Rich Baker on the Points of Light Setting.

SPECTRE666

Explorer
http://forums.gleemax.com/showpost.php?p=14733236&postcount=2053 :)

[sblock=Rich]Hi, Rin --

We're not actually building a world out of the "core" setting. In a sense, the core setting is simply a collection of proper names, artifacts, and legends we expect many generic D&D games to share. This has always been true to some degree; even back in 1st Edition, just about *every* campaign every DM ran assumed that Corellon Larethian put out Gruumsh's eye, that the drow fought the other elves and were driven underground, that Acererak the lich created a Tomb of Horrors somewhere on the planet, or that the Rod of Seven Parts was lying around someplace waiting to be found.

The big new thing in the "fluff" of 4e D&D is that we're not tethering these names and stories to the world of Greyhawk; we've created a new skeleton of linked assumptions (proper names, artifacts, stories) to anchor the fluff of the "implied" setting. Since we're telling a story that tieflings are the descendants of a ruling elite from a human empire that made pacts with devils, we might as well attach a "placeholder" name to it. Some DMs will use the name Bael Turath; other DMs will make up their own infernal empire. But "Bael Turath" looks nice than "[insert your chosen name here]".

Now, for my own part, I favor the idea of sketching a simple map of that setting and thinking up a name for it. But many of my colleagues feel that doing so would simply replicate the Greyhawk phenomenon, and make it harder for DMs who build their own worlds to use the material we're creating. (So far, I've lost that argument; hey, it happens!) The idea is to create just enough flavor to have interesting proper names and links for DMs to pick up and use, without dictating how their worlds have to go together.

All of that is not really relevant to the Forgotten Realms, of course; the Realms is an example of a specific world that is not beholden to core stories, names, or flavor. So there isn't a Bael Turath in Toril's past... but we do suggest that ancient Narfell might have been the place where tieflings first appeared in Faerun.

Does that help to clarify what we're doing with the "core setting?"[/sblock]
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Wormwood

Adventurer
Darn.

I really want setting information in the core books---if only because that's what I've come to expect from my RPG purchases.

edit: and I don't have any desire to homebrew. I just want to crack open the books and start playing.
 
Last edited:

Incenjucar

Adventurer
Meh.

This isn't exactly a huge issue to me, personally, as a homebrewer, but even an uninteresting setting would have been helpful to the youngsters.

Hopefully they at least have another setting search in the works.

*wrings his hands*
 

Sonny

Adventurer
This is how I was hoping the "Points of Lights" fluff was going to work. Give us some names, legends, and history, and we'll do the rest. I'm very happy with this info. :D
 

tomBitonti

Adventurer
Say what?

even back in 1st Edition, just about *every* campaign every DM ran assumed that Corellon Larethian put out Gruumsh's eye, that the drow fought the other elves and were driven underground, that Acererak the lich created a Tomb of Horrors somewhere on the planet, or that the Rod of Seven Parts was lying around someplace waiting to be found.

I beg to differ. None of the campaigns that I've been in have any of these assumptions.
 

Rabelais

First Post
Honestly, this is what I thought they meant when they were talking about PoL to begin with! I was excited by the concept, rather than the idea that it was tied to a particular setting. Our group is running something like Planegotten Eberhawk anyway... what would we do with a whole new setting?

PoL is appealing to me because it gives the players the sense that they are the ONLY thing between the BBEGs and total world domination... The other stuff is just names on a map. (to me)
 

architect.zero

First Post
This is fantastic news. Exactly how I wanted it to pan out. No maps, no distances between cities, no way to know what nations border each other. Leave all that up to the group. I sincerely hope that they leave it that way too, for the entirety of 4e's product cycle.

That being said, I would really like them to make a new setting that highlights 4e's unique points. Perhaps another setting search, perhaps not.
 

Voss

First Post
tomBitonti said:
I beg to differ. None of the campaigns that I've been in have any of these assumptions.

Yeah, I agree with you. Further this is one of those annoying things that keeps putting me off the development team, much more so than the mechanics. Even if he thinks this (and I for one don't know why he would make that assumption) he shouldn't be saying it, because it has no productive use other than to put people's hackles up.

The other stuff... well OK... I like the points of light concept, but by what he's saying, its not only blindly inserted fluff, but its not even *useful* fluff since there isn't anything coherent to do with it. The fluff will mean exactly the same thing as any random fantasy novel that a DM decides to steal ideas from. Or not.

But I fully expect he will eventually get his way, to the point that not only will there be a map, but by 2010, a setting book will be announced.
 

Sitara

Explorer
Yeah, and I bet Swordmages will be the uberclass of that setting. :)

But sriously, i really dig this new POL setting and definately would buy it...though i hope in an 'official' such setting there be no elves and halflings.
 

ObsidianCrane

First Post
Wormwood said:
Darn.

I really want setting information in the core books---if only because that's what I've come to expect from my RPG purchases.

edit: and I don't have any desire to homebrew. I just want to crack open the books and start playing.

Actually the way it seems the PHB/DMG/MM are going to be set up, along with the Modules you will get what you want largely. You will also have lots of freedom to use your own ideas when you have them - it really looks like a good setting.

tomBitonti said:
I beg to differ. None of the campaigns that I've been in have any of these assumptions.

Which aligns with what he said;

even back in 1st Edition, just about every campaign every DM

Its great your Campaigns didn't have the assumptions, but its clear he wasn't saying every Campaign had those assumptions.
 

JohnSnow

Adventurer
Voss said:
Yeah, I agree with you. Further this is one of those annoying things that keeps putting me off the development team, much more so than the mechanics. Even if he thinks this (and I for one don't know why he would make that assumption)

Really? Neither of you has ever run or played in a setting where the drow were driven underground after a fight with the surface elves?

Never? Sorry, I have trouble believing that. I think it's safe to say that most of the old players of the game had some common experiences.

I suppose you never played in a D&D game that included a place called the Caves of Chaos, either? Or had the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords or any of the other classic artifacts show up?

There are some commonalities to "the D&D experience." And that's all Rich is talking about when he mentions the game's implied setting. If you've avoided all of them, your campaigns have been a bit odd, or I feel safe saying, at least atypical.
 

The Cardinal

First Post
Wormwood said:
Darn.

I really want setting information in the core books---if only because that's what I've come to expect from my RPG purchases.

edit: and I don't have any desire to homebrew. I just want to crack open the books and start playing.


ditto
 


Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
Voss said:
Yeah, I agree with you. Further this is one of those annoying things that keeps putting me off the development team, much more so than the mechanics. Even if he thinks this (and I for one don't know why he would make that assumption) he shouldn't be saying it, because it has no productive use other than to put people's hackles up.
He would think this because it's true. Every game I've been in has defined homebrewing as "the drow live on the south continent in my game, the major spelljamming port is to the east, the people to the north worship the Norse gods while the people to the south worship the Greek gods."

Of course elves lived in the forest and disliked dwarves, of course the dwarves lived in the mountains and worshiped Moradin. Of course the pieces of the Rod of Seven Parts could show up at any time, since they were jumping around the universe and your world was part of the D&D universe. There was a guy called Bigby who made up some spells. Even if he lived in Greyhawk and his spells only made their way to this world due to planar travelers.

I think this point here is exactly what causes a lot of the differences between D&D fans and their opinion of 4e(or at least the fluff of 4e). Everyone I knew(and I think the majority of players, like Rich says), treated D&D as its own game. If you ran D&D, it was expected that your game was 90% the same as Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Dragonlance. It was expected that your world was part of the Great Wheel and that everything in Spelljammer and Planescape were correct. The game of D&D said those things were in D&D, so they were. The same gods created all of the worlds so they ended up very, very similar.

Sure, certain DMs downplayed certain portions of D&D, but it was still assumed they existed in the same universe by default. In one DMs world no elves might have been created there and there had never been a mass migration from another plane. However, it was assumed that you might meet the odd elf in the game now and then who traveled here by planar magic, portals, spelljamming ships, etc. You just didn't see them every day.

One DM might say that no spelljamming ships have ever found a route to their world, so no one has ever seen one and it doesn't affect their world. Everyone knew, however, that if that DM wanted to start a Spelljammer adventure, they could easily have a ship land one day out of nowhere, because their world was still part of D&D.

Our opinion has changed slightly(but not entirely) in 3rd Ed, where they dumped the Grand Unifying Theory of D&D for a bunch of unrelated campaign worlds. That being the default, it is also the default for our games now. However, it is still assumed that a LOT of the D&D history is still in every world we play in unless specifically said otherwise.

Voss said:
The other stuff... well OK... I like the points of light concept, but by what he's saying, its not only blindly inserted fluff, but its not even *useful* fluff since there isn't anything coherent to do with it. The fluff will mean exactly the same thing as any random fantasy novel that a DM decides to steal ideas from. Or not.
It IS useful stuff. It puts D&D players on the same page. It makes starting a game easier.

If all the fluff in the PHB is correct in 90% of all D&D worlds then you can answer a note posted on the FLGS's bulletin board asking for players, show up and you can make up a character even before you get there an be fairly certain that your character fits in with the world. You can start playing within minutes of showing up for the game.

I mean if I create a character who is an elven ranger who comes from some elven city in the woods and worships Correllon I know that it would have a place in every game I've ever played in. The DM might have to tell me the name of the city, but I wouldn't have to change anything about my character.

If there was no common fluff at all between worlds there would be no default assumptions and you'd have to read probably a good 50-60 pages of background information in order to be on the same level as someone already familiar with a DM's campaign.

In this case, you show up for a game and the DM has to tell you that in his game Dwarves are happy go lucky people who like to dance out in the sun and make wood statues. They are best friends with the elves who live hand in hand with them. Elves are gutter rats and rogues almost exclusively and hate forests. They only live in cities. The world was created 10 years ago by the gods and everyone in it appeared as they are now, kids were kids adults were adults. No one has a history past 10 years ago. Humans have never met a Dwarf or Elf since they hide in the forest never coming out. Dwarves and Elves are not playable races.

Well, then most fantasy backgrounds and ideas that come from the D&D books are pretty much thrown out the window. You have to specifically design a character for this campaign world and all the assumptions that the books made are thrown out the window.

It makes it more difficult for players to have common experiences playing the game so they won't be able to bond as easily as a community, given they are almost playing different games.
 

hazel monday

First Post
Majoru Oakheart said:
Every game I've been in has defined homebrewing as "the drow live on the south continent in my game, the major spelljamming port is to the east, the people to the north worship the Norse gods while the people to the south worship the Greek gods."


Sorry about that.

If every game I ever ran or played in was like that, I'd quickly lose interest in D&D. One of the main things I've always appreciated about D&D is that there it was more of a toolkit to create my own fantasy setting. The more 4.0 moves away from that, the less it appeals to me.
 

Majoru Oakheart

Adventurer
hazel monday said:
Sorry about that.

If every game I ever ran or played in was like that, I'd quickly lose interest in D&D. One of the main things I've always appreciated about D&D is that there it was more of a toolkit to create my own fantasy setting. The more 4.0 moves away from that, the less it appeals to me.
I'm not sorry about it. I LIKE D&D. I like exploring the thousands or millions of different ideas that can be created in a world with those properties. I'm still enjoying saving princesses and making fun of the grumpy dwarves.

I don't think I've ever seen D&D as a toolkit. The rules have assumed since the beginning of the game that they were always intended to be used together, not split up and changed. It was possible to change the game into something that didn't follow those assumptions, but I know Gary used to get really annoyed at anyone who tried.
 

med stud

First Post
hazel monday said:
Sorry about that.

If every game I ever ran or played in was like that, I'd quickly lose interest in D&D. One of the main things I've always appreciated about D&D is that there it was more of a toolkit to create my own fantasy setting. The more 4.0 moves away from that, the less it appeals to me.
Where is the toolkit for creating your own setting in the older versions?
 

Khairn

First Post
tomBitonti said:
I beg to differ. None of the campaigns that I've been in have any of these assumptions.

I agree with you completely. RB's comments appear (to me at least) to be way off target for any of the campaigns I've played in, GMed or read about in close to 30 years of playing. Anyone I saw who used those elements, played in Grayhawk.

Honestly, this is very disappointing news. I was really looking forward to a POL setting that highlighted the themes and features of 4E. All we have now is a FR setting that is being poorly shoe-horned and forced to fit into a POL mold.
 

Stogoe

First Post
I really like this, and I, too, hope they never provide a map. I've ground the core assumptions of D&D to dust before and built up my own setting, but it'll be nice for once just to accept what work has already been done.
 
Last edited:

hazel monday

First Post
med stud said:
Where is the toolkit for creating your own setting in the older versions?

In the 1E DMG (also, to a lesser extent in the 2E & 3E DMGs). It's an excellent sourcebook if you want to create and run your own settings. I highly recommend it.
It's a very fun read.
 

Level Up!

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top