Dreamin': A New Fantasy Setting Search

32 posts / 0 new
Last post
This forum has plenty of great ideas concerning everyone's own settings. I love checking out the threads to see what different kinds of concepts are out there - the homebrewed worlds that are getting put together for the release of 4th. With all these creative juices flowing, and with WotC releasing one new setting a year, I was thinking of how sweet a new "Fantasy Setting Search" contest would be. You know, similar to the one in 2002 that got us Eberron.

(Considering the high degree of success that Eberron seems to have enjoyed since its release, it seems that this would be an excellent way to choose a new setting after Forgotten Realms and Eberron are out. Nice to dream about it, anyway!)

Anyway, I was just wondering - if a new competition got underway, how many people from the forums would be entering? Would you enter the settings that you're developing to use for the introduction of 4th, or would you make up a new world (worlds) specifically for the contest? What kind of setting would it be? Did you enter last time, and if so, have you used that world in your campaigns since then?
I would enter, but given I am not the must amazing setting-writer it be more for kicks then anything, hell I would be overjoyed if say I got a letter/email saying what they thought of it.

As for what setting, probably my soon to be 4e home-setting:

It is essentially, a game based around reality being either in chaos or in control and who is in control of it. It has various sci-fi influences from the worlds being artificial to metaphysical god-machines, to a very steampunkish setting with highly-advance Civil War-era technology.

I did not enter in the previous contest.
Your setting sounds like a real departure from the standard generic fantasy stuff! I didn't enter in the 2002 contest either. Hmm... I actually don't even have many details about how it went - I've searched the site for old articles regarding it, but the most I've been able to find out is that you initially had to submit a one page entry.

I'm curious, does anyone remember exactly what had to be on that one page? What aspects of your setting did WotC want to hear about?
If there was another contest, I would gladly throw Danthalas into the mix, but its not a world, its a megacity, and the surrounding countryside. The bordering nations are only spoken of, not traveled to... I dunno if a big magic city as the only shining beacon of hope in a desolate and feral (yes I used the term right, the world used to be civilized, but is now wild and dangerous) world is what WotC wants to sell as a 4E setting. O_o

There is much of the continent of my setting that is largely un-re-explored, let alone the whole world!
Since I wasn't involved with the original contest, does anyone know how much text, rules, etc. was actually needed to enter?

Just in-case they do, do another :P

And yeah, my setting very non-generic fantasy. Especially when you get into Epic levels, where your dealing with other artificial worlds, Angelic (term is used loosely) war-machines that guard the Abyss, etc.
I think I would like to take part, but not compete for "the prize".

My setting is a personal creation of myself, so I want to keep being in complete controll over it and not sell it to other people.

It's a mostly uncivilized world were fey spirits take the place of outsiders in other setting. It's heavy on magical places and ancient ruins of ancient civilizations, but not combat heavy but mystery-focused.
Lands of the Barbarian Kings Campaign Setting - http://barbaripedia.eu
I think I would like to take part, but not compete for "the prize".

My setting is a personal creation of myself, so I want to keep being in complete controll over it and not sell it to other people.

Really? Even if WotC was offering you a $100,000 contract? ;)

I think all us DMs like to retain as much control of our worlds as possible, but if you didn't give up some control by putting it out there for other people to play with, no one would ever get the opportunity to check it out at all. Besides, at least we can always keep as much control as we want of our worlds within our own campaigns - even when it's the pre-packaged ones like Forgotten Realms.
For 100,000$ I would sell publishers a copy of the world to do with it as they like, but to me, it wouldn't be "official canon". :D
Lands of the Barbarian Kings Campaign Setting - http://barbaripedia.eu
Anyway, I was just wondering - if a new competition got underway, how many people from the forums would be entering? Would you enter the settings that you're developing to use for the introduction of 4th, or would you make up a new world (worlds) specifically for the contest? What kind of setting would it be? Did you enter last time, and if so, have you used that world in your campaigns since then?

I'd be in. I found out about the last one the day after the first-round submission deadline. The. Day. AFTER! The setting I would've submitted is one I'd been working on for a while.

There are two key influences on the setting:
1) The age of magic is ending and technology is expanding to fill the void.
2) The mortal world is a buffer/battleground between Faerie and the Shadow World (which is eerily similar to 4e's Feywild and Shadowfell conceit).

I started using it as a homebrew game setting about 2 years ago, and with 4e on the horizon am working to integrate/retcon the new races and whatnot into it. It is actually working out very well, and has sparked one huge meta idea that was just so right and ties the whole thing together amazingly well. Once I finish detailing it I think I'll eventually put it up for download somewhere.
For 100,000$ I would sell publishers a copy of the world to do with it as they like, but to me, it wouldn't be "official canon". :D

Oh, but it would be canon. Canon is what everyone gets to see, you would be running a homebrew variant. ;D
I think Ed Greenwod also has very different views about how the Realms really are than the 4th Ed. FRCS will say.
Lands of the Barbarian Kings Campaign Setting - http://barbaripedia.eu
I think Ed Greenwod also has very different views about how the Realms really are than the 4th Ed. FRCS will say.

Sort of. He foretold the Spellplague some 20 years ago in the first Forgotten Realms adventure. So a part of this is a long time coming. I think, for the most part, the biggest deviation from Ed's plan (and homebrew campaign, if he's still running) happened in late 2E/3E rebuild.
I would be tempted to enter with Aethral, my own setting just for the experience.

My setting describes a world in the aftermath of a religious war, where the people are sick and tired of the old ways and try to find new paths to the future. Steam technology is introduced, commoners revolt and take authority in their hands and the gods are denounced.
Hmm... So far there has been three settings dealing with steampunk/higher level technology (perhaps four if LordofNightmares' megacity has more advance technology).

Even if they don't do a contest seems like there is a wish for more technological-settings.

If there is a contest, perhaps a technological-one may win :P
Hmm... So far there has been three settings dealing with steampunk/higher level technology (perhaps four if LordofNightmares' megacity has more advance technology).

Even if they don't do a contest seems like there is a wish for more technological-settings.

If there is a contest, perhaps a technological-one may win :P

Oh, no, the gnomes are nearly extinct in my setting because they dabbled with steam technology. The old goddess of magic shattered the race, slew their god of invention and destroying any possibility of them having a community in the foreseeable future.
The current god of magic is more of a god of knowledge, with magic being a sub-domain, he would not be adverse to technology, but there is a down right fear of technology after waht the dead goddess dead half a millennia years ago.
My setting is still, very middle-dark ages tech level. Azer have made guns... and if an Azer gunner walked into any frontier villiage, they villiagers would be more afraid of the gun, than of the fire-elemental bronze dwarf.
Hmm... as sigil_beguiler pointed out, it's interesting that four of the settings in this thread integrate more advanced technology than is standard for D&D (I'm including LordofNightmares in with this total for the unique way that he chose to make technology conspicuously absent within his megacity of Danthalas). A trend, or just coincidence? :D

The world that I'd put together for another Setting Search probably wouldn't have technology developed past the level of a traditional D&D campaign, although I think I'd make use of magic in ways that might seem a bit like advanced technology. I don't normally run homebrew settings, so the world that I'd create isn't one I've played in before - or even one that's well thought out at this point. I have a lot of story ideas kicking around in my head, so I'd have to smash together a couple of my favorite and give the finished proposal as much polish as I could...
If there was a new setting search I'd be in it faster than bacteria in taco bell food.
I snagged the War of the Burning Sky campaign from RPGNow, intending to drop it into my existing campaign somewhere, but it's gone high and right on me and become it's own world, following a storyline so off from the original published one as to be its own game.

There are 5 nations, one big the rest fairly small.
Orcs are the dominant culture. They are harsh taskmasters, but they are not brutes. Humans and most other goblinoids are second-class citizens, demihumans are third-class.
After the emperor (an orc, of course) was assinated by magical means, his overly ambitious advisor is rounding up arcanists who are less than loyal, even to the point of crossing borders and abducting them from their homelands. This has led to war.
The drow, having seen too many wars over their lifetimes, were not banished underground. They went of their own accord, trying to build a nation beyond war. However, surface people keep bringing their wars to them, so they had to become rather violent in their safeguarding of their peace. Any POWs are enslaved. They'll be released when the war is over. Think of a very aggressive Switzerland during WW2.
Gnolls are druids and rangers, nomadic and very tied to the land. They are doing their best to avoid getting involved in this war. Unlike the drow, they will aid any who need healing and will help refugees find the best paths to safety. In this war, they have taken in foundlings, so it's not unusual for a gnoll pack to have humanoid or demi-human children among their numbers.
The emperor pro temp has almost completed a super-weapon to use against wizards and other usiers of arcane magic. The only magic she will allow is divine magic, and only that granted through her deity. Her force of Inquisitors do her legwork (and her dirty work).

I had started to run this campaign as per the published adventures, but players are players, and they went in another direction, one which I found quite interesting. The orcs have made many important military victories, arcane spellcasters are hiding for their lives (I drew heavily on the Holocaust for this condition). The PCs don't know it, but the surrender of three of the four smaller nations is almost at hand, and elven nation of Shahalesti will stand alone.

To the north is a prison called Scourge Prison where arcanists are taken to have their loyalty tested. They never come back. The anti-magic superweapon uses the essence of arcana, also known as blood from captive mages, for it's power source. A new prison is being built in the south, and it's here that the game currently finds the PCs. They're going in to shut the operation down.

And their current level is only 3...

I would probably offer something like this, but with the stuff in italics changed around to avoid copyright infringement (and I may have missed some others). Rather than a world just emerging from war, this one has just stumbled into it. The rest of the planet is a wasteland after a meteor hit. Only an accident of geography sheltered this small peninsula, which was pretty isolated from the rest of the world to begin with. A session in which the PCs tried to cross the northern mountains to see about a foreign alliance with whoever might live there ended in the realization that those five nations were the only ones around. How the DM develops the wastelands is up to his or her fevered imagination.
It is odd about the technological settings appearing more frequently; I guess Eberron and even Ptolus have got people used to this idea. I never did like it personally but everyone is probably looking for the next new thing to avoid the old "pseudo-feudal" stuff. I guess "magitech" settings never appealed to me.

I too would like to vote for a setting contest.
I try to keep modern tech to a minimum. I guess my players prefer it too, or they wouldn't have stuck themselves on Xen'drik living with the natives. Of course, my players are the kind of guys who believe that "fast food" is anything you didn't hunt down, kill, and gut yourself.

Yes, macho out-doorsy men play D&D, too.:D
If there was another contest, I would gladly throw Danthalas into the mix, but its not a world, its a megacity, and the surrounding countryside. The bordering nations are only spoken of, not traveled to... I dunno if a big magic city as the only shining beacon of hope in a desolate and feral (yes I used the term right, the world used to be civilized, but is now wild and dangerous) world is what WotC wants to sell as a 4E setting. O_o

There is much of the continent of my setting that is largely un-re-explored, let alone the whole world!

Actually, that fits in pretty well with the whole "points of light" idea...or in your case "point of light"

Kind of reminds me of Dark Sun a little...I like it.
I have a few setting ideas, one of which is yet another iteration of the magitech universe based in an alternate history of our Earth, where Atlantis resurfaces in the not too distant future and disrupts the space time continuum, essentially removing the linear component from time so that wild west cowboys, modern superheroes, and fantasy tropes all exist in the same setting. So yeah, D20 rifts come to think about it...so that's hardly original.

The other is a setting based around the idea of a "New World" Essentially it would be analogous to Pre-Columbus America, a wild and untamed land full of magic, strange creatures and D&D demihuman races. The twist here is that the Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes (I just plain like them better than Halflings) and such have built large civilizations while humans are nomadic tribesmen alluding to Native Americans, or Viking settlers.

The campaign assumes that players will be taking part of characters who are indigenous to this continent, while the primary antagonsists exist in the form of invading colonials from another continent analogous to crusading, Papal controlled Western Europe. A monotheistic society with armies made up largely of humans and enslaved monstrous races with superior technology (that is iron weapons and armor, crossbows, catapults, siege engines)

Anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.
I'm loving reading about everyone's settings, but no one who's posted so far entered the original contest? There's gotta be someone out there that submitted - after all, there were 11,000 entries. :D

I'd like to try writing up a world description in whatever format WotC originally asked for, but all my searching around on their site hasn't been able to turn up any specifics from when the Setting Search was announced. Does anyone remember what was asked for? Or better yet, have the setting description that they submitted? That'd be pretty cool to check out...
Anyway, I was just wondering - if a new competition got underway, how many people from the forums would be entering? Would you enter the settings that you're developing to use for the introduction of 4th, or would you make up a new world (worlds) specifically for the contest? What kind of setting would it be? Did you enter last time, and if so, have you used that world in your campaigns since then?

Personally I'd love to see what the two main condenders were about first.. You know, there were three winners of lots of dollars in the setting search. Eberron won first prize, but two more (Rich Burlew and someone else) won large sums to let their settings remain under NDA, well, forever?
I have a prospective 4e world in the works as well that I'd love to enter; I took the whole Material-Feywild-Shadowfell concept and twisted it to fit into a perpetual-war-between-the-planes scenario that I think might help sell Points of Light on both a planar and a cosmological scale.

I too would like to know if anyone has the Setting Search forms; might as well do a writeup now to get ahead of the competition. ;)
I entered the original contest; didn't get past the first level. I made another setting just for the contest (a more primitive and primal world) because I wanted to do something of my own with he 1st world I already had (vaguely spell jammer-esque, but more serious). Since then, even if I'd sold the 1st world as it was then, the 1st world now is so terribly mutated that I could have sold its earlier state and kept my mutated form as material for something else. Consideration shows when you make a world, so if you make one for the contest, start early!

For the record, I too run (& would submit) a campaign with some interesting technological quirks. Regardless, I'd want something that doesn't use "action," "hordes," "heroic," and "good versus evil" as buzz phrases. Exploration, adventure, and role-playing can be many things without apostrophes in every place name, and without nightmares of bad movie trailers leaping off the pages to haunt you, it can even be inspiring.
My idea of a campaign is set on a world recovering from a great cataclysm where the gods grew angry at the hubris of men and hurled a flaming mountain upon them, after which mortals came to believe that the gods had abandoned them. But then they start to resurface, and the Goddess of Evil, probably some reiteration of Tiamat, starts a war and all of her generals fly around on dragons...

Oh wait...

Okay how about this...A really magic heavy high fantasy setting spanning a vast continent where epic struggles are commonplace and the gods like to go on regular strolls. The NPCs are all godlike magic users and they control everything that goes on in the world, while a secret group of Bards and Druids or something attempts to thwart evil through guile and subterfuge. Also there's this kick ass Dark Elf but...you're not going to believe this part...he's actually one of the good guys!

Umm...maybe not...

Okay...how about a world that's based around high fantasy and pulp adventure, with a lot of stuff not generally associated with traditional sword & sorcery tropes like androids, and airships, and trains, and yeah...not gonna work

Okay...I got one...it's D&D...IIIIINNNNNN SPAAAAAAACCCCEEE...no...

I know! D&D in a post-apocalyptic desert world with lots of psionics!

Okay...I got nothin'
Dude! You totally forgot a setting where the world is hollow and... and... awwww PUCKERNUTS!:D
Hey, how about all PCs can get to have a touch of divine blood in them, because only those of divine stock can become rulers or powerful wizards? Then they get powers from their ancestors association with the now-dead gods, and their adversaries are other such beings, but horribly marred by some dark gods blood. Eh? Eh? :D
DnD Wiki has some good campaign setting ideas.

http://www.dandwiki.com/wiki/DnD_Campaign_Settings

I am personally partial to the idea of Sewer Rats.
I entered the original contest; didn't get past the first level. I made another setting just for the contest (a more primitive and primal world) because I wanted to do something of my own with he 1st world I already had (vaguely spell jammer-esque, but more serious). Since then, even if I'd sold the 1st world as it was then, the 1st world now is so terribly mutated that I could have sold its earlier state and kept my mutated form as material for something else. Consideration shows when you make a world, so if you make one for the contest, start early!

Interesting! I think that your point about consideration and starting early are good ones. Two out of three finalists for the original Fantasy Setting Search submitted unique worlds that were largely comprised of their favorite elements from previous campaigns (Keith Baker's winning entry among them).

For the homebrew setting I'm working on now, I'm following a similar route. I have a Microsoft Word document that I use to write ideas down in point form - many of which I've used before or have been kicking around for a long time. Once I have my hands on the new core books, I'll tie my favorite ideas together in whatever way seems to work best with the 4.0 material. So far I've got about two pages of little notes. :D
I'm working on one now that I was going to call Tradewinds until someone told me that that the name was already taken by a computer game. So I'm looking for a name now.

The basic premise is that instead of having nations that are at war or unfriendly with each other, you have a bunch of nations that are tied together, sometimes unwillingly, by trade. Ath-an-Sewyn trades magic weapons and armor to Lakehome in exchange for shellfish, paper, and textiles. The arms and armor go to Vergar's Fall by riverboat along with masterwork bows from Numrond and rare jewels from Atanch, and are loaded onto a galleon bound for Udarot, where they are traded to the dwarves in exchange for mithril, which is used by the local metalworkers to make pikes which go north by caravan to Bakran in exchange for the local timber. And so on and so forth. Nobody makes war on other nations, because they're having too much fun profiting from them.

That isn't to say there isn't any conflict; civilization only extends a little ways from the cities. In the spaces in between, there are savages, raiders, monsters, and evil cults, and the traderoutes (not to mention the outlying villages) have to be constantly protected from them. Plus, while the mercantile interdependence deters open war, there is a great deal of intrigue, largely centered around obtaining the best terms for your merchants.

Typical adventures would be along these lines:
  • Orcs along the northern coast have turned to piracy, and have gained quality weapons from one of their prizes, making them more deadly than ever. The interruption in this, the safest shipping route between west and east, is raising prices all over.
  • Small villages allied with Numrond have been disappearing; not overrun, but vanished into the forest, leaving no sign that they were ever there. Merchants are turning from Numrond in fear of losing their goods.
  • Atanch is renegotiating the contract to carry their goods to Lakehome. They have historically shipped goods by sea through Iswatch, which is allied with Norada, but Esarn has recently offered to double the guard contingents that accompany caravans through their lands in the hopes of attracting more traders.


The setting is intended to be fairly low-powered, with most NPCs being Heroic or low Paragon levels, but can be expanded into planar locales for higher-level adventure.
Sign In to post comments