Do you like playing homebrew settings?

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BottledViolence
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Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby BottledViolence » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:08 pm

Not homebrew rules for a setting, but using an established game but setting it in a homebrew world. I can see the appeal for a DM since it takes a ton of work off of them and they can just BS their way through anything unexpected, but as a player, I find it much more difficult having to consult the DM for everything. I also enjoy delving into a setting and researching it and reading about it.

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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby Lord Foul » Sat Sep 19, 2020 6:27 pm

I like homebrew settings. I think they allow the GM such freedom to realise their own creation that you tend to get a lot more from them. Running a game in a book setting requires the GM to study the setting religiously in order to come close to the level of natural fluency you'd get from a homebrew. I'd rather have my GM feel comfortable in their setting and able to wing it in any situation.

As a player, I don't expect my character to know everything about the world they inhabit. My character learns through experience, and I trust my GM to provide any additional background information that my character ought to know.
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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby Azhrei Vep » Sat Sep 19, 2020 8:47 pm

Even established settings become homebrew settings the second the game starts, if not earlier! So sure.
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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby Lord Foul » Sun Sep 20, 2020 8:01 am

Azhrei Vep wrote:Even established settings become homebrew settings the second the game starts, if not earlier! So sure.

That's true. Every GM will imprint his own vision on the setting, even if it's based on a canonical work. The devil is in the detail.

I understand BV's interest in being able to read source material on his own, to help him build an affinity with the world. That's one aspect most homebrews do badly, since the time sink involved would be excessive.

I have no issue with standardised settings, so long as everyone involved accepts the GM's right to change stuff and not adhere rigidly to everything in print. Players who expect stuff they have read outside the game to overrule GM decisions at the table need to be set straight on that, lest chaos ensue.
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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby Wihzerd » Mon Sep 21, 2020 7:44 am

The vast majority of the games I've played have been homebrew. I can count the number of campaigns I've played in established settings on one hand. I can certainly say that I tend to have an easier time coming up with character backstory if I can look up details about my character's homeland, but that's not generally an option for me.

The Star Wars games I've GM'd myself are a bit of a mishmash of the two; the macro setting is established, but the micro setting is homebrew. On the one hand, it's the Star Wars galaxy and the major interstellar factions are present in one form or another. On the other hand, there's plenty of space (heh) for me to make up new planets and organizations with their own localized history. The PCs can have personal backstories tied to planets that exist in Star Wars legends continuity (with all the available reference material), but the planets tied to my plot are whatever I need them to be.

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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby Glenn » Mon Sep 21, 2020 8:03 am

I only run my games in the Forgotten Realms because after years of reading the novels I've got a good idea whats over the next hill even if i didn't expect them to go that way. It makes a nice baseline for my improvisation of the setting.

But it gets altered to what the players want out of their setting or backstory.

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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby BottledViolence » Mon Sep 21, 2020 12:52 pm

Lord Foul wrote:
Azhrei Vep wrote:Even established settings become homebrew settings the second the game starts, if not earlier! So sure.

That's true. Every GM will imprint his own vision on the setting, even if it's based on a canonical work. The devil is in the detail.

I understand BV's interest in being able to read source material on his own, to help him build an affinity with the world. That's one aspect most homebrews do badly, since the time sink involved would be excessive.

I have no issue with standardised settings, so long as everyone involved accepts the GM's right to change stuff and not adhere rigidly to everything in print. Players who expect stuff they have read outside the game to overrule GM decisions at the table need to be set straight on that, lest chaos ensue.

I think those are all good points and apply to the games I've taken part it. As they say, no plan survives first contact with the enemy. As soon you you park your players in a setting, it's no longer "pure" and that's fine. We also all operate under the understanding that what the players "know" about the setting may not be the truth or at least not the entire truth. I don't play with randoms, and we trust each other to operate in the spirit of the setting even when things are altered.

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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby VaMinion » Mon Sep 21, 2020 1:51 pm

I only run homebrew settings and usually prefer to play in them. The only major exception to that is IPs that are open enough to inject your own content without worry about a canon lawyer jumping out from behind a bush. Battletech is a decent example of that.
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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby Ikoma » Mon Sep 21, 2020 3:17 pm

Azhrei Vep wrote:Even established settings become homebrew settings the second the game starts, if not earlier! So sure.


HA! A few years ago I ran my group through Storm King's Thunder. About a year after we got done, one of my players asked if he could borrow the books. He wanted to run it for some other friends of his. I said sure. He came back two weeks later shocked at how much I had tweaked, changed, ignored, added, modified, etc. A published setting is just a shortcut to your final homebrew adapted setting.

To address the original question... I do think I prefer playing in a published setting. And while I do like running a homebrew setting (it's what I'm doing now), I think I also prefer to run a published setting. While a homebrew setting can allow the GM (and players) to really do some fun and creative work, it DOES involve more work. I don't have the time to create hundreds of NPCs, come up with with awesome maps, draw or find art, homebrew magic items, etc. and do it all to the same level of quality as the pros do. A (good) published setting has all of that, created by people great in their fields of expertise. On top of that, the published setting will likely have some (maybe lots) of fan published support materials as well. I have not run a WotC published setting in recent memory that did not have tons of fan-created resources (some options, art, playlists, all kinds of stuff). As one man, I just cannot compete.

I also find that one of the big draws of the homebrew settings does not pay out as well or as often as I would like or expect. To illustrate the issue first, as I said, I'm running homebrew now. One of my players asked me about the cleric situation (who are the gods of the setting, how is the church organized, allowed domains, etc.). I told him that was all up for grabs, he could create it and tell me. He shrugged, said, "I'm not sure I'm up for all that work," and went with a sorcerer instead. Asking the players to pitch in on the setting creation can be hit or miss. As is the quality and the cohesiveness with the rest of the setting. I've had to referee two players differing creations coming into the homebrew. I have to do that less with a published setting. And this is the root of why I like playing in the published setting more than homebrew settings, I feel less pressure to add a lot of stuff. I feel more relaxed.

As other have added, there are pitfalls to the published setting as well, and I certainly wouldn't fault anyone who prefers homebrew to published. As long as your group is having fun, you're playing right.
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Re: Do you like playing homebrew settings?

Postby BottledViolence » Mon Sep 21, 2020 4:18 pm

Ikoma wrote:
Azhrei Vep wrote:Even established settings become homebrew settings the second the game starts, if not earlier! So sure.


HA! A few years ago I ran my group through Storm King's Thunder. About a year after we got done, one of my players asked if he could borrow the books. He wanted to run it for some other friends of his. I said sure. He came back two weeks later shocked at how much I had tweaked, changed, ignored, added, modified, etc. A published setting is just a shortcut to your final homebrew adapted setting.

To address the original question... I do think I prefer playing in a published setting. And while I do like running a homebrew setting (it's what I'm doing now), I think I also prefer to run a published setting. While a homebrew setting can allow the GM (and players) to really do some fun and creative work, it DOES involve more work. I don't have the time to create hundreds of NPCs, come up with with awesome maps, draw or find art, homebrew magic items, etc. and do it all to the same level of quality as the pros do. A (good) published setting has all of that, created by people great in their fields of expertise. On top of that, the published setting will likely have some (maybe lots) of fan published support materials as well. I have not run a WotC published setting in recent memory that did not have tons of fan-created resources (some options, art, playlists, all kinds of stuff). As one man, I just cannot compete.

That's a big one for me as a player and a GM. Having literally decades worth of source material available lets me focus on the parts I know matter. I can come up with a compelling campaign or character idea either based on existing material or just drop my material into a spot that makes sense.
I also find that one of the big draws of the homebrew settings does not pay out as well or as often as I would like or expect. To illustrate the issue first, as I said, I'm running homebrew now. One of my players asked me about the cleric situation (who are the gods of the setting, how is the church organized, allowed domains, etc.). I told him that was all up for grabs, he could create it and tell me. He shrugged, said, "I'm not sure I'm up for all that work," and went with a sorcerer instead. Asking the players to pitch in on the setting creation can be hit or miss. As is the quality and the cohesiveness with the rest of the setting. I've had to referee two players differing creations coming into the homebrew. I have to do that less with a published setting. And this is the root of why I like playing in the published setting more than homebrew settings, I feel less pressure to add a lot of stuff. I feel more relaxed.

Been there, done that. My last campaign as a player was with an improv DM who wanted a collaborative story with each player contributing to the world building. It was the most disjointed, incoherent, and uninspiring "setting" I've ever seen. Half of us made a half hearted attempt to conceal the fact we were just ripping off stuff from other sources, one player went all in on her character, and the rest made Larry, Darryl, and Darryl. It was a terrible fit on all fronts.

As other have added, there are pitfalls to the published setting as well, and I certainly wouldn't fault anyone who prefers homebrew to published. As long as your group is having fun, you're playing right.

Absolutely.


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