Cosmology & Setting

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Cosmology & Setting

Post by Black Dougal »

The following bit of conversation got me wondering, so I thought a new thread would be appropriate.
Harley Stroh wrote: I think you guys might be on the same page.

Nominal Setting: Áereth.

In the core book? I can't imagine how.

But again, I'm not calling the shots. I'll leave this one to Joseph, input from the fans, and the layout magicians.

//H
I was looking at 1e AD&D PHB Appendix IV: "The Known Planes of Existence" and wondering what sort of cosmology and just how much setting will be provided in the DCC RPG rulebook.

Will the cosmology be more D&D-esque? More Moorcockian? Or something else entirely?

It is also well known that Aereth will be the main setting. How much of that should be in the main book? Just the pantheon? A short Gazetteer? More? Less? How setting neutral should the main rulebook be?


This naturally dovetails with the "Alignment & Clerics" thread, since in D&D many of the planes have an alignment. Also, clerics need gods. Should there be a standard set like exists in games such as PathfinderRPG?
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Geoffrey »

I think there should be NO setting information in the main rulebook.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by geordie racer »

Geoffrey wrote:I think there should be NO setting information in the main rulebook.
Totally agree with Geoffrey. Don't create a canon setting by sticking it in the rulebook. I think that would totally go against the breadth covered by Appendix N. I think setting should be left to DMs, as well as implied through the adventure modules. Same goes for the gods of clerics, it becomes prescriptive and many players would expect them to be used in every game. We don't need another Pathfinder.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by joela »

geordie racer wrote:
Geoffrey wrote:I think there should be NO setting information in the main rulebook.
Totally agree with Geoffrey. Don't create a canon setting by sticking it in the rulebook. I think that would totally go against the breadth covered by Appendix N. I think setting should be left to DMs, as well as implied through the adventure modules. Same goes for the gods of clerics, it becomes prescriptive and many players would expect them to be used in every game. We don't need another Pathfinder.
Pathfinder? The Core book doesn't have a specific setting info any more than the 3.x core books.
What do you mean no?
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Darksyntax »

Geoffrey wrote:I think there should be NO setting information in the main rulebook.
+1
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by mshensley »

joela wrote:Pathfinder? The Core book doesn't have a specific setting info any more than the 3.x core books.
Which still has too much setting info IMO. I don't want official gods. I much prefer the way they handled clerics and deities in the AD&D 2e phb.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by smathis »

Geoffrey wrote:I think there should be NO setting information in the main rulebook.
+5 Vorpal Agreement right here.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Stainless »

Although the rules are an attempt to embody all of the Appendix N fiction, I can't see how a single setting can do the same (unless it's effectively not a setting at all but just a multiverse concept). Thus, I would agree that setting details should not feature in the DCC RPG. Some generic guidance or inspiration on settings would be the most I'd expect. Leave settings to a separate book(s) and 3PPs.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Hamakto »

I would not be opposed to a basic setting being added to the rule book. There are multiple reasons for that and a few of them are:
  • It helps to provide a context to the game. It serves the same thing as an example paragraph describing a rule. It lets people see how the game designers intended the class/rule/setting combination to fit together.
  • Most of the people on this forum are long term gamers. Many are old school and have.. umm... decades of experience playing the game. The DCC RPG needs contextual examples in the rules to allow those who have not played extensively to see how it works together.
After saying the above, I am for a LIGHT dusting of a setting in the book.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Geoffrey »

Hamakto wrote:I would not be opposed to a basic setting being added to the rule book. There are multiple reasons for that and a few of them are:
  • It helps to provide a context to the game. It serves the same thing as an example paragraph describing a rule. It lets people see how the game designers intended the class/rule/setting combination to fit together.
  • Most of the people on this forum are long term gamers. Many are old school and have.. umm... decades of experience playing the game. The DCC RPG needs contextual examples in the rules to allow those who have not played extensively to see how it works together.
After saying the above, I am for a LIGHT dusting of a setting in the book.
I could stomach a two-page (one page map, one page text) sample setting in the back of the book, as long as this setting doesn't bleed over into the rest of the text. But even this I'd prefer not to have.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by finarvyn »

Personally, I'd rather see a setting book (seperate volume entirely) released ASAP after the core rulebook is released.

No point in eating up pages with a setting that I might or might not actually use, but I'd like to have a "go to" setting if I'm too lazy to create something. (And a place where modules can be "oficially" located on a standard hex map.)

And while a two-page gazeteer wouldn't eat up much space, it probably wouldn't have enough "meat" to really be useful, either.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Ravenheart87 »

finarvyn wrote:Personally, I'd rather see a setting book (seperate volume entirely) released ASAP after the core rulebook is released.

No point in eating up pages with a setting that I might or might not actually use, but I'd like to have a "go to" setting if I'm too lazy to create something. (And a place where modules can be "oficially" located on a standard hex map.)

And while a two-page gazeteer wouldn't eat up much space, it probably wouldn't have enough "meat" to really be useful, either.
Totally agree. I won't use Aereth, I already have plenty of Judges Guild / Wilderlands stuff, and I'm also working on my own setting. Put that in a boxed set or the planned annuals. Instead of setting info, I'd like to see some charts a DM can use to create a town, a random NPC and of course random encounter tables.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by mshensley »

finarvyn wrote:I'd like to see some charts a DM can use to create a town, a random NPC and of course random encounter tables.
This, please.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Black Dougal »

So, it sounds like the consensus is that there should be a section with rules/guidelines for world building in the main rules, with perhaps an appendix with an example cosmology/setting and an appendix with an example pantheon at the back of the book.

Otherwise all setting information should be relegated to the "DCC RPG Official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Multiverse". :)

That works for me.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by jmucchiello »

Ravenheart87 wrote:Instead of setting info, I'd like to see some charts a DM can use to create a town, a random NPC and of course random encounter tables.
Um, that is setting info. Saying gryphons are randomly encountered in mountains means your setting's mountains have gryphons. Encounter tables should be customized to setting specific locales, not generic in a rule book.

Having said that, I will say the best parts of the 1e DMG are the hints and glimpses of Greyhawk. Keeping setting info out the rulebook seems foolish. Prices of weapons and armor, costs for a pint in a tavern or a night in an inn. These are all setting dependent. Starting money for classes is setting info.

Keeping almanac info out the rulebook makes sense. But excising all setting info will leave you with a generic game. The number of folks who had issue with D&D 4e's lack of setting info (aside from other complaints) is legion. Quite frankly people play RPGs because of the setting first: Earthdawn, Vampire (etc), Shadowrun, 7th Sea, these games are/were far more popular for their implied settings. Indie RPGs are all about the story world. Most RPG core books start with background for the setting placing it before even character generation.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Ravenheart87 »

jmucchiello wrote:
Ravenheart87 wrote:Instead of setting info, I'd like to see some charts a DM can use to create a town, a random NPC and of course random encounter tables.
Um, that is setting info. Saying gryphons are randomly encountered in mountains means your setting's mountains have gryphons. Encounter tables should be customized to setting specific locales, not generic in a rule book.
I say they are generic gaming aids. The random encounter tables could be used in multiple settings usually. Also, they are based on infos from the bestiary - they wouldn't put gryphon on the mountain tables, when tha monster's description says it's living on the steppes. Setting info would be something like "gryphons are only encountered in the Black Mountains, where the dawrves of Kazargaram Baladrum usually tame them as mounts".
You can go general on random encounter tables too (ie.: monstrouns humanoid, undead, caravan, etc...), it still can be really helpful. Sometimes when you're burned out, a single random table can give you a little push that awakens your sleeping imagination. Heck, a few random rolls can even lead to a whole new great adventure, even without being prepared!
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by geordie racer »

joela wrote:Pathfinder? The Core book doesn't have a specific setting info any more than the 3.x core books.
What I meant was that after the Core book - there was the wave of 'one setting that does a bit of everything' - Golarian uber alles !

I would rather have lots of smaller settings for the characters to adventure in - drawing on the different genres within Appendix N - science fantasy, post-apoc, alternate Earth, sword & planet etc as well as sword & sorcery - that could be developed in the adventures and annuals.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Black Dougal »

geordie racer wrote:
joela wrote:Pathfinder? The Core book doesn't have a specific setting info any more than the 3.x core books.
What I meant was that after the Core book - there was the wave of 'one setting that does a bit of everything' - Golarian uber alles !

I would rather have lots of smaller settings for the characters to adventure in - drawing on the different genres within Appendix N - science fantasy, post-apoc, alternate Earth, sword & planet etc as well as sword & sorcery - that could be developed in the adventures and annuals.
I don't think this is going to be too much of an issue. The default setting is Aereth, which is closer to Greyhawk than it is to Golarion, IIRC.

I would like to see multiple settings like 1e/2e AD&D had.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by finarvyn »

dkeester wrote:So, it sounds like the consensus is that there should be a section with rules/guidelines for world building in the main rules, with perhaps an appendix with an example cosmology/setting and an appendix with an example pantheon at the back of the book.
Not at all. The plan, as I recall it, is to have a minimal-length core rulebook, and I'm afraid that when you start little add-on stuff (a couple of pages here, an appendix there...) you end up losing something important.

Just to grab an example, the Mentzer B/X rules set (the "Red Box" one) has three rulebooks with a total of 176 pages to cover levels 1-14. (The Basic set is 64+48, Expert is another 64.) The playtest file is around 300 pages in length and has no campaign information at all in it. So without adding campaign information we're looking at losing roughly 50% of the content. (Smaller font size in the layout, but adding artwork. Maybe the two balance out.)

I'm not sure if Joseph has quoted an exact target pagecount, but I'll bet space will be at a premium already.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Hamakto »

finarvyn wrote:
dkeester wrote:So, it sounds like the consensus is that there should be a section with rules/guidelines for world building in the main rules, with perhaps an appendix with an example cosmology/setting and an appendix with an example pantheon at the back of the book.
Not at all. The plan, as I recall it, is to have a minimal-length core rulebook, and I'm afraid that when you start little add-on stuff (a couple of pages here, an appendix there...) you end up losing something important.

Just to grab an example, the Mentzer B/X rules set (the "Red Box" one) has three rulebooks with a total of 176 pages to cover levels 1-14. (The Basic set is 64+48, Expert is another 64.) The playtest file is around 300 pages in length and has no campaign information at all in it. So without adding campaign information we're looking at losing roughly 50% of the content. (Smaller font size in the layout, but adding artwork. Maybe the two balance out.)

I'm not sure if Joseph has quoted an exact target pagecount, but I'll bet space will be at a premium already.
But if the game is to succeed, it needs something with more depth than just raw rules. I could be wrong, but I would like the DCC RPG to draw in new gamers in addition to the crowd on this website. Those people may need something beyond hard core crunchy content.

I know people have mentioned that a settings books should come out with it. From what I remember reading in earlier posts is that GG is planning on letting 3pp people do most of the extra books. But I could be wrong...
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by goodmangames »

No plans for the core book to have any setting other than maybe a couple paragraphs, if that. (Though the default will be Aereth.)

There have to be planes. Lots of them. Appendix N is chock full of multiplanar travel. But I'm not sure I need to define that in much detail.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Geoffrey »

goodmangames wrote:There have to be planes. Lots of them. Appendix N is chock full of multiplanar travel. But I'm not sure I need to define that in much detail.
Exactly. The diagrammed "Great Wheel" cosmology that Gary first had published in The Dragon #8 (July 1977) is considerably different than the unsystematized smorgasbord one finds in the literature. Gary's system felt very small, whereas the planes should feel boundless.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Black Dougal »

Geoffrey wrote:
goodmangames wrote:There have to be planes. Lots of them. Appendix N is chock full of multiplanar travel. But I'm not sure I need to define that in much detail.
Exactly. The diagrammed "Great Wheel" cosmology that Gary first had published in The Dragon #8 (July 1977) is considerably different than the unsystematized smorgasbord one finds in the literature. Gary's system felt very small, whereas the planes should feel boundless.
Lots of planes == a very good thing :D

I will quibble with one thing. Gary's "Great Wheel" (at least as documented in the 1e AD&D PHB) only lists the planes that are "tied to that of normal existence." There are other parallel universes which aren't documented.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by Geoffrey »

That's a good point.
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Re: Cosmology & Setting

Post by smathis »

goodmangames wrote:There have to be planes. Lots of them.
And can there be snakes?

On those planes?
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