A "dream" Fantasy RPG setting

jedion357's picture
March 25, 2016 - 2:52am
Years ago I collected Gygax's Epic of Aerth setting that he designed for the Dangerous Delves setting which was to be marketed as Gary Gygax's D&D which once word was out TSR flipped it's lid to sue GDW quickly did a Oh, our bad did we say Dangerous Delves no no no we meant Dangerous Journeys, it's D&J not D&D. 

Anyhow the same anal attention to minute detail that Gary brought to the table of pole arms in AD&D he brought to this setting book which was based on Earth but included Atlantis, a hollow earth filled with dinosaurs, the under dark, a realm of faerie that was a reversdd mirror image of earth. Entries were written for every single nation it was sweeping and detailed. And the maps are truly gorgeous. Before TSR got ownership some of the materials sold and are out there in eBay land. 

I've always thought this would be an awesome setting (used with any Fantasy RPG).

But a new thought has begun to perculate: most settings are somewhat static and a little bland, well your typically default D&D setting is. I was looking at the background for a used novel I picked up: The Goblin Plain War and started to wonder about a setting in absolute turmoil. And Empire fractured, because a dragon destroyed the Capitol and took up residence in the palace. Elsewhere giants have come down from the mountains and subjugated a people (maybe human or maybe dwarven) and they people have become Raiders and slavers because they must supply victims or be eaten themselves. The various dukes, Lords and barons are all competing for power to see who will rise in the power vacuum left by the death of the emperor. There are some heir to the lost throne one legit and one a bastard. War has erupted between the wood elves and the satyrs and wood elves bands are refugees though their rangers penetrate their ancestral forests to exact revenge on the satyrs. 

Everywhere a PC might turn there is danger and opportunity to be a hero. No one need delve into dungeons for gold and glory one can be a hero in the real Fantasy world. Political machinations abound and actions by the PCs will have real consequences within the setting. 

At any rate those are just the beginning thoughts. 
I might not be a dralasite, vrusk or yazirian but I do play one in Star Frontiers!

rattraveller's picture
March 25, 2016 - 8:38am
Two non static settings come to mind Traveller and Battletech. Both have gone through a number of new versions were the story line of their universe was altered but did not change alot. Much like New Coke and New Pepsi some of these changes have been misses and some hits.

SF tried to continue the story with a book that shall not be named and seems that did not go over very well.

If you are running a long campaign I suggest the JK Rowlings approach. Have the last chapter written and then let the players find their way to it. But much like the ending of a Fallout game include only the things the players accomplished and let the failures have reprecussions.
Sounds like a great job but where did you say we had to go?

KRingway's picture
March 25, 2016 - 3:16pm
Settings in D&D are only going to be as bland as you let them be Wink If they need more flavour, you have to add it. On the other hand, if a campaign setting is pretty much 'on rails', that's when it can cause problems or get boring unless it does a very good job.

I still don't really have a problem in general with Zeb's Guide as a guideline for events, etc. One can pick and chose various things out of it and use what is useful, interesting, etc and adjust it to suit your needs.

Politics and subterfuge are okay but if it's overly complex it can turn into endless play sessions that end up being like a series of court hearings - or worse, end up like all those meetings of the senate/jedi in The Phantom Menance etc Wink