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How weird is your homebrew world?

Moonmover

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For a while I toyed with making my home campaign setting, Manadus, into a giant mechanical superstructure of ambiguous purpose.. The Underdark-equivalent would have been a vast labyrinth of conduits, tubes, plumbing, and service tunnels.

I decided that was too weird an idea for me to apply to a world I had already been building and running adventures in for years. I may reuse the concept for another setting later.

There is still quite a bit of weirdness in Manadus, though:

•There are two suns, both of which are hollow and contain the domains of gods. There are two moons. One of them is also a hollowed out god-domain, while the other is the forested homeland of all Fey.

•Most of the planet was reduced to a toxic wasteland during a long-ago war between the moon god and the sun gods. Human civilization clings to and fills up the few habitable areas of the wastes. The exception here is...

•Three forested regions populated by anthropomorphic animals. These forests continue to survive because of the efforts of Thomas Covenant-styled forestalls. If you’re a druid in this setting, they are where your magic comes from, and you are probably some sort of animal person.

•Due to being a player race, and due to the PC’s having spent some time in their territory, there are a lot of weird details about the elephant people in specific. They are the most civilized of the animal people, possessing a city of their own and trading with humans. They call themselves the Gajans. Gajan trivia bonus round!
••The palace at the center of Gaja City is made from a hollowed-out meteorite.
••Since forests are so rare, the Gajans’ chief export is wood. However, the local forestall hates and fears axes. So, to harvest timber, Gajans use their sheer muscle power to uproot trees. They sell whole trees to the neighboring human nations, since their religion forbids them from taking an axe or saw to them in their own homeland.
••Like real elephant bulls, male Gajans become violent and feral during mating season. For this reason, Gajan culture views males as too temperamental to hold government positions.
••Gajans have perfect memories. So perfect, in fact, that whenever history is changed by time-travelers or powerful magic, the Gajans can still remember living in the original timeline. Yes, this has come up.

Okay, Gajan bonus trivia round over.

•I already talked about the Followers of Snails in another thread. Here is the post:

Froghemoths and flail snails both have a place in my current home campaign setting.

There is only one froghemoth known to live on the PCs’ home planet. It is kept in the throne room and worshipped in a castle populated by grung (who we’ll get to shortly in this let’s read.) It crawled out of a wrecked starship, so grung believe that it represents an intelligent spacefaring race and is the pinnacle of amphibian evolution.



Flail snails migrate in buffalo-like massive herds, between the jungles of Saradam and the mushroom fields of the Sacred Delta. No-one really understands why. A tribe of humans who call themselves Pamaetnimak (literally “followers of snails”) live a nomadic lifestyle centered on flail snail migrations. The Pamaetnimak have special weapons resembling spiked war hammers just for breaking through flail snail shells, which they then sell (along with the flail snails’ glasslike trails) to the towns and cities they pass by on their migrations.

Although the Pamaetnimak kill flail snails and sell their body parts for profit, they also revere the snails as divine spirits, and therefore afford them great respect and are careful not to thin the herds too far. The druids who serve as Pamaetnimak priests wield flails in battle, as homage to the sacred snails’ own fighting style. There is a small, secretive cult of Juiblex among the Panaetnimak, which considers the snails to be spawn and servants of that demon lord.
•That brings us to space stuff. There is space stuff. The galaxy is currently torn by a war between the great interstellar empires of the Changlings and the Thri’Kreen. A starship belonging to each empire crashed into Manadus during a space battle in orbit. The people of Manadus do not understand what the starships are or what their descent from heaven means, and various cultures and scholars have come up with various explanations.

•There is a race of giants known as the Star Giants. In ancient times, when giants ruled Manadus, the Star Giants were the engineers and technicians of giantkind. However, they defied the Ordning and attempted to conquer the other giant races. In the giantish civil war that ensued, the Star Giants (who were talented inventors, but small and weak compared to other giants and almost completely incapable of spellcasting) were almost wiped out.

The Star Giants constructed spaceships and fled Manadus. They landed on another planet nearby, Ameth, which they settled and made their new homeland. They continued to scheme against their kin back on Manadus, but had no way to defeat the powerful majicks of the greater giants. Then a demon named Poamos Apé convinced the Star Giant leaders that she would make them into powerful warlocks, capable of overthrowing the greater giants and imposing themselves at the top of the Ordining.

This was, of course, a trick. Poamos Apé gave the Star Giants a ritual she said would summon her onto their planet so that she could grant them her power. In fact, it summoned her to the molten core of Ameth. She absorbed the energy of the core, which gave her enough power to make herself into a demon lord. Poamos drew the entire planet into a new layer of the Abyss of her own creation. Only a few Star Giants survived by escaping the planet. Poamos Apé added the Star Giants’ technology to her own magic and became a demon lord to strike fear into the hearts of her peers.

Now, Poamos Apé rules a layer of the Abyss she calls the Cyberdark, and she styles herself the Demon Queen of Evil Machines. Her minions are fusions of lesser demon and robot.

And now I will stop, because this post become super long.
 

EvilSchemer

Well, I never!
Validated User
I created a homebrew setting that was meant to be heavily inspired by Land of the Lost and old Warlord comics. It's in an alternate Earth filled with things that have disappeared from our world. The continents were Atlantis, Lemuria, Mu, Avalon, Hy-Brasil, Shangrila, Agartta, etc. It had Shaver style flying-saucer aliens living deep underground. It had dinosaurs and cave men and the descendants of King Arthur's court. It had Roanoke colony and pirates and survivors of planes and ships lost in the Bermuda Triangle.

The Atlanteans were magic-crystal sky-ship flying psychic overlords.

Avalonians were pseudo-Victorian English with pith helmets and red uniforms and longswords and paid homage to Saint Arthur and Saint George.



The continent of Agartta was a magical post-apocalypse wasteland with chaos storms and magical radiation that mutated creatures and people.

On the continent of Mu there was a city that had been transported from the end of time that was besieged by Mad Max style gangs that roamed the desert wastes.

There were no elves or halflings, no orcs or dwarves. There were dragons but they weren't chromatic or metallic. Yadda yadda yadda.

In one session the player characters even witnessed a damaged B-37 emerge through a wormhole and crash-land in the jungle!



It was also clear that this strange alternate Earth had been "constructed" by ancient gods and that there were mysterious pylons with crystal terminals that granted "Admin" access to the world.

I was super jazzed about my neat-o setting.

But my players COULD! NOT! CARE! LESS! :cry:

They made it clear they preferred elves and orcs and dragons and no anachronisms. And to be honest, my setting was becoming hard to maintain using D&D rules. The D&D rules just impart a lot of D&D flavor and expectations into the game that can make original settings just begin to feel like another D&D setting. I think I'll have to revisit it using Barbarians of Lemuria or something else.
 
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Allandaros

Validated Parking
Validated User
Kinda depends. If I'm running a Slavic-inspired fantasy setting, I'm not going to graft on sci-fi elements just to surprise the PCs. If the point of the game is Arabian-inspired fantasy, the odds are very low that there'll be a trip to the moon to stop a Lovecraftian cult from waking an Old One.
Uh. So I actually play in the first campaign you said you wouldn't do and am working on writing stuff for the second, which I guess answers the question of "how weird is the campaign world" pretty well.

(Although the SF elements in the Hill Cantons aren't there just to surprise the PCs, but as part of a complex and gnarly cosmology. And I guess the moon is the non-Lovecraftian Old One in question for the second game. And is also a dragon.)
 

ESkemp

Registered User
Validated User
Uh. So I actually play in the first campaign you said you wouldn't do and am working on writing stuff for the second, which I guess answers the question of "how weird is the campaign world" pretty well.
Ha! Yep, I think I can probably say I'm in the "not as weird" category. Usually I work with a single fusion -- D&D + [this other thing] -- instead of triple-fusioning (like D&D + Orlando Furioso-style chivalric romance + zombie apocalypse).
 

kvltjam

Async
Validated User
I run 13th Age, and I made pretty significant changes to the setting.

The basic cosmology is a little 4E-style Feywild/Shadowfell, a little Dal Quor, a little Changeling: the Lost. The World birthed the World-Dream, a wild and dangerous (and vibrant and lush) land ruled by four seasonal queens. One, Prajpati the Spring Queen, has been murdered (supposedly), and her sisters - the militant Shantaram the Summer Queen, the decadent Pravashtayana the Autumn Queen, and the monstrous Ur-Harad the Winter Queen - fight overt and covert battles for dominance while their land corrupts into Nightmare.

The mortal world is no less convoluted. The Masked King rules the nation in secret, supported by sinister merchant houses and petty lords. An ancient God-Machine weaves its great and terrible Infrastructure far and wide, forever fighting against predicted existential threats. An alien death god has extruded its way into the world and terrible torture-cults have emerged to worship and understand her. The White Sybil acts as the final voice and will of Dead Gods that wish to return through her actions. And an army of indigenous radicals fights by any means necessary to reclaim their homeland.

It’s a lot.
 

Idolitor

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Almost entirely within tropes, but with a few things accented. Dragons are long dead. There’s an extremely powerful guild culture that rules almost every part of life. Certain sentient races have legal personhood, others don’t. Some basic stuff.

I find that the more vanilla I can make my setting, the better it is. It makes the few changes stand out in greater relief.
 

tsadkiel

Blue and mean.
Validated User
Uh. So I actually play in the first campaign you said you wouldn't do and am working on writing stuff for the second, which I guess answers the question of "how weird is the campaign world" pretty well.

(Although the SF elements in the Hill Cantons aren't there just to surprise the PCs, but as part of a complex and gnarly cosmology. And I guess the moon is the non-Lovecraftian Old One in question for the second game. And is also a dragon.)
Wait, the second game has a cosmology centered on Bollywood composer A. R., Rahman? I mean fair enough, he is the best.
 

tsadkiel

Blue and mean.
Validated User
Hah! In this case, Ar-Rahman means "The Lord of Mercy," inspired by one of the 99 attributes of God in Islam.
I figured there was a real answer.

As for my homebrew, it's very explicitly "post-Arthurian Britain with the serial numbers filed off, and also Elizabeth I is Arthur's daughter" but it is just as explicitly a D&D* setting, so many knights ride on wyverns, the royal librarian is a magical robot/single mom, and a small community of ravenfolk act as caretakers of the Tower of Lud. In other words, I'll generally stick with the theme, but I'm not shy about shoehorning in things I think are cool.

(*It started as a 5E setting, mostly using the Basic rules, but now it's whatever old school system I have closest to hand at the moment.)
 

Vaalingrade

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Validated User
The previous world got got, resulting in a tectonic plate flipping over, killing everyone and confining their souls to the metaphysical core of the planet. Five thousand years later, the dragons crack the core to digi-volve to ultimate, leaving places for vast power to flow into any random critter, creating super-beasts and kaiju that threaten everyone to the point that every town now needs to go all-in on magic, magitech or steampunk just to not die.

Meanwhile, all the soul energy is causing Pratchett's theory of narrative causality to come true played straight, causing there to be a mess of small gods and fantastic critters to become natural parts of the world.

Also, when you get steampunk, tiny gods and belief that becomes real together, there's only one natural outcome: Supervillains.

And they've been around a while. There's a giant crashed airship that serves as a library, and one of the most famous dungeon-like locations is the remains of a destroyed spidertank fortress. The kobolds who inhabit it act as sherpas for dumb rich kids who think they're adventurers.
 
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