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D&D Blog Hop: Day 9

Written by Darkwarren - Published on February 9, 2014

dnd40hopbadgeDay 9: First campaign setting (homebrew or published) you played in?

As I started playing D&D with the famous red box, more specifically the 1983 revision with Larry Elmore’s classic art- the roaring Red Dragon in mid bite towards a Conan-esque fighter desperately swinging a magic longsword- on the cover, I guess I’d have to say, Greyhawk. But it never dawned on me that the world was actually Oerth while it was actually the campaign setting itself which was called “Greyhawk”. As I don’t have an actual Basic Set in front of me I recall it being pretty generic, so perhaps it wasn’t as related to Gary Gygax’s castle-dungeon as I originally once believed and my first few adventurers were in some sort of random “the DM just made this all up in his spare time” homebrew setting.  I’m sure most gamers go through those, some decently done and some not so much.

But the first campaign setting I actually remember intentionally playing in was the Forgotten Realms. I had read the Avatar Trilogy (Shadowdale, Tantras, and Waterdeep) and was all caught up in the Time of Troubles- aka the Arrival, aka the Godswar, and aka the Avatar Crisis. Basically the Gods in the pantheon were made to walk amongst the mortals and a bunch of them ended up dying.  But from what I understand this was also done mainly an excuse for TSR to introduce a Second Edition.  I had no concept of the assassin class being dropped from D&D for political reasons and all the other conspiracies surrounding the novels.)  Because I had been steeped in the Forgotten Realms novels at an early age I still reveled in the chance to play in that same world. A friend and classmate of mine loved to DM and he was an avid Realms reader himself. All the adventures he would create took place in the continent of Faerun and would have interesting little side stories and quests that would somehow branch off of or connect to something based in the official novels. Then, when I played mostly via computer games, all of those disc games again took place in the Forgotten Realms, albeit the digital version. When I got back into pencil and paper gaming many of our early adventures and campaigns were set in the Forgotten Realms. I even wrote one of my own campaigns set in the Silver Marches. So I spent a good decade and a half of my gaming career in Ed Greenwood’s sandbox and am grateful for his imagination.  Even if I had to kill Elminster Aumar aka the “Sage of Shadowdale” aka the “Old Mage“.  And oh boy did I have to kill that ‘Author Avatar’ a lot.

How about you?  Where are your games set?  Have a homebrew campaign?  Tell us!

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Written by Darkwarren

Matt W., aka Darkwarren, has been roleplaying ever since his older brother introduced him to the red box set when he was 7 years old. Since then he has game-mastered SSDC’s Battleords of the Twenty-third Century, WEG’s Shadowrun and Star Wars, and of course Dungeons & Dragons in a variety of forms. At thirty-four years old he takes turns on both sides of the screen with the group that he helped found in 2000 when 3.0 hit the stands and has met every week fairly regularly ever since. Currently they have been running a variety of the Paizo Adventure Path scenarios, so that’s his wheelhouse. He was almost famous when two of his adventures were green-lighted for possible publication right before Paizo relinquished the rights to publish Dungeon magazine.

Matt also has years if experience in improvisational comedy, fiction, and non-fiction writing. He is currently working and studying to attain a master’s degree in theology, to enhance his career as a religious studies teacher. Lastly, his greatest passion is his family, especially the three sons and dog that he shares with his wife in upstate New York.

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9 Responses to “D&D Blog Hop: Day 9”
  1. Alan says:

    First time campain I played was homebrew by my cousin. Although we were all 14yo, so we didnt know what the hell we were doing… except having a good time, of course

  2. Darkwarren says:

    In the end, that’s all that matters, isn’t it?

    Alan, what’s one unique thing you remember from this homebrewed campaign? Anything unique?

  3. Peter says:

    Original white box set. I can still remember biking to the hobby store to pick up the box. First real “campaign” setting was Greyhawk with a lot of DM interpretation.

  4. Purplemur says:

    My first campaign setting is a homebrew that I started in 1991. It started as a handful of typed (yep…on a typewriter) pages with a rough adventure outline and a few hand-drawn maps.

    I still run adventurers through my world, though it has expanded quite a lot. The biggest change came with the release of 4.0. With the previous editions, I had updated all of the major NPCs and tweaked details to more easily work with the new edition, but with 4.0, I decided to “de-system-ize” the world. My world notes now are simple descriptions that can now be used with any system.

    I have a rich background/history to pull from and rough, general abilities and characteristics of the various characters that I had previously fully fleshed out. This allows me to keep using the world as a play-setting, but I don’t have to worry about keeping everything up-to-date with any one specific system.

    Really enjoying this series, Darkwarren. :)

  5. Darkwarren says:

    Glad you’re enjoying it, Purplemur.

    I have to admit that I’ve been contemplating writing a few articles detailing my attempt at trying to create my own campaign setting.

    Now, I try and build from a pre-established campaign:

    I tried to build a campaign setting out of one of the “unexplored/un-detailed” continents of Faerun in the Forgotten Realms setting. Now I’m toying with the idea of doing an “Arcadia” campaign in Paizo’s Pathfinder setting. Arcadia is the “North America” of that world – complete with colonies from the “European” countries.

    I’ve been drawing from Native American culture, history, and mythology to come up with some creatures and NPC’s.

    Would you guys want to read some of those ideas after this series is over?

  6. MythicParty says:

    @Purplemur: very clever (and ultimately more useful) to make your campaign “System Neutral”. Can you share with us what the gist of what your world is all about?

    @Peter: don’t suppose you wanna sell that White Box set? ;)

    @Alan: We call ‘Having Fun’ Rule 0. Or Rule #1, I forget. Whichever number it is, the other number is for ‘The DM may not always be right, but the DM does have the right to have the final call.’

  7. Purplemur says:

    Key points:

    1. Elves are imperialistic, having taken over most of the largest continent when their homeland was destroyed. The neutral good Church of Enroth resembles the Catholic Church in a lot of ways. They are the masters of magic in the world, though not the only practitioners.
    2. The largest group of dwarven clans have a kind of samurai warlord vibe, and follow a neutral evil god, Vol. They are also kept rather busy fighting against the salamanders and fire titans they displaced to claim their current home.
    3. Humans are a fairly new race and only comprise about 1/5 of the “intelligent races” of the world. They are only recently starting to settle in cities and a large number of roving barbarian clans control a large region just south of the dragon homelands.
    4. Dragons have their own lands to the north and generally keep to themselves. They send their dragonkin out to do most of their business with the rest of the world, and their society is controlled by a good dragon of intense power.
    5. Halflings control the economy through the Treasury and their mafia-inspired organization. They are the greatest farmers in the world and control food supplies in the Elven Empire and beyond.
    6. Most of the races introduced in the core books are represented somewhere in the world…including an entire country run by tieflings.
    7. The world is on the brink of a Gods’ War, the winner of which will gain the world as their domain. Each of the major gods has an avatar currently roaming the world, gathering allies and armies in preparation for the war.

    Having played a lot of Forgotten Realms over the years, the early versions of my world were very similar to Faerun. However, I made a concerted effort to distance myself from that comparison when 3.0 came out. I modified a lot of my history and reshaped the lands themselves quite a bit…though I guess that is pretty reminiscent of what they did with FR, too…dang. ;)

  8. Darkwarren says:

    That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing, Purplemur!

  9. FullovStars says:

    Red box set, B1-9 collection book – “In search of the unknown” I think it was called and basically Mystara for for the first year or so ( Pretty boring looking back at those early days, but we didn’t know any different at the time :-) ) – before we discovered AD&D, played some AD&D in Mystara, but then branched out into a homegrown campaign world and pretty much stayed there. Pretty boring looking back at those early days, but we didn’t know any different at the time :-) ….

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