The Implied Setting of Original Dungeons & Dragons is Post Collapse.

Grumpy Wizard

There was, about a decade ago, a discussion between various old school blogs about the implied setting of original Dungeons & Dragons. Many good points were made that the implied setting of OD&D was fantasy post-apocalyptic.

I’m going to argue that the implied setting of OD&D isn’t post-apocalypse but post collapse.

A distinction without a difference?

The argument for post-apocalypse usually includes the population density suggested in the three little brown books, the Outdoor Survival board game, the rarity of large cities and so forth. While a de-population by, war, famine, disease in which the great architecture of the past falls into crumbling ruins is a bleak situation, it implies collapse and not apocalypse.

Collapse and apocalypse are fundamentally different in an important way.

A collapse is the destruction of a society or culture but not all of civilization.

An apocalypse is the end of civilization. Perhaps the end of…

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