This project over the past couple of weeks to build a functional, playable game world based only from a set of relatively loose rules and a series of minor assumptions has proven, at least to me, how incredibly flexible a rules-light role playing system can be. While there is something to be said for a well-developed, well-supported established game setting (such as Pathfinder's Golarion), I find that a development of a personal game world from the ground up is infinitely more satisfying, if not more time consuming. One of its unexpected perks is giving the Game Master just a little bit more flexibility with what sort of things happen within the game. Any time there is an established setting which players are very familiar with, there is the risk of wanting to do something in the game for the purpose of advancing the narrative, but then being called out on it because it doesn't fit with the locale. A bit more care must be taken in an established setting, but the results can be, in my opinion, just as rewarding.
While there are rumors that the implicit setting for the next edition of Dungeons and Dragons is going to be the Forgotten Realms, I do hope that they stick with the 4th edition (and before) tradition of having the game more or less be setting-free. I liked how 4th edition had individual locales (such as Hammerfast, or Vor Rukoth), and a lot of the books had "flavor text" which referenced nebulous events in some unnamed, unelaborated shared world, but there were not any formal maps until after Essentials came out and it got its own published setting, the Nentir Vale. I believe that there is a lot of virtue to having a world where there is shared mythology and some degree of "history" to tie some of the races narratively together, but leaving the cartography off of it. It is remarkable what the human imagination is capable of concocting when it is given only a limited amount of data to work with.
It's not exactly a new idea to create a game world within which one might want to play oneself, but I hope that at least some of these ideas might be beneficial contributions to the act of world-creation overall. If I ever were to have the opportunity to run an OD&D style game, it would be set within this world, or something similar. I'm always trying to come up with new or different ways to interpret or perceive "base" classes and races, so hopefully these last two weeks will contribute meaningfully to that theme.
Overall, I'd love to hear feedback one way or the other, including constructive criticism on what I might improve upon, change, or straight up throw out. Please, leave a comment!