• Welcome to this new upgrade of the site. We are now on a totally different software platform. Many things will be different, and bugs are expected. Certain areas (like downloads and reviews) will take longer to import. As always, please use the Meta Forum for site queries or bug reports. Note that we (the mods and admins) are also learning the new software.
  • The RSS feed for the news page has changed. Use this link. The old one displays the forums, not the news.

5E How about this for 5E Campaign Settings: "Classic Worlds of D&D"

This could be considered Take 2 of this thread I started about a month ago. From that thread, and the Settings Tournament I ran (congrats to Greyhawk), I came to the conclusion that publishing new versions of old settings would not only be well-received, but a good thing. I was resistant at first, wanting a new setting to explore, but that's another matter.

As for 5E's setting(s), the only thing we know is that the Forgotten Realms will be central to 5E, possibly the default setting (whatever that means), and that Ed Greenwood is involved. There's been hints, or perhaps only speculation, that they have a clever way to support all time periods of the Realms, but that could just be a rumor. That's about it, I think.

So here's an idea: Go ahead and support the FR in whatever way seems right (although I'm not sure another round of supplements covering the same regions once again makes sense, but that's just me). That said, I'd also like to see the following:

Classic Worlds of Dungeons & Dragons
- This would be a line of high quality hardcover books in the $50-60 range (maybe more) - similar in quality and size to the classic 3E Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting book, or Pathfinder's Inner Sea - a big, glossy, beautiful hardcover tome for each of the major campaign settings in D&D's history. By "major" I mean: Greyhawk, the Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, Planescape, and Eberron. Other possibilities include Mystara, Dragonlance, and Ravenloft, but these would be the next round, if the first round is successful. After that they could do lesser known settings like Birthright and Spelljammer, Nentir Vale, Blackmoor, etc (wouldn't we love to see a fuller treatment of Nentir Vale/Nerath?).

Now realistically its hard to imagine them actually doing this for many settings. But what if they did one or two books per year, in addition to whatever setting is central to Next? So we could see something like this:

2014: Forgotten Realms
2015: Greyhawk, Planescape
2016: Dark Sun, Eberron
2017: Mystara, Dragonlance
2018: Ravenloft, Birthright
2019: 6th ed....just kidding (sorta)

But you get the point.

Why does this make sense? Because 5E is supposed to be the "edition for everyone," and that means all of the great worlds that have been created over the last 40 years. They wouldn't have to provide further support for these settings, except for in Dragon and Dungeon. And they could hire [MENTION=9849]Echohawk[/MENTION] to put together an appendix, which would be a guide to all product ever published on that world.

Now I'd personally love to see them do this and produce a new setting every year or two, but that doesn't seem likely. But one can dream...

Anyhow, what do you think? Would you spend $60ish (or $40ish on Amazon) on a beautiful hardcover once or twice a year on a classic setting? Do you think WotC would do something like this?
 

Hussar

Legend
I could see it being done well, but I could also see it being done very badly. After all, a lot of the settings went... erm... off the rails towards the end. I mean, do you include the Greyhawk wars in the big book of Greyhawk? Ravenloft saw a whole pile of revisions over the years. What period of Krynn would you look at? 5th Age Krynn? So on and so forth. For every person they made happy, there would be a bunch of others endlessly kvetching about how they did it badly.
 

trancejeremy

Villager
Anyhow, what do you think? Would you spend $60ish (or $40ish on Amazon) on a beautiful hardcover once or twice a year on a classic setting? Do you think WotC would do something like this?
The people interested in the classic settings almost by definition already have past products - so what do they get from the new one? A superficial recap of the setting and that's it. And they likely won't like the recap of the setting, since chances are good it's by someone who doesn't know the setting.

I mean, would I buy a new Mystara book by Bruce Heard? Heck yes. Would I buy one from the people currently at WOTC or their current usual freelancers? Nope.
 

Incenjucar

Villager
A short synopsis of the setting and the RULES required to run it (monsters, spells, items, etc) could be of use, but unless you have someone pouring their heart and soul into a setting, you're not likely to get as much out of it.
 

Jan van Leyden

Villager
Like [MENTION=22779]Hussar[/MENTION] mentioned (can't XP him right now), the names you gave us aren't one setting each.

Most prominent it's with the Forgotten Realms. You have 1e before the Time of Troubles, 2e before Dwarves became able to cast magic, 3e before the return of the other half of the world, and 4e before the Sundering thing. And what about the gods with their sometimes pretty short terms of office?

If you want to make the setting valid for all players, you'd have to cover all these eras.
 

Quartz

Explorer
I really didn't like what they did with Dragonlance.

Anyway, I'd pay good money for a comprehensive Greyhawk reboot. Not only must the setting be rebooted and reinvigorated - advancing the timeline to Pluffet Smedger's day would be good - but it's got to comprehensively but concisely rationalise and cover all the lore from all the books and modules.
 
Dragonlance is an example of a setting that was "ruined" by the metaplot in novels. I didn't read past Legends, but didn't the timeline go another few hundred years with a couple more cycles of cataclysmic events?

But the point here--and this is also in response to @Jan van Leyden --would be to present the setting in its most classic form, as a kind of platonic archetype that can be used by DMs as they desire, or simply enjoyed as a beautiful book and enjoyable read.

So yeah, @trancejeremy , the key would be to bring in Bruce Heard for Mystara, or Hickman and Weis for Dragonlance, or use divinatory magic to consult with the spirit of E Gary to get the vintage Greyhawk vibe (or just steal liberally from the classic AD&D box set).

@Hussar , if I was in charge of developing this product line, I would have the writers create a later chapter, even an extended appendix, that provides an overview of later developments in metaplot, which could be offered as a possible future to explore. But the Greyhawk book itself would be dialed back to before the wars, Dragonlance to the Chronicles period, or at least after Legends, and FR to the graybox period.

@Yora , it is similar to 4E, but the key difference is that it wouldn't be updating the setting to 4E, but returning it to its archetypal state and creating the most beautiful product possible. Greyhawk fans have never had a full-blown, high production treatment of their setting. The most recent version, the 3e Living Greyhawk Gazetteer was a decent product, and still the most comprehensive Greyhawk setting book (afaik), but it didn't wow one with sensory delight like the3e Forgotten Realms Campaign Setting or Pathfinder's Inner Sea World Guide.

The point here is to create a product that is both useful for 5e and for other editions, and as a commemorative product for collectors and fans of the setting.
 

TwoSix

Lover of things you hate
If they did these books like this, I'd buy every single one.

1) No rules.
2) A lot of art, both classic and new.
3) Start at a classic point for the setting. For FR, pre-ToT. For Greyhawk, pre-Wars. For Dark Sun, pre-Prism Pentad. For DL, right at the point where the Chronicles start.
4) A detailed appendix of the timeline of the publishing history of the setting and major metaplot events of the setting. This would be a small section for Eberron, but a big section for Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms.
 

TerraDave

5ever
Its what they should do. The 3E (main) FR book is a good model. And my understanding is that it was a huge seller, even to people who bought 2E material.
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
With Wizards of the Coast releasing all the old books as PDFs, it makes sense to make setting books reset to the beginning and flesh out the world. As other have said, include an appendix with a timeline and reference to classic products.
 

the Jester

Legend
Anyhow, what do you think? Would you spend $60ish (or $40ish on Amazon) on a beautiful hardcover once or twice a year on a classic setting? Do you think WotC would do something like this?
I'd be willing to buy a good setting book for the settings I love, even if I don't play or run them- Greyhawk, Planescape, maybe Eberron, etc.

The others- nah, not happening for me. And any supplemental books would have to be just top-notch for me to buy 'em.

As for whether WotC would do something like this- I suspect we'll see a couple of settings books over the 5e years, but I'd be surprised to see them regularly pumping 2/year out. Who knows, though?
 
First off, I agree with [MENTION=1210]the Jester[/MENTION] that WotC is more likely to do one a year rather than two.

While I like the idea (obviously, considering I brought it forward!), I can see how, once you get beyond a few settings, there are good reasons not to do a full treatment. Let's take a look, with some random thoughts on each:

Forgotten Realms - they've already said this is the default/core setting for the game so its a no-brainer.

Greyhawk
- given its status as the classic D&D setting and 5e's design goal of being Everyman's D&D, this would also seem to be a no-brainer to revive. Also, as I said in the OP, its never really gotten a full treatment, at least not for decades.

Eberron - I have a feeling that Eberron might be done. It seems moderately popular but maybe not enough to create another book.

Planescape - This is a big question mark. On one hand, I could see them doing what they did in 4e - include Sigil in the Manual of the Planes. But they barely skimmed the surface. I think a full treatment of Sigil (with sections on the Outlands and planes) in hardcover would be quite successful, sort of WotC's answer to Ptolus.

Dark Sun - Dark Sun, while specific thematically, has a place. I think it deserves another treatment and has the following, or at least "collector appreciation," to be viable.

Dragonlance - I think Krynn's day is done. While the Realms can be relatively painlessly rebooted as it was always an RPG setting first, a setting for novels second, Krynn seems a bit more towards the latter, as the number of people who read the novels far outweighs those who actually played Dragonlance. The metaplot is too dominant. I suppose the only way to do this would be to either move the timeline forward again, to a relatively clean slate, or reboot back to Chronicles, and come out with Paizo Runelords-style adventure path book in addition or instead of the campaign setting.

Mystara - I always think of this as Greyhawk's younger sibling. I remember buying a couple products just for the Stephen Fabian art, but being turned off by bearded elves. Anyhow, I don't know what to think of Mystara. On one hand, I think the nostalgia factor would, like Greyhawk, give a guaranteed number of sales. But would it be enough? Is Mystara not quite classic enough to avoid the dated feeling?

Ravenloft - I believe this had already been announced as being part of 5e canon, so we'll see what they do with it.

Nerath/Nentir Vale - This setting seems woefully neglected. I'm of two minds, either let it go as an artifact of 4e, or go whole-hog in and create a setting out of it. Its a tricky one.

Birthright - While I liked Birthright, I can't see a reboot. Maybe if they wanted to do something along the lines of Paizo's Ultimate Campaign and Kingmaker AP - Birthright would be a good default setting for that. But it just doesn't seem to have the gravitas to stand on its own or be worth the resources required.

Spelljammer - Spelljammer is sort of like the disco of D&D worlds - its better in memory, and in short doses, than in reality, and larger immersions. I enjoyed Spelljammer, especially space warfare, but it seems best suited incorporated into something else (which is why I loved the 4e Astral Sea Planescape-Spelljammer fusion).

Al-Qadim, Maztica, Kara-Tur, Hollow World - I can't see any of these being serious options, at least not on their own.

In summary, I think we could split them into the following groups:

Tier One (Probable - keep the flame alive, WotC): Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Planescape, Dark Sun
Tier Two (A good possibility, but not definite): Eberron, Dragonlance, Mystara, Ravenloft, Nerath
Tier Three (Probably best left in the closet, or incorporated somewhere else): Spelljammer, Birthright, etc

With that in mind, I would do full treatments of tier one, with a three year plan like so:

2014: Forgotten Realms
2015: Greyhawk, Planescape
2016: Dark Sun

By 2015 I'd be thinking about 2017 and beyond. I'd consider how the first few went and what community demand is and then maybe start dipping into tier two and/or create a new setting.

2014 will be full enough, so I think the Forgotten Realms is enough. But I think Greyhawk and Planescape can be done in the same year, because they're both related and different enough. Planescape could be considered an extension of whatever kind of Manual of the Planes book they do, and I believe MotP has traditionally been released (at least in 3e and 4e) within a year of the core rulebooks.
 

Nellisir

Villager
With Wizards of the Coast releasing all the old books as PDFs, it makes sense to make setting books reset to the beginning and flesh out the world. As other have said, include an appendix with a timeline and reference to classic products.
I see this exactly the other way around. With Wizards of the Coast releasing all the old books as PDFs, it doesn't make sense to make setting books reset to the beginning and repeat information. If I want 1e Greyhawk, I'll go get the pdfs of the gold box. If I want original Forgotten Realms, I'll get the grey box. I want something that'll give a good grounding to the setting, sure, but I don't want to retread it over and over again.
 

MJS

Villager
I would be much more likely to purchase things like 4E's geomorph type products.

Settings - meh. They exist to be cannibalized for maps and NPC's. Not too interested in running Ed's, or Gary's, or Frank's, etc. worlds.
 
I definitely would collect every one of those books I could.

Nitpick: The Forgotten Realms cannot be a default setting, since it has its own version of subraces which are distinctly different than the (assumedly) PHB subraces. That really is a big deal to setting feel and identity. I personally expect that there won't be a default setting, but FR will have the same sort of status as it did in 2e--the best supported and default place to stick new material.
 
I would be much more likely to purchase things like 4E's geomorph type products.

Settings - meh. They exist to be cannibalized for maps and NPC's. Not too interested in running Ed's, or Gary's, or Frank's, etc. worlds.
That seems to be one dominant view these days. And all of us DMs have stolen liberally from other sources or borrowed from adventures for our own campaigns. If 5e really is meant to be an Everyman's D&D I could see them turning the clock waaay back to the Hommlet model, where the modules become discrete settings (with maps, etc) that individual DMs can connect however they like. It would make sense since supposedly they're wanting a more adventure-focused product release. We'll see what happens.
 

Jeff Carlsen

Adventurer
I see this exactly the other way around. With Wizards of the Coast releasing all the old books as PDFs, it doesn't make sense to make setting books reset to the beginning and repeat information. If I want 1e Greyhawk, I'll go get the pdfs of the gold box. If I want original Forgotten Realms, I'll get the grey box. I want something that'll give a good grounding to the setting, sure, but I don't want to retread it over and over again.
I disagree. The original releases of most those settings are nowhere near my expectations of trade dress.
 

DMZ2112

Chaotic Looseleaf
Planescape - This is a big question mark. On one hand, I could see them doing what they did in 4e - include Sigil in the Manual of the Planes. But they barely skimmed the surface. I think a full treatment of Sigil (with sections on the Outlands and planes) in hardcover would be quite successful, sort of WotC's answer to Ptolus.
Expect any treatment of Planescape to be in the core setting, supported by planar sourcebooks. That's the way it's been for two editions, and Mearls' remarks up until this point strongly suggest nothing is going to change. I see no tangible reason for them to.

I think Krynn's day is done. While the Realms can be relatively painlessly rebooted as it was always an RPG setting first, a setting for novels second, Krynn seems a bit more towards the latter, as the number of people who read the novels far outweighs those who actually played Dragonlance. The metaplot is too dominant. I suppose the only way to do this would be to either move the timeline forward again, to a relatively clean slate, or reboot back to Chronicles, and come out with Paizo Runelords-style adventure path book in addition or instead of the campaign setting.
That's a heavily biased position, Mercurius. I /despise/ what the Fifth Age did to Dragonlance, without fear of exaggeration, but even I can recognize that you're marginalizing a sizable chunk of the fandom, here.

I believe [Ravenloft] had already been announced as being part of 5e canon, so we'll see what they do with it.
The Newimprovedshadowfell! Coming 2014!

[Nerath/Nentir Vale] seems woefully neglected. I'm of two minds, either let it go as an artifact of 4e, or go whole-hog in and create a setting out of it. Its a tricky one.
It pains me to say so, but if the decision has been made to leave Nerath behind, and I believe it has, it should be left behind. It is a fourth iteration of the setting that is Mystara, Greyhawk, and the Forgotten Realms, and while it is my favorite of the four, fondness is not a good enough reason to fight for it further muddying the waters.

Spelljammer is sort of like the disco of D&D worlds - its better in memory, and in short doses, than in reality, and larger immersions. I enjoyed Spelljammer, especially space warfare, but it seems best suited incorporated into something else (which is why I loved the 4e Astral Sea Planescape-Spelljammer fusion).
He's only mentioned it once, but Mearls did specifically call Spelljammer out, and seems oddly set on turning it into its own thing, independent of its transitive roots. This is one to sit back and watch.

I see this exactly the other way around. With Wizards of the Coast releasing all the old books as PDFs, it doesn't make sense to make setting books reset to the beginning and repeat information. If I want 1e Greyhawk, I'll go get the pdfs of the gold box. If I want original Forgotten Realms, I'll get the grey box. I want something that'll give a good grounding to the setting, sure, but I don't want to retread it over and over again.
I agree with Nellisir. Reboots are unfair to anyone who bought the old books during their initial run, and doubly unfair to people who are buying the PDFs now, expecting them to have validity. New material for established settings should respect what has been published, no matter how vile, but not rehash anything. Give us new material that naturally expands our understanding of the setting -- don't retell old stories, and don't invalidate them with a manufactured apocalypse.
 

Nellisir

Villager
I disagree. The original releases of most those settings are nowhere near my expectations of trade dress.
Fair enough, I expected that. However, that brings us closer to the meat of the issue.

How is a reboot of the Forgotten Realms (resetting the clock to the original iteration in the grey box) going to substantially differ from the 3e Forgotten Realms book? I'd say that's pretty much the top bar right now (that and Golarion) There would be minor changes, a few gods switched out (Mystra instead of Mystra, or something), and fewer dwarves and elves. Otherwise, same thing.

How would a reboot of Greyhawk significantly differ from the 3e Campaign Gazeteer? It's true, the gold box is actually pretty slim - so what do you beef it up with? In the case of Greyhawk, all the deities are the same; you get a few new countries and the status quo shifts a tiny bit, but otherwise?

GOtta run
 

Advertisement

Top