Single-nation Fantasy settings?

ARe there any setting which are not the standard-issue cluster of nations thrown randomly on a map? Particularly a setting in which there is a single government over the land?

I am longing to run a Midnight-esque campaign, but that setting has terrible maps and lousy setting information.

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Are you able to use some of the old FR stuff on Cormyr or Tethyr. These kind of take into account you have other books about the neighboring nations though.

Some good historical models might be China or Rome, which were the biggest fish around for much of their history. (Of course, dynasties would break down in China, Rome had generals constantly trying to seize power, and both still got invaded.)

There was an older game by Cubicle 7, Qin: the Warring States.

Similarly, Cthulhu Invictus takes place in the Roman Empire.

aramis erak

Legend of the Five RIngs (L5R) has multiple editions; the neighboring nations are almost entirely ignorable in all of them. The Empire has no trade externally. it also isn't exactly united. 1st and 5th are the same time frame; 2nd, 3rd, and 4th advance the timeline based upon the L5R card game tournaments' results.
Legend of the Burning Sands was an expansion for the lands "north" of the Empire of Rokugan. It's essentially middle eastern themed.
Editions 1-4 use the d10's only roll-and-keep mechanic; edition 5 uses a custom d6's and d12's plus (rarely) standard d10's, with a different roll & keep variant of the FFG Narrative Dice Engine. If you didn't like WFRP 3 or FFG Star Wars mechanics, this goes to fixed difficulties, but still uses 2-axis results, and they're much more fully integrated.
My edition preferences, in order: 5th, 3rd, 2nd. 3rd is mechanically the most interesting.

Adventures in Rokugan: a weak presentation of the L5R setting with the key themes of L5R utterly absent. But it's apparently pretty good as a D&D flavor...

WFRP's Empire isn't the sole nation in the setting - in fact, it and it's neighbors are pastiches of Renaissance Europe... Bretonia is vaguely Franco-Norman, Tilea is Renaissance Italy, Kislev is essentially the Russian Empire (with the name being bastardized from Kyïv). And of course, the Empire is a pagan pastiche of the Holy Roman Empire (which was neither holy, nor roman, nor empire).

Knowing you (JD) do online only, the NDS games are probably not going to be productive, so avoiding L5R 5e (which is current) and WFRP3 (which is not) are unlikely to be good choices. So...

Arrowflight (either edition - but only 2nd is available electronically) is focused upon one kingdom and a period of civil unrest pushing towards civil war. Setting is renaissance, vaguely musketeerish in both tech and culture; it has semi-tolkienian species/subspecies - Elves, Dwarves, Orcs, "Earthfolk" (small species with fae overtones), faeries. 2e mechanics are 2d6+skill+att vs TN with margin mattering; a dice pool option is included attribute dice for each < (skill+diffMod), successes used in place of margin. I prefer 1e's dice pool - which works the same, but with the caveat that if 3 or more 1's are rolled, open end the whole pool, and if more than half are 6's, fumble; in both versions TN >6 gets bonus successes = (Skill+DiffMod)-5, and TN's <1 require 1-TN 1's to count as a success. Both editions are probably lighter than your preferred, but are fully skill based.

Warlock is a rules light inspired by WFRP. The setting's presented mostly through the mechanics and a couple maps. No attributes, skill driven, skill raises limited by current career. It mechanically looks like 4 parts WFRP, 1 part Dragon Warriors, 1 part Fighting Fantasy, 1 part Pendragon.

Talisman Adventures is set on a peninsula. It's standard d6's only, rules medium, some divergence in PC races, mechanically textured... It's skill driven, but class & level advancement. Skills boolean. Races include Humans, Elves, Dwarves, Trolls, Ghouls, Leywalkers, and in the expansion, Vampires and Minotaurs. It lends itself to silly, and to tactical in both gridded and non-gridded modes. The whole peninsula is essentially one kingdom. It can be played quite straight as well.


ARe there any setting which are not the standard-issue cluster of nations thrown randomly on a map? Particularly a setting in which there is a single government over the land?

I am longing to run a Midnight-esque campaign, but that setting has terrible maps and lousy setting information.
All of Zakhara (Al-Qadim) technically offer fealty to the Grand Caliph in Huzuz, although different regions have a lot of independence.


Ptolus is mostly the Holy Lothian Empire. There is also Uraq which had been a rival for world superpower, but the empire pretty much beat them. There are also barbarian lands outside of the empire.


Eberron had Galifar, a continent spanning Kingdom that fell apart in the last war but they have a supplement for The War if you wanted to run things when it was still one kingdom with a succession crisis before it became five different big kingdoms and a bunch of different ones. Eberron still has other continents with their own things though.


That might work. Can you recommend the book with the best setting information? I will not be using the system.
I would think Exalted 3e's The Realm should have good geographic and socio-political stuff and be most relevant for your angle. I have not read it so I don't know how good a setting descriptor it is on its own without the corebook.

Exalted is a setting with a big central empire but also lots of surrounding areas that are outside of the empire and often in conflict with it. The 2e Compass of Terrestrial directions books would probably cover those outside areas best. 2e's Compass of Celestial Directions series is basically the planar sourcebooks but the first is the Blessed Isle which covers the heart of the Empire at the center of the physical world and I would think a great sourcebook for the Scarlet Empire.


Final Form (she/they)
Blades in the Dark is set entirely in a single city, if that fits the bill. I guess technically so does Planescape.

Hand of Evil

Waaaay back TSR produced a product that just was a single kingdom, that was history, social structure, cities and such. Wish I could remember what they were called, Gazette of ..... they could be used stand-alone are used to build a world.

What is Ravnica?
Specifically on this setting the entire world is covered by a single high magic metropolis. There are urban forests and subterranean oceans and such, but it's all one city ruled over by various magical guilds. The guilds take the place of nations, and they have territories, rivals, alliances, battles, etc, but each one fulfills a specific function in the global bureaucracy.


Kaidan setting of Japanese Horror (PFRPG) - a Japan analog as an archipelago of islands with an emphasis on authenticity as a goal regarding Japanese culture, religion, social caste, with an emphasis on the Japanese ghost story tradition. Gamemaster's Guide, Player's Guide, 3 race/class guides (kappa, henge, tengu), 2 class/faction guides (samurai and yakuza), a haunts guide, 3 full adventure modules intro series, and 4 one-shot modules.

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