Here’s something I’ve seen German speakers use a lot to describe a boring setting: “EDO Fantasy,” meaning “elves, dwarves, orcs.”
This came up because I often compare my own games to campaign settings I read about online and feel like my game is weak sauce. I mean, I don’t run Planet Algol. My player handbook has elves, dwarves, and halflings, my monster manual has orcs... It’s the most bog-standard, D&D derived, Tolkien derived setup. I regurgitate the superficialities from all the media I consume and call it a campaign setting. It’s “EDO Fantasy,” for sure.
I’m hoping that the act of playing transforms my campaign into an experience my players enjoy, and they keep coming back so I guess they do enjoy it, but that also means that I don’t think I could publish my setting as a book, for example. It’d be too boring, to confusing, to superficial unless you’ve been there, unless you sat at that table and helped bring down Susrael, the queen of the grey elves on the astral sea.
The act of participating, of actively influencing the shared imaginary events at hand is what elevates the campaign from boring EDO fantasy to the greatness that is role-playing games. Because role-playing games are the best games. It’s where we can give it our all, our creativity, our imagination, our social skills, where we can experience love, camaraderie, where we can laugh and shout, where we can be humans in all our breadth and depth.