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

Shemeska

Adventurer
It goes beyond that. Saying that Tieflings come from Bael Turath, and had an empire that spanned the world millenia ago intrudes far more into my campaign setting than the examples you mention.

I'd give you XP for this, but I can't give you more at this time. But you're very correct on this point IMO. The notion of 'default flavor' in 1e/2e/3e is very different from that in 4e which largely tried to rewrite a gigantic slew of what up to that point had been part of the default lexicon of D&D. I want to see 5e return to that common baseline (with perhaps some very selective additions of new things from 4e).
 

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boredgremlin

Banned
Banned
Read the post more closely. I'm not talking about the problems I personally have in my home game with a baked-in setting. I'm talking about the problems that having a baked-in setting causes in the production of future material.

The problem is that your grossly exaggerating those problems. Say you have the "wood elven guards of west-woodydom" they have some specific woodsy powers and a brief description of what they do in west-woodydom on a daily basis.

Then WotC wants to bring out a pirate add-on set in tropical archipeligoes.

Does that mean the elves of woody-dom are doomed? Of course not. They are just specialist guards with terrain benefits at heart.

So WotC puts in a little paragraph in the pirate book that says " the woody-dom elf guard class in this setting instead gets the ability to breath water, sail better and perhaps influence or anticipate the weather. Nothing else changes."

There you go. They were bound by nothing about the fluff.

Or they make some evil elves in a supplement.

They write in "the woody-dom elf guards in this sort of campaign are slavers and wilderness bandits in their society rather then elves who guard the wild borders of their forest from evil. Everything else is the same. "



If that's too much, I'll gladly whip up a quick setting for you for $10. In fact, I'll whip up a basic setting for anyone for $10.

If that's still too much, you can find a lot of great free adventures and material on the internet.

If that's too much time and effort, maybe you'd prefer a random adventure generation table you can roll on?

Point being, it's not hard to get your paws on a cheap quick framework if that's what you want.

No the point is that I shouldnt have to. I already paid a lot of money for a large book with a good amount of useless crunch thats just going to be errata'd or altered later anyway.

So why cant they include 20 or 30 pages and a few world maps in the back of the book so i have a quick framework to use and try the game out with so i can see if i even like it before paying more money for a system i might hate?

Its a simple matter of value for my money. The core books should have every single thing I or anyone else might need to get in and play a few adventures without a bunch of extra work or expense.
 

S

Sunseeker

Guest
Maybe I don't understand the question, or definition, then. Because the non-setting specific rules are filled with "where things live" and "who hates who" in every edition.

Like, assuming that Genies live in desert climates? Like naming some spells after Mordenkainen? Like saying halflings are shorter than humans? We seem to talking past each other on this. Like that orcs and humans are enemies?

Things that say "so in so came from here" or "such in such hates so-in-so" are things that I can deal with PROVIDED that there aren't mechanical things built into them.

ie: Tieflings are part demonic therefore they get -2 cha. It was silly even when it was first made because they portrayed tieflings as highly cha-based characters based on that exact demonic heritage.

I can hand-wave the fluff to not exist and tell anyone who gets uppity about it to be quiet. But it's more difficult for me to carve out mechanical aspects build around that fluff. I can live with "short races are slower", but even dwarven weapon profeciences are pushing it.

Mechanically I liked 4e because a lot of the races were not very heavily tied to a specific setting. Some were, but they were very light ties as opposed to earlier editions.

Again: fluff I can handle, even if I don't like it. Mechanical issues are where I am concerned.
 

boredgremlin

Banned
Banned
It goes beyond that. Saying that Tieflings come from Bael Turath, and had an empire that spanned the world millenia ago intrudes far more into my campaign setting than the examples you mention.

No it doesnt. Because it doesnt say how many millenia.

Like the idea? It was a thousand or two years ago. Everyone who studies a little history knows it.

Hate the idea? It was 5,000 years ago or 10,000 years ago and only a small number of fairly obscure historians know about it. Most of them tieflings.

Hell we could almost have had that sort of empire on earth 10,000 years ago and have no one have a clue about it.

you can look at the various academic debates about when native americans came to North america originally for proof of that. Theres a good bit of evidence of pre-clovis natives and yet how many people in our culture know it?

Or for that matter even know what clovis means in this context without googling it? And its a pretty safe assumption that education is much better and more widespread in America then it is in any D@D land.
 

I'm A Banana

Potassium-Rich
boredgremlin said:
The problem is that your grossly exaggerating those problems.
...
So WotC puts in a little paragraph in the pirate book that says " the woody-dom elf guard class in this setting instead gets the ability to breath water, sail better and perhaps influence or anticipate the weather. Nothing else changes."

There you go. They were bound by nothing about the fluff.

That's a problem, though, because the wood elves are not water-breathing sailors with weather magic. They're wood elves who live in woodydom.

Because I speak a language, I like my words to have meaning and not to just change based on the whims of designers who can't be buggered to simply not tell me how to use elves in my own games.

Especially when they can just save the whole wood elf fluff text for the "Forest of Wood Elves" adventure and not make me work around their own idea of what kind of fun I should have.

You want wood elves in woodydom somewhere? Use them where appropriate. Don't use them where they wouldn't work. Jamming them into every corner of the game is exasperating and limiting and ultimately unnecessary since there are things like adventures and settings out there if you are too new/lazy/time-poor to figure out that there are wood elves in your game.

boredgremlin said:
Its a simple matter of value for my money. The core books should have every single thing I or anyone else might need to get in and play a few adventures without a bunch of extra work or expense.

I don't know what more you need than "MacGuffin is in a place filled with monsters and traps. Go get it." I have played D&D for over a decade without too much variation on that basic theme.

And if you do need more than that, then you can google something, or pay WotC $40, or pay me $10.

In fact, here's a freebie: There is a pie in a room with an orc. The pie is delicious. You are hungry.

Another one: Goblins are attacking farms. They stole Farmer MacGreggor's prize cow. Farmer MacGreggor promised to pay you prize money if you got it back before they ate it.

A third for good measure: There is a red dragon who demands virgin sacrifices every month, and he sits on a heap of treasure looted from the surrounding towns. Go kill it and take its stuff.

If D&D is supposed to be an individual group's game, then WotC shouldn't try and tell everyone the way the world is. Rather, they should give DMs the tools they need to make an adventure quickly, and worry about the world detail later (if at all).
 

TwinBahamut

First Post
Alright, since some people seem a bit unaware of the extent of how bad this can get, and many did not play 4E...

4E does not use a domain system for clerics. Instead, it just uses the deities presented in the PHB. Every Divine class has access to the Channel Divinity class feature, which lets them do a couple cool things built on the flavor of calling forth their god's divine power. You can acquire new options for this by choosing certain feats. The problem with this is that every Channel Divinity feat is directly based on a PHB deity, with no alternatives provided. There is no "Channel a War God" feat, only things like "Channel Bahamut" or "Channel the Raven Queen". If you don't want to use that pantheon, or even worse you don't want to use a pantheon with 1-to-1 equivalence with that pantheon, then you have a minor rules nightmare. It is annoying, and very restricting.

The more you build the game around a default setting, the more stuff like this happens, to some degree or another.
 

gyor

Legend
Alright, since some people seem a bit unaware of the extent of how bad this can get, and many did not play 4E...

4E does not use a domain system for clerics. Instead, it just uses the deities presented in the PHB. Every Divine class has access to the Channel Divinity class feature, which lets them do a couple cool things built on the flavor of calling forth their god's divine power. You can acquire new options for this by choosing certain feats. The problem with this is that every Channel Divinity feat is directly based on a PHB deity, with no alternatives provided. There is no "Channel a War God" feat, only things like "Channel Bahamut" or "Channel the Raven Queen". If you don't want to use that pantheon, or even worse you don't want to use a pantheon with 1-to-1 equivalence with that pantheon, then you have a minor rules nightmare. It is annoying, and very restricting.

The more you build the game around a default setting, the more stuff like this happens, to some degree or another.

They fixed this first in divine power with domain feats which act like channel divinity feats, but can be taken by any cd using character and is tied to domains not specific gods and then the latter in essentials with the awesome warpriest cleric subclass who is defined massively by his choice of in subclass domain, from a cd option, to both atwills and other powers and features.
 

Ratskinner

Adventurer
They fixed this first in divine power with domain feats which act like channel divinity feats, but can be taken by any cd using character and is tied to domains not specific gods and then the latter in essentials with the awesome warpriest cleric subclass who is defined massively by his choice of in subclass domain, from a cd option, to both atwills and other powers and features.

Which is why it shouldn't have been in there in the first place. I'd rather pay $20-$40 for a book or box containing all the information I'd want about a setting, than $20-$40 for a product telling me how to get a small piece of their default setting out of my game, and 120 pages of stuff I'll never use or didn't want in the first place. Your example is only for Divine characters...heaven (or a wealthy friend) help us if we needed to pick up one for each major character type.

Its far far better (and I would not resent it, even if I never used it) for the DMG to have chapters on quickly building a basic setting, or even how to build a complex one. Especially if those chapter have mechanical insight into what might unbalance the game. If they want a "home" setting for the game, pop them out with the starting adventures. That should really help the time-crunched/inexperienced DM.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, I'm going to go with TwinB and KamikazeM here. Give each class/race a sort of default setting - half orcs are big and brutish, elves are snooty and drink wine with their pinky stuck out, that sort of thing. Cosmology should be a grouping of concepts and not much else - 3e's domains cover most of what you need. Unless you really need to define how planes interact, don't bother.

Now, you are going to have to define the cosmology to some degree because you have planar creatures. Demons live here. Devils live there. They're different because they have different goals. But all the specific stuff? No thanks. Don't need it. Don't want it. The Great Wheel is every bit as intrusive as 4e's cosmology and they can both take a long walk off a short pier AFAIC.
 

Kzach

Banned
Banned
I do think there should be a bog-standard, everything makes sense in context with the rules, nothing deviates from the expected, setting as the 'core' D&D setting. I do not, however, think it should be any of the published settings like Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms or Mystara.

These published and well-known worlds should be deviations from this 'norm', with special 'adventures' books published to spell out those differences. I think this is what they tried to do with the default 4e setting and I'd support their decision to continue using it as it makes good sense to do so.
 

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