Definition of "Homebrew"?

Mr. Lobo

Visitor
My first Thread! :)

I guess I shouldn't get to excited yet. If this topic has been covered before please point me in the right direction.

With the flurry of activity on the boards concerning how people start, organize and run their campaigns I got to thinking about what people think of when they see the word "homebrew" in reference to campaigns.

To you, does this mean that just about everything is created from scratch? Such as all original maps and keys, races, pantheon, prestige classes, adding in new (original) monsters, etc.?

Or, at the other side of the extreme, can a campaign be called homebrewed if it uses an established setting, following the rules therein, but have a story line that is not unique to the setting? Like using the Greyhawk setting (including established maps of the wilderness, villages, ruins and cities) and Living Greyhawk Gazetteer rules but have an original plot and story as opposed to running the GDQ series.

Mostly in my "homebrewed" campaigns I use the core D&D rules with an original area map populated with original (some), published, and public domain areas (cities and dungeons) strung together with an original overall plot(s). Ideally, the driving bits and pieces of the plots are worked into the published/public domain areas as the player characters progress in levels.

But I'm wondering if that is really a homebrew campaign relative to what other people think.
 
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BiggusGeekus

That's Latin for "cool"
Great question!

I would never have thought to define "homebrew". It's kind of like pr0n, I don't know what it is, but I know it when I see it.

If I had to define it, it would be thusly: if the DM drew the map, it's homebrew.

Just my two cents!
 

philreed

Explorer
Homebrew, in my opinion, is any campaign in which the DM has cobbled together what he wants in his game. This can be a mix of published material and custom-created material -- that doesn't matter in my eyes. What's more important is how everything is merged together.

As an example, consider the DM that constructs a city of his own but creates it from bits and pieces -- a store from this supplement, an NPC from that novel, a statue of his own design. While the DM is accessing pre-created material he's mixing it to create something new. Maybe it's like samples in music.
 

Wombat

Visitor
Homebrew ... the other other white meat ;)

Yeah, it is kind of hard to define. For the most part a homebrew for me starts as a setting or plot idea. Then I find a set of rules that is close to what I want, something that maps the major parts of the action fairly well. Then we get under the hood of the rules, start tinkering so the rules fit the setting (rather than vice versa), making as many adjustments as necessary.

For my current campaign, for example, I started with the premise of what if the Europeans came to the New World not during times of internal political division amongst the native empires, but during a time of political solidarity. But I also wanted a game with a good swashbuckling feel, sort of like Adventures of Robin Hood meets Aguirre, the Wrath of God. So I took Arcana Unearthed (I love the Unfettered and Magister classes!) as the base rules, added in a good dash from both Skull & Bones and Swashbuckling Adventures, simplified the combat a bit, added some spells, took out some others, messed with the character races a bit (there are no "intelligent monsters" in this setting other than undead), and started writing up background myths, creating maps of the area and core cities, found a multitude of pictures from the internet of 16th century costuming and armour, and asked everyone in my gaming group to contribute to the melanage as they saw fit -- some came up with restaurants, some with NPCs, some with extra legends, and one fellow created a new form of astrology, including all the signs.

In many ways, the rules are simply a convenience in the homebrew world of New Mavarga. Much more important is the feel of the world.

So I'd say that homebrew for me is first and foremost creating a proper mood and only secondarily about the rules, per se.
 

Mark

CreativeMountainGames.com
IMO, if the majority of what you use is from a single source and meant to be used as a setting for RPGs, then you are either "using a setting" or "using a modified setting". However, if the majority is from your own head or from multiple sources (either meant to be gaming material or not), then you're working a "Homebrew" (like the big dog that you are). :)
 

Jdvn1

Hanging in there. Better than the alternative.
Mr. Lobo said:
With the flurry of activity on the boards concerning how people start, organize and run their campaigns I got to thinking about what people think of when they see the word "homebrew" in reference to campaigns.

To you, does this mean that just about everything is created from scratch? Such as all original maps and keys, races, pantheon, prestige classes, adding in new (original) monsters, etc.?
Take your whole game. Take out the unnecessary house rules (the stuff that you house rule for balance not for color). Take out the campaign. The rest is homebrew.
 

Testament

Visitor
Mark said:
IMO, if the majority of what you use is from a single source and meant to be used as a setting for RPGs, then you are either "using a setting" or "using a modified setting". However, if the majority is from your own head or from multiple sources (either meant to be gaming material or not), then you're working a "Homebrew" (like the big dog that you are). :)
That's my theory.
 
Homebrew: The game is mostly created by the GM, probably never to be used for anyone else other than the GM. It may contain elements of published settings, usually "with the serial numbers filed off" and usually contains more than enough house-rules, changes, additional material, and other enhancements.

By contrast, a "Published" setting has a campaign book that was mass-market sold (either in book form or by PDF).
 

IronWolf

blank
Mark said:
IMO, if the majority of what you use is from a single source and meant to be used as a setting for RPGs, then you are either "using a setting" or "using a modified setting". However, if the majority is from your own head or from multiple sources (either meant to be gaming material or not), then you're working a "Homebrew" (like the big dog that you are). :)
I agree with Mark. If most of your material comes from a published setting then you are "using a modified setting".

I see people tha have homebrew settings as having drawn their own world map, put in their own organizations and cities, etc. They have worked out what people do for a living, how they survive, what they trade, etc.
 
Mr. Lobo said:
Like using the Greyhawk setting (including established maps of the wilderness, villages, ruins and cities) and Living Greyhawk Gazetteer rules but have an original plot and story as opposed to running the GDQ series.
Not a homebrew.

Mr. Lobo said:
Mostly in my "homebrewed" campaigns I use the core D&D rules with an original area map populated with original (some), published, and public domain areas (cities and dungeons) strung together with an original overall plot(s).
Looks like you got yerself a homebrew!
 

Turjan

Visitor
Those truly original homebrews might exist, but in my game they look more like the 'soup of the day' ;). Take some handy Ultima map with lots of modifications, add magic, mojh and classes from AU, plunder Jack Vance's 'Planet of Adventure' for some good effect, mix in a good pinch of FR material, steal some nice bits from the Sovereign Stone campaign, shake out Glorantha thorougly and see what falls out, rake together some other tidbits from sources I forgot, and my newest homebrew is ready to serve :D!
 

Desdichado

Adventurer
I agree with the crowd; homebrew means, at least, that you're not using a published setting as the basis for your game.

Of course, so far this thread hasn't really touched on homebrew rules systems, but that's perhaps beyond the scope. ;)
 

Mr. Lobo

Visitor
Hello all. Just wanted to say "thanks" for the responses to the thread. A lot of great reads in there clarifying the difference between setting based campaigns and something else - homebrew.
 
Ed Cha said:
Does anyone know where the term "homebrew" originated from? By who?
The term is a reference to those people who brew their own beer in their house, as opposed to buying mass produced beer like Coors or Miller. The analogy is that homebrew games are small, made locally, and enjoyed by a small group of people (friends) rather than mass produced and shipped all over the country for profit and enjoyment.

How the term actually got applied to gaming is beyond me though...
 

Khorod

Visitor
I don't consider an intricate world made by an amateur and somewhat publishable to be a Homebrew. Its just a setting that wasn't published.
 

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