What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Discuss published campaign worlds that do not have a specific forum here.

What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Big Mac » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:16 pm

Since I joined The Piazza, I've learned about D&D campaign settings that I never played.

I've also learned about D&D campaign settings that I never knew existed before.

There are still some campaign settings that have not won a bespoke forum at The Piazza yet. And there are still some a few campaign settings that don't have a single topic yet.

What is the most obscure D&D campaign setting that you know of? Do you own any of the products for it? Does anyone ever talk to you about it?
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby snorri » Sun Aug 06, 2017 9:51 pm

I own a few 80's settings published for AD&D (and played in at least one for a campaign, which ended in Mystara).

Among those released in English, I found b Abbernoth to be very good. It's available on Dragonsfoot's download. It has a Forgotten relms + Celtics feeling which I found interesting.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby willpell » Sun Aug 06, 2017 10:19 pm

What is this, Dungeons and Hipsters? "It's a really obscure campaign setting, I'm sure you've never heard of it." :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Morfie » Mon Aug 07, 2017 7:22 am

If I told you, it wouldn't be obscure anymore..
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby timemrick » Tue Aug 08, 2017 8:41 pm

This one is perhaps more singular than obscure...

Many gamers and fantasy fans have heard of the Thieves' World series, and Green Ronin's d20 adaptation (2005) briefly attracted quite a bit of notice, but it's likely that only very long-time gamers (like many of the good folks here) would have ever seen the first RPG adaptation of the setting, by Chaosium in 1981. That boxed set followed a model that I've never seen in any other RPG sourcebook (and which probably couldn't be replicated today): It provided characters stats for NINE different RPGs of its day, from AD&D to RQ to TFT (even Traveler!), with each system's chapter written by one of the luminaries of that system. It was something of an eccentric, chaotic mess, but the (systemless) guidebook to the city and the detailed maps were a fan's dream come true.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Big Mac » Tue Aug 08, 2017 10:59 pm

snorri wrote:I own a few 80's settings published for AD&D (and played in at least one for a campaign, which ended in Mystara).

Among those released in English, I found b Abbernoth to be very good. It's available on Dragonsfoot's download. It has a Forgotten relms + Celtics feeling which I found interesting.


RPG Geek say that Abbernoth is a Castles & Crusades campaign setting. I might start a topic in Other Worlds about it, some time, but I'm really looking for official Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings that I've not heard about.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby ripvanwormer » Wed Aug 09, 2017 12:39 am

What are you counting as a campaign setting? Does it have to have enough material to support an entire campaign, as opposed to just being the site of a single adventure? There was an earlier thread on D&D micro-settings that has some pretty obscure stuff.

In this thread I listed every D&D setting and world I knew about. Many of them are nothing more than names, though.

I would say Aelos, the setting of CM6 Where Chaos Reigns, probably counts as a campaign setting, barely, since there are a number of interconnected adventures set there and it's distinct from Mystara (though it works fine set in Mystara's distant past). The plane of Eloysia from M4 Five Coins for a Kingdom might also qualify.

Aris and the Lost World, from Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft column in Dragon Magazine, are two settings that are pretty darned obscure. Aris was a world where illithids were created by the moon as a replacement for humanity and the Lost World was a world with dinosaur gods. The columns are archived here: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Big Mac » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:06 am

Morfie wrote:If I told you, it wouldn't be obscure anymore..


You could tell me...but then you would have to kill me. ;)
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Big Mac » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:09 am

timemrick wrote:This one is perhaps more singular than obscure...

Many gamers and fantasy fans have heard of the Thieves' World series, and Green Ronin's d20 adaptation (2005) briefly attracted quite a bit of notice, but it's likely that only very long-time gamers (like many of the good folks here) would have ever seen the first RPG adaptation of the setting, by Chaosium in 1981. That boxed set followed a model that I've never seen in any other RPG sourcebook (and which probably couldn't be replicated today): It provided characters stats for NINE different RPGs of its day, from AD&D to RQ to TFT (even Traveler!), with each system's chapter written by one of the luminaries of that system. It was something of an eccentric, chaotic mess, but the (systemless) guidebook to the city and the detailed maps were a fan's dream come true.


Wow! I never heard of that. Did they have TSR's permission? Did TSR react to Chaosium's AD&D version of Thieves' World?
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby timemrick » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:06 pm

Big Mac wrote:Wow! I never heard of that. Did they have TSR's permission? Did TSR react to Chaosium's AD&D version of Thieves' World?

Dave Arneson was one of the contributors, and the box cover includes the following text: "AD&D and D&D are trademarks owned and used by permission of TSR Hobbies, Inc." (This is followed by similar disclaimers for C&S, TFT, Traveller, and T&T.)

I no longer own a copy (I sold it when my interest in the TW series flagged), but you can see photos of the box cover and some of the contents here.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Dragonhelm » Wed Aug 09, 2017 6:37 pm

Three come to mind.

Pelinore - The world of Pelinore is flat. Everyone knows that! (See the Pelinore forum for details.)

Mahasarpa - Oriental Adventures in India, by James Wyatt.

Valoreign - Fantasy Arthurian feel and some wild magic. Setting is the UK turned upside down. By Chris Perkins. My favorite of these by far.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Dread Delgath » Wed Aug 09, 2017 8:32 pm

timemrick wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Wow! I never heard of that. Did they have TSR's permission? Did TSR react to Chaosium's AD&D version of Thieves' World?

Dave Arneson was one of the contributors, and the box cover includes the following text: "AD&D and D&D are trademarks owned and used by permission of TSR Hobbies, Inc." (This is followed by similar disclaimers for C&S, TFT, Traveller, and T&T.)

I no longer own a copy (I sold it when my interest in the TW series flagged), but you can see photos of the box cover and some of the contents here.


I bought a copy about 15 years ago for $20.00 in a FLGS used section, then gave it to a friend as a Christmas present, as he had a lot of interest in Thieves World, and I knew next to nothing about it at the time, and still know very little about it today, aside from the bits about it discussed here. ;)
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby timemrick » Wed Aug 09, 2017 11:35 pm

Dread Delgath wrote:I bought a copy about 15 years ago for $20.00 in a FLGS used section, then gave it to a friend as a Christmas present, as he had a lot of interest in Thieves World, and I knew next to nothing about it at the time, and still know very little about it today, aside from the bits about it discussed here. ;)

I received my copy for free, along with a huge pile of other games, in late high school, when a friend of a friend was dumping a lot of his games before going into the military. (I never did learn whether there were other games he took with him, or if he was actual leaving the hobby. But I got them because he knew I was an active gamer and thus would appreciate them.) Except for the Basic & Expert rulebooks, most of it was stuff I'd never played--and in many cases, never heard of before, like the TW set. I think I got more use out of the Tunnels & Trolls rulebook than anything else in that pile, because he gifted me with several solo adventures as well, and I used it to explain/demo RPGs to a couple non-gamer friends.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Havard » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:19 am

Dread Delgath wrote:
timemrick wrote:
Big Mac wrote:Wow! I never heard of that. Did they have TSR's permission? Did TSR react to Chaosium's AD&D version of Thieves' World?

Dave Arneson was one of the contributors, and the box cover includes the following text: "AD&D and D&D are trademarks owned and used by permission of TSR Hobbies, Inc." (This is followed by similar disclaimers for C&S, TFT, Traveller, and T&T.)

I no longer own a copy (I sold it when my interest in the TW series flagged), but you can see photos of the box cover and some of the contents here.


I bought a copy about 15 years ago for $20.00 in a FLGS used section, then gave it to a friend as a Christmas present, as he had a lot of interest in Thieves World, and I knew next to nothing about it at the time, and still know very little about it today, aside from the bits about it discussed here. ;)


I have the Chaosium Boxed set. The main reason I got it was because of the section written by Dave Arneson which detailed a brothel in the city to be used as an adventure location. Dave Arneson also provided stats for various parts of the box for his Adventures in Fantasy RPG.

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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby agathokles » Thu Aug 10, 2017 11:00 pm

Tianguo is the setting of DragonFist, an AD&D variant by Chris Pramas published in PDF form by WotC slightly before the release of 3e. Rights were reacquired by Pramas' Green Ronin, but a new edition of the setting (likely for a non-D&D rules set) never materialized.

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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Dread Delgath » Fri Aug 11, 2017 2:08 am

agathokles wrote:Tianguo is the setting of DragonFist, an AD&D variant by Chris Pramas published in PDF form by WotC slightly before the release of 3e. Rights were reacquired by Pramas' Green Ronin, but a new edition of the setting (likely for a non-D&D rules set) never materialized.

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I completely forgot about Dragon Fist. It may be WotC, but it was created as a variant to AD&D rules. :cool:
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Big Mac » Sun Aug 20, 2017 12:02 pm

Dragonhelm wrote:Three come to mind.

Pelinore - The world of Pelinore is flat. Everyone knows that! (See the Pelinore forum for details.)


Well, according to my uber-nerdy If subforums could "level up" (Forum Levels) topic, the Pelinore forum at The Piazza is ranked as "Level 3"* and is "less obsure" than Conan, Kara-Tur, Taladas, Chainmail (Sundered Empire), Kingdoms of Kalamar, Council of Wyrms, Ghostwalk, Lankhmar, The Horde and Arcane Age.

* = See my topic for the rules I used giving forums levels.

I'll admit that I didn't know anything about Pelinore, before I joined The PIazza, but I think that the hard work of PelinorRevived has made a big difference there.

Dragonhelm wrote:Mahasarpa - Oriental Adventures in India, by James Wyatt.


Mahasarpa is a good candidate for "most obscure D&D campaign setting". It is currently discussed in the Oriental Adventures subforum (although there are a few topics about it elsewhere). A custom forum search for Mahasarpa topics on The Piazza brings up 9 topics**, all of which were started by me, so it seems that there is not enough interest to justify a bespoke forum, despite 9 years since the first topic was posted.

** = Going by my nerdy Forum Level system, that would rank Mahasarpa as "Level 0".

Dragonhelm wrote:Valoreign - Fantasy Arthurian feel and some wild magic. Setting is the UK turned upside down. By Chris Perkins. My favorite of these by far.


I did a search for Valoreign topics on The Piazza and could only find one topic (a topic you wrote in 2016, so I'd say that Valoreign is more obscure than Mahasarpa (in Piazza terms anyway) at the moment. :)
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Blackleaf » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:35 pm

Some of these look cool, thanks y'all.
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby dulsi » Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:38 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:Arda and the Lost World, from Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft column in Dragon Magazine, are two settings that are pretty darned obscure. Arda was a world where illithids were created by the moon as a replacement for humanity and the Lost World was a world with dinosaur gods. The columns are archived here: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/

Blackleaf is thanking you guys. Meanwhile I'm thinking dammit now I have to track down some old dragon magazines. :)
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Havard » Wed Sep 13, 2017 1:11 pm

dulsi wrote:
ripvanwormer wrote:Arda and the Lost World, from Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft column in Dragon Magazine, are two settings that are pretty darned obscure. Arda was a world where illithids were created by the moon as a replacement for humanity and the Lost World was a world with dinosaur gods. The columns are archived here: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/

Blackleaf is thanking you guys. Meanwhile I'm thinking dammit now I have to track down some old dragon magazines. :)



:lol: :ugeek:

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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Angel Tarragon » Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:54 pm

In Dragon Magazine (February 2007 issue) interpreted China Miévilles' world of Perdido Street Station books to the D&D 3.5 rules. The Player's Handbook for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons cited his Perdido Street Station novels as a source of inspiration for the game's designers.

China refers to characters in his novels are interested "only in gold and experience."
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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby agathokles » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:35 pm

Angel Tarragon wrote:In Dragon Magazine (February 2007 issue) interpreted China Miévilles' world of Perdido Street Station books to the D&D 3.5 rules. The Player's Handbook for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons cited his Perdido Street Station novels as a source of inspiration for the game's designers.

China refers to characters in his novels are interested "only in gold and experience."


Indeed, Perdido Street Station draws a quite a bit from D&D in terms of inspiration, and makes for an interesting setting. I wouldn't consider it as "obscure", but then I'm a big fan of Mieville.

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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Havard » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:19 pm

agathokles wrote:
Angel Tarragon wrote:In Dragon Magazine (February 2007 issue) interpreted China Miévilles' world of Perdido Street Station books to the D&D 3.5 rules. The Player's Handbook for the Fifth Edition of Dungeons & Dragons cited his Perdido Street Station novels as a source of inspiration for the game's designers.

China refers to characters in his novels are interested "only in gold and experience."


Indeed, Perdido Street Station draws a quite a bit from D&D in terms of inspiration, and makes for an interesting setting. I wouldn't consider it as "obscure", but then I'm a big fan of Mieville.


How many books did Mieville write for this setting? I know there was at least one spin off novel?

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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby agathokles » Thu Sep 14, 2017 5:05 pm

Havard wrote:How many books did Mieville write for this setting? I know there was at least one spin off novel?


The Scar and Iron Council are also set in Bas-Lag, the world of Perdido Street Station.

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Re: What is the most obsure D&D campaign setting?

Postby Big Mac » Tue Sep 19, 2017 5:55 pm

ripvanwormer wrote:What are you counting as a campaign setting? Does it have to have enough material to support an entire campaign, as opposed to just being the site of a single adventure? There was an earlier thread on D&D micro-settings that has some pretty obscure stuff.


That's a good question (and one that I missed before). Campaign settings that are larger do have a bigger pool of canon. I wouldn't say that makes them better, as some people complain about there being "too much canon" in settings like Forgotten Realms, but they certainly do give fans a larger number of elements that can be discussed. So I guess that a big campaign setting is going to spawn a much larger number of discussions than a small campaign setting and much much more discussions than a micro-setting (regardless of the actual quality of the design).

When I started this topic, I was really thinking about how I had learned about campaign settings, at The Piazza, that I had never known about before. That's mostly down to having discussions with people who have brought them up. Even then, there are settings that I didn't know about until quite some time after I joined these forums, because less people have mentioned them over those years.

I suppose you are onto something, pointing me at microsettings, because they are much more likely to be things that i don't know. :)

ripvanwormer wrote:In this thread I listed every D&D setting and world I knew about. Many of them are nothing more than names, though.


Worlds not being much more than names are an issue. I've looked at Paul Westermeyer's Guide to the Spheres and he has a ton of Spelljammer worlds that are not much more than namechecks. I would like to see more fan material get made to support those worlds, at some point, but you are pretty much looking at "elevator pitches for homebrew worlds" with many of those worlds.

I'm hoping to find worlds that have enough of a "personality" that I can look at the designer's choices and get a feel for the unique selling points in the setting.

ripvanwormer wrote:I would say Aelos, the setting of CM6 Where Chaos Reigns, probably counts as a campaign setting, barely, since there are a number of interconnected adventures set there and it's distinct from Mystara (though it works fine set in Mystara's distant past). The plane of Eloysia from M4 Five Coins for a Kingdom might also qualify.


Well I am interested in sub-settings too (especially sub-settings that are too obscure to have "won" bespoke forums at The Piazza yet. If Aelos is like an Arcane Age era for Mystara, that might be something I want to learn more about. Blackmoor is also said to be in Mystara's past, so I'd probably want to know the relationship between Aelos and Blackmoor. (I might start a topic about this. :twisted: )

ripvanwormer wrote:Arda and the Lost World, from Ray Winninger's Dungeoncraft column in Dragon Magazine, are two settings that are pretty darned obscure. Arda was a world where illithids were created by the moon as a replacement for humanity and the Lost World was a world with dinosaur gods. The columns are archived here: http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/dnd/dungeoncraft/


A planet where a moon created illithids as a replacement for humans sounds amazing! :o :shock: :| :) :D :cool:

I can see Arda fitting in well in a campaign where a GM is looking for various origin myths for illithids and has already gone through the Astromundi Cluster stuff, the refugees from the end of time stuff, Dawn of the Overmind and Thoon.

I will have to start a topic about it...maybe even more than one. :)

I've heard of other "lost worlds" before, but I don't think I've heard of dinosaur gods before. So I might look that up, but Arda sounds a lot more interesting, at first glance.
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