Tell Me Your Favorite D&D Setting

Mar 7, 2021 6:34 pm
What's everyone's favorite D&D setting and why? As a follow-up, what is a lesser-utilized setting that you really like?
Mar 7, 2021 7:19 pm
I always prefer homebrewed worlds of the DM's creation whenever possible. I like it when the PCs are small town folk who don't really know what is outside their hometown and they get to discover the world at the same time that the players do.

But that wasn't really your question. If we're going with published settings I would have to go with Greyhawk. Probably because it feels like a randomly cobbled together homebrew world.

I think Dark Sun is great as a lesser used setting. It is different enough to be interesting, but similar enough to still feel like D&D. I think it works best for one-shots or short campaigns though. I wouldn't want to play it for years on end.
Mar 7, 2021 7:29 pm
Like Griff says, I lean almost exclusively on entirely homebrewed settings.

For published D&D settings, I've enjoyed Planescape, Spelljammer, and the oft maligned Forgotten Realms.

Planescape contains most of what I want: doorways to new worlds, be those established ones or unique, and a rich central location with tons of character.

Spelljammer has got a Baron Munchausen like travel and vehicle combat thing, more world hopping, and some interesting "stellar" politics.

Forgotten Realms is just so great, so detailed and yet full of little pockets for your adventures. I've lost track of the meta-lore so I won't even tell to use "current" FR anymore, but even last year I started a new IRL campaign and started it on the Sword Coast before sending the party to a Domain of Dread.
Mar 7, 2021 7:30 pm
Of my favorite published D&D setting is properly:

Eberron: This is just a well-crafted setting, where elves can be evil, orcs good, and magic have improved the way of life. If we take forgotten realms and advance the time some hundred years, one would expect the advancement of magic to look like Eberron.
I like the post-war setting and all the conflicts between the houses, governments, faiths, and whatnot. It is a very story-rich setting for pulp action adventures.

Planescape: I got to know the setting from the AD&D planeswalkers handbook and the PC game Planescape Torment. It has the potential to be a really philosophical game, where each player explore the multivers and their role in it. Helped very much by the many factions

Forgotten realms: Its a well-documented setting, and very plug-and-play

Spelljammer: I have read abit about it, and see some good youtubes about the setting, and it intrigues me a lot. But I haven't played it yet
Mar 7, 2021 7:46 pm
Eberron: Such a cool setting that fits all that's great about D&D in a believable way. Plus it's really cool that the NPCs aren't extremely high level, as it leaves room for you to be there hero.

Ravenloft: Awesome horror elements and a really cool villain.

Mystara: The setting for the BECMI rule set was amazing. It has so much lore and information in the many gazetteers that they published. Plus the Hollow World that exists on the inside of the planet is really awesome. All of the dead civilizations end up there, preserved by the gods, so you'll find bronze age peoples, prehistoric societies, etc in there.

A few that I want to get to know better are Planescape, Spelljammer, and Birthright, all of which are really cool and unique takes on traditional D&D.
Mar 7, 2021 7:55 pm
Mystara and Forgotten Realms are my favorites.
Mar 7, 2021 9:13 pm
Ravenloft is my favorite. Was such a shock the first time I had a characters/group transported there, having no clue what it was, by the Mists. Followed by themed, candle-lit, Halloween sessions every year. So many good memories. I've visited it as a player and/or DM at least once, in every edition since the AD&D days, including Pathfinder (and one of my favorite Neverwinter Nights persistent worlds). Simple and narrow as a setting, but deep and rich lore.

I'd have to second Dark Sun as my fav lesser used. Love psionics. Some really interesting takes on the standard fantasy faire (cannibalistic halfling's!? yes please). The old DOS/floppy computer game was awesome... Yea.
Mar 7, 2021 9:37 pm
No one ever mentioned Dragonlance it seems.
Mar 7, 2021 10:11 pm
Birthright: A rare-magic, political AD&D 2e setting where PCs were assumed to be kings, nobles, guildmasters, high priests and court wizards. It had a realm building and warfare system that honestly we never really used, but a wonderful, detailed, rich setting and history of exploding gods, warped monster-kings and where the divine right of kings was a very real thing. Had great takes on the standard races (elves really leaned in to the immortal, alien, haughty, xenophobic thing, with orders of knights dedicated to purging humanity and having no gods or religion in a world where those things manifestly existed; halflings could step sideways into the Shadow World, a place that had once been a faerie wonderland but became corrupted by cold and death into an undead mockery of the real world, something that I think influenced the Feywild and Shadowfell in later editions). It predated the publication of the first book of ASOIAF by a few months, I believe, but you wouldn't be far off if you thought of it as Game of Thrones in D&D.

Midnight: 3/3.5e setting published by FFG. Usually summed up as 'what if Lord of the Rings, but Sauron won?' Takes places a hundred years after the fall of the human kingdoms to the armies of orcs, dark priesthood and traitor armies of Izrador, the sole god in a world cut off from the heavens by his fall to earth. Humans, the gnomish river-folk and the wolf-riding halfling nomads are occupied subjects or slaves, their blood feeding the altars that drain arcane magic from the world. The elven nations and dwarven holds are on the backfoot, losing ground every day. Literacy, free members of non-human races, weapons and magic are outlawed, with priests leading shapeshifting magic-sniffing demons to hunt down magical items and spellcasters. It's a grim, dark fantasy setting of resistance and rebellion, where the PCs have access to Heroic Paths representing strange ancestries or unique gifts to make up for the rarity and danger of conventional magic. Excellent background and cultural details, great tone.

Odyssey: Jakandor: An AD&D 2e setting presented as two opposing, PC focused books and a GM book to mediate the difference. Best summed up as barbarians vs. necromancers on a post apocalyptic sword and sorcery island. Two groups of humans oppose each other: the Egyptian-Aztec flavoured arcanists, the Charonti, for whom necromancy and ancestor worship are a part of everyday life; and the Celtic-Native American Knorr, honourable warriors who spurn magic as corrupt cowardice and regard necromancy as grave defiling. Following a magic-vectored plague that crashed an empire they find themselves on the ruin-dotted island of Jakandor and at each other's throats. Full of awesome stuff like Charonti airships made from whale skeletons filled with magical float-bladders and Knorr totems, which are essentially giant wood, stone or wicker golems tribes used to settle their differences in giant magical mecha rumbles. I'd love to play it in 5e, but so much of it involves the cultural details and tone of the rival factions that it'd be hard to explain it concisely for the players.
Mar 9, 2021 12:50 am
I'm not a huge D&D guys. I mostly played in the settings my friends had purchased: Darksun, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Forgotten Realms. The one setting which does interest me though is the one from Kobold Press. Midgard? Or Zobeck maybe? Forgot the exact name. An underground ghoul empire which has conquered most of the Underdark and regularly use Drows, Duergars, and Derros as cattle? A vampire nation which has recently conquered one of its neighbours? A pact signed by the human nations with the dark feys, allowing people to travel using "Fey Roads" allowing to travel faster through the fey's own dimension... All those things sounds fascinating to me.
Mar 9, 2021 1:54 am
I suspect not many people will answer this way, but I find Theros SUPER intriguing. I've always loved Greek myth, and playing half-sandbox half-character/plot driven game in Theros sounds great. I really enjoyed reading through the recent book and was disappointed it didn't get more traction.
Mar 9, 2021 2:01 am
skeptical_stun says:
I suspect not many people will answer this way, but I find Theros SUPER intriguing. I've always loved Greek myth, and playing half-sandbox half-character/plot driven game in Theros sounds great. I really enjoyed reading through the recent book and was disappointed it didn't get more traction.
I doubt many will answer that way because it's so new and doesn't have the nostalgia and mystique about it as the other settings mentioned. But I definitely agree, it's probably my favorite setting book to come out of 5e!
Mar 9, 2021 4:00 am
I missed out on Theros when it was the current set for M:tG, wasn't playing at the time so I didn't buy any cards. So I wouldn't have thought to name it my favorite, but really any of the M:tG worlds would be fun to play in. Ravnica is my absolute top though.

Len

Mar 9, 2021 6:32 am
skeptical_stun says:
I suspect not many people will answer this way, but I find Theros SUPER intriguing. I've always loved Greek myth, and playing half-sandbox half-character/plot driven game in Theros sounds great. I really enjoyed reading through the recent book and was disappointed it didn't get more traction.
I agree, I was really hyped about Theros when I first got the book! I like how the book helps players create characters that belong in the setting without getting them to read the lore. For example, they give guidance on how to pick Traits, Ideals, Flaws, and Bonds that fit with ancient Greece themes. Characters get supernatural gifts that are loaded with setting flavour. The piety mechanic gets them acting in accordance with the setting's religions.

Building these ideas into the character mechanics seems much more likely to get a game with the unique Theros feeling than handing them a bunch of lore to read.

Len

Mar 9, 2021 6:34 am
reposting from discord:

Eberron is my favorite kitchen-sink setting. Everything fits together so well, and the kind of games it encourages (pulp action adventure) fit my style pretty well.

Ptolus gets my vote for favorite niche setting. It's a whole world of d&d in one city and it really blows my mind how they fit so much action and intrigue. A Monte Cook masterpiece.

Dark Sun gets an honorable mention here. It oozes with drama and excitement. Very hard to have a boring adventure in Dark Sun.

There aren't many settings I don't like! On my bucket list of official settings is Nentir Vale. Never got to play there but the points of light concept sounds tailor made for creating awesome stories.

I guess my perspective changes depending on running vs. playing. I love playing in Greyhawk or FR but I like running games in less broad settings. I'm prone falling down setting rabbit holes and those long-standing settings are near-bottomless. That's great as a player, but daunting as a DM. That's just my feeling about it, I can see how that depth of lore might energize and excite a DM.
Mar 9, 2021 4:51 pm
lenpelletier says:
I guess my perspective changes depending on running vs. playing. I love playing in Greyhawk or FR but I like running games in less broad settings.
While I haven't put my DM shoes on in PbP yet, I'm inclined to agree. When thinking about running a game at a table, I prefer to have them in a smaller locale like a city or a small region. The idea of an entire continent is unpleasantly daunting because players could end up ANYWHERE. I feel like a smaller area might force players to be a little more strategically minded because they can't just disappear to another nation if this one isn't working out anymore, or if it doesn't have the tools they need to overcome an obstacle.
Mar 9, 2021 5:09 pm
skeptical_stun says:
The idea of an entire continent is unpleasantly daunting because players could end up ANYWHERE. I feel like a smaller area might force players to be a little more strategically minded because they can't just disappear to another nation if this one isn't working out anymore, or if it doesn't have the tools they need to overcome an obstacle.
I mean, I don't want to derail this thread, but you really shouldn't look at GMing like that. Trying to play like that is a number 1 reason how and why GMs burn out. Uncooperative/uncollaborative players.

If your players aren't going to buy into the story you're planning, then no reasonable degree of geographic restriction is going to make things easier.

What you're envisioning here is a problem that should be nipped in the bud during a Session Zero.

GMing is not about letting things go wherever the Players want them to go, whenever they want them to go there.

It should be a collaborative storytelling effort.

The Players need to find a reason for their character to be interested in the other characters and the game premise as it is presented, and they need to work with what you give them and work to make that an awesome story. On the other side of that coin, as GM, you need to leave the solution to any given quest open ended, you need to note what they are enjoying and what they are not, and plan for the future to be sure to keep those elements going, you need to incorporate character Bonds or other interests and goals into the plot.

But, as GM, you are not required to be ready for anything at any time, anywhere in the game world. It's not reasonable. It's a clear indication the players are not trying to collaborate, which is a violation of the most basic principles of rpgs...

Thank you for coming to my TED talk 😖
Mar 9, 2021 7:08 pm
emsquared says:
Thank you for coming to my TED talk 😖
Thank you. I totally agree

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