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Tell me about your Homebrewed Settings?

Hand of Evil

Adventurer
Just was wondering if you play a standard boxed settings like Forgotten Realms or do you have you made your own setting you build your campaigns around? If so, what are the major hooks and description of them?
 

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doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
While I do have a campaign each in Eberron and Forgotten Realms, I have a few home brews we play in, and my Forgotten Realms is a mix of 4e Realms and homebrew elements and features an Abeir that is a world of islands in which the rule of dragon overlords is being challenged and whole regions are free while others are in dire conflict.
 

Blue

Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal
I generally run every campaign in it's own homebrew setting that has characteristics that make possible the central themes of the campaign. I have run one setting for two campaigns in a row, with basically the same group of players, 80 years later so they could see the effects their heroes had on the world but exploring different aspects and for the most part different geographic places.

Currently I'm running a setting where the world itself is the body of a dead god, with the moon the decapitated head. That deity had been drawn into a plane with next to no other power sources in order to be killed, so that body (and orbiting skull) are the only sources of magic. The party formed as each of the characters had awoken an Imperial Mask, each a sentient and powerful artifact (supposedly) from the peak of the Imperium. Most of the masks slumber, only awakening when someone compatible is chosen. This made the characters important and influential at the beginning of the campaign leading to being able to do very different low level play then clear out those rats and various fetch quests. The Imperium is failing, has been failing for a long time, and there are many signs of high magic and magic-as-technology all about but they barely work - a sky tram across the capital city has a single working car left, and it requires a wizard in there constantly feeding it power.

Dwarves have been genocided, and the drow are a created race to inhabit their place underground and continue to mine the Bones of the Earth (literal) for the Imperium. The halflings are also a created race, servitors and agricultural workers. (The genocide and the created races were from player suggestion/request during Session 0.) It has later come up that the nobility of the Imperium are also modified humans, to be better, though the bloodlines have mixed some with normal humans. This was a plot point but also conveniently described racial Humans vs. variant Humans in the PHB.

The seas, after a point, are far enough from the land (the body) that there is no magic, so all of the discovery of continents and such had been ones close enough. But now with magic failing and navigation on the seas becoming perilous they have discovered other, non-magical ways and a new continent has been discovered. The Imperium has started a colony over there, and the land is plentiful.

The Child-Empress Olixia, sixth of her name, saw six masks awaking at the same time, something unheard of in many generations, and determined they should stay together - to be sent to the new lands she believes is the future of the Imperium. So the group started with being sent there.

To discover that it was also full of magic. Dragons are (supposedly) extinct on the continents the Imperium can reach, though a skeleton of one is in the Imperial Library. Here they saw (and avoided one). Met as ambassadors to a powerful and established empire (needed to flip colonialism on it's head). They realised that fabled lost spells - those of the 7th and higher level - would actually work over there, that their land had been mostly drained of magic through long, flagrant and extensive use of it.

But I've got half a dozen new setting ideas fleshed out to a degree in a document, and more than that in a nutshell format. I have more setting concepts then I will ever get to run campaigns. (My last campaigns all completed, but were 4 years, 7 years, and 4.5 years long.)
 

my Forgotten Realms is a mix of 4e Realms and homebrew elements
This is how I run a FR campaign. I use the core setting or whatever boxed set/book for the area we're playing in but its heavily modified and follows little if any canon timeline.
Just was wondering if you play a standard boxed settings like Forgotten Realms or do you have you made your own setting you build your campaigns around? If so, what are the major hooks and description of them?
I have little interest in either creating my own strictly home brew or playing in anyone elses. Not because their bad but more because I usually have no investment in the setting and the people that Ive played in their homebrews were poorly documented so I couldnt even read up on it before making a character and playing in it. Nowadays when someone says to me...In my campaign, homebrew, my eyes glaze over, I tune right out then hit the eject button. I prefer established pre-published campaign setting so I can at least have a base starting point to hang my expectations on.
 

Bayushi_seikuro

Adventurer
My last homebrew was Winter Eternal. I apologize if this gets long and rambley!

Premise: Five years back, a large object hit the planet, causing an impact winter (like a nuclear winter). Temps drop, crops fail, and it becomes a bit of a 'points of light' situation.

The object was Ymir's corpse and when he died at Ragnarok, the corpse was sent plummeting between planes until it collided with this planet. As it passed through some unknown domain, it acquired parasites that made 'fast zombies' out of the victims. When they moved, it wasn't even that they were fast as much as it was like watching film that frames had been cut from, giving a quick hurky-jerky motion to.

The eladrin had recognized the event was coming and put up a barrier around their realm, after bringing in as many refugees of all races as they could. They also had volunteers choose to remain outside the 'bubbles' to gather and share information in secret.

The orcs raised barbaric hordes that rampaged through the land. In desperation, the wood elves turned to blood sacrifice to Yeegnoghu and cannibalism to protect themselves, but fell further under the sway of their Winter Queen - as their patron, she also gives them the ability to ignore snow's effects on movement, as well as to pass without trace on snow and ice.

The humans to the far south were largely unaffected as of now, but have closed their borders and cities to outsiders. Large tent communities and tradetowns have grown up around these cities.

The hinterlands - where the PCs first begin - are various towns, ruins, and places left behind. The lone exception (where the PCs have started, in both campaigns I've ran of this) is Halvor's Stand. Halvor was an elderly human academic who turned to druidism and woodcraft with the coming apocalypse. He led his followers to the Great Oak, and found a way to awaken the spirit. Now, while the hinterlands remain largely frozen, the Stand's magic radiating from the Oak keeps it around 50F.

In the face of the orc - and now elven - hordes, the gnomes created warforged to help defend themselves, and perfected firearms. Together with the warforged and halflings, they took a stand against the waves of barbarians. It was a losing stand. The halflings, along with some of the warforged, sacrificed themselves to stop the hordes and buy time for the other races to regroup ala 300. The last Sheriff of the halflings died that day - only to return as a freewilled specter. There remain less than two hundred halflings now, and much of their lore - including powerful food magic - has been lost. However, the specter remains an enemy of these invaders - he'd recently taken an infected human prisoner and keeps him in the cells beneath the ruined town hall. He's been experimenting on him, trying to discover the secret of the black ichor that's in his veins.

Long and rambley!
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
I have a fantasy setting of my own creation that I've used more than once. It's a detailed account of a starting village and the immediate surroundings, plus a bunch of evocative but nebulous information about the wider empire and surrounding world. I like to leave space for players to author a little background during char gen and to give the players an idea what the wider setting looks like without locking it in too much. It ends up being different every time I use it. The village itself is fully populated with characters, motivations and faction type stuff and more than enough drama that the players end up doing something cool pretty much right away, and I have a variety of IDK, lets call them AW style threats that provide some structure to most of the main adventuring options, and I just start with whichever one the players decide to do first. Or I'll make a new threat if they go a path less travelled.
 

Richards

Legend
Despite having DMed for decades, I'm currently running my first truly homebrewed campaign. (We're 18 adventures in, out of a planned even 100. And it's a 3.5 campaign.) The PCs are some of the few people who can recall their dreams when they wake up, which makes them perfect to receive training from the Queen of Dreams - every night, they learn how to enter, interact with, and alter people's dreams, which is a valuable bit of knowledge considering there's an unexplained wave of people across the continent getting trapped in their own dreams, while their physical bodies enter a dormant state of stasis. So the PCs are traveling across the continent, freeing those trapped in their dreams while they try to figure out what's causing this dream plague.

Johnathan
 

Richards

Legend
My grown son has been DMing for a few years now, too, and his two 3.5 campaigns are both set in the same homebrewed world.

In the first campaign, "The Durnhill Conscripts," the PCs were working for the King of Durnhill to do missions that couldn't be allowed to be traced back to the kingdom - we were kind of a "Suicide Squad" without being criminals ourselves. That campaign had us up against the Mithral Mage, an immortal lich whose phylactery was "everyone living who knew his true name," and then one particular sect of the Seekers of Eternity, a group that worshiped the Mithral Mage as a god.

In the second campaign, "Raiders of the Overreach" (which we're still playing in, having gone through 44 adventures thus far), we all started out as slaves to the drow forced to make raids against the surface world for them. Our main enemy in this campaign, besides the drow themselves (especially the Mortal Queen, a drow matriarch who decided she represents Lolth's will for all drow on the planet), is the Dying One, the decapitated head of an illithid Elder God who's been kept alive only due to the time wonkiness on the Far Realm. Our five PCs are prophesied to be the ones who can stop him.

And speaking of "time wonkiness," it came out that this second campaign not only takes place in the same game world as the first one but it's also running concurrently in-game, in that the events happening in this campaign are intertwined with the events we already knew played out in the first one. Case in point: in this second campaign, we were tasked with freeing the Mithral Mage from Dwarven Hell, as doing so was one possible way of stopping the Dying One from destroying the world when he tried returning to the Material Plane. That didn't exactly work out as we had hoped (the Mithral Mage basically just buggered off after we'd rescued him), but it did explain how he'd escaped from Dwarven Hell in the first place, something our first-campaign PCs had always wondered about....

Johnathan
 


Just was wondering if you play a standard boxed settings like Forgotten Realms or do you have you made your own setting you build your campaigns around? If so, what are the major hooks and description of them?
D&D: homebrewed at home, FR in public.
Traveller: Not going to run OTU again, as I am tired of fighting with players over what is canon. I may run a "prototraveller"-ish variant, using many fewer sectors, ships max at 5000 td.
T&T: homebrew, due to lack (until recently) of an official setting.

Most others? official.
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
D&D: homebrewed at home, FR in public.
Traveller: Not going to run OTU again, as I am tired of fighting with players over what is canon. I may run a "prototraveller"-ish variant, using many fewer sectors, ships max at 5000 td.
T&T: homebrew, due to lack (until recently) of an official setting.

Most others? official.
Ugh, fighting over canon. The absolute worst. We're playing my Traveller, not all the bloody Traveller you've ever read.
 

Li Shenron

Legend
Just was wondering if you play a standard boxed settings like Forgotten Realms or do you have you made your own setting you build your campaigns around? If so, what are the major hooks and description of them?
I have basically run only Forgotten Realms and Rokugan as "standard" settings, everything else has been homebrew.

But while in early days of DMing (~20 years ago) I would take a couple of evenings to design a fantasy setting from the top-down (only to be played a few months at best), I have eventually settled to just running games bottom-up i.e. start locally and add material as adventures pile up, meaning that my homebrews are a hodge-podge of various published settings that we happened to pick some adventure from, plus made up stuff to fill the gaps.
 

dragoner

Dying in Chargen
My Solis People of the Sun setting started as a Traveller game, it's near future, near space, real star maps (the original box); before that, I had a game called Beyond the Frontier, it was set in 1323, after doom had come to the Imperium, and in some frontier sectors Spinward of the Marches.

Last fantasy was with Mythras repurposing Caverns of Thracia as Caverns of Cyrene, and using parts of Mythic Constantinople, so fantasy Earth. I have done that before, as the whole area of mid-fifteenth century Balkans/SE Europe is ripe for adventure. I like maps, I did post one over at RPG Geek: Map of 1444 Europe
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Currently in the Empire of Tu-Anziko which sits on the Northwestern coast of the Great Inland Sea (Alternate Africa if the Congo Basin (and Lake Chad) were flooded).
Note - I don’t have African heritage and have only researched myths but its inspired by a combination of the Epic of Sundiata Keita and Philip Jose Farmer’s Chronicles of Opar.)
 

AcererakTriple6

Autistic DM (he/him)
Like @doctorbadwolf, I have ongoing campaigns for both Eberron and the Forgotten Realms, but I also do have my own homebrew world called Tor-eal. It's a far-future version of the Forgotten Realms where the Blood War ended, the Devils conquered all of the Outer Planes (and Astral), and most of the gods are dead (only a dozen or so remain).

My world only has the Inner Planes (and Ethereal Plane, and an added Dream Realm, and the Far Realm still is out there), but all of the planes are highly developed and important to the setting. The Shadowfell in my world is home to a holy war between the followers of the Raven Queen (Shadar-Kai, Risen Kenku, Shadowfell Firbolgs name "Sharbolgs") and the followers of Vecna (Two undead-touched races, one for incorporeal undead and another for corporeal undead, Vecna's hordes of undead, the Dhampir). The Feywild is home to the Archfey and the Courts of Seelie and Unseelie, as well as quite a few player options (Fairies, Satyrs, Dryads, Centaurs, Fey-Goblinoids known as Boggartkin). The Plane of Dreams was created by an invasive Elder Evil from the Far Realm that transformed the Demiplane of Nightmares into a way for it to study and experiment mentally upon mortals while they're sleeping using its aberrant servants (Dream Watchers, giant floating eyeballs that shoot eyerays of psychic energy, and Dream Snatchers, giant floating hands with a thumb on each side that grab dreaming souls for their experiments).

The Elemental Planes are where many magical resources come from, like Adamantine from the Elemental Plane of Earth (which is mined by a race of Dwarves that gradually merged with Earth Genasi), water and food from the Elemental Plane of Water (which is inhabited by Merfolk and Locathah), and magical, always hot furnaces for blacksmiths from the Elemental Plane of Fire (which is home to Firenewts, Volcann Goliaths, and and Azers). The Celestials that survived the conquering of the Outer Planes by the Devil Legions emigrated to the Elemental Plane of Air and founded a society of angels, archons, and couatls there (including many Aasimar, Air Genasi, Aarakocra, and Couatl-Yuan-Ti inhabitants).

The Material Plane is a diverse land, basically the "melting pot" of races, with many of them having very unique cultures. Goblinoids have a Magocratic-Theocracy where they worship magic and have crusades against aberrations and psionic peoples, Minotaurs have conquered all of the major forests and banished the Elves to the Arctic (they also have an extremely militaristic and dictatorial society, and are obsessed with both mazes and gold for some reason), Orcs generally worship Ubtao (who is now the God of the Wilds) and are the protectors of nature (having a rivalry with the Minotaurs), and so on. There's also a few new races, like the Golmeng (golem-people with 5 different subraces for different types of golems; Chelmic for alchemically-made clay-golem-people, Immurts for adamantine/iron-golem-people, Gragnef for stone-golem people, Jemlin for gem-golem-people, and Prysmex for glass-golem-people), Felshen (psionic people descended from a now-extinct race of flesh-golem-people that were a 6th subrace of Golmeng, and now have a religious rivalry with the magic-worshipping Goblinoids), and the Ecubi (Incubus/Succubus descended people with wings and shape-changing abilities).

The world is also split into a bunch of different nations, like Lantanea (far-future Lantan that has developed extremely advanced technology that they've combined with magic and is home to many artificers and where the Golmeng and Felshen were originally created), Wadhaven (a democratic-nation that stretches from Waterdeep and is bordered by the High Forest and Neverwinter), Nevumber (a dystopian nation centered on Neverwinter ruled by a triumvirate of dictator-mage-kings, where teleportation magic in or out of the country is impossible, with giant, 200-foot-tall metal walls surrounding the whole nation), Sylvarin (think a future version of the Silver Marches with a half-elven monarchy and a parliament). There's also a Draconic Empire (northeast of the Silver Marches), kingdom of Giants (south of Waterdeep, north of Baldur's Gate), and a diverse swath of nations/towns for the main races/species in the game.

It's a huge kitchen sink, and I have way too much lore about it, but I like huge kitchen sinks and lore, and so do my players.
 

Ugh, fighting over canon. The absolute worst. We're playing my Traveller, not all the bloody Traveller you've ever read.
No, there are worse things than fighting over canon.
  • Fighting over rules to be used. (Especially since many Traveller GMs mix-n-match bits between CT editions 1 & 2, MegaTraveller, New Era, and Mongoose Traveller editions 1 & 2)
  • Fighting over players not cleaning up after themselves
  • fighting over players with horrendous smells refusing to address same by bathing
But fighting over canon is a huge issue, because I'm much better read on the Traveller canon than most players and many GMs. And, further, the Traveller canon has a lot of retcons in TTNE, and more in T4, way more in GT & GTIW, and a bunch (including some due to ignorance and/or simple desire to change things by Mongoose Staff)...
 

Haven't actually done anything with this one, game-wise, but I'm partial to the world I've made up where everyone has access to magical equivalents of modern first world conveniences but they're all powered by black magic; intelligent magical beasts are sacrificed en masse at city power stations and their blood is pumped out to power people's appliances. The main god is a dying-and-reviving vampire god, a reverse vegetation deity whose yearly revival brings the winter. And all planets share the same underworld; if you dig deep enough you can get to any other planet. On one planet unassuming critterfolk are raised in wachowskian farm-cities for the sacrifices; they had already been raised in this manner on a smaller scale for ages by their predators, but cross-world contact and blood magic made it big business.
 

AtomicPope

Adventurer
I like to homebrew Greyhawk, since not too many people really know about it. My current homebrew Greyhawk is built around the aftermath of the Greyhawk Wars and the Empire of Iuz (Eye-Ooze). The PCs just learned about the Dread Tyrant Iuz, who in my world is a Death Tyrant. The City of Skulls, Dorakaa, is built over the site of his crashed Spelljammer vessel. The Boneheart, his retinue, is made up of aberrations, undead, necromancers, and a combination thereof. Much of the campaign revolved around the Baronies of Bissel and the Dim Forest.

The campaign began with a classic Greyhawk feel then slowly moved to into the space horror genre as the PCs discovered a crashed Spelljammer. The crew was infected by aberrations. That sudden shift was great, and played out well. It was also fun to have the PCs explore the Realm of Madness near their Baronesses's manorhouse. It was a foray into a Stranger Things type world, where they found similacrum of themselves created by creatures of the Realm of Madness (homebrew) who harvest the dreams of mortals. In this simulation the PCs could explore the Upsidedown version of Bissel, and interrogate the Simulacrum of the Real for information that may have crossed into the Realm.

I could really go on and on but I must say I really enjoy playing with Greyhawk canon, honoring but altering to get surprising results.
 

jdrakeh

Adventurer
The only homebrewed setting of my I've been really proud of was a setting that I created for The Window. Basically, the magic of the world is fading, so a group of powerful magic users come together to form The Compact in order to research the situation and, hopefully, find a solution to the problem. But they go a little bit Skeksis-y along the way, determining that the best way to conserve the magic of the world is to harness it from magical things (including "things" like sapient magical races) and form a huge magic reserve that only certain approved people can draw from. The setting assumed most PCs were of a non-magical bent or magical beings (including rogue magic users) on the run, fighting a guerilla war against the forces of The Compact.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Islands Worlds is a world wherein the largest landmass is a bit smaller than Australia, and there are no (or very few) humans, no high elves, wood elves are much less human-like than in normal dnd art and description, and you've got a mix of places inspired by the real world and places inspired from fantasy or my own dreams.

In one "continent" you've got The Nine Kingdoms to the north where Goliaths and Firbolgs come from, Entalion and Capet in the middle being 4e-style fey and late medieval to early modern French, respectively, and Albarona and Andorant on the southern coast, being late medieval Spain and Final Fantasy style gnome-founder high magitech city state respectively. South of this landmass, you've got The Cloudlaw, which is a small folk dominated kingdom built inside and on top of a massive mountain spire that reaches into the clouds, and is the birthplace of airships.

On another continent, you have Pacific Islands influence mixed Colonial Mexico mixed with the politics of the Peninsula of Guy Gavriel Kay's Tigana, and a large central jungle region ruled by Tabaxi and bugbears and reptilian humanoids, with a history of invasion and rebellion and internal strife and the world's best wine.

It's a world with a lot of mystery, gods that manifest in people's lives whenever people act in ways that are in line with the god's stories and/or values.

It's also a world wherein there are an unknown number of ancient Dragon Temples that most people have forgotten are actually sleeping gargantuan sentient draconic constructs from the stars, and a Great Hunt that is always called by a child who leads the hunt after finding The Horn, as a great danger rises that requires great heroes to meet it.
 

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