What is the Vault?
The Vault is a game world designed to reflect the mechanics, character, and ethos of the Dungeons & Dragons game. It is a world created to reflect a game system, as opposed to a game system created to reflect a world. It is meant to facilitate the play of the game and to embrace the sometimes odd and quirky but endearing qualities that make the game so distinct.
You might ask how this is different from the regular way in which game worlds are constructed, but the answer should be readily apparent simply by looking at how many extra rules, classes, background packages and exceptions to the standard mechanics are present in almost every setting guide. The more one has to tinker with the game mechanics to make a particular setting work, the more friction there will be between the game world and the rules used to play in it. That doesn’t mean that the game world has to be boring. In fact, I would contend that a setting developed in this manner would be novel and interesting in the extreme, simply because world design is almost always approached from the other direction–that is, folks usually try to make up new rules or tweaks to existing ones so the game and setting will mesh. World designers seldom think about the implications the rules should have on the game world.
A world designed to fit the game system, we believe, can have all the wonderful history, character and detail of any other game setting.