Thursday, August 28, 2014

How Detailed do You Like You Campaign Setting?

On the one side, you have settings like The Forgotten Realms, Harn and the like. On the other side, you have Blackmarsh and similar sandbox style settings.

Detailed to the level of knowing the privy cleaner in the tavern or a light touch, where it's up to the DM to determine whether or not there is a tavern in the village or not.

I'm on the Blackmarsh side of the discussion, with maybe a desire for just a wee bit more detail. I don't need more detail, but I'd probably like it.

Where do you stand?


  1. It depends on the detail you want.

    I'm doing the opposite of what I usually do in designing my new campaign world: going top-down. Usually I start with a town and a dungeon and that's it. This time, I have a world map, a region map, demographics, castles, &c. And then deciding where to start.

    "Detail" is a kind of a loaded term because it encompasses so many aspects.

  2. Back in the 80's my cousins and I loved the Forgotten Realms. But of course we omitted some of their stuff and added our own. I'm glad to see 5E return to the Realms. But then again I'll play in the middle and use some of their stuff and a lot of mine.I'm playing in a Roll 20 game right now where the DM is using the basic rules along with the Phandelver adventure but he's added his own little side quests and a necromancer who keeps interrupting the party. And that added in makes it a helluva lot more fun.

  3. Greyhawk boxed set at the very most, and that's pushing it.

  4. Depends on the campaign.
    If the campaign is going to range all over the setting, constantly moving, then the details can be minimum.
    If the campaign is going to stay in one location most of the time then I want far more detail.

    But I do want some detail either way. If I'm buying a setting its because I don't want to do the work of detailing it. If all I get is vague generalities...I can do that for free and a couple of minutes thinking while driving to work...then it is a waste of my money.

  5. I like tons of detail, myself. I'm happy to edit or replace anything or everything, but sometimes I'm having a slow day or the party decides to do something totally unexpected.

  6. I sort of split the difference. For actual use, I have found that less tends to be more - the Greyhawk boxed set is good, but the folio was better. However, as an occasional Referee/GM, I've found that there is a lot of use that one can get from a highly detailed setting like Hârn, even if the setting itself is not what you're using. The ideas in the detailed setting can inform the way that you approach fleshing out the less detailed, actual-use setting.

  7. It's neat to have the info there.... but I feel like too much and I avoid it. I don't want to get in a situation where you are trying to run a game world where you haven't read all the books ever. Inevitably there will be that person who says, "Nu uh.. Drizzt killed that giant in the year XYZ and you are trying to play this like it was year ABC with Dragons going to the....."
    I just wanted a frost giant in the mountain...
    Gi ve me tons of flavor, and let me at it as I wish. I think it's why we always just had our own worlds with bits from everything we liked.

  8. I don't want anybody else's campaign setting. All the ones I have seen so far are uninspired and boring. Same old stuff over and over, or a kneejerk reaction to that and self-consciously quirky and "weird." No thanks.

  9. I love the Harn setting and it inspired me to detail Greyhawk in a similar manner.


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