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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7374 Posts

Posted - 19 Aug 2018 :  21:03:08  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
So, back in 3.5, I liked the Shattered Lands setting created by Sword and Sorcery, but I never played in it. I always wanted to though. I can say similar things about the Midgard Campaign Setting which was originally put out for Pathfinder and recently had some conversion to 5e. However, despite liking some of Golarion, I found it to be a bit oddly thrown together. That being said, I haven't read a lot of Pathfinder's material, so those who love it, please don't pull out the pitchforks.

Given that information, I went to Gen Con and saw that some company called Onyx Path Publishing had made a sourcebook to convert the Shattered Lands to 5e. I picked it up, and I'm noting how its using a lot of races that are LIKE what I'm wanting to use in my United tharchs of Toril (specifically Manticora, slitheren, and asaatthi speficially ... and I like their interpretation on warforged). I found it intriguing that the same people who had intrigued me previously have hit on exactly the stuff that's captured my own interests again. I only wish I could make references to their product from within DM's Guild and thus use their rulesets instead of having to rewrite them.

That got me to thinking.... well, if WotC won't start truly developing the realms again, maybe it might be fun to run a campaign using 5e rules in this campaign world I always wanted to look at. I've got a few people who have recently brought up that they've either A) never played a game or B) haven't played D&D for 10-20 years, so they're all looking to start a game where they basically have to learn the basics of 5e.

So, where's this going... just curious... either within the parameters of an officially TSR or WotC released setting OR within a third party released setting like the above... in your personal opinion what world have you liked the most and why? Please no flame war with each other over settings. I'm just curious honestly over what and why people are drawn to certain places and/or themes.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31389 Posts

Posted - 20 Aug 2018 :  01:53:02  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Golarion has a lot of nifty stuff, but the design has been a little too "kitchen sink" for my liking -- if it's something you like in a setting, it's somewhere in Golarion, even if it seems to be an awkward fit, at best. Their version of Egypt is a little too close to RW Egypt for my linking, too.

I think, though, that my biggest issue with Golarion is the NPCs. There just isn't enough focus on the characters of the setting, and to me, that's what makes a setting really come alive.

Midgard is a really cool setting; I've gotten a lot of that material and I've quite enjoyed it. I dislike their approach to the gods, though. Their emphasis on "let's make them more mysterious by being as vague as we possibly can!" makes deities less interesting to me, because it makes them more like named concepts than actual entities.

Immoren, home of the Iron Kingdoms, is really cool. It's the setting for an RPG, and also for the Hordes/Warmachine games. The mechanika approach is different, their dragons are freaking scary, gun mages rock, and the spin on divine matters is different.

I've had two main complaints, though one has become lessened.

One complaint is that there have been several characters that were known to be renegades from another faction -- and for some reason, it was always the same faction. Not the faction that believed in torturing and burning disbelievers and engaging in a religious war, and not the faction that told its peasants they should be happy that freezing to death while also starving allowed them to serve their nation. No, it was the faction that tried to make sure its citizens were taken care of and were free to do what they wanted -- that was the faction people kept turning their backs on. Finally they came out with the Convergence of Cyriss -- and the Cryxian caster Mortenebra now had an official faction she was no longer a part of. That was a nice change, to me. I still wish, though, that Karchev had gone over to Cryx -- that would have been a lot of evil fun.

My other complaint was that Khador was just too much a duplicate of Imperial Russia. Sure, a lot of fantasy settings use real-world nations as a basis, but with Khador, it's been "file the serial numbers off and slap on a bit of fantasy and a bit of steampunk, and we're done."

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TBeholder
Master of Realmslore

1702 Posts

Posted - 20 Aug 2018 :  08:12:03  Show Profile Send TBeholder a Private Message  Reply with Quote
...and if you want a kitchen sink Spelljammer and Planescape are larger kitchen sinks.

Oh, also there's Setting Mashup Generator

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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6662 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2018 :  13:21:36  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The Realms has followed too many paths and (market) trends over the years which I simply find too contrived and too uninteresting.

I'm a big fan of Planescape, to my mind it's basically the very-best-of-all-possible-worlds insofar as a D&D-based setting can go. It's a sort of umbrella setting containing whatever mix of traditional, avante garde, steampunk, swords-and-sinew, high-fantasy, low-fantasy, or alternate worlds/places you like. That being said, the "core" Planescape rules and places are rather strange and implausible, not to everyone's liking.

[/Ayrik]
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7374 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2018 :  14:36:40  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ayrik

The Realms has followed too many paths and (market) trends over the years which I simply find too contrived and too uninteresting.

I'm a big fan of Planescape, to my mind it's basically the very-best-of-all-possible-worlds insofar as a D&D-based setting can go. It's a sort of umbrella setting containing whatever mix of traditional, avante garde, steampunk, swords-and-sinew, high-fantasy, low-fantasy, or alternate worlds/places you like. That being said, the "core" Planescape rules and places are rather strange and implausible, not to everyone's liking.



Yeah, I've never run a Planescape campaign as more than a one-shot, but I'm intrigued by the concept. The problem I'd run into would be one of having players that would be able to get that much into it. As I get older, I find that those players who got as heavily into the content as myself are drying up and leaving, and while I can find newer players, they don't want to invest the time and energy (and it would be such for them) to "catch up". Now, once I played with them for several years and they picked up concepts, it might be a possibility. It really does suck sometimes getting old.

That being said, one of my most memorable games came about as a part of something that would definitely be non-canon now. Essentially, I had Orcus descend to Damara during the ToT, occupying the body of one of his priests, and I had the party slay this avatar. While all this ToT is going on Gareth and Company in my story were actually already in the outer planes, so that whenever they actually get to Orcus' domain, its in upheaval because Orcus has returned to his throne minus all deific power, and he's busy putting down incursions by the followers of Kiaransalee who are invading his domain (all of this, the party doesn't know about). Anyway, later on, the party ends up in the astral near Orcus' corpse and find some Githyanki exploring it. They also find a mortal wizard named Velsharoon (yeah, they didn't know, and this was before he ascended) nearby who agrees to help them clear out the githyanki "before they can do something profoundly evil with the corpse". He sends them with several "golems" to aid them (actually undead spirits possessing suits of armor). After they were through, he helped the party return home (i.e. got them out of the way).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas

Edited by - sleyvas on 21 Aug 2018 16:20:15
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Harvest
Acolyte

9 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2018 :  19:56:20  Show Profile Send Harvest a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

...and if you want a kitchen sink Spelljammer and Planescape are larger kitchen sinks.

Oh, also there's Setting Mashup Generator



I'll second Spelljammer, before I knew what DnD really was I found a box in some used book store and just read through the manuals.
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Brimstone
Great Reader

USA
3010 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2018 :  21:14:23  Show Profile Send Brimstone a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have been getting into Necromancer/Frog God's Games, The Lost Lands Setting. Bard's Gate, Rappan Athuk, The Blight.

Green Ronin's Tal'Dorei. Matt Mercers Setting for Critical Roll.

"These things also I have observed: that knowledge of our world is
to be nurtured like a precious flower, for it is the most precious
thing we have. Wherefore guard the word written and heed
words unwritten and set them down ere they fade . . . Learn
then, well, the arts of reading, writing, and listening true, and they
will lead you to the greatest art of all: understanding."
Alaundo of Candlekeep

Edited by - Brimstone on 21 Aug 2018 21:20:07
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31389 Posts

Posted - 21 Aug 2018 :  21:26:30  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I've gotten some of the Frog Gods Games stuff, mainly in the format of cheap pdf bundles. I've not really looked thru it all, yet, though -- I've developed an annoying tendency to buy an RPG pdf, flip thru it once, and then forget about it before I have time to read it.

The first Spelljammer boxed set was one of my earliest RPG purchases. I had a couple other boxed sets, but the first Spelljammer one was the first to really grab me. I was gung ho for that setting long before I was more than just casually interested in the Realms. My user name, in fact, comes from Spelljammer.

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BadLuckBugbear
Seeker

USA
29 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  03:23:08  Show Profile Send BadLuckBugbear a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Leaving out FR...

#1
Greyhawk is my favorite non-homebrew D&D setting. What's not to like? It's based in part on Gygax's home game and it was further developed through the rulebooks and modules that added all sorts of things to the game. Classic stuff.
It also has very fun, diverse gods.

#2 Ravenloft
I find that the unusual combination of heroic fantasy and gothic horror is tricky to pull off, but when it works, it really works very well!
The Van Richten's monster hunting guides are among my favorite things made for the setting, and can be used in other settings.

What else?

Green Ronin's Freeport is pretty cool.

I like Birthright a lot, but I am done with it. I ran the game I had wanted to run years ago, but which failed badly back then. A second chance to run something grand and heroic in the setting was a lot of fun for me and my players.




Ewan Cummins
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

817 Posts

Posted - 11 Sep 2018 :  03:31:21  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Scarred Lands is pretty cool. There's a Pathfinder version by the same company.

Golarion is...interesting. It's an 'everything plus the kitchen sink' setting though, with Kaiju (there's a Ghidorah expy, among others) sharing the setting with ancient deicidal lich-kings and the Lovecraft mythos.
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Lord Karsus
Great Reader

USA
3182 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2018 :  03:42:41  Show Profile  Send Lord Karsus an AOL message Send Lord Karsus a Private Message  Reply with Quote
-Eberron has grown on me over the years since the "competitions" between it and the Forgotten Realms stopped. The concept of it, anyway, since I still don't actually own any of those books. I really should get on that.

(A Tri-Partite Arcanist Who Has Forgotten More Than Most Will Ever Know)

Elves of Faerūn
Vol I- The Elves of Faerūn
Vol. III- Spells of the Elves
Vol. VI- Mechanical Compendium
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31389 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2018 :  12:31:40  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Eberron has grown on me over the years since the "competitions" between it and the Forgotten Realms stopped. The concept of it, anyway, since I still don't actually own any of those books. I really should get on that.



I read the first campaign book, and looked at some of the other material. Not all of it worked for me, but overall, I liked what I saw. But at the time, I didn't have enough money to get Realms stuff and Eber-whatsit, so I focused on the former and not the latter.

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The Masked Mage
Master of Realmslore

USA
1958 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2018 :  13:00:14  Show Profile  Send The Masked Mage an AOL message  Click to see The Masked Mage's MSN Messenger address Send The Masked Mage a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Planescape is difficult to maintain, simply because the possibilities are literally endless.

I agree that if you followed all the nonsense WOTC has done to the Realms you'd be chasing your tail all around, which is why I take it and leave it. Keep what you can and dump what you can't use.

Greyhawk's downfall, at least in my mind, was that it tried to be all about nations / regions in conflict with each other. This made smaller efforts seem overshadowed. Many aspects of it were great though.

Dragonlance has some of the brightest moments in all of RPG, but they are very few and far between :P

Ravenloft was a nice idea but it kind of got tiresome. It annoyed me when they started taking plots/characters from other writers and rehashed them with a Ravelofty twist.

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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7374 Posts

Posted - 13 Sep 2018 :  13:12:05  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Lord Karsus

-Eberron has grown on me over the years since the "competitions" between it and the Forgotten Realms stopped. The concept of it, anyway, since I still don't actually own any of those books. I really should get on that.



Yeah, I do have to say, I feel that Eberron, except for the lack of high level individuals, which I would expect in such a high magic venue, could be very interesting and fun. One thing that COULD have been used to explain away the lack of high level individuals they never used (as in their great war having decimated all sides, leaving few remaining powerful casters).

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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Renin
Learned Scribe

170 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2018 :  20:04:23  Show Profile Send Renin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I love Ravenloft as done by Swords & Sorcery. Definitely not for the murder hobos; the group I have is very much into roleplaying, so this group (which I still run, using Pathfinder rules) still excels.

Planescape was a phenomenol setting. Creative DMs and creative players can make these adventures just run forever. I've always wanted to run this as a reverse-Stargate type thing; in Sigil, you are among the 'gods' and can go and visit so many varied Prime Material worlds.

Golarion-If you do go and find reviews and do your research, there are many awesome areas to invest in and play through. As someone mentioned, Golarion suffers vs FR because it does not have the NPC personas you identify with-that role is filled by the PCs themselves. While their lands do seem to just be mashed together, as opposed to the near planned measure of FR with human evolution and expansion, it's not that so different from the Realms. There are (to me) still many chunks of the Realms that just seem 'there' without any reason I'd wish to run a campaign there.

I am a Pathfinder (system) player, but that's because it was the system I wanted to play, and screw WoTC for what they did to the Realms during 4e. I still do not use anything with Spellplague and bluefire. I used the system, but all the crunch of the Realms pre-1385. Unfortunately, due to that, I didn't give enough attention to the Golarion adventure paths my friends ran, and I feel bad about not putting myself into the world of Golarion, simply because it wasn't the Realms.
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Ayrik
Great Reader

Canada
6662 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2018 :  20:55:32  Show Profile Send Ayrik a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
... As someone mentioned, Golarion suffers vs FR because it does not have the NPC personas you identify with-that role is filled by the PCs themselves ...
I think this quality is sort of a mixed curse/blessing.

The Realms is stuffed full of NPCs who are functionally gods. Chosens, Elminsters, Szass Tams, all the rest. Everybody else (except the actual gods) has little lasting impact on the setting, when the Big Boys put their plans in motion then Big Things happen whether the PCs play a little part or not, songs are sung and sagas are written about these great and epic NPCs, there's hardly any motivation for lesser heroes to even want their moment of background stand-in on the grand stage.

While Golarion puts the entire weight of the world squarely onto the PC heroes. They get leading roles but they also end up having fewer "peers" to interact with. It's never lonely at the top (like people often claim) ... but it can get boring.

[/Ayrik]
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31389 Posts

Posted - 16 Sep 2018 :  21:07:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
The thing is, though, that there are a lot of Realms characters that aren't near the power levels of Elminster or Mr. Ginsu. Arilyn Moonblade, Danilo Thann, Baelam the Bold, Kyriani, Tertius Wands, Alias, Giogi Wyvernspur...

Kuje made a list of NPCs from game products. Certainly, some of them had appeared in novels, but it was drawn from game sources -- and the list had thousands of names on it. Everything from 0-level commoners to near-gods. I've read a hell of a lot of Pathfinder stuff, and I'm pretty sure you'd be hard pressed to make a list anywhere near as populous.

And Golarion has had its big guys, too, though it's avoided TSR's mistake of shining the spotlight on them. At least one person rose to godhood without any assistance, and there's a lich that slew a goddess and then raised her to be his queen. And my favorite deity from any RPG is Golarion's Cayden Cailean, who became a god on a drunken bet.

Stories don't happen without people for them to happen to. You need people in a setting for there to be stories in that setting. Without NPCs, a setting is just real estate.

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Edited by - Wooly Rupert on 16 Sep 2018 21:22:49
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Renin
Learned Scribe

170 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  03:43:00  Show Profile Send Renin a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

The thing is, though, that there are a lot of Realms characters that aren't near the power levels of Elminster or Mr. Ginsu. Arilyn Moonblade, Danilo Thann, Baelam the Bold, Kyriani, Tertius Wands, Alias, Giogi Wyvernspur...


For the most part, I love all the non-Chosen, powerful as Gods figures most of all, simply because of how they are memorable and significant. I'm glad that these type of characters are there!


quote:
Originally posted by Wooly RupertAnd Golarion has had its big guys, too, though it's avoided TSR's mistake of shining the spotlight on them. At least one person rose to godhood without any assistance, and there's a lich that slew a goddess and then raised her to be his queen. And my favorite deity from any RPG is Golarion's Cayden Cailean, who became a god on a drunken bet.

Stories don't happen without people for them to happen to. You need people in a setting for there to be stories in that setting. Without NPCs, a setting is just real estate.




Indeed!

This is why when I really enjoy something from Pathfinder...I mostly put it over the top of my Realms' adventures.

My friends and I have been shaping and making the Realms ours since circa...1989 or so. I'm not giving up on 'my' Realms, even if it seems that TSR/WotC/Hasbro has (in my estimation. This is based only on my feelings, not empirical evidence or anything such objective factor.
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sleyvas
Great Reader

USA
7374 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  13:08:44  Show Profile Send sleyvas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

there's a lich that slew a goddess and then raised her to be his queen.



Color me intrigued... where's this from? I know Golarion / Pathfinder, but I'd be curious to look this up and read more. Sounds like a fun story.

Alavairthae, may your skill prevail

Phillip aka Sleyvas
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LordofBones
Senior Scribe

817 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  16:15:21  Show Profile Send LordofBones a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

there's a lich that slew a goddess and then raised her to be his queen.



Color me intrigued... where's this from? I know Golarion / Pathfinder, but I'd be curious to look this up and read more. Sounds like a fun story.



The necromancer Tar-Baphon intentionally provoked the god Aroden into fighting him as part of a long, convoluted method to attain lichdom. When he rose as a lich and became the Whispering Tyrant, Aroden's servant, the demigoddess Arazni, was summoned by the Knights of Ozem to challenge him. Tar-Baphon won and threw her broken body back to her knights.

Wooly did get one part wrong; while Arazni was killed by Tar-Baphon, he didn't take her as his queen. The other uber-necromancer of Golarion, the ghost-king Geb (the ruler of the necropolis nation of, you guessed it, Geb), trolled the Knights by stealing the goddess's corpse and turning her into a lich, and brainwashing her into becoming his Harlot Queen (that's her actual title now). Oh, and he turned the knights that attacked him into Pathfinder's equivalent of death knights, just for laughs.

Edited by - LordofBones on 17 Sep 2018 16:16:17
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Wooly Rupert
Master of Mischief
Moderator

USA
31389 Posts

Posted - 17 Sep 2018 :  18:58:39  Show Profile Send Wooly Rupert a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by LordofBones

quote:
Originally posted by sleyvas

quote:
Originally posted by Wooly Rupert

there's a lich that slew a goddess and then raised her to be his queen.



Color me intrigued... where's this from? I know Golarion / Pathfinder, but I'd be curious to look this up and read more. Sounds like a fun story.



The necromancer Tar-Baphon intentionally provoked the god Aroden into fighting him as part of a long, convoluted method to attain lichdom. When he rose as a lich and became the Whispering Tyrant, Aroden's servant, the demigoddess Arazni, was summoned by the Knights of Ozem to challenge him. Tar-Baphon won and threw her broken body back to her knights.

Wooly did get one part wrong; while Arazni was killed by Tar-Baphon, he didn't take her as his queen. The other uber-necromancer of Golarion, the ghost-king Geb (the ruler of the necropolis nation of, you guessed it, Geb), trolled the Knights by stealing the goddess's corpse and turning her into a lich, and brainwashing her into becoming his Harlot Queen (that's her actual title now). Oh, and he turned the knights that attacked him into Pathfinder's equivalent of death knights, just for laughs.



My bad. Got my uber-necroguys mixed up.

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