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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Orc in the Playground

    Join Date
    May 2012

    Default Making a World [D&D 5e]

    So I'm bored and I have many ideas buzzing in my head about how to create a new setting to 5e D&D. As I currently run a game and I can't just overhaul everything and make a new game, and letting my ideas to just sit back in my notebook and rot away feels like a waste, I've thought perhaps about at least making the setting in here, so at the very least I would have reference and could get some opinions about the subject.

    So let's start with the world, shall we?

    In most official settings, we have the name of the world itself and the name of the continent which takes the most prominent role in the game. Other continents are usually added later in order to add new features and material which does not fit the themes of the main continent, without having to making up the whole cosmology and metaphysics from scratch. The number of continents is not far from constant- heck, depending on how you define a "continent" in our world, you could go from 2 to 7 or 10. Still, IIRC, most settings at best expand two to three continents, if not keeping focus on just one. Usually, it is common to base the new continents around real life cultures- the "default" is usually of an European variant, there is some eastern continent based on the "oriental adventures" supplement and perhaps some other continent to represent pre- Colombian America or the middle east. I think I want to shake that notion a bit.

    While I'm not against using real life cultures to build a setting- on the contrary, we are going to use it in here- I do wish to separate the notion of continents in game being connected into real life regions. As such, the idea is that we'll start with one continent, which would include parallels to cultures from all over the world. Each of those parallels would make a single nation in our setting, so there won't be "racial nations" but each nation would include different races inside of it. While humans and the more populous races would be found across the continent, some races would be more confined, existing mostly in one or two nations.

    Now, as for the nations themselves, I'm thinking about the following list for inspiration-

    - Scandinavia
    - British Islands
    - Southern Europe
    - Slavs
    - Iberia
    - Northern Africa
    - West Africa
    - Eastern Africa
    - Arabia
    - Phoenicia
    - Mesopotamia
    - Anatolia
    - Iran
    - China
    - Mongolia
    - India
    - Southeast Asia
    - Japan
    - Australia
    - Polynesia
    - North America
    - Mesoamerica
    - South America
    - Caribbean

    Note that I simple chose those regions which I am more familiar with, making it easier for me to adapt certain cultures from them into the setting (I would have loved to add something from Southern Africa, but I literally know almost nothing about pre colonial cultures in there).

    Anyway, that list could feel a bit much for a single continent (even though most continent could easily contain 24 countries and more). However, if we wish to treat each nation as a local power divided into a number of internal states and territories, it would either require the continent to be really big or the nations to be a bit small. As such, let's perhaps try and divide those 24 nations into, let's say, 4 continents, each having six major powers or territories in it. So yeah, it would make the continents really small compared to our world, but again, if we were to think about each such nation is an empire or coalition of races, it may be plausible. So let's assume the following divide, using a random assembly decided by dice-

    Continent 1
    British Islands
    Eastern Africa

    Continent 2
    West Africa
    North America
    South America

    Continent 3
    Southeast Asia

    Continent 4
    Southern Europe
    Northern Africa

    Well... that's interesting. Due to the fact that I barely got results for Continent No. 2, all of the "americans" got stuffed into it (I rolled for a possible exchange with another continent for those to separate them, but the dice wants what the dice wants, leaving them all together in 2). Anyway, considering that most settingas focus on the "Europe like" place, that would leave us in Continent no. 4- which surprisingly makes sense. It includes the "roman" variant, "egyptian", "araba", "hittite/ turk" and the "persian". Only Japan stands out as unrelated to the whole cultural sphere. Weird. Very weird.

    So, now that we have our continents, let's talk a bit about the gods.

    Usually, I'm more in the favor of the "universal gods, closed pantheon" system. That is, there are no regional, small gods, but a small group of extremely powerful entities which have created the world, with a wide number of demigods which occupy the multiverse. However, I've thought about maybe taking a different path towards the gods in this setting- but not only making them local. Making them physical. Oh, the multiverse still exist by large, with angels and demons and heaven and hell and whatever in between, but the gods of the world would exist as the fountain around which the different nations of the world were born. Still not sure if they should be the powers which grant divine magic- currently leaning towards no, with divine powers coming from the higher planes of existence or something like that. The gods themselves, instead, will be more like relics and artifacts- there are no small gods, only a few of powerful idols of great power, and those tribes and clans which have managed to take control over them have used their power to establish themselves as empires. The power of the gods could be propagated through a system of shrines, temples and idols which channels the power of the actual god. People are basically worshiping artifacts in this setting- but those are still thinking beings, with strange agendas and secret schemes. As they are rare, each nation would have one to three such gods at best.

    So we have continents and we have gods. What is left is the name of the world.

    We are going to assume trade between continents, so they are probably using the same name for the world, more or less. I think I will call the planet Zanithar, simply because I rarely use those letters when I name the world. With three of the nations in Continent 1 being connected to the sea in one way or another, I think maybe something like Thalia could be cool, from Thalassa. Due to Continent 2 containing the aztec analog, I think that some harsh sound would make sense, something like Xarak perhaps. Continent 3 contains the east to south Asia regions, so maybe we'll call it Dhamalya. Finally, with Continent 4 more or less representing the "core setting", perhaps a western like name such as Cortella could be nice.

    Now that we have the names, let's muse a bit about each of the continents.

    Cortella would probably be the "standard fantasy setting", containing two major empires- Lissara of the west and Aulphad in the east. Lissara is the "medieval fantasy" kind of nation. It is a league of a number of city states centered around the capital, Lissara, which united them into a single nation and is ruled by the emperor, even though it also contains a senate chosen through democracy. On the other hand, the ruler of Aulphad is an absolute ruler, which governs the state through a system of satrapies. Lissara holds a list of approved spiritual practices, and while most other cults are allowed everyone still must take part ion the rituals which sanction the emperor and his rule. Aulphad, on the other hand, has a rigid system of worship, based around a duality of two gods. Between the empires stands the kingdom of Meltakh, a monarchy of divine power which relays on slave trade and the necromancy. Between Meltakh and Aulphad stands the sultanates of Jibril, disparate states in the middle of the desert and which suffer from constant blood feuds. North of Lissara and Aulphad is the throne of Thaulta, a militaristic nation headed by the royal warlord. Finally, to the east of Cortella stands the Sakota islands, which are divided into warring generals officially devoted to the emperor, which longs for an hold in the continent.

    Thalia has only one true empire- the holy theocracy of Aumal. South to the theocracy stand the city states of Hivara, where astrologers and mystics commune with strange beings. In its east is the khanate of Augdash, where horse riding barbarians terrorize the empire's borders. The shore of Galvan is found in Thalia's far south, where many communities send their ships in order to find new lands to trade with. North to Thalia, two island nations stands- Einnhimar, from where sea faring warriors come in search for plunder and war, and Daalath, a strange place ruled by mysterious priests and oathbound warriors.

    Going to Xarak, we have the blood empire of Yanal Dua that feeds their gods with human life, faced with the empire of Oudula where mystics commune with the gods through mental might. The league of Isabal was created by tribes terrorized by Yunal, which follow the ways of the spirit world and their totems. South to Oudula are the peaceful clans of Horrima, which follow strange dream quests and meld the world of sleep with the world of light. In the southern jungles, the dual monarchy of Rudis stands, which draws power from the sun and the moon. Beyond those lands, the shattered islands of Sillvau serve as a place were pirates, criminals and escaped slaves gather under the wings of mysterious witches and spellmakers.

    Finaly, at Dhamalya the bureaucracy of Tia rules most of the continent's center, through slow expansion and annexation of vassal states. In the east of the continent stands Kulat, a multitude of tribes and priesthoods united through a caste system and the rule of the raja. Between them are the beautiful cities of Linrihada, where the wise seek for enlightenment and the low for pleasure. Up in the north is Varissa, a collection of principalities which grew from shamanic tribes. In the east are the tattooed clans of Aedomera, which practice the ways of war and contain multitude of different cults and faith. On the east, Sakvada reaches beyond the continent to spread the one true faith, burn the heretics and teach the pagans the teachings of their church through inquisition.

    Well, that's enough for a first draft of our world. Let's sum up what we have-

    World Name: Zanithar

    Cortella- the Lissaran Empire, the Aulphad Dynasty, the Kingdom of Meltakh, the Sultanates of Jibril, the Thaulta Throne, the Sakota Islands

    Thalia- the Aumal Theocracy, the City States of Hivara, the Khanate of Augdash, the Coalition of Galvan, the Einnhimar Tribes, the Kingdom of Daalath

    Xarak- the Empire of Yanal Dua, the Oudula Republic, the League of Isabal, the Horrima Clans, the Dual Monarchy of Rudis, the Islands of Sillvau

    Dhamalya- the Bureaucracy of Tia, the Kulat Raj, the Kingdom of Linrihada, the Principalities of Varissa, the Aedomera Clans, the Sakvada Monarchy

    Well, that's a start! feel free to tell your opinion.
    Games I'm DMing-
    Dragonlance- War of the Lance OOC IC
    The game is still open for new players!

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Bugbear in the Playground

    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Somewhere over th rainbow

    Default Re: Making a World [D&D 5e]

    This sounds really cool!
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  3. - Top - End - #3
    Pixie in the Playground

    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Default Re: Making a World [D&D 5e]

    You have some cool ideas here. Categorizing real world cultures and blending them in continents is good.

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