The Half-Empty Glass: What is missing in 4E D&D", asked this basic question: In terms of crunch... what, if anything, is missing for you?The first part of this series, "
Now let's look at 4E D&D campaign settings. Is the default D&D campaign setting viable (the so-called Points of Light Setting, aka Nentir Vale)? If so, who is the intended audience of this setting? Noobs? Or are more experienced D&D veterans (who play 4E) satisfied with this setting? What about the new FRCS? Is it broken / overly shoehorned into the new rule set?
How well does 4E D&D do homebrew campaigns?
What works for 4E D&D, in my opinion, is that in less than a year they (WotC) have already provided enough options for an interested DM to create any homebrew campaign setting they want. I've said it before and I'll say it again: 4E is the New Old School D&D. By presenting an open, flexible, and relatively loosely defined campaign setting in the Core Books (the DMG), the new D&D is all about the homebrew. It's like "Here .. take this tiny Nentir Vale and make it your own". To answer my own question above (who is the audience?) - I would say both new and experienced DMs alike can make great use of the Points of Light campaign setting. Furthermore, the approach the designers have taken thus far might be viewed as classic power creep, more options more options more options (in even shorter time) -- but the thing to keep in mind is that you don't have to use all the options on the table. No, you're expected not to use all the options on the table. I look at the recent releases of the PHB2, Martial Powers, and Open Grave as what they are -- options -- to be included in your own campaign setting at your leisure. What's more - I would argue that DM's should take this one step farther and reexamine every character class, race, feat, etc in their own campaigns and ask "Does this make sense for my campaign world?" For example - Tieflings and Dragonborn are not your stock swords and sorcery racial types.
So, I suppose in terms of campaign settings - I would say the glass is half full for 4E D&D. The system presents a flexible framework that allows DMs to prototype a wide range of workable campaign settings.
As for 4E FRCS? Well... that goes towards the bottom of my list of worst "official" D&D campaign settings.
4E Darksun? Robot Viking thinks the writing may be on the wall - hopefully they are right.
What about you? Have they hit the right balance with published campaign settings thus far? Is 4E D&D flexible enough, even for new DMs, to create their own settings with ease?