DAY TWENTY-SEVEN: GAME YOU’D LIKE TO SEE A NEW/IMPROVED EDITION OF
The 5th Edition of Dungeons and Dragons is in the process of hitting the shelves and rather than a generic fantasy setting they’ve chosen the Forgotten Realms to hang their hat on. The first thing this day’s question made me think of is not some system I’d like to see a new edition of but rather what Campaign Setting I wanted to see given life in the new Edition of Dungeons and Dragons. So after scarce internal debate I’ve narrowed it down to two settings, and if you’ve paid any amount of attention to my incessant ramblings over this last month you can probably figure which two won out my interests. Eberron and Ravenloft!
The Demiplane of Dread has had a storied history with Dungeons and Dragons. Our first introduction to the Gothic Horror setting was with the module “Ravenloft” released in 1983 where adventurers were whisked away on the wings of malevolent mists to a fun little romp in the land of Barovia to hang out with everyone’s favorite tragic lover Strahd!
The module and its 1986 sequel module “The House on Gryphon Hill” were so popular that TSR decided to create a full campaign setting with the Realms of Terror boxed set, know colloquially as the “Black Box”. My own personal introduction to Ravenloft was through the 3rd party work by White Wolf Studios, under its Sword and Sorcery, imprint during the 3.X edition of Dungeons and Dragons.
I’ve always loved the Gothic Horror feel of the game. The Dark Powers touching everything, creating Dark Lords that rule their own corners of the plane whether they know it or not. The downtrodden masses suffering at the whims of horrifying beasts and people. No one is looking for heroes in these lands and when heroes do appear they are often met with distrust and are begrudgingly rewarded when they do help someone. It’s dark, brooding, and horrible but a truly fun setting to play.
Right now I believe all rights for the Campaign Setting have reverted back to Wizards of the Coast. I kept waiting to see some Ravenloft love back during 4th Edition but we never did. Instead my good friend Jake had to craft his own stuff, as I’ve mentioned before way back on Day 8 of this thing. Hopefully we’ll see it under this new set of rules.
In 2002 Wizards of the Coast ran a contest called the Fantasy Setting Search to allow game designers the chance to be picked as the next Campaign setting for the Dungeons and Dragons system. After sifting through over 11,000 entries the Campaign Setting written by Keith Baker, Eberron, was chosen.
When Eberron was released in June of 2004 I had just graduated from High School and was spending the summer working like a dog at a local golf course and conference center, generally enjoying most of the tropes one sees in a “teen summer” movie from the 80’s. It was basically Caddyshack every day. Gaming wasn’t left behind though, we played a lot during that summer and it was the first time Eberron entered our game. We loved it from the get-go. Magic, steampunk, and pulp noir filling every crevasse of a very fantasy world that brought races like the Warforged to life (and even the annoying changelings). Always on the verge of another great war, likely never to advance in timeline much. Truly fun stuff.
Later in college, once I had migrated to Mizzou to be with the rest of my pals, Eberron became our go to Campaign Setting. I hold many fond memories of campaign after campaign set in the world. Three separate, long-term, campaigns were run by three separate DM’s (Myself, my brother, and my buddy Nick) all set in Eberron. Every week we got together and spent a little time in Khorvaire.
I’ve mentioned it before but the longest game I ever ran was a 4th Edition D&D game set in Eberron. We played it for just over 2 years, you can even see many of my post game write ups on a blog I kept (LINK). This setting has meant a lot to me and I’ve always wanted to thank Keith Baker for creating it. I mean, even my twitter handle was chosen based on the name of Eberron’s most prolific city (Sharn). So here’s hoping I get to see it reproduced once more for 5th Edition!
I love both these settings and want to see more of them in the new rules. I suppose it would be easy enough to modify some of the older stuff to fit 5th Edition (certainly easier than it was to modify them into 4th) but I’d like to see it done up proper. We are still fresh in the launch, but things do seem to be coming along really well for this edition of D&D. Hopefully though, even if we don’t get the two I want, we will get some more interesting settings than just the Forgotten Realms, a good starter but man is that a well trod landscape!