D&D 5E Should 5e have a "default setting" and cosmology?

shadow

First Post
3e had Greyhawk as the default setting. 4e had "points of light".

In the 2e and 3e days, "the Great Wheel" was the default cosmology with several products referencing it.

Should 5e have a default setting or cosmology?

I personally don't want a default setting or cosmology. I think the rules should avoid mentioning anything other than the bare basics of cosmology. (e.g. The spell "Contact Other Plane" would imply the existence of other planes, but doesn't say what the planes would be.) That would encourage DMs to design any setting or cosmology they want without having feel like they have to shoehorn them into the "official" D&D setting.

What do you think?
 

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bringerofbroom

First Post
As far as i am concerned, there needs to be at least a basic setting available - so that someone picking up the books can dive in to play as quickly as possible. I would imagine that a GM book would have a substantial section on worldbuilding so that a DM can either expand on the initial setting or build their own.

Cosmology i imagine should be supported in much the same way.

BoB
 

Ahnehnois

First Post
It's hard to write rules without making some references or using some examples, but if they're shooting for universal appeal and utility, they need to minimize that as much as possible, and make rules that are suitable for many very different settings.
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
There is some value in a default setting in a rulebook, but it is not necessary, and many of the drawbacks outweigh the advantages. You can create interesting fluff for spells, classes, and abilities without building setting, and it is the former that is helpful, not the latter. To be honest, the constant references to setting assumptions and world history in 4E really annoyed me all the time. They went overboard on setting description in the 4E core books. It's been quite a while since I read my 3E books, so I don't remember how it was in them...

There is also no reason whatsoever to have a default cosmology for the game. It was a mistake for 3E to make the great wheel a default cosmology. It was a mistake for WotC to create books that detailed a cosmological setting that were supposedly setting-independent. It was a really big mistake to do things like hardcode the 4E pantheon into feats and the channel divinity power in such a way that it made homebrew pantheons more difficult to use.
 

Halivar

First Post
Other than the Great Wheel and the gods, 3E was remarkably setting neutral. It was jarring that the 4E fluff for tieflings, dragonborn and eladrin had specific references to places, histories and dieties I had no desire to incorporate into my game. I hate having to ignore vast swaths of the printed material.

I hope for as completely setting neutral as possible, with an "Essential <Race>" line of books with the implied setting material, if any (so that I can not buy them).

EDIT: TwinBahamut beat me to the punch. I really need to bang these posts out in less than 10 minutes...
 


avin

First Post
Other than the Great Wheel and the gods, 3E was remarkably setting neutral. It was jarring that the 4E fluff for tieflings, dragonborn and eladrin had specific references to places, histories and dieties I had no desire to incorporate into my game. I hate having to ignore vast swaths of the printed material.

Yes, yes. It was a horrible idea to push places such as Bael Turath into homebrews. Wizards should stay away from that.

Planes are ok, cities no.
 

paladinm

First Post
I think they need to go back to the nine alignments. I do Not think they need to go back to "Great Wheel" for cosmology. Outer planes should be allowed to exist that aren't tied to a specific alignment. Asgard, Olympus, Hades, etc. should all exist; but in mythology, Hades was more of a neutral realm of the dead, and Asgard and Olympus were home to both good and evil deities.
 

the Jester

Legend
I'm all for no default setting per se.

I'm also all for references to multiple settings throughout the rules as examples. For instance, when discussing elves, they might have a paragraph stating "Most elves are woodsy magicky flighty archery guys, but in Dark Sun they run long distances and in FR they had these mythal thingies and over here they such and such." But I'd rather not have "D&D elves are long distance runners from Elfistan with a long history of trading with Humanland and a long rivalry with the inhabitants of the Dwarfydwarf Mountains" in the PH. (I hope I'm being clear with the distinction here.)
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
A default cosmology would be fine, but I'd prefer there not be a default setting. Default settings give way to ideas that classes, races, and everything else originate from that plane, and therefore contain all the restrictions and limitations they've got on that plane.

I would like there to be a "core" setting, which is continually supported throughout 5e, but I don't want it to be the default setting.
 

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