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akma
2010-12-21, 05:39 PM
What needs to be done in order for a campaign setting to be considered finished?
Sure, it`s always possible to add stuff, but when is it not neccesery for it to be finished? When every bit of the map got something? When you got enough to run a campaign in the world? When you run out of ideas?

arguskos
2010-12-21, 05:43 PM
What needs to be done in order for a campaign setting to be considered finished?
Sure, it`s always possible to add stuff, but when is it not neccesery for it to be finished? When every bit of the map got something? When you got enough to run a campaign in the world? When you run out of ideas?
It's never done. :smallsigh: *points to sig, sighs deeply, gets back to ****ing work*

Ok, but seriously, I don't feel a setting is ever 100% tapped out. There's always blank spaces on the map. Hell, the Forgotten Realms had tons of space, entire CONTINENTS that were never even named, much less mapped and explored. You can add other planets in the star system, explore the cosmology, venture into the planes, it only ends when the writer and all the fans walk away from it.

I fully intend to be working on Zaaman-Rul for the next 10+ years, since there's so much I can do with it.

AslanCross
2010-12-21, 05:45 PM
Never, and I'm not saying that in a cynical way. All settings have spaces that the DM can and should be able to tweak even up to the day the PCs finally walk into that swamp/climb that mountain/delve that dungeon.

kyoryu
2010-12-21, 05:45 PM
Never. Even if you "map out" the whole world (and why would you even want to do that?), the world will change as a result of time and player actions.

Certainly, "when enough is in there to start a campaign" isn't when a world is finished - it is when the world actually *starts*.

FR is actually a great example - it pretty much started out as Undermountain and Waterdeep, and evolved over time to add additional areas.

The Rose Dragon
2010-12-21, 05:51 PM
I think a campaign setting needs those blank spaces, so a single campaign set in the setting can flesh out those areas as they desire.

That may be why I prefer the "top-down" approach, rather than the "bottom-up" approach.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-12-21, 05:54 PM
A setting is finished when you send back the final draft to the publisher - and even then, it's only finished until you're asked to write a module for it :smallamused:

Homemade settings are never finished, clearly, but I think the OP is asking more about "how much needs to be in a setting before it's playable?" That is more a question regarding the scope of your campaign.

If you're running a high-flying Epic Campaign you need to spend a lot of time detailing the Big Deals (Gods, Nations, etc.) but you really don't need to map out all the dinky villages in the backwaters of every kingdom. However if you're running a gritty, low-level Campaign you had better figure out the mayor of every village, hamlet and dorf within walking distance of the start of your campaign - not to mention their customs and enemies!

It's the art of revealing only what you need to at any given time. A good world-builder creates a scaffold upon which he can easily rest new props as the story demands. Done right, the Players won't even notice that the kingdom they're traveling to didn't exist until they had to go there :smallbiggrin:

arguskos
2010-12-21, 06:00 PM
Homemade settings are never finished, clearly, but I think the OP is asking more about "how much needs to be in a setting before it's playable?" That is more a question regarding the scope of your campaign.
Much different question, and an interesting one. In my eyes, this is mostly the writer's decision. The setting is done once the writer realizes they can run it successfully. For some folks, that's when they have every goddamn detail done. For others, it's when they have a rough sketch on a napkin with a few names scrawled on it.

For instance, I can run a convincing and detailed world from the genesis of a single city, which isn't even that detailed. Why? Cause my biggest talent as a GM is improv. I can do great improv on the fly. Just give me a name generator, and we're off to the races. :smallamused: I *like* more detail, but I hardly need it. More detail is a juicy extra and less improv needed.

My buddy though, he can't run a campaign unless he's worked out the entire socioeconomic climate for the entire planet and other seemingly useless and detailed nitpicks. Why? Cause he can't improv for beans, and if we go off the rails, he breaks down under the pressure. So, to compensate, he plots out everything we could possibly do, and lets us just play around with things once he's good and ready.

Escheton
2010-12-21, 06:02 PM
It's finished when the pc's have trampled through it, drank the beer, flooded the toilet and trashed the place.

Volos
2010-12-21, 06:03 PM
The Campaign Setting is finished when the person developing it is unable to continue writing or thinking about it. Pretty much, it can't be finished until the writer is finished. Now that I have access to more hard-drive space I have more things to add to my campaign setting of Darkath. The only thing I have yet to do is to make it player freindly in a readable format.

kyoryu
2010-12-21, 06:23 PM
That may be why I prefer the "top-down" approach, rather than the "bottom-up" approach.

I prefer a "just-in-time" approach, personally.

A certain amount of high-level details, and the rest added on an as-needed basis. Higher detail density around the area the players start in, with detail needed as required.

akma
2010-12-22, 08:08 AM
I should have written "finished" instead of finished.



Homemade settings are never finished, clearly, but I think the OP is asking more about "how much needs to be in a setting before it's playable?" That is more a question regarding the scope of your campaign.


No, even a single generic village is playable. I have no adventures planned for the campaign settings I currently work on.


Hell, the Forgotten Realms had tons of space, entire CONTINENTS that were never even named, much less mapped and explored.

What`s the point of drawing a continent and doing nothing with it?

Psyx
2010-12-22, 08:22 AM
Never, really. Look at the Star Wars universe: Still being added to with novels et al.

If you mean for practicality sake, then as soon as you can drop your PCs into an immersive environment and not have to make stuff up on the fly. That might make their campaign 'world' only 5 miles across at first level, but as far as the PCs are concerned, that might be enough to create a seamless setting.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-12-22, 10:19 AM
No, even a single generic village is playable. I have no adventures planned for the campaign settings I currently work on.
Then it sounds like your settings are currently playable. Good job :smallamused:

See, that's the rub - it's a different level for everyone. Usually for me, I need the following before a (D&D) world is considered playable:

(1) Pantheon - who are the Gods and how do they work?
(2) Political Structure - who runs things and how do they interact?

This is usually enough for me to answer any question the Players throw at me during character creation. Sure, I can play in less-developed worlds but it's not really a "world" in that case - it's just an excuse-setting for a campaign.

YMMV, naturally :smallsmile:

Grogmir
2010-12-22, 10:26 AM
I campaign setting is as big as the authors wish - so they can keep adding for ever.

It ends becoming useful for 'actual' gaming - once you're the highest level important character imo. Although there's always other ways to expand - in the planes and such like.

But I prefer more low level stuff, so finishing when they just become the strongest thing in the simple world seems like a good place to stop.

Yora
2010-12-22, 10:56 AM
What needs to be done in order for a campaign setting to be considered finished?
When the creator says: I don't wont to continue working on this.

Grelna the Blue
2010-12-22, 11:15 AM
Seriously? When you stop playing in it. It is true that there does eventually come a point when adding more detail becomes unnecessary or even counterproductive (it's unreasonable to expect the players to be fascinated with every bit of detailed minutiae the GM has come up with, but it's hard not to inflict it on them if you've got it handy). I get around that by spacing my long campaigns about 60-80 years apart in the game setting. That way the players retain a good feel for the world overall, but there is plenty of room for change and enough freshness to keep me busy.

akma
2010-12-22, 12:21 PM
Then it sounds like your settings are currently playable. Good job :smallamused:

Actully, one of them doesn`t even have that. But I`m brainstorming with myself about the first nation I`ll build (Technically I started working on it yesterday, but I have the idea in my head for a few days).



See, that's the rub - it's a different level for everyone. Usually for me, I need the following before a (D&D) world is considered playable:

(1) Pantheon - who are the Gods and how do they work?
(2) Political Structure - who runs things and how do they interact?


I`ll try to remmember to work on those two.


It ends becoming useful for 'actual' gaming - once you're the highest level important character imo. Although there's always other ways to expand - in the planes and such like.

Since D&D advancement is mainly based on combats, then at that point GMs would probably run out of things to throw at them.


I get around that by spacing my long campaigns about 60-80 years apart in the game setting. That way the players retain a good feel for the world overall, but there is plenty of room for change and enough freshness to keep me busy.

I thought about making things to enable adventures in ancient times in my main campaign setting. I`m pretty much preapered fluff wise, but crunch wise it would be like building another campaign. Many of the monsters I made shouldn`t have existed then, and I think players would have enjoyed more if they played in the "normal" time of the setting before seeing how diffrent it used to be.

Grelna the Blue
2010-12-22, 01:05 PM
See, that's the rub - it's a different level for everyone. Usually for me, I need the following before a (D&D) world is considered playable:

(1) Pantheon - who are the Gods and how do they work?
(2) Political Structure - who runs things and how do they interact?

I`ll try to remmember to work on those two.
Oracle_Hunter gives very sound advice here. Even if your players will be spending most of their first few levels doing no more than defending a small town or village from the dangers that threaten it, it is highly advisable to know at least the following few things about the area surrounding your campaignís origin point:

The name of the nation or region it is in and its general political complexion (lawless frontier, principality, duchy in feudal kingdom, independent city-state, etc.)
The name and location of the nearest large population center
The identity of the closest authority figure (baron, sheriff, mayor of nearby town, etc.)
At least some of the principal gods or faiths of the area
The names of at least one or two of the neighboring geographical features (mountains, forests, rivers, lakes, etc.)
None of the foregoing items are things it is desirable to ignore or create off the top of your head. While seat-of-the-pants world creation can sometimes yield surprisingly good results, it is a mistake to rely on sudden inspiration at the very beginning of the campaign, as snap decisions at the beginning can strongly influence the shape of your entire campaign in unforeseen ways.

As an example, if you were to allow a player to create a cleric of Thor because you hadn't yet come up with a pantheon of your own, and you've answered player questions about who is in charge locally by coming up with a spur-of-the-moment baron who lives in a nearby castle, then you've already gone a fair way down the path of accidental campaign creation. Your hypothetical campaign setting would appear to be set in a semi-medieval feudal monarchy with the population revering at least some of the Norse gods. Is that bad? Maybe, but not necessarily. It could be absolutely great. However, it does preclude a lot of other possibilities and if too many decisions are made in this fashion a campaign can all too easily end up feeling like an unoriginal patchwork.

arguskos
2010-12-22, 03:26 PM
What`s the point of drawing a continent and doing nothing with it?
Presumably, the designer just hadn't gotten there yet, but had plans. It takes time to work through everything, years in some cases. Besides, having a "Here there be dragons" section of the map isn't a bad thing.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-12-22, 04:32 PM
Presumably, the designer just hadn't gotten there yet, but had plans. It takes time to work through everything, years in some cases. Besides, having a "Here there be dragons" section of the map isn't a bad thing.
Literally true in the case of Argonnessen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Eberron#Argonnessen) :smalltongue:

arguskos
2010-12-22, 04:46 PM
Literally true in the case of Argonnessen (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_of_Eberron#Argonnessen) :smalltongue:
Exactly, though Argonnessen actually has been detailed, so the joke isn't quite as appropriate as desired. Still, clever joke. :smalltongue:

Oracle_Hunter
2010-12-22, 05:07 PM
Exactly, though Argonnessen actually has been detailed, so the joke isn't quite as appropriate as desired. Still, clever joke. :smalltongue:
Wait, really? What sourcebook is that from?

Elfin
2010-12-22, 05:23 PM
Wait, really? What sourcebook is that from?

Dragons of Eberron, probably.

Oracle_Hunter
2010-12-22, 05:35 PM
Dragons of Eberron, probably.
Makes sense :smallredface:

All my Eberron knowledge comes from the one campaign of it I played. The DM lent me the 3.X setting book and between that and the Wikis I could find on the Internet I was a bit depressed by the dearth of information regarding Argonnessen and Sarlona.

true_shinken
2010-12-22, 06:29 PM
Makes sense :smallredface:

All my Eberron knowledge comes from the one campaign of it I played. The DM lent me the 3.X setting book and between that and the Wikis I could find on the Internet I was a bit depressed by the dearth of information regarding Argonnessen and Sarlona.

There's a book on Sarlona as well :smallbiggrin:

The Big Dice
2010-12-22, 06:39 PM
What needs to be done in order for a campaign setting to be considered finished?
Sure, it`s always possible to add stuff, but when is it not neccesery for it to be finished? When every bit of the map got something? When you got enough to run a campaign in the world? When you run out of ideas?

When you feel you've exhausted the possibilities of a setting,it's time to change games.

When you feel you've reached the end of the character's story and they've saved the world enough to not need a player anymore, the campaign is finished.

Or, as seems to be more common, when a campaign fizzles out it's over.