Continuing an examination of the many campaign worlds of Dungeons & Dragons.
The world of Krynn feels eerily similar to Faerûn, though in the case of Krynn the novels came before the setting. It was dreamed up by Laura & Tracy Hickman and Margaret Weis, and features a well-storied history and geography along with a very successful trilogy of novels (Chronicles) at its core. I never felt quite right playing in Dragonlance, though. I always felt like no matter what I did, I’d be playing second fiddle to the likes of Tanis and Raistlin.
With Dungeons & Dragons as a foundation, Ravenloft is where Castlevania meets the World of Darkness. No character is above corruption, but even a fallen hero is someone to whom the innocent can appeal for help with vampiric overlords. It makes for an interesting change of pace from the more traditional “high” fantasy settings of D&D, but I’ve never really invested in a full campaign here. I think it’d quickly become a dark, dismal affair. Not to say that dark, dismal campaigns aren’t fun… I was once in a Forgotten Realms campaign set during the War of the Spider Queen with all of the characters (including myself) being drow or drow-related. Dark? Yes. Fun? Hells yes.
Here’s a campaign world I’d like to spend more time in, especially given the new life it’s received in the latest edition. D&D took a stab at a world with a bit of the old Arabian Nights flavor called Al-Qadim once, but it didn’t have quite the hook that Dark Sun does. The world is dying, magic is feared, sorcerer-kings plot and scheme to maintain their power and what heroes remain are in for a struggle even if they choose to move from one settlement to another. I hear nothing but good things, and while I’ve never yet entered this dying world, it holds a lot of appeal for me.
I miss this campaign world. While Sigil and many of the other aspects of this setting have been folded into the Manual of the Planes, setting an entire campaign in and around the City of Doors takes a lot more legwork than it used to. Still, if you want to cast the players as nomads either doing good throughout the planes or seeking plunder from disparate worlds for some purpose, this is the way to do it. Just don’t ever, ever cross the Lady of Pain.