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D&D General Old Campaign Worlds - What Have You Used And Why?


The other threads discussing the new Wildemon5e book have me wondering - what “official” campaigns have you played in, been influenced and/or run for D&D.

My big ones have been Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dark Sun, and Spelljammer - for actually running games. Greyhawk has been the biggest influence as it was the first campaign set I had access to (discounting Mystara from the Expert book). I used both Greyhawk and Forgotten Realms to design my own campaign world (Amberos). I ran a short-lived Dark Sun game, but I’ve been deeply interested in that world for years. As for Spelljammer, I was enthralled with and straight-away used it when I got it and have kept it as the primary means of travel to the outer planes in place of Astral travel.

I’ve played I6 - Ravenloft many times, but never used the Domains of Dread setting, though I certainly like to read through the campaign book/boxed set (pre-Conjuction).

I have had at one time or another all the various other campaign worlds and may have used an element or two from them, but never the world as a whole. Kara-Tur was especially disappointing (as was Maztica) as those sourcebooks came across as very dry reading that was a little too close to their historical counterparts. Al-Qadim had similar issues, but I did participate in a campaign that started in Zakahara, using one of the adventure box sets.

Its looking like the next campaign I do will be set in Eberron, so I have been reading up on it. It’s funny, as back in 3E I was quite opposed to the steampunk style of the world, but I’ve grown to like it.

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Dark Sun (played briefly in 2e and 5e, played more extensively in 4e); Ravenloft (played and DMed extensively in 2e; DMed my homebrew 5e campaign in the Domains of Dread); Greyhawk (default for the official modules of 3e); Al-Qadim (read a lot in 2e and inspired design for my 5e homebrew campaign); Wilderlands of High Fantasy (inspired a lot of my 3.5e and beyond - though I've never run it)


Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Official D&D settings that I've played or run games in...
  • Forgotten Realms
  • Greyhawk
  • Dragonlance
  • Dark Sun
  • Planescape
  • Spelljammer
  • Al-Qadim
  • Ravenloft
  • Masque of the Red Death
  • Council of Wyrms
  • Eberron - I was also originally opposed to this one but got over it and now I love it.
I love them all for different reasons and enjoyed playing in all of them. Probably for me, Greyhawk is the least connected to my game experience just because for most of the others, I either played a LOT in them, read fiction books set in them, played video games set in them, they're that evocative (Red Death/Raven Loft/Al-Qadim), or some mix of all of those.

Greyhawk I didn't play any video games, never really read any fiction, and in a lot of ways it feels bland to me. Obviously many many people feel differently about Greyhawk and love it, that is just my experience and feeling on it.

Enrico Poli1

We started with the Mentzer Red Box, and that means MYSTARA. Very important setting for us.

Then we changed to AD&D 2e, starting with DRAGONLANCE (we read and loved the novels), then a bit of GREYHAWK. We didn't play the Realms!
The settings we explored and enjoyed the most are RAVENLOFT, PLANESCAPE and especially DARK SUN. My favourite.
We also tried a little bit of SPELLJAMMER, AL QADIM and BIRTHRIGHT, but they had little influence on us.

Usually we started in a Prime Material Plane (Krynn, Athas, Oerth), but eventually we used the Planes to visit other settings. And we always visited the domains of Ravenloft.

Our group disbanded before the advent of 3.0

In subsequent years I was DM for other groups, but mostly for APs set in Greyhawk (Age of Worms, Savage Tide) or, as I skipped 4e entirely, in Pathfinder's GOLARION. Let's be frank, I despise Golarion. Even if I love Paizo's APs.

When 5e came out, I gladly returned to my first love. Given 5e retrocompatibility, I could use my old modules. Now, I usually DM in Mystara, but I came also ti appreciate the FORGOTTEN REALMS.
I am currently DMing Curse of Strahd.

The other threads discussing the new Wildemon5e book have me wondering - what “official” campaigns have you played in, been influenced and/or run for D&D.
My last campaign (OK, current, it should've been done by now, but I lost a year - I'll wrap it by summer, if I don't get too sick again) featured a lot of world-hopping so I borrowed several settings as well as using some original and/or lifted from non-D&D sources. The official D&D settings I used included Spelljammer, the World Axis (particularly the Feywild & Elemental Chaos), and Eberron, I also revisited old original settings, and even the World of Darkness.


Unserious gamer
Dark Sun (briefly)
Forgotten Realms (briefly)
Eberron (multiple times)
Golarion (Pathfinder)

and several different homebrew campaigns over the years.

Mark Hope

I use them all the time. I stole bits of the Realms for my homebrew (Myth Drannor, Undermountain), sent my characters to Greyhawk for a brief spell, sent them to Ravenloft often, use Spelljammer and Planescape as adjuncts to our regular game. Why? I think it's because they're all part of the D&D universe to me. There's a seamless connection and it just feels natural to make them part of my games.

If I had to pick one instead of my homebrew, though, it would be Dark Sun. I love that setting to bits and would run games there to the exclusion of all else if I could.

Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
My first DMing experiences using a non-homebrew setting were with Planescape, which remains my favorite legacy setting to this day.

Despite my handle, I'm not actually a big Realms fan. My two attempts at starting Realms campaigns in college fizzled fast, and I never really know what to do with it... and the lore just doesn't grab me. Plenty of interesting stuff to pillage in isolation for my own games.

I've frequently borrowed from Ravenloft, and most of my favorite 2e modules were Ravenloft modules.

Dragonlance was a fun set of modules to read... but as a setting? Eh. Like the Realms, I never really know what to do with it... though for quite different reasons. If you're not running the mods, it just feels like playing in the world of a Final Fantasy game after the big bad is defeated. Been there, done that, seen it... now what? Now, Taladas, on the other hand... that's been a temptation for a long time. You could tell a whole different epic over there... I often feel that Time of the Dragon is one of the most overlooked gems of the 2e era. What a map! What a continent! Maybe someday...

Mystara, Greyhawk and Birthright... I find them all fun to read, but have never run them or played in them. Like the Realms and Ravenloft, though, I love to steal from them.

Dark Sun and Eberron just aren't my jam. The former just doesn't grab me, and the latter... well, this is a small thing, but when the original books came out I was rather put off by how the dimensions and the demographics just didn't work. And the aesthetic didn't grab me - too much Wayne Reynolds.

Nowdays I run Midgard... which I think of as the "official unofficial" setting. It was created by Wolfgang Baur at the TSR/WotC offices, and contributors over the years include Jeff Grubb, Ed Greenwood, Monte Cook, Jonathan Tweet, Zeb Cook... so sort of a D&D "unauthorized director's cut". It's the first setting I've really gotten into running that I could see playing in for a long time to come...


How could I have forgotten Dragonlance? If it had not come out when it did, I likely would have drifted away from D&D altogether. Sadly, though I’ve made several attempt to run the old DL series, I never had a group that even managed to get to Xak Tsaroth in the first adventure.


Black Lives Matter
Of the official WOTC settings, I’ve only played in one: the Forgotten Realms.

As a DM, I’ve run a one-on-one Storm King’s Thunder campaign for my dad set in the Forgotten Realms, and I recently concluded an 18-month-long homebrew campaign for a group of five players that was basically Dark Sun in all but name.
I’m currently running two separate Eberron campaigns (one taking place in western Khorvaire and having a strong Lovecraftian and Terminator vibe, the other in eastern Khorvaire and a strong exploration theme).

Of the official settings, Dark Sun is easily the biggest influence for me. There are just so many things about it that I love. If WOTC ever releases an official Dark Sun campaign Guide for 5e, I’ll be very happy.

Eberron is complicated. There are things about it that I cannot stand, and yet there are also things about it that I absolutely love.

I dislike most of the Forgotten Realms, although I applaud Ed Greywood for the sheer volume of work he has put into the setting.

I’ve never played in or run a game set in any of the other settings, although Mr. Welch’s YouTube channel on Mystara has been really fun to listen to.


I tried many campaign worlds both as player and DM. Forgotten Realms got most of our attention, with my homebrew campaign (Solace) coming a close second.

Forgotten Realms
Dark Sun
Kara Tur
Council of Worms

There may be others, but this is all I can think of at the moment.

Some people may claim that Al'Qadim, Horde, Maztica, and Kara Tur are all part of the Forgotten Realms; but we used them as separate worlds.


Greyhawk - though this was early and we were young and we didn't really engage the setting. It was all modules in those days.
Forgotten Realms was my first published setting as GM, and I ran it for years. Al Qadim worked its way in there near the end.
I did a brief bit in Mystarra, a short-lived game.
I played in a Dragonlance game.
I ran a long game in Cidri, the setting (what there was of it) for Steve Jackson's "The Fantasy Trip," but using AD&D 2e rules.

But for the most part it's been my own settings, until my recent return to D&D to run Tal'Dorei (that game will have it's 1 year anniversary in a couple of weeks).


I've DM'ed:

Greyhawk (1e folio/boxed set with 3e mechanics updates, but not the Wars/FTA stuff) for a humano-centric gritty campaign where the PCs no not much of the world outside of their village to start with.

FR with Kara-Tur, Al-Qadim and Maztica as one big setting - for the depth of existing lore in a cosmoplitan high fantasy campaign

Ravenloft - primarily as an adjunct to FR for horror using Libris Mortis, Ghostwalk and Heroes of Horror. I've also used for more cthulhuesque using Lords of madness.

Planescape and Spelljammer as the glue for GH/FR/Mystara

Mystara/Known World for converted BECMI modules

Kalamar and World of Aereth/Known Realms (DCC campaign setting) for lower magic settings where I wanted the players to not have metagame knowledge.

I've even used the Mythus/Dangerous Journeys World of Aerth.

Played in GH, FR, Mystara and Eberron.
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Tyler Do'Urden

Soap Maker
I’ve never played in or run a game set in any of the other settings, although Mr. Welch’s YouTube channel on Mystara has been really fun to listen to.

So I'm not the only one who is hooked on those! Gah, brings back memories of my copy of the Rules Cyclopedia when I was a kid... I love listening to them on my commute.


41st lv DM
Basic, Expert, Companion, Master, Immortal :
We used assorted combinations of homebrew, Known World, & Greyhawk. Largely in that order. Because in the beginning all we had was the Basic book & B2 - & there's no setting there. So we had to make up everything else. Then we added some more modules & places in those got located on our "map".
A bit later we got the Expert set & the Isle of Dread. Now we had an official map & some description. Expert lv modules expanded upon this map. Then we started finding AD&D 1e stuff & the Greyhawk setting. Also the assorted BECMI Gazateer series. So our games were largely set in either the expanding Known World, Greyhawk, or combos of.

Greyhawk, FR, Dragon Lance, Known World, Middle Earth, a bit of the Hyborian Age from the Conan modules. Homebrew.

Sometimes separate, sometimes blended.
Greyhawk, FR, Dragon Lance, Known World, Middle Earth, Ravenloft/Domains of Dread (though we never actually used it as a whole setting), Dark Sun, a bit of Al Qadim, some Talasanta(sp?), a bit of Ars Magica. Plenty of Homebrew.
Sometimes separate, sometimes blended.

Greyhawk, FR, Dragon Lance, Known World, Middle Earth, Ravenloft/Domains of Dread (though we never actually used it as a whole setting), Dark Sun, a bit of Al Qadim, some Talasanta(sp?), a bit of Ars Magica. Plenty of Homebrew.
Plus Kalamar & Ebberon.
FR, Nentir Vale (only as far as whatever was in the couple of modules we had), & homebrew.
Not much effort was invested setting wise as initially we were playing the rules, and then we were finishing up our games as we were departing for PF.
Golarian, FR, GH, plenty of homebrew, bits of everything else.
Golarian, FR, GH, plenty of homebrew, bits of everything else.
Golarian & Homebrew


Dark Sun: The only setting I ran specifically to play in that setting. The game couldn't pick up steam and we only went a few sessions, but I still hope to return one day.

Nentir Vale: Stole some resources (Hammerfast was the biggest one) for my own world.

Forgotten Realms: Again, stole resources, but more heavily than with Nentir Vale. Used a lot of stuff from the 4e Neverwinter book. Having a long-running campaign start with Phandelver is largely the reason for this.

Wilderlands of High Fantasy, Mystara, Midkemia, Tekumel, Sanctuary / Thieves World, Haven the Free City / Thieves Guild, Kara-Tur, Dragonlance, Spelljammer, and Ptolus. Still itching to do Lankhmar, Arduin, Barsoom and Middle Earth. And all that is more material than I could play in a lifetime!

David Howery

for nearly all of my 1E gaming, it was set in Greyhawk, mainly because that's all there was, aside from a handful of non-TSR stuff that wasn't widely available where I was going to college. Towards the end of my gaming days in 2E, I set a campaign in FR, which was going strong at the time. My gaming days were over by the time they worked up DS, Mystara, and the rest...


I've mostly played/DMed homebrew settings, however, I have played in Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Al Qadim, and Ravenloft. I have DMed Greyhawk, Dragonlance, Taladas, and soon, Eberron. I've bought (or been given), but never played/DMed Dark Sun and Spelljammer.

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