When I began playing Dungeons & Dragons as a teen in the early 1990’s, my initial few games were played in homebrew worlds of the Dungeonmaster’s creation. And, while this has always been a popular part of Dungeons & Dragons, it wasn’t long until I became enamored with the established worlds that were officially sanctioned and supported by setting materials, nor was I the only one. These worlds have been the setting of countless adventures throughout the decades.
For me, the first D&D world I fell in love with was Krynn, the world that is the basis of the Dragonlance storyline. The first trilogy of novels that introduce the world, Chronicles, is a solid adventure, but I could at times almost feel the dice rolling in the background of the combat encounters. The follow-up trilogy, Legends, has a completely different feel, with a much deeper and personal storyline, time travel, complex morality, and an overall that I was surprised to find in novels that were in a tie-in series. I’ve since read some great tie-in literature (see, for example, my reviews of the Pathfinder Tales novels by James L. Sutter, Death’s Heretic and The Redemption Engine), but Legends continues to stand out. And, in terms of adventure, the unusual Dark Sun setting made for some of the most memorable adventures of my teenage years.
These settings were released in AD&D 2nd Edition in the form of setting boxes, with adventures and rulebooks that gave the specific information needed to design characters and campaigns. The current edition of Dungeons & Dragons hasn’t begun releasing similar setting boxes, but they have released supplements spanning a variety of gaming worlds … though not spanning all of their traditional worlds (yet!).