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D&D General Divine Invasion: A Proposal for an Anti-Colonialist D&D Setting

It's no secret that there's been a lot of criticism lately about certain aspects of D&D, chiefly that certain "monstrous humanoids" are described in ways that are too close for comfort to how European colonists described the peoples of the lands they invaded. Many older D&D adventures like Keep on the Borderlands are very easy to identify as colonialist by portraying a "civilizing force" driving out the indigenous people, who are portrayed as evil threats just because they live nearby.

About a year ago I read about a video game called "This Land is My Land". In it, the protagonist takes on the role of a Native American warrior whose mission is to stop the penetration of European colonial forces into North America. The player must locate the invaders as they travel through the wilderness, thwart the colonists' efforts to construct settlements and fortifications, and kill the would-be settlers (who are conveniently all men whose families are waiting back east to get the message to come to newly-constructed settlements).

The existence of that game and the current debate around colonialist elements in D&D inspired me to try my hand at making an outline for a D&D setting that could retain as much of D&D's identity as possible (fighting clearly defined forces of evil and collecting treasure) while also flipping the script and casting the PCs as people fending off a colonialist invasion.

Instead of attacking creatures coded as indigenous people and looting their ruins, in this outline you'd be driving out colonial forces and looting the ruins of their settlements. If you go into any other ruins it's to clear them of occupying colonialist forces and recover treasure belonging to the heritage of the player characters.

So, here's what I've come up with over the course of several weeks. I alternate between setting detail and explaining my creative choices and inspirations.


The world was created by the primordials, who constantly fought each other over its nature and what beings would inhabit it. Eventually an alliance of four primordials, the Princes of Elemental Good, defeated, imprisoned, or banished the other primordials to the Elemental Planes to make the world safer for the mortal races (dragonborn, genasi, aarakocra, goliath, tiefling, and triton). The various races of geniekind rule the Elemental Planes and safeguard the prisons of the primordials while the Princes of Elemental Good remain in the world to prevent conflicts between the elemental spirits suffusing the world and the mortal races living upon it.

Now that the war between the primordials have been settled, though, a new threat has appeared from another plane: the gods. The gods bicker and fight with each other just as the defeated primordials did, and they want to use the world as a staging ground to create worshipers dedicated to stoking their egos and fighting proxy battles for them. These worshipers, the aasimar, are angels of the Astral Sea forced into mortal flesh. They are promised a cycle of reincarnation for their piety, and those aasimar who please their god the most may be promoted to a deva after death. Those who displease or defy their god are sent to a plane of punishment of that god's devising.

Desperate to both avoid the punishment of their own tyrannical gods for failing to sufficiently please them and the constant religious wars between aasimar of the godsclaimed continent of Nefelus, aasimar have crossed the seas and skies to found colonies. From these colonies the aasimar plan to claim more territory in the world for their god, attacking the rightful people of the world and using magic to bind its elemental spirits for exploitation. They build ostentatious fortress temples and monuments of enormous size that increase their patron god's dominion over the world and trap the elementals in dreamless sleep.

The Princes of Elemental Good lead the charge against these invaders, but the gods and their servants have already struck three major blows. First, djinn and marid allies who came to the world have been captured by armies of angels and sealed into binding items. Second, the servants of the gods have found a way to expel some of the innate elemental essence of captured chromatic dragons and replace it with astral essence that shackles the resulting metallic dragons to angelic taskmasters. Third, the gods have sent their empyrean children to do battle with the giants.

A big inspiration for this backstory is the war between primordials and gods from 4E's default Points of Light setting. The Dawn War backstory can be read as the gods finding the primordials creating the world, interfering by putting their own mortal creations on it, and then killing or imprisoning all the primordials who had created the world and many of its creatures in the first place. A similar backstory is used in 5E's Wildemount setting, with the notable distinction that the gods found the world already made with no creators in sight, completely unaware of the primordials living within the world.

The Rightful Peoples of the World

Aarakocra - Before the invasion of the gods and their creations, the aarakocra were created by and allied themselves with a now-extinct civilization of djinn known as the Wind Dukes of Aaqa in the Elemental Plane of Air. Together, they defeated and imprisoned one of the most notorious of the evil primordials, the Queen of Chaos. Though many aarakocra chose to remain in the Elemental Plane of Air even after the war to aid in repulsing the invading gargoyles loyal to the evil earth primordial Ogremoch, some came to the world to dwell upon the floating islands known as earthmotes. Rather than swear allegiance to Chan, Princess of Air, the aarakocra formed a number of nations in the sky whose original leaders, upon death, became powerful local spirits of elemental air. These ancestral guardians include Chikurra, K'ooriall, and Krocaa. Since the invasion of the gods and their minions many aarakocra nations have come to believe that their ancestral guardians wish them to band together under the leadership of a uniquely powerful leader named Syranita who will prevent their homes in the skies of the world from becoming aasimar colonies and angelic fortresses for use in invading the lands below. A diplomat at heart, her efforts have led the aarakocra to interact more with the world below during this time of conflict against the aasimar and other minions of the gods. Syranita also has connections with various djinn noble houses in the Plane of Air. Unfortunately, the djinn are reluctant to lend further aid to the people of the world following the capture and binding of a large number of the their noble warriors, including a general named Sirrajadt whose innate power was said to be greater than that of the world's Princess of Air. The djinn believe that the efreet taught the servants of the gods how to capture and bind their kind, and as such the djinn are preparing for an expected attack against them by the efreet. Syranita has become very interested in finding a way to free the bound djinn, particularly Sirrajadt. Syranita and her fellow aarakocra have gone so far as to delve into the seas, establish an alliance with the water genasi who dwell below the waves, and seek an alliance with Ben Hadar, Prince of Water. She wants Ben Hadar to convince the marids of the Plane of Water to aid the djinn against the efreet.

Dragonborn - Among those ancient primordials who fought over the very nature of the world they were creating was a being known as Asgorath. This powerful primordial refined elemental spirits into the first dragons, who initially were more elemental than mortal, and intended them to destroy the giant races created by a rival primordial known as Piranoth. As the war progressed Asgorath was eventually dealt a crippling blow by the primordial Erek-Hus and fled to some unknown realm; some believe she perished while others fear she will one day return. No attempts to discern her fate have been successful. Even after the defeat of Asgorath and the eventual imprisonment of Piranoth the ancient dragons and giants continued their conflict, shifting their allegiances to other primordial masters. It was not until the Princes of Elemental Good brought an end to the war that attempts to resolve the conflicts between dragons and giants began in earnest. Most of those dragons and giants who refused to end their mutual enmity left for the elemental planes; over time the mortal giants would persist through the generations even in the planes whereas the elemental dragons gradually lost the ability to separate themselves from the elemental energies surrounding them, leading to most of them discorporating into elemental energy. Those dragons who did agree to end their war with the giants were allowed to do so on the condition they take mortal forms. Many of these dragons believed that the defeat of Asgorath and Piranoth meant that retaining many of the qualities imbued in them by their creator would be pointless and only serve to separate them from the other mortal races of the world. These individuals chose to be reincarnated as the first dragonborn. Of those few who decided to instead become the first chromatic dragons, some saw themselves as potential leaders for their humanoid kin. Some dragonborn communities accepted draconic leadership in the world; when these dragons finally died they became elemental spirits tied to the land, on occasion manifesting in forms similar to the original elemental dragons. Other dragonborn went off on their own, and still others found homes among the other mortal peoples of the world.

Genasi - The races of geniekind, witnessing the wars between the primordials over how the world should be, decided to largely remain in their respective planes to wait and see what the end of the war would bring. Unfortunately, the war eventually began to spread beyond the world itself, with several battles taking place in the elemental planes. To help combat this threat the various genies created mortal humanoids called the genasi. Though the djinn and marids largely treated their creations with respect, the efreeti and dao treated their genasi as little more than expendable tools for warfare or slave labor. Worse, the most wicked among the primordials captured many genasi and oppressed them in much the same way as the efreeti and dao. The djinn and marids, seeing how other genasi were being exploited, entreated the Princes of Elemental Good to aid in freeing those genasi who had been enslaved. Though all four of the benevolent primordials agreed that freeing the oppressed genasi was a worthy cause it was the Prince of Water, Ben Hadar, who took a particular interest in this task. He extended as much aid as he could afford during these times of war to an already extant genasi liberation group calling itself the Amethyst Sea that had been founded in the Plane of Water, going so far at one point as to threaten selectively flooding the caverns of the dao's Great Dismal Delve with an army of leviathans unless they released their earth genasi slaves. When the war ended with the Princes of Elemental Good victorious many genasi chose to leave for the world, most choosing to either live in the domains ruled by the Princes of Elemental Good or in territories nearby. With the invasion of the gods many genasi have once again been captured and forced into servitude by agents of the divine. Ben Hadar in particular devotes forces to destroying aasimar sea vessels to prevent their use in transporting captives. The Amethyst Sea, which had primarily devoted itself during peace time to stopping slavery still practiced in secret by some efreeti and dao in the Planes of Earth and Fire, has increased operations in the world to stop the aasimar's exploitation of their people during this time of divine invasion.

Goliath -The exact origins of the goliath people are mysterious. Some claim to be descended from the stone giants, some believe they were the unintended creations of the now-imprisoned primordial called Xiphal the Mountain Builder, and others claim to have been created by the spirit of a great mountain known as Stoneroot after the war between primordials had already ended. However, most goliaths do not seem very concerned as to the true nature of their origins. The goliaths are organized primarily into several nomadic tribles who travel along the mountain ranges of the world, sometimes climbing high enough to visit the lowest of the skybound earthmotes that the aarakocra call home. The goliaths feel a sense of kinship with Sunnis, Princess of Earth, who has been known to visit the goliath tribes, though their love of the mountain peaks leads many to consider Chan, Princess of Air, as a trustworthy ally who watches over them. During their travels the goliaths often visit the tomb of the great goliath hero Kavaki the Ram Lord, though his lingering elemental spirit rarely makes an appearance; in contrast, the mountainside that the villainous Vanua was tossed from to his death is avoided. Current goliath leaders include Manethak, Naki-Uthai, and Theleya. In the current age of divine invasion the goliaths serve as important allies in countering the aasimar and other forces of the gods. As they follow their traditional nomadic routes they sometimes spot incoming aasimar vessels from seaside peaks or aasimar forces trying to sneak through the mountain passes.

Tiefling - Following the end of the war between primordials and the triumph of the Princes of Elemental Good the efreet of the City of Brass were very strongly pressured to release all their genasi slaves under threat of a combined attack by the Princes' forces on the efreet nobility. The rulers of the efreet were given a very short amount of time to submit to the demands of the Princes, due partly to Ben Hadar's support of the genasi anti-slavery organization known as the Amethyst Sea and partly to the City of Brass' previous declaration of support for Imix, one of the Princes of Elemental Evil who was also the father and greatest enemy of Zaaman Rul, Prince of Fire. Before long the genasi slaves of the City of Brass were freed. However, significantly fewer genasi were leaving the city than expected, particularly fire genasi. When accused of keeping many genasi still captive the efreet protested that this was not the case. Instead, they explained, a certain proportion of the fire genasi were chosen and granted an offer; if the selected fire genasi would agree to stay a representative chosen by them would be granted three wishes by the Sultan of the City of Brass himself. The exact details of these wishes were never revealed, but the result was that the fire genasi who agreed to these terms became the tiefling people. Zaaman Rul and Ben Hadar in particular were very skeptical of these claims and pushed to attack the efreet rulers anyway so that the tieflings could control the City of Brass, but were convinced by Sunnis and Chan to depart for the time being and escort the freed genasi to the world. Though it is true that the tieflings appear to enjoy greater freedoms and privileges than their fire genasi ancestors did in the City of Brass, with some making frequent trips to the world to serve as representatives and merchants from the efreet city, the suspicious circumstances of their creation concern the Princes of Elemental Good greatly. Syranita, current leader of the aarakocra, has recently come to Ben Hadar with claims that the recent capture and binding of djinn allies by angels was enabled by information granted to the divine forces by the efreet. She is urging that Ben Hadar ask his marid allies in the Plane of Water to aid the djinn in military action against the efreet, freeing some djinn warriors to help defend against the invasion and occupation of the aarakocra's earthmote homelands. Ben Hadar has communicated this to Zaaman Rul, and now the Prince of Fire's allies in the Plane of Fire are making preparations in case tensions escalate and the tieflings of the City of Brass find themselves caught in the crossfire. As of now there are few tieflings in the world, and they are welcome to call it home; however, depending on how recent tensions are resolved many more tieflings may soon be coming to call the world home if they are unable to take control of the City of Brass. On the other hand, given that the Sultan of the Efreet granted three wishes whose details are still unknown, it could be that those wishes were carefully worded to work in the tieflings' favor in the future.

Triton - The tritons were created by a powerful primordial of sea and storms known as Codricuhn. Though their creator was among the more peaceful of the primordials, Cordricuhn was imprisoned in some unknown realm through the cooperation of a number of rival primordials, chief among them Olhydra, a Princess of Elemental Evil. The tritons appealed to Ben Hadar for justice, trying to convince him of the threat Olhydra posed. Unfortunately, Ben Hadar believed the threat that Olhydra posed was ultimately of less importance than the other pressing concerns at his attention, particularly his alliance with the genasi organization known as the Amethyst Sea, who he had promised to help end the enslavement of genasi by the dao and efreet. The tritons were outraged by Ben Hadar's refusal to honor their request and turned instead to Chan, Princess of Air. She was appalled to learn that Ben Hadar had refused the tritons' request, a revelation that has soured her opinion of the Prince of Water to this day. Chan agreed to aid the tritons in any way she could on the condition that they be her eyes and ears deep below the surface of the water. Even now, after the end of the war among the primordials and the imprisonment of Olhydra, the tritons have still not let go of their grudge against the Prince of Water and respect Chan as their primary patron. The tritons dwell far from the domain of Ben Hadar. Many tritons have a largely one-sided grudge against the aarakocra. They believe the aarakocra do not give proper deference to the Princess of Air despite living in the sky, and they are especially angered by the aarakocra leader Syranita's recent dealings with Ben Hadar. Tritons often enjoy cordial relations with goliaths whenever they meet due to a shared reverence for Chan. Some triton communities have even been established in shores and river valleys located near the nomadic goliath tribes' traditional routes. These tritons are just as likely to revere Sunnis, Princess of Earth, as they are Chan, considering both Princesses more reliable, honorable, and worthy of reverence than the Prince of Water.

The choice of player races was motivated by them being ones particularly associated with the Elemental Planes. Genasi are basically elemental humans with subraces by element, aarakocra are associated with air and could dwell on floating islands, tritons are attuned to the water, goliaths because they are fond of mountains and related to stone giants, dragonborn because of their elemental breath weapons, and tieflings as a fire-related race, with the caveat that they are related to the efreeti and have no association with devils (who are absent from this setting).

To be clear, the races I've mentioned are the only ones in this world. There are no humans, elves, dwarves, halflings, gnomes, hobgoblins, orcs, yuan-ti, tabaxi, or anything else. Giants and dragons exist, but are NPC allies.

The Alien Aasimar

  • Aasimar reincarnate as adults somewhere in Nefelus or in one of their colonial territories equipped with a divine keystone sometime after the death of their previous body. Each aasimar is created as the servant of a specific god. An aasimar that earns the anger of its god becomes a fallen aasimar and is doomed to becoming a fiend in a lower plane after death unless it finds a way to regain its god's favor.
  • The lower planes are the same as those of the Great Wheel cosmology, save for the absence of the Nine Hells and the Abyss. The gods of the aasimar can allow fiends to emerge from the lower planes, but these fiends can only do whatever a god allows and return to their planes once the god's use for them has ended.
  • Destroying a divine keystone frees the elemental spirits of the region from divinely imposed torpor. Soon after awakening the spirits might summon elemental armies, powerful elder elementals, or unleash effects equivalent to spells such as earthquake, tsunami, or storm of vengeance.
  • Using these aasimar as antagonists with official 5E monster statblocks can be accomplished by taking many existing Medium humanoids and reflavoring them as aasimar, adding the aasimar racial traits from Volo's if desired.

The gods of the aasimar (who I haven't defined yet) are stand-ins for the leadership of the colonial powers themselves, for the religious turmoil going on in Europe that inspired many of the common folk to leave for the colonies, for the religious mindset that said any people who didn't worship the "correct" gods were backwards, and as an in-universe reason for the colonialist aasimar to enact Manifest Destiny.

The aasimar were chosen as the colonialist race because they are tied to the gods and angels, which are themselves inspired by the warring denominations of Christianity practiced by the European colonists. I also dipped back into the lore on their 4E counterpart, the deva PC race, who spawn as adults and reincarnate so long as their souls aren't tainted. This makes the race more like fiends in traditional D&D settings so that "killing" them really just banishes them somewhere else for a time, allowing player characters to attack and utterly destroy an aasimar colony without having to worry about the ethics of killing them. Plus it means there are no children to worry about.

The gods are at war with each other, too. The continent of Nefelus is a land of constant religious turmoil. Each aasimar's soul is claimed by a god, and different nations of Nefelus have a single patron god whose worship is permitted, but often gods will cause their aasimar to spawn in the nations of their divine rivals to test the aasimar's devotion and capability to undermine the aasimar of enemy gods. This has an especially sinister impact when a god spawns enough of its followers in a colony devoted to a rival god, as this minority will often set-out to create new settlements to escape persecution. This creates yet another foothold of that god's influence in the territory of the world's rightful inhabitants.

In this setting, fallen aasimar are ones who displease the gods, and one way to displease the gods is to not participate in the conquest of the world. This means that an aasimar who comes to believe his gods and society are wrong and opposes conquest must give up the ability to reincarnate. They must also accept that when they die the god that owns its soul will sentence it to a lower plane, like the Gray Wastes of Hades, where it will eventually become a fiend with no free will that its controller god can summon as a tool of war if needed. The rightful peoples of the world are very understandably distrusting of aasimar; only a fallen aasimar with skeletal, necrotic wings marking its soul as damned has a chance of being trusted.

All the forces of the divine are arrayed against the non-aasimar races. The gods will not accept a non-aasimar as a follower, partly because they only have influence over the fates of souls derived from their angels, and partly because they don't value anyone or anything they didn't create themselves. The races trying to protect their world from the divine menace and their swarming hosts of followers must call upon other forces. Chief of these are the Princes of Elemental Good (known also as the Archomentals), though the spirits suffusing the world do a great deal of work opposing the gods and their servants just by resisting the everpresent divine force compelling them to eternal sleep. Even some of the imprisoned primordials are willing to lend what aid they can, though they may have ulterior motives that could undermine the Princes of Elemental Good.

These beings can serve as Warlock patrons, though warlocks of any other than the four Archomentals are viewed with suspicion, at best:

  • Balcoth. The Groaning King. Primordial.
  • Ben Hadar. Prince of Water. Archomental.
  • Bwimb II. Baroness of Ooze. Primordial.
  • Chan. Princess of Air. Archomental.
  • Ehkahk. The Smouldering Duke. Primordial.
  • Mual-tar. The Thunder Serpent. Primordial.
  • Solkara. The Crushing Wave. Primordial.
  • Sunnis. Princess of Earth. Archomental.
  • Piranoth. Father of Giants. Primordial.
  • Ty-h'kadi. The Walking Storm. Primordial.
  • Tziphal. The Mountain Builder. Primordial.
  • Umboras. Lord of Rimefire. Primordial.
  • Vezzuvu. The Burning Mountain. Primordial.
  • Zaaman Rul. Prince of Fire. Archomental.

Somewhere in the Elemental Planes lurk five Princes of Elemental Evil, but their prisons are of such impeccable quality that they are unable to even establish pacts with warlocks. If released they might decide to destroy the world utterly, preferring to annihilate it if they can't control it themselves. There are those who fear the possibility that the gods will free the Princes of Elemental Evil if they lose the current conflict.

When casting spells a druid is aided by the local spirits who also call the world home. These may on occassion manifest as individual fey or elementals of various forms that are recognized by the area's local inhabitants, but typically they are preoccupied with actively resisting the divine forces trying to suppress and silence them. Some particularly sinister members of the divine hosts might try to infect a local spirit with the energy of the lower planes to transform it into a demon, turning a former ally of the people of the area into a threat.

For this conflict to end with the world and its rightful inhabitants free, either the entirety of the divine forces, aasimar, angel, and god alike, must be somehow banished to the Astral Sea and barred from returning to the world, or alternatively the gods must be imprisoned or destroyed as many of the primordials were, freeing the aasimar from servitude to their tyrannical gods.
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Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Damn I really like that.

Definitely gonna give this a second read later. A lot to take in, but so far it's really cool.

Greg Benage

Many older D&D adventures like Keep on the Borderlands are very easy to identify as colonialist by portraying a "civilizing force" driving out the indigenous people, who are portrayed as evil threats just because they live nearby.

The premise of B2 is essentially the opposite of that:

The Realm of mankind is narrow and constricted. Always the forces of Chaos press upon its borders, seeking to enslave its populace, rape its riches, and steal its treasures. If it were not for a stout few, many in the Realm would indeed fall prey to the evil which surrounds them. Yet, there are always certain exceptional and brave members of humanity, as well as similar individuals among its allies - dwarves, elves, and halflings - who rise above the common level and join battle to stave off the darkness which would otherwise overwhelm the land.

That seems rather anti-colonialist to me, unless one assumes that "more civilized" peoples are always colonizers of "less civilized" peoples, and never the opposite, but such a view would render much of recorded history unintelligible. It seems like there's an increasing tendency to conflate any conflict arising out of human(oid) migrations with 15th-19th century European colonization. It's a heinous part of history, no doubt, but it's not the only history...

That said, I like what you've done. There might be a temptation to have the Rightful Peoples of the World living in perfect harmony in a kind of peaceful stasis before the arrival of the aasimar colonists. This would make them less interesting, since they should have their own politics, conflicts, competition and history, but it might also be problematic. For example, one might unintentionally create the message that real-world victims of settler colonialism could have successfully resisted the colonizers if only they had been more unified.

BTW, when I started writing all this I didn't expect the aarakocra to be such a major part of the setting. I had actually used the "Monster ENcyclopedia" article on aarakocra that I had read some time ago to find out the names of the aarakocra gods to recast as ancestor spirits. Syranita was interesting enough that I decided she was still alive and the active leader of the aarakocra, whose various nations united under her leadership.

The djinni she's interested in freeing, Sirrajadt, comes from 4E's Secrets of the Plane Below. The concept that the djinn were trapped in various objects by the gods also comes from that book.

Another detail I probably should add to the OP eventually is that this world's geography is more mutable than others because the elementals that comprise the world are awake. They have consented to being somewhat limited in their activity on the surface for the benefit of the mortal races due to an agreement with the Princes of Elemental Good, but in the relatively uninhabited Underdark the geography can change significantly in a matter of days. Even on the surface mountains can grow and rivers can shift course significantly in the span of a decade.

The servants of the gods despise this chaotic aspect of the world and seek to put the elementals into indefinite slumber.

That said, I like what you've done. There might be a temptation to have the Rightful Peoples of the World living in perfect harmony in a kind of peaceful stasis before the arrival of the aasimar colonists. This would make them less interesting, since they should have their own politics, conflicts, competition and history, but it might also be problematic. For example, one might unintentionally create the message that real-world victims of settler colonialism could have successfully resisted the colonizers if only they had been more unified.

Yeah, if I work any more on this setting outline I should give some examples of what you suggest. As it stands all I have is that tritons dislike Ben Hadar in particular and the aarakocra in general for their lack of reverence for the Princess of Air but have formed an unlikely bond with the goliaths.

What if I want to create a parody where the "visitors" wear turbants, jillabas and keffiyeh? (but red-haired and blue-eyed, and skins with taints or rays of different colors, including green and blue).


I’ve seen some inaccurate criticism of Odyssey of the Dragonlords that it had colonial aspects in its setting design, because the Dragonlords took over lands belonging to the centaurs and Minotaurs.

This is not colonialism, it’s migration.

Expanding you borders into neighboring lands is also not colonialism.

Colonialism is where you exercise political control over an area in order to benefit a separate metropole (home nation).

Every nation in the world at some point in its history migrated, and every nation in the world has at some point expanded its border, from the minute they set foot outside their home and claimed the lands they could hold as their territory.

Colonialism is obviously bad, because of the exploitation of people who were never allowed to be citizens. With all the racism and discrimination that goes with that. Expansionism and migration don’t necessarily carry those same criticisms.

To be clear I think migration, expansion and Colonialism are all fair game in rpgs... if they’re handled sensitively!

Can I tell a story about local nobility to be replaced by döppelgangers, changeling or impostors as puppetrs with orders from secret lodges , or may I be reported by the skrulls because these can be offended?

Isn't colonialism when the Northamerican army crosses a Stargate and destroys an alien ship?

Or what if the newcomers stopped a genocide among natives?


Can I tell a story about local nobility to be replaced by döppelgangers, changeling or impostors as puppetrs with orders from secret lodges , or may I be reported by the skrulls because these can be offended?

Isn't colonialism when the Northamerican army crosses a Stargate and destroys an alien ship?

Or what if the newcomers stopped a genocide among natives?
You can tell any story you you want. But if you try and sell it, expect to have the heavens fall on you if haven’t been at least somewhat culturally sensitive.


Instead of attacking creatures coded as indigenous people and looting their ruins...

I've played in some pretty traditional D&D campaigns and none could be described that way, nor do most published adventures really fit that description.

in this outline you'd be driving out colonial forces and looting the ruins of their settlements. If you go into any other ruins it's to clear them of occupying colonialist forces and recover treasure belonging to the heritage of the player characters.

This is closer to the traditional archetype, and what I've played or run. Usually the creatures or other evil humanoids are invaders who over-run the ruins of ancient human, elven or dwarven kingdoms that have fallen in ages past, and sometimes had a part in that fall (e.g. Smaug took the Lonely Mountain from the dwarves - a classic trope in D&D history). Humanoids aren't indigenous peoples, but predatory raiders from other lands and/or serving evil gods. The PCs aren't invading the ruins of creatures, but taking them back from bygone eras. In other words, the PC races are indigenous, not the humanoids.

That aside, I haven't read through your whole post, but an interesting basic set-up.


I think one common coding is Hobgoblins as Fascist-style conquerors and the PCs the heroic multi-species resistance, as in Red Hand of Doom. Orcs tended to be coded as Viking style savage reavers. I don't see much if any 'they live over there so let's kill them and take their stuff'.

Some of Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories might be inspirational - Erekose and The Knight of the Swords are both about evil Human invaders vs nice Elves.

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