1. Seems like there’s more than just the two to chose from. I’d say that “published” runs the gamut between the big publishers (like Wizards of the Coast and Paizo) all the way to zines and/or blogs (like Crawljammer) and everything in between. Zine content tends more towards homebrewing your own version of that material.

    With completely hombrew campaigns, there’s also degrees of design and who performs it. One GM? Or does the whole playing group have some agency in crafting the setting (like when players come up with backstory that has to be accommodated for by the GM).

    TL;DR – I think there’s a spectrum of ways to worldbuild—more than just two, anyway.

    I prefer to cherry pick elements from existing material and make up my own setting.

    1. In some respects you are right, there are more than two ways but on a ‘macro’ level there are just the two.

      Do GMs use published material in their home-brew? I’m sure, I know I have.
      Do GMs put home-brew material in published settings? I’m pretty sure that happens too.

      I think it’s an area that could be explored in some detail but I’ve always wondered just how many of us prefer to put our settings together and how many would rather just grab something off the shelf and use it.

  2. It depends, I play Legend of the Five Rings and Shadowrun because of their settings, if I want magic samurai or cyber-orks, those are my go to games. Do I change them to fit my group and my GMing style? Certainly. My Rokugan and my Shadowrun world do not cleave to canon so much as walk alongside, still recognizably the same game world just with my own personal stamp on it.

    For traditional fantasy, I prefer my own campaign world. Do I steal, er, adapt from published sources and occasionally use published adventures? Oh yes! But I shape them to fit my setting and our play style.

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