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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Pixie in the Playground
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    Default Looking for a Setting to Steal

    I'm a prospective DM looking to run a 5e campaign for some friends, but I've hit a bit of an issue. I'm not sure where to set my game.

    I'm pretty new to D&D. I basically started a few months ago with 5e. From what I've seen as a player, the materials WotC has put out for Forgotten Realms are both quite detailed and fairly broad. The fact that the DM has a book from which he or she can simply pull general information cities, towns, politics and side-quests seems like it allows the DM to run a fairly sandbox campaign, without having to put in a crazy amount of preparation beforehand.

    All that said, I don't think I actually like the setting of the Forgotten Realms that much.

    I'm hoping to find a setting that has less magic, fewer powerful NPCs that would likely be friendly/tolerant of the PCs, and a generally more hostile world than Faerūn seems to be.

    I've looked around a bit, but haven't found anything truly suitable. Dark Sun seemed interesting, but it's a little more removed from traditional fantasy than I'd like, and I don't think its psionics have been translated into 5e mechanics yet. If there was a setting that was generally lower magic, but wasn't as harsh as I'd prefer, I would be content to just rough the world up a bit.

    Hopefully someone who is familiar with older editions of D&D will be able to recommend something to me. I'd really rather not have to put together something from scratch.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.

  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Yora's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Maybe Grayhawk? I have never really looked into it myself, but it sounded to be more like what you decribed.

    If you're not entirely opposed to the world and can get a hold of them, the 1st edition sourcebooks for Forgotten Realms are quite different in style than later versions. They are much shorter and are more suggestions of ideas to get the imagination going than comprehensive lists of NPCs, religions, competing organizations, taverns, and stores. And being the first ones they don't have any real metaplot. I think both FR5 The Savage Frontier and FR6 Dreams of the Red Wizards are pretty good. They are both $5 as pdf now.

    Also possibly of interest might be Midnight, which might be harder to find. It's a relatively average fantasy world in which the god of evil had been banished to the mortal world, which since then has been completely cut off from all the other gods and angels, and also most magic. The orcs who worship the evil god still get all their cleric magic and in the years since then have overrun most of the continent, turning it into Mordor.
    A really fun concept for darker campaigns.

    And there's been a 5th edition conversion of The One Ring. Have not seen it myself, but the original TOR focuses almost entirely on Mirkwood and its surroundings in Middle-Earth. It's a wilderness mostly inhabited by barbarians under siege by orcs, giant spiders, and undead. From what I heard it's a pretty good conversion of 5th edition to a low magic setting.
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Ettin in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Dragonlance, maybe?
    It's lower powered than FR and GH, with casters in general being rare and powerful casters being very rare. More hostile? It depends on which time period you play (I recommend ignoring everything after the War of the Lance, but that's just me). Probably not as is, but you can always tweak it by exaggerating existing attitudes and prejudices in the setting.

    I love Mystara to bits but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. How hostile and how powerful things and people are varies greatly depending on where you are, On the high-magic end you have places like Alphatia and Glantri (though the NPCs are not likely to be terribly helpful at the best of times), and on the lower end of the scale you have Karameikos which was basically written as a starting point for noob adventurers, with very little by the way of powerful NPCs or support network for hapless fools adventurers.
    Still, you can find some place to run most types of D&D adventures, from classic dungeon crawls, to planar incursions, to time travel shenanigans, to political intrigue, to massive wars between states, to high-magic duels, to pulpy lost world milieus, to Lovecraftian monsters, to...well, most everything else.

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Nifft's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Greyhawk is nice because it's got all these insular nations which are mutually hostile, but recently they have to work together to face a greater threat, and some of them are just plain evil-vs-evil at the top.

    Pros:
    - So much lore
    - Gorgeous maps, probably the best fantasy maps anywhere currently
    - Kitchen sink setting with stuff like a space ship crash site

    Cons:
    - So much lore
    - Kinda generic


    Eberron is nice because it's not medieval, it's renaissance noir, and you can take a train to meet your mysterious patron. It's a world that has a LOT of unanswered questions, so you can easily pick one of those as your campaign hook -- and you don't need to commit to a campaign hook ahead of time, because the mysteries are already there.

    Pros:
    - Very well done adventure-centic setting which plays to modern sensibilities
    - NPCs are usually very low level compared to PCs, or they are restricted in their activities somehow
    - Organizations are all plotting against each other

    Cons:
    - No 5e books, you'll have to convert from 3.5e
    - Some people prefer medieval


    Homebrew is nice because it's all yours. You don't even need that much to start out -- just detail a local region, indicate which direction the nearest major cities are (maybe all the same direction if you're out on the border somewhere) and run through the local stuff until you learn what kinds of things the players want to do.

    There's a Worldbuilding forum under the Homebrew forum which has all sorts of homebrew setting ideas.

  5. - Top - End - #5
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    Anonymouswizard's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Quote Originally Posted by Nifft View Post
    Homebrew is nice because it's all yours. You don't even need that much to start out -- just detail a local region, indicate which direction the nearest major cities are (maybe all the same direction if you're out on the border somewhere) and run through the local stuff until you learn what kinds of things the players want to do.

    There's a Worldbuilding forum under the Homebrew forum which has all sorts of homebrew setting ideas.
    I'm going to agree that Homebrew is nice. Although there's a couple of settings I like for various reasons (Transhuman Space and Unknown Armies being big ones), even when running them I'll be homebrewing something and putting my spin on it.

    The big advantage is that a homebrew setting is exactly what you want. Mine, which I'll upload to worldbuilding once I've got the key region worked out, is animist and averts medieval status (the world currently has early firearms, and has started to harness steam power*), while someone else might prefer to run a world which is closer to Tolkien's works, while another wants to take D&D and run a more Urban Fantasy setting with modern guns and computers (why is another story). It also has a secondary advantage of the players being unable to say 'but in the Book of Unused Setting Information on page 616 it says the God-Monarch of Awesomeville is a man called Geoff, not a woman called Alice'.

    * It's a TL5 GURPS setting right now with TL4 weaponry due to discovering gunpowder later than in our world.
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  6. - Top - End - #6
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    John Longarrow's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    If your up for it, Perilous Lands for the old Avalon Hill RPG Powers and Perils is a pretty fun setting that really doesn't have much in the way of "Good guys" in it. I used to run a game set there and it was great fun!
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  7. - Top - End - #7
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
    Flumph

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    All that said, I don't think I actually like the setting of the Forgotten Realms that much.

    I'm hoping to find a setting that has less magic, fewer powerful NPCs that would likely be friendly/tolerant of the PCs, and a generally more hostile world than Faerūn seems to be.

    All said and done , Faerūn is just a detailed little "map" . You can do whatever you want with it . Nothing wrong with a savage Faerun with less magic and fewer powerful NPC,s . You could make it prehistory or post apocalypse Faerun ?

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Pronounceable's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Quote Originally Posted by honeybunch View Post
    All that said, I don't think I actually like the setting of the Forgotten Realms that much. I'm hoping to find a setting that has less magic, fewer powerful NPC
    That'd be literally every other setting ever.

    Just put your game into Kingdom of Monarchia and steal all the bits you like from all the other settings you know. Throw in Red Wizards of Reddington and Temple of Alchemical Evil and Protector Knights of Knightia and anything else that catches your fancy. It'll be fine.
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  9. - Top - End - #9
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    GungHo's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    What is it that you're trying to get out of a published setting vs making your own or modifying the setting in situ? Is it maps? Characters? What?

    I know you've said you like lower magic and a less friendly atmosphere, but how less friendly do you want, because I can suggest things like Midnight, Hyboria (Conan), Birthright, and other things that may or may not be appropriate. Hell, you can even do Warhammer Fantasy, Dragon Age, or The Witcher if you just want atmosphere, maps, names, meanies.

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Free for January: Pendragon (1985 edition) https://mobile.twitter.com/stewartwi...6024697856?p=v

    Pro: Great setting, with the rules built around it.

    Con:
    Not 5e (its own rules from 1985 which might seem a bit old fashioned today)
    Modifying to 5e seems a bit of a stretch. But the big bits should be easy enough to grab (Britons, Saxons, Irish, Picts).
    If you try to run it, the only available class is knight.

    To be honest, there should be some more direct attempts to tie D&D to Camelot (and I'd recommend stealing from them before making your own). But the quest for the Holy Grail makes a great campaign arc (not required in Pendragon, just a great answer for "what is my character's goal"?).

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Orc in the Playground
     
    PirateCaptain

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Let me suggest Mystara, specifically the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, but not the current version. Grab the original GAZ1 Gazetteer for the blue box Expert set by Aaron Allston. Since it's intended as the default starting location for 1st level campaigns most of the setup is low-magic and the super-powerful NPCs are mostly political figures you're not expected to deal with until/unless you've made something of yourself.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Bugbear in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Quote Originally Posted by daniel_ream View Post
    Let me suggest Mystara, specifically the Grand Duchy of Karameikos, but not the current version. Grab the original GAZ1 Gazetteer for the blue box Expert set by Aaron Allston. Since it's intended as the default starting location for 1st level campaigns most of the setup is low-magic and the super-powerful NPCs are mostly political figures you're not expected to deal with until/unless you've made something of yourself.
    I'll second this recommendation. Gaz 1 is even legally available to purchase a pdf of it!
    http://www.drivethrurpg.com/m/product/16974

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Quote Originally Posted by wumpus View Post
    Free for January: Pendragon (1985 edition) https://mobile.twitter.com/stewartwi...6024697856?p=v

    Pro: Great setting, with the rules built around it.

    Con:
    Not 5e (its own rules from 1985 which might seem a bit old fashioned today)
    Modifying to 5e seems a bit of a stretch. But the big bits should be easy enough to grab (Britons, Saxons, Irish, Picts).
    If you try to run it, the only available class is knight.

    To be honest, there should be some more direct attempts to tie D&D to Camelot (and I'd recommend stealing from them before making your own). But the quest for the Holy Grail makes a great campaign arc (not required in Pendragon, just a great answer for "what is my character's goal"?).
    I was about to suggest this. The biggest weakness is that the Pendragon morality system it deeply woven into the setting, and it makes sense. It is therefore incompatible with D&D's alignment grid.

  14. - Top - End - #14
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Dec 2016

    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    sorry bout this but gotta recommend raven loft or curse of strahd. seriously vrey detailed and after you run it and the mists retract you could start building your own world to run and if you lazy like me you can use a premade stuff or use my current world of tammer it takes place where the empires of the land (human,elf,dwarf(sand or mountain)halfling) are facing the quickly rising cult of the lich king (blizz dont sue me) which seek to be back they long dead master and take over the lands. here is a my rough guide and a few quests to the world im an slowly fixing it.

  15. - Top - End - #15
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Dec 2016

    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    ttps://docs.google.com/document/d/1AR_6gS3qLkS0bQfPnC3zn3SIEXhbeMuuZFDOAaE_Mz0/edit#heading=h.j2hulww14ydy

    here is the link.

  16. - Top - End - #16
    Pixie in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGuy

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1...h.j2hulww14ydy

    here is the link. the last one was missing an h sorry.

  17. - Top - End - #17
    Ettin in the Playground
     
    Bohandas's Avatar

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    Default Re: Looking for a Setting to Steal

    Quote Originally Posted by Yora View Post
    Maybe Grayhawk? I have never really looked into it myself, but it sounded to be more like what you decribed.
    I agree. Greyhawk is better.

    EDIT:
    Dragonlance and Eberron too. And Ravenloft. Pretty much any setting that isn't Forgotten Realms is better.
    Last edited by Bohandas; 2017-01-16 at 12:39 PM.
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