back and rethought it and decided it had merit as a separate setting.  He did say don't expect it anytime soon, but he said flat out that Spelljammer is no longer a case of "never going to happen."

And for those of you saying Spelljammer won't happen, the developers seem to disagree with you.  Keith Baker himself said in one of the Dark Sun chats(...)



Wrong Baker. That was Richard Baker. I should know since I was there.
Oh, and here's the transcript of that chat.

A while back I would have said Greyhawk if only because I want the gods to get 4E stuff, but after the asstastic job they failed hardcore with on the Eberron and FR domains(Why the HELL does Angharradh have Protection and Corellon doesn't seriously what the hell), frak that, I'll do it myself and bring back my smarmy womanizing bastard cleric of Olidammara back on my own.


I also do not want to see Planescape. Planescape to me isn't just about Sigil and I find the stuff on the actual planes far more interesting than the stuff on Sigil; a 4E Planescape would lose most of the themes and locations that I love so much in the interest of shoehorning everything into the blasted world axis cosmology and new awful alignment system. It'd be likely to be as much of a hellpit as the 4E Realms.


So something new. Something we haven't seen before, and for the love of Corellon, something that isn't GrimDark HellPit DarkBad. One cesspit setting in a row is too many already, if I want grimdark I'll go play a system that's actually vaguely suited for it.

It's spelled Corellon Larethian, not Correlon, Correllon, Correlllon, Corellion, Correlian or any other way of getting it wrong. I'm a total grognard and I still play 4E.
I want a setting that actually has... real honest to goodness steampunk, or gritty magipunk. Not this almost bright Eberron style of magipunk, where magic pretty much replaces decent universal science. I'd like there to be a decent divide between the sciences and the magics. Something of a heroic, but magic lite world, where there's some awesome magic, but it's not the everyday of Eberron, or worse, FR.
I want a setting that actually has... real honest to goodness steampunk, or gritty magipunk. Not this almost bright Eberron style of magipunk, where magic pretty much replaces decent universal science. I'd like there to be a decent divide between the sciences and the magics. Something of a heroic, but magic lite world, where there's some awesome magic, but it's not the everyday of Eberron, or worse, FR.



Hey! Great idea!

To give it a more steamworky sound, let's call magic "magick".

We could call it "Arcanum", which kinda sounds magicly obscure yet has that scientific feel...

[/sarcasm]
Hey! Great idea!

To give it a more steamworky sound, let's call magic "magick".

We could call it "Arcanum", which kinda sounds magicly obscure yet has that scientific feel...

[/sarcasm]


Heeeey, I liked Arcanum.  It was a fun (if a bit glitchy) game.  Kind of like Fallout:Magic! Edition.
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Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
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Arcane Magic is Science in D&D.  End of Story.

Before posting, why not ask yourself, What Would Wrecan Say?

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I think that Greyhawk may be a worthy candidate, but the fact that the previous edition had it as the default setting without actually doing anything much with it, and a little of the setting is a part of the background in the PoL, I doubt it will be a separate setting ever again.

I look for a setting that will have a combination of fantasy and modern aspects, sort of like the newer Final Fantasy games. Steampunk type might be a way to go, or more modern than that, with a "return" to the realm of swords and sorcery.

Terms you should know...
Show
Kit Build - A class build that is self sustaining and has mechanical differences than the normal scale. Started in Essentials. Most are call their own terms, though the Base Class should be said in front of their own terms (Like Assassin/Executioner) Power Points - A mechanic that was wedged into the PHB3 classes (with the exception of the Monk) from the previous editions. This time, they are used to augment At Wills to be Encounters, thus eliminating the need to choose powers past 4th level. Mage Builds - Kit builds that are schools of magic for the Wizard. A call back to the previous editions powering up of the wizard. (Wizard/Necromancer, for example) Unlike the previous kit builds, Wizards simply lose their Scribe Rituals feature and most likely still can choose powers from any build, unlike the Kit Builds. Parcel System - A treasure distribution method that keeps adventurers poor while forcing/advising the DM to get wish lists from players. The version 2.0 rolls for treasure instead of making a list, and is incomplete because of the lack of clarity about magic item rarity.
ha ha
56902498 wrote:
They will Essentialize the Essentials classes, otherwise known as Essentials2. The new sub-sub-classes will be: * Magician. A subsubclass of Mage, the magician has two implements, wand and hat, one familiar (rabbit) and series of basic tricks. * Crook. A subsubclass of Thief, the Crook can only use a shiv, which allows him to use his only power... Shank. * Angry Vicar, a subsubclass of warpriest, the angry vicar has two attacks -- Shame and Lecture. * Hitter. A subsubclass of Slayer, the Hitter hits things. * Gatherer. A subsubclass of Hunter, it doesn't actually do anything, but pick up the stuff other players might leave behind. Future Essentials2 classes include the Security Guard (Sentinel2), the Hexknife (Hexblade2), the Webelos (Scout2), the Gallant (Cavalier2) and the Goofus (Knight2). These will all be detailed in the box set called Heroes of the Futile Marketing. (Though what they should really release tomorrow is the Essentialized version of the Witchalok!)
I vote for water / pirate world.  They seem to be wanting to show off all the cool different things you can do with 4e at this point, and would probably prefer a cool showcase setting more than a solid, universally popular setting to fragment the player base more.
Regardless of what I'd like to see, I think we're most likely to get a re-release of an old setting, and here's why:

One of 4e's big intentions was to get new players into the game.  New players would find any campaign setting, regardless of when it was originally released, as "new".  So apart from making the setting appeal to these new players, there's really nothing else needed to get them to buy it.  However, many old players saw 4e's changes as heralding the apocalypse, and ran for the hills.  Or rather, hyperbole removed, they didn't like 4e's changes, it didn't feel like the D&D they had grown to love, and so they stuck with their older editions or picked games that whose target audiences were not looking for a radical departure (Pathfinder, I'm looking at you).  Clearly, 4e has no difficulty in picking up new players... it's retaining older players where they lose some ground.  Keeping all this in mind... 

What better way to bring an older player to take a look at 4e then re-releasing their beloved campaign setting from ages past with new material?  I've already got players who have sworn up and down that they hate 4e, but because of Dark Sun being re-released, are interested in buying the new stuff because they enjoyed Athas so much.

If you look at their trends thus far, this has totally been the case.  FR and Eberron all under-went enough changes in 4e to make them have new material for older players before their release.  I suspect Dark Sun will be much the same.   It's basically the same reason that Hollywood vastly prefers re-makes, sequels, and re-hashes of original fictions...  the audience has already been built for you.

So unless WotC thinks they are out of viably popular old settings to re-release, I don't see why they would stop this trend.  The question remains... which old setting will get the re-release treatment?  My money is on Spelljammer (loathe as I would be to see it).
And that may well be true, but I think it's important to keep in mind that NEW merely for the sake of NEWNESS is rarely a good thing. 



Unless you're Hasbro, the parent company, and trying to make money. There is currently a player base of 1.5 million that are buying D&D products. A great many of these are long time players who've got many books of the previous editions. If they don't have much extra cash to spend (recession) they're not likely to spend the money to buy a recycled campaign setting from a previous edition. But they might spend the money on a new one.

However, is Hasbro willing to bankrole the staff required to make a brand new setting? If the essentials line can boost player numbers, or at least get those numbers moving in a positive direction, I would say yes. But what if the sales numbers stay constant, or flop?

This puts WoTC into a tricky business model. They have to keep making new D&D material to keep up sales, but the cheap way to do it (recycle old content) might alienate your core base of players. Spend money to generate new content and you take a big financial gamble.

I hate to say it, but the decision on what campaign world to do next might be made by a bunch of suits sitting around a table in New York and have nothing to do with what would be good for D&D.

I think the fans should be vocal and let WoTC/Hasbro know exactly what they want. Post on message boards, send them emails, and discuss it at conferences. With more player input, decisions are less likely to be made by the suits alone.
  However, many old players saw 4e's changes as heralding the apocalypse, and ran for the hills.  Or rather, hyperbole removed, they didn't like 4e's changes, it didn't feel like the D&D they had grown to love, and so they stuck with their older editions or picked games that whose target audiences were not looking for a radical departure (Pathfinder, I'm looking at you)



This was originally the case immediately after the launch of 4th edition, but many of those who had left have since returned. The negative hype of a new edition faded as many of the naysayers gave 4th edition a chance and found it to be acceptable. There are still a very vocal group of 4th ed. haters, but in reality their numbers are small. The numbers bear this out. I've seen survey data from current D&D sales that show more than 75% of people who buy 4th ed. products are people who played the older editions. That means that 4th edition really didn't bring in that many new players.

This is why the Essentials line is being made. WoTC/Hasbro wants to expand the player base and thinks that a simplified rules set targeted at new players is the way to go.

  Clearly, 4e has no difficulty in picking up new players... it's retaining older players where they lose some ground.



See what I said above. Ground lost on launch (what? only 8 races and 8 classes? This sux) has since been regained as new content has been released. But that gain has levelled off and a new attempt is being made to recruit players.
My vote for a new setting is for something opposite to the "Points of Light".  Rather than have civilization spread out and weak, it is everywhere, dominant, and helluva tough. Make it really different from a thematic standpoint, but still allow all the same races, classes, magic items, etc. 


Basically, the whole world has been carved up by competing empires. Inside each empire there would room for political scheming, population control, and intelligence operations. Where the mighty empires meet, the border lands are consumed by war. PC's get to pick sides in these wars, perhaps working as mercenaries and fighting for the highest bidder or by joining armies and fighting for a single cause.

Each empire should be very distinct and therefore give the players/DM a choice in the direction they want their game to go in. The campaign guide could provide maps and describe in detail the situation in each empire and what their overall goals are. It could be given a really epic feel through adventure modules that deal with large scale battles and border shifting conflicts.

The geography of the world could be linked to the empires that control it. Dwarf lords rule the mountains, orcs control the highlands, elves the forests, humans the rivers and coasts. Rather than the racial harmony of "Points of Light", create some tension by keeping the races at war. Parties of different races could be formed by declaring some empires to be allied to each other.

To put it simply, I would like to see something as different from Points of Light as possible. Don't get me wrong, I love PoL (my current homebrew campaign is PoL and I'm loving it), but I think that if you're going to do something new for 4th edition, make it really different.
  However, many old players saw 4e's changes as heralding the apocalypse, and ran for the hills.  Or rather, hyperbole removed, they didn't like 4e's changes, it didn't feel like the D&D they had grown to love, and so they stuck with their older editions or picked games that whose target audiences were not looking for a radical departure (Pathfinder, I'm looking at you)

This was originally the case immediately after the launch of 4th edition, but many of those who had left have since returned. The negative hype of a new edition faded as many of the naysayers gave 4th edition a chance and found it to be acceptable. There are still a very vocal group of 4th ed. haters, but in reality their numbers are small. The numbers bear this out. I've seen survey data from current D&D sales that show more than 75% of people who buy 4th ed. products are people who played the older editions. That means that 4th edition really didn't bring in that many new players.

Except you seem to be forgetting that the essentials line has TWO goals, 1) to bring in new players, and 2) to bring back lapsed players.  This is why the Essentials line is not only a simplified rules sets, but also designed as physical homage to the old Red Box set.  That stated goal would seem to suggest that 4e hasn't done all that well at requiring lapsed players.

Furthermore, Most of the folks who 'ran for the hills' at the mere anouncment of 4e likely weren't really old-schoolers (who have likely already lived through an edition change or two), but the mid-liners (who mostly only ever played 3e).  There is also very little evidence that most of the naysayers have since given the game a chance.  You claim to have actually seen sales figures that prove otherwise, but unless you can cite your source it makes for poor evidence.

My vote for a new setting is for something opposite to the "Points of Light".  Rather than have civilization spread out and weak, it is everywhere, dominant, and helluva tough. Make it really different from a thematic standpoint, but still allow all the same races, classes, magic items, etc.

I don't see that being very likely at all.  Such a setting isn't just different, but the antithesis of one of the core principles of 4e.
im thinking what may happen is an expasion on the old settings into new themes. 

pirate? i havn't touched the eberron stuff, but i know forgotten realms has those halrura corsairs. among other paragon paths that touch on that.

steam punk? i think eberron could expand another city/realm/continent for that.


Pirates? Eberron has the Lazar Principlaities, a large archipelago of pirate fleets, havens and warlords. Plus it has elemental airships.

Steampunk? Eberron has robots (warforged), trains, airships, spy networks for every kingdom and secret societies under every rock. And tattoos and tramp stamps are integral to the power system of society (dragonmarks).
Member of Grognards for 4th Edition
I get the impression that a lot of people are dismissing ideas for (to me) strange reasons...

  1. You Can Find a Place for Anything in Eberron - But that shouldn't mean you can't find it anywhere else.  Eberron is a pretty damn broad setting, intentionally.  It has that "and the kitchen sink" feel to it in a lot of ways, where you can find a spot in its wide expanse to fit a lot of different genres and elements.  Eberron has pirates in it, sure - but does that mean no other setting can have pirates?  I sure hope not.

  2. Geography = Setting - But that's really over-simplifying it.  An interesting geography informs a setting, sure - look at Dark Sun.  But it doesn't make a setting - and it doesn't preclude a setting.  An oceanic world can be more than "just a water-planet" with the same old themes and ideas.

  3. Old Setting = No New Ideas - We know this isn't the case - especially for some of the older settings that contained elements with no current-edition counterparts.  A lot of the older settings could easily carry with them new mechanics, and new ideas.  Important too would be the fact that a lot of players aren't going to know the difference between a "classic" setting and a new setting.

  4. New Setting = New for Newness's Sake - We know this one isn't true either.  Many of the old settings are fairly thematically constrained.  They might appeal to the old players, but overall they will only appeal to a niche of players in general.  Spelljammer is an interesting setting, but I think you'd be hard pressed to argue that it would have the same broad appeal among gamers as something more traditional.  A broad setting that can include more ideas may be a better choice than some of the more specific settings of old.

That all said, I wouldn't mind seeing some kind of adaptation of Planescape to 4th edition (with or without the old cosmology - if they could make it fit with the current one somehow, I would be very intrigued), or of Spelljammer.  Though if they wanted to strip the fantasy-sci-fi out of it, I think we'd be left with The Plane Above. Wink  More of a "traditional Pirate setting" meets "astral sea where the domains of the gods await to be plundered".
Feedback Disclaimer
Yes, I am expressing my opinions (even complaints - le gasp!) about the current iteration of the play-test that we actually have in front of us. No, I'm not going to wait for you to tell me when it's okay to start expressing my concerns (unless you are WotC). (And no, my comments on this forum are not of the same tone or quality as my actual survey feedback.)
A Psion for Next (Playable Draft) A Barbarian for Next (Brainstorming Still)