Thursday, September 5, 2013

Most Disliked RPG Setting

Tenkar had a post up at the Tavern that is an interesting side discussion to the topic from yesterday (Favorite Gameworld), what is your most disliked gameworld.

Just realized this was a
Silver Anniversary item.
Of all the things...
His choice was Council of Wyrms. I could definitely see it being a contender. I own the hardback*, but never used it. The premise seemed interesting, but it never inspired me enough to roused my group to attempt to game with it. Expected something a bit ... More ... seeing as dragons are the mascot creature for D&D.

* Can't believe the boxed set actually did well enough to warrant the hardback, which I was suckered into purchasing. I guess anything with dragons in it does sell books, worked on me. Thankfully it was the waning days of 2E. I'm pretty sure I grabbed for a few bucks.

Still, it's not my least favorite. Now, I try not to rag on most setting as I realize they're a matter of personal taste. I also find gems in each setting adaptable for other purposes in every setting I've encountered. No matter how much it doesn't strike my interest. Council of Wyrms was uninspiring but it didn't rub me the wrong way.

I reserve my ire for a particular transgression to settingdom. None other than the 4th edition version of my favorite gameworld not so freshly wrung through the cataclysmic Spellplague - the New "Forgotten Realms."

"They told me the portrait was for a
"Save the Dragons" charity.
Those bastards!"
There are many things to dislike about the setting, from the oddball changes to arbitrary shenanigans used to bring about those changes to the ugly as mud map. For a setting supposedly trying to divorce itself from the baggage of the prior edition, it sure spends much of its limited word count (in larger font size and big blank margins) trying to describe how things changed and why people should care now. Trying to please everyone meant it appealed to no one*.

* [Mini-rant] Or not enough people. I'm supposed to be careful not to tread on the eggshell sentiments of 4E Realms fans, lest I be labeled a hater and troll.

Actually, hold on. 


Oops. (By 'oops' I mean 'up yours', excuse my gnomish.)

I've been dealing with Realms hate and anti-Realms trolls since before 4E, Drizzt killed my puppy that, or Elminster seduced my character's mother this. You will deal with setting negativity as I had for years as a Realms fan. Get in line, it's your turn. [/Mini-rant]

The 4E transition for the Realms is something I wish on no setting. To take something with a fanbase and change it so thoroughly, so obtusely, and then use negativity to sell the new product by standing on the remnants of the previous work is just insulting. I surmise Greyhawk fans felt the same after the last few TSR products before publication switched to the Realms (mind you, at least they didn't say Greyhawk was now the Realms a hundred years later, which is what 4E Realms is to the old Realms.) Dragonlance fans have experienced this as well with the different ages. Even Realms fans had the Time of Troubles as the poor precedent, but the ToT was a school-yard scuffle compared to the Spellplague and century timeline jump.

Look! I found out who ate all the split pea soup.
Fans riled against the transition at the onset, loud and clear, voices upon ears which heard but didn't give a damn. Quite a bit of arrogance there to assume the words of proven fans are worthless and there exists some other imaginary fanbase willing to sweep up the franchise due to your big relaunch, which focused on how the setting is different but the same as before. How's that working out WotC?

Now 4E Realms apologists would say the setting is actually doing quite alright and the upcoming Sundering event is by no means an admission of issues or a rescinding of the 4E/Spellplague-derived problems. Of course corporations never apologize, but the writing is on the walls. They used the same marketing to convince people the 4E Realms would be different, except there's less immature "Holy Cow Slaughtering" and "Kill it and take it's stuff" talking points.

If this uber-RSE doesn't work, well I expect a reboot to the Grey Box era Realms, which would be an excellent choice.

Of course they could make things worse by going for a Spellplague II equivalent. What are they going to do then? Kill Mystra (4.0 by now) again (death #4 by then)?

Either way it will be interesting, the latter more comical than anything. At least the setting would still provide entertainment value.

We need a BIGGER Realms Shattering Event.
A Realms *Sundering* Event!

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