5.5E The future of edition changes and revisions

Hussar

Legend
Yuck. Who puts tomato sauce on a burrito?

The point being though, whether it's a soft taco or a burrito, it's still Mexican food, right? There are considerably more differences between sushi and a taco or burrito than there is between a taco and a burrito. To terribly mangle the metaphor.

Let's be honest here. You are likely using mostly (with a few exceptions) the same monsters in FR as Greyhawk. It's not like you have totally separate Monster Manuals. The classes play in either setting without modification. There are no setting specific rules like insanity (like you would see in say, Ravenloft). Most of the races work pretty much the same - there isn't an enormous difference between a mountain dwarf in FR or Greyhawk.

IOW, if you strip out the proper nouns, there aren't a lot of differences. And, I say this as a HUGE Greyhawk fan. I ADORE Greyhawk. I really do. There's just so many fun bits in it and, unlike Forgotten Realms, there isn't a mountain of lore behind it meaning that it's much, much easier to color in the blank spaces how I want to, rather than following someone else's creation.

But, let's be honest here. FR and Greyhawk are a lot closer to each other than any other setting. I'm rather stuggling to think of any adventure that would work in one setting that wouldn't work or would be terribly out of place in the other setting.
 

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Parmandur

Book-Friend
Yuck. Who puts tomato sauce on a burrito?

The point being though, whether it's a soft taco or a burrito, it's still Mexican food, right? There are considerably more differences between sushi and a taco or burrito than there is between a taco and a burrito. To terribly mangle the metaphor.

Let's be honest here. You are likely using mostly (with a few exceptions) the same monsters in FR as Greyhawk. It's not like you have totally separate Monster Manuals. The classes play in either setting without modification. There are no setting specific rules like insanity (like you would see in say, Ravenloft). Most of the races work pretty much the same - there isn't an enormous difference between a mountain dwarf in FR or Greyhawk.

IOW, if you strip out the proper nouns, there aren't a lot of differences. And, I say this as a HUGE Greyhawk fan. I ADORE Greyhawk. I really do. There's just so many fun bits in it and, unlike Forgotten Realms, there isn't a mountain of lore behind it meaning that it's much, much easier to color in the blank spaces how I want to, rather than following someone else's creation.

But, let's be honest here. FR and Greyhawk are a lot closer to each other than any other setting. I'm rather stuggling to think of any adventure that would work in one setting that wouldn't work or would be terribly out of place in the other setting.
Salsa is a sauce (very literally the same word, etymologically) usually made from tomatoes (though there are others, obviously).

Sure, someone who wants Mediterranean (Eberron) or Thai (Ravnica, say) isn't going to see a big difference between the two dishes with the same ingredients (by and large), because they want something else. But someone who loves Mexican food can carefully consider each diffrence the preparation can make, and lovingly contemplate it.
 



Hussar

Legend
Salsa is a sauce (very literally the same word, etymologically) usually made from tomatoes (though there are others, obviously).

Sure, someone who wants Mediterranean (Eberron) or Thai (Ravnica, say) isn't going to see a big difference between the two dishes with the same ingredients (by and large), because they want something else. But someone who loves Mexican food can carefully consider each diffrence the preparation can make, and lovingly contemplate it.
Oh, fair enough. But, when someone comes along and says, "Yup, burritos and tacos are both Mexican dishes" they're not wrong.

Ok, that's enough abusing that poor metaphor. :D

The point being, as I said before, your character in Greyhawk very likely isn't terribly different from your character in FR and is quite probably doing very, very similar things. The fact that it's pretty easy to interchange stuff between the two shows how similar they are. A GH Drow is not terribly different from an FR Drow but is significantly different from an Eberron Drow or a Dragonlance Dark Elf.
 

The point being, as I said before, your character in Greyhawk very likely isn't terribly different from your character in FR and is quite probably doing very, very similar things.
where I agree with your premise (GH and FR have a lot in common) I disagree with this way of saying it. By this metric you need to go gonzo weird for a setting to be different. Even then is a spell jammer background that different from a FR or GH? once in game are you not still some form of treasure hunting/dungeon delving?

I will take a background and concept I used for a 2e ranger in FR.

I grew up in a small town. I was bullied by a fellow farmer who's dad was a bit (and only a bit) better off then my family, and we both competed for the same girl... neither of us got her. She went off and became an 'adventurer' what ever that means. My goal was to learn to be the best farmer and then take over the family business... until one day the farm was destroyed. the town was attacked by a mad mage his goblins and undead. I was bearly 20 and only escaped because another wizard helped get me out. I'm pretty tough (grew up on farm), and I know how to survive off the land, but I would not say I am a warrior. Now I know what 'adventurer' means... because I am one, a wander, a vagubond, a man with no land to call his own. I have 2 short swords a bit of skill and just want to earn enough money to go back to the more simple life.

I can play that as a 1st-3rd level ranger in any edition in 7/10 of the campaign settings TSR/WotC put out.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Oh, fair enough. But, when someone comes along and says, "Yup, burritos and tacos are both Mexican dishes" they're not wrong.

Ok, that's enough abusing that poor metaphor. :D
Yes, exactly, that's why it's a good metaphors! See also further popular Mexican dishes Exandria, Gloriana, and Midgard.
The point being, as I said before, your character in Greyhawk very likely isn't terribly different from your character in FR and is quite probably doing very, very similar things. The fact that it's pretty easy to interchange stuff between the two shows how similar they are. A GH Drow is not terribly different from an FR Drow but is significantly different from an Eberron Drow or a Dragonlance Dark Elf.
Sure, sounds like a feature rather than a bug...but I like Mexican food.
 



Hussar

Legend
I grew up in a small town. I was bullied by a fellow farmer who's dad was a bit (and only a bit) better off then my family, and we both competed for the same girl... neither of us got her. She went off and became an 'adventurer' what ever that means. My goal was to learn to be the best farmer and then take over the family business... until one day the farm was destroyed. the town was attacked by a mad mage his goblins and undead. I was bearly 20 and only escaped because another wizard helped get me out. I'm pretty tough (grew up on farm), and I know how to survive off the land, but I would not say I am a warrior. Now I know what 'adventurer' means... because I am one, a wander, a vagubond, a man with no land to call his own. I have 2 short swords a bit of skill and just want to earn enough money to go back to the more simple life.
Let's be honest here though. That's a very, very generic background. Sure, of course that will fit into pretty much any setting because, well, "bad wizard" and "goblins" and "undead" exist in virtually any setting. And, again, I wasn't referring to backgrounds really. I was more referring to what you're going to be doing as an adventurer.

For example, trying to heist a Lightning Rail Train while leading a gang of velociraptor riding halflings is probably not something you can really do in Forgotten Realms, for example.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yes, exactly, that's why it's a good metaphors! See also further popular Mexican dishes Exandria, Gloriana, and Midgard.

Sure, sounds like a feature rather than a bug...but I like Mexican food.
Oh, sorry. I certainly didn't mean that Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk being largely interchangeable was a negative thing. It's not. There's enough difference there that it's fine to like one or the other. Each setting emphasizes different things after all. The point being, kitchen sink generic settings are kitchen sink generic settings. There's nothing WRONG with that. Absolutely nothing wrong.

But, I don't think it's particularly useful to try to claim that these aren't kitchen sink generic settings. There's all sorts of pros and cons to having a kitchen sink setting versus a much more focused one. Totally get that. There's no value judgement here on my part at all.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
Oh, sorry. I certainly didn't mean that Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk being largely interchangeable was a negative thing. It's not. There's enough difference there that it's fine to like one or the other. Each setting emphasizes different things after all. The point being, kitchen sink generic settings are kitchen sink generic settings. There's nothing WRONG with that. Absolutely nothing wrong.

But, I don't think it's particularly useful to try to claim that these aren't kitchen sink generic settings. There's all sorts of pros and cons to having a kitchen sink setting versus a much more focused one. Totally get that. There's no value judgement here on my part at all.
Yeah, and those are popular, largely because generic kitchen sink Settings make good fodder for homebrew heneric Settings, the most popular way to play D&D. The more toys in the toy box, the better.
 

Hussar

Legend
Yeah, and those are popular, largely because generic kitchen sink Settings make good fodder for homebrew heneric Settings, the most popular way to play D&D. The more toys in the toy box, the better.
Oh, absolutely. Being able to mix and match is definitely a big draw.

As much as I like more unique settings, it does make it that much more difficult to fiddle with the tighter the setting is.
 

Sabathius42

Bree-Yark
An interesting take on the idea of how "samey" two settings are is to imaging a character from one setting randomly teleported to the second. A bard from Greyhawk would have a fair basic understanding of the world mechanics of Faerun but would be mystified at the absence of clerical magic in Dragonlance or even worse the absence of a gold economy and steel in DarkSun.

Of the "major" settings FR and Greyhawk are the closest siblings. Except maybe Critical Role World, but I don't know anything about that to comment on it.
 

Staffan

Legend
Yeah, and those are popular, largely because generic kitchen sink Settings make good fodder for homebrew heneric Settings, the most popular way to play D&D. The more toys in the toy box, the better.
I had an Insight a while back about generic/patchwork settings – specifically Golarion, but it also applies to some degree to Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. These settings are designed so that whatever adventure you come up with, as long as it fits within a certain core D&D-ness, you can find a place for that in the setting. Gothic Hammer Horror stuff? That's in Ustalav. Travel through jungles to explore ancient ruins? Mwangi's down there. Pirates? My man, let me introduce you to the Shackles. Genies and deserts and stuff? Have you ever been to Katapesh?

This works well for Paizo's goals, because their primary thing is making adventures. The whole point of making Pathfinder in the first place was "We're good at adventures, but the game we're making adventures for is out of print and we care neither for the successor's rules nor the terms under which we can support it, so we're making a clone of the game so we can keep making adventures."

A more distinctive setting probably doesn't support all that stuff, but it is instead better at providing things that make you go "That's awesome, I want to do something with that." Dino-riding halflings robbing the train on the lightning rail? Warforged being exploited as a tireless workforce, creating tensions with meatbags? Cyran refugees exposed to bigotry, and some responding by trying to carve out a new kingdom for themselves? Spy/diplomat intrigue in the divided city of Thronehold? Murder on the Orien Express? Fighting aberrations side by side with noble orc heroes? A church ruling a country and needing to balance its holy mission with the often dirty business of governing? Those are all cool ideas that jump out at me when I read the Eberron books, and don't really work in other settings.

In other words, kitchen sinks are for "I have a neat idea, and here's a place where I can do it" while distinctive settings are for "Here's a cool thing, that gives me a neat idea."
 

Remathilis

Legend
I had an Insight a while back about generic/patchwork settings – specifically Golarion, but it also applies to some degree to Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. These settings are designed so that whatever adventure you come up with, as long as it fits within a certain core D&D-ness, you can find a place for that in the setting. Gothic Hammer Horror stuff? That's in Ustalav. Travel through jungles to explore ancient ruins? Mwangi's down there. Pirates? My man, let me introduce you to the Shackles. Genies and deserts and stuff? Have you ever been to Katapesh?

This works well for Paizo's goals, because their primary thing is making adventures. The whole point of making Pathfinder in the first place was "We're good at adventures, but the game we're making adventures for is out of print and we care neither for the successor's rules nor the terms under which we can support it, so we're making a clone of the game so we can keep making adventures."

A more distinctive setting probably doesn't support all that stuff, but it is instead better at providing things that make you go "That's awesome, I want to do something with that." Dino-riding halflings robbing the train on the lightning rail? Warforged being exploited as a tireless workforce, creating tensions with meatbags? Cyran refugees exposed to bigotry, and some responding by trying to carve out a new kingdom for themselves? Spy/diplomat intrigue in the divided city of Thronehold? Murder on the Orien Express? Fighting aberrations side by side with noble orc heroes? A church ruling a country and needing to balance its holy mission with the often dirty business of governing? Those are all cool ideas that jump out at me when I read the Eberron books, and don't really work in other settings.

In other words, kitchen sinks are for "I have a neat idea, and here's a place where I can do it" while distinctive settings are for "Here's a cool thing, that gives me a neat idea."
Agreed 100%. Kitchen sink settings can handle a lot of different types of adventures all within its large borders, at the cost of unique mechanical expression. Specialized settings give a better expression of theme, at the cost of diversity. You can jump from horror to war story to urban intrigue in a setting like Faerun, Exandria or Golarion easily, but you won't find the same support for any of them that you would playing Ravenloft or Eberron or Ravnica. On the reverse, it's rather hard to do anything with Ravenloft that isn't horror, or use Theros for anything but sword and sandal epics. If I bought a module that is fairly generic (ye olde Keep on the Borderlands), it works fine on Oerth or Golarion, but not Eberron or Krynn without extensive rewriting.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
An interesting take on the idea of how "samey" two settings are is to imaging a character from one setting randomly teleported to the second. A bard from Greyhawk would have a fair basic understanding of the world mechanics of Faerun but would be mystified at the absence of clerical magic in Dragonlance or even worse the absence of a gold economy and steel in DarkSun.

Of the "major" settings FR and Greyhawk are the closest siblings. Except maybe Critical Role World, but I don't know anything about that to comment on it.
Exandria is a very Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms world grown from a Nentir Vale seedling.
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend
I had an Insight a while back about generic/patchwork settings – specifically Golarion, but it also applies to some degree to Forgotten Realms and Greyhawk. These settings are designed so that whatever adventure you come up with, as long as it fits within a certain core D&D-ness, you can find a place for that in the setting. Gothic Hammer Horror stuff? That's in Ustalav. Travel through jungles to explore ancient ruins? Mwangi's down there. Pirates? My man, let me introduce you to the Shackles. Genies and deserts and stuff? Have you ever been to Katapesh?

This works well for Paizo's goals, because their primary thing is making adventures. The whole point of making Pathfinder in the first place was "We're good at adventures, but the game we're making adventures for is out of print and we care neither for the successor's rules nor the terms under which we can support it, so we're making a clone of the game so we can keep making adventures."

A more distinctive setting probably doesn't support all that stuff, but it is instead better at providing things that make you go "That's awesome, I want to do something with that." Dino-riding halflings robbing the train on the lightning rail? Warforged being exploited as a tireless workforce, creating tensions with meatbags? Cyran refugees exposed to bigotry, and some responding by trying to carve out a new kingdom for themselves? Spy/diplomat intrigue in the divided city of Thronehold? Murder on the Orien Express? Fighting aberrations side by side with noble orc heroes? A church ruling a country and needing to balance its holy mission with the often dirty business of governing? Those are all cool ideas that jump out at me when I read the Eberron books, and don't really work in other settings.

In other words, kitchen sinks are for "I have a neat idea, and here's a place where I can do it" while distinctive settings are for "Here's a cool thing, that gives me a neat idea."
More than just publishers, DMs can easily plug in traditional fantasy narratives (which remain perennially popular for good reasons) handily in Greyhawk, Exandria, Midgard, the Forgotten Realms, or Golorion. Runequest or Eberron, say, require more invention and explanation to players.
 

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