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[D&D] Designing a setting


Validated User
For the first time in maybe a decade, I'm quite seriously considering getting a game going, and I want it to be D&D. D&D Next or 5e or whatever it's called now.

So what I want to do is get my thoughts about the setting and how the game might look, and feel, down in one place. Can I do that here? Is that appropriate? It's sort of setting design, I guess you'd call it.

I have some core principles that will guide my efforts.

  • It's classic D&D. Totally understandable, no twists or turns. A bunch of adventurers killing monsters, saving the day, getting rewards. Probably a lot of dungeons. Some dragons.
  • It's classic, but not a parody or a pastiche or a stereotype.
  • It's inspired by the Harmontown podcast, so that's kind of the mould. I think for that kind of game, the GM has to provide the structure and be the "straight man".
  • It'll be for novice roleplayers and hark back to a 20 year old high school conception of roleplaying. So I don't want any free-form collaborative storytelling stuff, I want a world defined by a GM and explored/fucked-up by some players.

I started by sketching up the core races, just the silhouettes basically. Getting a sense of the proportions and flavour. Are elves tall or short? (tall) Do dwarf women have beards? (no) Are halflings proportional or hairy-footed or huge-headed?

This is my initial effort, click for big:

As mentioned, it's meant to fit what I think is a fairly broad and "classic" definition. So when I say, "there's a dwarf standing there", it's not hard for us all to picture what I mean. No mental contortions are necessary, I don't have to remind myself that dwarves have green skin in this world, or whatever.

I've got some thoughts about the cultures of each race, which I'll get into at a later date, but this is purely about the physiology. Well, I did hint at some of my thoughts around Halfling culture in the illustration; basically that the halflings were driven out of their homelands a long time ago. Lightfoot halflings are nomadic, travel in caravans and are basically roma, the other kind of halflings (stout?) live in small communities of their own within or beside human cities, and are kind of fantasy medieval jewish people, full of warmth and bonhomie.


Southern Mane
RPGnet Member
Validated User
I like the halflings. They look short, without being children. Eliminates the creepy pedophilia feeling for 3E halfling pics.
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