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Unique Quirks of Your World


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Hobgoblin paladins. In my world I have a country led by paladins, and in the distant past the founder was a devoted servant of the god of justice. On his life's mission to reclaim his homeland, he had been ambushed by members of a tribe of hobgoblins. After being taken captive and brought back to his camp, he found that after talking with the chief, it was apparent that the hobgoblins worshipped a different aspect of the same god, and were honorable. The leader of the group was punished for disobeying tribal laws, and his life was given to the paladin for judgement. But the paladin instead showed mercy and gave the hobgoblin his life back, stating that death would teach him nothing, and he must be given the chance at redemption. From that point on the hobgoblins were steadfast allies and the tribe helped retake the capital.

Fast forward 2500 years later, hobgoblins are fully integrated in society,  loyal citizens and yet still hold strongly to their customs and their own beliefs. At least 2 legions are of hobgoblin warriors, and they do hold positions of authority. The hobgoblins themselves hold them apart from their more sadistic cousins, and see themselves as worthy and righteous to follow the Sword Most Holy.

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Gnolls and hobgoblins are rare to the point where it is possible to play an entire campaign without encountering any. Gnolls are native to the Africa-analogue continent, and I always found hobgoblins redundant.

Gods often take mortal form to secretly wander around, give cryptic advice, attend feasts, seduce mortals, and play Skeeball. This has led to a situation where, at any wedding feast or planned event, eight or ten uninvited beggars will show up in wide-brimmed hats, eyepatches, and long cloaks, not quite claiming to be Odin. PCs can often find work as bouncers for this reason, as it's a well known fact that Odin would never claim to be Odin, but no one really wants to test the theory no matter HOW bad the beggar smells.

Potions of healing always resemble pink milk, always. This is partly due to the necessity of low level novice players needing to recognize them in a hurry, and partly because I suffered from gastritis around the time I began playing D&D... and when you have gastritis, Pepto Bismol is your friend.

Orcs are not always evil, but invariably rather surly, and very seldom of good alignment; the best you can usually hope for is neutral.

Tieflings and dragonborn are extremely rare, being found usually on other planes. You don't just encounter one sitting in a bar.

Low level mages are a dime a dozen, but few go into adventuring, preferring instead to make money casting Continual Light, Mend, and inscribing low level scrolls. Task mages can be inexpensively hired in most places if you need a low level spell cast.

 

Meerkats are a playable race, often organizing for war. Okay, not really, but Froggy's meerkats are a thing worth seeing.

Pocket money can often be had betting on the bumfights between Odin impersonators outside feasts and large events.

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In my 4E campaigns, god's strengths were directly tired to how many worshipers they had. Made up a plot thread that never got used to have the players discover a lesser god, Nalbert who only had 2 worshipers left. If the players wanted they could help the worshipers and spread the knowledge of Nalbert, making him more powerful and possibly an ally. 

 

The Legend of Nalbert

 

 

Once at the Dawn of Time, Avandra and Moradin had a tryst resulting in the birth of a young god they named Nalbert.  Nalbert was straight and true, and strived to maintain order and propriety in the world.  As a child he would often visit the natural world and visit towns on washing days.  There he would chase down rogue socks that were washed down the river and spend hours matching the pairs of socks for the inhabitants of the natural world.  When he was just leaving childhood, his parents decided to give him his first charge, and thus he became Nalbert, the god of paired socks.  Nalbert greatly enjoyed his charge, and the people rejoiced at the comfort of always being able to find two of the same kind of sock.  Alas, soon the Dawn wars came, wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of the Astral Sea.  Nalbert was insistent that he be able to participate in the Dawn Wars, finding great offense in the chaos that the wars brought to the worlds he loved.  He fought valiantly and bravely, smiting many of the lesser Chaotic gods such as Swarna, the goddess of random birth processes, and Bill, the God of random appendages. 

There is one Mortal with the divine spark of Nalbert existing inside of her.  She is a laundress in Fallcrest and she has a thriving laundry facility. If a sock goes missing it is likely that you can find it there.  She has a son who has aspirations of becoming a great wizard, but all he has been able to master so far due to the inadequacies of his pigeon posted wizarding courses is the spell Create Wind.  He spends his days working in the Laundry creating wind in the drying room and tending the infant red dragon that lives in the basement below the drying room and creates the heat used to dry the clothes.

 

 

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Low level mages are a dime a dozen, but few go into adventuring, preferring instead to make money casting Continual Light, Mend, and inscribing low level scrolls. Task mages can be inexpensively hired in most places if you need a low level spell cast.

 

Meerkats are a playable race, often organizing for war. Okay, not really, but Froggy's meerkats are a thing worth seeing.

 

 

 In most of my games, it's not uncommon to find a hedgewizard or other "adept" (arcane or divine) that has access to a few cantrips or 1st-level spells in some larger towns or just in random out-of-the-way villages. These people tend to be fairly well-respected members of their community, particularly in the frontier villages where their magic helps the village survive in tough times. Most of the ones outside large cities tend to work either in the agricultural field as rainmakers or horticulturists (particularly druidic adepts) or as craftsmen, using their magic to augment their crafting skills. In larger cities, people using their magic for crafting are generally members of the crafting guilds if they produce something for which there's a guild. In some of the richest neighborhoods in the largest cities, there may be a portion of the Lamplighters guild that uses light spells on lamp posts instead of lighting them the regular way.

Everburning torches aren't a particularly uncommon sight, even sometimes seen amongst commoners or farmers (although they're generally considered valuable equipment amongst the poorer folks and passed down from generation to generation), and leatherworkers often learn Continual Light so they can manufacture torches and the leather covers for them.

 

 

 And since I was already planning to convert the meercats minis into an adventuring party, I am now going to make sure that my next game has an entire race of sentient, intelligent meercats who can speak.

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These are all so interesting!

 


Orcs are not always evil, but invariably rather surly, and very seldom of good alignment; the best you can usually hope for is neutral.
 

 

Orcs in my game are kind of lost. Not physically. They're right over there. But they don't know what to do. A few hundred years ago a huge swath of them, led by some of their greatest warriors, went and killed their gods, basically. They were a trio of powerful Demon Princes, actually, but that's all kind of a matter of semantics, at least to the orcs. While this is somewhat similar to the lore of Warcraft, my orcs don't have a shamanistic tradition to fall back on now that they're free of fiendish control. They had, up until then, always just been bloodthirsty raiders who would terrify everyone in their nearby vicinity. Many of them still are because they don't know what else to do. But there are some that are trying to figure out a better way to live.

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Races in my world are fairly typical...

 

you have the usuals: Dwarves, Elves, and Humans (hobbits/halflings do not feature in my world very often, if at all )

There are goblins, which aren't really a threat but rather pests, filching chickens from nearby settlements and living in their primitive tribes. There is a different type of goblin that lives in caves underground, and these are far more deadly and advanced. I haven't decided what to call this deeper goblin race

 

Centaurs, canoids (which are basically gnolls), merfolk and their cousin race the Kelpfins, are some of the other races there are. 

Griffons in my world are highly intelligent and have their own societies, similar to dragons. I have a variety of species of these that live in specific habitats, like my dragons. Often they live alongside the dragons with little fuss or fighting. 

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My old campaign world had three main planets that orbited around a central point as all three orbited around the sun ( bit like Pluto and Charon)

 

One planet was completely covered in water and contains vast nations of sea elves and tritons and merfolk and other less common sea folk.

 

The second was mentioned in Siri's thread, it is a large planet ruled by nations of dragons. All "mortal" races live below ground as the surface is not safe with so many gigantic monsters around.

 

The final planet is the main campaign world it's fairly standard at first with human kingdoms and an orc empire. However giants don't exist beyond fairy tales, and the evles are a dying people. They have no nations of their own and aren't even guaranteed to speak elven.

The History of the world is mostly unknown, except in legends. The legends say that the first people were the various lizard and amphibious folk and they built vast empires, but those empires fell when giants came and forged their own empires. The giant empires fell when the elves came and the giant gods abandoned their people. The elves fell with the coming of the "young" races (humans, dwarves, orcs, goblins and the like).

Most historians dismiss the stories of Lizardfolk and giant empires. Modern lizardfolk are degenerate and primitive and dangerous. Nothing remains of their empire so the stories are easily dismissed as myths at most. No one has ever seen a giant and any ruins that could have been from them had long been repurposed by the elves and any reference to the giants removed long ago. So tales of Giants are just as easily dismissed. Unbeknownst to historians in the main part of the world, both Giant and lizardfolk empires survive in other parts of the world far from them and each plots a return to glory.

For a more simple explanation my main world is a bit like Forgotten Realms but without all the pre-existing heroes. As in it's large and pretty much any and all culteral campaign settings exists in it .The main part is classic medieval, head south towards the orc empire and it gets a bit roman like, farther south you hit some greek like city states head east and you get a bit of Asian theme. Head west across the ocean and you get a combo Egytpian and south/cental american area. Head way south to another continrnt again and it looks a bit like North America. (It just occurred to me I don't have a place a Middle Eastern settting in there. I may be able to fit that into the current state of things in the western continent) Beyond the western continent are the lost continents ruled by the lost elder races of giants and lizardmen.

One final note is that each of the three planets is connected by magical waygates of unknown origin. Each planet has two one for each of it's sibling planets. On the main campaign world the "young" races only know where the one connecting to the dragon planet is (one of the southern free cities is built around it). It's been so long that I think I actually forgot where I placed the second one.

 

As for races: Giants are unknown. Lizard folk and bullywugs mostly live in swamps and are very primitive. Goblins once had a thriving kingdom, but it fell during the birth of the orc empire. In the main human kingdom (that I don't remember the name of off the top of my head) The orcs were defeated and the ones that remain their live in a kind of reservation and are not allowed to have weapons. Dwarves are pretty standard. Elves as I mentioned are a dying people. Halflings don't have kingdoms or a language of their own but live in rural farming communities in most human kingdoms. Gnomes don't have kingdoms either but live in wandering groups and trade between the dwarves and humans. Sahaugin Infest the waters off the coast, making trade difficult. And made even mores so by a small Island kingdom of slaver/pirates that the sahaugin leave alone for reasons unknown. Sea elves are the only elves that have any sort of kingdom of their own but seem to be losing badly to the sahaugin. Their are no known entrances to the underdark in the main part of my world and the underdark is mostly flooded, but the parts that aren't are dominated by the duergar. The power of the drow is fading just as much as those of the surface elves and they are getting desperate.

Edited by EvilJames
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I used the Forgotten Realms as a basis for some of my world too, in that I wanted it to have a long-spanning history and a lot of different cultures. I like a lot of the lore of the Realms, even if I don't particularly want to play there due to the overwhelming number of uber-NPCs that run around there. It just hit me that I could share my world more directly here, at least with those of you who have an Obsidian Portal account. There are details that aren't there yet (like a lot of monsters) that I'm filling in as I go.

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My old campaign world had three main planets that orbited around a central point as all three orbited around the sun ( bit like Pluto and Charon)

I think I might steal the trinary planet idea. Nice.

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1 The most obvious change is that I've merge all the various sub-races together. There are no dark, grey, high, light, sea, wild, wood, etc elves. Just one race that posses within it all of those different facets. I think it makes the races much more realistic and dynamic. Rather then just a set of stereotypes. In the same way bugbears, hobgoblins, orcs, etc are merged together into one race. There's also no gnomes. Their tinkering aspect is merged into dwarves while their other aspects are merged into halflings.

 

2 My setting is not based on the late medieval period like so many fantasy worlds. I always thought that period was so very wrapped up with Christianity as to not mesh well with a world of gods and monsters. I draw my inspiration mostly from around the iron age (about 1,000 BC to 1,000 AD). With gold (titan), silver (elven), and bronze (dwarven) ages preceding that. The setting is also centered more on a Mediterranean style region. With big blonde and ginger barbarians to the north (Viking/Celtic inspired) and Middle Eastern and African type peoples in the Southlands.

 

3 The next major thing is when using a d20 system normal humans have a level cap of 10th level. This limit is roughly based on looking at the monster manuals/bestiaries and asking myself what a real life human fighter type or martial artist, at their absolute maximum potential, could realistically take on in a straight one on one fight (mastodons, tyrannosaurus, young dragons, etc.).

 

That's of course only for normal humans. Some people however are touched with the blood of demi-gods. Half gods have a level cap of 20th, quarter gods cap at 15th, etc. This means old concepts like the divine right of kings, god-kings, and keeping bloodlines pure is actually a real concern in this world. The most powerful humans are often times also the most inbreed of emperors. Elves are semi-divine beings and all have a natural level cap of 20th (with a base starting level of 3rd). Though not all live to reach that point. Dwarves being the other long lived race cap at 15th (with a base starting level of 2nd).

 

4 Leveling also takes years. Like in real life it takes years, even decade, to reach one's maximum potential. You don't become a black belt overnight. People don't just go from a group of nobodies to suddenly being able to take on dragons and demi-gods after adventuring for a couple of month. When fast tracking and really focusing on advancement people can gain 1 level per year maximum. With most people gaining a level maybe once every 5 years or so.

 

5 Lastly in keeping with the more "down to earth" flavor of my world I've made a minor change to the way the standard D&D style coinage works. CP remain copper pieces, but SP are bronze coins, GP are silver coins, and PP are gold coins. This makes silver coins the base unit of the economy rather then gold (silver "dollars", bronze "dimes", copper "pennies").

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Does anyone remember the Dawnforge Campaign for 3E by FFG? It was based in a young world just coming into its golden age, and nothing has been set in stone yet. As you gain levels you add traits and talents to your character, eventually choosing racial abilities. Once you get to a high enough level( 15 or 20, can't quite remember), you actually become the template of your race. It was a fantastic idea, I wish they made more than 3 books for it.

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In my 4E campaigns, god's strengths were directly tired to how many worshipers they had. Made up a plot thread that never got used to have the players discover a lesser god, Nalbert who only had 2 worshipers left. If the players wanted they could help the worshipers and spread the knowledge of Nalbert, making him more powerful and possibly an ally. 

 

The Legend of Nalbert

 

 

Once at the Dawn of Time, Avandra and Moradin had a tryst resulting in the birth of a young god they named Nalbert.  Nalbert was straight and true, and strived to maintain order and propriety in the world.  As a child he would often visit the natural world and visit towns on washing days.  There he would chase down rogue socks that were washed down the river and spend hours matching the pairs of socks for the inhabitants of the natural world.  When he was just leaving childhood, his parents decided to give him his first charge, and thus he became Nalbert, the god of paired socks.  Nalbert greatly enjoyed his charge, and the people rejoiced at the comfort of always being able to find two of the same kind of sock.  Alas, soon the Dawn wars came, wreaking havoc on the inhabitants of the Astral Sea.  Nalbert was insistent that he be able to participate in the Dawn Wars, finding great offense in the chaos that the wars brought to the worlds he loved.  He fought valiantly and bravely, smiting many of the lesser Chaotic gods such as Swarna, the goddess of random birth processes, and Bill, the God of random appendages. 

There is one Mortal with the divine spark of Nalbert existing inside of her.  She is a laundress in Fallcrest and she has a thriving laundry facility. If a sock goes missing it is likely that you can find it there.  She has a son who has aspirations of becoming a great wizard, but all he has been able to master so far due to the inadequacies of his pigeon posted wizarding courses is the spell Create Wind.  He spends his days working in the Laundry creating wind in the drying room and tending the infant red dragon that lives in the basement below the drying room and creates the heat used to dry the clothes.

 

 

My players would have sat silent for a moment and then asked, "A god, hm? How many XP is he worth?"

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My players would have sat silent for a moment and then asked, "A god, hm? How many XP is he worth?"

it is for this reason that gods are unkillable in my universe. The concept just doesn't make sense. It's like saying you are going to kill gravity, or the colour blue.
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My players would have sat silent for a moment and then asked, "A god, hm? How many XP is he worth?"

it is for this reason that gods are unkillable in my universe. The concept just doesn't make sense. It's like saying you are going to kill gravity, or the colour blue.

 

 

 Well, there a couple of folks over in the Randomness thread trying to kill Monday, so it's not as odd as you might think...

 

 

Does anyone remember the Dawnforge Campaign for 3E by FFG? It was based in a young world just coming into its golden age, and nothing has been set in stone yet. As you gain levels you add traits and talents to your character, eventually choosing racial abilities. Once you get to a high enough level( 15 or 20, can't quite remember), you actually become the template of your race. It was a fantastic idea, I wish they made more than 3 books for it.

 

 I'm looking at the main book and Age of Legend sitting on the top shelf of my 'puter desk as I type this...

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So, I have some quirks in my campaign worlds. Notably two:

 

1. The Gold Dust Inn: Run by a half-elf, who appears to be late into his middle years and goes by the name "Dave" (the guy who made the character didn't know my first name for about a year after he played the character), the Gold Dust Inn is a multi-dimensional and multi-temporal Inn. It caters to some of the richest beings in the multiverse, and is considered neutral ground (you may find a planetar and a pit fiend sharing a pint). It also has a direct portal to Sigil, and has been known to show up at the beginning, and end, of all things.

 

2. The Emporium of Fine Goods and Antiquities: Run by an amiable little man called "Mouse," the Emporium is the ONLY magic shop on any given world. The items are for sale by contract only. Usually for one or more undefined "favors." And sometimes functions more as a Bazaar of the Bizarre than a shop of functional magic items. (50/50 chance of either, on any given opening of the door.) Unbeknownst to most, "Mouse" is actually an incarnation of Ningauble of the Seven Eyes. And where HE manifests, Sheelba of the Eyeless Face isn't far behind.

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