D&D General What are the "dead settings" of D&D?


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Parmandur

Book-Friend
I think you need to reread my post. CoS has very little to do with the Ravenloft setting. It contains none of the unique rules, few of the themes, and actively contradicts the settings at several points.

It doesn't even contain all of Barovia.

There's been valiant attempts by fans to detail the actual setting in the DMsGuild, but there is (and will not be) nothing official. WoTC's stance on it hasn't changed since they released "Expedition to Castle Ravenloft". As far as they are concerned, "Ravenloft" is merely the original 1st edition module by Tracy and Laura Hickman. Nothing more.

To be fair, Curse of Strahd is intentionally meant to be the Hickman's version of Barovia, not the 2E Setting. They lay it out pretty clearly in the book.

A full Ravenloft book is still a possibility, bit I'd actually favor Innistrad for getting a full treatment. Planescape is coming, though.
 


To be fair, Curse of Strahd is intentionally meant to be the Hickman's version of Barovia, not the 2E Setting. They lay it out pretty clearly in the book.

A full Ravenloft book is still a possibility, bit I'd actually favor Innistrad for getting a full treatment. Planescape is coming, though.
Sure. I absolutely agree there's no deception intended by the authors.

But posters keep trying to convince me we have a release of the Ravenloft setting. The truth is no, we don't.
 


Yardiff

Adventurer
A couple I don't see on those lists, maybe because they've got different names I don't know about:

City State of the Invincible Overlord/World Emperor (Judges Guild) - small cult following
World of Harn - small cult following, maybe not used for D&D much

I take it you're treating Hollow World as an extension of Mystara?

And wasn't there once a setting based on Ringworld? I've no idea what it was called but I seem to recall seeing it mentioned (or advertised?) in some early-era Dragon mag's.

For 3.5 I got the box set from the Judges Guild people, it was call "Wilder Lands of High Fantasy" and included both city states plus a large hex map of the section of the world. The books had a lot of the hexes filled some cool random encounters(creatures or locations) you could use for world exploration if you wanted.

Wilderlands of High Fantasy, Revised Guidebook - Bat in the Attic Games | Judges Guild's Wilderlands | DriveThruRPG.com. Not the box set but you can see some thing here.
 

Mercurius

Legend
I would like to add a term to the mix: micro-setting. The idea is that so-called micro-settings work equally well or better as something to add to your default setting--be it homebrew or a standard D&D setting like Golarion or FR--but may have limitations as a setting you come back to, again and again. I would argue that "high concept" settings like Ravnica, Dark Sun, and even Planescape (especially Sigil) are more frequently used as micro-settings than as default/home settings.

This is not to say that one cannot use them as default settings. But I think the micro-setting usage preserves their uniqueness and exoticism. It is similar to the idea that in most epic fantasies, the protagonists starts in a relatively mundane and relatable land: the Shire, for instance, or Two Rivers, Gont, etc. Then the voyage into Unknown Lands happens; the further from home you go, the more different, exotic, and dangerous the land becomes. To some degree Euro-centricism is at play, but mostly because D&D originated in the West, primarily based upon European tropes.

The Dalelands, and most of the FR, is close enough to home, and to familiar tropes, that it is easy to get a sense of it. Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravnica, Spelljammer, etc, are different, exotic, less relatable. If you make them too relatable, it may take some of the charm away.

Again, the point is not that they can't be used extensively, but that I'm guessing that most D&D players use a more standard setting as their default, whether within a single long campaign or over the course of their careers, and may venture out to Sigil or Athas, but them come "home," rather than using Athas as home and foraying to Faerun or the Flanaess.

Yes, everyone is different, and I'm sure that some here use those exotic micro-systems in a more "macro" or default way, but I would guess that this idea holds as a general trend. Micro-systems are also often used as inspiration for home/default settings, as thought-pieces. One of my favorite non-D&D settings is Talislanta, which I've only game in a couple times but always loved for its creativity (I mean, the author came up with it under the influence of psilocybin, I believe).
 


Voadam

Legend
I would like to add a term to the mix: micro-setting. The idea is that so-called micro-settings work equally well or better as something to add to your default setting--be it homebrew or a standard D&D setting like Golarion or FR--but may have limitations as a setting you come back to, again and again. I would argue that "high concept" settings like Ravnica, Dark Sun, and even Planescape (especially Sigil) are more frequently used as micro-settings than as default/home settings.

This is not to say that one cannot use them as default settings. But I think the micro-setting usage preserves their uniqueness and exoticism. It is similar to the idea that in most epic fantasies, the protagonists starts in a relatively mundane and relatable land: the Shire, for instance, or Two Rivers, Gont, etc. Then the voyage into Unknown Lands happens; the further from home you go, the more different, exotic, and dangerous the land becomes. To some degree Euro-centricism is at play, but mostly because D&D originated in the West, primarily based upon European tropes.

The Dalelands, and most of the FR, is close enough to home, and to familiar tropes, that it is easy to get a sense of it. Planescape, Dark Sun, Ravnica, Spelljammer, etc, are different, exotic, less relatable. If you make them too relatable, it may take some of the charm away.

Again, the point is not that they can't be used extensively, but that I'm guessing that most D&D players use a more standard setting as their default, whether within a single long campaign or over the course of their careers, and may venture out to Sigil or Athas, but them come "home," rather than using Athas as home and foraying to Faerun or the Flanaess.

Yes, everyone is different, and I'm sure that some here use those exotic micro-systems in a more "macro" or default way, but I would guess that this idea holds as a general trend. Micro-systems are also often used as inspiration for home/default settings, as thought-pieces. One of my favorite non-D&D settings is Talislanta, which I've only game in a couple times but always loved for its creativity (I mean, the author came up with it under the influence of psilocybin, I believe).

I completely get micro-settings in a slightly different context/concept.

Golarion, FR, Scarred Lands, Conan d20 each have smaller themed regional setting books in addition to their big campaign setting ones. Golarion has their gothic horror Ustalav with its own sourcebook that works well both in context of Golarion but also well for plugging into your homebrew or slotting in if you want to use some of its ideas in your gothic horror Ravenloft game. Same thing with their Irrisen witch land book, or their Cheliax devil worshipper ruled land book, or their asian themed regional sourcebook, or Osirian for their Egypt themed area, etc. Forgotten Realms had entire sourcebooks and boxed sets on Thay, the Old Empires which could do for some Egypt/Mesopotamia themed D&D, the kingdom of the dwarves, etc. Conan had Stygia for Egypt stuff, their pict border area sourcebook, etc.

Each could be used in context or pulled out and applied in bits to a similar themed area in a different setting or a homebrew or added in as a unique aspect to the other settings. These could be high crossover plug ins like all the Egypt themed sourcebooks, or they could be unique additions added for their distinctiveness, like Hallowfaust from Scarred Lands, a LN necromancer city state where animated dead are used to protect the people from the outside marauders.

I can't say I see people doing that plug and play with big macro setting things like the Dark Sun world though. It is so much its own cosmology and world that just plopping it into a desert area does not really work easily. You would need to figure out how Sorcerer Kings and their templars plus the elemental powers integrate with gods and also deal with the metal discrepancies. That can be done, but it takes work and you would risk losing some of the flavor if you make it part of standard D&D's Realms. In my experience its been used as its own thing, not a tourist attraction within another setting.

I've even done the opposite of the standard Tolkein start in England then go more exotic story arc. I had a PC start in Dark Sun with solo adventures there and then get sucked into Ravenloft so he got to marvel at how rich the gypsies were because they had metal pots.
 

Levistus's_Leviathan

5e Freelancer
I'd say Spelljammer is in Rank 2 or 3. I currently have a spelljammer campaign, on pause like the world, that my group enjoys a lot. We're all newer players, the most seasoned of us have been playing for 3ish years, the newer for only a few months.

If WotC was to bring back spelljammer, the newer players would love it, so would the older players who were around when it first came out. They should make a Spelljammer book.
 


Parmandur

Book-Friend
I wonder what percentage are in homebrew settings

WotC has always said the percentage of players who totally homwbrew is very high: one of the big reasons they support the FR so heavily (other than being the most popular not-homebrew option) is that the Homebrewers who buy books like FR material for plug and play purposes.
 

Hoffmand

Explorer
WotC has always said the percentage of players who totally homwbrew is very high: one of the big reasons they support the FR so heavily (other than being the most popular not-homebrew option) is that the Homebrewers who buy books like FR material for plug and play purposes.
That seems odd. One would think they would like micro setting material. Go figure. Learn something new everyday.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
That seems odd. One would think they would like micro setting material. Go figure. Learn something new everyday.
You'd think, right - until realizing that most micro-settings are specialized in one way or another, be it by climate or culture or whatever, and therefore of less-broad appeal overall.

Generic FR material, however, is just that - generic; and can thus be plugged into a far greater number of homebrews.
 


Hoffmand

Explorer
The different parts of the Forgotten Realms (Waterdeep, Baldur's Gate, Chult, the Desserin Valley, etc.) are just such micro settings. Very generic micro settings already meant to fit in a standard D&D world, with lots of nice details to mine.
I realize I have done that now with chult and Ubtao. It fit a niche that I could adapt into my setting. Although one would not recognize them as chult or Ubtao.
 

My suggestion is a new transitional setting based in the chronomancers and the time spheres, (and now the music of Doctor Who sounds in your minds).

Now the relation between Disney and Hasbro is very good. I wonder about if Warner produced Lord of the Rings, why not to allow Disney to produce its own version of Dragonlance? (Ok, Silvara and Goldmoon can't be sing like in a musical, we take note about it). This could be one of the best promotion of the brand.
 

Hoffmand

Explorer
My suggestion is a new transitional setting based in the chronomancers and the time spheres, (and now the music of Doctor Who sounds in your minds).

Now the relation between Disney and Hasbro is very good. I wonder about if Warner produced Lord of the Rings, why not to allow Disney to produce its own version of Dragonlance? (Ok, Silvara and Goldmoon can't be sing like in a musical, we take note about it). This could be one of the best promotion of the brand.

i generally merge planescape and chronomancers handbook. With updated high tech on mechanus. And some high tech generally all over the outlander and limbo. Limbo generates possibility and mechanus actualizes them. And the outlands is in the middle.
One thing I do is this. Gods don’t tell wizards what they can and can not do with magic. They can’t limit a wizard. Wizards are learning to do what they want when they want, if the gods don’t like it than screw them. They aren’t asking permission. And gods aren’t omnicient at all
 

tommybahama

Adventurer
As for "trivial to find people talking about their Ravnica games", I've been searching for actual play threads/podcasts featuring people playing Ravnica now, but I wasn't initially able to find any at all. I found a number of ended campaigns from 2019, and a cool-sounding podcast, but that was also over.

I did a search for D&D and Ravnica on YouTube and found at least five different streams posted in the last month. Here are a few, plus a parody song:






L'Ombra di Bolas, episodio 2 - Il tradimento [D&D ITA]

Ravnica - Dogs in the Guild Pact - S01E02
 

Parmandur

Book-Friend

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