D30 Days 4 and 5: Favorite Game World and…Set of Dice/Individual Die?

Once again I am cramming two days of this challenge into one day to play catch-up, but I have to say that “favorite set of dice/individual die” seems like a pretty weak topic to waste a whole post on so I don’t feel the least bit bad about this decision.

Let me go ahead and get the dice thing out of the way first. Once upon a time I had a set of marbleized orange dice that I really liked. In particular, I would go out of my way to make sure I rolled the D20 from that set for my most important rolls, and it never let me down. Well, except for that one time I rolled a 1 to save versus being turned to stone and probably on hundreds of ‘to hit’ rolls, but other than those times that die never let me down.

The favorite game world question is a little more interesting. Since I’ve spent the majority of my Dungeons and Dragons years playing second edition, I’ve spent an awful lot of time roaming around the Forgotten Realms. But for some reason I never felt completely at home there. I don’t know why, but for some reason it never felt entirely “right.” I guess when it comes to game worlds I’m like one of those people who say they should have been born in the generation that preceded their own (I should have been born in the 60’s/70’s!), because for my money Greyhawk always felt more like home. To me, everything about Greyhawk seems more real, more lived in, than the Forgotten Realms.

To me, the Forgotten Realms tries to do too much. The whole of Faerun is carved up into little slices that attempt to accommodate different fantasy niches (Like King Arthur? Try Coromyr! Like dinosaurs? Try Chult! Like evil tyrant wizards? Try Thay!). Taken separately these pieces provided their own interesting facets, but for me the whole never added up to the sum of its parts.

This is where Greyhawk really shines, in my mind. The whole land has a history, and the regions and kingdoms have a reason for being where they are. There are still plenty of places where different flavors of adventure can be had, but from Iuz to Keoland the whole of Oerth feels like one place that has been shaped by the same events. Some people may call Greyhawk more of a “traditional” or “vanilla” setting, and to that extent may regard it as bland or boring. However, I feel like bad game masters, players, or adventures (in that order) make a campaign boring or bland and that the world is ultimately just a backdrop. I just happen to like it when that backdrop looks more like a tapestry than a patchwork quilt.

I realize there are many other published worlds out there, and I spent the entirety of this post comparing and contrasting only two. This is because I have limited experience with many of the other published settings. I’ve played some amazing games in the Planescape setting, for instance, but these were of a limited scope and I have read little of the setting beyond that which pertained to those specific characters at those particular times. The same is true for several other settings which may be brilliant for all I know. So if you feel like this is a narrow view of things then you are right; I’m just putting forth an opinion on the worlds that I have the most experience playing games and running games in. And for the record I’ve been involved with some pretty amazing adventures in the Forgotten Realms too, but that wasn’t the question.

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