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D&D campaign settings


D&D 4th Edition (and Beyond)

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will pathfinder ever get rights and publish material for any of the old d&d campaign settings that wizards has abandoned?

Paizo Employee Webstore Gninja Minion , Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Moved thread.
At this time, those campaign settings are still owned by Wizards of the Coast, and Paizo is very busy focusing on its own world setting of Golarion.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Which ones are abandoned? Last I checked there is a 4th version of Greyhawk, Eberron, Faerun, and they even revived Dark Sun.

I can only think of Dragonlance and Kalamar otherwise.


KingmanHighborn wrote:
I can only think of Dragonlance and Kalamar otherwise.

Kalamar was never WotC's, and was actually the first campaign setting released for 4e.

As for D&D settings that WotC has the rights to that don't have a current incarnation:

Ravenloft (though it has been partially absorbed into the Nentir Vale setting)
Spelljammer
Al Qadim
Birthright
Dragonlance, as you point out

...and I can't recall any that others that existed.

Dedicated Voter 2013

Ummm...I have a 3.5 Kingdoms of Kalamar book right here. It has Kenzer Company and WOTC seals on it.

As for 4th Ravenloft was touched on with the board game.

I haven't seen anything of Spelljammer since 2nd, and never heard of Al Qadim and Birthright.


Al Qadim was a 2e campaign setting that had an arabic/desert theme.

Birthright was also 2e. The PCs would try and rule a kingdom, IIRC.

Another one was Planescape which was 2e. It focused on the planes and the planar city of Sigil.

Dark Archive

I always liked Mystara. :D

But here's a link that lists all the D&D Settings.
Dungeons & Dragons campaign settings


AaronOfBarbaria wrote:
Ravenloft (though it has been partially absorbed into the Nentir Vale setting)

What does this mean? I never heard of Nentir Vale before. I just Googled Nentir Vale and didn't see mention of Ravenloft or any locations I know from Ravenloft. Do they make mention of the Realm of Dread somewhere in materials for the setting?


well Ravenloft started in Greyhawk they could always put it back there


In 4th edition Ravenloft from a separate world was turned into series of thematically-linked domains embedded into Shadowfell (coterminous plane based on Plane Of Shadows that also has the role of Negative Energy Plane) that can be visited during a regular campaign. I suspect WotC will want to keep it in that role for D&D Next.

Wilderlands Of High Fantasy could be actually updated to Pathfinder by Frog God Games which acquired Necromancer Games who held the rights to WoHF (assuming they acquired the rights with the company). Pester Frog God Games for that.

Rokugan is highly unlikely as AEG publishes Legend Of Five Rings.

Dedicated Voter 2013

WotC is not going to give up any of their owned settings from TSR, whether they choose to abandom them or not, and Paizo is just too busy with Golarian to even think of a second world setting - it's not going to happen any time soon, if ever. So I think both sides of the OP's hoped for response are dead ends. And from a publisher's point of view, why ever buy an old setting? It's far more lucrative and offering more control of a given setting and it's canons to create a new one from scratch yourself.

There are many published settings that aren't WotC, nor Paizo worth considering - look to the 3PP's of Pathfinder.

I am biased, but while not being Ravenloft nor Rokugan, Rite Publishing's Kaidan setting of Japanese horror, is kind of both Ravenloft and Rokugan at least in inspiration and theme. That's just one example.

Either run your favorite settings yourself (with many fan sites that still support them), using PF rules or try out one of the 3PP for PF settings, if Golarian is not your flavor. Otherwise I think your hoped for answer of Paizo doing old TSR settings is a lost cause. It will never happen.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
KingmanHighborn wrote:

Ummm...I have a 3.5 Kingdoms of Kalamar book right here. It has Kenzer Company and WOTC seals on it.

As for 4th Ravenloft was touched on with the board game.

I haven't seen anything of Spelljammer since 2nd, and never heard of Al Qadim and Birthright.

Kalamar was an officially licensed product for 3.5, but it is still a Kenzer & Company product, and ot owned by WotC.


I want Birthright back! Damn!

Dedicated Voter 2013

Oh yeah forgot Rokugan

Scarab Sages

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Charter Superscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Cards, Maps Subscriber
Drejk wrote:

Wilderlands Of High Fantasy could be actually updated to Pathfinder by Frog God Games which acquired Necromancer Games who held the rights to WoHF (assuming they acquired the rights with the company). Pester Frog God Games for that.

Actually, this is owned by Judges Guild and Frog God can't touch it. Bill and I have talked about it a little. Somewhere they said they plan their own Campaign Setting but no details have been talked about.


Planescape has been folded into existing cosmology during 3rd and 4th. Do not expect that to return. Spelljammer is very much a child of the times, I have a hard time seeing that make a serious comeback. Ravenloft has a 3rd edition presence, but is also overpublished, and did not sell excessively well last time. It too has been subsumed cosmologically in 4th by the Shadowfell. Dark sun was published under 4th. Remains Sgreyhawk and Mystara, and certain subsettings such as Maztica. I doubt it.


Shem wrote:
Drejk wrote:

Wilderlands Of High Fantasy could be actually updated to Pathfinder by Frog God Games which acquired Necromancer Games who held the rights to WoHF (assuming they acquired the rights with the company). Pester Frog God Games for that.

Actually, this is owned by Judges Guild and Frog God can't touch it. Bill and I have talked about it a little. Somewhere they said they plan their own Campaign Setting but no details have been talked about.

Necromancer Games only published for/licensed from Judges Guild? Awww :(


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Where is the Castle Ravenloft Board Game suppose to take place? That is sort of a 4th edition / WotC thing even though it is not technically Dungeons and Dragons.


lachapakhan wrote:
Will pathfinder ever get rights and publish material for any of the old D&D campaign settings that Wizards has abandoned?

Likely they will keep sitting on the brand names and never give them up.


KingmanHighborn wrote:
and never heard of Al Qadim and Birthright.

oh man, are you missing out , both are great settings (i still have a bunch of mint al qadim boxed sets). i'm pretty sure al qadim was a subset of forgotten realms, kind of like maztica.

Dark Archive

KingmanHighborn wrote:
Oh yeah forgot Rokugan

Of course they can't legally do anything else with Rokugan anymore. When the oriental adventures 3.0 went out of print, it all reverted back to Alderac. I seriously doubt Alderac will partner with WotC again. Afterall, the newest Legend of the Five Rings RPG ROCKS!

Dedicated Voter 2013

Yeah kinda of a shame cause I liked thier flavor of ratfolk.

Silver Crusade

Evil Genius Prime wrote:
KingmanHighborn wrote:
Oh yeah forgot Rokugan
Of course they can't legally do anything else with Rokugan anymore. When the oriental adventures 3.0 went out of print, it all reverted back to Alderac. I seriously doubt Alderac will partner with WotC again. Afterall, the newest Legend of the Five Rings RPG ROCKS!

I have yet to find out if L5R 4th actually rocks.

Really.

Silver Crusade

Icyshadow wrote:
lachapakhan wrote:
Will pathfinder ever get rights and publish material for any of the old D&D campaign settings that Wizards has abandoned?
Likely they will keep sitting on the brand names and never give them up.

I'm really not concerned with that. Birthright was the best 2e setting ever done for 2e. Forgotten Realms was great, but when it got going there was just too much in a hurry that started not to make any sense.

However, as I said, I'm not concerned with that. The old settings will patiently wait for the right time to come back to life. They are data, after all, information. Information will always find a way into people's hearts and minds, even after many years.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

While I loved several of the old D&D settings, I am not in a hurry to see them republished. I mean in some cases reboots in the past have ruined the settings as I loved them.

I don't mind the idea of delving into new settings I have not seen so I can once again feel the sense of discovery that came from many of those old settings.

Besides, it is not like I don't still have the books for the settings I loved. I can always revisit them if I want to.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Shinsplint the Wanderer wrote:
i'm pretty sure al qadim was a subset of forgotten realms, kind of like maztica.

Both were, indeed, put onto the edges of the Realms, though, I believe that they were both "bolted onto" the Realms by TSR, and neither were part of Ed Greenwood's original Realms.

The "Realmslore" in the 4E era has Maztica having ceased to exist as a result of the Spellplague about 100 years ago (its location was subsumed by the continent of Returned Abeir). I've not seen any mention of Al-Qadim (or Zakhara, the name of the land in that setting) in any 4E FR product.


Wasn't Kara-Tur the original setting for the original Oriental Adventures? It certainly was the continent to the east of FR's Faerûn, on the other side of the Hordelands (= Silk Roads/Mongolia, complete with Tuigan/Mongol horde) and the Yehimal range of mountains (a Himalayas substitute, complete with hidden Arcane/Mercane landing site for the Spelljammer connection if so desired). Both Faerûn and Kara-Tur were connected with Zakhara (the Al'Qadim setting) to the south.


It was original separate setting of first Oriental Adventures that was later glued to Forgotten Realms. Probably to benefit from Forgotten Realms popularity at that time.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber

Lots of things were "bolted on" to Forgotten Realms. Makes sense though if you think about it. If you had a setting that was doing real well and you had content already developed that, with minor edits, could be used in the popular setting, wouldn't you use it the same way? I would have.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Icyshadow wrote:
lachapakhan wrote:
Will pathfinder ever get rights and publish material for any of the old D&D campaign settings that Wizards has abandoned?
Likely they will keep sitting on the brand names and never give them up.

Obligatory.

Star Voter 2013, Star Voter 2014

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Well done, TriOmegaZero, well done.

I will say Hasbro tends to hold on old IPs with an iron death grip, so it seems unlikely.

I wish deeply that Planescape would be released to the indies though. I imagine that will remain a wish. (Although if I believe enough...)

Liberty's Edge

Planescape was butchered and then interwoven all through 4E, so it's not going anywhere anytime soon. I think the only old-school settings not in use one way or another are Birthright and Al Qadim. Birthright seemed more like a play-style than a true campaign setting (at least to me), so maybe that's just been allowed to settle in a vault somewhere. As to Al Qadim.... Who knows? I feel like there were a few things that had their origin in the Al Qadim setting woven here and there throughout 4E as well. It's probably more convenient to cannibalize the source material and graft it into two or three successful and well known settings than to try and support half a dozen plus in print.

Shadow Lodge

Hasbro renewed it's rights to JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS a few years back....they are never gonna let even the most obscure of D&D settings go.


Seriously... Al qadim is a name not possible to use after 9/11. Simple as that.


As for now the closest thing to official Birthright is a birthright.net which operates under WotC rules for fan web pages of retired settings.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
GM Elton wrote:

However, as I said, I'm not concerned with that. The old settings will patiently wait for the right time to come back to life. They are data, after all, information. Information will always find a way into people's hearts and minds, even after many years.

I think you're drinking too cyberkoolaid. Information or data doesn't "do" anything, it just is. For now WOTC will hold on to the material if for no other reason than to mine it for stuff. The only way anyone else is going to get hold of it is the day they firesale it over bankruptcy proceedings.

Sovereign Court

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KingmanHighborn wrote:

Which ones are abandoned? Last I checked there is a 4th version of Greyhawk, Eberron, Faerun, and they even revived Dark Sun.

I can only think of Dragonlance and Kalamar otherwise.

What 4th edition version of Greyhawk? I'm pretty sure WOTC hasn't allowed anything Greyhawk since very early 3rd efition. They just like to steal all of its ideas.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber
Cylyria wrote:
KingmanHighborn wrote:

Which ones are abandoned? Last I checked there is a 4th version of Greyhawk, Eberron, Faerun, and they even revived Dark Sun.

I can only think of Dragonlance and Kalamar otherwise.

What 4th edition version of Greyhawk? I'm pretty sure WOTC hasn't allowed anything Greyhawk since very early 3rd efition. They just like to steal all of its ideas.

They can't steal anything they already own.... like Greyhawk. But yes I think there was some setting material for Greyhawk furing 4th edition, and Eberron got some treatment as well.


i guess planescape, al qadim, and birthright were predominantly on my mind, when i submitted my original post, though i wouldn't mind seeing pathfinder tackle gamma world, either (i know that isn't a d&d setting); i wasn't too impressed with the d20 modern or alternity versions of gamma world.

i hadn't meant to suggest that wotc would ever relinquish rights to anything, but more that paizo might acquire rights to publish in those settings without necessarily owning them... similar to what was done for ravenloft 3.5.

i thought al qadim was an incredible setting, and while tony di terlizzi drew me into planescape originally, i found it fascinating, as well. birthright, however, was the setting my friends and i played with the most; we still mess around with it, upon occasion, though it's been a few years, now. it would be good to see birthright revived.

thank you all for your responses.


actually, i've just been looking at the mythic heroes pathfinder playtest...

might be a way to pull in birthright, there... the god-touched bloodlines of birthright seem to fit the 'mythic' mold fairly well.


lachapakhan wrote:
i hadn't meant to suggest that wotc would ever relinquish rights to anything, but more that paizo might acquire rights to publish in those settings without necessarily owning them... similar to what was done for ravenloft 3.5.

Swords and Sorcery (aka White Wolf, Swords and Sorcery was a White Wolf brand) got burned a little bit with that 3.0/3.5 Ravenloft thing because they were still developing books for Ravenloft when Wizards of the Coast yanked their license. They had one book that was almost ready for publication that they could no longer publish because the license was revoked without notice, so Swords and Sorcery released the book as a free PDF in its "basically finished" state. (Off the top of my head, I believe it was Van Richten's Guide to the Mists.)

Then what did WotC do with the license once it was back in-house? Publish one book: Expedition to Castle Ravenloft. While I like Expedition to Castle Ravenloft overall, it kind of bastardizes a lot of Ravenloft lore (with Madam Eva being an annis hag, and the Vistani being a mix of humans and halflings, to name a few). It also completely lacks a "Concluding the Adventure" section. (All that said, it's one of my favorite 3.5e books and I'm more familiar with it than any other published adventure from any game system.) It does some stuff well, like the expanded vampire "sidebar" (actually a whole page) that, along with vampire weaknesses and aversions, actually gives the rules for staking a vampire. I'm not aware of anywhere else in 3.5e that information can be found. (Basically, even though undead are immune to coup de grace, staking a vampire functions like a coup de grace.)

It would have been nice if WotC hadn't revoked the license from S&S without warning though, so they could actually publish developed content.

They also kind of yanked the carpet out from under PDF vendors, mostly Paizo and Drive-Thru RPG, when they announced they were revoking licenses to sell Wizards of the Coast PDFs. The vendors had to stop selling the PDFs immediately and had to stop allowing previous purchasers to download them too. (Paizo had a short window where existing purchasers could download their already purchased PDFs.)

In other words, WotC doesn't seem to play well with their licensees, giving no notice of changes to license status.

Just be glad the Open Game License includes wording that makes it pretty difficult to revoke. (Notably it contains wording that says licensees can use any version of the license they choose. That way if the license is revised, licensees can elect to use the earlier version of the license.)


LazarX wrote:
GM Elton wrote:

However, as I said, I'm not concerned with that. The old settings will patiently wait for the right time to come back to life. They are data, after all, information. Information will always find a way into people's hearts and minds, even after many years.

I think you're drinking too cyberkoolaid. Information or data doesn't "do" anything, it just is. For now WOTC will hold on to the material if for no other reason than to mine it for stuff. The only way anyone else is going to get hold of it is the day they firesale it over bankruptcy proceedings.

WotC is not likely to go Bankrupt. Besides the fact that Magic is selling like hotcakes the whole organization is owned by Hasbro - so it'd have to be Hasbro that went Bankrupt.


Ssalarn wrote:
Planescape was butchered and then interwoven all through 4E, so it's not going anywhere anytime soon. I think the only old-school settings not in use one way or another are Birthright and Al Qadim. Birthright seemed more like a play-style than a true campaign setting (at least to me), so maybe that's just been allowed to settle in a vault somewhere. As to Al Qadim.... Who knows? I feel like there were a few things that had their origin in the Al Qadim setting woven here and there throughout 4E as well. It's probably more convenient to cannibalize the source material and graft it into two or three successful and well known settings than to try and support half a dozen plus in print.

The policy of taking stuff they like from Planescape and making it part of the core setting originates with 3rd.


Sissyl wrote:
Planescape has been folded into existing cosmology during 3rd and 4th. Do not expect that to return. Spelljammer is very much a child of the times, I have a hard time seeing that make a serious comeback. Ravenloft has a 3rd edition presence, but is also overpublished, and did not sell excessively well last time. It too has been subsumed cosmologically in 4th by the Shadowfell. Dark sun was published under 4th. Remains Sgreyhawk and Mystara, and certain subsettings such as Maztica. I doubt it.

Maztica went bye-bye in 4th addition, and was replaced by returned Abeir.

It is now on Abeir (not to be confused with 'Returned Abeir', which is now on Toril), and Abeir itself is a non-setting - literally a 'dumping ground' for parts of settings they no longer want to use (but want the option of bringing back, just in-case). Think of it like Ravenloft, but instead of horror, its a cosmic dump (I think of it as "the land of bad ideas").

Its all very confusing. Nentir vale is also a 'non-setting', since the material produced for it - along with stuff for the Shadowfel and feywld - are all supposed to be generic, so DMs with Homebrews can shoe-horn them in anywhere.

The Shadowfel and Feywild are planes, so they are accessible from any world (presumably Golarion as well), so they are not really part of Nentir Vale, just part of the '4e mindset' regarding published adventures (the 'use anywhere' philosophy).

Personally, I think settings are much better when a company concentrates on just one. The only benefit is more choices, but think of how much is lost when they split their resources like that. One setting per company, I say, and then our choices can get spread around.

AFAIK (having gone to Gencon this year), it seems WotC may agree with me - it appears that FR will not only be the 'flagship setting' (a title it presumably had in 4e, but I just didn't see it), but it seems to be the only world they are working on for 5e (that they've thus-far announced).

The Exchange

Kthulhu wrote:
Hasbro renewed it's rights to JEM AND THE HOLOGRAMS a few years back....they are never gonna let even the most obscure of D&D settings go.

Not unless we buy it from them...

Shadow Lodge

You can't buy something that they don't want to sell.


DeathQuaker wrote:
I wish deeply that Planescape would be released to the indies though. I imagine that will remain a wish. (Although if I believe enough...)

If you find enough believers with enough jinx to form a faction (aka market for Hasbro/WotC to exploit), it will happen!

The Exchange

Kthulhu wrote:
You can't buy something that they don't want to sell.

Hasbro would sell it for the right offer.

The Exchange

Thoughts at creating a Publicly owned RPG setting?


yellowdingo wrote:
Thoughts at creating a Publicly owned RPG setting?

There must be dozens of collaborative settings on the internet.

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