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How weird is your homebrew world?


Registered User
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Lots of great weirdness. Thanks all.

My most recent homebrew D&D world involved a long gone race of plane hopping technoarcanists that left strange machines buried in underground vaults (aka dungeons). The only dungeons in the setting were these weird places o while the "surface world" was fairly typical with a bit of colonialism and dark Fey vibe, dungeons always ramped up the weird. One machine was basically the technomagical giant machine version of the Deck of Many Things. It was glorious.


Follower of the Way
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Depends on how much emphasis is on specifically Tolkien-esque/European stuff. If those are rigidly expected, my Arabian Nights campaign is pretty weird. Dragons are not native (so the fact that a black dragon is secretly trying to take over the city is A Big Deal). Genies are not an uncommon sight. Druids are more people bonded with nature than its servants/protectors per se; druids have no qualms about going to war and engaging in politics, and many live in or near cities to help the common folk nurture the land. There's a heretical order of assassin-priests, who may become the party's temporary ally against a horrible invasive spirit-presence. Magic is both common and still wondrous, as certain things are well-understood and others are truly novel.


Registered User
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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.
This makes me sad. Your setting sounds completely delightful.


Twisty Dr of Grumpy Souls
Validated User
I'd rate my world as medium to high weird:
  • Characters live in a Megopolis grown on the back of a dying god.
  • Due to an ancient taboo placed on the god, nothing that touches it may leave. Gods do not answer prayers that come from it. All who land there are lost to the rest of the cosmos forever.
    • Souls of the dead linger in the god's bubble like water endlessly condensing inside sealed glass. Many are eager to populate the god's native newborns, while others tend to cluster around his dying limbs.
  • The god itself is destined to finally die moments before landing in The Realm of the Infinite Wyrm, which is reputed to be very unpleasant.
  • Mindflayers colonized the god years ago after crash landing, freeing druids from their herd to terraform his divine microbiome.
    • Correspondingly, wilderness dwelling druids make up the oldest organized mindflayer resistance.
      • God dwelling hags originate from these early days, when druids following the examples of toads and newts twisted their psyches to make them poisonous to the mindflayers.
  • Upon reaching the god's brain, the Mindflayers realized that mundane damage to the god still regenerates, making his brain an infinite food source.
  • The descendants of their herd live on a few thousand years later, having upgraded from livestock to rabble.
  • The Mindflayers maintain a strict separation from the rabble, descending past the neck every 100 years to inspect baronies and potentially designate new barons
  • Beyond this population there have been numerous other landings from across the cosmos. Creatures of every conceivable type are liable to find themselves there at any moment.
Weirdly, the only part that meaningfully changes core D&Disms is the separation from the divine. Clerics remain a perfectly viable class and can even worship any ol' god they want, they simply experience a different existential relationship with their god. It's not quite the same situation we're in. They have numerous proofs that some type of divinity exists, they just don't get to experience it personally. Outsiders are in an even worse bind: not only are they cut off from the very ground of their being, they're likely to survive long enough to see this Infinite Wyrm business.

Phantom Grunweasel

Situation Normal Oll Korrect
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I think one has to strike a balance. I love evocative weirdness and colour, but without at least some kind of grounding in the familiar, it just becomes exhausting, like chucking all of the spices into a meal or an action movie made up entirely of gun-fights and explosions.


Frog of Paradise
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My recently-concluded B/X D&D game was pretty classic take on the old 'this fantasy setting is just a post-apocaylptic SF setting that has forgotten its own history' concept. So the PCs started out as Generic Fantasy Villagers in a Generic Fantasy Village: but the further they dug, the clearer it became that their goddess was actually the deified folk memory of the commander of an ancient starfleet, 'demons' were the genetically-engineered shock troops of a fallen starfaring empire, the 'sleeping gods' beneath the world were just a bunch of giant psychic aliens imprisoned beneath the earth thousands of years ago for research purposes, and so on. Over the course of the campaign, they thus encountered all sorts of robots, crashed spaceships, mad computers, and whatnot.

I also got a lot of mileage out of using beastfolk - bat-people, minotaurs, vulture-people, ape-people, fish-people, frog-people, snake-people, etc - instead of standard D&D humanoids. Plant-people, too: one of the main antagonist factions was the Science Fungoids. It was a small change, but it made a big difference to the setting. We played for three years without a single orc, ogre, troll, or hobgoblin, and I can't say I ever missed them.


Registered User
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How weird is your homebrew?
While my last two homebrews, one of which we are playing in now, have their own style, they are pretty bog standard, following the Eberron requirment of having everythign that is in the D&D books. The previous one had a Fantasy Fuckn' 'Nam area where the Elves and Humans are fighting in a hot and humid jungle river country against necromancers from old Drow cities deep in the jungle. It's still pretty much D&D with all Vietnam war media tropes. Holiday attack and capture of the capital by necromancers. Sunrise raids on flying carpets carrying the PC and other troops into battle. elves on hippogryphs giving air support by casting fireball as they fly over. Halfling are disportionatly represented in the drafted levies due to economic reasons and forced to fight "the tall man's war". The mission given to the PCs to travel up river and kill one of their own generals who is raising troops and fighting the necromancers as a vampire. The curent setting is more standard although I try and throw in some more weird fantasy with wizard schools and flying castles. Still, it probably mostly stands out as being more gritty and demonstrating levels of social and economic stratification that are not normally seen in D&D, not to mention taxes. Lots of taxes imposed by fuedal rulers on their downtrodden serfs which the PCs are only exempt from due to their privledge of being agents for their school of wizards.


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Well, I'm not running anything now but I have been working on one world and musing about another.

The first is pretty basic D&D 5E. It's based on a couple premises: 1) Try to keep everything in the three core books available for use and consider any other official materials if a player wants to use it or it seems to fit as well as third party material (so basically a three tiered "canon"), 2) allow the players to create some of the world as necessary. Leave blank spots, try to say "Yes" as much as possible. 3) tweak some tropes and setting materials that bother me but try to turn them back again (so there are dark elves, but they're not drow...but there might be drow as a subsect; orcs are a created species; practically a magical plague, except some have formed lasting so cities and developed their own (albeit savage) culture and religion.) It's focused on one area of the world, with a few outlying areas generally developed, with plenty of empty spots to fill later by myself or players.

The other I'm only just starting to think seriously about. Trying to take basic fantasy tropes and explain them with sci-fi. Elves are lithe because they're adapted for low gravity. Dwarves are stout because they're adapted for high gravity. Magical talking swords are high tech artificial intelligence. Stuff like that. I only have basic ideas like this so far, but I'm not working hard on it. I'm not the first person to consider this, but I'm making it mine.


RPGnet Member
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I haven't run a fantasy game in a long, long time, but if I did, I'd definitely try to make it something different from the norm. I don't know exactly which of the myriad weird ideas I've had over the years I'd use, but there are some that have long-term appeal that I'd probably try to work in one way or another:

  • Dungeons are naturally occurring features, created when certain natural substances 'seed' themselves in the ground just right. The first civilizations actually grew around the races that learned how to live in the dungeons and exploit their magical nature, learning writing from the tomes they generated, carpentry from studying the doors and chests, and so on. Even now, dungeons can be created either deliberately (kids in some regions actually make miniature dungeons in jars or aquariums for fun) or accidentally (a greedy innkeeper buries murdered travelers and their treasure under his inn, and the gold and bone and blood expand his cellar network into a dangerous maze of rats and undead...).
  • Sexual reproduction is limited to humans and the animals created to be their livestock (horses, cows, dogs, etc.). Other races reproduce in a variety of ways, from classic spontaneous generation (rats emerging from rotting garbage, turtle eggs getting baked out of riverside mud by the sun, geese hatching from barnacles, etc.), to more esoteric ones for the sapient races. Dwarves mine to search for 'living stone' that can be carved and nurtured into new dwarves -- if left alone for too long, this stone will usually grow instead into dwarflike monster races like the duergar, derro, or azer. Elves are part of the grand sylvan fae ecosystem -- wisps emerge from certain magical flowers, and grow into various tiny fae like pixies, quicklings, and redcaps depending on the magic in their environment. Those in turn grow into a variety of other sylvan magical creatures, including elves and eladrin. And as they age, eventually they metamorphose into more powerful forms -- sometimes the very elf-like ghaele, but just as often treants, or even the giant mother trees that shelter the whole forest and drop the seeds of magical flowers to start the cycle over again. Dragons hatch out of giant gemstones incubated under a pile of gold and warmed by a dragon's breath; if the gemstone is insufficiently large or perfect, it might hatch instead into draconians, dragonborn, wyverns, or kobolds. And so on. The god who created the humans was the first one to get the idea of linking reproduction to what was previously just a recreational and social bonding experience, and it's had its good points and bad points.
  • The entire world beyond the heroes' starting village is just... gone. The caravans and tax collectors stopped coming by a while ago, and when the PCs are sent out to finally figure out what's gone wrong, they find everything just abandoned. It's like the sapient races -- or maybe even all animals, I haven't decided -- just up and vanished one day. There are strange things in every city and settlement that they come across that indicate some sort of disaster, but no corpses or active destruction -- sometimes not even clear signs of what the disaster was, or signs that are totally inconsistent with the other cities they've been to. It's something of a melancholy mystery, as the PCs search through the world for any signs that they might not be alone, or try to figure out what happened to destroy the world and leave only them.
  • The entire campaign takes place in a single giant city, and there are hints and indications that there may not actually be anything beyond the city. Is it the last bastion in a world that has faded away? Or is it just that the city is so vast and glamorous that nowhere else in the world can compare, so no one really pays attention?
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