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Day 4: Favourite game world. I’m guessing this means campaign setting.Judge dee

Virtually every campaign setting I have run or been involved in has been handmade using inspirations from many different sources. Often this included some specific modules and sometimes maps from established settings. Of these, the one I liked the best and felt had an awful lot of potential was based on a classical Chinese background. The players were members of the judiciary: judges, detectives and enforcers for a centralised bureaucracy. This setting was based on the writings Robert van Gulik: the Judge Dee mysteries. Sadly this, and many other efforts, collapsed after a minimal number of sessions as the group at the time had the attention span of a swarm of mayflies and needed to do something different each week.

We covered a lot of ground, though.


Of the published settings I have had an enduring fascination with Maztica. At no time did I ever find any player also interested enough to explore in this setting, but it has given me years of private joy in thinking and writing about it. It was also one of TSR’s less popular and least enduring offerings so I suspect that it has a very limited and specific appeal.

In a quick recap, Maztica was part of the Forgotten Realms product range, and it was couched in terms of European Conquistdor style adventurers landing in this Aztec inspired world, and presumably raping the joint just like their historical counterparts. However, I always thought it would be a fun primary culture to become immersed in, every bit as rich and alien as Dark Sun, but with historical precidents. The movie Apocalypto was a great specific inspiration.

The current campaign setting I am building uses the Maztica background as the basis for the collapsed elder civilisation. The ruins are a cross between Aztec and Khmer architectural sensibilities. The culture was a chaotic, Titan worshipping one, drenched in the blood of human sacrifice.