How do you like your published settings? Static or evolving? And through what medium? - Page 5
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  1. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    That does not make a little bit of sense, meta-plot is good when the players know about it before hand?

    That is just Railroading in the worst way possible. It would be like playing Rise of Tiamat and telling the players before they start that Tiamat is actually going to rise and good news you get to deliver a message from one NPC to another about it.
    It's not railroading. It's just stuff that's happening in the background.

    I don't think Rise of Tiamat is very well suited for the sort of game Edwards is describing, because (as I understand it) it doesn't raise any significant thematic issues for the players to engage with (eg its obvious which side one would be on).

    He's envisaging a setting which provides meaningful choices, with the unfolding timeline as a backdrop.

  2. #42
    double post deleted
    Last edited by pemerton; Sunday, 16th September, 2018 at 11:33 AM.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    That pressure can come from at least two directions:

    1. Sometimes it's more work than it's worth to strip the metaplot out of a setting; or to strip out parts of it you don't want to keep while keeping the rest. Hell, in many cases it's bad enough trying to strip metaplot and backstory out of a single adventure module in order to run the module without it; to do this for an entire setting would be a hopeless venture.

    2. Unless one is gaming with friends who know what to expect from each other there's inevitably going to be player expectations regarding a published setting that diverge from yours and-or from those of other players, leading to arguments and headaches all round.

    Even if you advertise your game as, say, modified 3e-era Forgotten Realms you're bound to get players saying "but what about everything that's happened in FR since then?" and-or "why did you make these changes, I liked it the way it was!" - which raises the question of whether it's worth the hassle. Even worse is when players own different versions of the setting and expect to be able to use what they own...and by extension expect you-as-DM to accommodate that.
    1. The only way I can see this as a problem is when the metaplot or story that you want to remove is the entire point of the setting. In which case, the question becomes why use that setting at all? This is subjective of course, but if I donít find the War of the Lance and its related elements to be interesting, then whatís really the point of choosing to run a game with Krynn as the setting? Depending on what I want to do with the game, Iím better off with many other options.

    2. Iíve never had a problem with this. Have you? Do you have any examples? Iím genuinely curious. I can understand someone preferring Greyhawk pre-wars compared to post-wars...but for the preference to be so strong that itís somehow disruptive to play seems odd. What kind of headaches can occur? How does the preface of ďthis is not Oerth as you know itĒ not suffice?

  4. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Derren View Post
    I expected people to prefer static settings, but not by this margin to be honest.

    What surprises me is how many people seems to feel pressured to use the metaplot that is published instead if simply ignoring it when they don't like it.
    Its crazy, right?

    Its almost like nerds obsessively wringing their hands endlessly over a singular 4e power (Come and Get It) or "Damage On a Miss" powers as if they feel pressured to use that 1 CaGI power or those few baker's dozen of DoaM powers amidst the hundreds of other powers...instead of simply ignoring what the don't like and using something else.

    But that is unpossible (nerds being relentlessly dogged in exclaiming the legitimacy of their obsessions)! Would never happen so we don't even need to bother with it!

  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    I'm not too surprised by there (apparently) being players who care about setting - that's come up before in threads I've started or participated in; but I am surprised that people who aren't into setting care about them, or see them as a reason why they want less setting published.
    Sure, I get people being into a setting, but what surprises me in these discussions is how often a player will let his enjoyment of a setting interfere with enjoyment of a game. Especially considering that one should serve the other. No one sits down to play a setting.

    Plus youíd think the very nature of the beast would require a willingness for departure from source material. If all weíre doing is following along the path established by the fiction...so instead of Luke Skywalker and Han Solo, itís the PCs who have to infiltrate the Death Star and then later attack it....then whatís the point of playing?

    And for the people who donít like or care about setting, I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Sure. I thought the 4e version of this was the most interesting: rather than selling a whole lot of metaplot, WotC sold a whole lot of lists for a list-based game - unlike the 3E version of that strategy, the list elements had strong connections to setting but not to any metaplot.
    I think maybe I donít make as strong a delineation between setting and metaplot.

    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    The change of approach with 5e suggests something about market demand.
    5E seems to have almost no metaplot. Unless you view the published adventures as such. Several of them do have astory to them, but I donít think that any one must be acknowledged across the board. References are made to other books, but I feel like those are more Easter Eggish than anything.

    As for the setting presented in 5E, it seems largely a ďtake this and make it your own approachĒ.

    Quote Originally Posted by pemerton View Post
    Edwards isn't against setting per se, though he does have a "handle with care" approach. A bit more from the same essay:
    However, neither Setting-based Premise nor a complex Setting history necessarily entails metaplot, as I'm using the term anyway. The best example is afforded by Glorantha: an extremely rich setting with history in place not only for the past, but for the future of play. The magical world of Glorantha will be destroyed and reborn into a relatively mundane new existence, because of the Hero Wars. Many key events during the process are fixed, such as the Dragonrise of 1625. Why isn't this metaplot?

    Because none of the above represent decisions made by player-characters; they only provide context for them. The players know all about the upcoming events prior to play. The key issue is this: in playing in (say) a Werewolf game following the published metaplot, the players are intended to be ignorant of the changes in the setting, and to encounter them only through play. The more they participate in these changes (e.g. ferrying a crucial message from one NPC to another), the less they provide theme-based resolution to Premise, not more. Whereas in playing HeroQuest, there's no secret: the Hero Wars are here, and the more everyone enjoys and knows the canonical future events, the more they can provide theme through their characters' decisions during those events.

    In designing a Setting-heavy Narrativist rules-set, I strongly suggest following the full-disclosure lead of HeroQuest and abandoning the metaplot "revelation" approach immediately.

    He elaborates on this sort of approach to setting here.

    I think this is another interesting feature of 4e: the core ideas of the setting are revealed in player-side rather than GM-side material. (Some later books moved away from this, as part of the general drift of 4e back towards a less radical approach to D&D design and publishing.)
    I have less of a problem with most of this than the bit you previously posted. I mean, to take a real world example that has been a setting for games in which Iíve played...WWII. The beginning to the end is established. However that doesnít mean thata GM and play group canít use WWII as the setting for their story.

    I think what Edwards seems to be criticizing is when PCs seeve as stand ins for characters who were the protagonists of the original ďstoryĒ. I wouldnít disagree with that at all...I donít want to just play a stand in for Luke Skywalker or Aragorn or Sturm Brightblade. Iíd much rather play my own character in his own story.

    I donít think setting has to be as big a factor in this regard as he seems to imply.

  6. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyefan View Post
    1. The only way I can see this as a problem is when the metaplot or story that you want to remove is the entire point of the setting. In which case, the question becomes why use that setting at all? This is subjective of course, but if I donít find the War of the Lance and its related elements to be interesting, then whatís really the point of choosing to run a game with Krynn as the setting? Depending on what I want to do with the game, Iím better off with many other options.
    There is a lot more to Krynn then the War of the Lance, just like there is a lot more to Europe then WW2. Personally I love the post WofL era because Draconians are just such a good enemy.

  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    There is a lot more to Krynn then the War of the Lance, just like there is a lot more to Europe then WW2. Personally I love the post WofL era because Draconians are just such a good enemy.
    Yeah, I know thereís more to it....thatís why I said itís subjective. Iím not trying to insult the setting or anyone who enjoys it. But for me, the only relevant period of it was the first two trilogies, and this is because of when they were released and what was going on for me at the time. If I was ever going to use Krynn as a setting, that would be the timeframe Iíd want to use. But the War of te Lance is pretty much the Companionsí story....I donít think having other characters fill their roles would be satisfying at all....so this is why Iíd never set a game in Krynn.

    I didnít mean to imply that others couldnít successfully do it, though. Iím sure there have been plenty of great games that have used Krynn as a setting.

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyefan View Post
    1. The only way I can see this as a problem is when the metaplot or story that you want to remove is the entire point of the setting. In which case, the question becomes why use that setting at all?
    Because I like the maps, the geography both physical and cultural, the cultures, the race-class options, the presentation of the planes and-or cosmology, the pantheon(s), or any of a host of other reasons.
    This is subjective of course, but if I donít find the War of the Lance and its related elements to be interesting, then whatís really the point of choosing to run a game with Krynn as the setting? Depending on what I want to do with the game, Iím better off with many other options.
    Depends whether it's more work to overlay the bits of Krynn I like onto another setting, or strip out the bits of Krynn I don't like and use what's left. Usually the latter is less work, because to overlay bits of one setting onto another means also having to strip out the bits being replaced = double the work.

    2. Iíve never had a problem with this. Have you? Do you have any examples? Iím genuinely curious. I can understand someone preferring Greyhawk pre-wars compared to post-wars...but for the preference to be so strong that itís somehow disruptive to play seems odd. What kind of headaches can occur? How does the preface of ďthis is not Oerth as you know itĒ not suffice?
    If I want to use the 1e gray-box version of Forgotten Realms (maybe with some additions of my own), and one player is expecting the 3e version because that's what she's used to, while another player is looking for the post-apocalypse 4e version - yeah, there's going to be some mismatched expectations up front followed inevitably by erroneous assumptions during play. The only way to avoid this is to not use FR as a setting.

    I even ran into a bit of this back when I based a setting off of 1e gray-box FR (except I reworked everything north of Waterdeep to be what I wanted) and had a player making assumptions based on the 2e version of FR, as that's what he was used to. Fortunately I'd made enough of a mess of the setting by that point I could just tell him to treat it like a homebrew (which it largely was, by then) only using FR names for things, and we moved on; but had I been trying to run 1e FR as written it could easily have caused arguments and delays.

  9. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    If I want to use the 1e gray-box version of Forgotten Realms (maybe with some additions of my own), and one player is expecting the 3e version because that's what she's used to, while another player is looking for the post-apocalypse 4e version - yeah, there's going to be some mismatched expectations up front followed inevitably by erroneous assumptions during play. The only way to avoid this is to not use FR as a setting.
    On the other hand instead of not using FR as a setting you could say that the campaign is starting in Year 1357 DR and run from there.
    XP hawkeyefan gave XP for this post

  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    ...Even if you advertise your game as, say, modified 3e-era Forgotten Realms you're bound to get players saying "but what about everything that's happened in FR since then?" and-or "why did you make these changes, I liked it the way it was!" - which raises the question of whether it's worth the hassle. Even worse is when players own different versions of the setting and expect to be able to use what they own...and by extension expect you-as-DM to accommodate that.
    Quote Originally Posted by hawkeyefan View Post
    My surprise was more about the amount of ďsetting policeĒ players that seem to be out there, according to many posts in this and similar threads.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lanefan View Post
    If I want to use the 1e gray-box version of Forgotten Realms (maybe with some additions of my own), and one player is expecting the 3e version because that's what she's used to, while another player is looking for the post-apocalypse 4e version - yeah, there's going to be some mismatched expectations up front followed inevitably by erroneous assumptions during play. The only way to avoid this is to not use FR as a setting....
    Quote Originally Posted by Shasarak View Post
    On the other hand instead of not using FR as a setting you could say that the campaign is starting in Year 1357 DR and run from there.
    In 40 years of running all types of campaigns I've never run into a problem like those. @Shasarak's solution has always worked for me and I've never made a big deal about it and I don't remember a single player ever complaining or even asking about it.

    Again, I don't see why a timeline doesn't work. It has always worked for me. I guess I'm just special.
    XP hawkeyefan, Shasarak gave XP for this post

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