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General D&D Settings with No Problematic Areas?

Retreater

Legend
In trying to think about what the future of the hobby might look like, I'm looking at some of the past products to see what D&D might end up shaping into.

We can infer that certain campaign settings will not be the basis of the future of D&D. Forgotten Realms (unless you use only the Sword Coast) has too many real world parallels with Maztica, Al-Qadim, etc. Mystara is a perfect example of "what not to do" in today's climate. Ravenloft is based on almost entirely real world horror stories and myths, so that's out too. Dark Sun has slavery. Birthright is too Euro-centric/Arthurian.

Maybe Eberron? I don't know enough about it. Is it Wildemount? Is this going to be the default campaign setting?

Really curious what you think.
 

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Mecheon

Adventurer
EDIT: Lets not forget religion, thats on the chopping block next. No gods or religious sects. So long Cleric and Monk, nice to know you.
Kill the gods and shatter their thrones.

Anywho, I don't think we'll see too many of changes. The problems are with individual parts of the settings, not the overall session themselves. Its morreso going to be a case where people just need to put some thought into things. Mystara and Birthright probably won't show up ever again, but that's less because of problems with them and moreso because WotC has made it apparent where it puts such.

Mind I've love Eberron to be the default setting over FR
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
In trying to think about what the future of the hobby might look like, I'm looking at some of the past products to see what D&D might end up shaping into.

We can infer that certain campaign settings will not be the basis of the future of D&D. Forgotten Realms (unless you use only the Sword Coast) has too many real world parallels with Maztica, Al-Qadim, etc. Mystara is a perfect example of "what not to do" in today's climate. Ravenloft is based on almost entirely real world horror stories and myths, so that's out too. Dark Sun has slavery. Birthright is too Euro-centric/Arthurian.

Maybe Eberron? I don't know enough about it. Is it Wildemount? Is this going to be the default campaign setting?

Really curious what you think.
I think you are worrying about soemthing that simply will not happen.

Horror isn’t inherently problematic, nor are real world analogues. Slavery as a thing players can oppose and such is probably fine. DS is a world where everything sucks unless the PCs choose to be heroes and make the world suck less.

The strangest worry here is the idea that Arthurian fantasy is somehow off the table? What?

I honestly have no clue where you got the idea that any of this was something to worry about.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Its going to be 100% generic concerning alignments, races, and regions where the DM and Players will be forced to fill in the blanks. Sounds like a ripping good time to me.

EDIT: Lets not forget religion, thats on the chopping block next. No gods or religious sects. So long Cleric and Monk, nice to know you.
Sarcasm?

Anyway, I’m down for a campaign where the end game is to attack and dethrone the gods. Sounds dope as hell.
 

Bitbrain

Black Lives Matter
My opinion:

Regarding Forgotten Realms, I’m pretty sure they’ll just ignore Al-Qadim, especially since they already have Calimshan.

Everything Maztica tried to do, I would argue that Ixalan did better.

The elephant in the room with regards to Eberron is the continent of Xend’rik . . .

As far as Mystara is concerned, discard the cultural stereotypes of each nation and treat them as actual functioning civilizations with their own goals, ambitions, and problems.

EDIT - Oh, and get rid of the Kara-Kara.

Dark Sun has slavery, but it is treated as an institution that absolutely must be opposed and destroyed if the world is to have any hope of being made better.
 

Sarcasm?

Anyway, I’m down for a campaign where the end game is to attack and dethrone the gods. Sounds dope as hell.
I was being a bit sarcastic but I do think that WotC or any other company for that matter will think a bit harder and longer before releasing a product, at least for the foreseeable future. I'm sure there will be changes in the game but probably not as drastic as I described but who knows?
 


Seramus

Adventurer
Who knows? Things will change, new events in history will make new things offensive while old ones fall away. New challenges will arise and require meta commentary and examining. New pop culture references will come and go.

I certainly hope D&D continues to evolve and change. I've personally enjoyed most of the new gaming innovations to the hobby.
 

Planescape is relatively low on the problematic-o-meter because it's so wacky, cosmopolitan, and literally about the conflicts between ideas.

Dark Sun will do okay. About the most problematic thing about is it isn't slavery but rather Muls, and the fact that they're bred for slavery and so on. But that could easily be downplayed without significantly changing the setting.

FR is okay, they just need to do a little better on representation. No-one wants Maztica to come back. Ed Greenwood hates it because he feels it was way too close to real-world Central and South America. He wanted it to be a lot more fantasy and a lot less real-world-derived.

Mystara was outdated when I was a kid. That was a long time ago. It's not so much problematic as really kind of ridiculous and lazy.

6E is a toss-up between sticking with the FR, which they're pretty heavily invested in, IP-wise, or maybe going with Eberron, but I suspect they'll stick with the FR.
 

Micah Sweet

Explorer
Planescape is relatively low on the problematic-o-meter because it's so wacky, cosmopolitan, and literally about the conflicts between ideas.

Dark Sun will do okay. About the most problematic thing about is it isn't slavery but rather Muls, and the fact that they're bred for slavery and so on. But that could easily be downplayed without significantly changing the setting.

FR is okay, they just need to do a little better on representation. No-one wants Maztica to come back. Ed Greenwood hates it because he feels it was way too close to real-world Central and South America. He wanted it to be a lot more fantasy and a lot less real-world-derived.

Mystara was outdated when I was a kid. That was a long time ago. It's not so much problematic as really kind of ridiculous and lazy.

6E is a toss-up between sticking with the FR, which they're pretty heavily invested in, IP-wise, or maybe going with Eberron, but I suspect they'll stick with the FR.
Yeah, Eberron is an interesting world, and a great option to have, but it's too off brand to be D&D's default. They'll play it safe and stick with the relatively inoffensive Sword Coast like they have been doing. Even with that, I doubt they'll put out any significant setting content any time soon. To easy to get it wrong and have folks up in arms again.
 


Just to add this to the mix, but despite almost everything being set in the Realms and the Core books reading like the Realms is the default setting, over the past several months Jeremy and Chris and others at WotC have been emphasizing there is no default setting for 5E, or rather that the Multiverse of all D&D worlds is the default setting. Crawford has even said this as far back as 2015.
 

ChaosOS

Hero
Supporter
If you read the critiques levied at FR, many of them are rooted in that the other regions are written from an "outsider looking in" perspective, unlike the Sword Coast which is written with the assumption of the familiar. That perspective leads to not just harmful stereotypes but frankly bad writing. That's what needs to be fixed.

Also, Eberron's Xen'drik needs rehabilitation but the creator Keith Baker has expressed interest in that direction so it'll be fine.
 

Also, Eberron's Xen'drik needs rehabilitation but the creator Keith Baker has expressed interest in that direction so it'll be fine.
Been a long time since I read the 3E Core Eberron or the Xen'drik supplement what's the problem with it? Is it the face that theres alot of Drow on the continent, honestly don't remember?
 

Remathilis

Legend
Maybe Eberron? I don't know enough about it. Is it Wildemount? Is this going to be the default campaign setting?
Eberron still has some problem spots. They put the drow into the position of being jungle-dwelling natives who worship scorprions and are extremely Xenophobic. It's been dialed back some in 5e, but at one point, Drow were literally stand-ins for hostile dark-skinned jungle tribes. Not thier finest move.

Wildemount, for all its goodness, isn't owned by WotC.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
I love love loooove Dark Sun, and i agree with the above poster that the existence of slavery in the setting is less problematic because it's portrayed as an unambiguous evil to be opposed.

However...

... one possible issue with Dark Sun is that all the big evil overlords, the sorcerer-kings, the genocidal horrors who destroyed the world and created a dried-up slave-driven dystopia, are fairly heavily influenced by real-world cultures. Gulg is clearly sub-Saharan Africa, Balic is ancient Greece/Rome, Draj borrows heavily from the Aztecs and Mayans, Raam is Indian, Urik and Nibenay etc take a lot from ancient Mesopotamian cultures.

Notice what's missing there? A western-based culture. Now the DS creators have been on record for a loooong time (ie, for decades) that the intention was to get away from the default quasi-medieval D&D setting assumptions and create a world that used a broader array of influences, and mostly to draw those influences from the ancient world rather than the medieval time period. So I certainly don't think anyone can really claim there's any malice here. But in the modern day, to have an array of horrible environment-destroying slavery-promoting tyrannical overlords and they're all based on long-dead and predominately non-white cultures and not a single one of them manages to critique or reflect the various horrible environment-destroying slavery-promoting tyrannical systems that white western Europeans have managed to run in the last 500 years? Might raise some eyebrows.

Like I said, I looove Dark Sun, but i think that's something they'd probably tweak, if they had their time again. If I was writing 5e DS (hire me, WotC!), I'd probably do that by having the book set post-Kalak, like the 4e DS book was, but having post-Kalak Tyr borrow heavily from the Reconstruction-era US south, with the slaves nominally freed but all sorts of prejudices, terrorism, murder, unjust laws and law enforcement etc against ex-slaves who try to use their new freedom by people seeking to preserve the privileges and economic power they had under the old order.
 

ChaosOS

Hero
Supporter
Been a long time since I read the 3E Core Eberron or the Xen'drik supplement what's the problem with it? Is it the face that theres alot of Drow on the continent, honestly don't remember?
@Remathilis got the basics down.

In general the tone has tended to glorify the colonialist looting of Xen'drik a bit too unconditionally. Furthermore, the writers went too far on keeping it "mysterious" to the point that it leaves out the opportunity to deepen the cultures of the Drow. Keith agrees this is a problem
Keith Baker on Discord said:
For what it's worth, I've never liked the presentation of the Vulkoori. The Qaltiar were my attempt to broaden the scope of the Vulkoori into a civilization that used primal magic as its base—focusing on the point that a civilization that uses a different sort of magic as its foundation -- primal, psionic, divine -- will be different than one based on arcane.
The Vulkoori follow a different path, but that doesn't make them more "savage" than the Sulatar or the people of Stormreach; it means they have mastered a form of science those other cultures don't understand.
And to the lizardfolk, I'd argue that the Poison Dusk aren't demon WORSHIPPERS; they are victims of demonic influence.
I agree that from a player perspective it may be different, but it's not a case of a savage culture, it's a case of supernatural influence. While the Cold Sun I focus on as being entirely alien.

I see a similar situation with the Talenta, we've just never gone into them with enough depth to see the virtues of their system and the tools they have access to through their interaction with spirits.
To me, most of the civilizations that appear "primitive" in Eberron are employing systems the "civilized" people don't understand; it's not that they aren't clever enough to grasp the Galifar way of life, it's that the tools they've developed are better suited to their region and way of life.
And honestly, [user], I could imagine doing a deep drow dive some day. Qaltiar, Umbragen, and Sulatar are dramatically different, and the Qabalrin could get squeezed in there.(edited)
But I agree that the Vulkoori—especially as the default drow everyone knows—are problematic.
 

humble minion

Adventurer
If you read the critiques levied at FR, many of them are rooted in that the other regions are written from an "outsider looking in" perspective, unlike the Sword Coast which is written with the assumption of the familiar. That perspective leads to not just harmful stereotypes but frankly bad writing. That's what needs to be fixed.
Yep, definitely.

The existence of places in FR based on real-world cultures would probably be less of an issue if they weren't presented as basically tourism fodder for your PC from Waterdeep to visit. This is something i actually kinda liked about the Al Qadim line. It was unambiguous that PCs were expected to universally be locals, the books were all written from the perspective of locals, and tourists or visitors from the rest of the realms were treated as curiosities at best.

And frankly, Pathfinder/Paizo is every bit as bad if not worse for this. Jade Regent adventure path? Tourists from GenericFantasyVillage saving fantasy not-Japan from evil, because nobody in fantasy not-Japan can do the job themselves. Reign of Winter? Same, tourists saving the day, in fantasy not-Russia this time. Mummy's Mask? Possibly the worst of the lot, your PCs are literally tomb robbers who are permitted by the ruler of fantasy not-Egypt to plunder the local tombs because he has decided his country is FAR better off if foreigners plunder their tombs. There's a brief paragraph in the intro about suggested PC backgrounds, with the last-resort option being "your PC might even be a local of fantasy not-Egypt who believes you have a better right to loot your nation's tombs than foreigners do", but jeeeez....
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Watch The Dragon Prince on Netflix if you want to see the future of Western D&D style fantasy. Spoiler: it looks a lot like the past, except some of the problematic bits have been filed down (or off).
Yep. Dragon Prince is great.

People have stereotyped views... and are proved wrong. Xenophobia is a road to ruin. Reaching a hand across to traditional enemies proves to be the road to saving the world, open minds yield strength, people stumble, and some redeem themselves and others do not, and all that.
 

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