Best recent campaign setting?

Michael Tree

First Post
Atlas Games recently published Northern Crown, which is a mythic fictionalized colonial America, complete with natives, colonists, natural scientists working magic through discovery (and its pioneer, Benjamin Frankin), the descendants of the old viking colonists, pirates, etc.

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Well, I guess that I will throw my hat into the ring as well. :D


Cyradon is not a d20/D&D setting, but if that is the system you want to use for it, then it should be relatively easy to convert. Cyradon is designed for use with HARP (see link in my sig for free download of HARP Lite), and is the official setting for it.

Description of Cyradon
In short, players are part of a large group of refugees who get magically transported half way across the world, and end up in an ancient city built in and on an inactive volcano in the middle of a magically blasted wasteland. There are opportunities for all sorts of adventures and there are a number of unusual player races as well, including Gryphons. You can download the first chapter of Cyradon from the following link -->

It gives a much better overview of the setting than I can.

So far, Cyradon has been reviewed three times here on EN World. Two of those reviews gave it 4 stars:

And Crothian gave it 5 stars in his review:

I think that you'll like it. :D
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First Post
Wildwood. It was written as a stand alone in case the DM didn't want to buy Domains of the Forge (Oathbound) though it is still the domain of Haiel. It has the new form of prestige races, rules on hunting, rules on organ transplants (when you read it, you will understand why they included it), and a heck of a lot of locations and people. The only thing I don't like about it is the adventure- it doesn't have the feel of the domain IMO.

It is still on hiatus as a print book (printer troubles), but the pdf has been out for a while.


Whizbang Dustyboots said:
Are the people recommending Yggsburgh, Dragonlance and the WILDERLANDS missing that Beholder doesn't want settings that evoke LotR at all?
Wilderlands is definitely not LotR. Interestingly, the creator of the setting used to use Middle Earth as a setting and created Wilderlands in response to his party's urge to get into something grittier, like Conan, Fahfard and Grey Mouser, and Barsoom. Definitely no great god "Auto-Cannon" in Middle Earth! ;)

Wilderlands would certainly fit Beholder's criteria...


Of really recent offerings, I'd have to say Wildwood is about the most cool. It is burdened by the fact that the hardcover is still not available.

Eberron and Iron Kingdoms are also very high quality, though I think if you want to go off the beaten path more, IK is your best bet. OTOH, if you want to be able to use most official supplements and have them implicitly fit, Eberron is a better candidate.


First Post
I definitely like Eberron. It's different without being too different (I could really care less about the IK style steampunk with magic), the rules modifications for it are reasonably well balanced, and don't change the core rules a huge amount, the density is just about perfect.

One person said that they thought the small number of nations might be a problem--that maybe there are too few. But as far as I can tell, it's just about perfect. Let me explain why I think that's true:

In the ECS, we have 16 distinct regions on the continent of Khorvaire, plus Aerenal, Argonessen, Sarlona, Xen'drik, and Frostfell. Of the 16 regions on Khorvaire, approximately ten are civilized. (I say approximately, because a lot of them are really pretty debatable. Two of them are *definitely* hostile (the Demon Wastes and the Mournland), four are probably not friendly to most adventuring parties (the Shadow Marches, Droaam, Darguun, and the Lhazaar Principalities), etc. etc. There's a lot of variety here--in climate, culture, what kinds of encounters are likely, and so on.

But, at the same time, it's broken up into nicely digestible chunks. The recent book Five Nations covers the human nations (plus the Mournland, formerly a human nation). That's a good third of the areas on Khorvaire, and about the same landmass--and covers most of the range of terrain and culture. (Okay, no monstrous cultures here yet, and no desert.) More importantly, by having a single book covering just the Five Nations, there's plenty of room to talk about several power groups in *great detail* in each nation.

Basically, instead of having a zillion zillion different little nations each with its own agenda, we're getting less nations, and great detail on several organizations in each, each with different goals. That might not be everybody's cup of tea, but I like it quite a bit: it means that you can pick one nation and deal with the adventures and organizations local to that region, and then start to tie the organizations there into their continent-spanning counterparts.

And, most importantly, we're getting not just stat blocks for rulers, but goals and ideals, and the same for their opposition (both visible and covert).

Oh--and of course, aside from nations, we also have the dragonmarked houses, which are practically nations on their own (though not localized.)

Anyway, I think they've hit just about the perfect detail level with this setting. FRCS and GH are both great huge settings--but they're both so big that it's pretty much impossible to have both a detailed view of the individuals involved *and* a coherent global view at the same time. In Eberron, you can see how an invasion of monsters out of Droaam into Breland is going to effect everybody on the continent. Not immediately, not necessarily directly, but with any big thing like that, you start thinking about how the neighboring nations might want to grab some land (and why, and how, and under what pretense), how trade will be impacted, what secret evil organizations might do with the opportunity, etc. Suddenly, everything is in motion.

And that, I think, is something that most settings lack. That feeling of dynamism--how things will move if something changes. If things get too big, you start getting disconnects, so that things only matter locally. (Except when irritating do-gooders like Elminster exist to stitch the world together.) I mean--imagine Halruaa was blasted off the face of Faerun...

Who all would even notice?

It's not perfect, it's true. But it's the best setting I've seen in a long long time.

I have to go with Eberron.

If, as a GM, you wish to play traditional adventures you can and remain true to the world. However, it is the Dragon marks, new races and the threat of war that gives the world its flavor.

I have taken the adventure included in the Campaign book and the three adventures after and created a level 1- 16+ campaign.

There is intrigue, betrayal, monstrous creatures, city adventures, wilderness adventure, mental adventures (love those Quori) and so much more. (can't forget sailing in Hurricanes!)

The most would recommend as GM when running it is have a lose idea of what hapopened in the Mournlands and why. Players will drift towards it and look for answers.

I GM Eberron and have recently joined a group that has mixed Eberron with Iron Kingdoms which is neat and strange at the same time.

The Shaman

First Post
Grimstaff said:
Wilderlands is definitely not LotR. Interestingly, the creator of the setting used to use Middle Earth as a setting and created Wilderlands in response to his party's urge to get into something grittier, like Conan, Fahfard and Grey Mouser, and Barsoom. Definitely no great god "Auto-Cannon" in Middle Earth! ;)

Wilderlands would certainly fit Beholder's criteria...
Quoted for emphasis.


First Post
Now I can definitelly say that I have options.

These are the ones that seem interesting considering all you said or all the reviews you pointed out to me. It will be a tough choice.

Iron kingdoms
A game of thrones
Dark Legacies
Secret of Zir'An

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