In this post Brendan talks about Persistent Campaign Settings. This is part 3 on commenting and answering the questions he poises.
Now to answer some of Brendan's specific questions.
Do any of you have a setting that keeps developing as specified above?
Yes the Majestic Wilderlands.
If so, did you start with a published setting, or did you start from scratch?
Majestic Wilderlands started out using the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.
The original Wilderlands were devoid of any high level campaign detail.
It was all local level detail leaving it to the referee to craft the
broad overview. In this it shared the same design as the Spinward
Marches of Traveller.
How many campaigns or groups has your setting supported?
I would say a dozen groups, with one group in particular (centered around Tim and Dwayne) having more impact than any others.
Have you progressed through multiple historical or technological eras?
although Time Travel is a staple of my games and as fan of Time Travel
stories and Alternate History I have several techniques that I use to
make sure what the players do seem part of the normal history. These
techniques revolve around the fact that history rarely records all the
details of past events. I never ran a game set in the past although I
considered it for one of my theme campaigns.
What about multiple game systems?
Yup main systems included (in order) AD&D 1st, Fantasy Hero, GURPS, and now Swords & Wizardry/MW Supplement. I ran one off games using Harnmaster, AD&D 2nd, D&D 3.0, and Basic Roleplaying.
Have you ever "upgraded" (or downgraded)?
what is meant by this. Early on I changed some fundamentals of the
Wilderlands that transformed it into the Majestic Wilderlands. I went
from 5 miles per hex to 12.5 miles per hex and the original villages
became towns and important castles and I added a lot more smaller
settling around these. I was lucky to hit on the idea of having different fantasy settings in widely separated geographical regions early on
which kept things fresh.
Do you think the diversity of products available now makes such fidelity unrealistic?
is more of a lack of information about alternatives to published
settings. Sure D&D and most fantasy RPGs had information about
creating your own. But detailed advice on what to do was few and far
between. So to the average referee using a published setting looked a
lot less work than making up one of your own. The internet has changed
all that and now there are several alternatives to choose from.
contend that in the long run using a persistent setting for a specific
genre winds up being less work for the referee. It like any skill or
body of knowledge the more time and experience you build up the easier
it becomes. Published setting can be still be a useful starting point.
The trick is picking one that can be expanded as one's interest and
Are there any techniques that you use to record campaign developments?
Basically it all boils down to keeping good notes. I been using the Keep by Nbos recently.
Hope you find this series of post useful in running your own Persistent campaign.