5E Laziest World Build Ever, For New Players
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  1. #1
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    Laziest World Build Ever, For New Players

    This thread is more for newer players and is one example on how you can build a world. Generally I am a big believer in the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) principle basically for everything including IRL. This applies to D&D, training staff, renovating, personal finances etc. Worldbuilding in D&D can be daunting especially when you compare it to established worlds such as the Forgotten Realms, a favourite novel or even the plot line of a video game like Skyrim, Knights of the Old Republic etc. Or even something as a simple as a WotC 5E adventure.

    Note all of the above are done by professional teams of game designers. You will probably get frustrated if you compare your world to theirs so my suggestion is don't, some of those worlds have had dozens of authors several decades to develop. Generally I mine the crap out of published works if I do a world and recently I have been getting a bit nostalgic about earlier D&Ds which mined the hell out of real life for inspiration on worlds such as Mystara and the Realms in particular. The following is an example of how to throw together a world using as little effort as possible and one that might not completely suck. I will use the 5E PHB and DMG as an example and it will even have a world mapped out for you. The idea is to incorporate all of the races from the PHB and draw on RL history from antiquity through to the Elizabethan era. I will call this world Terra Nova

    Terra Nova
    Map: Earth

    That is right my idea is just to recycle the map of Earth. Of course you can kind of hide this from the players via using local maps and any larger scale maps may or may not be accurate. Drawing maps is a pain and we have one right here you can easily find using google. The campaign will also set in Europe for the simple reason the PHB has 4 pantheons one can use and they are all from Europe and the Mediterranean region. Those Panthoens are Celtic, Greek, Norse and Egyptian so we will have fantasy versions of those cultures and drop them roughly where they were in real life. The Celtic one is a slight problem as the Celts had most of western Europe at one point so I'll limit them to places like Ireland and Scotland as I have plans for the other areas the Celts were. We are also going to build a polytheastic world that is not that humanocentric. The other PHB pantheons can also be used especially the non human and Elven, Dwarven pantheons etc.

    Fantasy worlds also tend to have ancient races and progenitor type races and this is a fantasy earth. You can use things like the Sumerians for the ancient past and the Romans for the more recent civilisations. In Europe i'll change Earths history and leave the "ancients" in the distant past so the more recent ruins are Roman. I'll also rename the Romans to Thyatians which I borrowed from the world of Mystara and the Thyatian Empire used to encompass the political boundaries of the RL Roman Empire. That is basically Terra Novas history at least as far as it will mater for the PCs. Thyatian mines, dungeons, necropolis can be scattered around.

    Each PHB race will also need a homeland or at least an area they tend to hail from. Hobbits tend to come from Ye Olde fantasy England/France so guess where they will be located. Mountain Dwarves can be put in Switzerland and Scandinavia while Hill Dwarves can be in places like Scotland, Spain, and parts of Italy and France. Anatolia could also be a good location but I have plans for that area. Elves like forests so they can go in things like woodlands but here we are going to tweak things. A long time ago Germany was heavily forested so instead of the Thyatians losing there legions there they ran into Wood Elves. High Elves can be urban ones scattered in smaller woodlands probably in England/France/Spain/Italy. Drow are undergound, Menzoberranzan or the equivalent can be located under Southern Germany/Czech Republic/Austria area.

    Going through the non humans, the Dragonborn are easy as I earlier mentioned by Byzantium/Ottoman empire equivalent being a Dragon empire and I borrowed that idea from the Midgard setting. Since the Greeks are still around you can even do a 300 type game in that area. Gnomes are gnomes, and the subraces are probably in areas close to Dwarves and Elves. Half Elves, most would be of High Elf ancestry with a few in Germany and the surrounding areas.

    Half Orcs. Where do the Orcs go. Inthis world I would replace Atilla the Hun with humanoids that keep getting displaced from the steppes. Hungary can be a humanoid domain while other Barbarians got as far as Spain and North Africa. The wildands can also include the Balkans, Hungary, and the old Czechoslovakia and they are hitting up against the edges of the Dwarves/Elves and Dragon Empire. Spain and North Africas can also be melting pots since there are no Islamic powers in this world so the various caliphates will not exist. The slave markets of the Barbary coast can be replaced with evil humanoids and humans and the slavers can be placed there. Other places you can put evil slave type powers and markets are the Crimea, not Constantinople and not Alexandria which may actually exist here. Christianity also would not exist and if Egypt is still around the middle east is open to replacements.

    Tieflings. There are no RL equivalents of demon worshipping type cultures so this race is open to be placed anywhere so fiendish cultists might be in the shadows or some of the old religions that practiced human sacrificed can exist in isolated pockets with fantasy Carthage being an obvious one (human sacrifice). Here you can get creative where you want to drop them the map is a big place.

    Just by fleshing out the PHB races we have some rough ideas what the map is starting to look like. Italy is a good pace to have a heap of city states compete with each other, the key difference is no Pope so Rome doesn't matter to much, the great cities will be in the east just like IRL. The only large political players are really Egypt and whoever controls Anatolia. Spain is a bit of a mess, Germany has elves, Scandinavia has vikings, humanoids from the steppes still linger in the Balkans/Hungary. Russia is mostly empty, I often have a fantasy Teutonic Knights (Knights of Vanya) so they can be placed in what is now Northern Poland, the old East Prussia. A thousand years ago in the Viking age Russia was mostly a collection of city states such as Kiev, and early Moscow and Novgorod so this area can be roughly the same and the Vikings would definitely be aware of this and can probably get to the black sea just like IRL.

    Soctland can be full of Celts and Dwarves, Wales and ireland can be Celtic as well, the Thyatian Empire is gone and I would have England,and France kind of like the Sword Coast of Faerun. Germany west of the Rhine and Belgium and Holland would also be melting pots.

    The PHB also has several other pantheons left over along with the 4E pantheon in the 5E DMG. The 4E, Faerunian and Greyhawk Pantheons would be ideal for the "default" human pantheon and this pantheon can be the same one that the old Thayatian Empire worshipped. the other Pantheons could be used in places east of Syria or the Dragon Empire.

    Time to wrap it up, but this a a very quick (half hour or so brainstorm). A lot of D&D worlds often have some sort of unique thing that sets them apart from other worlds. This requires a bit of brainstorming but I'll use the KISS principle again and borrow and idea from Mystara. Once a year for whatever reason magic stops working for one day. Terra Nova is just a sandbox thrown together and the day of dead magic or whatever can be replaced with something else (I would use leylines from Midgard myself). But broadly speaking Terra Nova gives you a broad sandbox idea that you can flesh out with most of the work has been done for you already.
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  2. #2
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    Some of the best advice I've ever seen for "K.I.S.S."-style setting design: http://jrients.blogspot.com/2011/04/...-for-your.html
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  3. #3
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    I have an extensive setting done like this - using google map and replacing various cultures/groups with D&D races.

    After discussion with others... it was agreed that it could never, ever be published, because it was guaranteed that someone would find the choices offensive. "How dare you have the turks be hobgoblins!!!" etc etc.

    So it works, but it has ... pitfalls.
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    For my game world I took a map of Europe from an earlier period. Doggerland.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogger...land3er_en.png

    I then modified it, for example, the Iberian peninsula is drawn out to be twice as long and is a group of close set islands.

    For countries I took historical nation states and altered the spelling of their names. Bryzantium. Some areas were given a Tolkien treatment, Brittany is an elven faerie realm. Four of the seven dwarf realms were taken by dragons or worse.

    @Ancalagon I have the same problem you do. "Why is Libya under the sea?" "Why are the Swedes and Norwegians trolls?"

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    I started a world, but used the earth map upside down. Another used the map of earth, but one that showed lower sea levels.

  6. #6
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    There we go - the discussion we had about this a while back: http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthr...d-if-you-don-t

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    I think if I were making recommendations to a new GM/players, I would take a clue from some of the modern games and skip the world-building and just do a session zero. Some of the best worlds I've experienced are just cobbled together and spiraled out from the first couple of adventures. Getting a bit of input from the players is always welcome. "Tell me about the biggest bad guys in this world." can get you a lot of mileage.

    Also, I'd skip the world map. Maps are rare and expensive. A good "flowchart" style network can be plenty to work with.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ancalagon View Post
    After discussion with others... it was agreed that it could never, ever be published, because it was guaranteed that someone would find the choices offensive. "How dare you have the turks be hobgoblins!!!" etc etc.
    i just learned that the map for greyhawk is a mirror image of europe. if it works for gary it can work for you.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by messy View Post
    i just learned that the map for greyhawk is a mirror image of europe. if it works for gary it can work for you.
    ... are you sure about that?

  10. #10
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    I can't see it. Looks like I am going to have a few new players.

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