Original Campaign Worlds!


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One of the things that I've always loved about D&D, in all its incarnations, has been the ability to create original worlds, creatures, lands, and plots, and settle characters down in them. I don't use any pre-packaged campaign worlds, or modules, nor do I use the Monstrous Manual or its like.

So this is a thread in celebration of the original world: what's your favorite original setting...one you've played in or created? What really worked for you?

Mine is actually the campaign I'm running now. The characters started out in Caldig, a peninsular nation of blistering heat, semi-tropical pockets of rich, volcanic soil, and seismic activity. The people there worship a LN sun-god as the head of their pantheon, and have been known to sacrifice to the volcano that rises in the center of the capital city, its power held in check by the will of their god. The story is that about three hundred years ago, the nation was founded by refugees that fled across the northern mountain range, trying to escape a dark tyrant who had take over their lands.

The less-known version of this is that the founders of the nation were actually soldiers in the Tyrant's army who ended up defecting because they suspected he was going /entirely/ crazy. Very few of the country's current citizens know this, except for the elder elves, who work to keep the knowledge hidden, and to bring down the Tyrant before his attention turns back towards them.

It's a strongly human-dominated setting, with elves and half-elves occupying revered positions, dwarves as valued but distant allies, and halflings as a conquered, nautical people who are often enslaved for acts of piracy and suspected rebellion. Very few gnomes at all.


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My main campaign world Ea has been going since 1986, with many different campaigns (1e-2e, homebrew rules, 3e, now C&C and Basic-Expert D&C) and many, many players. I have a fair bit online, eg:


One thing that's worked great for me is to keep the timeline moving forward, so far just under 400 years have passed with the rise and fall of empires, PCs of one generation become the legendary heroes or villains of the next.


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Ah, is this an "You are allowed to speak about your homebrew, but don't expect anyone else to read it" thread :)?

Yes, I have a homebrew. I'm not sure whether it's terribly original though. It's a mix of many different influences. Perhaps, that's what makes it original? I don't know.

Jon Chung

I do it for the lulz
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My on-and-off homebrew setting is a riff on Spelljammer with extensive use of the XPH psionics rules.

I still haven't run a game set in it. :D


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Things that have worked well for me:

1. Limiting the magic level so the world bears some resemblance to the real world.

2. Gaining some understanding of how feudalism works. Most people tend to create very modern looking worlds with powerful nation states, or Roman style empires, that naturally create peace and good order within their territory. The middle ages was an extremely violent and chaotic period; partly because of the nature of feudalism, with every baron a king in miniature, ruling as much by the power of their sword arm as any legal authority. It's an ideal set-up for adventuring.


Use the singular they!
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I have two homebrew settings which I was kicking around on my LiveJournal for a while.

The first - the Wasteland - is a setting defined by a three-cornered conflict between three forms of supernatural power: Magic (arcane magic, dominated by necromancy), Psionics, and Nature (druidic magic, including rangers). The idea is that areas in which each type of power is prevalent are slowly altered by its influence, meaning that people capable of wielding such power are more common and so are the creatures associated with it.

Creatures associated with magic consist of corporeal undead (incorporeal undead don't exist), along with the rare servitor fiend or construct. The source of psionics is powerful, solitary illithids dwelling deep below the earth, along with a secret community of tsochari (bodystealing parasites from Lords of Madness). The druids and rangers of the Wasteland are organised into sects liberally stolen from Eberron. Deities are unknown, though archivists (from Heroes of Horror travel the land to uncover their lost scriptures and put their lingering power towards their own ends.

The second, which has no name :)p), is a setting which I designed by picking a small number of creatures from the Monster Manual and figuring out how they all interact with each other and human society. Ghouls were associated with a cannibal cult of the demon lord Doresain, and waged something of a war for influence behind the scenes with yuan-ti working for the archdevil Glasya, daughter of Asmodeus. Grimlocks living in squalor below the earth emerge on raids to kidnap human children, who are raised as members of the tribe and eventually become breeding stock - the leaders of the grimlocks desperately trying to stave off their people's degeneration from their human ancestry.

Aasimar and tieflings are common among the human cities of the region, the legacy of a massive war of annihilation between celestials, demons, and devils, which saturated the populace with the dispersed energy of thousands of angels and fiends. Good and evil outsiders themselves were barred from entering the region by this event, which is why Doresain and Glasya work through intermediary cults. A sprawling colony of formians nests in the region, as well, and may come into conflict with humanity as their territory grows. They breed ankhegs as livestock and encourage wild ankhegs around the borders of their territory. Finally, wights arise from improper burials of individuals of great power (fallen heroes and villains alike), or when their graves are disturbed - and shadows are created from the negative energy of destroyed ghouls and wights alike, meaning adventurers who combat the undead have to be careful to deal with the results.

I should note, with respect to the post immediately above mine, that neither was a feudal setting. The Wasteland was loosely modelled on Hellenic city-states, and the latter setting was in a sort of pre-feudal state, with various peoples organised into tribal confederations a la post-Roman Britain.
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