How Do You Want Campaign Settings Handled in D&D Next?

We're all going to have different opinions of which CSes should get published in what order. I'm sure there will be n threads on the topic where n is a sufficiently large integer, and honestly, I'm not entirely sure any of us will be able to influence the release order (with Realms first, likely followed by some nostalgia-factor releases, I expect to wait two or three years for a CS I'm actually interested, for the record).

But, HOW would you like to see the campaign settings handled in DDN? Content, organization, etc.

Would you rather see them get the older treatment of being broken down into regional or topical volumes and released over a period of time, or would you prefer the more recent manner of dropping a "best of!" hits-all-the-high-points-and-fill-in-the-blanks-yourself book or two, followed by periodical content in the magazines? Would you rather see broad-strokes overview material (FRCG, ECG), middle-scope work with decent but not exhaustive detail over a sufficient area (Dark Sun), or tightly-focused work that goes in-depth over a small area (Neverwinter)? Or maybe you prefer something else entirely.

So share your opinions, and who knows? We may hit on a strategy that allows Wizards to get all of the campaign settings we want on shelves in a decent time without forcing them to resort to the fire-and-forget tactic they've been using lately.

To start off, then, here's what I'd like to see each CS get:

Five books; two PHB-length (~300 pages), three supplement-length (~150).

1. World Guide (PHB-length), a broad-strokes overview of the setting, written to be "player safe". Includes the races/classes/themes, options and gear unique to the world, but the bulk of the book is a gazette that provides "common knowledge" world information about the core area of the setting (so Khorvaire for Eberron, Tyr and environs for Dark Sun, and westen Faerun for FR), and some information about what's further afield. A book like this would score huge bonus points from me if it was an "in-world" book (the Shadowrun books were written in this manner, and it added a LOT of feel and flavor to them).

2. Campaign Guide (PHB-length), the DM's companion to the World Guide, that gives all of the "behind the scenes" info on the World Guide information (Kind of like how Tharizdun isn't even mentioned in the 4e PHB, but is talked about in the DMG), along with possible adventure sites, monster stat blocks, and other DM-relevant information that the players needn't bother with. 

3. Heroic Setting (supplement-length), a tight-band focus on an iconic location (anything from a single city to a smallish region; Neverwinter or Sharn or the Nentir Vale) suitable for Heroic-Tier play. Whatever my gripes about their recent conduct, Wizards got the Neverwinter Campaign Setting really, really right, and I want to see that repeated for similarly iconic cities in other settings. A combination of DM and player information, organized in whatever manner makes sense for the setting.

4. Paragon Setting (supplement-length), the same treatment as the Heroic Setting, but tuned for Paragon-level play. Specifically includes a section on what's different about playing the game at these levels over Heroic, and advice on how to successfully run a Paragon campaign in the setting.

5. Epic Setting (supplement-length), again, the same treatment as the Heroic Setting, but made for Epic heroes. Due to the nature of Epic play, this would probably be a bigger area than the other two, but it could still be only a single city, depending on the setting.

Done this way is a best of both worlds compromise between the fire-and-forget nature of the CSes in 4e and the long-runner support of 3.5 days that began to seem neverending at a point. String out the releases so that there's some overlap between one setting's line and the next, and you can keep interest in a setting up and keep periodical support going throughout the life of the edition.
-m4ki; one down, one to go

"Retro is not new. Retro-fit is not new." --Seeker95, on why I won't be playing DDN

|| DDN Metrics (0-10) | enthusiasm: 1 | confidence in design: -3 | desire to play: 0 | Sticking with 4e?: Yep. | Better Options: IKRPG Mk II ||
The Five Things D&D Next Absolutely Must Not Do:
1. Imbalanced gameplay. Any and all characters must be able to contribute equally both in combat and out of combat at all levels of play. If the Fighters are linear and the Wizards quadratic, I walk. 2. Hardcore simulationist approach. D&D is a game about heroic fantasy. I'm weak and useless enough in real life; I play RPGs for a change of pace. If the only reason a rule exists is because "that's how it's supposed to be", I walk. I don't want a game that "simulates" real life, I want a game that simulates heroic fantasy. 3. Worshipping at false idols (AKA Sacred Cows). If the only reason a rule exists is "it's always been that way", I walk. Now to be clear, I have no problem with some things not changing; my issue is with retaining bad idea simply for the sake of nostalgia. 4. DM vs. players. If the game encourages "gotcha!" moments or treats the DM and players as enemies, adversaries, or problems to be overcome, I walk. 5. Rules for the sake of rules. The only thing I want rules for is the things I can't do sitting around a table with my friends. If the rules try to step on my ability to roleplay the character I want to roleplay, I walk. Furthermore, the rules serve to facilitate gameplay, not to simulate the world. NOTE: Items in red have been violated.
Chris Perkins' DM Survival Tips:
1. When in doubt, wing it. 2. Keep the story moving. Go with the flow. 3. Sometimes things make the best characters. 4. Always give players lots of things to do. 5. Wherever possible, say ‘yes.’ 6. Cheating is largely unnecessary. 7. Don't be afraid to give the characters a fun new toy. 8. Don't get in the way of a good players exchange. 9. Avoid talking too much. 10. Save some details for later. 11. Be transparent. 12. Don't show all your cards. Words to live by.
Quotes From People Smarter Than Me:
"Essentials zigged, when I wanted to continue zagging..." -Foxface on Essentials "Servicing a diverse fan base with an RPG ruleset - far from being the mandate for 'open design space' and a cavalier attitude towards balance - requires creating a system that /works/, with minimal fuss, for a wide variety of play styles, not just from one group to the next, but at the same table." -Tony_Vargas on design "Mearls' and Cook's stated intent to produce an edition that fans of all previous editions (and Pathfinder) will like more than their current favourite edition is laudable. But it is also, IMO, completely unrealistic. It's like people who pray for world peace: I might share their overall aims, but I'm not going to hold my breath waiting for them to succeed. When they talk in vague terms about what they'd like to do in this new edition, I mostly find myself thinking 'hey, that sounds cool, assuming they can pull it off', but almost every time they've said something specific about actual mechanics, I've found myself wincing and shaking my head in disbelief and/or disgust, either straight away or after thinking about the obvious implications for half a minute." -Duskweaver on D&D Next
I would like to see campaign settings released approx. every year.  Make every book journal-sized (the heighth and width of the 4th Ed. Essentials line.)

For each setting, start with three thicker core books (about the size of a novel or Bible) spread out over a few months:

  • Player's guide -- Like your World Guide, it should present options for characters native to the setting.  Also perhaps some common or general information the player might know about the world, but keep it mostly mechanical by nature; perhaps have some famous organizations the PC's might aspire to.

  • Campaign guide -- Present behind-the-scenes information about the world, but with some leeway for either the DM to make it his own, or for future campaign supplements.  Include major players in the campaign setting, especially antagonistic or unaligned ones.  Have it also describe what adventures might be like in the setting.

  • Monster manual -- Show a few monsters, natural hazards, and other things that might typically be encountered in the campaign setting.  Include some information on playable races that are native to the world.

Afterwards, create a supplement once every month or so to either highlight other portions of the game world.  They should be similar to the Campaign Guide, but with more detailed information about each location.  These books should be standard journal-sized, roughly the same as the Essentials books

Also, publish some sample adventures for groups to run; make them fairly small, perhaps booklet thick, with just enough information for the adventure itself.  For encounters, perhaps some pop-out with the monster's information could be included; that would keep the page-space for each encounter small while allowing the DM to see the monsters when reading the encounter.

Well, for Planescape, I do think that instead of marketing them seperate from the Planar Handbooks of other settings, they should just write the Manual of the Planes and its ilk in a Planescape-like style. Maybe bring back the factions,write up the Shadowfell, Feywild, Elemental Chaos and Astral Sea in their uniquely gonzo style, bring back some of the core concepts of belief changing the planes, and I think that that it'd work great to kill two birds with one stone.
In my most recent blog, I assign campaign settings to each of the DM expansions I'd expect to see.
I think 4e book schedule was way too aggressive, which might explain all the errata.

Each year I would like to see a new Campaign Setting.  Core books should be generic, imo.  I grew up and still play homebrew.  Schools of magic and spheres of divine interests.  I honestly don't even like how much 4e incorporated the Feywild and Shadowfell into the core game.  It wasn't very core, it was Points of Light setting specific.  Start generic, then add details.

First year, you get generic core of PH, DMG, MMcore. 

Later in the first year, give your first Campaign Setting.  Publish a Campaign Setting that is Player/DM friendly and has all the maps.  This is the big book for the campaign setting. 

Publish a smaller DMG to Campaign Setting that has all the secret agendas and tons of ideas for campaign arcs.  It should have a 1st level module built into it and maybe a few other Dungeon Delve type suggestions that reflect the setting's feel.  I also think these annual DMG to ___ books offer DM updates and ways to use parts of this setting in other campaigns - DMs should want to buy these books regardless of the setting they are running... which could get the excited about the particular setting.

Monster Manual Campaign Setting.  This is where you drop the crunch.

If it's a hit, put out some more books for the setting.  These extra books are really hit or miss, in my past experience.

I'd also like to see a MMcore book each year.  I really don't want 3 books a month, that just makes me feel like your rushing through the edition.
For campaign settings I would like to see  boxed sets, like the new Red Box.  Then it could contain large maps and booklets, and other cool stuff.  Remember those other ones from 2nd ed?  Greyhawk City, Planescape, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, etc.
I really loved the boxes from 2nd edition! With maps, small books with all the informations and the lore we needed! I felt like the box had everything we needed!!! Then, some optional books were coming out! ( MM or Artifact books! )
I'm playing: Abin Gadon, Halfling Bard Winston "Slurphnose", Gnome Sorcerer Pasiphaé, Minotaur Shaman Eglerion, Elf Ellyrian Reaver (Ranger) DMing: Le Trésor du Fluide (Treasure from the Fluid) Un Royaume d'une Grande Valeur (A Kingdom of Great Value) La Légende de Persitaa (Persitaa's Legend) Une Série de Petites Quêtes... (A serie of short quests) Playtesting: Caves of Chaos We're building the greatest adventure ever known to DnD players! Also playing Legend of the Five Rings and Warhammer Fantasy. Sébastien, Beloeil, Qc. I am Neutral Good and 32 years old.
I'd prefer there to be only a very few big settings, and lots of little mini-settings, especially with a module to give them an interesting rules twist. They should be useable on their own, as well as potentially dropable into one of the established settings or your own.
"I don't want to fight dragons." - Hiccup If dragons are to be invovled, I much prefer to play as a dragon, dragon rider, dragonslayer-slayer, dragonfriend, or anything else *but* a dragonslayer.

One large hard bound Book containing the campaign setting background and info on the world at large, it should contained everything the PC’s should know about the world, campaigne specific character classes a campaign setting players handbook. A second hard bound book campaign setting, DMG which contains elements of the story, people, places and things that the players may not be aware of. Champagne specific spells and magic items and monsters would be included in this book as well.  Two small softcover starter modules for the setting should be included as well. Finally Maps for at least two major cities and several key locations in the setting as well as a complete map of the campaign world.  Sell it in one nice box. Sell the campaigned setting players handbook separately.

I'd echo the one large book including setting information for DMs and Players. 3.5 versions of the Eberron and FR books strike me as about the right size. I'd prefer more fluff to crunch, but each setting is going to have a variable amount of crunch.

-Calestin Kethal
I think the day of entire product lines associated with a campaign setting are gone.  That is what killed TSR in the 90s.  I wouldn't mind seeing each setting get a single book, or box.

Kalex the Omen 
Dungeonmaster Extraordinaire

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well there are multiple options 

option 1

one small book that contains new races classes feats and rules introduced for the campaign ( for people who mostly play homebrew but want acess to the new added features.)

one campaign book this has lots of fluff background and in dept description of the campaign worlds history and many intresting places.

there would also be a limited deluxe box set, that includes the 2 books above poster maps of the campaign world.and one of the novels associated with the campaign setting ( probebly the first in a series hoping to tempt people into also buying the rest of the series)

option 2
one campaign book this has lots of fluff background and in dept description of the campaign worlds history and its many intresting places.

new classes and races to be used in the campaign would be released as part of the splat books released in the 3 months leading upto the release of the campaign setting.
I think the day of entire product lines associated with a campaign setting are gone.  That is what killed TSR in the 90s.  I wouldn't mind seeing each setting get a single book, or box.

Yep, just having the original 2nd Ed book (the Al-Qadim one kicked ass) or boxed set (boxed sets were sweet: Dark Sun, Planescape, Spelljammer, Ravenoft etc) for a campaign settiing was really all you needed (and still work with any edition).
Here is one of the trickier bits to sort out. Firstly to clarify Kalex's statement what killed TSR was overleveraging thier product lines, with more going out to the printers than was coming in from sales of the printed materials, thus becoming insolvent and unable to maintain thier operations cost. Not to get too side-tracked from the main topic of the fourm, but WOTC needs to hone its business model, at least in regards to D&D. I can only say from my experience that goes a bit like this....

I went to a high-school in the densely populated state of New Jersey, all told the were approximatly 1300-1500 students from 9th-12th level (giggle).
Being one of the biggest D&D nerds (spoken affectionatly) in my time at a school, and the youngest of my family 4 other siblings, I actually saw a larger spread then just my time there. All told over a span of 10 years, I would guesstimate there were about 50 people that would play D&D (or any other given RPG), Out of those 50, only about 10 or so were hardcore players, and when i say that, I mean they bought the PHB, maybe a class sourcebook or two, a mini or two, and maybe some dice. 2 had a large spread of books (PHB, DMG, MM & supplements, campaign box sets and supplements, and various other bells and whistles such as terrain and mini's) Myself and my arch-nemisis DM, Seth. But all said I'd play in his game and he'd do his best to wreck mine. so thats about 3000 people who would never be caught dead with the game geeks (again affectionatly) to 50 gamers that didn't have to have a nintendo controler in thier hand. so.... That is..... hold on ...square root of Pi...carry the n.... a 60-1 non gamer to gamer ratio, followed a 5-1 causal to hardcore. and then finally a 1500-1 ratio of someone that would dump thier whole Taco Bell paycheck at the hobbie store. Now think back to all the junk that stayed on the hobby store shelf, like the DM's guide to a Historical Campaign (I finally bought it when nothing new came out) so Lets extrapilate that out, population of NJ 8 mil (ball park) at 1500-1 = about 5300 hardcore spending gamers in the state of NJ, my point of all this is that, while i personally love my copy of The Leaves from the Inn of the Last Home (everybody really does love Otik's Spice Potatos) The last thing we need is to be inudated with books detailing the miniuea of difference between a halberd and bill-guisiume (or however you spell it much less say) or some such fluff, given that 1 guy in the 50 that play are actually buying a large amount of paper from the publisher.

To Conclude, a Campaign Box Set to include A Players guide to x setting, a DM guide to X setting, a monster suplemental, a few maps (maps are the best), and a plain jane lvl 1 adventure, in leiu of that then, the afformentioned 3 core setting books, and 2-3 supplements will suffice.
separate books + the campaign setting

no core setting in the phb this time 
a mask everyone has at least two of, one they wear in public and another they wear in private.....
however they ut them out book wise there is one thing i would like to see.
and that is bigger difrences between campaign settings.

to me many of the campaign settings felt the same.
for example in 4th edition there is no difrence in game play between forgotten reals and grayhawk.
yes the fluff and background of the campaigns are difrent.

but they use identical player races,classes, magic system, cosmolegy,monster races have the same ecolegy.

if you put out 2 campaign settings so simular you might as wel only publish a book with some flufff and for the rules say just like the other campaign setting.

darksun always seems to have been the exeption to this rule, it always had it's own rules that where difrent from the standard.

I like what they did with 4th ed Dark Sun actually, a campaign and player book with both basic DM and player stuff, then a monster book that also contained a lot of the background information (Dragon Kings & such).  Anyways combine this with Wrecans idea, so Brithright would be the kingdom suppliment, and so on.  Do it on a annual basis.  The key is then though that every setting would need something in Dungeon like they have now a monthly thing, that is rules free.
I really loved the boxes from 2nd edition! With maps, small books with all the informations and the lore we needed! I felt like the box had everything we needed!!!

This. Boxes were awesome. The old Ravenloft boxes came with multiple fold-out maps, cardstock inserts, a full Tarroka deck, dice, grid overlays, seperate adventure books ... man, I miss those. I was so sad to see them not continue in 3E or 4E (beyond a few starter sets).

I would love to see Planescape make a return however...

I think that some other companies have made great strides by focusing on one campaign setting. D&D has a rich history of campaign settings but honestly, I think it would be best to pick one - most likely Forgotten Realms or Greyhawk - and make that the assumed setting referenced in the core rulebooks.

Aside from this (somewhat pie in the sky) desire, I would love to see them put out at least one book for all the 'classic' settings i.e. Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dark Sun, Ravenloft, Planescape & Eberron (with the option for others like spelljammer). I can't help but feel disappointed that we only got 3 settings over the whole course of 4e. I don't feel that they need to support a setting book with monthly DDI articles, just giving us a book would be sufficient.

One other note, I actually liked (most of) the Nentir Vale "assumed setting" , but it would have been great if we'd gotten a hardcover book detailing it.
1. World Guide (PHB-length), a broad-strokes overview of the setting, written to be "player safe".

I want to make a comment JUST on that thought.

I'd say that around 80% of the people I have RPed with, possibly excluding one very-large LARP, have been DMs/GMs. I find the thought of there being written material - that I did not write myself - that I can safely assume my players have not seen and won't see, simply absurd, because it's totally plausible that my players are reading the same material in order to use it in campaigns they are running.

Therefore I cannot discern a useful purpose in making a publication "player safe".

"The world does not work the way you have been taught it does. We are not real as such; we exist within The Story. Unfortunately for you, you have inherited a condition from your mother known as Primary Protagonist Syndrome, which means The Story is interested in you. It will find you, and if you are not ready for the narrative strands it will throw at you..." - from Footloose
I want more books to buy! I buy a campaign setting so I don't have to make up most of the details. I work, I have friends, I like going out, I don't have time to spend on campaign building and that's why I buy a campaign setting.

I'm a huge FR fan. I'm one of those that didn't mind the whole spellplague concept, or the new plots and powers involved. But seriously, one small paragraph on each area of a huge world. How am I supposed to work with this! 

"This is the Dalelands. It's green and has lot of humans, elves and halflings living happily among each other. Elminster used to live in Shadowdale. People are nice in the Dalelands. They don't like the bag guys from the Moonsea". Sounds familiar? Yep, that's what a FR Campaign Setting entry looked like. And that's about as much detail as you will get.

The evil organizations in the world also need to have some kind of motivation for being evil. This has to make sense. "They do evil deeds because they are fundamentally evil" is not good enough.

I would like a campaign setting with:

  1. A Campaign Setting book. I think the 3rd edition FR Campaign Setting book is perfect. 4th edition could have been decent if they hadn't wasted precious book space on a lame adventure.

  2. A Player's Book. A book that describes how to create a campaign-themed character. The idea here is not to give the players loads of new options, it's to give loads of new options that fit in the campaign world! It's also an excuse to get the players immersed in the setting.

  3. One or more regional books (similar to Silver Marches or Shinning South; not something like the Moonsea). Each regional books would come with a map (very important) and more detail on the region. You would find information on folklore/traditions/superstitions (great plot starters), alliances and enemities, local bad guys, what are the world-wide evil organizations plotting in this area, and more. A very few little details are also important to make the world feel alive (it can be as little as the name of the local inn). And lastly, you would need some player options to make a regional character.

  4. Online articles. What happened to all the guys that were writting all the good stuff for 3rd edition FR? Those were great stuff. I loved how a short article could make a specific part of the world a whole lot more colorful. The plots in there were nice too. All I have now is at most one article per month in the online magazines.

  5. (Optional) Adventures. Adventures are a great way to add even more detail to a very specific part of the world. This is a good way to introduce notable NPCs and places, city maps, and so on. If you're going to make a dungeon crawl, don't bother making it campaign-specific.

I don't want stat blocks for Elminster or the archvillain my PCs will never have a chance to fight anyways. I don't want an adventure in the Campaign Setting Book either. Both of these are a waste of precious book space.
Personally, a trilogy of books that mirrors the 3 core rulebooks: A DM's Guide that provides a indepth overview of the entire setting, its regions, history, factions, people, etc.--much like the Living Grayhawk Gazeteer, but maybe with a few monsters and other DM-specific crunch. A Player's Guide that give a briefer overview of the regions, history, etc. and also includes setting specific feats, prestige classes, spells, races, etc. And a Monster Manual featuring all the crazy critters that that the setting is known for or are otherwise specific to the setting.

If there are any releases past that, they should be a collection of set pieces that detail multiple notable cites/areas.
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