Dungeons & Dragons worlds (mainly about video games)

Dungeons & Dragons worlds (mainly about video games)

Longread for neophytes, where I briefly talk about different worlds based on the AD&D rules system and about video games that are made on these worlds.

The first world created by Gary Gygax in a D&D mechanic (except for the proto-D&D Blackmoor setting). More precisely, initially there really was nothing there, just dungeons in the Temple of Elemental Evil. Gygax is not really about lore at all, it’s about mechanics. At some point, the theme was expanded and made such an alternative variation of our Earth, but with fantasy. He didn’t have much popularity. A notable video game based on it was released one The Temple of Elemental Evil with the very first classic module (adventure). The game was made legendary in narrow circles by Troika Games, and perfectly depicted Gygax’s monstrous reluctance to come up with any plots and characters.

Now I think Greyhawk can only be interesting for the love of history.

The main and most popular world based on AD&D rules. I see people around here posting his lore. In fact, for the passage of video games on it, all this may not be known, because here is such a classic fantasy of the eighties with a million villains who constantly threaten humanity, and a billion groups of adventurers who save humanity from these villains. For decades, Forgotten Realms has been crammed with almost everything that fits the definition of “fantasy”, the setting is sharpened so that you can find an adventure for every taste. It is described in great detail in a ton of books and modules, it is generally the oldest universe in both video games and board games (well, maybe with the exception of United Galaxy Space Force).

Actually, for lovers of lore, it makes sense to play only the Baldur’s Gate series. Well, that is, understand me correctly – the main plot in the BG trilogy is deeply banal, we play (spoiler?) the son of an evil god, we run and beat the villains and in the final we ourselves turn into one (or not). However, the game furiously hints at all sorts of details of the world, I remember one intro of the third part came out hour-long videos with descriptions of what it all means.

The second key series on Forgotten Realms is called Gold Box. This is a set of six (not counting plotless) warm lamp role-playing games of the eighties.

It is full of soulful pixelart (see above) and texts that should be read in the manual, because the developers saved space on floppy disks. Playing them, you can not know anything at all, there the cultists wake up the evil gods, and we stop them over and over again. For a player who is mentally unprepared for suffering, this is a specific entertainment, like all the gaming of the eighties in general, but at one time there was a top series.

A trilogy of classic first-person dungeon crawlers that makes sense to play for all fans of the genre (however, all fans of the genre have already played them). They are comfortable, beautiful and beautiful, and time has not spoiled them at all, an unprepared player will enter them without any problems. Again, this is not about the plot, but about the atmosphere, all three games radiate love and soul.

Next comes the Neverwinter Nights series. The action of the main two parts (usually) takes place in the city of Neverwinter, which is attacked by enemies, but the adventurers understandably protect. Both games have a ton of addons that allow you to roam around the continent. Both games play without pain, they are decent neat rogues, plus shameless remasters came out for them. In short, NN and EOB are probably the two easiest entry points to Forgotten Realms.

Which is actually a lite version of Baldur’s Gate and plays almost like a diabloid. It stands out for its divine beauty with backgrounds and stories about the problems of the far north. The problems there are exactly the same as elsewhere – small-town villains, artifacts, dark gods, monsters. In general, Icewind Dale is great, if you don’t read any text at all.

These are not all Forgotten Realms games, but all that I wanted to tell you about 🙂

There is a story that the D&D authors were bombarded with letters, they say they have too many dungeons and too few dragons in Forgotten Realms, and in response they made Dragonlance.

But the main thing, in my opinion, is not this. The classic story looks like this – that a company of writers played games in it and wrote books along the way. The result is a world where something happens. That is, well, I haven’t read books, but when you play Dragonlance video games, the situation changes between games (generally a very rare thing for desktops, except for Dragonlance, I saw this only in BattleTech).

The best Dragonlance video games came out in the same Gold Box series – these are Champions of Krynn, Shadow Sorcerer, Death Knights of Krynn and Dark Queen of Krynn. It’s all the same 80s gangland RPGs, start by praying. However, if you want to watch the global war of people with dragons, where different games show different stages of this war, Dragonlance is for you. It also has the best art, and I don’t know myself, but they say that the books are good too.

Planescape is my favorite of all the D&D worlds. This is one of two attempts to make a multiverse, that is, to combine the rest of the settings into a certain structure (more on the other attempt below). It’s done in a pretty crazy way.

And between them, above the central mountain with gravity wrapped inside the “donut”, the capital flies – Sigil, the city of doors (read – portals) controlled by the Virgin of Pain. From where you can already jump over the rest of the multiverse.
Unfortunately, the Planescape was closed very quickly, there is very little information on it, it is poorly described. But on it came out the video game Planescape: Torment – which, according to many, is the best role-playing game of all time. Let’s just say that if you played Disco Elysium and you liked it, then you simply have to play Planescape: Torment. I’d say it’s the same, but it’s not. If you take and throw out two-thirds of the mechanics, depth, locations, dialogues and plot from Planescape: Torment, then you get Disco Elysium.

Spelljammer is the second attempt to build a multiverse. Similar to the Disney “Treasure Planet” – fantasy in space, where the rest of the D&D worlds are represented by individual planetoids. The piece is unusual and quite cute. There was only one video game based on it – Spelljammer: Pirates of Realmspace of the ninety-second year, this is something between Elite and Pirates (and worse than both of them), we recruit a team, buy a ship and fly, completing random quests. Not so much a good thing, not so bad, a modern unprepared player has nothing to catch there. I would like to play something fresh according to Spelljammer, but it has long been closed, alas.

Dark sun
A setting based on Conan the Barbarian with a touch of post-apocalyptic fetishism. The style is ok for my taste, it was used for two games Dark Sun: Shattered Lands and Dark Sun: Wake of the Ravager in the early nineties. The plot is nothing special, the traditional villains are artifacts. They are played with moderate pain, that is, it is not required to read the manual, as in the Gold Box, but they cannot be called convenient by modern standards.

Gothic, horror, dark fantasy. Two games Ravenloft: Strahd’s Possession and Ravenloft: Stone Prophet were released on it, both by the mid-nineties. The first one allows you to play the main module in general, that is, to chat (and then kill) this very Strahd, who is the local Dracula, almost the creator of the world and the owner of the Ravenloft castle (which can be cleared). The second one moves out of style a little, in it is the looting of the pyramids.

Both games are such completely sane first-person role-playing games, it makes sense for fans of the genre to get acquainted.

Eberron is a setting for those who want something out of the ordinary. There is noir, cold war, mafia, corporations, steampunk, bioshock, that’s all. The usual fantasy races are present, but turned inside out. Hobbits are barbarians, goblins instead of elves, etc.

Unfortunately, none of the video games use the potential of Eberron. Actually, two games were released on it, this is Dungeons & Dragons: Dragonshard – frankly an average RTS of 2005, where the action takes place in the early years of the birth of the universe, when all the beauties have not yet been built. And Dungeons & Dragons Online, which in a strange way is not in Forgotten Realms, but in Eberron (however, later add-ons stuffed many separate pieces-modules from FR into it), however, it takes place on a distant continent where civilization has been destroyed, and in general it looks something like the same (plus a bit of steampunk) as everything else in classic fantasy.