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D&D 5E [+] A Whole New World!

Puddles

Explorer
I think once you remove humans from the setting, you either want to delve deep into past and say your world is primordial or you want to venture far into the future and have it be the last days of a dying world.

Making a world Primordial sounds fun to me. The central conflict could be the coming ice age of the North, maybe there is a cabal of Dragonborn sorcerers bringing it, like the Jaghut from Malazan Book of the Fallen.

I would have lots of dinosaurs and prehistoric beasts like sabre-tooth tigers and mammoths as wild creatures, and the intelligent races would be things like Dragonborn, Loxodon (Elephant-men from M:TG), Lizardfolk, Goliaths, Yuan'ti, Triton and Minotaurs.

I would probably have an elder god for each intelligent race, and have those gods walk on the material plane alongside their mortals. I would make the story be about a nascent world and the first civilizations warring with each other under the will of those gods.

I would detach it from anything medieval, and use ancient Mesopotamia as my cultural reference, maybe with a sprinkling of ancient India and Cambodia. You could have bad-ass flint weapons like the T'lan Imass from Malazan Book of the Fallen too. It could be a lot of fun!

The hard part would be coming up with a reason for a multi-racial party, as when you have such exotic races I don't think the players will all agree to just play one.
 

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vincegetorix

Jewel of the North
1) Mandragoran Gnomes: Primal creatures of stone, they wear mask made of hollowed (but still alive) mandragoras. They use the terrible scream of the plant to stun the beast they hunt, making it easier for them to catch them. Some of them use giant samaras as glider to travel.
(think Dekus from LoZ)

2) Gith: Both of the clan have enclaves hidden in the dark corners of the world. Since their respective home planes are too unstable for any of them to have the upper hand, they use the Prime as battleground for they millennia old feud. They use the other ''old ones'' (kuo-toa, sogoth, lizardfolk, etc) as proxy in their war.



be back after the job for the rest.
EDIT: And I'M back!

3) Yuan-ti: Great builders of civilization, superb artificers and masters of the art of transmutation. They are great artisan, slow to trust and even slower to forget. From their incredible fortresses cut from the great canyons of the west, they ride giant-vultures to scavenge the wastes to find material to craft into items of higher value. They believe dragons to be a corrupted version of their own gods and slay them on sight if possible.
(Think the usual leitmotiv of dwarves merged with a byzantine vibe and snake-people)

4) Goblinoids: Gobs/Hobs/Bugs are the main city dwellers that came in exile after a war against the Fey liege of the Feywild. They have a very hierarchized society and favor great orators, philosophers and warriors more than wealth.

And humans, dwarves and elves are still a thing, but in small cities.
 
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Bitbrain

Fully vaccinated!
Okay, there'll be no crapping on anyone else's ideas in this thread, please!

You can use only non "core" folk to populate your world, and I challenge you to make their place in the world unique without making them nothing more than a joke or pun.


What are the 4 or more core peoples of your world, how are you building the world to make it feel like a world they belong in, and what do they think of eachother?

Bonus points if you can think of 4 classes outside the core 4 that are the most common classes in this world, and talk about how that changes worldbuilding and adventuring in your world!

Ready go!
Not the core 4, though preferably not half-elves or half-orcs either.

Also...I won’t be mad if you cheat and include Halflings, because they so rarely get to be a historically and culturally important race in settings.

Okay, this one is a bit of a challenge, but it can be done.

The world of Avernum: Escape from the Pit without Humans.

Gremlin. The surface world is largely dominated by the rakshasa, which take a pretty dim view of most other intelligent and magical creatures. Gremlins are one of the smaller and more despised life forms, so they are often banished deep underground.

Favored class (and sub-class) outside the core four is definitely the fey warlock. Avernum gremlins don’t have much of a habit of dismantling complex machinery.

Slithzerikai. Subterranean lizardfolk. Half of them want to befriend the newcomers from up above, while the other half just wants to eat the newcomers and see what they taste like.

Favored class outside the core four would probably be the barbarian.

Nephilim. Literally just tabaxi that were banished deep underground. Gray, brown, black, and white fur are all common. They really don’t like the fact that they were banished from the surface world.

Favored class outside the core four would probably be the ranger.

Troglodyte. Porcine humanoids with dark red skin. They were banished deep underground too. Trogs have an ancestral enmity with giants, although they are not too pleased with the rakshasa either.

Favored class outside the core four would probably be the paladin. Their elite martial units are called “troglodyte defenders”.
 

Marc_C

Solitary Role Playing
I never build new worlds from A to Z but I'm thinking of doing a Tabaxi only campaign in a deep jungle. Men have dwindled and almost disappeared hundreds of years ago following an 'event'. Adventurous Tabaxi explore the ruins of human civilization in search of wondrous items.

The few humans who survived are severely deformed (monstrous), lack higher intelligence and have problems reproducing.

Voilà.
 

Warforged, Goblins, Gnomes, Halflings

Yhv, the Living City, is a massive metropolis with no end in sight. It is ruled by Hartless, the Golem King.

Warforged are the dominant people of this endless city. They are paladins and fighters, wizards and bards, and many are nobles, merchants, and land-owners.

The wealthiest Warforged keep a servant class of goblins to do their bidding. The goblins tend to be artificers and bards, trained to forge or entertain for their masters.

Down in the sewers and pipes of the city, wild gnomes live in warrens, using their natural magic abilities to steal from and sometimes sabotage the Warforged above. They tend to be rogues and sorcerer's, tracing their bloodlines to powerful fey, or transformed by the polutants of the city.

Finally there are the halflings, who have carved out a niche for themselves as planar travelers. Halflings warlocks who have aligned themselves with the Great Old One are able to open up portals into other versions of Yhv, and forage in these other worlds for resources, gold, and magic. They often recruit adventurers to do the dirty work, since these other versions of the city tend to be infested with undead, monstrosities, or just other kingdoms who don't want to be raided!
 

grimslade

Doddering Old Git
Children of the Empire Setting
Ancient war between the gods and humans. Humans lose. They are trapped in a prison plane with the god of Law as the warden cutting humans and their allies off from access to magic. With the embodiment of Law cut off from the rest of creation, magic becomes chaos. The souls of the residents of the prison plane can be used to stabilize magic and make some effects permanent. Souls become construction material for the realms of Archfey and Demon lords. Souls are captured as they leave the Prison plane to go to the afterlife in great Wild Hunts. This upsets the natural cycle fundamental to creation. The God-Emperor Law makes adjustments to the ward allowing some access to magic by being able to straddle both sides of the ward. The Children of the Empire are created to protect souls as they travel to the afterlife. These humans, orcs, dwarves, and loyal scalykind swear their eternal lives to the defense of souls in the Feywild/Shadowrealm beyond the ward. They access magic through meditation and projecting their soul across the ward. They are also enslaved to the Empire forever. Unable to marry, hold land, or title. Think Jannisary but Jedi. Children of the Empire are the half-casters: Paladins, Eldritch Knights, Arcane Tricksters, maybe Hexblade warlock.
The residents of the feywild see the holes in the ward and push through to warded side to get souls. Unfortunately, they become trapped in the prison plane as the overwhelming force of Law overwrites their magic. The fey and demons who want access to souls need a 'space suit' to survive the harsh order environment. They offer power to poor, unfortunate souls and grant it in the reverse of the Children of the Empire. They project their souls into willing hosts for access to magic. The power has a price. The more power you use, the closer the entity comes to total possession. These are your full casters and warlocks. I imagine a corruption system similar to Symbaroum with temporary and permanent corruption.
The Dwarves of the Warded Empire are typically artificers and fighters. They harness their magic by mining it from the ancient rubble of the mythical past still steeped in the magic of the Godwar and funneling it into their creations.
The elves and orcs do not pray to the god of Law like the humans, and dwarves. They are both people cut off from the rest of their race because of ancient alliances with humans. The eladrin and high elves still pine for their lost kin within the Ward. The goblins and bugbears miss the strength of their orcish cousins. Both races still pray to the old gods, and gain a modicum of power from their lingering presence in the ward. The only clerics and druids come from the wild elves and orcs, but they are very rare.
The scalykind have advanced a lot from the days when they were servants to the mad hubris of humanity. They have raised an empire of their own. They bypass the ward by trading life memories with their deceased elders for power. The most powerful lizardfolk wizard is said to have traded the knowledge of his own name for power.
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
"Of Scale and Ash"
A Setting for 5e D&D.

The dwarves have retreated into the darkness, below. The elves have turned to distant shores. And what ruin Mankind Wrought is left to the wastrels abandoned amidst ashes. Set 200 years after the end of the Dragonblood Wars, in which mankind was reduced incalcuably by their hubris and Dragonkind was utterly destroyed, the remaining peoples of Veth piece together the once-great empires of those who are lost.

The player races of the setting are:

Warforged: Constructed with the express intent of destroying the scaled menace, Warforged attained sentience soon after their initial construction. Built to serve, to fight, they find themselves lost in this new world where man and dragon are both absent. Built in a manner which does not hold well to society, they nonetheless patterned themselves and their identities upon Mankind. While some hold true to their identities as hunters, as warriors, the majority seek to hold down simple jobs or careers in order to earn enough silver to maintain their bodies over time.


Goblins: In a world where resources are scarce and enemies abound, Goblins are often pressed to the fringes of the world, forced to live in nomadic bands to avoid hunting dragons or conflict with the ever-expanding civilized world that shuns them so fully. Without the constant pressures, Goblinish culture has shifted, flourished, and become one of stoic self-reliance and communal responsibilities. More than any remaining race, Goblinkind are bound to the land, to nature, and while the Warforged seek to rebuild the society they were built to serve, the Goblins create a new civilization. One with roots deeper than the Goblins know... (4'5"-5'5" tall, batty features, long and slender limbs and fingers)

The Twisted: Not all humans were destroyed by their war with Dragonkind. As magics and sciences collided, far more were twisted by esoteric energies and became something new. Few in number, the Twisted are Plane-Touched beings. Aasimar, Tieflings, Genasi, and Changelings are all beings touched by the innate magical essences of other realms, Twisted into a new form. Now their children, more stable both physically and mentally, have begun to return to civilization, as the Warforged rebuild it. Their roles in it are new, and both groups are learning about their positions in society as they grow.

Thri-Kreen: In arid lands and savannahs the Kreen have existed for uncounted centuries. Traders, Hunters, Assassins, and more. Their once great empire fell long before the Dragonblood Wars swept over the lands of Veth. But new forces within their number drive them to push outward, to expand, anew, as their kind once did. An expansion that often puts them at odds with both Goblinkind and the New Nations. Much of the world is still ash and ruin, where the Kreen thrive... But what drives the Swarming Urge?


The Setting in Play:
Of Scale and Ash is a Points of Light Campaign in the ruins of several once-great empires brought low by internecine warfare and dragon breath. It is designed as a Post Apocalyptic setting in which most of what was lost is largely unremembered. Humanity, Dwarvenkind, and Elvenkind had an Industrial Revolution Technomagic society largely functioning with smaller, less developed, societies in the same area. But when Dragons returned to the world and sought to reclaim their old hunting grounds, the Prime Races fought back.

As a result, there are firearms in the hands of Warforged, Thri-Kreen, and the Twisted. They are functionally loud reskins of both Simple and Martial ranged weapons. Heavy Crossbows are Marksman Rifles. Longbows are Repeating Rifles. Shortbows are one-handed and represent revolvers. While light crossbows represent Hunting Rifles and Muskets. Hand Crossbows are, essentially, Derringers.

Players are often hired to scout out potential locations for expansion, clear out dangers, or explore dungeons for magic, magitech, and technological items. Few things recovered from these explorations are more valued than Tomes of Knowledge. Books that -explain- how these once-prominent technologies worked and can be made to function, again.

Artificers are revered as important members of society. Sorcerers were created by experiments to force magic into bloodlines to "Breed" armies of wizards. Bards carry an important role in society as those who carry the Oral Traditions. Paladins and Clerics are few and far between, as much of the old religions are forgotten. Druids, Shaman, and Rangers are largely viewed as the Spiritual Leaders of the healing world...

Yeah... I'd play in that setting.
 

Stormonu

Legend
World of Khoravim

Aerivold - The first kingdom, it is a realm of cities populated by Warforged as the common people and ruled by Golem barons and Marut Princes. The Aerivold use an army of Modrons to enforce their will. In ancient times, the arrogant Aerivold sought to bring all other races under their rule. After their genocide of the humans, the Velderain successfully sued for peace and the realm has turned mostly inward, seeking

Velderain - Once a vast forest, when the Aerivold began to harvest the trees of the land, the Treants and their Dryad spouses created a race of elvin shifters to protect their lands, and were forced to evolve into a kingdom. Ruled by the Twelve - a council of six Treant Kings and six Dryad Queens, it laced with rural villages of half-elves and protected by an augmented patrols of shifters. Unfortunately, the woods are infested with lone or small groups of lycanthropes - former shifter protectors overcome who have been corrupted by their augmentation into shifters and now follow their darker desires to hunt and feed on their former kind. Where once the shifters fought to ward off the war machine of Aerivold, now it is forced to patrol its own lands and hunt down its former soldiers who have turned against their own people.

Mageris - A meager handful of powerful human Necromancers (not a playable race) are all that remain of humanity. Driven to barren lands unreachable by the other races, they plot in secret using alchemical magic to concoct races and beings to do their bidding. Goblinoids, broken ones, dark creepers and other strange humanoids make up their tiny communities. Armies of human corpses protect the great necromancers as they scheme to bring their own kind back from the dead, a process that has eluded them for hundreds of years (Raise Dead and Resurrection do not work in this world, though Animate and Reincarnate does). While most Necromancers are the declared enemy of the Aerivold, at least one Necroenchantress has allied with the Velderain, providing labor and assistance against the lycanthropes in trade for goods needed for her people.

Kurthain - These nomadic catfolk consist of multiple tribes of Tabaxi, Rhakasha (B/X version), and Leonin. Their ancestors were awakened to sentience by the Velderain before the rise of the Aerivold, and they flit between the lands of the other nations, calling no kingdom their own. Among the Kurthain are smaller awakened species such as the Loxodon (elephantfolk), Saluqi (dogfolk), Tauren (minotaurs) and Revurim (rhinofolk), though in small enough numbers they do not have their own tribes. Among these, the Saluqi are the most populace, trained from birth to protect and guard Kurthain caravans.
 

Slit518

Explorer
For anyone whom is curious:
The core-four races are - Human; Elf; Dwarf; Halfling
The core-four classes are - Fighter; Cleric; Wizard; Rogue

Now, for my race choices outside of the core-four - Aarakocra; Goliath; Ithilid; Merfolk (Air; Land; in-Earth; Water)
Classes outside of core-four - Bard; Monk; Paladin; Ranger

This is as far as I go -- anyone else can come up with the rest.
 

rgoodbb

Adventurer
Something in the air means that sentient races cannot grow any larger than small size.

Halflings, Gnomes, Goblins, Kobolds and Grung.

It is a world still in it's early primitive cycle and these small folk are a very tasty meal for medium monsters such as bestial Tabaxi, Leonin, Shifters, Aarakocra, Tortles and Gnolls (all non-playable and who haven't gained intelligence above 3 yet).
 

Steampunkette

Shaper of Worlds
Also... I don't think I have to clarify that there's still Dragon Eggs in "Of Scale and Ash", right? >.>

Like... Some campaign in that setting would -absolutely- center around one group of people wanting a Dragon Egg while others try to see it destroyed and the players have to deal with the problem, unaware that the dragon is -very- close to hatching and if one of the party members decides to break the egg they just hatch a Dragon a couple days early...

And the Swarming Thri Kreen are probably doing so because of Dragons, somehow. Like they always swarm every couple hundred years but this time there's no Dragons eating them en-masse to keep their numbers under control or something...
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
I'm going to take a bit from my homebrew world, Tor-eal.

Yikkan Goblinoids: Long ago (over a thousand years ago), the Weave of Magic was shattered by a tremendous catastrophe that resulted in the death of the Goddess of Magic and much of the rest of the pantheon (it's a bit more complicated than that, but this is a basic rundown). The Weave was splintered and caused magic to be much more . . . "interconnected" might be the right word. Basically, instead of being neat and tidy, magic is much messier and has a greater affect on its surrounding environment than before, kind of like Dark Sun, but with different kinds of magic affecting its surroundings in different ways (necromancy kills plants, evocation destroys a bit of the land-scape, abjuration makes materials harder temporarily, transmutation changes the color of the grass or leaves, conjuration might summon a noncombatant creature for a bit, etc).

This new source of magic took centuries of hard-study by the inhabitants of the devastated world to begin to understand, the foremost researchers being the newly reorganized goblinoid society, with hobgoblins taking charge of understanding the nature of the newly reformed magic system. The goblinoids dubbed the new source of magic the "Yikare", meaning "The Three as One" in the goblin language (with "The Three" being the different types of magic; arcane, divine, and primal). The goblinoid culture began to worship the Yikare, receiving magic in return for their faith, eventually granting the Yikare a spark of divinity, but not sentience. The highest-ranking worshippers among the Yikare's goblinoid followers tapped into powerful magic that allowed for them to transform into arcane angels, a Hobgoblin Abjuration Wizard with arcane-blue wings, a Bugbear Arcana-Domain Cleric with radiant-yellow wings, and a Goblin Divine Soul Sorcerer with shamrock green-wings. The new goblinoid society now is devoted to the spreading of magic across the world and ridding the world of psionics (which they believe mutilates magic and prevents the world from becoming its true self), now spread across the globe through an internationally connected faith-group known as the Yikkan Contingent.

In the Yikkan Contingent, the Bugbears typically serve as the priests and holy-warriors of the faith (Arcana, Life, and Knowledge Domain Clerics, as well as Paladins), the Hobgoblins serve as the arcane scholars and professors of magic (Wizards, Eldritch Knights, and occasionally Artificers), and the Goblins are the charismatic spokespersons, magicians, and scouts (Divine Soul Sorcerers, Celestial Warlocks, Swashbuckler Rogues, and Bards).




Felshen: On the island of Lantanea, a group of artificers known as the Pre-Genitors, composed mostly of gnomes, dwarves, and humans, decided to set out and achieve what was thought to be impossible: creating a unique race of fully-reproducing people (these same artificers had created a non-reproducing race before, the Golmeng, who are basically this world's version of Warforged, but as Golemkin with subraces made out of different substances, with stone, metal, clay, glass, and crystal Golmeng as the main subraces). After over a century of experimenting, by growing alchemically-enhanced flesh in laboratories with a mixture of dwarven, human, and elven DNA, creating their magically-enhanced brains to make the race intelligent, and giving the race distinctive and bright skin-colors to stand out, the Pre-Genitors eventually succeeded at their goal. Originally called "Fleshlings", as a subrace of the Golmeng akin to Flesh Golems, the Felshen quickly adapted to become an autonomous and fully-reproducing race of highly-intelligent people. With no true place in the world, many Felshen left their home-island to discover what the rest of the world had to offer.

A group of Felshen that was out looking for a place to call their home came across a rare type of dragon, a Sapphire Dragon that discovered the true potential of the Felshen. This dragon, only ever referred to as "The Founder", taught the Felshen that their magical nature and enhanced brain-chemistry made them uniquely suited for learning psionics, so much so that the potential was locked away in their brains just until the Founder removed the barrier and taught the Felshen how to master their psionic powers. Quickly spreading the psionic art across their people, the Felshen became devoted to unlocking all the secrets that the world had forgotten throughout the ages about the power of psionics, now known in their language as the "Shei", or "the Mind" in Common. Copying the strategy of the Yikkan Contingent and abandoning their hope to find one true land for their people, the Felshen decided to spread across the world to eventually unite the world in the art of psionics, this organization known as the "Sheiohn Foulen", which means "The One-Mind Foundation". The Sheiohn Foulen accepts any who can speak telepathically or that has some basic psionic powers, such as the Gith, Verdan, Ghostwise Halflings, Gemstone Dragonborn, and Jemlin Golmeng (crystalline golemkin with psionic powers that the Felshen helped create). The Sheiohn Foulen and the Yikkan Contingent are sworn rivals, having a sort of holy war between them that has lasted for centuries, and recently forced to a stalemate due to the intervention of the bystanders. The Yikkan Contingent refuses to acknowledge that the Felshen have souls, seeing them as abominations that pervert the natural order of the universe, and the Felshen are mostly out for revenge due to the persecution that they have faced at the hands of the Yikkan Contingent and also because their ideals of a "perfect world" are in direct contrast to that of the Yikkan Contingent.

The Sheiohn Foulen is interconnected throughout the world using magical gemstone beacons that allow them to increase the range of their telepathy (making use of Psi Crystals), using chains with towers of these psionic beacons wirelessly connecting different settlements of the Sheiohn Foulen to one another through these innovations (whereas the Yikkan Contingent uses the Sending spell to communicate with one another at long-distance). The centers of their settlements contain a crystal tower that serves as a library for the collective knowledge of the members of the Sheiohn Foulen that anyone with telepathy can connect to and write in (kind of like a limited psychic version of the internet for this fantasy world). The settlements of the Sheiohn Foulen are filled with a diversity of people, with Felshen as the main race populating them, but also filled with Gemstone Dragonborn, Jemlin Golmeng, and the occasional Verdan, Gith, or Ghostwise Halfling. Felshen come in a variety of colors, most often being turquoise, cyan, magenta, or deep-purple, but there are also more rare colors, like yellow, cream-orange, lime-green, ivory-white, or obsidian-black. Their hair-color varies as much as their skin-color does as well, especially on an individual basis.




Well, those are four non-standard races that are a major part of my world (yes, one of them is homebrew, but they're very similar mechanically to the Kalashtar, and I've seen a few others in this thread use homebrew/non-official races. I hope that's okay, though).
 
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Four non-core races only?
Hmm.
Gnomes - representing the natural world; Fae nature based but somewhat mysterious - not to say capricious. None of this tinker gnomes garbaggio. Representing the element of Earth.
Kenku - representing the element of Air. Their tragedy being, of course, their inability to fly. The skies are their ancestral home from which they are forever riven. Warforged - known as simply Forged - representing the fusion element of Metal. Remnants of technological advancements made by a forgotten race of artificers whose downfall caused a great cataclysm in the world. Essentially these now mythical beings were humans but humans are now legendary and only encountered as undead, of which there are many, cursed to wander the world eternally. Essentially these humans were cursed with immortality but also to age as normal, hence the whole undead thing. Humans are thus voiceless but incessant writers, though their languages are forgotten now and studied by goblin and vedalken sages. Talking of which:
Vedalken - representing the element of water. A semi-aquatic race, able to explore the oceans of the world that have not yet been corrupted by the fallout of the cataclysm. Their exposure to these waters has imbues them with natural magical abilities. Very much the tallest of the races but disinclined to explore the interior and uncomfortable away from water.
Goblins - representing the element of Fire. Short in stature and cunning, filling a kind of mirror role to the Gnomes, but more underground than overground, and with an affinity for fire due to their nearness to magma etc. Clever, tool using, in line to be humans 2.0 in the sense of exploring the ruins of the legendary race that came before.

Ruins of ancient cities tainted with a lingering sense of curse. No gods so no clerics per se. But clerical, druidic, and some Wizard magic is the basis of the type of magic in the world. This Magic is drawn from the corruption in the world. I am feeling a lot of necrotic action.
It stole the Kenku’s voices and it suffuses the water and the earth - even the deep places - with its power, and powers the Warforged.
Warlocks might be a thing but rare and they would be drawn from the elemental forces - a mix of the unknowable Old Ones and Fae? Unsure here. No Dragonborn, Tiefling, Dwarf,Elf, Halfling.
Villainous races (the ‘orcs’ of the world) would be akin to RQ beastmen- broo types, minotaurs, scorpion-men, that kind of thing - twisted once-human survivors of the cataclysm.
Perhaps a sense of Shannara esque all races (bar Warforged) mutations or evolutions of the lost humans?
You know, I kinda like this.
 

Four hundred years have passed since the human child, Prince Cyln, spoke his wish aloud to the dreadful Stone of Ire, "I wish everyone taller than me was dead". They were petulant words, born of a boy's anger, but the shadow that pulsed over the kingdoms was terrifying and absolute. From that day on The Known Lands were forever changed. The cries that rose from the human cities, elven glades, orcan mires and, yes, even the dwarven halls were those of children, orphaned in a blink. In less than a generation these children, too, were gone, and those proud races were no more.

"But..." you might say, "children are resourceful, and soon grow into adults. Surely they could have rebuilt and multiplied." They thought so too until the true curse of the stone was understood. When the first of the orphans began to grow taller than Prince Cyln - who himself was still growing in his abandoned palace - they died. You must remember that no one knew the origin of the curse for years, so they lived in fear of a seemingly arbitrary death: they did horrific things to keep themselves from growing taller.

When the source of the curse was finally discovered Prince Cyln was captured, imprisoned...and stretched. Stretched until he could be deemed the tallest man the orphans had ever seen. The were barbarous with grief and desperate for life, so you must forgive them. There was cleverness to their solution but they were young, and it didn't not last for long. The Prince's feet rotted off his body, killing thousands, then his legs to the knees, wiping away even more, then he died. And then those who were shorter than a tall man with no legs became The Sheerlings, servants of the Stone of Ire.

The Sheerlings, my child, are why we do not go into the rotting cities of men, or into the dark halls of the dwarves...or anywhere else the tall folk lived.

......

Imagine the Fall of Rome, The Black Plague and Vesuvius all hit a storybook world at the same time, wiping out the usually "starring" races. Now it's 400 years later and all the "guest stars" have rebuilt, with the scar of the event, and the ruins, as part of their lore.

Alright, exposition out of the way, my four main races are....

Halflings: They refer to themselves as the Ilimi (ILIMI). They were a pastoral people living on the edges of human and elven civilizations. When those races died (some Ilimi villages tried to help the children, they have a lot of dark lore about those days), they considered it horrible but sort of a "man's problem" event. They didn't anticipate how dangerous the world would become with the tall folk gone. Beasts began to hunt the faded roads, ancient malignancies returned, etc. It took a few generations for the Ilimi to understand they had become the standard bearers for civilization. Modern Ilimi towns look like a cross between rolling shires and fortified settlements.

Kenku: This is a weird one. Four hundred years ago Kenku were just crows. The curse left a smorgasbord of dead flesh all over The Known Lands and carrion creatures feasted for months. Many of them gained intelligence and mortal-ish form eating so much flesh. The Kenku are one of the only that managed to make a civilization, which they've patterned off of the fallen chivalric human ones. They believe they are the reincarnations of humanity.

There are other intelligent, talking omnivores and carnivores around, many of them totemic and strange.

Dragonborn: Dragonborn are a magically manufactured race that were created about 300 years ago by a tradition of weird wizards who somehow (insert fun ideas here!) managed to survive the curse. By mixing human (or elven) heritage with a dragon's essence (whatever that means), they can grow to the size of the previous tall folk and survive the curse. The wizards have tried to design and guide the society towards one that values erudition and dispassion. Imagine Dragonborn but with Vulcan ideals.

Gnomes: Gnomes made themselves visible the day the elves died. They had always been secret custodians of the forests and glades, treated as benevolent spirits. When the elven children (relatively rare in number compared to other races) were orphaned the gnomes became their surrogate parents. They sacrificed the magic that made them invisible to grown 'unseen glades' to protect the last of the elves from the curse. Now they serve as the eyes and ears of this secretive court, ambassadors to the outside world.

The Stone of Ire: What became of it? I dunno!

Thassit!
 
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You can use only non "core" folk to populate your world, and I challenge you to make their place in the world unique without making them nothing more than a joke or pun.

What are the 4 or more core peoples of your world, how are you building the world to make it feel like a world they belong in, and what do they think of eachother?

In a world ravaged by other planes, new people emerge to reclaim their home....

Elevator pitch is setting where the Outer and Inner Planes exerted too much influence on the world--the barrier between planes was too thin--and everyone has been touched by planar magic. The world is now dominated by tieflings, assimar, genasi, eladrin, and shadar-kai, who crossed over from their planes (or were humans 'n' elves altered by magic)

There is the celestial kingdom of the aasimar, who believe their land is heaven on earth, but are arrogant and elitist, cruelly ruling over the other races
Despite breaking free of the morality of their demonic and infernal heritages, the twin tiefling kingdoms are at war, divided over philosphical reasons. One is a burgeoning republic that believes in liberty and personal freedom while the other believes in a strong central government with laws that protect the people
The chaotic enchanted lands of the eladrin make equal use of sorcerery and the druidic magic. Here the seasons change based on what court holds sway and the whims of the local ruler
The genasi can be found in any land, and the "commoners." They're laborers, merchants, artisans and traders
And the shadar-kai are just kinda there

I'm pretty much making this up right here...
 

Smarmot

Explorer
Air Genasi, Earth Genasi, Fire Genasi, Water Genasi.
Paladin, Bard, Sorcerer, Warlock
All charisma casters and no one gets a bonus to charisma!
Tasha's is banned!
 

Mistwell

Crusty Old Meatwad (he/him)
Roman Empire but replace humans with Hobgoblins.
Aarakocra will dominate the high places including mountains and anything at altitude. Think the Alps.
Tritons, lone survivors of the sunken empire of Atlantis who now rule the Greek islands.
And Warforged, machines animated by the souls of the long departed princes of Egypt who used machinery rather than mummification.
 

Remathilis

Legend
So, its cheating, but as a quick brainstorm: Aarakroca, Tabaxi, Tortle, Kenku, Leonin, Lizardfolk, Minotaur, Grung, Localath, Loxodon, Dragonborn(?) - Furry World. (I'm thinking Thundercat's inspired). Might need to make or convert a wolf-race like Lupin yet. (Alternately, you can further anthropomorphize other races (centaur, satyr, yuan-ti) to align with the "humanoid aniamal" theme stronger.)

EDIT: Forgot Rabbitfolk and Owlfolk from the last UA.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Lots of cool stuff!

Islands World: Halflings and Gnomes in one island chain are coastal nomads and pearl divers, but also a branch of that culture built several coastal cities hundreds of years ago.
In another island chain, Gnomes have a city that is the center of academic learning and magitech in the region, including birds made of metal that are alive, like silvery warforged bird things.

Kobolds, Goliaths, and gnomes make up the majority populations of the mountain island nation called The Cloudlaw, the main magitech competitor to the gnome-led nation above, and inventors of the airship.

In the icy norther waters live Goliath sailing folk who are famous for hunting sea monsters and selling their most useful parts. If you use giant squid’s blood to make an elixir to make you impervious to extreme pressure and cold, that blood came from the Goliaths.

More later.
 

J.Quondam

CR 1/8
After some cataclysmic Great Fractionation event, the mundane world came apart, then reassembled itself into a reality dominated by the planar energies, Elemental, Light, and Dark. Ordinary humans dissolved. While souls remained intact, their bodies re-coalesced into new beings, each subtly marked by their primary constituent energies.

Races
(Sorry no in-world names or thematic tweaks for these.)
  • Tiefling, Aasimar, Genasi - each based strongly upon its dominant energy
  • Changeling - those of perfectly balanced fractions, but less stable than the others.
The world is a composite reflection of the worlds of planar energies, and of the Powers that dwell within them. All "magic" derives from those Powers, but people can draw on inner reserves to ends both mundane and mystical.

Classes
(It's tough to not include Ftr & Rog, as only really non-magical option, so I kept them!)
(Sorry no in-world names or thematic tweaks for these. )

  • Fighters and Rogues hone their own natural wits, muscles and skills.
  • Warlockspull energies from a patron (though not necessarily one tied to their own bodily composition)
    • note: Many adventurers dual-class between Warlock, and Fighter or Rogue
    • (There are no other spellcasters in the world.)
  • Monks draw on and amplify their own internal energies, more so than the average person.
  • Artificers study the order of the world, and channel its energies through devices, reagents, and the like
Campaign / Setting
(Sorry, nothing especially intersting regarding society in the world.)
For some reason I see this a distant post-apoc, Sword & Sorc'y world, long after the collapse of our own. The races and classes would be more "tuned" than bog-standard rulebook stuff. Themes of yin/yang-like balance, rediscovering civilization vs Patrons and their magic, etc. Who knows.
 

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