An Introduction to My Campaign Setting

When I run games I usually use published adventures. As times go on I’m finding I’m modifying them more and more both stat wise (4e is really helping with this as encounter design is simpler)  and to involve the players. Example: I’ve rewritten large parts of H1: Keep on the Shadowfell as I run it online.

I wanted a world so characters could have constant backgrounds, but I didn’t want to deal with having to adapt adventures, have players know far more about the world then me, or have the setting book give away all the secrets creating a huge PC knowledge/Play knowledge gap. So I’ve been writing up a loose little world. Its not got much more then a couple nations and geography, but it lets me know where the swamps and jungles and such are. I don’t really have any sense of scale either. The biggest thing I’m lacking is….a name. I can’t think up a name for my setting. If anyone wants to help out with that I’d be very grateful. I labelled it Nova’s World for now after my original screen name (Novamaster, which was shortened to Nova when I felt that was pretentious.) but that feels weak.

Here is the introduction I wrote for the first post of my current game:

The empire of Nerath is falling. In the north the Empire is still strong, true, but it is embroiled with a war, with the loyal Imperial forces fighting the rebellion. Both sides have been locked in war for at least a hundred years, the stalemate doing little but draining each. At sea the island colonies lie abandoned, and to the north, past the rebel forces, the barbarian tribes once more reign supreme. The southlands lie mostly peaceful but they have not seen a tax collector or imperial patrol in generations, and even there trouble brews. The southern jungle advances more each year, long dormant evils stir in forgotten crypts and the distances between the towns grows. But all is not lost for bold hero’s such as yourselves, forged in the fires of the war to the north, or born in some other fashion, stride the land.

The empire of Nerath is falling, but civilization need not fall with it.

OOCThis is the ‘default’ background and players are encouraged to work elements of it into there histories:
Most of you are ex-soldier from the north, joined up for your four years for adventure, for the money, to take a burden off a family after a bad harvest. For the past for years the army has fed you, clothed you and housed you. Now its over. Your term expired and you choose not to reenlist for whatever reason. Aimless you have drifted southwards, longing for peace after four years of battle. However, things have not been going so well, and you find your payout money growing a little thin.

I added a bit more latter:

The known world is circular, with water filling the center and around it (Think of a crater or volcano rim, except much much more massive) The eastern 2 thirds are a series of islands and archipelegos, the wastern third a continent.

This continent is the shape of the crescent moon. The the north are the icy wasts, south of that the lands controlled by the rebellion. At the end of the rebellions terrortory lies no mans land. A long thin strip of land with swamps at the top and mouthains at the bottom, it is were Nerest and the Rebellions armies have clashed for close to 100 years. South of the lies the noble Empire of Nerest. As one travles south one finds oneself in lands that consider themselves members of the empire but have not seen a tax collector in a generation or more. (Read wheel of time? The first one? Rands hometown? Yeah, that) Finally there are the southern jungles. Filled with strange animals and beasts, and slowly expanding northwards the southern jungles are a place of mystery.

The simplest explanation for adventueres wandering the land, is as I’ve stated in the game thread, many youths go north, join the army for 4 years , fight against the undead and demons of the rebellion and then find they no longer feel at home in there home villages. However this is not the only path, as there are many ways to take up the sword or staff. From questing for lost artifacts, to wanting to see the world, many wind up on the roads.

I need to add some names for the jungles and mountain ranges and such I know, I just can’t seem to think up names I like (suggestions will be appreciated) As you probably guessed from reading that I’ve placed the locations outlined in the 4e DMG & H1 in the southlands. The map looked a lot like what I wanted the southlands too anyway so it worked.

Earlier this year I wrote out a whole bunch of stuff, including how each 4e race and class might fit into the world and a bunch of other things. Then I went and lost that notebook. So while I was at a chemistry confrence I rewrote out some things (I’m an undergrad, there were a number of time the talk went right over my head. Heck, the prof I was there with told me during a couple talks the speaker lost him) and connected them to the default 4e D&D setting so I could easily use those adventures. As a note they say copywrite me on it, that obviously does not include the Wizards IP, and I don’t mean to imply it does. I just didn’t realize that till after I scanned it and don’t want to have to use an image editor to fix it on each image. If WoTC complains I’ll fix it. Also if I compile it I’ll take all the stuff they own out and make it Creative Commons.

It uses the default gods of whatever I’m running, probably either the Greyhawk gods (Well, the 3e ones with St. Cuthbert LG as he should be) or the 4e gods. I figured instead of a whole bunch of different nations I’d have a dukedoms and baronies and such, probably because thats the impression I got reading old D&D adventures and whatnot.

Sorry the writing is so bad, I was writing on a bad surface while listening with one ear for when I could understand things again. Also I have a small writing disability, though this is the most illegible thing I’ve written in a number of years.

I also outlined things on IRL with someone I met on at  irc://irc.otherworlders.org:6667/ #enworld. (Or over HTML if you don’t have a IRC client handy) the spelling is terrible as well, I wasn’t paying any attention to it.

<gruegirl> could you give me the basics of the setting
<Canageek> Its pretty basic as it doesn’t effect the mod much
<Canageek> The known world is in a rouge hourglass/cresent moon type shape
<gruegirl> who’s in power around where we start?
<Canageek> The far south is mostly apandoned jungel, with runs and such in it from before people migrated north
<Canageek> in the mid south is farland that aside from goblis and cluts and such is mostly peaceful
<Canageek> now the  army is in the north so you don’t want to travel alone unless your reasonbly well armed and know how to use your weapons as most bandits will leave you alone then
<Canageek> caravans are the primary method of travel and communication
<gruegirl> which army?
<Canageek> The far north is an icy wastland filled with barbarian tribess –yes I know how cliche that is
<Canageek> There are two large nations: The Alliance and the Empire
<Canageek> The Alliance is a leage of Necromancers and Diabolits that rule the nroth between the Icy wasts and the Narrows  – The thin part of the hour glass
<Canageek> the Alliance nominally controls all of the souther half, but in reality they only activally control the top 1/3 or so
<Canageek> They are a mostly benelovent empre composed of variuse dutchies and fifedoms
<Canageek> the futher south you get the weaker the control gets though most of the people pay at least lip service to the monarch
<Canageek> thats about all I have as I’ve never had enough people intersted in a gamme long enough to find out the details
<gruegirl> k
<Canageek> OH, and theres some mountain ranges and things but thats not really important right now
<Canageek> I’m ravamping the setting to have some elemetns from Ebberon in it as well as some 4e stuff
<gruegirl> k
<Canageek> For now it doesn’t really matter as I’m running KotS and it all takes place in a small area
<Canageek> in the southland
<Canageek> I’m thinking the Alliance has elements of the Teifling Empre in it
<Canageek> and a number of Dragonborn famiies are promoint in the Empires ranks
<gruegirl> I’ll be a Teifling jungle girl, what roles are in the party right now?
[…]
<Canageek> Ok, you mind if i post part of the convo to give info on the world setting?
<gruegirl> no prob

So thats what I have so far. If I ever find my old notebook I’ll scan those pages, or I’ll type up more. I’ll probably write more posts on my world in future as I’ve got a lot of stuff in my head that just needs to be set down. I wanted to compile everything I had in one place as a way of starting off however. So, what does everyone think? Is it a lame mesh of cliche’s and horribly overdone tropes? Or does it look like a fun place to play?

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’m finding it fun to play in so far.

    • Good to hear! If this goes beyond one adventure I’ll try to work more of the world in. If you want to add to the world let me know, thats one of the other reasons its so open, is a Dragon article I read on player contributions.

  2. […] It should be noted this is different from the as of yet unnamed ‘My Work/Nova’s World’ setting I detailed previously. […]

  3. […] post about modern games a lot. Odd considering right now I’m running an only D&D game in my setting, a Call of Cthuhlu game and playing in an online Serenity […]


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