D&D General Do you Prefer a Bespoke Setting or Established Setting for a Campaign

Azzy

KMF DM
How about you? Do you set your games in the same setting, over and over again, building a library of lore specific to your table? Or, are you more like me and each setting is a specific backdrop for a specific campaign and even games set in the same setting likely have nothing to do with each other? Or, something in between?
I'm more like you—even campaigns that are set in the same setting are likely to be independent of each other.
 

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I'm a mix but with a strong tendency toward bespoke. The campaign I just finished was bespoke. The one before that was Golarion straight outta the source books. The ongoing one I run for my wife is set in Greyhawk (primarily, we have just started doing a little plane hopping and my version of the planes is not canonical) but Greyhawk is bare-bones enough that I can change/make up huge swathes of it to tailor it more to the desired style and plots. The campaign I am just starting is set in London in 1986 (it's urban fantasy.)

I do prefer bespoke. I really enjoy world building. :)
 

Yora

Legend
I think the best setting released for D&D, both in general and also in regard to scale and scope specifically, was the original release of Dark Sun. It covers an area that is quite big for the purpose of individual adventures and single specific campaigns, but much smaller than most D&D worlds, and being a desert, with a quite low density of sites.
It really is one setting with one thematic focus. Not eight settings stitched together so that parties can hypothetically travel between them. Which in practice doesn't really happen anyway, unless the GM specifically sets out to run a campaign that travels around the world. Which I haven't actually seen pulled off successfully anyway.
Dark Sun feels like it has found the maximum scale at which events hapening on one end of the map still actually impact things on the other end of the map. Raam and Balic are still believable as city states whose rulers keep track of what the other is doing, and which see the occasional merchants travel between them, carrying goods and news. I think much larger than that, and you'd lose that interconnectedness.
 

Mark Hope

Adventurer
How about you? Do you set your games in the same setting, over and over again, building a library of lore specific to your table? Or, are you more like me and each setting is a specific backdrop for a specific campaign and even games set in the same setting likely have nothing to do with each other? Or, something in between?
Bespoke, mostly, although it's a bit of a mish-mash. I started gaming in Holland in the early 80s and it was nigh-impossible to find gaming stuff, so from the start I was running games in a bespoke homebrew setting because from what I could tell, that's what you were supposed to do. I hoovered up whatever I could find (so my world has the Isle of Dread and Castle Amber etc) and just went from there. By the time I got my hands on a pre-made setting (the Greyhawk box), I already had a world map and there was no room for the Flanaess, so Greyhawk became another planet that characters from my gameworld went to from time to time. I've continued in this vein, stealing things from Forgotten Realms (Myth Drannor, Undermountain, Thay) and adding off-world things like Spelljammer, Planescape, the odd trip to Ravenloft. I think I'm not alone in this approach. All my D&D games are set in this ongoing world and I develop new areas as needed - barbarian adventurers over here, enlightened magocracy over there, crumbling empire off thattaway etc.

Apart from my homebrew, the only premade campaign setting I use in its entirety is Dark Sun. Because Dark Sun is just so freaking awesome. Everything else is pillaged, looted, crammed into my homebrew, with the bones left for the crows.
 



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