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Unique Quirks of Your World


sirgourls
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Siri's fun and informative Dragons in YOUR World thread has made me curious about other unique ins and outs of everyone's various campaign settings.

 

Mine is a kind of "typical" fantasy world but I try to put my own spin on things. As some kind of surface-skimming examples:

* hobgoblins ride into battle on triceratopses

* elves (on the surface) tend to refer to their age by season instead of number of years (kid is spring, teenager to adult is summer, "middle age"-ish is autumn, and elderly is winter)

* a debate rages among scholars about the origin and nature of divine magic. Clerics must worship a particular deity, but paladins, rangers, and druids don't need to

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I had a timeline with different epochs.

One was Stone Age, then a few Bronze Age, then Iron Ages. Each age had particular styles of arms, armor, jewelry based on real world history. You could eventually guess a magic item's age based on its design. When adventurers found an old hoard, all the items were on the verge of crumbling to dust, so they had to be careful and hit stuff with Mending spells if they wanted to use that old stuff or get it to collectors in one piece.

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Drow are just elves with black skin - oh sure, a couple thousand years ago there were a bunch of spider-worshippers who picked a fight with the surface races, but the rest of them are just normal folks who live underground.  The surface elves keep propagating the story that ALL drow are evil, even though that hasn't been true since before any modern human civilizations.

Edited by fanguad
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The quirks of my homebrew world?

  • Gods will talk to you and even have some drinks with you (but they will not fight alongside you), though you may not know who they are
  • I have 5 defined planes: Celestial, Fiendish, Fey, Elemental(may rename Primal), and Mortal
  • I prefer to remove alignment for most mortal races (includes dragons). Outsiders still have an alignment as it defines where they call home
  • Mortals choose the paths they walk and that path dictates which plane they end up on after death (If any)
  • Lycanthropes have their own kingdom and they raise their non-lycan children alongside the lycan
  • Gods have homes on the Mortal plane as well and can be found there
  • Drow are just elves who live underground (and have strong trade ties with dwarves)
  • There are dwarves who wield magic routinely and have created a massive city using magic in the desert aboveground
  • There is indoor plumbing, banking[connected], Heating, and Cooling (a bit pricey, but doable. Indoor plumbing is almost required by many places as it takes care of so many issues)
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A few of our campaigns were interconnected, distantly, by a shared world event. The first campaign established several major events in the timeline. The second campaign went back in time to begin around two weeks after the original began, but with a different party, not related to the first, and in the kingdom north of the original, which was also involved in the events. The third dealt with a party fleeing that area around the time the major events of the first were happening. In this way, we were able to fill in blanks and see events from different perspectives and expand upon the timeline. For instance, the first party had to battle ogre cultists (they worshiped a divine cyclops) who were coming from the north, but their main focus was on travelling east to find a sage who could uncover the secrets of a the magical jewel the cultists sought. That campaign went on for a few years IRL, many months in-game. The second campaign was set in the north, in the area where the ogres were actually coming from. It was a war-centric/trenches campaign, where the party did not travel a lot, but instead defended a single kingdom engaged in an escalating conflict. The third picked up in the eastern lands, with a party travelling to the coast and heading north from there to get away from the conflict. They only heard about the events from a distance.

 

I'm currently running a Slavic-themed campaign, set in a different world from the other, but with transplants from that world; three of the players are playing rebooted characters that don't remember their previous experiences. One of the PCs was directly involved in the war, but now is a traveler, instead. It's interesting to see the character develop differently from the same base build, when set in an entirely different situation.

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On gods: my last game (4E, we're on 5E now) featured the gods very heavily. The PCs all had conversations with a number of them - notably Bahamut, the Raven Queen, and Asmodeus, who I loved to portray (I took cues from Crowley in Supernatural). The PCs all eventually became demigods or full-on deities in their own rights. As such I made a setting with rather hands-off gods in response. That may or may not change later, but for now, no one speaks directly to a deity. They do not manifest in the world. They have mortal agents in their clerics and paladins. Rarely, someone will have a prophetic vision or some such that obliquely hints at a god's wishes. Even more rarely, an angelic servant may show up, but that kind of thing is akin to a tremendous miracle. Mostly the various churches try their best to hold to the particular dogmas of the deity each is devoted to.

 

That said, the gods certainly do exist in their planar homes, but those places are not typically visited by living mortals. Information about places like Celestia is thus rather scant and may be unreliable.

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My last campaign world used a home-brew system, and as such, there was no difference between arcane or divine magic.  Magic was magic.  Hundred of years before the time the campaign was set, there was a magical conjunction, where the spell caster in the right location would have their power magnified exponentially.  Of course, decades before the the conjunction, the most powerful wizards began jockeying for position.

 

Thus began the War of the Twelve, and the forces unleashed destroyed the civilized half of the continent.  As a result, the survivor that made it over the mountains into the then frontier were left to rebuild.  At the time of the adventure, there was one main church (venerating the priest of the god of justice who gave his life preventing the Dread Necromancer from gaining possession on the Loci) who outlawed the use of magic.  Practitioners are executed, and children with potential and inducted into the Church, indoctrinated and become Inquisitors, charged with rooting out the supernatural.

 

Back over the mountains, Chaos Storms ravage the lands, but many ruins and changed survivors (monsters) remain. 

 

I had so much fun running that game.  Any spellcasters were so cautious using magic in front of witnesses, as the locals would go running to the Church and then the Inquisitors would be called out.  Good times.

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That makes me think of Dragon Age, sort of, people with magical talent being taken into a religious order and specifically trained, apostates being hunted, that kind of thing. A cool idea!

 

I have an Underdark for my game. Parts of it are highly worked, having been formed into highway systems for dwarves in a previous era. These are called the Underroads. They don't cross the whole Underdark, mostly having been used to connect a dwarf hold with its outlying settlements and watch posts. More rarely the road systems of two holds may link up. Some of these systems are undocumented. Dwarvish records are incomplete due to the loss of a nation, and overall decline of their people after centuries. The loss of a hold means the loss of its records. Unless someone had been there or received communication from them, there's no way to know a hold and its roads exist until they get stumbled onto. My players are currently running around in a monster-infested dwarvish outpost after some dwarves accidentally mined down into a section of Underroads they hadn't known about.

 

There's also a legendary city that virtually all dwarves know about called Miritar. Supposedly this dwarf hold was the first and most magnificent, being the spot where the first dwarves were awakened by Moradin himself. Reports of where this place would be vary wildly, of course, and there is considerable debate as to whether or not it even exists.

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Thanks, sirgourls!

 

A few other things about magic:

 

Pretty much the only practitioners that survived the the War of the Twelve and the purge by the Church, were apprentices.  So most the Great Magic and spells have been lost.  There is one bastion of magic in the New Lands.  The Free Cities were settled by the the original frontiersmen that were pushed out by the survivors of the The Great War as they fled over the mountains.  As such they were less than pleased with the new structure growing around the church.  They are resourceful and crafty, but their lands are not the best (the stronger nations pushed them out.  Each City is know for a particular craft, as as a whole they also raise companies of warriors and serve as mercenaries.    The Free Cities also is home to the only organized institution  of learning for magic. 

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A few of our campaigns were interconnected, distantly, by a shared world event. The first campaign established several major events in the timeline. The second campaign went back in time to begin around two weeks after the original began, but with a different party, not related to the first, and in the kingdom north of the original, which was also involved in the events. The third dealt with a party fleeing that area around the time the major events of the first were happening. In this way, we were able to fill in blanks and see events from different perspectives and expand upon the timeline. For instance, the first party had to battle ogre cultists (they worshiped a divine cyclops) who were coming from the north, but their main focus was on travelling east to find a sage who could uncover the secrets of a the magical jewel the cultists sought. That campaign went on for a few years IRL, many months in-game. The second campaign was set in the north, in the area where the ogres were actually coming from. It was a war-centric/trenches campaign, where the party did not travel a lot, but instead defended a single kingdom engaged in an escalating conflict. The third picked up in the eastern lands, with a party travelling to the coast and heading north from there to get away from the conflict. They only heard about the events from a distance.

 

I'm currently running a Slavic-themed campaign, set in a different world from the other, but with transplants from that world; three of the players are playing rebooted characters that don't remember their previous experiences. One of the PCs was directly involved in the war, but now is a traveler, instead. It's interesting to see the character develop differently from the same base build, when set in an entirely different situation.

This is partially the appeal for me in creating my own campaign setting. I'm planning on running all of my games going forward in this world I've made up and continue to further define, with help from the players. I love the idea of having an important framing event that the players see from different sides over the course of a few different campaigns.

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<p>

 

The quirks of my homebrew world?

  • Gods will talk to you and even have some drinks with you (but they will not fight alongside you), though you may not know who they are
  • I have 5 defined planes: Celestial, Fiendish, Fey, Elemental(may rename Primal), and Mortal
  • I prefer to remove alignment for most mortal races (includes dragons). Outsiders still have an alignment as it defines where they call home
  • Mortals choose the paths they walk and that path dictates which plane they end up on after death (If any)
  • Lycanthropes have their own kingdom and they raise their non-lycan children alongside the lycan
  • Gods have homes on the Mortal plane as well and can be found there
  • Drow are just elves who live underground (and have strong trade ties with dwarves)
  • There are dwarves who wield magic routinely and have created a massive city using magic in the desert aboveground
  • There is indoor plumbing, banking[connected], Heating, and Cooling (a bit pricey, but doable. Indoor plumbing is almost required by many places as it takes care of so many issues)

I'm quite curious about the magical dwarven city floating over the desert!

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Gosh, where to start. I like to create unfamiliar worlds with enough in common with baseline d&d to just plunk characters into.

 

Gnomes are the high elves of a large chunk of my world. They have taken up residence in the copper citadel, a fortress as old as the world where the gods lived before they lost their corporeal forms. Thus elder gnomes are deeply wise and almost alien, although young gnomes aren't much different from anyone else.

 

I changed halfbreeding a lot. Half elves are sterile. Half-Orc is a pejorative term for a race of civilised humanoids with little in common with orcs besides a vague physical resemblance. Dwarves, gnomes and halflings are all the same species and can intermix, but they're so culturally different they rarely do. Goblins, hobgoblins and bugbears grow in muddy cesspits called middens and hatch from pods. Orcs have a complex and diverse culture similar to celts but they're likely to eat you if you aren't an orc, sorry buddy.

 

Tieflings and dragon born both used to be human. Tieflings embrace this, their history is pretty close to d&d canon except they still run a big empire. Dragonborn don't recognize that they used to be human and consider it blasphemous. Similar to dragon born, kobolds are gnomes that got twisted by an ancient evil dragon's magic. Remember, gnomes are a big deal in my world. So are kobolds, they run most of the organized crime syndicates because they control the vast majority of underground smuggling networks.

 

There's lots else but that's the stuff I've decided on fully,

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 My campaigns don't generally run too far from standard fluff, although I do have a couple things that I invariably add to my games regardless of setting.

 

I have a tavern with a rather vulgar name (the sign is an image of a pair of spread legs with a strategically-placed chalice, lol) that is actually something closer to the ghost of a tavern...

No matter how many times the PCs burn it down, it will eventually reappear, days or weeks later, sometimes in the same place, sometimes down the street, sometimes in a completely different city or even country, completely unharmed and with all of the people inhabiting it and all the locals acting like it had always been there for as long as they can remember... Sometimes the locals will burn it down just for fun or boredom.

 

And then there's A'li Al'Rasgul, the worst stereotype of a greasy, slick-talking double-dealing used-camel salesman you can imagine.

(If you've ever read Stephen Erickson's Malazan Book of the Fallen series, he's partially based on the character of Krupp, as well as the prison warden from The Mummy...)

Much like the aforementioned tavern, his desert-style tent may show up in the marketplace of any city the party happens to be in, even if they they left him behind in the place they just came from and traveled as fast as humanly possible to their new location. He dresses in a ridiculously clashing mix of styles, patterns and colors, has a smarmy, ingratiating way of talking, calls everyone "My friends", refers to himself in the third person, talks only in oblique references and never says anything directly...

And not only "just so happens" to always either have that one thing you need right now or know where to find it, but has access to even the greatest of magic items and the most secret of information.

This is because A'li is actually an extremely powerful being whose tent is not just bigger on the inside than outside, it's functionally a TARDIS - not only can he move it anywhere he wants to, the inside is also a nexus to other planes, other dimensions and possibly even other times. He basically has a direct line to some of the most powerful beings in the Planescape setting and is known as an inter-dimensional information broker and general schemer and meddler.

 

 I also have a home-brewed race called the Vett (pronounced Fett)...

 

 

 

     The Vett (pronounced "fett") are a very old race, very rarely seen outside their mountain homes, and are generally considered extremely mysterious - if not semi-mythical. Often referred to as "mountain ghosts" or mistakenly called "mountain elves". They revere a being they call "Father Moon" as their creator, although they don't truly have much of a religion. They have a great respect for the natural world, and consider themselves to be just another part of it. As such, they tend to live a very simple, clan-based lifestyle, very rarely building anything more permanent than small stone houses and never taking more than they need from their environment. Pragmatism and self-reliance are integral facets of vett culture. Leaders aren't chosen so much as the rest of the community chooses to follow a particular individual out of respect for their wisdom and insight.
Vett rarely say anything unnecessary or state the obvious - and, being a very observant race, much more is "obvious" to them than others. Which leads many to believe that the vett are aloof or even arrogant since  they so rarely say anything. However, the vett culture simply believes that it would be insulting to assume that a person wasn't already aware of something and thus it would be impolite to point it out. A vett village will be eerily quiet most of the time, as the vett can easily communicate even complicated ideas simply through body language and slight gestures. Most conversations between vett tend to be very sparse and somewhat cryptic as much of it will be filled with what remained unsaid. Occasionally, however, a vett will feel motivated (apparently at random) to sing, which they consider to be a form of reverence for their creator. Vett singing is also used to communicate over long distances, as their voices carry extremely well through the mountain air.
Although they appear aloof and almost laconic, vett are extremely curious, almost hungry to understand things, and thus are subject to occasional bouts of wanderlust - if a vett has a question he can't answer or a subject that's caught his interest, he may well pack up his belongings on a whim and travel hundreds of miles to a city to consult a sage or apprentice himself to a cobbler. And then just show up at home again two years later, where the people of his village will act as though he had never left.

Vett are not fey, but they are fairly similar in appearance to elves/eladrin. They're a bit stockier, a bit taller (+Dex/+ Con or + Wis), and just slightly feral-looking. Their eyeteeth are just a tiny bit elongated and they have somewhat-prehensile feline-looking tails. Their eyes are either black or blue, and reflect light in the dark like an animal's (they see nearly as well in the dark as in daylight). Anyone looking directly into their eyes, however, won't see their own reflection there, only the image of the full moon. Vett hair color is usually black although auburn is not uncommon, moreso among females. Rarely, a vett will be born with white hair and black eyes, which is considered a blessing from Father Moon. These vett almost always show an affinity for magic. Being very observant with excellent eyesight and hearing, and extremely graceful, vett always consider Perception and Stealth to be class skills and gain a bonus to them.

Vett have a racial spell-like ability to summon forth what they call "Moon Mist", a cloud of mist which obscures the vision of non-vett and muffles sounds. A war-party of vett will almost always take the time to slowly fill an area with mist before a battle, then approach stealthily and attack in complete silence so as to unnerve their opponents, perpetuating their "mountain ghost" legend. Before larger battles, vett will often sing their War Song, a low droning chant that carries for miles, echoing endlessly as it reverberates off the distant mountain peaks. Although tales say that the vett can use the War Song to call down the wrath of the mountains in the form of an avalanche or rockslide, it's more a matter of the vett choosing to fight their battles where they can take advantage of the instability of the terrain.

Vett practice a form of weapon-based martial art they call the War Dance, an acrobatic form of combat using a bastard sword which relies more on their incredible dexterity than strength (although they're generally fairly strong as well). If two bastard swords are wielded, one is always used for defense and one for attack, although it's difficult to follow the path of their whirling blades well enough to determine which blade is the attack until after it's hit. The bastard sword is considered a racial weapon for the vett, and any class capable of using martial weapons is automatically proficient in it. Any character who gains proficiency in martial weapons can use the bastard sword.

Vett adventurers tend to be multi-classed and usually gravitate towards fighter, ranger, rogue, druid and sorcerer or wizard for their classes. As the Vett were originally created back around 2nd. Ed., there have been several different versions of stats for them (I've also tweaked them from campaign to campaign), but they're generally a relatively slightly more powerful race than some of the core races, and in 3.5 I gave them a +1 level adjustment.

 

 

 

 

  If any of these would fit in well with your worlds, feel free to borrow them wholesale and/or chop them up and recycle as needed.

Edited by Mad Jack
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I don't run a game so my world quirks are just my created world I house all my ideas in

 

So most of the development of my world goes to the wildlife, the flora, dragons and their society and how the humanoids fit into it

 

(For example I tend to just create wildlife to fluff it out

http://forum.reapermini.com/index.php?/topic/56852-siris-bestiary/ ))

 

I plan to fully flesh out what races live there, poitics, and cultures for them too

Edited by Sirithiliel
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