The one thing I didn’t expect from Basic D&D was that it would be filled to the gills with fluff and backstory covering (almost) the entirely of D&D’s history. I thought it would be a terse document akin to the playtest docs we know and love, or the 3rd Edition SRD with just the rules ma’am, and nothing else.
Happy to say that I was very, very wrong.
Basic D&D is a tome that pays homage and draws inspiration from the game’s past. There are references to the Forgotten Realms, Greyhawk, Ravenloft, Dark Sun, Dragonlance and more that I’m sure to have missed. It’s made clear that this is a system for all campaign settings including those of your own imagination.
The only official campaign setting that’s missing any reference is the one that, in my opinion, is the greatest of them all. Mystara. It’s the grand-daddy of Dungeons & Dragons and a setting that’s perfect for new gamers and old alike. It’s not done to death and straitjacketed like the Realms and the cultures are familiar enough that it’s immediately accessible to all.
I hope this omission is just an oversight (or I’ve missed it somewhere, which is just as likely) as Basic D&D feels like a perfect fit for Mystara. I’m tempted to use it as my own default setting for Fifth Edition for just that reason.
Beyond the published settings, Basic D&D cries out to be fiddled with. This is a solid framework upon which you can invent your own worlds, create your own races and tailor the classes to precisely your own needs. Want a Thief-Acrobat style Rogue for your urban-themed games? Create a Roguish Archetype and you’re there. Every archetype, every race and subrace is a template upon which you can create your own. Want winged halflings (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then there’s enough information in Basic D&D right now for you to be able to add them.
So here’s my challenge to you, today.
Make something new for Basic D&D next. Post a link in the comments below for all to see. Let’s share our creations.
I’m going to to exactly the same, and that will be the topic for tomorrow.