Homemade all the way.
Just trying to get an idea for how everyone else out there DMs, do you all prefer to use your own, handmade world, or a premade world such as Faerun or Eberron?
So far in every game I've ran, and all but two that I've been in, the worlds were built on our own and not modeled off of anything else. The only thing that I have used as a model was the Underdark (mainly because i find that setting to be perfect in itself and the races are directly linked to it). That said, I usually use a notebook with hand-drawn maps and custom-made countries.
So how does everyone else run their games? Pre-made worlds with custom spins, or a fully homemade experience?
Homemade all the way.
If I'm PLAYING, I don't care at ALL.
When I'm DM'ing my campaign world, if you are astute enough to realize that my homebrew world is nothing more than a mashup of dozens of books and movies. I've stolen and plagiarized from nearly everything I've ever read... and there's even a couple of teenage human boys that are rafting down the River of Mists with a runaway slave...
Even with stuff that I REALLY like about pre-made worlds, I twist it enough to make it mine and fit into my cosmology. I REALLY like Eberron, and introduced the Lightning Rail... until I realized that it was more Steampunk than D&D and changed the flavor of my campaign world... so I had a minor godling destroy it (no PC's were harmed in the remaking of this campaign world). I'm just waiting for a group of PC's to encounter a series of several dozen small pyramid-shaped railstones that used to guide the trains. With no train and the non-working condition, they are going to puzzle over those things for HOURS!!
I love doing that to my players! Having them discover the chaos the previous party left behind from another campaign is always a great event. Especially when one of the players had a character in that campaign. I'm currently using my previous campaign as lore to this campaign (tales of an ungodly illusion world, a wizard who almost took over the world using said illusion, the gods intervening, true names, and the halfling that finally killed him)...(that last campaign was amazing.), so the players are all ecstatic about the story they're basically continuing.
I'm a homebrew type, but I'm willing to bring pre-made things in if they fit.
Mine tend to be a mish-mash using some pre-made stuff and a some custom stuff. It kind of depends on the players. If they have a preference, I try to accommodate and not force something they don't like down their throat.
I do not like crazy world fanatics, though. You know the ones... read every source book and novel twice and will argue anything different as a result.
Just had a discussion at the DMs table: if you're going to share DMing duties, use a pre-gen world. That'll help tremendously with consistency.
Me, I like everything to make sense in the world (sooner or later). And since a lot of game worlds tend to include lots of characters that can fall seven stories and survive, I take shelter in my home-brew world.
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And in using premade worlds I'll repeat the advice. Once you start the game it is your world. It is up to the gamemaster to decide what official documents are used in his world. The gamemaster should say, "these references, and all others must audition". Once you start playing in a world it is your world, not the game company's world. You characters in your game are changing it and altering it. If they are not, you should be writing a novel. No matter what "official" stuff the game company publishes, it is YOUR WORLD! You have the right, nay responsibility to decide if that gets included or not.
My fantasy games tend to be on the same home brew world I've been working on for the past 30 or so years. I've used pre-made stuff to get ideas for my game world, but altered it to suit my purposes.
My sci-fi games are built from real world places, just modified as I see fit.
Very seldom do I use anything pre-made except for reference material.
As far as playing is concerned, I'll play in whatever world the GM creates, with the exception of a Cthulhu game, unless we're doing one shots. Don't like to take the time to create a character only to have it die or go insane. Granted, that can happen in any game system, but with Cthulhu, it tends to be more of the norm.
i tend to go with greyhawk variant. i use a generic default for casual games; and for more serious or involved campaigns, my own personal campaign world "goldenhawk" set in pre-twin cataclysm times. which has ideas incorporated from various novels and short stories i've read over the years, plus my own spin on things.
You will ALWAYS put your own spin on things. Even if you buy a world and play it from the box once you finish the first adventure it is your world. You and your group have done something that no other group has done. From there on in your world.
I advocate taking ownership. The "Your Version X World". Distinguish it from the bog standard box. From there on in you are not accountable to any outside authority.
I need to give a big thumbs up to what Tesral says about that. If someone uses a published world as written - all I have to do is read the book, and the world won't throw any surprises at me. This gives me two words...
I am NOT a big idea guy - I have problems creating stuff from nothing. HOWEVER, if you come up with an idea FOR me, I can take that idea and make it totally mine. If you look at my blog entries, especially the world creating entry, I use existing maps and give them a twist - and VOILA!! They are mine! Give me a campaign world book, and I can grab stuff and insert it and make it mine. Just - PLEASE - don't ask me to create something from nothing. Both of us will be disappointed.
If you want me to play in a boxed world, I liken it to sex.... where my partner wants to have physical relations with me, but wants a stand-in to perform their half of the duties. Huh? There's NOTHING wrong with using a created world for a template that you modify for yourself. I once played in a world that used the map of California as a template (the Rockies were impassable). It was cool knowing that all we had to do from Los Angeles was ride south to San Diego... or that Barstow was to the East. Granted, San Fran was ruled by huge, honkin' ogres - and Hollywood was run by Halflings - but it was at least passingly familiar.
Make it your own.