Ok, I have to admit not being very active with blogs lately (neither reading nor writing), but after adding a dozen of blogs to my feedreader yesterday evening and writing almost as many comments already I thought I stop writing, complaining and repeating the ultimate topic for a while (4e).

So to take myself from focussing on 4th edition I have to think about another topic and one of the first things that come to my mind are the multitude of gaming worlds out there. I’ll list a few and I would love to read about your preferences, own experience and suggestions you got.

Forgotten Realms

This is one world, my world – at least it has been for such a long time… I remember reading Curse of the Azure bonds back in the 90ies – nothing like the realms. When I started with AD&D, it was always around me and it’s probably the one world I know best from playing and dungeon mastering. I always loved the various authors in the realms – first and foremost nowadays Paul S. Kemp and his Erevis Cale X-alogies. *smiling* – of course I read a lot more than just Paul’s books, but since he’s a newcomer and worth more than just a small recommendation for reading – fetch one of his books…
You probably know the folks over at candlekeep and I won’t go into details about the spellplague and the deaths of many for ——
Still, in my eyes the realms (up to 3.5) are one of the most detailled worlds with incredible many fans that work on it and provide just awesome material for it.

Dark Sun

Anyone of you heard of Athas? Defilers and Preservers? I think that was one of the most thrillings worlds out there when I started 2e. Luckily Dark Sun was grabbed by a few fans and developed over 3e periods – it’s a world of desert, unforgiving sun and harsh regimes.
That’s just it – I haven’t played it in a while unfortunately but it’s a great recommendation for you!

Ravenloft

Ravenloft was the first horror campaign-setting ever for me, before I heard of a Cthulhu RPG, there was Ravenloft. I think they started with a bit strange rules back in 2e but scored to make the shadow-plane available virtually everywhere and so it makes a fine cross-setting in addition to another one. I wasn’t so much fond of the horror and panic rules so far, but that’s just my 2 cents. It still is a atmosphere-heavy setting that’s worth trying if you’re into creepy scenarios.

Planescape

Probably one of the hardest settings to master, since it is endless and focus on the planes of law and order, good versus evil, chaos and despair – hells and heavens. With Sigil, the City of Sigils in the center of it all and one of the most resourceful creations “the Lady of Pain” inmidst of it. A variety of factions and races give virtually endless options for players and dungeon masters alike. If you’re into demons, devils, angels or looking for something that is the incredible variety itself. That’s your best choice.

Birthright

Has anyone ported Birthright? It was an interesting system, putting you (mostly) into the role of a ruler of a country and offering a great perspective to mix it with a table-top game.

Dragonlance

Probably the second most famous gamesetting out there – unless it has already lost to Eberron? The novels are a must for old-time fantasy lovers – it is a classic fantasy world with several interesting “new” approaches. Especially to magic (three moons, three colors of robes, good-neutral-evil), a great way to go.

Ptolus

According to Monte Cook, Ptolus was created for the 3rd edition and was the core setting in which everything was developed. If you’re as much into books as I am, go and get yourself the setting’s core book, you’ll hardly ever find a campaign setting produced in a similiar quality and highly appealing to the eye. But besides the obvious aspects of the book itself, it has great content. It’s a setting focussed around one large city, it’s spire and catacombs. For me a definite must-read and one of the best campaign settings out there – leaving a lot of room for improvisation but giving a solid background of the setting itself. (+ free player’s guides for everyone)

Scarred Lands

So far I’ve only played that one twice, but it’s a nice setting with a complete revamp of the 3rd edition system. Can’t give a recommendation for it, since I haven’t had a real look into the books and only played a great character there, but it did sound like a war-heavy setting with a lot of possibilities – and a lot new ideas.

Kingdoms of Kalamar, Eberron, … there are of course more settings, but it’s harder to find the right words for everything and I started with the target of writing (at least) mostly positive thoughts and impressions, so for (not obvious) reasons I won’t comment Eberron and I’m not that much of a fan of KoK…

Anything you got to share, what’s your preferred system out there? Any important settings that you like a lot, that I have forgotten?

One thought on “Gameworlds”

  1. Yeah, I recall Dark Sun fondly. I played that and Planescape during the college/post-college days and that was about it. But Dark Sun was the one that resonated with me the most.

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