Building Better Worlds

While the new rules are neat, without a good setting to roleplay in, the rules don't mean as much. All the D&D settings are what make D&D "D&D" rather than a generic fantasy RPG.

Everyone has their favorite setting, and part of the problem with having multiple settings is it does split the fan base. I play Planescape, but not Birthright. Someone else plays Dark Sun and FR. Another plays Ravenloft.

Those players would expect "Support". As in more material. But, it's difficult to produce material for all the worlds every month.

Having said that, one of TSR's strengths was the world building. Many books were light on crunchy rules, saving those for the core books and were very heavy on the fluff. I was reading my Alternity Stardrive book, and was amazed at how much in-game information it contained. No rules, or if there are rules, very, very few. Sure, there are tables, but those are stuff such as distances between all the star systems and so on.

Many of my Eberron books are like that, as are my Planescape books. And many of my FR books.

I was reading my Alternity Stardrive book..



Notice I said reading. The book was very readable, unlike rule crunchy books which aren't very easily read. One of the long standing complaints I've seen is how a "rulebook" isn't really readable. Of course not, it's a book of rules.

I think back to the old Red Boxed BECMI rule set. (Not the Rules Cyclopedia which admited it wasn't a good way to learn the game- it was just a refrence guide.) The rules were taught, but they were couched in a story. After five pages of story, you're told to roll a saving throw, and read the ending page based on the result. The ending was also a page of story, rather than a breakdown of the rules.

One of my hopes for D&D Next is once the rules on how to play are nailed down, some serious focus on creating story, and settings and different worlds is examined.

Just a few thoughts.
Show
Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
Personal opinion...

I've been writing History of D&D blogs for a while now and, while the setting support was amazing, it also created an interesting case of product bloat; a dozen products in a month to support the various D&D settings during the 2nd Edition era.

So, while I'd love to see all the old settings make a come back, I think the best way to get back to the story of those worlds is via online articles in Dragon and adventure support in Dungeon.  Then just pick a different world each month, with December devoted to smaller articles covering some of the less popular and more obscure settings.

January - Planescape
February - Greyhawk
March - Dragonlance
April - Spelljammer
May - Forgotten Realms
June - Dark Sun
July - Eberron
August - Nentir Vale
September - Birthright
October - Ravenloft
November - Mystara
December - Minor Worlds

Or something like that.  That's what I'd like to see anyway.  Not sure how realistic it would be.  ;)                  

All around helpful simian

Not a fan of only having support in Dragon Magazine, as I never read it.

An option for book support would be to have two or so settings a month receive a book, with each Setting getting 1-3 a year, based on Popularity. I would expect them to focus more on Realms and Eberon, as they are the heavy hitters of the DnD worlds. More obscure settings, such a Birthright and Mystara, would get less, but still have some support.
Not a fan of only having support in Dragon Magazine, as I never read it.

An option for book support would be to have two or so settings a month receive a book, with each Setting getting 1-3 a year, based on Popularity. I would expect them to focus more on Realms and Eberon, as they are the heavy hitters of the DnD worlds. More obscure settings, such a Birthright and Mystara, would get less, but still have some support.



I could see that working as well.  I think the key, as Webster mentioned, is to focus on the story of the worlds, providing adventure hooks, background details, and ways for player characters to make a difference in the world.  Mechanics specific to the setting should appear in the main Campaign Setting product but, beyond that, mechanics should be light, methinks.

All around helpful simian

Personal opinion...

I've been writing History of D&D blogs for a while now and, while the setting support was amazing, it also created an interesting case of product bloat; a dozen products in a month to support the various D&D settings during the 2nd Edition era.

So, while I'd love to see all the old settings make a come back, I think the best way to get back to the story of those worlds is via online articles in Dragon and adventure support in Dungeon.  Then just pick a different world each month, with December devoted to smaller articles covering some of the less popular and more obscure settings.

January - Planescape
February - Greyhawk
March - Dragonlance
April - Spelljammer
May - Forgotten Realms
June - Dark Sun
July - Eberron
August - Nentir Vale
September - Birthright
October - Ravenloft
November - Mystara
December - Minor Worlds

Or something like that.  That's what I'd like to see anyway.  Not sure how realistic it would be.  ;)                  

I think that would be a great, but I would also like to see additional book support too.  Maybe a campaign setting update book, dragon and dungeon articles yearly as you suggest and then an additional splat book yearly, but 6 months or so from the Dragon & Dungeon articles.  So you get something every 6 months +/-
unlike rule crunchy books which aren't very easily read.



Varies by individual.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
unlike rule crunchy books which aren't very easily read.



Varies by individual.

Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.

unlike rule crunchy books which aren't very easily read.



Varies by individual.

Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.




This is true, but not the issue.

Webster was making a claim of readability of crunch vs fluff, not which is needed where.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
It is true that readability varies from person to person.  For some of us, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.  For others, setting fluff reads like a history textbook.  Either way, reading textbooks is pretty darn boring for a lot of folks.  ;)

All around helpful simian

It is true that readability varies from person to person.  For some of us, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.  For others, setting fluff reads like a history textbook.  Either way, reading textbooks is pretty darn boring for a lot of folks.  ;)

Let's put this another way:

For some of us, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.  For others, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.

I have a question, probably not all that relevant to this topic. Is there an official name for the 4e campaign setting? - Cause I would love to see a campaign book devoted to that - detailing both the material realm, Feywild, Shadowfell, Astral Sea, Abyss etc.

Having said that I love Crazy Monkey's idea for having the campaign setting (Realms/Gods/Maps/Important People etc) introduced through Dungeon magazines - and possibly Races/Organisations/Classes/Backgrounds/Themes/Spells (all the player stuff) realm specific  in the Dragon magazine
I have a question, probably not all that relevant to this topic. Is there an official name for the 4e campaign setting? - Cause I would love to see a campaign book devoted to that - detailing both the material realm, Feywild, Shadowfell, Astral Sea, Abyss etc.

Having said that I love Crazy Monkey's idea for having the campaign setting (Realms/Gods/Maps/Important People etc) introduced through Dungeon magazines - and possibly Races/Organisations/Classes/Backgrounds/Themes/Spells (all the player stuff) realm specific  in the Dragon magazine


The 4e setting and the 4e cosmology are not fully integrated.  The setting was PoL, or Points of Light.  The cosmology, the world axis, could be used with any actual setting that you want to use it with (although Planescape would take a lot of jerry rigging to make it work).

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Wasn't 4e called the Points of Light setting? And yes. A PoL D&DN supplement/conversion would be so incredibly awesome. I would really enjoy seeing it get supported.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Darnit, Mecha! I was supposed to be helpful! Now it's too much effort to edit/delete that from my phone.

;)
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
Wasn't 4e called the Points of Light setting? And yes. A PoL D&DN supplement/conversion would be so incredibly awesome. I would really enjoy seeing it get supported.



PoL was something of a non-setting.  It was intentionally a loose framework, so each individual gaming group could flesh it out as they saw fit.  Fleshing it out would defeat the purpose.
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
I think that it would be fun to apply DnD rules to a more modern setting. My group tried playing the Dresden RPG and it was difficult for the person DMing since there was way too much homework involved. 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
I think that it would be fun to apply DnD rules to a more modern setting. My group tried playing the Dresden RPG and it was difficult for the person DMing since there was way too much homework involved. 


They already did that once.  The Urban Arcana setting for D20 Modern.  I'm also personally hoping for a sourcebook to play in a modern setting with DDN.

There are a great many problems that can be circumvented by players and DMs having a mature discussion about what the game is going to be like before they ever sit down together to play.

 

The answer really does lie in more options, not in confining and segregating certain options.

 

You really shouldn't speak for others.  You can't hear what someone else is saying when you try to put your words in their mouth.

 

Fencing & Swashbuckling as Armor.

D20 Modern Toon PC Race.

Mecha Pilot's Skill Challenge Emporium.

 

Save the breasts.

Yeah, it was a framework, but I liked it. I think a supplement about the races and famous locations would be useful. Yes, Bael Turath is probably elsewhere in my game's world than yours. However, that doesn't mean a module which summarizes the events of the Dawn War, the cosmology, and the races would be bad.
Yeah. I can make it up. I know.
I do think materials/supplements (maybe in dragon) would be cool. I'd enjoy seeing them for D&DN.
"What's stupid is when people decide that X is true - even when it is demonstrable untrue or 100% against what we've said - and run around complaining about that. That's just a breakdown of basic human reasoning." -Mike Mearls
I think that it would be fun to apply DnD rules to a more modern setting. My group tried playing the Dresden RPG and it was difficult for the person DMing since there was way too much homework involved. 


They already did that once.  The Urban Arcana setting for D20 Modern.  I'm also personally hoping for a sourcebook to play in a modern setting with DDN.


That's awesome, I never knew that. It would be cool though. I always liked magic in modern settings like Dresden, Charmed and Roswell although Roswell is more about aliens but they definitely posessed magic. Something more modern focuses less on combat and more on how to hide your abilities depending on the setting and the repercussions of doing magic out in the open which is cool in those type of settings. Although for other settings I prefer high magic. 
IMAGE(http://i5.photobucket.com/albums/y152/RockNrollBabe20/Charmed-supernatural-and-charmed_zps8bd4125f.jpg)
I think that it would be fun to apply DnD rules to a more modern setting. My group tried playing the Dresden RPG and it was difficult for the person DMing since there was way too much homework involved. 


They already did that once.  The Urban Arcana setting for D20 Modern.  I'm also personally hoping for a sourcebook to play in a modern setting with DDN.


That's awesome, I never knew that. It would be cool though. I always liked magic in modern settings like Dresden, Charmed and Roswell although Roswell is more about aliens but they definitely posessed magic. Something more modern focuses less on combat and more on how to hide your abilities depending on the setting and the repercussions of doing magic out in the open which is cool in those type of settings. Although for other settings I prefer high magic. 



Ah, D20 Modern!  Here's a revival of that setting.  Also, Alternity's settings.  Star*Drive and Dark*Matter are still true favorites of mine Smile  I loves me some Urban Fantasy, so perhaps a modern series of articles could revive a sweet idea Wizards (or Paizo?  Not sure!) came up with back in 2000 with an article called, "Greyhawk 2000" (updating the setting to a more modern aesthetic and era).  The sooner I can incorporate magitech, extraterristrials, high technology and enough sci-fi tropes to fill a convention, the better!  (Besides, I love genre mash ups!)  I'm hoping for legit 1st party support with 3rd party backup.  (I mean, conversions via Gamma World and DEM's UltraModern4 were great, but it missed something, ya know?)

Crazed undead horror posing as a noble and heroic forum poster!

 

 

Some good pointers for the fellow hobbyist!:

  • KEEP D&D ALIVE, END EDITION WARS!
  • RESPECT PEOPLES' PREFERENCES
  • JUST ENJOY THE GAME!
Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.



Yeah, I really wish they'd release more low crunch worldbooks. Not every book has to have new feats, new spells and new classes. That was one thing I really hated about 3E/4E. Almost everything they created had to be minimum 50% crunch.
Personal opinion...

I've been writing History of D&D blogs for a while now and, while the setting support was amazing, it also created an interesting case of product bloat; a dozen products in a month to support the various D&D settings during the 2nd Edition era.

So, while I'd love to see all the old settings make a come back, I think the best way to get back to the story of those worlds is via online articles in Dragon and adventure support in Dungeon.  Then just pick a different world each month, with December devoted to smaller articles covering some of the less popular and more obscure settings.

January - Planescape
February - Greyhawk
March - Dragonlance
April - Spelljammer
May - Forgotten Realms
June - Dark Sun
July - Eberron
August - Nentir Vale
September - Birthright
October - Ravenloft
November - Mystara
December - Minor Worlds


Or something like that.  That's what I'd like to see anyway.  Not sure how realistic it would be.  ;)                  


I'd rather see they split the package for each setting over the year instead of concentrating it for one setting per month.

If they split it I have something interesting to look forward too each month, if they concentrate it I have one month of bliss and around 7-8 month I am not interested in at all due to loathing the spotlighted setting


Dec 26, 2012 -- 8:31PM, YouKnowTheOneGuy wrote:

Wasn't 4e called the Points of Light setting? And yes. A PoL D&DN supplement/conversion would be so incredibly awesome. I would really enjoy seeing it get supported.




PoL was something of a non-setting.  It was intentionally a loose framework, so each individual gaming group could flesh it out as they saw fit.  Fleshing it out would defeat the purpose.


The Points of Light/Nentir Vale setting and the World Axis Cosmology are really things that I would like to see supported. I don't think that the setting needs to left the loose style to get supported. 4E DMG have support for PoL, but it was still loose.

community.wizards.com/wrecan/blog/2012/1...
It is true that readability varies from person to person.  For some of us, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.  For others, setting fluff reads like a history textbook.  Either way, reading textbooks is pretty darn boring for a lot of folks.  ;)

Let's put this another way:

For some of us, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.  For others, crunchy rules text reads like a math textbook.


LOL I've never had any problem in wanting to read crunch, but I often struggle to get excited about fluff and ever if I do make it through the fluff, it's rare I even read it a second time. So to me, it reads nothing like a math book. :P
Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.



Yeah, I really wish they'd release more low crunch worldbooks. Not every book has to have new feats, new spells and new classes. That was one thing I really hated about 3E/4E. Almost everything they created had to be minimum 50% crunch.

I like crunch book to have almost all crunch and fluff books to be mostly fluff. Or at least have a clear divide between them. I could live with a setting book that had the first half one and the second half the other if it was cheaper that a fluff book + a crunch book.


OK assuming (based on the lat 2 issues of Dragon and Dungeon) 9 articles in Dragon and 3 adventrues Dungeon; how about we break down the month content something like the following.  This would provide good generic content every month and specific setting content every 4 months with on of those months being heavily skewed to a particular setting.



Month                     Dragon                                                  Dungeon


January:               (4) Planescape Articles                      (1) Planescape Adventure


                            (1) Greyhawk Article                         (1) Minor Worlds Adventure


                            (1) Spelljammer Article                     (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles                            


February:              (4) Dragonlance Articles                    (1) Dragonlance Adventure


                            (1) Dark Sun Article                             (1) Planescape Adventure


                            (1) Nentir Vale Article                         (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


March:                  (4) Forgotten Realms Articles           (1) Forgotten Realms Adventure


                            (1) Ravenloft Article                            (1) Dragonlance Adventure


                            (1) Minor Worlds Article                      (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


April:                     (4) Eberron Articles                             (1) Eberron Adventure


                            (1) Planescape Article                        (1) Forgotten Realms Adventure


                            (1) Dragonlance Article                      (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


May:                     (4) Birthright Articles                           (1) Birthright Adventure


                            (1) Forgotten Realms Article             (1) Eberron Adventure


                            (1) Eberron Article                               (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


June:                    (4) Mystara Articles                             (1) Mystara Adventure


                            (1) Greyhawk Articles                         (1) Birthright Adventure


                            (1) Birthright Article                             (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles                            


July:                     (4) Greyhawk Articles                         (1) Greyhawk Adventure


                            (1) Mystara Article                               (1) Mystara Adventure


                            (1) Spelljammer Article                      (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


August:                 (4) Spelljammer Articles                    (1) Spelljammer Adventure


                            (1) Dark Sun Article                             (1) Greyhawk Adventure


                            (1) Nentir Vale Article                         (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


September:           (4) Dark Sun Articles                           (1) Dark Sun Adventure


                            (1) Ravenloft Article                            (1) Spelljammer Adventure


                            (1) Minor Worlds Article                      (1) Generic adventure


                            (3) Generic Articles


October:                (4) Nentir Vale Articles                       (1) Nentir Vale Adventure


                             (1) Planescape Article                        (1) Dark Sun Adventure


                             (1) Dragonlance Article                      (1) Generic adventure


                             (3) Generic Articles


November:             (4) Ravenloft Articles                          (1  Ravenloft Adventure


                             (1) Forgotten Realms Article             (1) Nentir Vale Adventure


                             (1) Eberron Article                               (1) Generic adventure


                             (3) Generic Articles


December:             (4) Minor Worlds Articles                    (1) Minor Worlds Adventure


                             (1) Mystara Articles                             (1) Ravenloft Adventure


                             (1) Birthright Article                             (1) Generic Adventure


                             (3) Generic Articles

Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.



Yeah, I really wish they'd release more low crunch worldbooks. Not every book has to have new feats, new spells and new classes. That was one thing I really hated about 3E/4E. Almost everything they created had to be minimum 50% crunch.



And that was something I liked, because it gave me things to use in games even if they weren't taking place in that campaign world
Another day, another three or four entries to my Ignore List.
Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.



Yeah, I really wish they'd release more low crunch worldbooks. Not every book has to have new feats, new spells and new classes. That was one thing I really hated about 3E/4E. Almost everything they created had to be minimum 50% crunch.



And that was something I liked, because it gave me things to use in games even if they weren't taking place in that campaign world



I agree, it totally made sense to publish the Swordmage in the Forgotten Realms books. Everybody should have to pay 30$ (or 15$/months for an insider subscription) to get their hands on this one. And as a bonus, those guys got 250 pages of high quality books (out of 255) to use as toilet paper because they couldn't care less about the Forgotten Realms.
 
Setting books really don't need a lot of crunch.



Yeah, I really wish they'd release more low crunch worldbooks. Not every book has to have new feats, new spells and new classes. That was one thing I really hated about 3E/4E. Almost everything they created had to be minimum 50% crunch.



And that was something I liked, because it gave me things to use in games even if they weren't taking place in that campaign world



I agree, it totally made sense to publish the Swordmage in the Forgotten Realms books. Everybody should have to pay 30$ (or 15$/months for an insider subscription) to get their hands on this one. And as a bonus, those guys got 250 pages of high quality books (out of 255) to use as toilet paper because they couldn't care less about the Forgotten Realms.
 

I have to agree.
I can care less about forgotten realms (For me the Spellplague was the best idea for a campaign setting since the genocide of gnomes in Dark Sun, to give an idea), and my beloved shielding swordmage was lost in in this FR book. And the class wasn't even part of the FR mythos, as spellsinger was its own class.

Concepts like swordmages, playable golems or playable dopplegangers are general enough to be accessible in a general game books.

If you think my english is bad, just wait until you see my spanish and my italian. Defiling languages is an art.

I agree, it totally made sense to publish the Swordmage in the Forgotten Realms books. Everybody should have to pay 30$ (or 15$/months for an insider subscription) to get their hands on this one. And as a bonus, those guys got 250 pages of high quality books (out of 255) to use as toilet paper because they couldn't care less about the Forgotten Realms.
 

Blame the business model.

I've imagine adding 'banners' for each setting, in addition to the normal monthly articles that appear in D&D Insider.  That is, there would a section set aside (if you will) for Forgotten Realms, Dragonlance, Dark Sun, Eberron and so on.

Under each banner would be online supplements; something like 'Cormyr' (a location supplement) for Forgotten Realms, 'Orders of High Sorcery' (a class supplement) for Dragonlance, 'The Veiled Alliance' (an organization supplement) for Dark Sun.  And so on, until eventually there would be an entire library of world supplements to choose from.

The supplements could originally be published as a series of monthly DDI articles, then compiled and placed under their respective banners later (easy to find and always available).

So in addition to the ezines and the online tools, DDI would be the place to find D&D world supplements.  It's a bit more involved then just producing the ezines I s'pose but that's the gist of it.  Definitely do-able I imagine. 
/\ Art
Personal opinion...

I've been writing History of D&D blogs for a while now and, while the setting support was amazing, it also created an interesting case of product bloat; a dozen products in a month to support the various D&D settings during the 2nd Edition era.

So, while I'd love to see all the old settings make a come back, I think the best way to get back to the story of those worlds is via online articles in Dragon and adventure support in Dungeon.  Then just pick a different world each month, with December devoted to smaller articles covering some of the less popular and more obscure settings.

January - Planescape
February - Greyhawk
March - Dragonlance
April - Spelljammer
May - Forgotten Realms
June - Dark Sun
July - Eberron
August - Nentir Vale
September - Birthright
October - Ravenloft
November - Mystara
December - Minor Worlds

Or something like that.  That's what I'd like to see anyway.  Not sure how realistic it would be.  ;)                  



If they release the old setting material as PDFs it should't shouldn't take much to update the worlds. It would be easy to devote a single issue to crunch. You just need to focus on the must have content.
I think one setting every 2-3 months might be better. Let them breathe a bit while also not choking the magazines in updates. 

5 Minute WorkdayMy Webcomic Updated Tue & Thur

The compilation of my Worldbuilding blog series is now available: 

Jester David's How-To Guide to Fantasy Worldbuilding.

I guess what I'm suggesting is once the crunch mechanics are set, focus mostly on the story/setting. That is where D&D was the strongest.

I'm not so sure about rehashing other worlds, though. I already have Planescape, and they most likely won't offer anything new. (And no, it doesn't matter if new people missed out on Planescape.) The idea is to have all new worlds for all of us.

It's like every time Hollywood wants to reboot a superhero series, it always comes out with yet ANOTHER origin movie. Let's move on to new stuff. ;)
Show
Of the two approaches to hobby games today, one is best defined as the realism-simulation school and the other as the game school. AD&D is assuredly an adherent of the latter school. It does not stress any realism (in the author's opinon an absurd effort at best considering the topic!). It does little to attempt to simulate anything either. (AD&D) is first and foremost a game for the fun and enjoyment of those who seek the use of imagination and creativity.... In all cases, however, the reader should understand that AD&D is designed to be an amusing and diverting pastime, something which an fill a few hours or consume endless days, as the participants desire, but in no case something to be taken too seriously. For fun, excitement and captivating fantasy, AD&D is unsurpassed.As a realistic simulation of things from the realm of make-believe or even as a reflection of midieval or ancient warfare or culture or society, it can be deemed only a dismal failure. Readers who seek the later must search elsewhere. - Gary Gygax. 1e DMG.
Sign In to post comments