Sunday, May 12, 2024

Looking for a Different Sort of Campaign Setting

Looking for a Different Sort of Campaign Setting
I know I've mentioned a few times that I travel for work, which is great because I get to see FLGS all over the country. I see plenty of crappy stores too, but that's par for the course. Unlike the majority of my travels, the trip I have coming up is to a ....how do I put this.....a place that did not have a "European Medieval Period" (EMP).

The overwhelming majority, if not damn near 100%, of my TTRPG gaming experience is located in an EMP setting.

I've read, or at least thumbed-through, Oriental Adventures, but never played in an Oriental campaign, and as far as AD&D goes, that's the only non EMP setting out there. No African setting, Middle East, Southwest Asia, South America, North America, or even a generic Polynesian campaign setting. This really seems like a missed opportunity in the TTRPG world. 

The majority of the players I've played with undoubtedly have the same general experience, but maybe I'm wrong. I just think if there were some good non-EMP campaigns settings, that more experienced (i.e. old as fuck like me) players would have a bit of a culture shock, as it was. A foreign (pun intended) campaign setting could let players experience the game anew. A lot of things we take for granted just might not exist, or better yet, be tweaked just enough.....

I think it could be a lot of fun, but honestly this isn't something I could just "do" as my genealogy is European and I think this would require more than just some research.......

Of course maybe I'm lucky in that some people have already done this and I'm just unaware. If that's the case, please feel free to educate me because I don't know what I don't know.


  1. I very much LOVED playing in Al-Qadim back in the 90s, but I had a very good DM who could balance all the cultural differences in game with the implied high-fantasy and pulp influences of the the pan-Middle Eastern setting. If you were to run it I would recommend also reading Jack Zipe's version of The Arabian Nights as a companion piece: the mood is more mysterious fantasy than the silliness of Disney's Aladdin and should be incorporated into how the game is played at the table.

    On another note, Dragon Magazine ran a whole series of articles on a pan-African 2e D&D setting complete with baked in cultural settings, kits, spells, gods, equipment, etc. I always thought it would be interesting to compile all of those articles into a campaign book for personal use.

    Both settings could also be fodder for a retro-fit into AD&D, turning kits into classes and modding rule-set. Just a thought.

  2. The setting I have slowly built up is based on my conception of Korean feudalism and Mongol aesthetics. My research has been just being infatuated with the Kingdom tv show and various prejudices and artwork gathered through the internet. Now i think about it, my settings have always been more samurai/japanese themed than anything else.
    My advice is: don't put too much effort to keep it "historically accurate", is much more important to keep it "internally coherent" even if it draws from other sources or just things you made up by yourself

  3. Troll Lord Games has non-European setting books such as Codex Sinarum and Codex Egyptium.

    Yoon-Suin has a second edition in the works.

    Spears of the Dawn for African-themed fantasy by the excellent Kevin Crawford.

    Travellers on a Red Road is based on Siberian and Pacific Northwest mythology.


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