DMing in original world, need some input.

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I originally posted this in homebrew campaigns, but all I got was one **** telling me how humans can't accept other races into their culture because something that's too different in height is considered freakish. It's a fantasy world, all of these other races actually exist as entirely independant races in the world, they're not just freaks among the humans, so don't bring that here.


So far I have a lot of basics about the world, and some specifics about the roles of different races in the world. To start, this is not a friendly world, Though during the day humans, halflings, and the like go about their daily business, but at night the world is overrun by werewolves, vampires, and hordes of undead controlled by necromancers. Many races are isolated and secretive, having little contact with each other, humans and halflings being the largest exception to this rule.

Magic is abundant in this world, at every level from powerful wizard lords with control of great fiefdoms, to minor sorcerers using their power to protect their homes from the dark forces of the world as best they can. Necromancy is not viewed as strictly evil, and it is not uncommon for a wizard to turn to it in order to protect their town. It is not considered the most wholesome of practices, but is mostly viewed as necessary by the villages who are protected by it.

Religion is incredibly varied, the standard pantheon are the most widely worshipped, but there are places where people still worship ancient gods of nature and the elements who have almost completely vanished form the tets of most of the world. There is also a growing religious movement that condemns the worship of other gods in favor of what they believe to be the one true god. This church is strictly against arcane magic of any form, and has been known to execute wizards, sorcerers and other users. (Imagine the catholic church during the dark ages)


Races of the world
Humans and halflings are the most seen races and make up the majority of the populations of most towns and villages.

Dwarves live in elaborate cities carved into the stone of mountains. They are incredibly protective of their secrets of smithing and mechanics. There are legends of giant automotans hidden deep within the mountains they call home, but no outsider has ever found any proof of this.

Orcs, though fearsome, and sometimes a nuisance because of their violent nature are largely respected by humans. They are powerful allies when treated as equals, and it is not uncommon for a village with no protection from any sort of official rule to have a small population of orcs in or near the village as protectors. Half-orcs tend to capitalize upon this view of them as strong guards, and often become mercenaries, protecting trvellers of towns for a fee.

Elves tend to live deep in ancient forests, rarely associating with humans, they are known for their powerful magic, and are the most common worshippers of the ancient deities of nature. They are not unknown among humans, and are often greatly respected citizens when they choose to live in human settlements. Half-elves live among both elves and humans and easily integrate into either society.

Gnomes are live in nomadic tribes and incorporate pieces of different cultures into their own. They study the magic of the elves, and the smithing and mechanics of the dwarves. They move almost seemlessly between the races trading information and treasure. Some of the oldest tribes carry centuries of historic artifacts from nearly every intelligent race.

Gnoll are renowned as great hunters. They see the abundant werewolves as a blight on the world and for centuries have hunted and studied them.

Kobolds are skilled scavengers, they often follow behind Gnome tribes, finding and putting to use any bits and pieces that they leave behind. However, kobolds have a greater tendency to settle down than gnomes and are actually quite common in human and dwarf cities. When travelling they tend to stay in small groups of no more than a dozen, but when settled in cities, they will often gather together in larger groups, some larger cities will even have an entire district inhabited primarily by kobolds. They are not generally looked down upon by other races, but they prefer to live among themselves rather than integrated with the rest of the population when possible. Those who find a place for themselves among other more "civilized" races are usually skilled artisans or tinkereres.




So that's what I have so far. I still have a while to plan this, I just wnat to hear what people think. If anyome has any feedback or suggestions they would be welcome. Thanks.

EDIT: This is for a 3.5 campaign.

EDIT (UPDATE): So I've done some more development on the world in general and on this new church.

The Church of Lain is strongly against the use of arcane magic, they worship Lain as the king of gods, they believe he is meant to bring salvation to the land and allow humans to ascend as the dominant race. They hold no particular grudge against the other living races, but view humans as ultimately superior. Lain, unknown the mortal races, is an incredibly vain demigod who gathers followers through the guise of uplifting humanity and protecting them from the evil of the world, he views mortals who use arcane magic as a threat, as he believes such power should be reserved only for the gods. Though his followers were few at first, the church has grown quickly, and can now be found in almost every significant human settlement.

There are members of the church who believe that the use of arcane magic can be justified if it is used against other arcane magic users. This actualy sets up the first quest of the campaign, when members of the church convince the apprentice of the necromancer who protects a small town to turn against his master. The party is asked to  go deal with the problem. Though the party will not yet know the involvement of the church in this particular case, it will slowly unfold as the campaign progresses, whether or not the party chooses to eventually take down the church is completely up to them.

In the world in general, the central area of the continent is largely dominated by ancient forests, to the north and east large mountains separate the majority of the land from the sea. To the west is a vast marsh, cut by a vast system of rivers, though most of them end in the lakes and bogs of the marshland, some converge into one large river cutting straight through the center of the land before turning south to the sea.

So there's some more detail on the church, which over the last couple days has taken on a much bigger role in the story of the campaign, and just some general geography.
Most of what you've posted there is fairly standard D&D canon; humans being outgoing and prolific, halflings running them a close second. Dwarves are underground recluses, elves are deep forest recluses, orcs get all the martial/mercenary/labour work, and so forth.

The uncommon elements are: gnolls and kobolds being accepted by society, the monotheistic anti-arcane movement, and how common necromancy and the undead seem to be.

In order to make your world unique and flavourful, capitalize on those uncommon elements. Make them define the setting.

For example: when the dark arts are running amok, and vampires walk openly through the streets of cities at night, something is very very wrong with the world. Perhaps the great heroes and forces of good were all slain or driven into hiding in generations past, or maybe there has been a coup by the evil gods of the pantheon, resulting in a shift of power.

As a result, the mortal races can't pick and choose their friends anymore. Anyone living is a valuable ally, and strength of numbers is often crucial for survival. You could take that even further, and introduce new races like half-kobold, half-gnome, and so forth, as a result of the new close proximity that the races are living in.
Honestly, this sounds quite a bit like Ravenloft, give that setting a look. (I know they relaesed it for 3.5, but i don't think there is an official 4e version)...

In order to make your world unique and flavourful, capitalize on those uncommon elements. Make them define the setting.

For example: when the dark arts are running amok, and vampires walk openly through the streets of cities at night, something is very very wrong with the world. Perhaps the great heroes and forces of good were all slain or driven into hiding in generations past, or maybe there has been a coup by the evil gods of the pantheon, resulting in a shift of power.

As a result, the mortal races can't pick and choose their friends anymore. Anyone living is a valuable ally, and strength of numbers is often crucial for survival. You could take that even further, and introduce new races like half-kobold, half-gnome, and so forth, as a result of the new close proximity that the races are living in.




Thanks for the advice. My plan was to center the campaign around the darker aspects of this world. I really like the idea of considering new half-races, I'll have to think about that some.

Also, in response to Tardis, I'll look it up. I drew some inspiration from the planes Innistrad and Shadowmoor from Magic Multiverse, I'll take a look at Ravenloft.
I use elements of Magic the Gathering in my custom world as well, particularly the Ravnica block and their dual-colour guilds.

Dark worlds are always cool. But one thing to be mindful of; in a world where necromancy is common, your arch-nemesis will need to be REALLY evil to differentiate himself.

In order to make your world unique and flavourful, capitalize on those uncommon elements. Make them define the setting.

For example: when the dark arts are running amok, and vampires walk openly through the streets of cities at night, something is very very wrong with the world. Perhaps the great heroes and forces of good were all slain or driven into hiding in generations past, or maybe there has been a coup by the evil gods of the pantheon, resulting in a shift of power.

As a result, the mortal races can't pick and choose their friends anymore. Anyone living is a valuable ally, and strength of numbers is often crucial for survival. You could take that even further, and introduce new races like half-kobold, half-gnome, and so forth, as a result of the new close proximity that the races are living in.




Thanks for the advice. My plan was to center the campaign around the darker aspects of this world. I really like the idea of considering new half-races, I'll have to think about that some.

Also, in response to Tardis, I'll look it up. I drew some inspiration from the planes Innistrad and Shadowmoor from Magic Multiverse, I'll take a look at Ravenloft.




I played in a brief game where gnolls were uncommon but more akin to noble warriors than devouring savages. In one of the first sessions my character made friends with a gnoll traveler who was being bullied by some town drunks (though later I realized he could have killed them all without any issue). Several game settings have similar races, such as wolfen from Palladium or Ragnarok.

Depending on what system you are using, Shifters or Wilden could be used as half races, meldings of human or elf and gnoll.

Maybe there is a connection between the montheistic religion and the rise of undead that can be explored.  They hate magic because they do not want it to be used against them even though they still practice the arts, albeit secretly.  If they can rid the world of other magic users then they can have free rein and control of the world.  They have started the plague of undead to keep the others seperated as to be easily defeated when the time comes....

Is the monotheistic religion just one that worships one of the evil deities that is such an egomaniac (similar Cyric) that he/she views themselves as the only worth while god and vies for the destruction of all others or is it a truly superior being even to the other gods?

What if a player wants to play an undead race such as vampire or revanant?  Will this cause to great a strain on the party because undead are hated or are there known groups of good undead?

As other have said focus on these unique aspects you have and I think you can create a great world to play in.

Ravenloft material (much of the older stuff can be found online) would be a great resource for you, just for some ideas if not for specifics.  For example, how the normal people live surrounded by evil and many other aspects of 'normal' life in a world of great darkness.
"The great epochs of our life come when we gain the courage to rechristen our evil as what is best in us." - Friedrich Nietzsche
Maybe there is a connection between the montheistic religion and the rise of undead that can be explored.  They hate magic because they do not want it to be used against them even though they still practice the arts, albeit secretly.  If they can rid the world of other magic users then they can have free rein and control of the world.  They have started the plague of undead to keep the others seperated as to be easily defeated when the time comes....

Is the monotheistic religion just one that worships one of the evil deities that is such an egomaniac (similar Cyric) that he/she views themselves as the only worth while god and vies for the destruction of all others or is it a truly superior being even to the other gods?

What if a player wants to play an undead race such as vampire or revanant?  Will this cause to great a strain on the party because undead are hated or are there known groups of good undead?

As other have said focus on these unique aspects you have and I think you can create a great world to play in.

Ravenloft material (much of the older stuff can be found online) would be a great resource for you, just for some ideas if not for specifics.  For example, how the normal people live surrounded by evil and many other aspects of 'normal' life in a world of great darkness.



Thanks for the thoughts, I think I addressed some of them in the update I just posted. An undead player would have a much harder time gaining acceptance wherever they go, but could prove themselves worthy of respect in most places, though I'll definitely have to put some more thought into that.