I Swing the Vorpal Spork of Irony like some Hyperborean Usurper through the Hordes of the Unwashed.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Do I Need to Write My Own Setting?

Just asking. But I'd like some feedback on this. I have an outline, rough sketch and an inspiration. Would my time be better served elsewhere though. Like painting that huge pile of Mini's on my table. I also am trying to run 4th edition while reading Pathfinder and Everquest. And I need to finish cleaning the basement.
I was thinking along the lines of a Hyperborian/Lovecraft kind of place. I suppose that I just want someplace that I can plug into any RPG system. (maybe because I'm trying to learn 3 systems at once) Unless someone can talk me out of it, I'm gonna do it. I'm going to put it on Obsidian Portal, which is one of my Favs BTW. I'll put up a link if it doesn't suck.


  1. Go for it, but don't go overboard. I'd stick with a 1-2 page campaign primer. Sketch out the overall theme and feel of the world. What are the big bullet points (points of light, steampunk, dying earth, fuedal civil war, etc.)? Then run with it. As you need more info, write it down and tack it on to your primer.

    Obsidial portal is awesome, and perfect for doing just that, adding on more details as things progress. Trust me, your players don't need a huge history, detailing every age and kingdom, with page upon page of religious, political and sociological points for every race. Just write down your campaing primer and work out the details as you play the game.

    And who cares if your campaign is dribble, post it anyways! Mine is a blatant ripoff of Eberron and Warhammer and is complete bunk. But we're having fun with it.


  2. You don't NEED to, but go for it, it's great fun. As the previous commenter has said, you don't need masses of information, just the broad brush strokes so that you don't find you're contradicting something as you develop the world. The more information you have to begin with, the more difficult it is for DM and players to collaboratively world-build.

    I'm about to start playing in a Mystara-based campaign and the amount of detail for that world makes it very hard for me to find any area that could benefit from my input. It's all been done. Nothing for me to create. Check out Carl Nash's posts on collaborative world building for some neat guidance on how it can really work for 4e.


    Carl's doing some great work in merging 4e and OS playing style. His players seem to be enjoying themselves as well.

  3. Personally I have mixed emotions about DMs doing up their own settings. I've played in more than I can count ... and I have a few of my own. That said I've played in some bad ones (and I know a few of mine were never quite ... *cough* ... finished). Depending on what your talking about doing, if you just want a clean fresh generic setting where you are the ultimate expert (I've done that in the past to avoid a few players that had obscene Greyhawk/Forgotten Realms knowledge and I got tired of dealing with metagaming and esoteric arguments) ... might be a good idea. If your doing it to showcase your creativity,etc. if you feel like putting in the work go for it. I've been talking to a DM friend of mine in another town lately about doing this for 4E in his own game and what he is planning on doing is using slightly modified LFR mods strung together ... in his own setting. So he gets the benefit of balanced encounters ... yet the coolness of his own setting. I agree with the previous posts as well. It is very easy to go overboard and depending on how your players take to it, etc. it can turn into an exercise in frustration if you've invested huge amounts of time into it and it just doesn't pan out the way you wanted. So ya keep it simple, keep focusing on keeping your encounters balanced (perhaps even run modules moded up for your setting, etc.) and let your setting grow at the speed of plot. Just my two cents ... best of luck man! If you take the plunge post how it all turns out!


Let me know what you think. Please watch the language.