D&D 5E What are the different 'tones' supported by 5e D&D?

BookTenTiger

He / Him
I'm going to be starting a new campaign with players who are new to D&D (and table top roleplaying games in general), and after a few introductory one-shots, they are interested in building up a custom campaign world with me! This is something I love to do, and I've always wanted a group that can collaborate with me on creating a setting. I even started another thread about the questions I want to ask during campaign creation.

One of the things that came up in the thread was on deciding the "tone" of the campaign. I started thinking about this, and thinking about the kinds of tones that 5e D&D supports. I think the tone 5e does best is a kind of Pirates of the Caribbean / Guardians of the Galaxy "wacky friends going on adventures" vibe. However, I do believe that (even if it may require a few house rules), 5e D&D can support a variety of tones.

Here are some I came up with:

This is a time of adventure. You will play as rambunctious, quirky, perhaps even foolhardy heroes, seeking out fortune and getting into scrapes. The themes will be lighthearted, thrilling, and sometimes humorous. Inspiration: Pirates of the Caribbean, Guardians of the Galaxy, Three Muskateers.

This is a time of legends. You will play as heroes of great renown, taking on challenges greater than life. The themes will be mythological, dramatic, and world-shaking. Inspiration: Greek Mythology, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Beowulf

This is a time of darkness. You will play as ordinary heroes carrying the light of hope against the spreading shadow of evil. The themes will be corruption, optimism, and fighting against the odds. Inspiration: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Witcher

This is a time of intrigue. You will play as agents of a court, growing your power through diplomacy, scheming, and war. The themes will be politics, warfare, and conspiracy. Inspiration: Game of Thrones, Medieval History

This is a time of exploration. You will play explorers heading out bravely into the unknown. The themes will be discovery, wilderness, and travel. Inspiration: Lewis and Clarke, Studio Ghibli.


What other tones can you come up with?
 
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billd91

Not your screen monkey (he/him)
ConeheadsMaintainLowTones.png
 

pukunui

Legend
The ones addressed in the 5e DMG are:

*Heroic fantasy
*Sword and sorcery
*Epic fantasy
*Mythic fantasy
*Dark fantasy
*Intrigue
*Mystery
*Swashbuckling
*War
*Wuxia

I would say it does some of those better than others. I agree that something along the lines of Guardians of the Galaxy is probably the best fit for 5e.
 

clearstream

(He, Him)
I'm going to be starting a new campaign with players who are new to D&D (and table top roleplaying games in general), and after a few introductory one-shots, they are interested in building up a custom campaign world with me! This is something I love to do, and I've always wanted a group that can collaborate with me on creating a setting. I even started another thread about the questions I want to ask during campaign creation.

One of the things that came up in the thread was on deciding the "tone" of the campaign. I started thinking about this, and thinking about the kinds of tones that 5e D&D supports. I think the tone 5e does best is a kind of Pirates of the Caribbean / Guardians of the Galaxy "wacky friends going on adventures" vibe. However, I do believe that (even if it may require a few house rules), 5e D&D can support a variety of tones.

Here are some I came up with:

This is a time of adventure. You will play as rambunctious, quirky, perhaps even foolhardy heroes, seeking out fortune and getting into scrapes. The themes will be lighthearted, thrilling, and sometimes humorous. Inspiration: Pirates of the Caribbean, Guardians of the Galaxy, Three Muskateers.

This is a time of legends. You will play as heroes of great renown, taking on challenges greater than life. The themes will be mythological, dramatic, and world-shaking. Inspiration: Greek Mythology, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Beowulf

This is a time of darkness. You will play as ordinary heroes carrying the light of hope against the spreading shadow of evil. The themes will be corruption, optimism, and fighting against the odds. Inspiration: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Witcher

This is a time of intrigue. You will play as agents of a court, growing your power through diplomacy, scheming, and war. The themes will be politics, warfare, and conspiracy. Inspiration: Game of Thrones, Medieval History

This is a time of exploration. You will play explorers heading out bravely into the unknown. The themes will be discovery, wilderness, and travel. Inspiration: Lewis and Clarke, Studio Ghibli.


What other tones can you come up with?
I feel tone is open-ended. Some additions -

war / civil war
diaspora
resistance / emancipation
renewal
learning / mastery
 

I'm going to be starting a new campaign with players who are new to D&D (and table top roleplaying games in general), and after a few introductory one-shots, they are interested in building up a custom campaign world with me! This is something I love to do, and I've always wanted a group that can collaborate with me on creating a setting. I even started another thread about the questions I want to ask during campaign creation.

One of the things that came up in the thread was on deciding the "tone" of the campaign. I started thinking about this, and thinking about the kinds of tones that 5e D&D supports. I think the tone 5e does best is a kind of Pirates of the Caribbean / Guardians of the Galaxy "wacky friends going on adventures" vibe. However, I do believe that (even if it may require a few house rules), 5e D&D can support a variety of tones.

Here are some I came up with:

This is a time of adventure. You will play as rambunctious, quirky, perhaps even foolhardy heroes, seeking out fortune and getting into scrapes. The themes will be lighthearted, thrilling, and sometimes humorous. Inspiration: Pirates of the Caribbean, Guardians of the Galaxy, Three Muskateers.

This is a time of legends. You will play as heroes of great renown, taking on challenges greater than life. The themes will be mythological, dramatic, and world-shaking. Inspiration: Greek Mythology, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Beowulf

This is a time of darkness. You will play as ordinary heroes carrying the light of hope against the spreading shadow of evil. The themes will be corruption, optimism, and fighting against the odds. Inspiration: Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Witcher

This is a time of intrigue. You will play as agents of a court, growing your power through diplomacy, scheming, and war. The themes will be politics, warfare, and conspiracy. Inspiration: Game of Thrones, Medieval History

This is a time of exploration. You will play explorers heading out bravely into the unknown. The themes will be discovery, wilderness, and travel. Inspiration: Lewis and Clarke, Studio Ghibli.


What other tones can you come up with?
When you started each of them with 'this is a time of', I was suddenly reminded of this episode intro for season 4 of Babylon 5.

"It was the year of fire... the year of destruction... the year we took back what was ours... It was the year of rebirth... the year of great sadness... the year of pain... and the year of joy. It was a new age. It was the end of history. It was the year everything changed.

This is a time of rebirth. You will play as heroes who were brought back from death to finish a quest that was never finished.

This is a time of great sadness. You will play as agents of a court trying to come to grips with the aftermath of a war which saw death and great suffering.

This is the time we took back what was ours. Your kingdom had been taken over by an oppressive force. You will play as agents of the resistance as you seek to restore everything you lost.

This is the time of pain. You will play ordinary heroes who were caught up in a war where great sacrifices for good and ill were made by you.

This is the time everything changed. You will play heroes living at the cusp of one age and the beginning of a new one. Which direction will you take this new age?
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
How about, This is a time of renewal? You will play adventures in a land recovered from a great long lasting war against evil. The lands are reclaimed, the peace is holding, its time to seek out hidden secrets and untold legends of yesteryear. Themes similar to exploration above, but with strong hints of long lost lore and dark secrets to uncover. (Not post apocalypse, but post-post-apocalypse?)
 

Whizbang Dustyboots

Gnometown Hero
How about, This is a time of renewal? You will play adventures in a land recovered from a great long lasting war against evil. The lands are reclaimed, the peace is holding, its time to seek out hidden secrets and untold legends of yesteryear. Themes similar to exploration above, but with strong hints of long lost lore and dark secrets to uncover. (Not post apocalypse, but post-post-apocalypse?)
This tone really lets you do almost any sort of adventure, too. Pockets of the old evil can give you dark fantasy stuff. Kingdoms vying to create a new order can give you intrigue. Large parts of the world being cut off from one another by a vanquished great evil gives the opportunity for exploration. And since the BBEG is gone, there are lots of times where the mood will be light and optimistic.
 

payn

He'll flip ya...Flip ya for real...
This tone really lets you do almost any sort of adventure, too. Pockets of the old evil can give you dark fantasy stuff. Kingdoms vying to create a new order can give you intrigue. Large parts of the world being cut off from one another by a vanquished great evil gives the opportunity for exploration. And since the BBEG is gone, there are lots of times where the mood will be light and optimistic.
Exactly what I was thinking. Also, it lets the players establish their footing before introducing some grand big bad or world threatening event since the last one is now over. Maybe one wont even be needed at all.
 

BookTenTiger

He / Him
How about, This is a time of renewal? You will play adventures in a land recovered from a great long lasting war against evil. The lands are reclaimed, the peace is holding, its time to seek out hidden secrets and untold legends of yesteryear. Themes similar to exploration above, but with strong hints of long lost lore and dark secrets to uncover. (Not post apocalypse, but post-post-apocalypse?)
I love it.
 


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