I was catching up on my reading and came across this from James Wyatt:
Did you ever read a novel where the world was a barrier? Maybe you felt like you had to earn a master’s degree in the history of this fictitious place to make sense of the story you were trying to read, or you had to keep referring to a glossary in the back to keep track of all the made-up names for the most mundane details of the world. “What the heck is a Quelarian star-fruit, and why do I care? Why doesn’t the hero just eat a banana?”
I’ve read that book, or tried to. And I’ve run that D&D campaign, or tried to. It turns out that my players didn’t have any more interest in the campaign than I had in the novel. This time around, I’m letting the world get out of the way and concentrating on the big picture: the themes.
I wholeheartedly agree. I’m currently running the HPE series, and there’s really no setting to speak of in our games. I once referred to the world as Generica as a laugh and it kind of stuck. A great setting can really help colour in the game, our occasional Eberron game being a great example. But sometimes too much ‘world’ gets in the way.
I’d recommend reading the whole article I’ve snipped that quote from. You’ll have to be a subscriber, but the entire Dungeoncraft series is worth checking out.