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Best D&D Campaign Setting?

 Post subject: Best D&D Campaign Setting?
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:18 pm 
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Unctuous Toady
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The other day the topic of D&D campaign settings came up, specifically which ones were worth using. Now I immediately offered my own (largely uninformed) opinion on the subject. But after some thought, I realized that I'd like to know just what campaign settings people like, and why.

So that's the question. What D&D campaign setting (the published ones, not the one that your best friend Billy created back in 5th grade) do people like the most, and why?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:18 pm 
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I think I played in the 'Forgotten Realms' setting once.
I didn't like it much, but it's the only campaign setting I'm familiar with.

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 12:30 pm 
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Star Wars :lol:

I can just about forgive the awful D20 system and 'levelling up' when I get to play a merciless assassin droid.

"Eat laser fleshbags!"

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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:04 pm 
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what about ones that you made up a few years back?

i find that i don't really like any of the current d&d settings with the exception of Rokugan and Ravenloft... and i don't really like ravenloft that much.


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 3:57 am 
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I'd have to say the current 'generic' setting - the one in all the illustrations/stories/hierarchies in the core books, and portrayed in the generic modules, is my favourite. I find it portrays an equal balance of might to magic, without silly notions of enormous metropolises or economic systems that are completely implausible (I'm looking at you, F.R.!). It's the most "realistic" of the fantasy settings. ;)

I also like Dark Sun. Bleak, brutal, with plenty of slavery and excessive violence thrown in. Dying of dehydration amuses me somehow. It's a nice change from the usual. It's also fairly easy to write for as a GM I find - there are plenty of opportunities for bad guys.

I tried Eberrron for a few sessions last summer. I wasn't a big fan of it; Eberron is too steampunkish to me. I didn't like the surreal element of having animated suits of armour as party members.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 4:09 am 
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Out of all the D&D settings I have played in I would have to say that Greyhawk was the most interesting to me.

After that we tried a few others and then just went into our own.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 9:25 am 
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I am most familiar with Greyhawk and like it because I think it essentially IS Dungeons & Dragons. I started playing D&D way back in first edition when I was in grade school. I remember going through all the old classic 1st edition modules, they were all set in Greyhawk and it really made the world fleshed-out and interesting to me. There was even a place in one of the old supplements or something where it gave the coordinates on the larger color map of Greyhawk for the exact hex that many of the models took place in. So cool. :D

Greyhawk is basically a fantasy europe type setting, but it has other cultural elements at the edges: arabian elements in the west, aztec type tribes in the south and the sort of out of place warrior monks of the Scarlet Brotherhood.

I like Greyhawk and have long considered it my favorite setting. But I acknowledge that this just might be a bit of bias born of nostalgia and lack of knowledge of all the newer settings.

I've always felt like Forgotten Realms is really bad, its too empty to support the cultures and civilizations that are supposed to exit there. They are too advanced and too diverse to have developed given the generally sparce population of the world.

I've never really played in Dark Sun, but I like the concept behind it. Though I think that the setting may have taken on a life of its own and moved away from the initial concept as I understand it (i.e. shortsighted and greedy magic-users using dangerous techniques to work magic and despoiling the world).

I think that Ravenloft is a great place for your party to visit, but not the kind of place that you run a campaign exclusively in.

They made some kind of weird Planescape thing a few years back and it sort of replaced the concept of the outer planes with this weird spire thing. I hated it on sight and never learned more about it. I think it was an attempt during the days of 2nd edition to move away from the whole cosmology that Gygax had created with its abstract concepts, inner and outer planes, waring alignments and worst of all demons and devils (over protective parents send your outraged hate mail now).

What was that one supplement that let you have flying magical ships and travel (fly) between campaign settings? The ships either "burned" mages or magical weapons as fuel. I thought that setting, if it can be called a setting, was dumb and too monty hall for serious consideration.

They had another setting a few years ago that was called Birthright or something. Your characters were all supposed to be descendants of gods or something. I bought the setting and read the basic books, I didn't like it. I think that the setting was basically uninspired and poorly written. Though I have never enjoyed D&D games were the gods take part directly like in some kind of greek tragedy.

Some people have mentioned other settings published for D&D that I've never even heard of. Are they any good?


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The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:15 am 
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Truckler wrote:
What was that one supplement that let you have flying magical ships and travel (fly) between campaign settings? The ships either "burned" mages or magical weapons as fuel. I thought that setting, if it can be called a setting, was dumb and too monty hall for serious consideration.

Spelljammer. That one was too strange to interest me much. Flying through space on giant bad 70s artwork spaceships, to raid dungeons full of robots that have the exact same stats as minotaurs? Nah..
Oh crap.. I hope we don't randomly encounter the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or some hippopotamus men armed with pistols.


Have the republished Greyhawk as a setting? Or is the current generic setting Greyhawk? I started playing in 2nd ed, and with the group I played with, F.R. was the normal setting.


One I almost forgot about - Red Steel. It was a mini setting really, only two or three supplements came out for it, but it was a neat concept, and really inspired me to write seafaring based games. I think you can download it for free these days.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:33 am 
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If you expand to include the D20 range then you get some of my favourite settings. Mutants and Masterminds, Spycraft, Swashbuckling Adventures (7th Sea - D20), Deadlands:Weird West, Call of Cthulhu and Legend of the Five Rings.

I must admit that the last four play a lot better when you use the proper systems, but some just prefer to use the D20 system whenever possible. That's their call.

CoC D20 in particular is very funny, it stops being an investigative horror RPG and becomes "I punch the Shoggoth in the face then kick the Polyph!"

If I had to pick a specific D&D setting - It would either be Ebberon, Planescape or Ravenloft. Probably leaning towards one of the latter two.

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 11:05 am 
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Birthright, hands down...

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 12:14 pm 
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I really like the Dark Sun setting (the first incarnation). I loved the thri-kreen, as well as the shear nastiness of all the critters roaming the wastes. I loved the idea of being able to change the landscape, and have a major effect on the region. Unfortunately they nixed that in later versions of the setting. <sigh>

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:12 pm 
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i completely forgot about planescapes somehow. i really like that one.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 2:55 pm 
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Truckler wrote:
They made some kind of weird Planescape thing a few years back and it sort of replaced the concept of the outer planes with this weird spire thing. I hated it on sight and never learned more about it. I think it was an attempt during the days of 2nd edition to move away from the whole cosmology that Gygax had created with its abstract concepts, inner and outer planes, waring alignments and worst of all demons and devils (over protective parents send your outraged hate mail now).

Hey Truckler, you should get your hands on a copy of the rather excellent Planescape: Torment and play through that before you hold judgement over the setting as a whole. That PC game really shows how the setting shines while also containing one of the best stories ever told in the video game medium. (Warning it is a 1999 game, so it does look dated and there are a few memory leak bugs in it - but that's forgivable as long as you remember to stagger your saves.)

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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:36 pm 
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Um there is one small campaign setting that wasn't mentioned. Dragonlance! Probably my favorite overall setting for DnD (out of the pre-made settings anyway). I still say that a trilogy of Dragonlance movies would be DnD's best bet at making a respectable showing at the box office.

I also liked reading about Darksun but I've never gamed there. Wasn't there an arabic setting called Al Quadim or something?

Last time I looked at the Greyhawk setting I had a good chuckle. My friend is a big Greyhawk fan, so he's got all the books. Greyhawk was the original DnD setting, so everytime someone wrote a new adventure they just dropped a new section onto the map. As a result the world of Greyhawk tends to be a little patchy and inconsistant.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 4:36 pm 
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i second fen's comment. torment was a great game.

if you can lay your hands on the old old darksun game, that's pretty decent too, though even more dated. don't even know if it'll run on newer comps actually. i played a few adventures in the darksun world, was pretty fun.


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