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russdm
2013-01-16, 04:47 PM
So I am curious which D&D campaign setting gets usually viewed as being The D&D Campaign Setting and why. To me, or in my experience, the campaign settings get treated differently and viewed with various degrees of acceptance. Why is that?

So FR is Forgotten Realms, and it gets the biggest bucks or praised the most. It tends to be referred to alot.

DL is for Dragonlance, and this setting in my experience seems to be a black sheep, rarely liked or desired. Its usually described as poor in design or something along those lines. IE not good

DS is Dark Sun. This one also gets some low brow stuff directed at it. Is it because it changes things up?

Of course we have the others: Ravenloft, Mystara, Planescape, Eberron, Greyhawk. I call them the others because it seems that are viewed with varying degrees of acceptance and lots of comments about their lack of connection or being not really D&D.

I may be simplifiying matters but i am curious. Do some of the campaign settings get treated poorly and if so why? Is there a default campaign setting, beside the one is the core rulebooks?

Kaveman26
2013-01-16, 04:53 PM
Greyhawk once upon a time was the "default" setting. Forgotten Realms surpassed it once the popularity of the novels really came into play. Dragonlance was never a good system but it had a great set of novels.

Ravenloft is well regarded.

Dark Sun was freaking awesome in theory, but difficult in execution.

But bluntly speaking, anything where you have a system of rooms with treasure and characters meeting together in an Inn is the core of D&D.

Hiro Protagonest
2013-01-16, 04:56 PM
...Greyhawk not D&D? What the hell? If anything, Dark Sun is less D&D. It doesn't even have clerics and paladins!

Eberron and Dark Sun deviate from the standard, but are very D&D. Greyhawk, Dragonlance, and Forgotten Realms are D&D, they're the settings most often associated with it and which would be worst off using another ruleset (I could easily see running Eberron with FATE. FR is harder).

Acanous
2013-01-16, 07:14 PM
I like Eberron and FR. No experience with DL, DS, or RL.

Grinner
2013-01-16, 07:56 PM
...Greyhawk not D&D? What the hell? If anything, Dark Sun is less D&D. It doesn't even have clerics and paladins!

I've only read the Prism Pentad and not the actual setting sourcebooks, but I could have sworn that there were sun clerics in Dark Sun?

Amphetryon
2013-01-16, 07:56 PM
My 2cp, based on my own highly anecdotal experience:

Greyhawk is "D&D standard."

Forgotten Realms is "D&D High Magica Edition."

Dragonlance is "D&D Romantic Fantasy Edition."*

Ravenloft is "D&D Horror."

Eberron (and Iron Kingdoms) are "D&D Magipunk Edition."

Dark Sun is "D&D Mind Magic, Post Apocalypse Edition."

Planescape is "D&D World-spanning Edition."

I haven't been in a Mystara game that provided anything like a unique experience on which to draw a conclusion to how it plays.

*'Romantic Fantasy' here does not indicate Danielle Steele or similar. It reminds me more of Mists of Avallon.

Hiro Protagonest
2013-01-16, 08:09 PM
I've only read the Prism Pentad and not the actual setting sourcebooks, but I could have sworn that there were sun clerics in Dark Sun?

Well, 2e was a different beast. But in 4e, there is no divine magic, only primal power.

ArcturusV
2013-01-16, 08:16 PM
I'd say typically it's Forgotten Realms anymore. And here's why:

For, well, about 15 years now... in most any group I was in I'd have at least one, to sometimes all but one, player in any campaign I ran go, "Well can I use this...?", with This being from Forgotten Realms.

I'd reply (As I always homebrew settings), "No, this isn't Faerun, that doesn't exist." Or like last campaign when someone was really on me to play a Drow character, "Okay, but you realize that in this setting elves are united and the Drow never got driven underground, and are functionally exactly like elves but with different coloration."

To which I'd almost invariably get a reply like: "Well I mean this is just so basic and it should be in every game and it's what DEFINES DnD (Insert Category of Thing they Want Here)!"

Or in response to the Drow player: "What do you mean I don't have Darkvision and Globe of Darkness powers at will?! That's what Drow ARE, it defines them!"

"Sure, in Faerun, where they live in the underdark. That's not true here. They live on the surface and were never exposed to Underdark radiation or had a reason to develop Globe of Darkness powers or Darkvision."

"But those things are what Drow do!"

Jarawara
2013-01-16, 08:58 PM
I agree with ArcturusV's logic. When players are citing things from 'other' campaigns, wanting to port them over to your game, those other campaigns is usually what those players view as 'standard' D&D. And if everyone is always citing one particular campaign, then there's the common standard.

Though I will cite for the record that Drow were in Greyhawk, before they were in Forgotten Realms.

I've also had a number of players ask to have Kender in my game, and when I told them "No, those are not in my world, they are from Krynn (Dragonlance)", they answer "Yeah, but Krynn is standard D&D. Why did you chose to eliminate Kender?" *facepalm*

(Just a history note - the reason Kender *are* in Krynn is because the creator didn't want halflings, but one player kept saying "But Halflings are standard D&D, and I want a Halfling". So the DM allowed the player to have a Halfling, as long as it was called something else. Thus Kender were born!)

TuggyNE
2013-01-16, 09:03 PM
My 2cp, based on my own highly anecdotal experience:

Greyhawk is "D&D standard."

Forgotten Realms is "D&D High Magica Edition."

Dragonlance is "D&D Romantic Fantasy Edition."*

Ravenloft is "D&D Horror."

Eberron (and Iron Kingdoms) are "D&D Magipunk Edition."

Dark Sun is "D&D Mind Magic, Post Apocalypse Edition."

Planescape is "D&D World-spanning Edition."

I haven't been in a Mystara game that provided anything like a unique experience on which to draw a conclusion to how it plays.

*'Romantic Fantasy' here does not indicate Danielle Steele or similar. It reminds me more of Mists of Avallon.

OP, you probably aren't going to get a better answer. This is ... pretty much the definition right here. :smallcool:

Hiro Protagonest
2013-01-16, 09:13 PM
I'd say typically it's Forgotten Realms anymore. And here's why:

For, well, about 15 years now... in most any group I was in I'd have at least one, to sometimes all but one, player in any campaign I ran go, "Well can I use this...?", with This being from Forgotten Realms.

I'd reply (As I always homebrew settings), "No, this isn't Faerun, that doesn't exist." Or like last campaign when someone was really on me to play a Drow character, "Okay, but you realize that in this setting elves are united and the Drow never got driven underground, and are functionally exactly like elves but with different coloration."

To which I'd almost invariably get a reply like: "Well I mean this is just so basic and it should be in every game and it's what DEFINES DnD (Insert Category of Thing they Want Here)!"

Or in response to the Drow player: "What do you mean I don't have Darkvision and Globe of Darkness powers at will?! That's what Drow ARE, it defines them!"

"Sure, in Faerun, where they live in the underdark. That's not true here. They live on the surface and were never exposed to Underdark radiation or had a reason to develop Globe of Darkness powers or Darkvision."

"But those things are what Drow do!"

I dislike Forgotten Realms. But you'll still see me walk up to you asking permission to use the Zhentarim Soldier fighter levels. It's not because I view FR as "standard", it's because there's a whole damn lot of material that was made for Forgotten Realms, seeing as how it is the most supported 3.5 setting.

Also, the Drow thing is just plain off the mark. Standard drow get those features, not just Forgotten Realms Drow, so you've gotta explain why they don't have those, not why they do.

ArcturusV
2013-01-17, 12:13 AM
Mostly a balance concern (It's a 4th edition game) and the Drow racial powers and bonuses surpass anything I was using in game. Who wants to be a normal elf and just have the ability to reroll an attack one per encounter when you can blind everyone but you in an area and otherwise have the same bonuses?

Also to be fair originally I said no drow. He begged, pleaded, and eventually I told him, and I quote, "Okay, you can be a Drow cosmetically but all your stats, bonuses, and powers are equal to a standard elf."

It was 3 sessions deep into the campaign after he had told me he accepted those terms that he started complaining about lacking "Drow Features".

Ashtagon
2013-01-17, 01:18 AM
I'd say Mystara is a fantasy D&D that consciously stalks real-world cultures for their tropes. Pretty much every nation or culture in Mystara is essentially "$nation with magic".


Karameikos is essentially mediaeval century Romania (Traldar are Slavs; Thaytians are Byzantines).
Ylaruam is essentially fantasy middle east, from the Arabian peninsula to Iran, but skipping the fertile valley in terms of geography, but going wild on 1001 Nights.
Glantri is essentially a microcosm of 13th century Europe, with the capital being Venice.
Ierendi is an unholy union of the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, and the South Pacific.
Alfheim and Rockhome are the nearest to pure fantasy tropes, although geographically, Rockhome is Switzerland.
The northern reaches are three different takes on Vikings (specific Scandinavian cultures too, if you research deep enough)
The Shires are fairly unique.
Minrothad is a kind of Hanseatic League.
Broken Lands are "brutish" versions of several different real world cultures.
Darokin is 19th century USA without guns.
Ethengar is obviously the Mongols
Shadow Elves have a slight touch of Aztec about them, although this is dialled up to 11 with their Hollow World cousins. In some ways they resemble the post-apocalypse underground New Yorkers from the old Planet of the Apes films.
Atruaghin clans are based on native north America.
Thyatis is the Byzantine Empire.
Pearl Islands are South Pacific / melanesia.
Nithia is a take on ancient Egypt (and there's at least three distinct "Nithia" nations in the setting - modern Isle of Dawn, Hollow World, and ancient).
Ochalea is one take on China.
Alphatia as a whole is the Persian Empire.
Hule is heavily tinged with the Ottoman Empire culture.

The-Mage-King
2013-01-17, 02:16 AM
My 2cp, based on my own highly anecdotal experience:

Greyhawk is "D&D standard."

Forgotten Realms is "D&D High Magica Edition."

Dragonlance is "D&D Romantic Fantasy Edition."*

Ravenloft is "D&D Horror."

Eberron (and Iron Kingdoms) are "D&D Magipunk Edition."

Dark Sun is "D&D Mind Magic, Post Apocalypse Edition."

Planescape is "D&D World-spanning Edition."

I haven't been in a Mystara game that provided anything like a unique experience on which to draw a conclusion to how it plays.

*'Romantic Fantasy' here does not indicate Danielle Steele or similar. It reminds me more of Mists of Avallon.

You forgot Rokugan and Ghostwalk...

The first of which basically already has it's own game, the second of which is little known but quite interesting.

Mark Hall
2013-01-17, 03:37 AM
Can't sleep, so I figure I'll throw my 2 cents in...

Greyhawk was the default D&D for most of 1st edition. If you look at the old Dug-Up ****... I mean, "Unearthed Arcana"... the various races make reference to Greyhawk and Greyhawk things. After WotC bought TSR, they put out a few Greyhawk books, including a newly revised campaign setting and an excellent book on the Scarlett Brotherhood, a group of Nazi Monks from the Distant South. That book is one of the few things that keeps me from completely hating everything that comes out of Sean K Reynolds.

With the advent of 2nd edition, the general feeling is that they wanted to lessen the Gygaxian influence, because Gygax wasn't too popular with the higher ups. Ed had been writing about his Forgotten Realms in The Dragon, and so they took him up on it, and it became pretty much the flagship setting, getting a lot of focus and attention. To me, FR really is D&D, because it's where I did most of my formative playing. If you ask me to run a game on the spur of the moment, even to this day, I will pick up C&C and run something set in the Realms, as I know its geography, history, and pantheon very well. This, however, was also the time of the great diaspora... lots of new settings, each with their own spin.

Dragonlance had started earlier, back in the 1e days. One of it's purposes was to put the focus on the Dragons that formed the game's name. IME, Dragonlance had some of the best fiction, but some of the worst writing for the game line. Most products were poorly laid out, relied overmuch on the novels, and really, really, bad. You could play just fine in places described in detail in the books, but beyond that, you kinda had to wing it.

Dark Sun was, looking back, pretty Barsoomian. While it was generally billed as "post apocalyptic", I think that is incorrect... it was more about scarcity and survival, themes that you get from post apocalyptic, but the ancient nature of the apocalypse really made it more dystopian (I rant about post-apocalyptic literature that is not technically PA, and more "World that sucks" elsewhere). If you want to get a feel for Dark Sun, but don't feel like tracking down those novels, grab Edgar Rice Burrough's John Carter books, like A Princess of Mars. Every time they say "Green martian", think "Thri-kreen", and you're not too far off.

Al-Qadim I never much got into. It was an Arabian Nights inspired setting, in which I had no interest. It was eventually appended to the southern hemisphere of Toril.

I had a bit more interest in the original Oriental Adventures setting, Kara-tur, which eventually got appended to the Far East of Faerun's continent. It was a pretty straightforward, IMO, fantasy Asia, with different countries that mapped somewhat to real-world countries, but also somewhat blenderized. I think some of my favorite bits of that were the martial arts system (which is simple yet flexible) and the honor chart, which I've adapted elsewhere.

Birthright was an odd setting that I haven't seen anyone mention. In the distant past of the setting, all of the gods committed suicide to stop another god from taking over. This spread their godly essences around. Those closest became the new gods; everyone at the battle got a little bit of godly ichor in their veins. Everyone started getting powers from their god-blood; those with the evil god's blood were frequently turned into monsters. Scions (those with god-blood) could form connections to the land, and rule through literal divine right... they also had powers. It was a much more human-level setting... most monsters were rare and hugely powerful. There weren't scores of Minotaurs running around... there was The Minotaur, one of those evil god-blooded. But it was also a very political setting, with rules for economies and running nations.

Spelljammer was pulp space. Anything over a certain size had Earth-normal gravity and atmosphere, so you flew through space on open sailing ships. They were powered by the magical abilities of your helmsman, leading to Spelljammers (and also psijammers and cutejammers, powered by the cuteness of the infinitely malleable giant space hamsters)*.

Ravenloft was a horror setting and demiplane. It had a couple great computer games based off it, and eventually got rules for native play, but it was originally supposed to be a vignette for gaming. Want to run a spooooky Halloween story? Set it in Ravenloft. I had an aborted PBR set there, as 2e died.

Planescape was outer planar, for the most part. We didn't use it much, though I understand it was quite popular. It had one of the best video games ever based on it, Planescape: Torment, which gives you a great feel for the setting. We mostly used it as flavor for high-level games, and the reason to excuse the occasional anarchronism or weird character.

Council of Wyrms was a one-shot setting, with super-powerful dragon PCs, their demihuman companions, and an encroaching threat from humans. This one introduced half-dragons to D&D, but had a bit in common with Ars Magica's troupe-style play... you had your dragon, you had his companion, and you played according to what was appropriate for that game and its challenges.

I never knew much about Mystara, so have no comment. There was a "European conquerors in Native America" setting, Maztica, which was explicitly part of the Realms, but it likewise didn't interest me. I'm sure there are other settings that came out in this time, but I don't remember them.

*You know the character with tons of templates? Back in 2e, you would probably end that list of templates with "giant space hamster" for a joke.

Yora
2013-01-17, 05:39 AM
I can say for Germany, D&D is pretty much synonymous with Forgotten Realms. Planescape, Dark Sun, and Ravenloft are nieche products and anything else is virtually unknown.

Amphetryon
2013-01-17, 08:37 AM
You forgot Rokugan and Ghostwalk...

The first of which basically already has it's own game, the second of which is little known but quite interesting.

I didn't forget. If I didn't mention them, I haven't adventured within them. Why must that default to a failure of memory?

Ashtagon
2013-01-17, 08:43 AM
I didn't forget. If I didn't mention them, I haven't adventured within them. Why must that default to a failure of memory?

I used to know the answer to this one.

hamlet
2013-01-17, 09:29 AM
I can say for Germany, D&D is pretty much synonymous with Forgotten Realms. Planescape, Dark Sun, and Ravenloft are nieche products and anything else is virtually unknown.

Actually, that's true, at times, in the US as well. Forgotten Realms, back in the 2e days, was pretty much the be all end all of D&D, or as an old DM put it not very kindly, "It spread like a cancer."

That's not entirely fair, but it isn't unfair either as TSR's habit back in the day was to publish ALL new material in the Realms no matter what, even if it really didn't quite fit. Of course, there were the other settings, but as you say, compared to the Realms, they were very niche things.


It also seems that WOTC has gone back to FR for their core setting now. And, further, it seems from rumors and rumblings that they're going to rewind the campaign setting's clock, one can only hope all the way back to the original greybox version where Mystra was LN. That's about the time when I actually really liked the Realms, before it suffered from too much bloat.

prufock
2013-01-17, 11:06 AM
My 2cp, based on my own highly anecdotal experience:

Greyhawk is "D&D standard."

Forgotten Realms is "D&D High Magica Edition."

Dragonlance is "D&D Romantic Fantasy Edition."*

Ravenloft is "D&D Horror."

Eberron (and Iron Kingdoms) are "D&D Magipunk Edition."

Dark Sun is "D&D Mind Magic, Post Apocalypse Edition."

Planescape is "D&D World-spanning Edition."

I approve of these descriptions whole-heartedly.

hamlet
2013-01-17, 11:26 AM
A note on Greyhawk . . .

Greyhawk is kind of . . . forgotten nowadays. Maybe largely because the new versions of it actually excised things (like, 50% of the pantheon at times) or treated it so slipshod that people just haven't been properly exposed to it. I've looked at some of the WOTC Greyhawk stuff and I can't say that I'm overly impressed with it (and that's not a shot at WOTC, merely a comment on those specific books). Even in 3.x, which ostensibly was set in Greyhawk by default, provided almost zero information on the setting besides some of the gods in order to make the clerics work (which actually begs the question for me of why they bothered at all and didn't just list out generic gods instead).

On top of that, IME, a general comment about Greyhawk revolves around how it's "painfully vanilla" or not fleshed out enough or the like. It seems like a great big empty with some very high level general lines drawn in, but most of it left open. That would actually be entirely by design. It is specifically a high level overview that leaves the nitty gritty up to the individual DM to either design, omit, or fiddle with as he/she sees fit.

I think all D&D gamers owe it to themselves to try Greyhawk for real at least once in their gaming careers. And they should do it with the 1983 World of Greyhawk boxed set, which is largely system neutral (well, sorta).

JediSoth
2013-01-17, 01:22 PM
Greyhawk is more D&D to me than any of the other settings that come after it. Otiluke's Freezing Sphere, the Bigby's Hand spells, Mordenkainen, all Greyhawk NPCs. All the classic modules I played or read learning the game were set in Greyhawk. The Barrier Peaks? That's in Greyhawk. Greyhawk, with all it's silly, Gygaxian names (Nyr Dyv, Zagyg, etc.)

Of course, Forgotten Realms is more well-known, but at least in Grewhawk, you don't have PCs asking the question: If this is such a HUGE threat to Life As We Know It™, why doesn't Elminster take care of it?

I liked Dragonlance, but it was challenging to game in because the biggest story was already told and the characters from the books were SO well-known throughout the world it was almost impossible to not run into them or references to them if you played during the same era as the books. Plus, most players played Kender as annoying, ultra-selfish, sociopathic kleptomaniacs, thus ruining them for generations of gamers.

Dark Sun and Planescape came at a low-point in my gaming life when I was moving around a lot and unable to play regularly, so I never really go into them, though I have since discovered their glory (esp. Planescape).

Sadly, I've met players who can't separate campaign world with game, so they assume just because something is someone in some game they played ten years ago in a DMs homebrew, they assume it's like that for ALL of D&D.

Of course, if you are a homebrew DM, the beauty of campaign settings is being able to mine they for your own purposes.

And just because I haven't seen them mentioned, let's throw out some of the new ones for Pathfinder, because that's really a version of D&D, too: Midgard & Golarian.

Yora
2013-01-17, 02:39 PM
Of course, Forgotten Realms is more well-known, but at least in Grewhawk, you don't have PCs asking the question: If this is such a HUGE threat to Life As We Know It™, why doesn't Elminster take care of it?
Which I heard isn't actually different in any way for Greyhawk. What about Mordenkainen the level 27, Robilard the level 24 fighter, or Rary the level 24 wizard?

The-Mage-King
2013-01-17, 02:41 PM
I didn't forget. If I didn't mention them, I haven't adventured within them. Why must that default to a failure of memory?

Obviously, because you forgot to play in them .:smalltongue:

hamlet
2013-01-17, 03:06 PM
Which I heard isn't actually different in any way for Greyhawk. Though I can't point to sources, since I've never seen any Greyhawk books in game stores. Ever.

Then you haven't been looking online.

NobleKnight has several but expensive (http://www.nobleknight.com/ProductDetail.asp_Q_ProductID_E_44_A_InventoryID_E _2147936712_A_ProductLineID_E_8_A_ManufacturerID_E _1_A_CategoryID_E_16_A_GenreID_E_)

Amazon's got lots (http://www.amazon.com/World-Greyhawk-Advanced-Dungeons-Dragons/dp/0880383445/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358453071&sr=8-1&keywords=world+of+greyhawk)

And I'm sure Ebay has oodles of them.

Not to mention there's lots of other books as well.

I really recommend this to you, Yora. You strike me as the kind of person who would, if not enjoy, at least appreciate the setting. Just avoid the "From The Ashes" update. It was not a happy product.

JediSoth
2013-01-17, 03:16 PM
Which I heard isn't actually different in any way for Greyhawk. What about Mordenkainen the level 27, Robilard the level 24 fighter, or Rary the level 24 wizard?

Fewer players knew about them because they weren't featured so prominently in the fiction.

hamlet
2013-01-17, 03:27 PM
Fewer players knew about them because they weren't featured so prominently in the fiction.

They were also not statted up. Especially not in the setting itself.

russdm
2013-01-17, 03:29 PM
I didn't know about any of this, the changes with Gygax. The first campaign setting i played in 2nd edition was the SSL Dark Sun: Shattered Lands game. Then i read the dragonlance books. Finally, i have read books in the realms: Elminister and Drizzt. I have played in the realms though. It was so-so.

I have heard of greyhawk, but my impression was that it had been put out to pasture with some of the other editions so wotc could beef up Forgotten realms. That seems to be partially true since they expanded and supported the realms more than the others.

I agree about the comments regarding dragonlance. It worked as a story world, but not as an adventure world. The Kender made bad characters because people really didn't play them well. There wasn't a great amount of adventure potential here.

I always liked Dark Sun because it directly supported Psionics and in a good way. It also changed things up a bit and made elves less arrogant bastard types most campaign settings have them as. I enjoyed the 2nd ed bit i was doing. I found that the 4e dark sun stuff interesting but slightly off-putting.

My experience with the realms has been mixed. The characters, or atleast some of them, are fairly neat. I like Drizzt because he is pretty awesome. I am a little less impressed with elminister. I always felt a little pigeon-holed with the realms, because of its NPC bloatedness. The realms overall metaplot made it hard to come up with adventure ideas that would work without feeling that the novels or the presence of npcs affected things. In my experience, it felt like being a janitor or something. In alot of the areas described, there were npcs that could have solved the problems, if they were played by their alignment.

Some people have described playing in the realms as being a little fish in a big ocean of course filled with big fish. It felt kinda of unreal to adventure to solve problems because so much ought to have been fixed by npcs stronger than you.

I am curious to see what happens with 5th Edition and the different settings.

Yora
2013-01-17, 04:04 PM
I have heard of greyhawk, but my impression was that it had been put out to pasture with some of the other editions so wotc could beef up Forgotten realms. That seems to be partially true since they expanded and supported the realms more than the others.
No, I think Greyhawk disappeared from the screens when 2nd Edition came around, which was 11 years earlier.

hamlet
2013-01-17, 04:26 PM
No, I think Greyhawk disappeared from the screens when 2nd Edition came around, which was 11 years earlier.

It existed during 2nd edition, and even saw new product from time to time, but mostly in the bone throwing method.

Still, some of that product (like Scarlet Brotherhood) was really quite good.

Lord Torath
2013-01-17, 04:41 PM
I've only read the Prism Pentad and not the actual setting sourcebooks, but I could have sworn that there were sun clerics in Dark Sun?

There are clerics in 2nd Ed. Darksun, but they worship elemental and para-elemental powers.

I think they eventually came up with some fluff about gods not being able to send their power to Athas, proper conduits not existing or some such. But if Fiends show up regularly (which they do, according to the original boxed set, but usually only when summoned by defilers), I'm not sure what's preventing at least gods from the lower planes from sending their powers. If mortals can still "Contact Higher Plane" (required for the 10th level psionic enchantment "Pact"), why couldn't immortals cast "Contact Lower Plane" or the equivalent?

My opinion was that in the rare event that a cleric from another world did make it to Athas, they would regain spells according to Spelljamming in a sphere where your deity did not have any established worshipers - 1st and 2nd level spells only. Not that it ever became an issue in my campaign, but those were my thoughts.

Plus, the Prism Pentad (IMNSHO) should be relegated to a "this is the kind of things your PC's could eventually be able to pull off" rather than viewed as any sort of official timeline of Athas.

Darksun was supposed to be about your characters changing the world as they grew in power, but then they had the characters in their books do everything before your characters could.


Every time they say "Green martian", think "Thri-kreen", and you're not too far off.

I always thought the 4-armed green martians were more like the B'hrog (4-armed humanoids), but then I can't say I've ever actually red the John Carter novels. Something I should add to my reading list.

Mark Hall
2013-01-17, 06:13 PM
It existed during 2nd edition, and even saw new product from time to time, but mostly in the bone throwing method.

Still, some of that product (like Scarlet Brotherhood) was really quite good.

There were two eras of 2e Greyhawk products. Soon after 2e came out, then right after WotC bought it. The WotC products were a lot better... more in line with the Forgotten Realms products of the era in terms of depth, rather than the earlier "sketch" material.


I always thought the 4-armed green martians were more like the B'hrog (4-armed humanoids), but then I can't say I've ever actually red the John Carter novels. Something I should add to my reading list.

You can find them wicked cheap on Kindle. Start with Princess of Mars.

Amphetryon
2013-01-17, 06:37 PM
Obviously, because you forgot to play in them .:smalltongue:

Is that an offer to run a campaign?

Acanous
2013-01-17, 06:40 PM
There are clerics in 2nd Ed. Darksun, but they worship elemental and para-elemental powers.

I think they eventually came up with some fluff about gods not being able to send their power to Athas, proper conduits not existing or some such. But if Fiends show up regularly (which they do, according to the original boxed set, but usually only when summoned by defilers), I'm not sure what's preventing at least gods from the lower planes from sending their powers. If mortals can still "Contact Higher Plane" (required for the 10th level psionic enchantment "Pact"), why couldn't immortals cast "Contact Lower Plane" or the equivalent?

My opinion was that in the rare event that a cleric from another world did make it to Athas, they would regain spells according to Spelljamming in a sphere where your deity did not have any established worshipers - 1st and 2nd level spells only. Not that it ever became an issue in my campaign, but those were my thoughts.

Plus, the Prism Pentad (IMNSHO) should be relegated to a "this is the kind of things your PC's could eventually be able to pull off" rather than viewed as any sort of official timeline of Athas.

Darksun was supposed to be about your characters changing the world as they grew in power, but then they had the characters in their books do everything before your characters could.



I always thought the 4-armed green martians were more like the B'hrog (4-armed humanoids), but then I can't say I've ever actually red the John Carter novels. Something I should add to my reading list.

I remember there was a blurb in Planescape about Sigilites making a trek to Athas, and Breaking the portal on the way back, because Athas was HORRIBLE

So as far as the Great Wheel goes, you CAN get to Athas if you're powerful and crazy enough, but who would WANT to?

....aside from being able to sell a Decanter of Endless Water for any ammount of GP available to the person you're selling to...

Hiro Protagonest
2013-01-17, 06:54 PM
So as far as the Great Wheel goes, you CAN get to Athas if you're powerful and crazy enough, but who would WANT to?

In-game explanation: "Because we can"

Metagame explanation: "For the xp".

The LOBster
2013-01-17, 07:00 PM
Personally, the settings I most associate D&D with are Planescape, Forgotten Realms, Ravenloft, Greyhawk and Eberron. Dragonlance is too generic (plus Kender are awful), Dark Sun is too GRIMDARK for my liking, and Spelljammer, while awesome, is a bit of a black sheep.

Jarawara
2013-01-17, 07:05 PM
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the only "true D&D" out there is my own campaign.

Greyhawk has it's level of normalcy, but then you raid a bandit camp in some old ruins and find it inhabited by killer clowns or something. (Don't believe me? Go read up on Greyhawk Castle and the like. Each level is it's own freakshow!!)

Forgotten Realms has a relatively normal feeling, except that Elminster himself will walk up and tell you that you really should be exploring that bandit camp in the old ruins. No killer clowns, but that's only because Drittz shows up and kills them all before you have to fight them.

Dragonlance is ok, if you stick to the storyline. Go off of story to raid a random bandit camp and the DM will hurt you.

Ravenloft? That's ok, do you what you like. DM will hurt you, regardless of what you do. And those are Vampiric Half-Demon Killer Clowns, btw.

*~*

Yeah... the only real D&D campaign is my own D&D campaign!

Lord Torath
2013-01-17, 09:44 PM
The more I think about it, the more I realize that the only "true D&D" out there is my own campaign.

Greyhawk has it's level of normalcy, but then you raid a bandit camp in some old ruins and find it inhabited by killer clowns or something. (Don't believe me? Go read up on Greyhawk Castle and the like. Each level is it's own freakshow!!)

To be fair, the Castle Greyhawk adventure really did not reflect the rest of the setting. No one who knows is telling, but it seems to have been an April Fools joke gone (REALLY) wrong.

I started playing with Mystara (in the BECM rule set), and I've really never been anywhere else other than Athas (although I've run some modules from other settings in Mystara, modified to fit)

ArcturusV
2013-01-17, 09:52 PM
Sadly my only experience with Mystara was the old DnD arcade games.

Which were really fun and if you have the means I'd suggest checking them out. Though I won't be held responsible for the voice saying, "WELCOME TO THE D AND D WORLD!" getting stuck in your head. Heard that so many times I can't get rid of the echo in my brain.

The-Mage-King
2013-01-18, 02:46 AM
Is that an offer to run a campaign?

Sadly, no.


I'm not good enough to handle the intricacies of Rokugan, have no idea where to start on Ghostwalk, and am actively running two pbp games and a Quest, while signed up full time in college.

My plate might be a little full. :smalltongue:

Khedrac
2013-01-18, 04:25 AM
Greyhawk didn't die as much as many people above seem to think!

I think the suggestion that Greyhawk was left for DMs to embroider while material was published to FR etc is probably about right. That said, with 3rd Ed the RPGA Living Greyhawk campaign was started (along with Living FR etc) and ran around the world for 7 or 8 years before 3E came to a close. Also most of the 3E non-FR/Eb books count as Greyhawk for deities etc (often doing drastic things to the world but...)
Last couple of GH points - most of the GH novels were published very early and so had pretty much vanished before the big climb in popularity and acceptability of D&D happened. Most of the names associated with spells and items in the rules are still from the Greyhawk canon, and they are protected by not being in the SRD.

Mystara, this is an odd world, and quite a late name for the world in its history.
Originally the "Known World" was the lands mapped for the classic adventure "X1 - the Isle of Dread". These lands got incorporated into the rules for D&D (in the old Expert book) and slowly expanded by the published adventures.
The Companion Rules turned the map into a world map based on a continental drift map of earth set a few million years ago (I can never remember the actual age) and the Master and Immortals rules revealed that the Known World was earth during the age of magic while we live in the age of technology (something like that anyway). The immortal rules also made the world a sentient creature called Urth who had periods of dormancy when the surface became very inhospitable.
Then new direction came to D&D and the Gazetteers appeared - the world was (re)named Mystara and got a column in Dragon that after some initial wandering started going over areas covered in old modules and populating them with new cultures (inspired by the original modules). The Hollow World set was born (ie Urth got gutted) and the idea that Mystara was Earth was forgotten (probably wisely). New immortals rules came out without Megaliths (the sentient planets) and Mystara became so well regarded that the decision was taken to bring it across to D&D to widen the appeal. Oops.
At the time there was probably more detailed source material out for Mystara than any other D&D campaign world - the small D&D team had produced wonders (makes me very nostalgic - ah well) and the quality of all the supplements was uniformly very high.
"So Mystara for AD&D - it's ideal for beginners let's make it an 'introductory line'" was the attitude taken. This meant packaging CDs with the modules and source packs making them some of the most expensive products.
Introductory line in new world - existing AD&D players did not buy.
Recaps of areas already covered - Mystara fans did not buy.
Expensive products compared to others - new to AD&D did not buy.
Thus Mystara ceased having official support.
(Also for some reason the AD&D line decided to label the Hollow World as a big hoax that had been played on the main civilizations of the known world.)
In terms of what it was, the collection of real world cultures re-badged and lumped together is pretty much accurate, I just need to add that otherwise the magic-feel of the game is probably about that of Greyhawk pre-3rd Ed.

ArcturusV
2013-01-18, 04:43 AM
Khedrac, thanks for that rundown. Didn't know much about Mystara other than it was the setting used for the D&D arcade games.

Though I do remember Isle of Dread, least I think I do. Had that tropical "King Kong" style island to explore with a barbaric tribe (That you could deal with), dire animals, etc., including Dinosaurs making it one of the few adventures I've done where I went and slayed a rampaging Triceratops. Seriously, in about 20 years of DnDing I've fought dinosaurs maybe... twice?

Good times. Lots of nostalgia. Wish I still had that adventure/module.

hamlet
2013-01-18, 08:15 AM
To be fair, the Castle Greyhawk adventure really did not reflect the rest of the setting. No one who knows is telling, but it seems to have been an April Fools joke gone (REALLY) wrong.

I started playing with Mystara (in the BECM rule set), and I've really never been anywhere else other than Athas (although I've run some modules from other settings in Mystara, modified to fit)

Actually, the less generous believe that Castle Greyhawk (the one that was published) was essentially a giant, over priced "Up Yours" to Gary and anybody who liked him. TSR at the time was doing everything it could to sever itself from the Gygaxian image. Your mileage will, of course, vary.

If, however, you want to actually experience what the real Castle Greyhawk might have been like, there are facsimile out there. One of the best is "Castle of the Mad Archmage," which might still be floating around out there for download before it goes for full publishing.

JediSoth
2013-01-18, 09:12 AM
The City of Greyhawk boxed set came out in the 2E days, and it was one of the best things that came out for Greyhawk for the entire product line.

tomandtish
2013-01-18, 08:23 PM
My 2cp, based on my own highly anecdotal experience:

Greyhawk is "D&D standard."

Forgotten Realms is "D&D High Magica Edition."

Dragonlance is "D&D Romantic Fantasy Edition."*

Ravenloft is "D&D Horror."

Eberron (and Iron Kingdoms) are "D&D Magipunk Edition."

Dark Sun is "D&D Mind Magic, Post Apocalypse Edition."

Planescape is "D&D World-spanning Edition."

I haven't been in a Mystara game that provided anything like a unique experience on which to draw a conclusion to how it plays.

*'Romantic Fantasy' here does not indicate Danielle Steele or similar. It reminds me more of Mists of Avallon.

For the realms I've played in, I'll certainly agree with this.

Greyhawk was the first major realm and the standard for a long time. However, after Gygax had his split with TSR, while TSR did keep rights to most of the Greyhawk work, they were looking to distance themselves a little. The release of Forgotten Realms in 1987 in AD&D gave them that focus. It quickly rose, and became the main focus of 2E when 2E was released.

There was some attempt at resurrecting Greyhawk with 3E (and for a while they played lip service to the claim that it would become the dominant realm again), but the Forgotten Realms pretty quickly took back over. Too many people write product for it and wanted to, and not enough seemed willing to write product for Greyhawk.

Yora
2013-01-19, 04:59 AM
Yeah, in 3rd Edition Greyhawk got the Living Greyhawk Gazeteer, which I never saw for sale anywhere, and Forgotten Realms got 20 books.