Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Where else to campaign?

I previously discussed the idea of running a game using the Dragonlance setting. Now I will turn my attention to the Forgotten Realms.

As a gamer, I actually have more experience in the Realms. I have played in games set there, and have run a few games there myself. This is unlike my experience with Dragonlance, where I have only every played one adventure set there. I have also read a lot of the fiction. Some of it is great, some...not so much.

I like the Realms a lot because of the diversity presented. Granted, the place has become somehwat bloated with supplement after supplement detailing just about everything you could possibly imagine in a fantasy setting. I hear this as a complaint about the Realms a lot, and while I can concede the point, I have to ask why this makes any difference? If you don't like a particular supplement, or it interferes with the game you wish to run, why not simply ignore it? It's the same arguement I have against people who deride 3E because of all of the excessive third party material. Nothing says you have to all of it, or even any of it.

Interestingly, my most successful string of adventures (I can't call it a campaign, because we never finished) that I ran there started in a village I had created, rather than one of the established locations. However, the information available on the various countries and cultures helped me find a great location to set my village, and the surrounding areas fed into its development, as well as the development of the adventures.

In a nutshell, there are enough tools included in the Forgotten Realms to make any idea you have fully realized, without burdening the DM with having to do too much. Additionally, because the Realms includes so many diverse cultures, you can pretty much justify any character you like. It's no wonder they had made it the default setting for D&D for a time.

So, in the end, there are pros and cons to each world. I would probably end up asking my prospective players if they had a preference. Though I am personally leaning towards the Realms. They have orcs there. Dragonlance doesn't.

1 comment:

  1. My view on why GM's in particular prefer not to run in the Realms is, in fact, that everything is so well detailed. While it is certainly true the your Realms doesn't need to include xyz from supplement abc, it can be problematic if players expect it to. That said, my adventure in 'someone elses sandbox' (Rokugan) still left me enough leeway to place my own stuff on the map, and spin the established narratives to the purposes of the feel while giving me a background on 'Far East Setting' tropes, so I certainly see the usefulness of a pre-packaged setting.

    If I were to choose between the Reams and Dragonlance, I'd probably choose the Realms, as well, because I have a certain taste for starting campaigns with an orc ambush...